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Heating a 125 Gallon Tank

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Heating a 125 Gallon Tank
Old 09-15-2012, 04:05 PM   #21
 
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I'm just going by things I have read, like this:

"Every 2-4 weeks, depending on your fish load and available time, a good skimming of the sand should be performed. A small vinyl hose works well, about the inner diameter of a garden hose. Just hook the hose up to a faucet pump and siphon up the surface detritus. You may siphon a lot of sand the first couple of tries, a little practice is all it takes. Just keep the end of the hose about ス" away from the sand and quickly siphon up the fish waste. No need to remove or re-arrange the rocks, just get all the visible sand areas. Try to get the entire "visible" sand floor. Every 8-16 weeks, again, depending on fish load, a good churning of the sand bed is required. Trapped food and gasses can become toxic over time and these need to be released periodically. You値l notice that there will be a statification of the sand bed. The bottom "trapped" layer of sand will turn a dark grey-black in time, and once the layer is churned up and the waste & gasses released, it will eventually turn back to the original sand color. You値l even notice a bit of "rotten-egg" odor when churning the bed, this is normal and are just the gasses being released. At this time you should also move rocks and churn the sand under them. You may want to do half the tank at a time so there won稚 be as much disturbance. You値l have quite a cloud of debris, so you値l want to let it settle and do a good skimming again. Be sure to keep all impeller-operated equipment off during the churning procedure"


Churning the sand, toxic food and gases, rotten egg odor, cloud of debris, all sounds like more hassle than my gravel is. Maybe it's just because I've never done it, but it sounds ominous.
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Old 09-15-2012, 06:19 PM   #22
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Canadian Fish View Post
I'm just going by things I have read, like this:

"Every 2-4 weeks, depending on your fish load and available time, a good skimming of the sand should be performed. A small vinyl hose works well, about the inner diameter of a garden hose. Just hook the hose up to a faucet pump and siphon up the surface detritus. You may siphon a lot of sand the first couple of tries, a little practice is all it takes. Just keep the end of the hose about ス" away from the sand and quickly siphon up the fish waste. No need to remove or re-arrange the rocks, just get all the visible sand areas. Try to get the entire "visible" sand floor. Every 8-16 weeks, again, depending on fish load, a good churning of the sand bed is required. Trapped food and gasses can become toxic over time and these need to be released periodically. You値l notice that there will be a statification of the sand bed. The bottom "trapped" layer of sand will turn a dark grey-black in time, and once the layer is churned up and the waste & gasses released, it will eventually turn back to the original sand color. You値l even notice a bit of "rotten-egg" odor when churning the bed, this is normal and are just the gasses being released. At this time you should also move rocks and churn the sand under them. You may want to do half the tank at a time so there won稚 be as much disturbance. You値l have quite a cloud of debris, so you値l want to let it settle and do a good skimming again. Be sure to keep all impeller-operated equipment off during the churning procedure"


Churning the sand, toxic food and gases, rotten egg odor, cloud of debris, all sounds like more hassle than my gravel is. Maybe it's just because I've never done it, but it sounds ominous.
It all depends really, the corydoras will stir the sand around a little when they're looking for food, and my Kuhli loaches dig around in the sand so they will mix it around for me for the most part. Also having about an inch of sand limits how many of the bubbles you get, once you get to 2-3 inches of sand the chances get higher and higher
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Old 09-15-2012, 06:29 PM   #23
 
I think a lot of people are confused about sand beds...
I'm a firm believer in NOT stirring sand beds. Stirring the bed only creates a potential of burying organic matter deep in the sand resulting in anaerobic decomposition and black sand! If/when the sand is undisturbed, there is nothing that gets deep to decompose anaerobically.

I've had (pool filter) sand for months now and do not disturb the sand. There is no detritus below the surface and so there is no black sand with rotting material.
I'd ask others with sand to also comment. Just for reference see deep sand beds in freshwater.
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Old 09-15-2012, 07:50 PM   #24
 
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Agree. The substrate is an important biological "bed" where all sorts of bacteria live and perform many necessary functions. You can read more here:
http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/f...quarium-74891/

Of course, plants impact all of this. And most tanks should have live plants.

Obviously, one has to maintain a fairly balanced system. If the fish load is beyond the basic capacity of the tank in terms of water volume, filtration, etc. you will have problems. And this is just as possible with gravel as with sand.

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Old 09-15-2012, 08:02 PM   #25
 
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Well, I get my water tested in my current tanks every one to two weeks, whenever I'm in the fish store. They never have ammonia or nitrites. Nitrates usually run between 5 and 20. They rarely go up to 20, just if I skip a weekly water change. Typically I do partial water changes on all of them once a week.

None of them have plants, but I keep the balance just fine, my fish are happy and healthy.

My concern is if I will be able to duplicate this success with a new system (sand). I'm not questioning the value of the biological bed of bacteria that resides in the substrate.

I'm going to try anubias and java fern in my new tank, my first foray into live plants. I'm pretty much a "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" kind of guy. If I was having trouble keeping consistent water parameters in my tanks I would be desperate to try something new, but since my tanks are stable, I think I am better to stick to what I know.
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Old 09-16-2012, 11:33 AM   #26
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canadian Fish View Post
Well, I get my water tested in my current tanks every one to two weeks, whenever I'm in the fish store. They never have ammonia or nitrites. Nitrates usually run between 5 and 20. They rarely go up to 20, just if I skip a weekly water change. Typically I do partial water changes on all of them once a week.

None of them have plants, but I keep the balance just fine, my fish are happy and healthy.

My concern is if I will be able to duplicate this success with a new system (sand). I'm not questioning the value of the biological bed of bacteria that resides in the substrate.

I'm going to try anubias and java fern in my new tank, my first foray into live plants. I'm pretty much a "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" kind of guy. If I was having trouble keeping consistent water parameters in my tanks I would be desperate to try something new, but since my tanks are stable, I think I am better to stick to what I know.
Just a comment on this matter of stability. If nitrates vary at all, the tank is not biologically stable. Over a period of years my tanks have never varied, nitrates are at 5ppm. I attribute this to the plants and weekly 50% water changes. In some of these I never touch the substrate (and it is sand), in some I vacuum lightly (one has sand, one gravel substrate).

Nitrates have more of an effect on fish than many realize--or are willing to realize--and at very low levels.
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Old 09-16-2012, 12:01 PM   #27
 
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I only change 30% of my water weekly, but that usually keeps my nitrates at 5ppm. However, a couple of times this summer I went two weeks between water changes and then my nitrates did go up. Then we went 2 weeks and 5 days between changes, but we did a larger than usual water change, and the nitrates were 5 ppm again. That was last Monday. We were in Big Al's today, after doing our usual 30% change, and they are still at 5ppm.

However, I concede that if I skip a week I need to either change more water, or my nitrates rise. Perhaps plants would help with this? (Now that summer is over and camping is done, I think we will be better at sticking to our weekly change). Plus when we get the new tank we are FINALLY getting a python. Right now we use 4 buckets. Takes an hour to change the water in our 4 tanks, with my wife helping. Buckets suck. I told my wife if we didn't have the money for the python right away I was going to fill the 125 gallon tank with buckets. You should have seen the look she gave me. Would it be safe to run my hose from outside through my basement window to fill the tank, or are rubber outdoor hoses bad to use for fish tank water?

Do Anubias and Java Ferns require the use of fertilizer? If so, will that limit what kind of fish I can put in my tank? If the Anubias and Java ferns work out in the big tank, maybe I'll try them in all my tanks. Will Silver Dollars eat them?

Well, we're paying the tank off at the Big Tent Sale on Friday, if it is marked down. If not, we're paying it off double points day, which is the following Wednesday. So it should be here within the next two weeks. Need to rearrange my basement.

My Big Al's had a large shipment of bala sharks in, and marked them down in their weekly flyer to 2.88 each (from 5.99) so I bought 5 and I am housing them in my silver dollar tank until the new tank is ready. They're tiny, about the size of my serpae tetras. My mollies are way bigger than the balas, so I assume they'll be ok for a few weeks.

The Leopard Bush fish are still in quarantine. They have a big one that was returned, but he is a finicky eater. The small ones they got in are eating everything so I'm going to grab one when they're ready. Gorgeous fish! I can't wait.

So I am definitely building my new tank around the balas. Maybe some barbs and loaches? My wife saw green tiger barbs today and loved them. We don't have any barbs because I didn't want them harassing any of our current fish with fin nipping.

Thanks again.

I really suck at taking pictures of fish. Our camera is garbage, and they just don't want to pose, lol.






Last edited by Canadian Fish; 09-16-2012 at 12:21 PM..
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Old 09-16-2012, 12:44 PM   #28
 
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Quote:
I only change 30% of my water weekly, but that usually keeps my nitrates at 5ppm. However, a couple of times this summer I went two weeks between water changes and then my nitrates did go up. Then we went 2 weeks and 5 days between changes, but we did a larger than usual water change, and the nitrates were 5 ppm again. That was last Monday. We were in Big Al's today, after doing our usual 30% change, and they are still at 5ppm.

However, I concede that if I skip a week I need to either change more water, or my nitrates rise. Perhaps plants would help with this?
Yes, live plants work to keep the tank biologically stable in many ways. But it is true that most aquarists with natural (= low-tech) planted tanks find nitrates remain very low, sometimes zero; mine stay at 5ppm or less (according to the API test) perhaps because i do have lots of fish in my tanks.

I have never missed a week of water changes so I can't say if I would see a rise in nitrates if I did.

Quote:
Plus when we get the new tank we are FINALLY getting a python. Right now we use 4 buckets. Takes an hour to change the water in our 4 tanks, with my wife helping. Buckets suck. I told my wife if we didn't have the money for the python right away I was going to fill the 125 gallon tank with buckets. You should have seen the look she gave me. Would it be safe to run my hose from outside through my basement window to fill the tank, or are rubber outdoor hoses bad to use for fish tank water?
May depend what the hose is made of. And bacteria does build up inside hoses. Presumably you would only have access to cold water from a garden (outdoor) tap.

Quote:
Do Anubias and Java Ferns require the use of fertilizer? If so, will that limit what kind of fish I can put in my tank? If the Anubias and Java ferns work out in the big tank, maybe I'll try them in all my tanks. Will Silver Dollars eat them?
I've not heard of any fish that will eat Java Fern. Anubias is pretty tough, but herbivores might try it. And speaking of which, Bala Shark are plant eaters. And, I've forgotten the tank size, but this species is best in an 8-foot tank, in a group of five. Check the profile. And at 14-16 inches, it will eat smaller fish.

Byron.
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Old 09-16-2012, 03:06 PM   #29
 
I'll expand a little on the deep substrate bio-filtration capability. Many think that the only place beneficial biology lives is in the bio-media in the filter. Others are aware that bacteria lives in/on any surface where conditions make it possible....and there is no greater place than in the substrate, especially sand. More importantly different bacteria coexist at different levels within the substrate and work together in a symbiotic harmonious relationship to each other. Much of this is relative to the levels in the substrate and the available oxygen. This is why leaving the sand substrate undisturbed is so important. Alternatively, one could have 1" or less substrate in which case, bio-filtration capability is significantly reduced.

Oh and yes, plants, even floating plants will help keep nitrates lower. However, you'd need a heavily planted tank with a modest stock level to keep nitrates from increasing with time...which is one of the reasons we do weekly water changes of enough volume to dilute the pollution.

As to the Python, they are fine. I had a similar device back in the 70's when I had a water bed Alternatively, I paid $5 for a hose adapter for my sink and use a standard garden hose. I siphoned out the from door, then hooked to the sink faucet for the refill.
Some are afraid of garden hoses because unlike when I was a kid and we drank daily from the garden hose, now a days it's forbidden. Filling your tank from a garden hose is just fine as long as it is flushed first to remove any 'bad' water.

Last edited by AbbeysDad; 09-16-2012 at 03:08 PM..
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Old 09-16-2012, 03:09 PM   #30
 
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We still drink from the hose. My kid drinks from the hose, but we try to raise our fish better than we're raising our kid.

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