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newbie, advice/comments appreciated :)

This is a discussion on newbie, advice/comments appreciated :) within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> Originally Posted by yellowbrickroad Looking again at the profiles for the fish I want I see my water is too hard for the trilineatus ...

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newbie, advice/comments appreciated :)
Old 02-02-2013, 02:00 PM   #11
 
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Looking again at the profiles for the fish I want I see my water is too hard for the trilineatus :( is there anything I can do to reduce the hardness?

Thanks again.
There is, but it's going to cost you. RO water is the only way to bring the hardness down. This also adds a level of complication that's not always good for the beginner. I'd wait until you have more experience before you begin messing with your water parameters.

But the good news is there are cories that can work in your harder water. Bronze cories do just fine in water that hard.

As for the nitrates, plants will take care of that, but you're going to need some heavy planting. Go for fast-growing plants like stem plants and floating plants as these will absorb nutrients faster. AbbysDad here has a lot of experience with high nitrates in tap water, so he might be able to help you more than I can.

As for stocking, I would add the entire school at once. If you already have plants in the tank, they will be able to absorb any extra ammonia or nitrite that might spike.
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Old 02-02-2013, 02:59 PM   #12
 
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Many thanks for the info, you're right I definitely don't want to be messing with the water parameters with my inexperience. It looks like I may need a rethink to make sure I'm picking the right fish for my tank and not just the one's I like the look of ;) I'm glad I'll still be able to get corys though :) I've ordered a liquid GH test since I'm going on test strips at the moment so It may be lower (or higher..) than I thought. From my current browsing of the profiles I see that black widow tetras might be a good choice for my water. I'll keep looking, I've got a month until I'm cycled anyway!
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Old 02-02-2013, 03:26 PM   #13
 
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Many thanks for the info, you're right I definitely don't want to be messing with the water parameters with my inexperience. It looks like I may need a rethink to make sure I'm picking the right fish for my tank and not just the one's I like the look of ;) I'm glad I'll still be able to get corys though :) I've ordered a liquid GH test since I'm going on test strips at the moment so It may be lower (or higher..) than I thought. From my current browsing of the profiles I see that black widow tetras might be a good choice for my water. I'll keep looking, I've got a month until I'm cycled anyway!
You intend live plants, so I would add these and your "cycle" will be a non-issue. Plants use ammonia/ammonium as their preferred source of nitrogen, and they can use a lot of it. Especially floating plants and fast-growing plants; and floating plants are always advisable with the forest fish you are intending.

Once you have plants, you could add the rasbora groujp (10 is a good number) at once [after the plants are growing]. Then after a couple weeks, the corys. Corydoras paleatus would be ideal, a group of 5-6. If you want Corydoras aeneus as well, I wold say 5 of each species in your 20g would be fine. Add all of each species the same time, so all 5 C. paleatus at once, and then all five C. aeneus later, etc.

Byron.
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Old 02-02-2013, 04:02 PM   #14
 
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Thanks Byron. I've read a little about the cycle being less/un important when you have plants. But I feel I want to fishless cycle because I'll be new to plants too and if I kill them all at least my tank won't crash ;) That's probably silly but just want to be extra sure. I'm planning to go half and half silk and live plants until I'm used to looking after them.

Would you say I'm worrying too much about my water hardness then? I noticed the profiles for harlequin rasbora and corydora paleatus recommend lower GH than I have. I'm pleased you say I can have that many corys :) A mix of bronze and peppered would be nice.
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Old 02-02-2013, 05:28 PM   #15
 
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An easier way to figure out your water hardness is look at your local water quality report. Even if you can only find one from 2010 it should be fine as source water shouldn't change too much. These will let you know just how close your test strips were. If you need help interpreting them, feel free to post the numbers here.

Since we're on the topic of test strips versus drip kits, I recommend you get the API freshwater master kit, too. Right now this won't be a major issue, but when you get fish you want the results to be as accurate as possible. The drip kits are more accurate than the strips.
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Old 02-02-2013, 06:58 PM   #16
 
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Sorry. Inadvertently posted to wrong thread

Last edited by fairghum; 02-02-2013 at 07:01 PM.. Reason: Posted to wrong thread
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Old 02-03-2013, 08:16 AM   #17
 
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I found a report for water hardness last night and it listed my area as 17-21 GH so it looks like my test was about right, but I will get the api liquid tests to be sure. I'm hoping it won't be too high for the harlequin rasbora. I was thinking of also getting a 10 gallon tank and setting it up for a school of pygmy cory but I'll have to put that back until I'm more experienced as it looks like it would involve using RO water.
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Old 02-03-2013, 10:36 AM   #18
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I found a report for water hardness last night and it listed my area as 17-21 GH so it looks like my test was about right, but I will get the api liquid tests to be sure. I'm hoping it won't be too high for the harlequin rasbora. I was thinking of also getting a 10 gallon tank and setting it up for a school of pygmy cory but I'll have to put that back until I'm more experienced as it looks like it would involve using RO water.
Too high for a TON of fish. I started with 23dGH water and decided to fit fish to that hardness with an eye toward using RO water if needed to bring the levels down under 20dGH. My tank tends to lower the hardness near 25% on it's own in a week, although I don't exactly know why as it is not always consistent.

Best bottom fish for hard water are the Emerald Catfish , specifically the emerald brochis splenden as often they are mixed up with the bronze cory . They are also higher temperature fish than most cory's so they fit other tropical fish temp ranges well. <30dGH and <82F. 6 or more in a group.

Other fish that made it to my hardwater fish short list include:
(Fully grown size and group minimums listed)

Bloodfin Tetra, 2.2”, 6+
Black Widow Tetra, 1.25” 6+
Flame Tetra 1.5”, 6+
Pristella Tetra 1.75”, 6+
Cherry Barb 2”, 6+

It is worth noting that this list could be larger but I was trying to fit fish that might be compatible with a pre-exiting betta as well as hard water with a temp of 78-79F and a tolerance of 20dGH or higher.

Jeff.
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Old 02-03-2013, 11:00 AM   #19
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Thanks Byron. I've read a little about the cycle being less/un important when you have plants. But I feel I want to fishless cycle because I'll be new to plants too and if I kill them all at least my tank won't crash ;) That's probably silly but just want to be extra sure. I'm planning to go half and half silk and live plants until I'm used to looking after them.

Would you say I'm worrying too much about my water hardness then? I noticed the profiles for harlequin rasbora and corydora paleatus recommend lower GH than I have. I'm pleased you say I can have that many corys :) A mix of bronze and peppered would be nice.
Do be careful with the plant idea of making the cycle un-important. The quantity of plants is a VERY subjective thing as I thought I had a heavily planted tank. I added 12 1" fish and had a nitrite spike indicating that the tank still cycled. I worked out why but haven't posted anything on it yet. Suffice it to say that plants keeping the ammonia levels low, near unmeasurable, does not negate the fact that nitrosomona bacteria will still develop to produce nitrite which is not as readily absorbed by the plants due to the constant, although low, levels of ammonia. The low levels of ammonia (compared to the pure ammonia cycle method) do allow the nitrospira (the current version) bacteria to grow quicker and earlier which keeps the second stage more manageable but it still needs to be monitored for sensitive fish.

At least the plants can mitigate a "crash", which also seems to be a misunderstood process.

Minimum plant load for the truest silent cycle would be at least 1 fast growing stem or medium sized surface plant for every gallon of water. I had 30-40 plants in a 37 gallon tank and it wasn't quite enough to eliminate the cycle.... so instead of a silent cycle, I had a "quiet" cycle. I didn't have ALL fast growers though, that was my problem.

If you are going to fishless cycle with a low plant load then you are probably better off but if you are adding pure ammonia, don't get it too high or it will kill the plants and extend the cycle time. 1ppm or less constantly will serve you better than the listed 4ppm and it will also reduce the time for the cycle to complete. Others may disagree (probably everyone) but I bet none have actually worked out the math of the cycle.

Jeff.
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Old 02-03-2013, 11:17 AM   #20
 
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Thanks Jeff, I agree I need to have a bit of a rethink to make sure I'm picking fish that will be happy. I really like the black widow tetra and flame tetra, but I'm not sure how easily I be able to source them. Cherry barb could be good, I wrongly assumed they were aggresive. I also see a lot of the livebearers like hard water so I could go that way instead. The only thing I'm really set on is having cories, so I'm open to changing my other plans. I'm thinking bronze corydora now, or a mix or bronze and the albino variety.

Lou
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