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Are Total Tank Breakdowns periodically necessary??

This is a discussion on Are Total Tank Breakdowns periodically necessary?? within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> Originally Posted by flowerslegacy Hi redchigh - Yes, I've tested my tap on all three parameters. Nitrates 0, Nitrites 0 but ammonia is .50ppm. ...

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Are Total Tank Breakdowns periodically necessary??
Old 05-15-2012, 07:52 PM   #11
 
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Originally Posted by flowerslegacy View Post
Hi redchigh - Yes, I've tested my tap on all three parameters. Nitrates 0, Nitrites 0 but ammonia is .50ppm. Odd because when I check the local water district parameters they list ammonia as 0. I'm sure another element is causing the API test to show .50ppm.

Byron - I just got done checking my GH and KH and here it is:

KH - it turned yellow at 3 drops which indicates 53.7ppm. 4 drops was obviously brighter yellow, which would be 71.6ppm.

GH - it turned green at 8 drops which indicates 143.2ppm. 9 drops was greener which would be 161.1ppm

I'm not the expert on the proper color schemes, that's why I listed all the drop tests to let you decipher the right numbers. I got the ppm's from the conversion chart that came with the test kit. I have a really nice LFS for plants so I'll get some swords and a few of the the other ones you mentioned above. Would you be so kind as to indicate how many total plants would be good to start with in my 25 gal?
We can call that soft to slightly hard water. No issues with the plants mentioned, and probably the Vallisneria if you like it would be OK too. Mine is struggling, but I have very soft water. The best of the Valls for a smaller (25g) tank is Corkscrew Vallisneria. You will probably buy this in a small bunch or perhaps a pot, which will have several plants in it, so one bunch/pot is sufficient. Separate them and plant them maybe 1.5 to 2 inches apart (if you get this plant). It looks nice in a stand, and it will spread everywhere.

One E. bleherae will suffice. One or two pygmy chain swords, it will reproduce via runners after a couple months or less. Floating plants: water Sprite if you can find it, one or two. Brazilian Pennywort, just a bunch, can be planted or floating.

Not much to say on the ammonia, except that other members have found the colour with the API test difficult to distinguish so lets not worry. Live plants will easily handle this anyway.
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Old 05-15-2012, 11:20 PM   #12
 
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Wow - soft to slightly hard! I was convinced my water was extremely hard with a ph of 8.5. Just another example of how much I have to learn in this wonderful hobby of fish. I'm off and running this weekend to my LFS. I'm giving plants another try! Thanks Byron. You're always inspiring.
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Old 05-16-2012, 06:08 AM   #13
 
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For algae, how long are your lights on a day? And is your tank in direct sunlight?

Algae is a result of something out of balance, usually lighting.

8 hours/day is a good place to start, with no direct sun light.

Cyano is actually bacteria and is the result of organics. Water changes, and cleaning your filter media usually solves that.
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Old 05-16-2012, 10:36 AM   #14
 
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Originally Posted by flowerslegacy View Post
Wow - soft to slightly hard! I was convinced my water was extremely hard with a ph of 8.5. Just another example of how much I have to learn in this wonderful hobby of fish. I'm off and running this weekend to my LFS. I'm giving plants another try! Thanks Byron. You're always inspiring.
Probably should say medium hard, 8 dGH or 140ppm is just over the soft and into the medium hard range, though this designation is objective. It would help to get the pH lower, into the 7's.
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Old 05-16-2012, 12:36 PM   #15
 
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Byron - Would it benefit my tanks to add driftwood, etc? Even in my established tanks my pH is still 8.0. I would love to lower my pH because the majority of my tanks are for bettas. I'll add driftwood or any other natural decoration to lower my pH, if you think that would be beneficial.

Hi Geomancer - You're correct, I have my lights on too long. None of my tanks are in direct sunlight, but a couple of them are close to windows. I'll start w/8 hours a day. The cyano is in my plant tank and currently I don't have any fish in it. I'll do a good water change and manually remove it. The only organics are the live plants that are yellowing so I'm sure that's the main source of the issue. Thanks!
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Old 05-16-2012, 12:48 PM   #16
 
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Well, by organics I mean dissolved organics and not 'living things'. It comes from the breakdown of waste and food usually.

For light duration, a cheap timer works wonders. The ones meant for table lamps while you're gone on vacation or for Christmas lights. They are less than $10, and you'll never have to worry about turning your lights on or off again, even if you have to leave the house in an emergency.
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Old 05-16-2012, 02:56 PM   #17
 
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Byron - Would it benefit my tanks to add driftwood, etc? Even in my established tanks my pH is still 8.0. I would love to lower my pH because the majority of my tanks are for bettas. I'll add driftwood or any other natural decoration to lower my pH, if you think that would be beneficial.
Real wood like Malaysian Driftwood will help in this and other ways but it won't lower pH much. The KH even though low is working against this. So my suggestion would be to dilute the tank water at the next water change by using pure water and not tap water, say 1/3 the tank volume. You can use rainwater, distilled water or RO (reverse osmosis) water [not quite the same as your RO treated tap water]. The water folks are likely adding something to maintain a higher pH, many do now, as it prevents corrosion in pipes and such. Once the pH in the tank is down, future water changes won't affect is as much.
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Old 05-16-2012, 05:59 PM   #18
 
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Geo - You're right - dissolved organics, not live. I re-read my post and it didn't make sense! I needed to finish my thought process: The live plants are yellowing (dieing) because some of the others have already died and I had to remove them. So I'm sure that's what the cyano was feeding off of - the dead ones. Also, why didn't I think of the cheap timers?? I've priced them at the LFS's and they're expensive so I just stopped there. I'll swing by Walmart this weekend when I'm out getting plants and pick up a few. Great idea! Thank you!

Byron - Thank you for the information on the water. I'll follow your direction at the next water change.

This forum is great. Thanks to all of you for the great advice and direction.
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