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new guy here a few questions

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new guy here a few questions
Old 02-20-2009, 01:54 AM   #11
 
Welcome to the fish forum. A gallon of water weighs 8.5 lbs per gallon, so I like to figure at Least 10 lbs. per gallon of aquarium after the addition of substate, decorations, and plants in order to try to arrive at a final weight of the aquarium. Stay with live plants. They are better for the overall health of your aquarium. They will use the nitrates that you will eventually have after you properly cycle your tank. You can get a CFL bulb with a 6500K rating at your home store. A fish that you do not want is the chinese algae eater. They MAY eat a tiny bit of algae when they are small, but when they get large (and it will outgrow your tank) it will eat the slime coat off your fish and that is the fish's protective coat. You might want to stay with the Siamese Algae Eater instead. Oscars and Jack Dempsey's will soon out grow your tank and they will have to be rehomed soon. Darker colors on the substate have a more calming relaxing effect on the fish.

Last edited by Fishcricker; 02-20-2009 at 02:06 AM.. Reason: info
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Old 03-25-2009, 12:20 AM   #12
 
Ok well i'm going to update and maybe ask a few more questions. So its almost a month since I bought the tank, I did add 4 platies the day after I bought the tank, even though I only asked for 3 but they guy caught 2 on accident on the last fish and gave it to me for free( i know its inhumane but I couldn't help it), 1 seemed to be sick the whole time I had him and died a week ago, the other 3 seem fine still.
I've been doing 10-15% water changes about twice a week and vacuum the gravel once a week. I bought a new stand cause I was just too scared the old one would break but I had to take like 75% of the water out so I could lift it onto the stand, this was two weeks ago. Theres some brown algae or somethin on the gravel, glass, plastic plants and the filter tube. The live plants seem to be doing great and I haven't changed anything with the lighting, I have two types of plants and one of them has doubled in size.
I've never added any chemicals or salt or anything to the water other than dechlorinator. I've also never tested the water, I always think about getting one at the store but can never decide on which one to get cause I can't seem to find a cheap one that test for all 3 of the chemicals.
The filter I have is a whisper filter, It says on the instructions to replace the filter once water starts to come out of the side that the tube is on, which is happening. I've tried to do some research but can't find anything on whether I should replace it now cause I hear it takes away the good bacteria.
Also do you guys thing once this brown algae goes away that the tank is cycled? I keep the lights on for 12 hours is that too long? Also I put a towel over it when the lights are off cause my windows face east and some sunlight comes through ( therers really no where in my apartment I can put the tank that wont get any sunlight), is that ok? Thanks for the help
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Old 03-25-2009, 01:42 AM   #13
 
You need a liquid test kit. If you are paying more than $25 for it, you are being ripped off. This is absoutley needed. That is the only way we know your tank is cycled.

Whispers have two inserts... one is a white cartridge thing and the other is a sponge. The sponge is your bio-filtrations, and the white cartridge needs to be replaced every 2-3 weeks.
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Old 03-25-2009, 11:51 AM   #14
 
It's said that many fidh prefer a dark substrate that it calms them. Personally with plants i would leave the back open. Be sure to cycle your tank properly, use a product like cycle or superbac it will save you months of aggravation. WELCOME to the forum.
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Old 03-25-2009, 12:04 PM   #15
 
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thanks for the reply's i'll probably try plants and see what happens. Also I used all black gravel and a black background(poster board) Do you think I should change one of those to add a little more color so my fish wont be emo? I have a white rock and some fake plants in there. I guess what im asking is do fish act happier with colorful environments
Fish will be healthiest and unstressed (and therefore "happy") in the most natural surrounding, that is, what they are accustomed to in their natural habitat; millions of years of evolution have programmed them. The dark gravel and black background are perfect, and will have the added benefit of showing off the fish's colours better.

I concur with previous advice on plants and light; I've maintained 15 and 23 g tanks full of swords, anubias, crypts for years with one tube, provided it is full spectrum (a full spectrum will be 6500K or thereabouts, regardless of wattage). Another very good book on plants is Peter Hiscock's "Encyclopedia of Aquarium Plants" published by Barron's. If your lfs doesn't have it, you can order it through Amazon.
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Old 03-25-2009, 12:09 PM   #16
 
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If you cannot afford a test kit such as API freshwater master kit which many use (myself included) you might purchase a NitrAte Test. If you have detectable NitrAtes and considering how long the platies(3) have been in the tank,, then you may be on your way to having enough beneficial bacteria in the tank to support the fish you currently have. I would still get the API test kit that tests for ammonia, nitrites, and nitrAtes for at some point,, your gonna need it to help monitor the water when you decide to add a FEW more fish SLOWLY. I would not replace the filter just yet were it me. I would swish the filter material pad,,cartridge,,etc around in old aquarium water that you take out during water changes and stick it back in at least,,until you get the test kit. Add new fish slowly,one or two a week and you will have few problems. keep up with your water change routine from now on ,It's a good one.
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Old 03-25-2009, 02:25 PM   #17
 
alright thanks for the help I guess i'll budge and get a full test kit today or tommorrow. I cant decide on oto's or cory's for my tank, do they school together?
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Old 03-25-2009, 03:25 PM   #18
 
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Originally Posted by jradish View Post
Ok well i'm going to update and maybe ask a few more questions. So its almost a month since I bought the tank, I did add 4 platies the day after I bought the tank, even though I only asked for 3 but they guy caught 2 on accident on the last fish and gave it to me for free( i know its inhumane but I couldn't help it), 1 seemed to be sick the whole time I had him and died a week ago, the other 3 seem fine still.
I've been doing 10-15% water changes about twice a week and vacuum the gravel once a week. I bought a new stand cause I was just too scared the old one would break but I had to take like 75% of the water out so I could lift it onto the stand, this was two weeks ago. Theres some brown algae or somethin on the gravel, glass, plastic plants and the filter tube. The live plants seem to be doing great and I haven't changed anything with the lighting, I have two types of plants and one of them has doubled in size.
I've never added any chemicals or salt or anything to the water other than dechlorinator. I've also never tested the water, I always think about getting one at the store but can never decide on which one to get cause I can't seem to find a cheap one that test for all 3 of the chemicals.
The filter I have is a whisper filter, It says on the instructions to replace the filter once water starts to come out of the side that the tube is on, which is happening. I've tried to do some research but can't find anything on whether I should replace it now cause I hear it takes away the good bacteria.
Also do you guys thing once this brown algae goes away that the tank is cycled? I keep the lights on for 12 hours is that too long? Also I put a towel over it when the lights are off cause my windows face east and some sunlight comes through ( therers really no where in my apartment I can put the tank that wont get any sunlight), is that ok? Thanks for the help

I responded previously to your earlier post before I saw this one, so I've some more comments and (hopefully) answers to your latest questions. You've also asked about corys or otos (in a still later post), and I'll start with this question.

Both are shoaling fish, meaning they prefer (= must, as far as I'm concerned) be kept in a small group to avoid stressing them out. The corys are more interesting as fish (to me anyway) and the otos are generally there to handle normal algae. If you decide on otos, wait for a few weeks until you have algae; they will acclimate much better if they can feed on their natural food from the start. The number of otos depends upon the amount of food (algae) available; I have had 2-3 in a smaller tank, 6 or more in my 90g.

Corys must be kept in a group, three or more is OK in a small tank like your 20g; you can have one species or a mix; in my experience they do seem to prefer at least one of the same species but I have a couple that are single specimens and they chum around together with the other species of cory. Those that are 2-3 of each species seem to spend more time with their own species given the opportunity. Corys are sensitive to the water conditions if things are not quite right, and they do not like any chemicals or salt. They are sensitive to ammonia, so I would make sure the tank is truly cycled (2 months) before adding corys. I speak from experience, the corys have been the highest fatalaties of all the fish I've kept, and particularly in relatively new setups; the owner of my main source of fish has told me he regularly gets complete bags of dead corys from South America whereas other fish survive; they are sensitive.

Now to the other questions. Water changes: for the first few weeks, I suggest you not vacuum the gravel. The cycling process is one of building up the good bacteria, and every time you vacuum the gravel you are removing what is down there. Water changes are OK, although once a week is all I've ever done on new setups (depending upon your ammonia and nitrite levels of course, so your test kit will sort this out). Also, don't clean the filter during the first few weeks. Unless you've another problem, it won't get that dirty and again beneficial bacteria are colonizing it and shouldn't be removed. I've no personal experience with the Whisper filter, so if anyone who does thinks this needs cleaning regardless, OK. But as long as water is flowing through it, I wouldn't clean it for a couple of weeks, and then only in water from the tank.

The brown stuff is probably diatoms, a type of algae (phytoplankton) and normal in aquariums especially at first. Plant authorities say they appear with insufficient light, and while I won't argue this, I have had them in brighter tanks too. Regardless, they won't hurt anything unless they get out of control, like any algae. The otos will deal with this stuff, in my tanks I rarely see it now. If it starts covering the plant leaves (the swords esp), you can remove it with your finger when you do the water change.

On a 29g with one tube, the light on for 12 hours is fine. You mentioned using a towel to shade the tank from the window light. If this is because of direct sun, I would close the window blinds a bit. I allow some direct sun to reach my tanks, just keeping an eye for algae increasing, but not in warmer weather when it could overheat the tank. On the other hand, if the towel is just to stop daylight, no need to. Time the lights to coincide with daylight as much as you can; its more natural for the plants 9and fish). The room should not be pitch black when the tank light comes on or goes out, to avoid additional stress on the fish.

Good thinking on the chemicals; I don't normally/regularly put anything in my tanks except the water conditioner and trace elements plant fertilizer. If I should spot a parasitic outbreak, I use the gentlest remedy recommended and never overdose or longer than absolutely necessary. As I mentioned earlier, corys are sensitive to these things, as are most catfish and tetras. Always use a water conditioner when changing water. The good ones will do more than just remove chlorine, and this is again less stressful for the fish. Just as in humans, stress is a significant factor in a number of fish problems and disease; the less stress the better.

Good luck.
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Old 03-25-2009, 09:04 PM   #19
 
ahh thanks I do close the blinds all the way but they dont work very well and if I walk by when there lights are off they all see me and think they are gonna be fed, so it makes me think they arent gettin any sleep so i put the towel on it. They actually think they are gonna be fed everytime i am near the tank is that weird? I feed them twice a day.

I went to petco and I remembered why I havent bought a test kit cause that master liquid test kit was 32$ and the single test strips (onefor ammonia etc.) were 10 dollars each. Maybe i'll try walmart. Do those magnetic algae things work well?

Yeah I was leaning towards cory's, I just want something for algae control like some shrimp maybe. I was also thinking about a crawfish cause I've eaten so many that I feel I owe them something.
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Old 03-26-2009, 07:38 AM   #20
 
Wink Concern re slant

Hi there,
I'm a little concerned that you say your new tank is set up with a slant. My advice would be to drain it and put a piece of compacted timber particleboard down as a base. it's called Mellamine here in Australia.
With the slant , you are asking for leaks, as a full tank gets heavy, and the slant will strain some seams more than others. I'm no expert, but I seem to remember having a slanting tank develop a leak after some time. If the base is larger than the tank there is some concern about the middle of the tank not being supported. Thicker particleboard is best, as it will provide the support that you need.
Good luck with it, Cheers Jewels
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