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snail attack!

This is a discussion on snail attack! within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> Many crypts resenble swords.... maybe it's crypt melt? Also, it may not be the problem... but activated carbon is bad for plants- it takes ...

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Old 04-20-2010, 01:50 PM   #11
 
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Many crypts resenble swords.... maybe it's crypt melt?

Also, it may not be the problem... but activated carbon is bad for plants- it takes their nutrients out of the water.

Also, after carbon is "full" it begins to release whatever it was holding back into the water. (especially bad if it's a used filter- who knows what was in the water of the last person who had it. Could even be salt.)

I'd dump the charcoal out of the filters first.
Then think about what kind of fish you plan on getting. Can they tolerate a PH of 5? (not too many do...)
If you want to raise the PH, you can add "dolomite gravel" to your filter. Yes, it's just a gravel made from dolomite- many home stores have it. Look for a mom&pop store that can sell you a pound though... it lasts nearly forever.

If you like the PH where it is, cram a bunch of filter floss or some other kind of bio-media into it.
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Old 04-20-2010, 02:50 PM   #12
 
Oh no I'm not using the previous owner's filter media, I replaced the actual carbon and whatnot, I'm just using the mount.

I added fluorite to the tank. The water is a bit cloudy now despite all the rinsing. We'll see how the plants fair.

Also, the pH of my tap water is 7, so I'm guessing the driftwood and plants significantly lowered the pH. Can I dilute a pH increase chemical and add a few drops? I'm really not a fan of adding that stuff to change pH.

My brother wanted to put a dwarf guorami and a school of platys. I was also thinking of albino corys.

Thank you everyone for your input!! I really appreciate it!!
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Old 04-20-2010, 03:47 PM   #13
 
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Lots of different issues in the last couple of posts, please be careful. Going off in several directions can lead to real disaster in an aquarium. You are dealing with a delicate balance of nature between plants, bacteria, water chemistry and fish (I know, no fish yet, fortunately). And this balance is very fragile now because this is a new system; it needs time (a few months) to settle biologically. Any significant interruption during that period can cause considerable trouble, I speak from experience.

To your questions/issues.

Austin is correct, the plant is Alternanthera reineckii, a stem plant from South America.

On the Flourite. I'd forgotten there were no fish, so you can easily drain the tank and remove the existing gravel and add the Flourite (rinse it first, the water will cloud for a while). Flourite is usually used on its own, it is a complete enriched substrate. But it can be mixed with gravel. However, I would not unless the gravel is very similar in colour, which yours is not. The mix of these two substrates may not look right. But more importantly, the fish.

No mention yet of what species you intend, but in a planted tank with an acidic soft water chemistry I would assume tropical forest fish like characins, rasbora, gourami, catfish, loaches, dwarf cichlids. A 20g is too small fro angels and discus, but they are also forest fish. These fish all do better over dark substrates. They will be less stressed because they all for the most part come from waters with dark substrates and nature has programmed this into them for millions of years. The Flourite would be ideal, for the fish and the plants. And aesthetically, dark substrates show off the colours of plants and fish very nicely.

I agree with removing the carbon; it is not recommended in planted aquaria. However, since you have it, I would leave it for a couple weeks as it will assist in clearing the water. Carbon gives out after a few weeks, depending upon how much adsorption it does, and would have to be replaced, but rather than doing that just leave it, it will do no harm and serve as additional surface for bacteria. Although that is not something you need in planted tanks, but I won't get into that topic. At this stage with your plants and a new tank there are more important issues.

Your tap water sounds like mine, pH 7 with no hardness. Wood can affect pH in soft water, though I would not have suspected to this extent so quickly and with no fish in the aquarium. My 70g and 90g aquaria went down to below pH 6, but the 115g remained at 6.2 because I have half a cup of dolomite in the filter to buffer the water, as redchigh mentioned. This is the safest and therefore only way to raise hardness and pH, naturally with calcareous stone substances like dolomite or crushed coral. Please do not even consider the chemical water adjusters. They often don't work long-term, plus they are another chemical and while there are no fish at present there will be and these substances are not good for fish. Before you mess with water parameters, decide on the fish you intend. Some will be perfect with what you have, some will be better with the slightly higher pH (still in the 6's), and the latter will suit most of the afore-mentioned fishes.

While typing this I spotted your last post, so I won't change any of the above. Platys will not do well in acidic water. All livebearers fare much better (= healthier and longer lives) in basic, alkaline/hard water. And they are not a good mix with soft water fish for that reason; someone loses out, and the losing fish will be less healthy.

Byron.
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Old 04-20-2010, 04:19 PM   #14
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Byron View Post
Lots of different issues in the last couple of posts, please be careful. Going off in several directions can lead to real disaster in an aquarium. You are dealing with a delicate balance of nature between plants, bacteria, water chemistry and fish (I know, no fish yet, fortunately). And this balance is very fragile now because this is a new system; it needs time (a few months) to settle biologically. Any significant interruption during that period can cause considerable trouble, I speak from experience.

To your questions/issues.

Austin is correct, the plant is Alternanthera reineckii, a stem plant from South America.

On the Flourite. I'd forgotten there were no fish, so you can easily drain the tank and remove the existing gravel and add the Flourite (rinse it first, the water will cloud for a while). Flourite is usually used on its own, it is a complete enriched substrate. But it can be mixed with gravel. However, I would not unless the gravel is very similar in colour, which yours is not. The mix of these two substrates may not look right. But more importantly, the fish.

No mention yet of what species you intend, but in a planted tank with an acidic soft water chemistry I would assume tropical forest fish like characins, rasbora, gourami, catfish, loaches, dwarf cichlids. A 20g is too small fro angels and discus, but they are also forest fish. These fish all do better over dark substrates. They will be less stressed because they all for the most part come from waters with dark substrates and nature has programmed this into them for millions of years. The Flourite would be ideal, for the fish and the plants. And aesthetically, dark substrates show off the colours of plants and fish very nicely.

I agree with removing the carbon; it is not recommended in planted aquaria. However, since you have it, I would leave it for a couple weeks as it will assist in clearing the water. Carbon gives out after a few weeks, depending upon how much adsorption it does, and would have to be replaced, but rather than doing that just leave it, it will do no harm and serve as additional surface for bacteria. Although that is not something you need in planted tanks, but I won't get into that topic. At this stage with your plants and a new tank there are more important issues.

Your tap water sounds like mine, pH 7 with no hardness. Wood can affect pH in soft water, though I would not have suspected to this extent so quickly and with no fish in the aquarium. My 70g and 90g aquaria went down to below pH 6, but the 115g remained at 6.2 because I have half a cup of dolomite in the filter to buffer the water, as redchigh mentioned. This is the safest and therefore only way to raise hardness and pH, naturally with calcareous stone substances like dolomite or crushed coral. Please do not even consider the chemical water adjusters. They often don't work long-term, plus they are another chemical and while there are no fish at present there will be and these substances are not good for fish. Before you mess with water parameters, decide on the fish you intend. Some will be perfect with what you have, some will be better with the slightly higher pH (still in the 6's), and the latter will suit most of the afore-mentioned fishes.

While typing this I spotted your last post, so I won't change any of the above. Platys will not do well in acidic water. All livebearers fare much better (= healthier and longer lives) in basic, alkaline/hard water. And they are not a good mix with soft water fish for that reason; someone loses out, and the losing fish will be less healthy.

Byron.

I really appreciate your input. I will probably put a dwarf gourami and a school of tetras in the tank. I am also considering Kuhli loaches or albino cories as bottom dwellers. I'm not rushing to put the fish in the tank at all and I don't mind waiting however long it takes for everything to stabilize.
I will be removing the carbon from the filter in about a week because the Flourite made it a little cloudy now.

I read your articles in the Plant section (something I should have done weeks ago...) and I think getting more plants wouldn't be a bad idea. This time obviously I would do some research so that I wouldn't make the Java Fern mistake again. Do you think it would be a bad idea to add another piece of driftwood? In the case I would also look into the dolomite as it might further lower the pH.
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Old 04-20-2010, 04:49 PM   #15
 
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Generally speaking, getting some dolomite to buffer the water is probably a good idea. It doesn't take much, a couple tablespoons in a nylon bag in the filter chamber may be sufficient; monitor the pH over a week, add a bit more (or remove some), etc., always waiting a week between to allow everything to stabilize. I haven't done this in my 70g and 90g tanks primarily because most all of the fish are wild-caught and occur in waters with pH around 4-5 and zero hardness, so I have no desire to mess with the tank's parameters if they are stable. But a pH around 6 is a good aim.

And yes, another piece of wood, probably a bit smaller (aesthetically more pleasing to the eye, no other reason) to balance the existing piece would look good I think. And loaches and corys love browsing over wood.

On stability, the fish are a significant part of this, so your tank will not properly stabilize until fish are in it. Once you have live plants growing, fish can be added, only a couple at a time so the plants can assimilate the ammonia and there will be no "cycle" to speak of.

You appear to be on the correct path. Good luck. And keep any new questions coming.

Byron.
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Old 04-23-2010, 05:47 PM   #16
 
Just a quick update.
The lettuce didn't have any snails near it in the morning. I saw a few here and there, so I left them alone.

Now plants. It seems as if every time I look at the tank, another plant is dead. I removed the carbon from the filter right after the cloudy water had settled from adding the Flourite. The swords are dead. The Java Fern looks alright on the driftwood and the red plant, Alternanthera reinecki, is also doing fine.

Today the driftwood looked like dust was sprinkled on top of it. then i took a closer look and this crap was moving! Like mini worms! Are these the baby snails? When I moved the driftwood with the fishnet they went bananas and made the water all dirty again.

I ordered plants from www.sweetaquatics.com. They haven't arrived yet and I'm scared to put them in the tank when they do. What can be the problem here, and how can it be solved?
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Old 04-23-2010, 10:45 PM   #17
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluepillow View Post
Just a quick update.
The lettuce didn't have any snails near it in the morning. I saw a few here and there, so I left them alone.

Now plants. It seems as if every time I look at the tank, another plant is dead. I removed the carbon from the filter right after the cloudy water had settled from adding the Flourite. The swords are dead. The Java Fern looks alright on the driftwood and the red plant, Alternanthera reinecki, is also doing fine.

Today the driftwood looked like dust was sprinkled on top of it. then i took a closer look and this crap was moving! Like mini worms! Are these the baby snails? When I moved the driftwood with the fishnet they went bananas and made the water all dirty again.

I ordered plants from www.sweetaquatics.com. They haven't arrived yet and I'm scared to put them in the tank when they do. What can be the problem here, and how can it be solved?
I wouldn't fuss over the snails, there are other issues more important.

How do you know the swords are dead? This is not a facetious question; plants frequently lose their existing leaves when put into a different aquarium. I noted the yellowing leaves previously on what I assume are the swords though I wasn't sure from the photos. Was there any new leaf growth from the centre of the crown?

Can you post photos of the tank now? One of the whole tank so we can see things in relation, and one of the wood in close-up but clear so we can see what may be on it.
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Old 04-25-2010, 05:00 AM   #18
 
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Do you know the color temperature of your lights (in degrees kelvin)?
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Old 04-27-2010, 10:11 AM   #19
 
I'm so sorry for not replying, but school and a new job had me really really busy lately. In any case, here are pics. I separated the plants to see if it's just the swords or everything else crapping out too. Turns out it's just the swords. This is not the way I'm leaving these plants, it's just temporary to isolate the problem areas.






Swords in the back are falling over, and new ones aren't visible.




First and third from the left are swords.
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Old 04-27-2010, 10:12 AM   #20
 
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Originally Posted by iamntbatman View Post
Do you know the color temperature of your lights (in degrees kelvin)?
Nope, how do I find out?

Edit: I googled it. My bulb is cool white and this website says between 4000-4200. http://www.lightbulbsdirect.com/page/001/CTGY/ColorTemp

Last edited by bluepillow; 04-27-2010 at 10:17 AM..
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