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Hello! Looking for new tank setup critique, plus a couple of questions

This is a discussion on Hello! Looking for new tank setup critique, plus a couple of questions within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> Originally Posted by Angel079 75 and that's for a 44g? I think 50lbs will be just enough What kinda fish were you planning on ...

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Hello! Looking for new tank setup critique, plus a couple of questions
Old 01-30-2010, 12:40 AM   #21
 
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Originally Posted by Angel079 View Post
75 and that's for a 44g? I think 50lbs will be just enough
What kinda fish were you planning on getting?
I totally hate that too how they sell the "kit" yet it doesn't have hardness, makes no sense whatsoever.
Dep on the exact plans you wanna get that may be enough to cover the 44g nicely after a while...may not be.
I'd base the plant food of the exact plants you wanna get. Like I wrote in the examples for wishfish. If you're gonna have stem plants and crypts etc get a good liquid fert (Saechems) and if you wanna have Swords buy some root sticks (I used API, Nutrafin etc).
Silly me, I read the big letters on the gravel bag that said "2 lbs / gallon".

As for fish, what I'm thinking now is I'll probably start out with a 1/2 dozen zebra danios and maybe 4-5 mollies (too much for a 'fresh' tank?). Once the tank is cycled in a couple of weeks, I would like to slowly add a ~4 albino cories, ~5 black kuhli loaches, a red tail shark, maybe a betta, and some shrimp and a snail or two to mix it up.

I ended up picking up the Fluval 305 cannister filter this evening. I'm planning on using (from bottom to top) charcoal, ammonia remover (just in case), the BioMax, and the 'polishing pad' in the filter.
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Old 01-30-2010, 12:01 PM   #22
 
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Originally Posted by LMychajluk View Post
Silly me, I read the big letters on the gravel bag that said "2 lbs / gallon".

As for fish, what I'm thinking now is I'll probably start out with a 1/2 dozen zebra danios and maybe 4-5 mollies (too much for a 'fresh' tank?). Once the tank is cycled in a couple of weeks, I would like to slowly add a ~4 albino cories, ~5 black kuhli loaches, a red tail shark, maybe a betta, and some shrimp and a snail or two to mix it up.

I ended up picking up the Fluval 305 cannister filter this evening. I'm planning on using (from bottom to top) charcoal, ammonia remover (just in case), the BioMax, and the 'polishing pad' in the filter.
This tank will be planted so I would not use carbon (I assume your charcoal is actually carbon) or ammonia remover media. Carbon removes nutrients that the plants need. And plants need and use the ammonia/ammonium to grow so no issue there. I thought the Fluval had ceramic disks in the first chamber...they are fine. Then the bio max, then the pad(s).

If you plant the tank well before adding the fish, there will be no "cycle" to speak of. I explained this only yesterday in this thread [post #2]: http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/a...ts/true-36236/ I would introduce the zebras first.

Byron.
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Old 01-30-2010, 10:40 PM   #23
 
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This tank will be planted so I would not use carbon (I assume your charcoal is actually carbon) or ammonia remover media. Carbon removes nutrients that the plants need. And plants need and use the ammonia/ammonium to grow so no issue there. I thought the Fluval had ceramic disks in the first chamber...they are fine. Then the bio max, then the pad(s).

If you plant the tank well before adding the fish, there will be no "cycle" to speak of. I explained this only yesterday in this thread [post #2]: http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/a...ts/true-36236/ I would introduce the zebras first.

Byron.
<Runs to newly set up tank to pull carbon from filter>

The Fluval 305 had a foam pad, plus 3 levels of trays. I'm not sure what the ceramic discs are... I didn't see anything like that. The BioMax (the 1/2" ceramic 'tubes') are in the top tray with a layer of the polishing pads (finer foam) on top.

I got 6 plants form the LFS. The guy there said my setup (2x18"/15W flourescents in a 24" deep corner tank) really doesn't have enough lighting to grow many types of plants. He suggested a couple, and I picked a couple of Undulata(?), and 4 unknown plants (well, known, but I don't remember the name) about ~6-8" tall w/ big leafs and he said would 'grow like crazy'. I figured I'll see how these grow and take it from there. BTW, he gave me a SeaChem Plant Pack and suggested I use them until the tank's up and running fully, then maintain w/ Flourish.

Water right now is testing at a pH of 7.3, and the LFS said it was 75 (ppm?), which they said was fine. That was with a sample I took prior to adding anything to the water, and I've since treated with API Tap Water Conditioner, dosed with the LFS-recommended Dr. Tim's Eco-Balance Probiotics, then a dose of each of the 3 SeaChem plant treatments from the Plant Pack.

I'm thinking I should get a few fish in there pretty soon, otherwise, I'm just feeding the plants with the SeaChem stuff. The idea is to get a balance between the fish and the plants, right (though I don't think a 1/2 dozen plants could be considered 'well planted')?

Last edited by LMychajluk; 01-30-2010 at 10:43 PM..
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Old 01-31-2010, 12:13 PM   #24
 
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<Runs to newly set up tank to pull carbon from filter>

The Fluval 305 had a foam pad, plus 3 levels of trays. I'm not sure what the ceramic discs are... I didn't see anything like that. The BioMax (the 1/2" ceramic 'tubes') are in the top tray with a layer of the polishing pads (finer foam) on top.

I got 6 plants form the LFS. The guy there said my setup (2x18"/15W flourescents in a 24" deep corner tank) really doesn't have enough lighting to grow many types of plants. He suggested a couple, and I picked a couple of Undulata(?), and 4 unknown plants (well, known, but I don't remember the name) about ~6-8" tall w/ big leafs and he said would 'grow like crazy'. I figured I'll see how these grow and take it from there. BTW, he gave me a SeaChem Plant Pack and suggested I use them until the tank's up and running fully, then maintain w/ Flourish.

Water right now is testing at a pH of 7.3, and the LFS said it was 75 (ppm?), which they said was fine. That was with a sample I took prior to adding anything to the water, and I've since treated with API Tap Water Conditioner, dosed with the LFS-recommended Dr. Tim's Eco-Balance Probiotics, then a dose of each of the 3 SeaChem plant treatments from the Plant Pack.

I'm thinking I should get a few fish in there pretty soon, otherwise, I'm just feeding the plants with the SeaChem stuff. The idea is to get a balance between the fish and the plants, right (though I don't think a 1/2 dozen plants could be considered 'well planted')?
You have sufficient plants to introduce fish, the group of zebras will be ideal to start.

The ceramic disks are shown here Aquatic products
Fluval calls it "Pre Filter", you fill the first tray (first as the water enters the filter) with this and it lasts for ever, just rinse it as needed, it traps larger material so the pads don't get clogged first.

Byron.
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Old 01-31-2010, 02:27 PM   #25
 
Hmm... looks just like the 'Biomax'...
Aquatic products

I'll pick some of the 'Pre-Filter' up. Can't hurt, and the media generally isn't too expensive.
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Old 02-03-2010, 09:02 PM   #26
 
Just an update for anyone that cares...So far, so good (for the most part).

I probably went a bit overboard, and added 8 zebras, 6 Flame Tetras, and 4 Albino Corys, but all the fish seem happy enough, though the Flame Tetras don't seem to like the flake food I'm giving them. pH is ~7, and everything else is still testing at 0.

Here's the but - one of those Cryptocoryne Undalata plants doesn't seem to be doing too well. The leaves look like they're burning. I planted 2 of these plants in opposite corners of the tank, and the other seems to be doing fine. I dosed the tank with the SeaChem plant nutrients again and I'll see how it is tomorrow, but if it gets worse, I think I'm going to have to pull it from the tank... can't understand what happened to it, though...
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Old 02-03-2010, 09:25 PM   #27
 
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Just an update for anyone that cares...So far, so good (for the most part).

I probably went a bit overboard, and added 8 zebras, 6 Flame Tetras, and 4 Albino Corys, but all the fish seem happy enough, though the Flame Tetras don't seem to like the flake food I'm giving them. pH is ~7, and everything else is still testing at 0.

Here's the but - one of those Cryptocoryne Undalata plants doesn't seem to be doing too well. The leaves look like they're burning. I planted 2 of these plants in opposite corners of the tank, and the other seems to be doing fine. I dosed the tank with the SeaChem plant nutrients again and I'll see how it is tomorrow, but if it gets worse, I think I'm going to have to pull it from the tank... can't understand what happened to it, though...
No...not to worry, its what we call crypt meltdown. Cryptocoryne are very sensitive plants to any change in water parameters, light, and/or nutrients. When you move them to another tank, like buying new ones or even from tank to tank depending upon parameters, they will "melt" if there are significant differences in water, nutrients or light. WisFish I think it was had his melt when he increased the light. Melt means the leaves disintegrate into a pile of mush. Vaccuum the mush out but leave the roots. They usually recover with new leaves in sometimes a few days, sometimes weeks, if it is simply a change in tanks.

On the Seachem, I'll assume it is Flourish Comprehensive. Don't overuse it, it can kill plants and fish. Use only the recommended dose, it only takes a half teaspoon for 30 gallons, and once a week, maybe twice at first, but no more. It takes new plants a few weeks to "settle."

Byron.
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Old 02-04-2010, 12:10 AM   #28
 
Thanks for the tips, Byron. That does sound like what's happening - the leaves on the plant look like they've been hit with an alien disintegrator ray.

The SeaChem 'kit' I got from the LFS when I bought the plants is a box w/ a bottle each of the Flourish Potasium, Phosphorus, and Nitrogen in seperate bottles. I also have a bottle of SeaChem Flourish comprehensive that I originally bought on your recommendation, but haven't used it. I dosed the tank (using the kit) on Saturday when I first put the plants in, but that was before I realized that the carbon in the filter would remove it. I took the carbon out of the filter (I think on Sunday), but never 'replaced' the plant nutrients, so (based on the directions, which said 1-2 times / week) I thought it was safe to add another dose earlier tonight. I did use a little less than recommended for my size tank, and I'll keep it to once a week max from now on.
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Old 02-04-2010, 11:46 AM   #29
 
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Thanks for the tips, Byron. That does sound like what's happening - the leaves on the plant look like they've been hit with an alien disintegrator ray.

The SeaChem 'kit' I got from the LFS when I bought the plants is a box w/ a bottle each of the Flourish Potasium, Phosphorus, and Nitrogen in seperate bottles. I also have a bottle of SeaChem Flourish comprehensive that I originally bought on your recommendation, but haven't used it. I dosed the tank (using the kit) on Saturday when I first put the plants in, but that was before I realized that the carbon in the filter would remove it. I took the carbon out of the filter (I think on Sunday), but never 'replaced' the plant nutrients, so (based on the directions, which said 1-2 times / week) I thought it was safe to add another dose earlier tonight. I did use a little less than recommended for my size tank, and I'll keep it to once a week max from now on.
Lee,

The Flourish Comprehensive is the most important fert you've got, use it. It contains all the micro-nutrients including iron which is essential. This is probably part of the problem with the crypts; they require iron, not a lot, but it has to be there, especially the red/brown leaf species.

As for the other three, if there are fish in the tank you do not need nitrogen. Nitrogen occurs in the aquarium in 3 main forms, ammonia/ammonium, nitrite and nitrate. As I detail in Parts 1 & 2 of the sticky "A Basic Approach..." plants prefer nitrogen as ammonium, and use the ammonia produced by the fish as their main source. This is part of their filtration job, and if you start dosing nitrogen you will be increasing the biological filtration by nitrifying bacteria which in turn is detrimental to plants... all this is a complex balance cycle that can't be messed with. Particularly in new tanks where the biological equilibrium is still shaky. And you have plenty of fish to provide ammonia/ammonium. Nitrogen is not a nutrient that should ever be required as an additive in a natural (low-tech) tank..

Potassium is sometimes lacking, depending upon your tap water and fish foods, but I have never in 15 years had cause for adding it. Same with phosphorus which is generally sufficient from fish foods and such.

I strongly recommend you stop the nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus, and use Flourish Comprehensive twice a week for 2 weeks, then once a week, at the recommended dose. I'm suggesting twice a week only because with the use of the other three alone there is clearly an imbalance. This may also have had an impact on the crypt meltdown. Crypts are slow growing plants which mean they can store some nutrients for later, but plants that do this sometimes end up deficient because of that balance in nutrients. Try what I suggest and keep me posted via this thread on results.

Byron.
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Old 02-04-2010, 12:09 PM   #30
 
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I had crypts in my tank for the last 20 years. The entire floor of the tank was covered in them. Then I decided to upgrade from the two - 24" single bulb fictures that came with the tank. I went to the 4' tripple tube model. At the same time I started using Excel and added a bunch of new plants. Ferts remained the same. All the crypts in direct contact with the light melted. All the ones in the shade did fine. Even today, whenever one of the existing crypts starts to grow well, all soon as it gets exposed to the direct light, it melts.

Seeing how well Byron's larger tanks do with less light, I may try removing one of my bulbs to see what effect it has on the crypts. I really miss those plants. They made a nice ground cover.
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