A few questions....would love the help. - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 6 Old 03-10-2008, 09:57 PM Thread Starter
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A few questions....would love the help.

We'll start off with my tank params....

I have a 47 gallon (tall) aquarium currently housing 6 tiger barbs and 1 bala shark. I am using standard gravel as a substrate and do not have any live plants in the tank. It has been set up for about 2 months

Ammonia is at 0ppm
Nitrate is at 5ppm
My nitite is at .5ppm
and my pH is at a 7.6 (I am currently trying to find something to bring it down to about 7.2)

so here we go.

1.) I have a serious brown algea problem. It is growing on the fake plants, the aquarium walls, the filter, and some on the rocks. My question is: Is this as normal as I have heard? According to many people this is just the algea phase and will pass, and is caused by my tap water. And if it is normal is there any product out there that can help me get rid of it any faster?

2.) My second question is about the barbs. I have 6 tiger barbs (started with 8...) and 5 of them usually school while the other hangs out with the bala shark. Now, the one who does not school is a shrimp compared to the others even though they are roughly the same age (the lps had a sale 4 for 5.25....new batch) So...is this just the fish being an "unconformist" or is something wrong?

3.) My friend wants to get into the fish life and we were wondering what are some pros and cons of using sand as a substrate as opposed to gravel?
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post #2 of 6 Old 03-10-2008, 11:43 PM
First off, you will eventually need a larger tank for the Shark. He will get 12-16" long. And you will want to try to get your Nitrite down to 0.

-Algea...How often do you do water changes, and how often is your light on? Does your tank get into any sunlight during the day?
-Is this Tiger Barb small in comparision to the others? I have 6 as well, and I often see my 4 largest barbs swimming together. My 2 smaller ones arn't always with them, but at least half the time they are. To fix this, I would add 1-3 more Barbs.
-Pros and cons of Sand...
Pros: Soft for diggers, *some* better for plants
Cons: Hard to clean, can get dead spots, can get all over the place

Pros: Color Variety, does not get everywhere, easy to clean, holds down some things better
Cons: Traps more debris (can be a pro), not as fine as sand

I would go for a small-sized gravel if you can (rice sized would be best).
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post #3 of 6 Old 03-11-2008, 08:29 AM
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I once had a 55 gal. with white sand. I figured black angels + white sand = beautiful. NEVER AGAIN will I have sand. Besides being difficult to clean, any time you add water or move anything, you get a sand cloud.

I suppose something like Play Sand may work, but I would think over time it would get packed down.

I agree with Cody, get small sized gravel.

To get rid of your brown algea, do some water changes. It sounds like you have to many nutirents in the tank, i.e. rotting food. That and too much light will trigger the brown algea.
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post #4 of 6 Old 03-11-2008, 11:33 AM
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Most likely the brown algae is Diatoms. It is normal for a cycling tank. Min ehave been set up for almost 3 months and I still have diatoms. They will eventually go away. Try to keep from scraping the glass and moving the gravel aorund too mcuh as this gives it more unslimed surface areas to grow.

Keep up with water changes and try to keep the nitrites down at or below .5ppm. This will help the fish cope wit it better.
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post #5 of 6 Old 03-12-2008, 07:45 PM
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I've got a 6 ft heavily planted tank filled with play sand and I LOVE it. Not only was is $4 for 50 lbs, but it's really nice looking. I combated the sand compacting issue by getting Malaysian trumpet snails, which are completely plant safe, and keep the sand stirred up. It is a bit more high maintenance, but it's worth it, as my fish love the sand so much. My cories sift through it looking for food and spit all the sand out of their gills, it's so weird looking! Plus, I've got some *true* freshwater flounder, and I don't think it would be fair to keep them in anything but sand. Go for it!
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post #6 of 6 Old 03-13-2008, 04:56 PM
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i only have sand in one of my tanks,it's the small one
with my male Betta in it,there are MTsnails in there to keep
the sand moving,and i use a BBQ sqewer to stir it also.
i have to say that corys do indeed love the sand,
and it really is quite cool to watch them sift through it,
i found corys to be more active too.
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