New Beginner Tank - Page 2 - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #11 of 36 Old 06-07-2013, 04:30 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah I've read that before, it's a great article by the way. Easily one of the best explanations I've found. I'm pretty sure I've got a good handle on it all, just a few fine points I'm not sure about.

1) In the carbonate hardness section it says "KH has no direct impact on fish". The intent here is that, disregarding how this buffers the pH, KH has no impact on fish health other than what it contributes to the GH. Is this accurate? I'm not trying to mince words, just like to know exactly whats going on =)

2) When I am trying to adjust my water to be softer and more acidic, and I have already appropriately adjusted the hardness by dilution, are the natural biological processes of the tank enough to acidify the water? Or are there additional steps I should take after adjusting hardness?

Currently it's my understanding that pH will adjust on it's own after the hardness is adjusted, it just lags behind a little. I've been trying this on my 5g and it seems to be the case. Tiny water changes with distilled water have slowly brought the pH down from 7.5 to 6.5. Unfortunately I don't have hardness test kits so it's tough to draw specific conclusions from this. (I should clarify, this was with a different water source from the beginning and is unrelated to my tap water parameters).

Thanks for the help guys, always a pleasure to receive good advice!
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post #12 of 36 Old 06-07-2013, 04:50 PM
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Quote:
1) In the carbonate hardness section it says "KH has no direct impact on fish". The intent here is that, disregarding how this buffers the pH, KH has no impact on fish health other than what it contributes to the GH. Is this accurate? I'm not trying to mince words, just like to know exactly whats going on
Fish are not affected directly the the KH, no matter what it is. Fish are directly impacted considerably by GH, and somewhat less by pH (within reason, too far off and trouble). The fish's internal physiology depends upon the GH and pH, and these remaining stable for the most part.

Quote:
2) When I am trying to adjust my water to be softer and more acidic, and I have already appropriately adjusted the hardness by dilution, are the natural biological processes of the tank enough to acidify the water? Or are there additional steps I should take after adjusting hardness?
This will largely depend upon the KH of the resulting water mix. If it is still significant, it will prevent the pH from lowering.

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Currently it's my understanding that pH will adjust on it's own after the hardness is adjusted, it just lags behind a little. I've been trying this on my 5g and it seems to be the case. Tiny water changes with distilled water have slowly brought the pH down from 7.5 to 6.5. Unfortunately I don't have hardness test kits so it's tough to draw specific conclusions from this. (I should clarify, this was with a different water source from the beginning and is unrelated to my tap water parameters).
Again, the KH can prevent the pH from lowering, up to the point when the KH is exhausted. Without knowing these numbers, it is difficult to predict. Can you get the GH and KH from the water folks?

It is possible to have a very low GH and KH but a high pH. Also, many factors in the aquarium will affect all this, from water changes, fish numbers and feeding, plants, etc.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If youíre going to take it under your wing then youíre responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #13 of 36 Old 06-07-2013, 05:25 PM Thread Starter
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Ok I think I get it. Mostly I figure I need to round out my test kit with gh and kh so I can see the whole picture. But as far as the new tank goes I'm definitely all set. I may check back in for specifics about bulb choice if it ends up not being a 10g with incandescent hood. I'm pushing for a slightly larger tank
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post #14 of 36 Old 06-09-2013, 05:36 PM Thread Starter
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Ok so it's looking like we may actually go with a 20g long, I think this will be a lot easier to learn with than a 10g. What lights do you guys prefer for simple plants on this size tank? Can I get away with a standard 30" hood and fluorescent (17W I think), or is that not gonna cut it?
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post #15 of 36 Old 06-09-2013, 08:00 PM
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Ok so it's looking like we may actually go with a 20g long, I think this will be a lot easier to learn with than a 10g. What lights do you guys prefer for simple plants on this size tank? Can I get away with a standard 30" hood and fluorescent (17W I think), or is that not gonna cut it?
Yes, the fixture is fine [I have the same over my 29g which is also 30 inches long but a bit deeper than a 20g Long]. You will need to get a good tube, as the ones that come with all of these are insufficient.

The good tubes are Life-Glo 6700K, or ZooMed UltraSun 6500K. The 24-inch tube size will fit the fixture.

Byron.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If youíre going to take it under your wing then youíre responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #16 of 36 Old 06-09-2013, 08:02 PM Thread Starter
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Perfect, thanks
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post #17 of 36 Old 06-09-2013, 08:11 PM
I second the notion that you really don't need anything other than a simple sponge filter for a tank like this. Plus, unlike the HOB you can stick a check valve if you hook it up via a sponge and it's pretty fool proof during a power loss and back on situation. Another pro is that should you ever lose power completely you can swap your filtration over to a batter powered air machine quite easily :3

If you have not considered it yet, consider buying some root tabs. Then during set up, crumble them into a fine powder and sprinkle it on the bottom of the tank concentrating around where you ideally want to pant before putting in the sand. Doing so will offer a good jump start to your plants down the road. Remember sand is inert(doesn't absorb or hold nutrients well) so any plants you put in that are root feeders benefit from enriching the sand with pockets of nutrients which is what root tabs give you.
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post #18 of 36 Old 06-09-2013, 10:19 PM Thread Starter
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I'm not convinced a sponge filter is quite right for this situation. I know they work, no disagreement there. But in this case I'm not sure it's quite the right fit. The tank is going to be kept by a novice, so I'd like it to have an excess of media and flow. It'll also be viewable from both sides so I feel like a sponge filter might be tough to hide. In addition, I think she's going to put guppies in here so stocking will be um, variable haha. I'd really like it to be over filtered, even though it definitely isn't necessary for this size tank. On the other hand, I've never kept a tank with a sponge filter, so I really don't have a good feel for how much filtration they provide.

I really like the root tab suggestion, that is fantastic! Mind giving me a little more info though? How many tabs? Do you have a brand you prefer? I've only ever used liquid ferts before this.

Last edited by Jeffrey; 06-09-2013 at 10:32 PM.
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post #19 of 36 Old 06-09-2013, 11:41 PM Thread Starter
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Also, does crushing the tabs not release too many nutrients under the water? is there just not enough flow in the substrate for this to be an issue?
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post #20 of 36 Old 06-10-2013, 01:05 AM
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Also, does crushing the tabs not release too many nutrients under the water? is there just not enough flow in the substrate for this to be an issue?
When you do your initial set up, when the tank is bare...that is when you crush the tabs and layer them. Over that you layer sand...and take care to put the water in as such a way that it doesn't disturb the sand too much.

I understand your misgivings about the sponges. I once felt the same way looking at their simple design. You intend to keep small fish, some of which are delicate. The non-fish, the shrimp being rather delicate and they don't do too well in tanks with HOB's as they have a tendency to get sucked into the intake. So if you go with an HOB you still have to cover the intake with something, which may very well have to be something like a sponge. This is why I suggest just doing a sponge filter and find a clever way to hide it. You need one either way and of course the choice is yours. Sponges though, they have a lot more power than a lot of people want to give them credit for.

I ran a full community with loaches and rainbows in an 80 with a single sponge rated for 125 gallon. Had happy healthy shrimp, and later on when the tank got converted to a single fish tank (for a predator) I found surprise fry left over from the community who now sit in a 10 gallon grow out tank. That 10 gallon runs on well, plants and an airstone I stuck into a AC sponge and it's suctioned to the wall. 4-5 days going in and so far the fry are as lively as can be. Point is you can get away with a wonderful planted 10 gallon without the use of any major equipment such as a HOB.

Last edited by Sanguinefox; 06-10-2013 at 01:15 AM.
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