New tank from the ground up! Help me decide! - Page 3 - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #21 of 26 Old 01-19-2009, 09:48 AM Thread Starter
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Not sure what the PH is at right, I just have typical city water and I haven't gotten a test kit yet... I guess before I go any further I should go to the LFS and pickup an API Master test kit, eh?

Yea, that makes perfect sense on the feeding schedule, I might have to do a little "training" with the wife.
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post #22 of 26 Old 01-19-2009, 09:52 AM
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API master test kits are $20 online and $25-40 in stores.
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post #23 of 26 Old 01-20-2009, 02:15 AM
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All of my fish are kept in Ph of 7.4 to 7.6 including rams and discus. Many of the fish today are far removed from their wild caught ancestors and will do fine with most Ph values so long as that remains stable. I would not attemptto alter the Ph. So long as it is not below6.0 or above 8.6 most fish can adapt. The single two biggest causes of poor water quality in aquariums in my view,, Is overstocking and over feeding. Peat and driftwood can over time lower the Ph but due to weekly water changes the use of a storage barrel or tub with properl ph would be necessary so that at each water change the addition of new water would have same Ph as that in the tank. Truly it can be a pain in the but for many. Best to purchase fish that will do well with Ph from tap than to attempt to adjust water to suit the fish. After you get API freshwater master kit ,run you a bucket of your tapwater and let it sit for 24 hours . Then test the Ph this will be what it will be. In my opinion,,, messing with Ph only invites trouble.

The most important medication in your fish medicine cabinet is.. Clean water.
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post #24 of 26 Old 01-20-2009, 03:11 AM
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The tannins leached by peat and driftwoods decline over time. It depends on the amount of tannins and hardness levels to make a significant decrease in pH. If your tapwater is hard, then you may need RO water but as already pointed out a few times, you do not have to fiddle with your pH. Keeping the pH consistent is far safer and less tedious than altering it.

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post #25 of 26 Old 01-20-2009, 08:32 AM Thread Starter
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Excellent, I know our city has notoriously soft water, So I will go pick up an API test kit and see where it stack in terms of PH. My guess is it should be right around neutral.
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post #26 of 26 Old 01-22-2009, 09:41 PM
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I second sand as a substrate. The gravel you can buy at Home Depot is cheap but as was pointed out is often not inert and doesn't really look that great, IMO. Sand looks fantastic, though, and is really essential if you've got bottom dwellers that like to burrow or have sensitive barbels (or both) such as corydoras catfish or just about any type of loach. One 50lb bag of play sand from Home Depot should cover you. Just be sure to rinse it well before adding it to the tank.

What type of filter is the one that already came with the tank? I recommend getting the Emperor 400 and running it alongside the filter that came with the tank. Also, grab yourself an empty 10g tank from Petsmart (which should run you $11-12), a glass canopy for it, and a 50W adjustable heater. This eats into your cost a little, but you can definitely cut some corners in the decor department and instead invest in a quarantine/hospital tank. You can leave it empty until you need it. Any time a fish is sick (or you add new fish, which you'll definitely be doing) just fill it up, add water conditioner and the heater, and move the extra filter from the 55g to the 10g and there you go - instant quarantine tank. You'll be glad you had it available.

The 300W heater isn't quite as effective as two 150W heaters, but so long as it works it should still get the job done. Just be sure to get a glass thermometer for the tank, and set the heater in horizontally. Place the heater in a high-flow area for even heat distribution.

As for other decor, you can get a big piece of driftwood from the LFS as your centerpiece. Then, you can make plenty of hiding spots and caves by just stacking up some shale or slate from a landscaping center. Usually fish stores will sell rocks, but they often charge $2-3 a pound wheras the same rock at a landscaping place is $0.10-0.20 a pound.

Can't wait to see the tank full of fish!

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