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New to the fish world
Old 06-10-2010, 04:12 AM   #21
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Let me just sneak in here to wish you a warm welcome to the forum!
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Inga (06-10-2010)
Old 06-10-2010, 12:57 PM   #22
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Hi and welcome to the forum!!!! =D

Thats alot of reading there bettababy. :3 I applaud you for that. :P
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Inga (06-10-2010)
Old 06-10-2010, 03:43 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by bettababy View Post
Mopani wood is basically the same as Welaby wood... can you post a photo of the wood you purchased please? Welaby/Mopani should not float, so I am thinking you likely have something else.

I just got back from work, here are the pictures of the wood.

I was mistaken thinking it was floating but it wasn't. Just part of it was sticking up and I thought it was off the bottom of the container, it wasn't. Also, after 28 hours of soaking the water wasn't discolored, should I put it in the tank?

I didn't have a chance to get to the store to get the water tested, I will soon.
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Old 06-10-2010, 04:06 PM   #24
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That is as I first thought... Welaby wood. All the soaking and boiling in the world isn't going to rid that wood of the heavy amount of tannins it will contain. I would NOT put that into your tank until you do 2 things...

1. Test pH initially
2. Have a pH test kit on hand at home so you can check it regularly.

The fish I suggested to you are not likely going to do well with that wood in the tank. Do a search in Google for "dwarf cichlids" and take a look at whats out there... see if you can find any that appeal to you and then check with your lfs to see if they have that species available. They won't get larger... most of them top out at 3 inches or less, but you can get a lot of color and activity level from them. My favorite are the blue rams, but there are so many to sort through it would be pointless for me to try to make a list here for you.

The other option is to see if the store will take that piece of wood back or trade it for a safer piece of wood that can work with the fish we have thus far been discussing. If they give you a hassle about it, ask them if they are aware that the mistake in selling it to you is on them, and that it won't work in your tank because of the heavy amounts of tannic acid it contains.

Keep me posted so I know which direction to help steer you in from this point...
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Inga (06-10-2010)
Old 06-10-2010, 05:28 PM   #25
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Alright, just got back from bringing in a water sample and also buying a test kit of my own. I have 7.2 PH 120 Alkaline, 75 soft water. The people at the store seemed to think that I need to put a few fish in to cycle the water. They suggested doing a weekly water check. I am still undecided as to which fish. So many choices...

I was thinking of getting a couple of little Tiger Barbs to start with. They stay small and do well in schools (said the fish lady) Any thoughts on that? Then I could add 1 or two more colored barbs later and maybe one bigger fish? Maybe only 5 total fish in the tank?

Oh, one more question... The lady at the fish store suggested adding salt on occasion to keep away fungus or disease? Any thoughts there? I noted that many of the fish labels suggested salt on occasion also.

Last edited by Inga; 06-10-2010 at 05:36 PM..
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Old 06-10-2010, 11:40 PM   #26
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Salt for freshwater fish... not unless you are medicating. There are long term effects to the exposure which can shorten the life span, damage organs, and cause other issues. That is not something I suggest and it will not protect the tank from fungus or disease. Salt can be used in many species (not all) of fish for medicinal purposes, to help promote healing of wounds (internal and external), but there are some species of fish that can't tolerate any salt. I wonder what response you would get if you asked that person, if salt protects the tank from fungus and disease, then how come brackish water fish and marine fish suffer from fungal problems and disease? That statement makes no sense unless you're looking at someone trying to sell you something you really don't need.

Fish are not needed to cycle the tank. There are many ways to do that without fish... the most popular is to use pure ammonia, although I don't approve of that method because not everyone ends up with pure ammonia and there is a wide margin of error using that method. Easier to add live plants, fish food, a snail if you don't mind them, any source of food for the bacteria to begin growing and colonizing. I have always used fish food and had great success rate. Once everything is up and running, a small pinch every other day should be plenty to get the tank cycled. The average cycle takes about 4 - 6 wks in a freshwater tank and should be tracked using the test kits. This method also makes it much easier to give yourself plenty of time to find the fish... because once it is cycled you can continue to add a small amount of food every few days to keep it cycled and just begin adding fish whenever you are ready. Some of the other methods require you add fish right away at the end of the cycle to keep the bacteria fed, otherwise you end up starting over or continue adding something that isn't safe for the fish until it is completely broken down. Thats more work than I've ever found the need to do.

Tiger barbs... full grown, 3 - 4 inches. Yes, they get that big, they are not what I would consider a small fish. IF you desire them for your total population, 2 tiger barbs could successfully cycle your tank if you choose that method, but it will require careful watch during the first 4 - 6 wks until the tank is fully cycled. Ammonia and nitrite in any amount are toxic to the fish and that is the first 2 stages of the cycle. You may discover that you need to do frequent small water changes and feed only every other day until the cycle is complete to keep the water quality safe enough for the fish. I have used this method of cycling also, but tend to prefer the fish food method instead.

Your fish lady at the lfs is right about one thing... the barbs, especially the tiger barbs, do very well in schools. A school should consist of at least 5 fish if you're going to go that route.

Not sure what you are thinking for a "bigger fish"?
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Inga (06-11-2010)
Old 06-11-2010, 04:54 PM   #27
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bettababy, What would I do with out you? ha ha You are a wealth of information. I did a 20% water change this Am and my water test had these results
PH 7.6
Ammonia 0 ppm
Nitrite 0 ppm
Nitrate 0

What would you consider frequent water changes? What percentage of water change? Should I be adding Stress Zyme Chlorine and Chloramines remover? One article I read said to not add anything, a few said to definitely add that and the biological filtration booster.

Someone suggested I ask the fish store for a piece of filter media to add to my tank. They claim that is like a super fast cycle and instantly puts the good bacteria into your tank. My concern with that was, how do I know the tank they have is healthy? Wouldn't I be introducing bad stuff to my tank?

Fish lady said just pour some Stress Zyme+ Biological Filtration Booster into the tank. It seems every one has an opinion on cycling as well and few seem to agree as to what is right. That said, I don't know anyone personally who has fresh water set ups. Actually I should say, nobody who seems to know what they are doing. ( Big fish in 20 gallon tank for 5 years)

Last edited by Inga; 06-11-2010 at 04:57 PM..
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Old 06-13-2010, 11:45 PM   #28
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If not me, then someone else here on the forum would be coaching you... there are a number of very capable people here for that. I tend to work mostly with medical conditions, since that is where the most help is usually needed... I just happened along your post one night and decided it would be fun to work with someone on something other than life/death illnesses again, too. (I know why dr's play a lot of golf, lol)

Frequent water changes... it could mean once/day it could mean twice/wk, anywhere in between... the water tests will be the judge of how often they are needed, as will the condition of the animals. There is no way to predict ahead of time how your tank will cycle and how your water chemistry will change during that time.

Ok, let me approach the topic of Stress Zyme now. Stress Zyme is designed to work alongside of its "sister product" called Stress Coat. To get the same reaction as you would expect with any other water conditioner, such as AquaSafe (which is my favorite), the 2 products need to be used together according to the directions on their bottles. Personally, I find it cheaper and easier to use AquaSafe. I also find AquaSafe to be an overall better product and have been using it myself for years. And yes, you should be using a good water conditioner such as AquaSafe or Prime. As for biological filtration booster.. the only one I like at all and find safe and easy to use is Biozyme, which is in a powdered form. There is no way to overdose that stuff, where as some of the others can easily be overdosed, which can cause issues in your tank that would need to be dealt with. Biozyme is also a product I use personally and have been using for years. If you should decide to use it, be sure to get the freshwater Biozyme, not the saltwater. There is a difference in them. Freshwater Biozyme comes in a yellow container, saltwater comes in a red container... and 1 small container should last for years.

Asking the lfs for a bacteria culture such as filter media... only if you know for sure that the tank its coming from is healthy and well maintained. It will not, however, instantly cycle your tank, it will only help to get things started. One thing many people forget when doing such things is that the bacteria needs food, and that little bit of bacteria you are adding to the tank will still need time to grow/culture and increase in population to handle the waste load in your tank. To be perfectly honest with you, I wouldn't go that route because you are correct in worrying that you may introduce a problem into your tank before you really even get started. The bacteria will culture in your tank on its own without the "help", and since you are not one of those impatient people who has to try to do everything immediately, I see no real need for it. This is a learning process for you, and how better to learn it than to go through the steps starting at the beginning?

Please remember that "fish lady" at the lfs is trying to make money. The more products she sells you the more money the lfs makes. There are a lot of people who are under the belief that adding various chemicals to an aquarium is the "best" way to do it. I beg to differ. The more chemicals you add the more complicated the whole process gets, and the more room there is for problems to arise. This would be another time I would be telling the lady at the lfs, thanks but no thanks. Save your money and use it for things you really need.

Sorry it takes me so long to get back here to answer all of your questions. Life on this end is so busy... I do my best. I hope that covers all of your current questions.
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Inga (06-14-2010)
Old 06-14-2010, 06:24 AM   #29
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Thanks again so much Bettababy. The only thing is... It is too late about the filter media being used. So many people were telling me that is the way to go, so I did. I did however, first find a store that I like a lot more. The owner has been in business for over 30 years. Fish people in this area recommended him, even folks from other LFS. He didn't try to sell me anything, in fact, he talked me out of a few things. I saw that as a bonus. Also, there was no comparision to the other stores in the condition his tanks were in. I was so very impressed and have decided when it is time to buy more fish, that is where I will be going. His fish looked to be in great condition, unlike 3 of the 4 other stores I went to.

So far so good, I hope it will be alright.

I have been doing daily water changes of about 20%
Here are my numbers for the past few days

June 11
PH Ammonia Nitrite Nitrate
7.6 0 ppm 0 ppm 0 ppm

June 12
PH Ammonia Nitrite Nitrate
6.6 .25 0 0

June 13
PH Ammonia Nitrite Nitrate
7.6 .25 0 0

June 14
PH Ammonia Nitrite Nitrate
7.6 .25 0 0

I am not sure if the .25 Ammonia is considered my "spike" in numbers and it is just being kept in check by the 20% water changes or not. Is that a high enough level to justify the 20% change or am I just stressing my 3 Tiger Barbs each change to increase the levels back up to .25 by the next day? I have checked the ammonia a second time after I have changed the water and it is at 0 but by the next morning it is back to .25

Please correct me if I am wrong but other then the .25 ammonia, these are the numbers I want for an ideal tank, right?

The only thing I have added to the tank in the past 3 days was a few more silk plants, after they were rinsed very well.

Last edited by Inga; 06-14-2010 at 06:27 AM..
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Old 06-14-2010, 09:06 AM   #30
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bettabady sure is giving out some great recommendaitons, just wanted to jump in and say hello!
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