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VerdantGrotto's Fresh-Water Habitat

This is a discussion on VerdantGrotto's Fresh-Water Habitat within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> On a more positive note, I bought a Bolivian Ram today and I have to say this guy is awesome looking! Due to the ...

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VerdantGrotto's Fresh-Water Habitat
Old 02-17-2013, 11:20 PM   #121
 
On a more positive note, I bought a Bolivian Ram today and I have to say this guy is awesome looking! Due to the recent Cory issues, Mr. BR is sitting in the Quarantine tank until I do the 50% WC on friday.

So to sum up the week for the VerdantGrotto Habitat,

Cory is almost fully healed!!!
Bought a (Male?) Bolivian Ram!!!
Bought the "2013 Annual Aquarium USA" magazine!!!
Almost all of my plants have significant new growth on them!!!
Two Bamboo Shrimp have been ordered and should be ready to go into my Quarantine Tank in 2 weeks!!!

Last edited by VerdantGrotto; 02-17-2013 at 11:25 PM..
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Old 02-19-2013, 12:51 AM   #122
 
Unfortunately the Pepper Cory didn't make it. He seemed to be doing alright but met his ultimate demise due to lack of nutrition and not being able to heal. Upon closer inspection of the fish his tail end seemed to be broken about .25" to .5" in front of his tail. He would only swim if he was forced to and it was for distances of about 1" to 2"... He looked utterly miserable

Also, when I tested the water quality when I got home from work the Ammonia levels were about 1.0ppm and the Nitrite and Nitrates were both at Zero. That being said, I did a 20% water change, ceased the Melafix dosing and even scrubbed a little Algae off the front of the glass. Since I was already elbow deep in Fish-water I went ahead and trimmed my Chain Sword, Red Melon Sword and Anubias. I also noticed my Ruffled Amazon Sword has some semi-transparent leaves on it. I didn't trim it yet because it looked to be trivial. After doing a little light reading I discovered that it's possibly malnourished (obviously) and that since they have a large root mass it's beneficial to use Fertilizer sticks or tablets around the base. I will be acquiring some of these tomorrow when I go get More water for the 50% water change at the end of the week per Melafix instructions. I didn't run a full Melafix Dosing course (7 days) but I wanted to be safe and also have the water on hand in case the Ammonia doesn't relax a bit.


I also realized that I hadn't changed the Light Timer from 14 hours (I had the base model LED light fixture that comes with the Marineland 55G kit). So I dialed it back down to 12 hours because of the New Light fixture I've got now


On another note, I might be mistaken but I don't plan on using API's stress zyme anymore because it seems to be Ineffective. I have had better luck with Microbe-Lift's Nite-Out II and Special Blend (Purple bottle) so at this point I will be using that for my Bacterial Maintenance substance.


All of this does bring a few questions to mind as well...

1. Has anyone had any issues with Hydrogen Sulfide build up in substrate?

I poked around a little bit with a chopstick and a bubble or two came up here and
there but nothing significant. No smell nor discoloration...


The following questions have more than likely been asked numerous times but...

2. How crucial is it that One puts "Nitrifying Bacteria" in the tank with every water change?

3. Should I measure the dose for the New Water that's going into the tank or the Overall size of the tank?

If this is required every water-change (Weekly) then this could get very
expensive because I have a 55 Gallon.


4. Could One clean the Filter Pump tube out if it discharges a good amount of Algae every time the tank loses it's prime?

I understand that the filter and it's components house the Bacterial cultures that
perform the Nitrification process but...


5. Could I clean the Filter Pump tube and the small lip where the water is discharged from the Pump?

I currently use Marineland's Bio-wheel 350
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Old 02-19-2013, 05:57 AM   #123
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1) If you actually had H2S the bubbles would stink. At the depths of sand in a typical aquarium it is very unlikely that this would actually ever be a problem.

2) & 3) Once a tank is cycled you never need to add nitrifying bacteria, and even to cycle you don't NEED them... as to how effective the various products are, others can comment. They reproduce through binary fission and even if you managed to kill off half of your bacterial colony they could be back to normal in a day or two.

4) & 5) You can clean it all out, just use old tank water if you are on a chlorinated supply, if on a well, you could just rinse it out in the sink. Don't use any soap or cleaning products, just water. Unless you scrub, the bacteria will mostly remain intact. The surfaces of the tube and filter are nothing to worry about, it's the media and substrate that house the majority of the bacteria.

Jeff.
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Old 02-19-2013, 12:55 PM   #124
 
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I concur.

Generally speaking, the less "stuff" you put in the water, the better [= healthier] the fish and biological system will be. All these chemical compounds build up and interact.

This is important with medications too. Unless one knows exactly what the issue is, adding any medication will almost always make things worse. All of these are stressful to fish, and adding more stress when the fish is trying to recover from something is not usually in the best interests of the fish. Plus there is the effect these products have on the other fish, plants, bacteria, whatever.

Everything that goes in the water affects all life in the water. It may be a good effect, to some extent, or it may be largely detrimental. It is common for all of us to want to "do something" when we see a problem, or think we do; we hopefully learn not to trust first instincts, but wait. Diagnosing fish disease is very difficult.

Byron.
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Old 02-22-2013, 11:57 AM   #125
 
I've been doing some research on Aquatic Botany and the plants that I currently have in my tank. They're all pretty compatible with each other as long as I get a floating plant for one end of the tank to help shade the Anubias and maybe the Vallisneria and Chain Sword. So my question is this, if the light intensity requirements for most of the plants in my tank are predominantly low to moderate how long should i keep the light on? Or does the length of the time the light is on not matter?
I've read somewhere that it's actually the intensity one should consider not necessarily the length of time. There is also a Ruffled Sword in the tank which it's suggested to have Moderate Light. Should I just get some Frogbit to help filter some of the light and keep the light schedule on a 12 on / 12 off schedule? Thanks for your opinions

The fixture I am using is an Aqueon 48" Dual T5 system with these bulbs

48" 6700k 14 watt
48" Colormax 14 watt


On another note, I was curious as to what the acceptable/safe levels of Ammonia, Nitrites and Nitrates are. If I have about 30" of fish in my 55 gallon and the Ammonia levels end up at 1.0ppm by the end of the week should I do a 20-25% WC once per week? Or should I stretch it to every other week? At the moment I replace 10 gallons every Sunday. To me this seems to be what this tank load needs. The only reason I'm bringing this up is I've read in several other peoples Aquarium logs and random threads that they do WC's every other week, once a month and one that stated every 2-3 months. If I was to do a WC every other week or If the Ammonia started to rise above 1 ppm would it be beneficial to drop a filter media bag in my filter pump with some Zeolite Crystals ?

What are Zeolite Crystals and what are the pros and Cons of this Media?
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Old 02-22-2013, 12:22 PM   #126
 
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Quote:
So my question is this, if the light intensity requirements for most of the plants in my tank are predominantly low to moderate how long should i keep the light on? Or does the length of the time the light is on not matter?
I've read somewhere that it's actually the intensity one should consider not necessarily the length of time. There is also a Ruffled Sword in the tank which it's suggested to have Moderate Light. Should I just get some Frogbit to help filter some of the light and keep the light schedule on a 12 on / 12 off schedule? Thanks for your opinions

The fixture I am using is an Aqueon 48" Dual T5 system with these bulbs
48" 6700k 14 watt
48" Colormax 14 watt
Both intensity and duration are important, but not interchangeable. The intensity must be sufficient to drive photosynthesis for the plant species; if it is not, no lengthening of the photoperiod will compensate.

Photoperiod is solely determined by the nutrient level. Plants will photosynthesize to the maximum provided everything they need to do so is available. This means sufficient light intensity, and all 17 nutrients. Increasing light duration beyond the nutrients will only cause algae to increase because it is not so demanding. And most or many of us use algae as the key to duration; I certainly do. My lights are on 8 hours a day; if I leave them on for 9 hours, brush algae immediately begins to increase. I arrived at 8 hours by starting at 12 and working back until I had algae under control. Even during the summer this is important; I used to see algae increasing in the summer, until I reasoned that it was because the additional light intensity and day length coming in via the windows was increasing the light beyond what the nutrients balanced. For the past 2 summers I have kept the windows covered with blinds and thick drapes; no more algae increases during the summer.

Some factor will give out first. We call this the limiting factor to plant growth, or the law of minimum. Usually it will be CO2 (in a natural non-CO2 diffused planted tank). We can increase the other nutrients with various fertilizers. But CO2 occurs naturally and once it is too low to support photosynthesis, the plants slow and may even stop photosynthesis.

Quote:
On another note, I was curious as to what the acceptable/safe levels of Ammonia, Nitrites and Nitrates are. If I have about 30" of fish in my 55 gallon and the Ammonia levels end up at 1.0ppm by the end of the week should I do a 20-25% WC once per week? Or should I stretch it to every other week? At the moment I replace 10 gallons every Sunday. To me this seems to be what this tank load needs. The only reason I'm bringing this up is I've read in several other peoples Aquarium logs and random threads that they do WC's every other week, once a month and one that stated every 2-3 months. If I was to do a WC every other week or If the Ammonia started to rise above 1 ppm would it be beneficial to drop a filter media bag in my filter pump with some Zeolite Crystals ?

What are Zeolite Crystals and what are the pros and Cons of this Media?
Ammonia and nitrite must at all times be zero. Nothing above this is safe. Ammonia as low as 0.2 is known to harm the gills of fish. Nitrite is similar.

Nitrates should be as low as possible. Most knowledgeable sources are now suggesting 10 ppm as the highest, with 20 ppm absolute tops. It would take me too long to go into all this, but I did in an earlier thread if you can find it. When I'm back tomorrow, if you haven't, I will try to set this out.

Water changes must be regular, meaning every week, regardless. The volume can depend upon the biology; in a heavily planted tank with few fish, less water needs changing. The more fish, or the larger the fish, the more volume must be changed. This is explained here:
http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/f...hanges-117205/

And to reiterate what is in that article: there is no "test" for water changes, because the "stuff" you are removing cannot be seen by any test. Some tests, such as nitrate, pH, ammonia an nitrite can signal the need for a water change, but by the time these tests--any of them--show trouble, it is too late, the fish have been detrimentally affected.

Zeolite is not something to use in a planted tank because, similar to carbon, it will remove essential nutrients. It removes ammonia/ammonium for one thing, which is good if you have an ammonia problem, but in planted tanks this should never occur. So this is a remedy for a problem, not a continuing presence,

Hope the above helps.

Byron.

Last edited by Byron; 02-23-2013 at 11:47 AM.. Reason: correct spelling
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Old 02-22-2013, 01:19 PM   #127
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I am on a 14 hour schedule right now. Plants are doing well. I use an LED fixture that is 24" long over a 30" tank mounted offset to one end which gives a lower light section for my java ferns and crypts and higher more direct light over the red ludwigia , dwarf hygrophila , giant vallisneria , etc. I added duckweed and it provides even more shade but it is tough to manage. I am looking for some dwarf water lettuce (LFS is bringing it in soon) to replace the duckweed, my first choice was frogbit but it is banned here so I can't just buy some easily.

If plants are growing well now, I would choose not to mess with anything. I add a liquid fert once a week, use a couple of tabs and am happy that everything is growing well with no sign of algae.

Like Byron said, duration cannot replace intensity but once you have a good intensity the duration needs to be tailored to your tank. I suspect that the bulbs you have are fine, intensity wise. Adding too much of one factor will require you to bump everything else up. If you start using the CO2 booster you will need to have the ferts up and light duration up.

The CO2 liquid is not necessarily recommended due to what is in the liquid other than the CO2 component, others have commented about formaldehyde or similar preservatives if I recall. Not good for fish. Better with a CO2 injection system.

If your ammonia is regularly climbing something is out of whack. With plants and a cycled tank you should never see ammonia as high as 1ppm, normally. Overfeeding, excess crap on the bottom, filter full of decaying food or dead fish might cause ammonia to spike. You shouldn't need water changes to handle ammonia (or nitrites) unless it has spiked... and even then the water change isn't the cure for the problem, it just deals with the then high level which should be a short and temporary occurrence.

Jeff.
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Old 02-22-2013, 09:35 PM   #128
 
If your ammonia is regularly climbing something is out of whack. With plants and a cycled tank you should never see ammonia as high as 1ppm, normally. Overfeeding, excess crap on the bottom, filter full of decaying food or dead fish might cause ammonia to spike. You shouldn't need water changes to handle ammonia (or nitrites) unless it has spiked... and even then the water change isn't the cure for the problem, it just deals with the then high level which should be a short and temporary occurrence.

Jeff.


Honestly, I'm fairly confident this is where my problem lies. I should probably clean the filter out more often, quit overfeeding and devise some way to vacuum the constant supply of fecal matter off the substrate halfway through the week in addition to the Water Change on the weekends.

Thanks for the advice guys
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Old 02-23-2013, 08:30 PM   #129
 
Volume of water changes insufficient

So I'm thinking the volume of water that I replace every weekend is insufficient to control the waste in the habitat. I have been doing water changes of 10 gallons every week which is 18.18% of 55 Gallons. I'm planning on increasing the amount of water I change to 15 gallons which is 27.27% of 55 gallons. As far as the total volume of water in the tank, I would assume a portion of the 55 gallons is deducted due to substrate, driftwood, the slate cave feature and other decor. On this note, I feel safe to assume that if I do change 15 gallons every weekend then I will be changing approximately 30% of the water. Hopefully this isn't too much.

On another note, I also acquired 2 more plants to introduce into the habitat. I'm hoping this coupled with some Amazon Frogbit might alleviate some of the Ammonia output from the fish load. Plus I got to do some Aquascaping

(2) Cryptocoryne Parva (Came as one plant but was actually two smaller plants)

(1) Bunch of Lilaeopsis Brasiliensis (Micro sword)


So I'm thinking that between the 30% weekly water changes, the additional plants that are in the tank, the ones that are soon to be in the tank, daily rinsing of the filter pad and midweek cleaning of the substrate the Ammonia should be well taken care of. For the midweek cleaning of the substrate I planned on using the gravel vac and my 5 gallon fish bucket that has a hole in the lid. I have a small piece of filter pad that I plan on placing over the hole and screening the debris into it. We'll see how it goes...
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Old 03-03-2013, 07:57 PM   #130
 
Well... The plants are flourishing, just did a trim a week ago and ammonia levels are decreasing due to enhanced volumes of water changes. I also purchased some Amazon Frogbit off of the internet which should be here sometime this coming week. I have some low-light plants at one end of the tank which these will cover nicely.

Unfortunately, when I did a water change in the middle of the week in an effort to curb the ammonia levels. I left the cover off of the tank for awhile. So a few days later when I was observing the fish and counting the schools... 7 out 8 Black Neon Tetra s were present. This was confusing because I couldn't find the fish anywhere in the tank. I had assumed he was consumed by his tankmates. So when I was cleaning a little in the house today, I noticed a dark spot on the floor in the corner of the room. Upon further inspection... # 8... I hate to lose a fish due to a careless mistake but I'm glad I located it.
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