Questions about.. well everything.
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Questions about.. well everything.

This is a discussion on Questions about.. well everything. within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> Please see aquarium log for information. I am wondering a bunch of stuff really, I have had Tetra tank for 3 months, the rest ...

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Questions about.. well everything.
Old 06-21-2011, 09:23 PM   #1
 
Questions about.. well everything.

Please see aquarium log for information.

I am wondering a bunch of stuff really, I have had Tetra tank for 3 months, the rest have all come into my care in the previous week.

If you notice anything wrong with the filter, heater, lighting, airpump, base or anything else please do comment.

What medications should I have on hand at all times?

What are underwater/undergravel filters? Which fish are these good for?

In tetra tank it has an airstone so it makes a bunch of bubbles in one spot. In Goldfish tank theres a long tube I stretch out on the back wall on the bottom and it makes a waterfall effect.. except it's air going up. Is one better then the other?

When can/should I use plastic plants vs silk plants vs real plants?

I am seeing on serveral websites that wood can be beneficial inside an aquarium, but have never seen an explanation as to why. Can anyone clarify this for me?

Would it be better to use sand (or something else entirely) as a base for some/all of my tanks?

All my fish are currently eating flakes, is there something else I should be giving them. ( I do have algae wafers for the eater in tetra tank)
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Old 06-22-2011, 06:18 AM   #2
 
I'll answer as best I can ....


What medications should I have on hand at all times?

Aquarium Salt to start with ... you'd be surprised what it is good for ... like ick. That and a good thermometer.

What are underwater/undergravel filters? Which fish are these good for?

It is basically a plastic grate that keeps the gravel of the bottom of the tank and essentially uses your gravel as the biological filter media ... pretty much for most fish. From what I've heard .. the only required maintenance is vacuuming your gravel. However ... you will need to purchase powerheads to circulate the water. In all honesty .. I don't know if it's the best or worst. I have a fluval 404 and love it!

In tetra tank it has an airstone so it makes a bunch of bubbles in one spot. In Goldfish tank theres a long tube I stretch out on the back wall on the bottom and it makes a waterfall effect.. except it's air going up. Is one better then the other?

Not really ... the practical purpose of an airstone is to agitate the surface to promote gas exchange. The single spot vs curtain effect is more aesthetic.

When can/should I use plastic plants vs silk plants vs real plants?

LOL .. when you have plant eating fish like silver dollars ... then go with plastic. Otherwise, real plants offer so many benefits as long as you have good lighting .. at least 6500K bulb. If you get low light / low maintenance plants .. like anubias, anacharis, java moss, java fern and amazon sword, they can really enhance the look of your tank.

I am seeing on serveral websites that wood can be beneficial inside an aquarium, but have never seen an explanation as to why. Can anyone clarify this for me?

Driftwood provides you a more natural landscape which can help the fish feel more in a natural setting. That along with plants and rocks provide hiding spots some fish need to feel safe. The safer fish feel, the less stressed they become... the less prone to disease and will show off their colors.

DW can also help to lower your tanks pH by releasing tannins .. which also gives your water a brownish tea color. Don't worry ... it's harmless for fish.

Would it be better to use sand (or something else entirely) as a base for some/all of my tanks?

There's alot of ways you can go with substrate. Sand is fine ... just use Pool Filter Sand. Stay away from finer play sand that can get easily disturbed and cloud water. Just make sure to rinse out PFS thoroughly. Hanging it in a pillowcase under a shower for several minutes should do the trick. The negative thing about sand is that it can show fish waste easily. Some do a sandy bottom layer to give plant roots something to hold onto, with a gravel layer on top so the fish waste is not as visible.

All my fish are currently eating flakes, is there something else I should be giving them. ( I do have algae wafers for the eater in tetra tank)

For some fish ... real vegetables like peas, zucchini, cucumber can really aid in digestion. It's best to blanch them (boil and then put in ice cold water) to soften them up.Also Bloodworms and brine shrimp serve as a tasty treat.

Hope this helps.

Last edited by Barbman; 06-22-2011 at 06:20 AM.. Reason: neater appearance
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Old 06-22-2011, 10:19 AM   #3
 
What medications should I have on hand at all times?
The very best medication is to keep your water fresh and clean! Seriously, the weekly water change of 20-50%, cleaning (e.g. gravel siphon) along with good filtration is the best medicine.
I do have some aquarium salt, fungus medication and some ick guard just in case...but meds are always a last resort and usually in a separate 'hospital' tank. (many meds will change and/or destroy the beneficial biology in the tank.)

What are underwater/undergravel filters? Which fish are these good for?
Under gravel filters (UGF) are shaped plastic plates that go under the gravel and have air lift tubes to pull oxygenated water up through the gravel. This creates mechanical and biological filtration, using the gravel as filter media. UGF's have caused a fair controversy for years now as unattended, the gravel can foul with debris and can create a very negative water condition. At one point, it was felt that the UGF would be more effective if power heads were added for more flow through the gravel...NOT as this just pulled waste and uneaten food more quickly deep into the gravel. Then reverse flow was created to push prefiltered water up through the gravel from the bottom. Detractors claim this is still marginal, claiming that water flow through the gravel is inconsistent across the bed.
For larger tanks with modern filters containing ample room for bio-filtration media, UGF's are outclassed and outdated. For smaller tanks, the UGF continues to offer one of the most economical filters offering continued bio-filtration - HOWEVER, the gravel bed must be properly maintained (gravel siphon or equivalent) to prevent negative water conditions.


In tetra tank it has an airstone so it makes a bunch of bubbles in one spot. In Goldfish tank theres a long tube I stretch out on the back wall on the bottom and it makes a waterfall effect.. except it's air going up. Is one better then the other?Nope, both introduce O2 and release gases as bubbles break the surface.

When can/should I use plastic plants vs silk plants vs real plants?Simply a matter of choice although real plants offer additional realism to the aquarium decor and aid in managing water condition. Also, plants require sufficient light and nutrients to do well. I tried to root some plants in my tank and the Platy's stripped the leaves right off!

I am seeing on serveral websites that wood can be beneficial inside an aquarium, but have never seen an explanation as to why. Can anyone clarify this for me? Aesthetic value as well as slight lowering of pH which can be beneficial for some fish species. Like stone(s), driftwood can add another dimension of natural realism to the aquarium.

Would it be better to use sand (or something else entirely) as a base for some/all of my tanks?
Another matter of choice. I lean towards smaller natural gravel but sand is often used with excellent results - must be pre-rinsed VERY well to prevent cloudy water. Although you might think pool sand is good, I've read that pool sand often has sharp edges so it may not be as good a choice as many of the inexpensive 'play' sands on the market.

All my fish are currently eating flakes, is there something else I should be giving them. ( I do have algae wafers for the eater in tetra tank). Flakes are great. I like to have three different kinds and rotate them in feeding to ensure better nutritional balance. I also treat with frozen brine shimp and have some frozen bloodworms but they aren't as well received as the shrimp (I treat following the weekly water change/cleaning as a reward for the disturbance.)

Read more: http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/f...#ixzz1Q0pPl4sq

Last edited by AbbeysDad; 06-22-2011 at 10:26 AM..
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Old 06-22-2011, 10:47 AM   #4
 
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Rather than repeat others, I'll confine my comments to your existing tanks as specified in your log.

I would exchange the 5g platy tank and 10g Betta tank. A Betta is fine in a 5g tank, and the platy would be much better in the 10g.

The 10g tetra tank has some issues. The Chinese Algae Eater I would get rid of. It attains 6 inches, and gets nasty as it mature. It also eats very little, in fact no, algae by then. It has been known to attack and harass other fish to the point of death. And in such a small space, this aggression is often intensified.

Tetra are shoaling fish and should be in larger groups; most recommend minimum 6 of each species, but more is better. However, the tank size limits this, and you are already overcrowded with 7 largish-species tetra. Black Widow Tetra can be nippy (nip fins of other fish) especially when kept in too small a space and too small a group. They really need at least a 20g long tank, with a group of 6-8. The "Fruit" form is this same species, artificially injected with coloured dyes, a practice that should not be encouraged by purchasing the fish.

You can read more in our profiles, second tab from the left in the blue bar across the top takes you there, or click on the shaded name in posts. Example: Black Widow Tetra, Chinese Algae Eater.

Last comment on medications, I keep none on hand. They have limited shelf life and if a particular disease does appear, it should be handled with an appropriate medication. There is no "catch-all" like aspirin for fish. Salt as a medication will handle some issues, but should not be used with soft water fish (tetra, catfish, etc). As another member said, good maintenance (regular partial water changes weekly, live plants, appropriate fish stocking and species) will ensure a healthy aquarium.

Byron.
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Old 06-22-2011, 11:57 AM   #5
 
Thanks for information all.

In regards to Byron's comments..

Yes I plan to switch the platy's and the betta fish around, just need to get proper equipment for the current betta tank. I had originally tried having all 3 in the same tank but Betta didn't like one of the platy's.

We originally purchased the first fruit tetra before we knew they were dyed. When we asked about more the Asst Manager(who does most of the fish care) informed us what they were and that they dont keep them in stock for that reason, this one was simply shipped with the black skirts by accident. The other 3 were from another town, and we asked if they ordered them specifically or not and the person there had no knowledge of either the fish or ordering policies. Looking at how they were placed in the store, it was possible they might have been a mistake as well.

Currently the plan is to give the pleco and Comet Goldfish to the LFS, (we never really wanted them but they came with the tank.) move all the fish currently in the tetra tank over to the current goldfish tank, add a couple more danios so that they have the 5-6 everyone seems to recommend. Would really like to
get some White skirts that aren't dyed.. do these even exist? Also looking for a "centre piece" fish that would work well with all that.
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Old 06-22-2011, 01:07 PM   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ladayen View Post
Thanks for information all.

In regards to Byron's comments..

Yes I plan to switch the platy's and the betta fish around, just need to get proper equipment for the current betta tank. I had originally tried having all 3 in the same tank but Betta didn't like one of the platy's.

We originally purchased the first fruit tetra before we knew they were dyed. When we asked about more the Asst Manager(who does most of the fish care) informed us what they were and that they dont keep them in stock for that reason, this one was simply shipped with the black skirts by accident. The other 3 were from another town, and we asked if they ordered them specifically or not and the person there had no knowledge of either the fish or ordering policies. Looking at how they were placed in the store, it was possible they might have been a mistake as well.

Currently the plan is to give the pleco and Comet Goldfish to the LFS, (we never really wanted them but they came with the tank.) move all the fish currently in the tetra tank over to the current goldfish tank, add a couple more danios so that they have the 5-6 everyone seems to recommend. Would really like to
get some White skirts that aren't dyed.. do these even exist? Also looking for a "centre piece" fish that would work well with all that.
Yes, Betta are best alone, and a 5g is perfect.

There is an albino form of the Black Widow Tetra, as noted in our profile. Same species.

On the centrepiece fish, this can be problematic. This is a 35g tank (presumably) so that limits, plus there are the tetra to consider. As mentioned, this species is known to nip fins of sedate fish. My suggestion would be a tank of smaller/medium shoaling fish, groups of 6-8 of 3 or 4 species, depending what they are, would work better.
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Old 06-22-2011, 01:18 PM   #7
 
hmm ok... so with Danios, Black skirts, dwarf frog, and 2 corys. Is there another species you would suggest?
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Old 06-22-2011, 01:30 PM   #8
 
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Wondering about the "Fire Red Danio" if they might be these:



Danio need a group, 6 minimum, so I would increase your group of 2 to at least 6 or 7. And Danio are active swimmers. So keeping this in mind, and considering the Black Skirts, another similar "active" fish would be best. A slower sedate fish would likely be stressed out with all this activity.

You also should up the corys, they too are shoaling. They live in groups of hundreds in the wild, and 5 would be best of the same species. Or two species with 3 of each also works pretty well.

With the frog, that may do it.
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Old 06-22-2011, 01:35 PM   #9
 
Yeah thats them, the fire reds.

Well we're not sure what kind of cory's we have. I think theres 2 seperate kinds, and I'm reading that it's not good to mix them too much.

I put up some photos this morning. Maybe you could take a look.
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Old 06-22-2011, 02:06 PM   #10
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ladayen View Post
Yeah thats them, the fire reds.

Well we're not sure what kind of cory's we have. I think theres 2 seperate kinds, and I'm reading that it's not good to mix them too much.

I put up some photos this morning. Maybe you could take a look.
Those red danio I posted are actually Zebra Danio that have been genetically modified. As far as I understand, they are not "dyed." Care and other data will be same as for the true Zebra Danio in the profile.

You can mix corys, but having at least 3 of each species works best. This is another fish that is highly social, and as I mentioned they live in groups of hundreds in their habitat, usually a single species, sometimes two species. A group of 5 or more has been shown to fare better, but when two (or more) species are wanted, having 3 of each works. This varys a bit from species to species in terms of the interactive behaviours, but there is certainly no doubt that corys do like to have others of their species near them. I have about 30 corys in my 115g, from several species with 2 (all I could get), 3, 4, and 5 of each depending, and the interaction within species is very obvious.

Where are the photos? I'll try to ID the fish.
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