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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 JDM Do be careful with the plant idea of making the cycle un-important. The quantity of plants is a VERY subjective ...

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newbie, advice/comments appreciated :)
Old 02-03-2013, 12:26 PM   #21
 
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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.
Thanks for that :) I don't feel confident enough at this stage to have a heavily planted tank instead of fishless cycling with ammonia, although I like the idea of doing that one day. So my plan is to have some live plants to make it a nicer environment and hopefully reduce my nitrates a bit as my tap water is quite high, but I'm also having silk plants. Eventually I'll go fully live but I just want to learn slowly. I'm fishless cycling with ammonia at 4ppm but I don't have any live plants in there yet, I'm planning to get those when I'm cycled and then keep bringing it to 1pmm until I have my fish.

Lou
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Old 02-03-2013, 12:27 PM   #22
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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
The emerald catfish is a Cory with a slightly elongated dorsal fin and slightly less rounded "face". It might as well be a Cory so don't discount it as I am sure it has the widest tolerance to hardness and temperture of all the "Cory like" species.

Actually, here is a quite shot of one of mine.

Jeff
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Old 02-03-2013, 12:29 PM   #23
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Thanks for that :) I don't feel confident enough at this stage to have a heavily planted tank instead of fishless cycling with ammonia, although I like the idea of doing that one day. So my plan is to have some live plants to make it a nicer environment and hopefully reduce my nitrates a bit as my tap water is quite high, but I'm also having silk plants. Eventually I'll go fully live but I just want to learn slowly. I'm fishless cycling with ammonia at 4ppm but I don't have any live plants in there yet, I'm planning to get those when I'm cycled and then keep bringing it to 1pmm until I have my fish.

Lou
Don't get too hung up on the plants eating nitrates, they don't use nitrate efficiently and you will most likely need to rely on water changes to keep it in check.

Jeff.
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Old 02-03-2013, 12:37 PM   #24
 
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Don't get too hung up on the plants eating nitrates, they don't use nitrate efficiently and you will most likely need to rely on water changes to keep it in check.

Jeff.
My corncern with that is that my tap water has highish nitrates :/ Although when I test my cycling tank they have lowered, but I don't know why. But I see Cherry Barbs can cope with higher nitrates so they may be the way to go.

Your emerald catfish is really cute, I definitely haven't discounted them :) it's just that i've seen bronze and albino corys for sale where I am but haven't seen these yet.

Lou
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Old 02-03-2013, 12:48 PM   #25
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My corncern with that is that my tap water has highish nitrates :/ Although when I test my cycling tank they have lowered, but I don't know why. But I see Cherry Barbs can cope with higher nitrates so they may be the way to go.

Your emerald catfish is really cute, I definitely haven't discounted them :) it's just that i've seen bronze and albino corys for sale where I am but haven't seen these yet.

Lou
True, I ordered them and waited almost a month, they are wild caught in Peru. I needed to wait a month as I wanted the tank reasonably stable. You have time to look around and to order if needed.

I've seen nitrate absorbing filter media although I have no idea if it works well or how long it lasts (how much it can absorb). My nitrates are zero now, they were climbing but because of all my plants, there are not many being generated in the first place and I expect that they are just sucking up what little does appear.

I does suck when you need to fight tap water issues. Hard water is one thing but nitrates a whole other issue.

Jeff.
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Old 02-03-2013, 12:59 PM   #26
 
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My corncern with that is that my tap water has highish nitrates :/ Although when I test my cycling tank they have lowered, but I don't know why. But I see Cherry Barbs can cope with higher nitrates so they may be the way to go.
Where did you see this [the last sentence]?

All fish are sensitive to any of the three aquatic forms of nitrogen, be it ammonia, nitrite or nitrate. The latter is less toxic than the first two, at low levels and short-term. But the higher the level of nitrate and the longer the fish is exposed, the more damage is done.

What is the nitrate level in the tap water? There are methods to deal with this, but let's see the number first. Live plants do help somewhat, but this is long-term; the initial influx of nitrate at the water change has to be considered.

Byron.
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Old 02-03-2013, 01:07 PM   #27
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Where did you see this [the last sentence]?

All fish are sensitive to any of the three aquatic forms of nitrogen, be it ammonia, nitrite or nitrate. The latter is less toxic than the first two, at low levels and short-term. But the higher the level of nitrate and the longer the fish is exposed, the more damage is done.

What is the nitrate level in the tap water? There are methods to deal with this, but let's see the number first. Live plants do help somewhat, but this is long-term; the initial influx of nitrate at the water change has to be considered.

Byron.
"Water parameters before starting cycling were ph 7.2, GH 16, and my nitrates in my tap water were pretty high, about 30-40 :/ they've dropped a lot now in the tank, don't really understand why? But I plan to have live plants so I hope that will help any nitrate issues, and if not I've bought a thing to attach to the taps to remove nitrates."

Just being helpful.

Jeff.
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Old 02-03-2013, 01:30 PM   #28
 
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"Water parameters before starting cycling were ph 7.2, GH 16, and my nitrates in my tap water were pretty high, about 30-40 :/ they've dropped a lot now in the tank, don't really understand why? But I plan to have live plants so I hope that will help any nitrate issues, and if not I've bought a thing to attach to the taps to remove nitrates."

Just being helpful.

Jeff.
Thanks, missed that. I have a habit of going through my list of threads one by one when I first log on, and often I only check the latter posts subsequent to my last post. I do miss things sometimes.

If the nitrates really are at 30ppm (or higher) in the tap water,this should be dealt with. AbbeysDad has this issue and has explained his method in a couple of threads. Good advice.

Byron.
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Old 02-03-2013, 01:39 PM   #29
 
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@Byron I read it in the profile here that they can cope with higher nitrate levels than other fish; I know this won't mean they can cope with really high levels though. Tbh I'm not 100% sure what my tap water nitrates are as I currently only have test strips and I'm not convinced either on their accuracy or my ability to read them well, but in my initial attempt at reading them I thought it was 20-40. I've ordered liquid tests so I can know for sure.

I have bought a nitrate removal sponge but don't have it in yet, and I bought a device which apparently removes nitrates from the tap water. I haven't tried it yet but have read good reviews. But in any case I have noticed my nitrates in my tank have lowered significantly (l think to around 10, again not sure with the test strips). This was in slightly less than a week. Any idea why this would be? All I have in the tank is the sand and a small piece of bogwood. I am concerned about nitrate spikes when doing water changes (if I'm not using the device) I'll do a change when I have the liquid tests and see what happens.
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Old 02-03-2013, 01:41 PM   #30
 
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Thanks, missed that. I have a habit of going through my list of threads one by one when I first log on, and often I only check the latter posts subsequent to my last post. I do miss things sometimes.

If the nitrates really are at 30ppm (or higher) in the tap water,this should be dealt with. AbbeysDad has this issue and has explained his method in a couple of threads. Good advice.

Byron.
Thanks I'll have a look for that thread.

Lou
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