How to best stock 19 Gal aquarium - Page 2 - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #11 of 20 Old 01-04-2012, 11:07 PM
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I'm assuming that is General Hardness, so this would be soft water, which is great for tetras, rasboras, etc.

Are you using the strips or liquid to test pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate?
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post #12 of 20 Old 01-04-2012, 11:56 PM Thread Starter
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I have only been using the liquid. I would assume they are better than the strips ?? Or am I wrong?
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post #13 of 20 Old 01-05-2012, 12:08 AM
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Somehow I missed that you had listed the 6.5 dGH number earlier, that is soft, not moderately hard water.

Check out:

Yes, the test strips are known to be inaccurate. The pH number is a little high for some fish, most soft water fish will do better in a acidic environment. If you can find out the KH of the tap water it will help determine if you can expect the pH in the tank to drop. Maybe test the tap water pH to see what it is compared to the tank water, set a glass out overnight and check it in the morning. Also, how many plants do you have?
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post #14 of 20 Old 01-05-2012, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Jayy View Post
I wouldn't reccomand keeping Blue Ram, they not the easiest to keep and require higher temps then most tropical fish. I also agree that you have enough space for another school of small fish. Knowing your parameters would help.
Lemon Tetras can easily handle the same temps as Rams. I keep my Rams with Cardinals in almost the exact same water parameters as Kdawgs333. They really aren't that difficult to keep if you can find some that are bred locally. It's the fish farm rams from asia that are very difficult to keep because they are bred in very soft water.
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post #15 of 20 Old 01-07-2012, 12:47 PM Thread Starter
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I will test the pH of the tap vs. aquarium and get back to you!

I currently don't have too many plants -

about 4-5 bunches of Java Fern
1 Amazon Broad leaf Sword Plant which isn't so tall at the moment
I also have one bunch of a plant I haven't been able to identify yet, but it is a low and slow growing plant.

That about covers it.

I think I will head to the LPS today to pick up another Sword plant just to balance things out. Will the LPS test your water for you ? (To figure out alkalinity?)

As a side note - I used to have my CO2 injector up and running but since I moved I haven't bothered to set it up again. Maybe I should start it again? This could help with pH.

Last edited by Kdawg333; 01-07-2012 at 12:53 PM.
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post #16 of 20 Old 01-07-2012, 01:29 PM
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Some stores will, but they generally use the strips, but it wouldn't hurt to take some water to see what they say.

Yes, the higher the concentration of CO2 in the water the lower the pH (amount of change depends on KH), but unless you want to go 'high-tech' with lighting and fertilizer regime, the CO2 injection would probably be more trouble than its worth. For a natural low-tech tank, all that is needed for good plant growth is the right light and a good multinutrient fertilizer (Seachem comprehensive is popular). Growth will be better without chemical filtration (carbon) and if the substrate is mostly left alone. A build up of organic material in the substrate will also contribute to CO2 concentration, which may lead to a pH drop as the tank matures.

Even at current pH, you still have choices regarding fish, as some are more adaptable than others (like the lemons). Flame Tetra, Glowlight Tetra, and Black Neon Tetra are some that would probably all do well, but if the pH drops below 7.0 your choices would increase.
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post #17 of 20 Old 01-07-2012, 02:39 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the information!

I have always suspected my lighting was not enough, but with the current set up I can only manage:
The Flora-GLO T8, 20 W linear fluorescent aquarium bulb. Is this enough light? I am already using the Seachem fertilizer, is there more I can do?

If I end up with :

6 lemon tetras
6 other tetras (ie glowlight, black neon or flame tetra)
4 cories or 2 otos

Is it possible to add one more singular fish? Or would this be more trouble than its worth? I was thinking of a betta but with long flowing fins would the tetras be tempted to nibble??

Thanks for all of your input, it has been very helpful!
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post #18 of 20 Old 01-07-2012, 03:03 PM
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A single T8 bulb is plenty for a low-tech set up. For this size tank the bulbs are usually 24" long, which are usually 17 watts. How long is the bulb and how old is it?

I noticed a big difference when I removed the carbon from my filter, so you could do that if you have it, all you really need is mechanical and maybe some biological. And don't vacuum the substrate, just leave it alone for the most part when doing water changes.

That stocking looks fine (maybe even 5 total cories - Bronze Cory would be good), though the beta may not be a good idea, some apparently can be pretty laid back, while others can be aggressive.
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post #19 of 20 Old 01-07-2012, 04:34 PM Thread Starter
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The bulb is 24'' long, it might be 17 W, I just remember it was between 17-20 W. It isn't so old, I replaced it about maybe 6 months ago? The light still looks even and strong. I try to replace them about once a year.

I wanted to remove the carbon from my filter however penguin sells its changeable cartridges in one unit which contains carbon.

(like the ones here: Marineland Penguin Rite-Size Replacement Filter Cartridges for Power Filters - Fish - Sale - PetSmart)

I have never seen them without carbon, is it possible to buy such a thing?? Could I put something there instead of the cartridge?

I always vacuum my gravel, so I will stop doing that. (Never thought of that before!).

Ok - I think I have decided. I will do 6 lemon tetras and 6 other type of tetra with 5 pepper cories and or panda cories (they are my favourite!) although bronze cories look nice as well, will see if my LPS carries them. Might be too exotic for their tastes
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post #20 of 20 Old 01-07-2012, 05:34 PM
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The bulb may be 20 watts, I think the glo series bulbs are a bit higher output, replacing yearly is a good idea.

I guess most replacement cartridges will have carbon, see if you can remove it somehow or find something meant for another filter that will fit the space. Alternatively, the carbon has a limited capacitiy that will be exhausted over time, so just rinsing the cartridge rather than replacing it with a new one is an option.

Not cleaning the gravel is suggested for planted tanks so in addition to the swords it would probably be a good idea to add a few more root feeding plants, the more the better - Cryptocoryne wendtii is a nice plant that stays fairly small, Dwarf Sagittaria and Pygmy Chain Sword are two grass like plants that will spread, all of these will work in a low-tech, natural type tank. The Java Fern should be attached to wood or rock in case you have it planted in the substrate.

Some of the corys need cooler temps, so keep that in mind. The commercially produced ones are more adaptable, which I think the ones listed all are, though I think the peppered and pandas are a bit more delicate in general. I would add the new fish one group at a time - maybe add the group of corys then wait a few weeks for the tank to rebalance, then the other group. Check the pH periodically as well to see what it does with a larger fish load, it may drop some. The pH should vary relative to the photoperiod, with it being lower after periods of dark and higher after a period of light when the plants have been utilizing the CO2, so try to test it consistently at around the same point during the photoperiod or multiple times to get an average.
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