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Tank Redesign Idea - Need Opinions/Help

This is a discussion on Tank Redesign Idea - Need Opinions/Help within the Beginner Planted Aquarium forums, part of the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium category; --> If you have substrate rooted plants like swords, you do not need to vacuum the gravel, ever. The aerobic bacteria that live in the ...

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Tank Redesign Idea - Need Opinions/Help
Old 08-23-2010, 11:11 AM   #21
 
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If you have substrate rooted plants like swords, you do not need to vacuum the gravel, ever. The aerobic bacteria that live in the substrate will break down the waste into organics that the plant roots can assimilate as nutrients. There is a host of aerobic and some anaerobic bacteria normally living in the substrate, leave it alone to do its job, it will do it better than we can.

I lightly vacuum the open patches of gravel along the front of my aquaria; this is primarily because I have corys and I like to keep their feeding area (where I drop in the sinking food) tidy. The rest of my planted tanks never see a gravel cleaning.

If you intend some type of bottom fish, I would leave some open areas. They like to root in the substrate.
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Old 08-23-2010, 11:32 AM   #22
 
Oh yeah - wanted to change to a sponge filter. Not only did my LFS not carry any or know what I was really asking for - out of the 3 other places I went, only one knew what I wanted and offered to order it for me - the others had no idea and even looked at me like I didn't know what I wanted.

They kept talking to me like I was an idiot and asking me if I was SURE I didn't want a fresh sponge cartridge for an existing filter.

Idiots. So I have to order one online. I'm gonna get the Hydro I Sponge Filter and the Whisper 10 Aquatic Air Pump with 8' of hose line. They'll get here by Thursday I believe, then at least the "too much current" problem should be taken care of.
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Old 08-23-2010, 11:57 AM   #23
 
Thanks for the heads up. I'm looking at getting some Otocinclus, but from the research I could gather they don't seem to be diggers like Corydoras are. Otos seems to clean plants, glass and driftwood more than root in the substrate for food. Though I found out they are usually starved by the time they get to us because people (stores as well) believe they only live on algae.

Anyway, I'm looking at micro sword (lilaeopsis mauritiania I believe - tho there seems to be some confusion) - and maybe something else. I buried the driftwood a bit and planted the swords infront of it so it can't really be seen. Maybe I'll move the swords over a bit and cover the wood in moss of some kind. Not sure where I want to go with it.
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Old 08-23-2010, 01:07 PM   #24
 
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Originally Posted by wavebeast View Post
Thanks for the heads up. I'm looking at getting some Otocinclus, but from the research I could gather they don't seem to be diggers like Corydoras are. Otos seems to clean plants, glass and driftwood more than root in the substrate for food. Though I found out they are usually starved by the time they get to us because people (stores as well) believe they only live on algae.

Anyway, I'm looking at micro sword (lilaeopsis mauritiania I believe - tho there seems to be some confusion) - and maybe something else. I buried the driftwood a bit and planted the swords infront of it so it can't really be seen. Maybe I'll move the swords over a bit and cover the wood in moss of some kind. Not sure where I want to go with it.
Otos are fish I would never add to a new tank, they will starve. Wait until the tank is established, and if algae is present, a trio of otos (they are shoaling fish, need a group, 3 minimum will work) or there are other very interesting fish that will similarly eat algae. Only the common green note.

Lilaeopsis mauritiania is not a true sword (Echinodorus), it is quite different and needs high light so I am told by those who know [I've never bothered with this plant because of this]. Personally I would go with the pygmy chain sword. Check the profile, and see it in my 90 flooded Amazon forest tank photos, that is this plant all over the substrate.
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Old 08-23-2010, 04:31 PM   #25
 
What do you mean "established"? My tank had been fully cycled for at least two weeks - then I added 15 pounds of gravel, pruned and re-planted 5 swords and added a handful-sized Water Sprite (sorry I don't have the scientific names - haven't gotten that part down yet).

So the majority of the original bacteria is still in the gravel as well as the filter - should I wait to see if my tank will mini-cycle before adding any fish or inverts? Or is algae growth something Otos absolutely need? I've read they eat veggies - zucchini in particular - and I had planned on feeding them that. Even if my tank is finally "established", there may not be enough algae to go around.

Otos aren't a necessity - I was just trying to figure out what other kind of fish to add. I was gonna go with 4-5 harlequin rasboras and 3-5 otos after I heavily planted the tank.

Though the more I look at it - the more I'm leaning towards just some Otos and maybe some ghost shrimp and a few snails. Doesn't matter right now, my fish budget has been exceeded for a while. The best I can do at this moment is maybe the snails and shrimp - but again I would rather heavily plant the tank first.

So I'm currently looking at the suggested Pygmy Chain Sword and a mid ground plant. Possibly Hygrophila Difformis (Water Wysteria) or Rotala Indica (or is it rotundifolia? - confusion on that as well) - or maybe both of them, who knows.

I'm bummed my fish tank budget is tapped out. It took a long time last night but re-scaping was pretty cool. Oh well, I'll just make a list and go from there. Pics tomorrow or Wednesday.

W.
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Old 08-23-2010, 09:07 PM   #26
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wavebeast View Post
What do you mean "established"? My tank had been fully cycled for at least two weeks - then I added 15 pounds of gravel, pruned and re-planted 5 swords and added a handful-sized Water Sprite (sorry I don't have the scientific names - haven't gotten that part down yet).

So the majority of the original bacteria is still in the gravel as well as the filter - should I wait to see if my tank will mini-cycle before adding any fish or inverts? Or is algae growth something Otos absolutely need? I've read they eat veggies - zucchini in particular - and I had planned on feeding them that. Even if my tank is finally "established", there may not be enough algae to go around.

Otos aren't a necessity - I was just trying to figure out what other kind of fish to add. I was gonna go with 4-5 harlequin rasboras and 3-5 otos after I heavily planted the tank.

Though the more I look at it - the more I'm leaning towards just some Otos and maybe some ghost shrimp and a few snails. Doesn't matter right now, my fish budget has been exceeded for a while. The best I can do at this moment is maybe the snails and shrimp - but again I would rather heavily plant the tank first.

So I'm currently looking at the suggested Pygmy Chain Sword and a mid ground plant. Possibly Hygrophila Difformis (Water Wysteria) or Rotala Indica (or is it rotundifolia? - confusion on that as well) - or maybe both of them, who knows.

I'm bummed my fish tank budget is tapped out. It took a long time last night but re-scaping was pretty cool. Oh well, I'll just make a list and go from there. Pics tomorrow or Wednesday.

W.
Once a tank is cycled, that's just the nitrification cycle part. Then the tank has to stabilize and reach a biological equilibrium. This can be a few weeks. I generally test pH and nitrates regularly (probably weekly just before the water change) and I can tell when it is established. The pH will be consistent from week to week. And nitrates will have leveled off (with plants they will be very low and perhaps zero).

Otos eat algae, that's their food source in nature. And the otos you buy in the store are all wild caught, so they are not used to cucumber and zucchini and so forth, they need algae. Plus the fact that they are probably near to being starved after capture, shipping, store tanks with no algae--many will tell you these fish often die off in high numbers. But that needn't happen if they have algae in the tank. if they do, they will eat, regain their strength, and then when there is little or no algae left they will readily latch on to prepared foods (mine eat sinking foods along with the corys, tablets, pellets, shrimp pellets, algae tablets, doesn't matter). And fresh veggies.

Don't buy the otos solely to handle;e algae; there won't be sufficient to warrant them. But if you really like otos as a fish regardless, that's different.
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Old 08-24-2010, 02:26 PM   #27
 
Thanks for the tip. I test Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate before each WC, but not really PH. I'll start testing for consistency there as well. You're right about the Nitrate - I always get a reading of 0. I only have one fish and one snail with 5 swords and floating Water Sprite - so that's understandable.

Thanks for the info about Otos. I do like them but I wouldn't want them to die or have problems I believe a lot of them are prone to, because I didn't have the right environment. I'm holding off on fish for a while anyway - I just like to get as much info as possible before I add anything to the tank.

I took pics last night. I'll post them after work tonight or tomorrow. Wanted to know if I needed Trumpet snails (because they burrow) now that I added 15 pounds of substrate, planted 5 plants and plan on planting more.

W.
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Old 08-24-2010, 04:21 PM   #28
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wavebeast View Post
Thanks for the tip. I test Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate before each WC, but not really PH. I'll start testing for consistency there as well. You're right about the Nitrate - I always get a reading of 0. I only have one fish and one snail with 5 swords and floating Water Sprite - so that's understandable.

Thanks for the info about Otos. I do like them but I wouldn't want them to die or have problems I believe a lot of them are prone to, because I didn't have the right environment. I'm holding off on fish for a while anyway - I just like to get as much info as possible before I add anything to the tank.

I took pics last night. I'll post them after work tonight or tomorrow. Wanted to know if I needed Trumpet snails (because they burrow) now that I added 15 pounds of substrate, planted 5 plants and plan on planting more.

W.
I think Malaysian livebearer or trumpet snails in planted tanks are a real benefit. Nothing else will burrow through the substrate keeping it aerated and fresh like these snails. And they eat algae (not a lot, but some), waste, uneaten food...but before you ask they do not eat healthy live plants. They will eat decaying plant matter, which is good; but not healthy plants. I have them in all my tanks. I bought 4 almost two years ago, and now I have probably hundreds. Even when I had a plant-only tank with no fish and never added any fish food, just liquid plant fertilizer, they were in there by the dozens. So they obviously eat and live well off stuff other than "excess food."

Once the tank is cycled, plus a couple weeks, I wouldn't wast time testing ammonia or nitrite--unless either occurs in your tap water. pH is actually the most useful regular test, along with nitrate. Once the tank is established, neither should fluctuate although pH can due to various things, I just finished explaining this in another thread.

Byron.
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Old 08-24-2010, 05:15 PM   #29
 
Yeah, I know the PH fluctuation problem. I have 7.8-8.2 PH reading out of the tap where I'm at and the driftwood softened it to a much more compatible (for the fish) 6.8-7.2.

Doing weekly 40% WCs will eventually raise the hardness back up when the driftwood ceases it's softening effect.

That's a lot of MTS. Do they get out of the tanks on you at all? (skittish girlfriend) Do your fish feed on them and keep their populations (somewhat) in check? Just curious.

Oh, one more thing - do the MTS co-exist well with other types of snails? (Nerite, Ramshorn)
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Old 08-24-2010, 06:11 PM   #30
 
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Originally Posted by wavebeast View Post
Yeah, I know the PH fluctuation problem. I have 7.8-8.2 PH reading out of the tap where I'm at and the driftwood softened it to a much more compatible (for the fish) 6.8-7.2.

Doing weekly 40% WCs will eventually raise the hardness back up when the driftwood ceases it's softening effect.

That's a lot of MTS. Do they get out of the tanks on you at all? (skittish girlfriend) Do your fish feed on them and keep their populations (somewhat) in check? Just curious.

Oh, one more thing - do the MTS co-exist well with other types of snails? (Nerite, Ramshorn)
I've never seen one outside the tanks. In the SE Asian stream tank with the Botia kubotai, the snails are fewer in number and I keep adding some weekly as I pick them out of the other tanks during the water change. Although I've never seen a loach eat one, I suspect they do though not voraciously.

MTS are harmless with other snails and fish. Ramshorn are similar, though I don't have any (used to many years ago), I prefer the pond/bladder snails and these I can only keep a few of because of my very soft water--not enough calcium for their shells. MTS have no issue with this, they can live fine in very soft or hard water. Nerite should be OK from what I've read. You do know they need brackish water to breed; they apparently will not breed in fresh or marine, only brackish. Attain 1 inch (some say 2 inches), and prefer hard water.
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