Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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spaynton 11-24-2008 07:28 PM

New to the Forums, newish to the hobby!
Hello everyone!

I recently started up my 35 gallon freshwater aquarium. It was started on October 11th, and has just recently finished cycling.

Here it was as of Day 4:

I started cycling the tank with 6 Danios (3 zebra and 3 Blue). Every day for the first month I tested PH, Ammonia, Nitrite, KH and GH. I then aquried kits to test for Nitrate and Phosphates by day 6, then continued to test for all of these untill the beginning of November.

I was a little too eager while adding my frist few fish, which lead to the death of my Dwarf Gouramie. I added the gourami and a blackfin cory only 7 days after I added the 6 danios, thinking that I had seen the tank cycle (ammonia and nitrate levels rose then fell to 0.0) by the 15th. Then nitrite levels continually rose over the next month. So my gourami succumbed to Nitrite poisoning, after a spike from 0.3 to 0.8 over night. In the mean time I added a Bamboo shrimp and a beautiful Bristlenose Pleco to help me deal with some algea growth.

The tank has fully cycled (now), and is home to a fair variety of fish. Including all my 6 original danios, my blackfin cory, a bamboo shrimp, a bristlenose plecostomous, 4 tiger barbs and one Bolivian Ram.

Here is the most recent picture of the tank, taken on November 13th.

Everyone is doing well, and eating like crazy. The only one I have a bit of concern over is my Bolivian Ram, which seems to be a little shy, being scared away by the very quick tiger barbs and danios. He has managed to get to some food today, and considering it's been only 24 hours since he's been introduced, I'm glad he's eating! Altho, he does seem to be spending most of his time trying to swim against the glass. If anyone can comment on what this behaviour means I'd greatly appreciate it!

As far as the aquarium setup goes here it is:

Aquarium: Hagen 35gal with black silicone edges
Filtration: Marineland Penguin 330 Bio-Wheel Filter
Heating: Jager 155w Aquarium Heater
Lighting: Marina 30" Compact Flourecent
Substate: Gravel

Test Results (as of November 23rd):
PH: 7.8 (slowly being lowered by introducing RO water with changes)
Ammonia: 0.0
Nitrite: 0.1 (showed slight pink hue, would consider below 0.1)
Nitrate: 5
General Hardness: 100 (or slightly hard)
Carbonate Hardness: 95mg/l
Phosphate Level: 0.25

Any comments or suggestions I'd greatly appreciate!

Thanks for looking!

andulrich4all 11-24-2008 07:37 PM

The tank looks very nice! You did a great job! How do you take such clear and nice pictures of it?

SharpLittleGuppy 11-24-2008 07:46 PM

Wow! That is beautiful. My guppy tank looks pitiful compared to everyone else's! I can't wait until I get the opportunity to put together something like that. I'm eagerly searching for space in my house to put a larger tank lol.

spaynton 11-24-2008 08:09 PM

Thanks guys! This isn't really the first tank I have set up and got established, I set up this very same tank almost 2 years ago, but unfortunately I had to tear it down due to moving to an apartment. And I wasn't at the apartment long enough to try and set up a smaller aquarium. Now I can have my big tank set up again. I really missed the hobby!

As far as taking aquarium pictures... First thing you need to do is turn off your on camera flash! Then get out the tripod and go from there! I've been taking pictures (mostly at the amatuer level, with some professional portait work) over the past 8 years, so I could go into a full in-depth guide and talk your ears off for hours haha. But those are the two most important things when taking pictures of your aquarium!

andulrich4all 11-24-2008 08:11 PM

Awesome, should the lights in the room be on or just the light in the tank? If light should be on in the room, should it be bright or dim? Thanks a lot!

andulrich4all 11-24-2008 08:24 PM

I got the tripod out and snapped some pictures of my tank. I also turned the flash off as you said. This is my result.

I am using a decent Canon Power Shot A560. It usually takes great pics. For whatever reason I can not get a good one of my tank. Is there any kind of settings I should change?

spaynton 11-24-2008 08:25 PM

Fewer lights to create glare on the glass the better, unless your trying to get your stand in the shot! If you just want a "window to your tank" look like I have for my first two pictures, I shot them without flash, expose for the gravel, then edited them in photoshop for levels and WB and to remove any lense distortion (I shot it at 18mm to get the full tank it, so I needed to remove a lot of barrel distortion), then cropped to remove anything but the glass.

spaynton 11-24-2008 08:30 PM

1 Attachment(s)
I have attatched an "edited" version of your picture... Removed distortion, adjusted levels, contrast and colour balance.. Your gravel looks a little over exposed, so if you meter for that you should be in better shape.

Also try using the self timer, to remove any camera shake. What is the white balance of your aquarium lights? Try setting your camera to the same setting..

andulrich4all 11-24-2008 08:34 PM

I also messed with the photo in photoshop. How do I go about metering the exposure for the gravel. here is my edited version.

spaynton 11-24-2008 08:47 PM

ahhh good job! Depending on your camera model, you might have to use manual exposure mode, or if you have the option to change what your expsorure lock (shutter pressed halfway) does, then set it to lock focus and exposure. Then you have to focus and meter your camera by pointing it right at the brightest points on the gravel, then while still locking exposure, move the camera back into place.

Easiest way is to use the exposure compensation feature of your camera (a slider that either over or under exposes based on your camera's reading) or shoot in full manual mode.

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