Filter, Lighting, and Water chemistry? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 9 Old 11-01-2006, 02:05 PM Thread Starter
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Filter, Lighting, and Water chemistry?

Hello everyone, my name is Tom. I have just acquired a 75 gal aquarium and have few questions, any help would be great!... I have had tanks in the past, however many things I have forgotten, and boy technology has changed!!!!

I bought this from a guy who had live plants and cichlids in this tank. It has everything,,, and I mean everything.

I will be keeping this tank for community fish. It has plenty of sand and rock in the bottom (no under gravel filter) Large piece of driftwood (artificial) connected to loads of rock. Lots of hiding places. And artificial plants.

1.Fluval 405 filter? I have noticed that there are several different types of media it to use. In what order should I be placing the media? And what types of media should I be using???

2. Lighting? It has two light bars, each with 40 watt fluorescent bulbs. One of those is a Power-GLO and the other is an Eclipse Natural Day Light. Do I use both of those at the same or neither?

3. Water Chemistry? How important is PH? Right now I have a few starter fish in there (and they are lonely) everything tests fine except the PH is high. How do I bring it down to normal level naturally? Do I even need to adjust this if I do not plan on breeding?

4.How Long? All the gravel, sand, rocks, plants and filter media is used. I have had starter fish in the aquarium for about a week (zebra danios, and common goldfish). Do you think this weekend I could start adding some other species?
Thanks Tom....
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post #2 of 9 Old 11-01-2006, 02:24 PM
Water Chemistry? How important is PH? Right now I have a few starter fish in there (and they are lonely) everything tests fine except the PH is high

I think your high ph is from the rocks and sand substrate you are using
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post #3 of 9 Old 11-01-2006, 06:16 PM
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Hi welcome to fishforum :D You said all the stuff in your tank has already been used meaning been established/cycled. Is the water in there the same water as what was in there with your friend? IF thats the case your water is most likely already cycled. Also with the established media and all the stuff from the previous it should be already cycled. Danios are good for starter fish as they are very hardy...Are you planning on keeping the goldfish? If you are doing a community tropical tank, meaning WARM water, the goldfish will have to go. They are cold water fish. Also does your tank have a heater? Thats a need to a tank also. Seems like you have all the basic needs to start the aquarium. I wouldnt worry to much about pH right now. Its mainly ammonia, Nitrite, and nitrate. which should be ammonia 0, nitrite 0, and nitrate under 40. I would recommend getting some live plants they do consume a little nitrates if it gets out of hand...They also tend to leave a more natural look...Feel free to ask anymore questions because I know I missed a couple :D 8)

55 Gallon:1 Baby Bristlienose,1 Swordtail, 1 Bala Shark, 2 Common Pleco, 2 Clown Loaches, 2 angel fish,3 (look a like) rasbora Tetra's, 4 Black Skirt Tetra's, 4 Long-finned Gold Zebra Danios, 4 Cardinal Jumbo Tetra's,6 Red Eye Tetra's, 7 neon tetra's
10 Gallon Nano Reef:1 Chocolate Starfish, many snails...Work is in progress...err
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post #4 of 9 Old 11-01-2006, 10:32 PM
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Hi and welcome aboard, Tom.
Originally Posted by jr
everything tests fine except the PH is high.
And herein lies a problem with saying it's "fine". I would just post the exact figures rather than words. You'll never know that your water is wrong unless you post the exact figures. Detectable ammonia and nitrites are extremely dangerous to the fish with ammonia more dangerous at high pH than low pH.
Pls post the exact stats of ammonia, nitrites, nitrates and pH.

On the side note, I wouldn't worry too much over pH. Unless your fish require soft water, high pH isn't a problem IMO.

Do you think this weekend I could start adding some other species?
Nope. Unless your tank is cycled, you can't.

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post #5 of 9 Old 11-02-2006, 01:22 AM
If your PH is above 7.5 that's borderline high for SA and Asian fish. If it's 7.5-8.2 that's fine for African cichlids. An easy way to help keep it lowered would be to dith the fake driftwood for a large pice of natural wood. It will keep the PH around neautral.
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post #6 of 9 Old 11-02-2006, 03:20 AM
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One thing to add to what the others have contributed. You say this is a used tank with used gravel and such... was the tank moved and set back up immediately or did the tank sit for a period of more than 48 hrs without water? Bacteria cultures require food, thus an empty tank, even with water in it, will only sustain a bacteria culture for a very short time before dying off. If THAT is the case, I would surely check nitrate levels right away, as any waste that was left in the gravel bed will then be in your tank. Cichlids are piggys, and can be very dirty fish. If your friend was lax on maintenance, this would build quick. It's ok to borrow cultures, but unless you're setting back up immediately and putting a few small fish in almost as fast, I don't suggest keeping used substrates.
As for the goldfish, I'd remove those soon... they also are very dirty critters, and if you're working on a tropical tank, can't stay anyways. Adding a heater is the next step for tropicals, you'll want 76 - 78 degrees and stable before adding more fish.
As for lighting, do you wish to keep live plants? The bulbs will matter according to the kinds of plants you keep... fake or live, and what species of live, as there is a large range of live plants available to thrive under most conditions. One last point about plants... if going with live, put them in AFTER removing the goldfish. Goldfish are vegetarian by nature and will eat most plants quickly.

Dawn Moneyhan
Aquatics Specialist/Nutritionist
Juneau, WI
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post #7 of 9 Old 11-03-2006, 09:03 AM Thread Starter
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The PH was around 8.5 all of my other tests where ZERO.....
I have thought of putting a Real piece of drifwood in, to replace the artifical one.. thanks for the input..

The tank was only drained for a day, but all the media, gravel, sand, and rock where still wet.. (drianed Thurs. put water back in Fri...)

As far as Live Plants, I do belive I will start putting them in a little at a time in place of the fake ones...

The water TEMP. is stable at 77-78...

Gold fish are gone.........!!!!!!!

Thanks for all your help so far... Tom
I am trying to send a pic lets see if it goes through...

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post #8 of 9 Old 11-03-2006, 11:31 AM
Nice tank. The pH is rather high UNLESS you want to keep cichlids. They like high pH. If not, then I would check the pH of your tap water. If it is not high, then maybe something in the tank is causing the high pH, which I would guess would be the sand substrate, since most cichlid keepers use aragonite sand, which increases the pH. You may need to remove the sand and replace it if you don't want such a high pH. Otherwise, if your tap water is also high, you can look into using driftwood. Keep in mind, most driftwood that lowers pH, will release tannins into the water, which would make your water very light brown, almost tea like.
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post #9 of 9 Old 11-03-2006, 02:12 PM
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To soften the water and avoid the tea staining color of the tannins, try using peat moss in the filter. This works well and gives you more control over how long to use it without dropping the pH too low. Easier to remove peat from the filter than wood from the tank. Also easier to replace peat than to replace driftwood to keep it dropping if it turns out to be high in the tap water. Peat is also not real expensive.

Dawn Moneyhan
Aquatics Specialist/Nutritionist
Juneau, WI
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