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My First Tank

This is a discussion on My First Tank within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> Good post RCinAL. I didn't know mollies needed salt, they were in the tropical fish section of the shop and therefore I assumed they ...

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Old 01-16-2011, 02:14 PM   #11
 
Good post RCinAL.

I didn't know mollies needed salt, they were in the tropical fish section of the shop and therefore I assumed they didn't need anything.

I tested my tap water pH yesterday and it was showing 8.0 ish. I am using a cheap broad range liquid testing kit (Waterlife) so maybe its wrong? I am awaiting delivery of 3 API pH test kits (Broad, Low and High). Until this comes through I won't really know what my real pH is but I will fill the tank and worry about the pH later.
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Old 01-16-2011, 08:18 PM   #12
 
I am making progress now, I have stripped the tank down and washed it. It was only when all the water was drained that it was clear there was a horrible grey slime all over everything, looks a little like limescale. I have no idea what this is or where it is from??? Anyway, everything is clean and I am ready to start again.

I will take a water pH reading once the water is in so I know roughly what the pH baseline is. I will add my water conditioner to remove the clorine/metals and leave the tank running for a few days before testing the water.
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Old 01-16-2011, 09:28 PM   #13
 
Ever feel like you want to give up and throw everything away? Well today is that day! I washed everything twice over with clean water, and washed the gravel for over an hour with fresh running water. Put everything back in, topped up the water and replaced the lid. Swicthed on the light only to see a VERY thick layer of floating **** on the water surface. What the hell is this? It looks like white dust mixed into an oily paste. As for the water, thats another story.
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Old 01-16-2011, 09:34 PM   #14
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fish4Andy View Post
I am making progress now, I have stripped the tank down and washed it. It was only when all the water was drained that it was clear there was a horrible grey slime all over everything, looks a little like limescale. I have no idea what this is or where it is from??? Anyway, everything is clean and I am ready to start again.

I will take a water pH reading once the water is in so I know roughly what the pH baseline is. I will add my water conditioner to remove the clorine/metals and leave the tank running for a few days before testing the water.
Don't worry too much about the PH. This will only complicate the start-up process. Fretting over that and dumping in chemicals to change the reading probably helped get you where you are. Worry more about getting a couple of small, hardy, cheap, starter fish that can handle a wide range of PH and acclimating them to the water you get from your tap gradually, by floating them for a long time and mixing the water in their container with that from your tank in small incraments over a couple of hours. Ask mjbn for the technique he offered for introducing fish slowly. Maybe he knows something I don't about this.

Honestly, I have kept fish of all kinds for almost 40 years and I have never owned a PH kit. They all thrive, breed, and eventually die of old age. Call me "old school", but I have no idea what my PH is and I don't feel I need to know. As a matter of fact, I have never tested a drop of my water for anything in almost 4 decades, and I have cycled dozens of tanks without issue. I have also bred and raised many different kinds of fish that are considered to be only for advanced hobbyists. Admittedly my PH probably isn't as high as yours, but I do not think the PH is your problem. I think major fluctuations in PH caused by your efforts to lower it, coupled with the usual challenges of breaking in a new tank, along with choosing too many of the wrong fish is your problem.

You will do fine with a fresh start and a couple of hardier fish. It will be important over the coming days to be able to just do partial water changes straight from your tap without greatly changing the water's parimeters or trying to "dial in" the PH with chemicals. There will be plenty of time to alter the PH slowly and safely once the tank is established if you still feel it is important.

Good luck. Keep us informed. Ask questions.

Ralph
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Old 01-16-2011, 09:51 PM   #15
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fish4Andy View Post
Ever feel like you want to give up and throw everything away? Well today is that day! I washed everything twice over with clean water, and washed the gravel for over an hour with fresh running water. Put everything back in, topped up the water and replaced the lid. Swicthed on the light only to see a VERY thick layer of floating **** on the water surface. What the hell is this? It looks like white dust mixed into an oily paste. As for the water, thats another story.
You posted those pics while I was typing my last post. The photos are not good enough to see the problem clearly. The only thing I can think of it could be is debris from the gravel or bubbles. Some commercial aquarium gravel must be cleaned... and cleaned, and cleaned. Rinsing it under a tap is usually not enough either. You have to stir it from bottom to top with your hands over and over for a long time - hours even - while you run water through it. Even with all that the first tank of water will look cloudy. Also, some taps will send out millions of microscopic bubbles that cloud the water and look like hell too - especially if you were running water from the hot tap to get a higher temp. All this usually will clear up pretty quick. Just let it settle a bit and turn on the filters and see if it improves. I bet it does.
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Old 01-16-2011, 10:09 PM   #16
 
BTW... From where does your tap water originate? - A well? A public supply? A spring? A cistern?

Just curious as this shouldn't matter much. But hey, if that "oily paste" isn't just bubbles or gravel debris you might need to know what is in the water supply. I bet it is just what I call "turbulent water syndrome" - the bubble thing. I get it too and it looks bad but clears up fast and completely.

Last edited by RCinAL; 01-16-2011 at 10:13 PM..
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Old 01-16-2011, 11:05 PM   #17
 
I know the water here comes from the lake district. Doesn't all public water supply come from springs?

Thankfully the tank water crystal clear, its just a oily mess on the surface. Is is not bubbles thats for sure. We'll see what happens after a few days.

I am using a Marina S10 hook on filter but its kinda noisy, especially while the tank is in the bedroom. I think its more because of the vibration on the glass rather than the pump. I am wondering if a small canister would be better? The Fluval 105 looks like a decent piece of kit. What do you think?

My final question is regarding gravel vacuums, you know the ones which look like penis pumps :D Being a small tank the water empties very quickly so it would never be possible to clean all the gravel in one go. I estimate that I would only get 10 of the gravel done by the time 25% of the water was removed. This had me thinking, if I had a canister filter, couldn't you use the inlet of the canister to vacuum the gravel, providing no gravel actually went into the filter?
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Old 01-16-2011, 11:36 PM   #18
 
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I was looking at buying the Marina S15 for my tank, but since it's pretty new (never heard of it) i didn't trust it. I'd sell/return it and either get a aquaclear 30/150 (adjustable flow rate) or a marineland penguin 150B. I'd suggest these for 10gallon tanks and up. If you have anythign under, get the same brand of filter ^^ but downsized. As for the gravel vacs, it's always a pain to vac the gravel completely. It just makes the poop/food fly around rather than clean it. I cannot give advice about that as i changed to sand recently. As for the gunk, try to skim it off with a net or something. If it returns after you remove it, then i'd say it's something in the chemicals you are using that are causing the clumps of "****". I use aqueon water conditioner, which works VERY well. and like RCinAL and I said, forget the pH. Adjust your fish correctly and they'll do fine.
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Old 01-16-2011, 11:43 PM   #19
 
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Originally Posted by Fish4Andy View Post
I know the water here comes from the lake district. Doesn't all public water supply come from springs?

Yes, it all comes from rain somehow, but I was concerned about the treatment process and delivery system. That "oily mess" you mention on the surface is disturbing and would certainly cause fish serious problems. Even if it is not in itself toxic, it sounds like it might prevent the necessary exchange of critical gasses (oxygen, carbon dioxide, etc.) that MUST take place at the surface. An "oily film" covering that surface would smother the fish at the very least. You need to hope whatever it is goes completely away.

Thankfully the tank water crystal clear, its just a oily mess on the surface. Is is not bubbles thats for sure. We'll see what happens after a few days.

I would draw off some more tap water into a clean bucket or bowl and see if it makes the same "oily mess". That way you can eliminate or confirm whether or not it originates from inside the tank.


I am using a Marina S10 hook on filter but its kinda noisy, especially while the tank is in the bedroom. I think its more because of the vibration on the glass rather than the pump. I am wondering if a small canister would be better? The Fluval 105 looks like a decent piece of kit. What do you think?

I like hang ons myself for complete ease of installation, maintenance, and filter changes, though I am not familiar with yours in particular. MANY people swear by canisters though and there is little doubt they provide superior filtering capabilities. I personally just don't like the hoses and associated hardware.

My final question is regarding gravel vacuums, you know the ones which look like penis pumps :D Being a small tank the water empties very quickly so it would never be possible to clean all the gravel in one go. I estimate that I would only get 10 of the gravel done by the time 25% of the water was removed. This had me thinking, if I had a canister filter, couldn't you use the inlet of the canister to vacuum the gravel, providing no gravel actually went into the filter?
You can get smaller gravel siphons that drain much slower. I have 2 different sizes that drain at much different rates depending on what I want to accomplish. If your supplier doesn't carry different sizes look them up online. You can also get battery operated gravel cleaners that filter the gravel and send the water right back into the tank.

Please keep us informed about the oily mess. I wouldn't put a fish in the tank until that is completely gone or I knew exactly what was causing it and decided it was harmless. Brand new tanks that have just been filled sometimes are not perfectly clear, but I am not sure I have ever seen an "oily" one. I am interested to see what some others think of this. Please chime in if anyone has any explanations.

Ralph
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Old 01-16-2011, 11:44 PM   #20
 
AquaOne Water Conditioner? Thats the only thing I have added so far, 5ml of it. I was going to add in the Nutrafin Cycle but was told it is rubbish and not to bother.
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