Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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War Monk 06-06-2012 11:50 PM

A Few Questions for a New Tank
 
Hello everyone,
I'm just setting up my first aquarium in years and have been scouring the net for info and generally have dug up what I needed, however now I'm beginging to encounter specific issues I would love to hear from you more experienced folks.

First things first my set up;
Tank - 50 gallon, 122cm L x 35cm W x45cm H
Filter - Eheim Pro 3 600 (probably overkill but its a long story I wont go into)
Light - One T8 48" aqua one sunlight bulb
Fish - 2 platies, 1 adult guppy 2 immature guppies
Plants - a handful of Java moss (that moss that looks like a vine)
Tank has been set up/cycling for 2 weeks

So my questions specifically are
1. Have a slight milkyness in the water (fairly faint but defintely there) and has been since day one. Initally thought is was the rock flour in the black sand but by now it should have settled down? Probably bacterial in that case but should it persist for this long in a new tank? (btw changing 10% of water every 2 days). Water is pH 7 and from our rainwater tank so no artifical chemicals etc in it. N levels - unknown, awaiting test kits to arrive (living in regional Australia has its down sides). Any thoughts on how to proceed? The milkyness is driving me nuts but doesnt seem to worry the fish.

2. Would like to add more plants over time but my gut feeling is my light is too low even for low light plants?

3. Stocking. I would like to keep maily neons/cardinal/rummynose tetras when everything has settled down and some guppies with a few small peaceful cat fish ( say a 50/50 split with the bioload on the guppy/tetras. tried the online stocking calculator and saw some big numbers (too me anyway) and just wanted to see what people with experience think.

Thanks in advance
War Monk

Geomancer 06-07-2012 06:49 AM

Welcome to the forums!

1) White cloudyness/milky looking water is just a bacterial bloom, happens in almost all new tanks, it will go away in a week or two.

2) The light is probably fine for low light stuff and maybe some moderate. Low light really means low light. You could use a dual T8 if you wanted to go into the upper end of moderate lighting. Whatever you do, avoid T5HO fixtures, it's too much light unless you can get a single bulb fixture. Color spectrum should be around the 6500K area.

3) You have incompatible fish. Guppies, Platties, and other live bearing fish require moderately hard, to hard water. Tetras, especially cardinal tetras, require soft water. Some tetras that have been tank raised can do okay up to moderately hard water. You say you are using rain water, that's probably going to be pretty close to RO/DI water which means you will have a GH and KH of near 0. Better to do a mix of that with your tap water if you want soft water fish, you want ~4-6 dGH (minimum) for keeping plants.

GH is General Hardness, KH is Carbonate Hardness. The little d means degrees, it is a unit of measurement. Some test kits give it in ppm (parts per million).

AbbeysDad 06-07-2012 07:20 AM

Yes, WELCOME to TFK!

I would agree that rain water, like filtered water RO, DI, RO/DI, alone is to 'pure' for fish and plants as there are no minerals. I also think you should mix this (say 50/50) with tap water for a better balance.
(I mix treated DI water 50/50 with tap water for better balance of essential minerals).

I also agree that the cloudy water is a bacterial bloom created by dissolved organics in the water. It should clear on it's own...just make sure you do not overfeed and stay on top of tank maintenance.

I'm not quite the stickler as Geo as I have neons in my tank that is somewhere in the 7.0 - 7.6 pH range and most community fish seem to do well in a neutral to slightly alkaline pH, although in the wild, many do well in acidic waters. As mentioned, with so many tank and pond raised fish, the water chemistry rules relative to wild habitats get a bit fuzzy. For the most part, I believe that fish can adapt to fairly wide ranges in pH and hardness, however rapid changes can be a serious problem (which is why we should always acclimate fish slowly to our tank water).

War Monk 06-07-2012 07:41 AM

Thanks to you both for your replies. Generally good news for me I guess, just that for me tap water is rainwater! Usually this is a good thing ( water not tasting like a swimming pool, no water bills etc) but perhaps not so in this case. I'm betting there are salts you can purchase to harden up the water a bit?

On the species front it sounds like my 2 favorites aren't quite going to overlap. Can anyone suggest any peaceful, bright and colourful fish that will be ok in the water suited to tetras?

Cheers :lol:

thekoimaiden 06-07-2012 09:25 AM

You're rather lucky to have very soft water. It opens up a huge range of the south american and asian fish for you. We're talking literally hundreds of fish. Just a few that come to mind right now are black neon tetra and rummynose tetra. They are both small schooling fish that would complement a school of cardinal tetra or neon tetra very well (if you haven't figured out, you can click on a shaded fish name for more info). For substrate fish you choose from many different species of corydoras like bandit cory and pepper cory or some loaches like kuhli loach or even some of the smaller species of plecos like gold nugget pleco or bristlenose pleco.

Here is an interesting article about some of the most colorful freshwater fish in the hobby. Maybe taking a look through it will give you some ideas. The 75 most colourful fish | Features | Practical Fishkeeping You can take the scientific name and search it here using our Tropical Fish Profiles to find specific care requirements.

Geomancer 06-07-2012 09:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by War Monk (Post 1108943)
I'm betting there are salts you can purchase to harden up the water a bit?

Seachem's Equilibrium will add to your GH, without changing the KH. KH is what buffers your pH, with a non-existant KH your pH will naturally drop quite low, eventually possibly down into the 5's but 6's for sure.

A pH that low may not be a problem from most soft acidic water fish, you'll actually have very happy fish. But keep that in mind when selecting what to stock.

You could even keep Discus ;) However, those are a difficult fish to keep so I wouldn't pick them to start with (and you need more than 50 gallons). They also have to go into a well established tank (one that's running for 6 months - 1 year prior to adding them).

marshallsea 06-07-2012 09:49 AM

i could be wrong but that haze in the water, if it doesnt clear up, could be from the flourescent light. ive tried several different flourescent bulbs and always end up with standard incandescent bulbs for a light thats not overpowering. you could hold a lamp with a standard bulb over the tank to see if thats the problem.

AbbeysDad 06-07-2012 11:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by War Monk (Post 1108943)
I'm betting there are salts you can purchase to harden up the water a bit?

For the deionized (DI) water I make using the API Tap Water Filter, I use Seachem Replenish for minerals and add Neutral and Alkaline Regulators for pH.
At water changes, I also treat the tank with Seachem Fresh Trace.

92smokeaccord 06-07-2012 11:54 AM

yeah that cloudyness is what everybody says.its a bloom of bacteria.i cleared mine up really quick by leaving the light off except for when you feed them and it will clear up in a week or so.bacteria grows under light if you leave the light off as much as posable then you should be clear reallly soon.i want to add urge you to have your water tested weekly while its cycling to keep tabs on it.local pet shops usually do it for free.

marshallsea 06-07-2012 12:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 92smokeaccord (Post 1109148)
yeah that cloudyness is what everybody says.its a bloom of bacteria.i cleared mine up really quick by leaving the light off except for when you feed them and it will clear up in a week or so.bacteria grows under light if you leave the light off as much as posable then you should be clear reallly soon.i want to add urge you to have your water tested weekly while its cycling to keep tabs on it.local pet shops usually do it for free.

might be a bad idea to do something that inhibits bacteria growth in a new tank.


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