Advice for two aquariums - Nitrates, pH, food
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Advice for two aquariums - Nitrates, pH, food

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Advice for two aquariums - Nitrates, pH, food
Old 08-22-2013, 10:18 AM   #1
 
Advice for two aquariums - Nitrates, pH, food

I've got a couple of fish tanks that I could use some advice regarding. The fish in Tank 1 used to be in Tank 2 until they started breeding and needed some extra room. I used gravel and water from Tank 2 to start Tank 1 a few weeks ago. I'll give the relevant statistics up front.

Tank 1
55 gal bowfront
2 Whisper 40i filters

Community
1 Orange Cichlid
5 Kenyi Cichlids (a few are juvenile)
1 Synodontis Catfish (6")
1 Rhino Pleco (7"; if he gets much larger I will give him back to the pet store I got him from. They said I could switch him out for a juvenile)

Feed
New Life Spectrum Cichlid Formula 1mm pellets
API Floating Cichlid pellets
Tetra Veggie Algae Wafers Xtreme
Turnip greens (I used to give cucumbers but they barely ate any of it. They hammer the turnip greens like you wouldn't believe)

Stats
Temp: 78 F
pH: 7.8
Ammo: 0
Nitrites: 0
Nitrates: 40 ppm (Iím desperately trying to get it down but I need help)
KH: 160 ppm
GH: 215 ppm


Tank 2
36 gal bowfront
Marineland Penguin 200 filter

Community
4 Dalmatian Mollies (plus three tiny fry I managed to save and put in a breeder)
6 Red Minor Tetras
1 Clown Pleco (1")
3 Kenyi Cichlids (juveniles who were too small to catch; I'll take them out when they're larger)

Feed
Omega One Super Color flakes
I used to put vegetables in there but they never ate them, except for what may have been the occasional nibble from the pleco. I'm looking for another good feed for them since I like to feed multiple types of food for variety and health. I also tried the Algae Wafers from above, but they were not eaten.

Stats
Temp: 77
PH: 7.8
Ammo: 0
Nitrites: 0
Nitrates: 40 ppm
KH: 125 ppm
GH: 215 ppm


Questions/Summary:
1. How do I get the pH of Tank 2 down, and how low should it be? I've used an entire bottle of pH Down to no effect. Also, I've heard cichlids should be at 8.2 pH. Is 7.8 close enough or do I need to spend more money on chemicals getting it up there?

2. My nitrates seem to be out of control. Iíve done several 50+% water changes in the last two weeks with almost no effect. I've got live plants in Tank 2 and I've heard they can help. Every time I've tried live plants with the cichlids they constantly dig them up and/or eat them.

3. I need a recommendation for some other type of food to feed Tank 2. Perhaps a 1mm pellet of some kind? I tried some goldfish pellets (probably 2mm) I had lying around and the fish attacked them but they wouldn't fit into their mouths.

4. Is there an easy way to catch fish in an aquarium? I spent an hour getting the cichlids out of that tank, and I still ended up leaving some in there.

4. Other than that, any comments or suggestions in general would be welcome.
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Old 08-22-2013, 10:29 AM   #2
 
First off, welcome to the forum!!
1. How do I get the pH of Tank 2 down, and how low should it be? I've used an entire bottle of pH Down to no effect. Also, I've heard cichlids should be at 8.2 pH. Is 7.8 close enough or do I need to spend more money on chemicals getting it up there?
You should probably just leave it, the fish are used to the ph by now anyway. And the fact that they bred is a good sign.

2. My nitrates seem to be out of control. I’ve done several 50+% water changes in the last two weeks with almost no effect. I've got live plants in Tank 2 and I've heard they can help. Every time I've tried live plants with the cichlids they constantly dig them up and/or eat them. I would suggest testing you water for nitrates, that might be a problem.

3. I need a recommendation for some other type of food to feed Tank 2. Perhaps a 1mm pellet of some kind? I tried some goldfish pellets (probably 2mm) I had lying around and the fish attacked them but they wouldn't fit into their mouths. Hmm, I would try some frozen foods, Daphina, bloodworms etc.

4. Is there an easy way to catch fish in an aquarium? I spent an hour getting the cichlids out of that tank, and I still ended up leaving some in there.

4. Other than that, any comments or suggestions in general would be welcome. Good luck on your tank!

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arnoldrew (08-22-2013)
Old 08-22-2013, 01:08 PM   #3
 
I can't help with most of your questions. I second spread too thinly on the pH.

I sympathize on the netting, fast, sneaky little buggers aren't they. One thing I tried that helps a little - use two nets, one a little larger than the catching net to kinda herd them in to the catching net. I also found that chasing them tires them out and they slow down. I use this as an absolute last resort.
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arnoldrew (08-22-2013)
Old 08-22-2013, 02:47 PM   #4
 
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You cannot lower pH reliably, regardless of what is written on a bottle.

If you somehow successfully do lower the pH, you cannot maintain it.




Find some floating plants that reproduce quickly, like frogbit or hornwort. The fish mess with them less, they reproduce quickly enough to stay ahead of being eaten, and they really eat the Nitrates quickly.




Tank 2 is fine with common flake food.




In a planted and decorated tank, there really isn't a good way to net the fish. Tanks that you expect to net from are usually bare or minimalist. Display tanks... you really are putting the fish in for the long haul.

I got a trio of lamp eyes that would be happier in my Tetra tank, but they are still in with the Kribs because they started there and now cannot be caught.
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arnoldrew (08-22-2013)
Old 08-23-2013, 08:26 AM   #5
 
I did a 50% water change on both tanks last night and when I tested them this morning they are still at 40 ppm. Tank 2 might have a little less. I tested my tap water and got 0-5 ppm. The thing its, I was lazy for a while with the initial cichlid tank and probably didn't do more than 1 or 2 water changes for almost 9 months. Then I got the test kit and when I saw 40 ppm I started doing water changes and it pretty much still hasn't budged no matter how many changes I do.
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Old 08-24-2013, 10:26 AM   #6
 
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A tank that hasn't had its water changed but twice in nine months probably hasn't been vacuumed, and likely has an accumulation of waste in the substrate. Your nitrogen cycle sounds like it's working overtime producing nitrate.
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