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Bluewind 07-05-2013 04:33 PM

Need help setting up a 100 gallon tank
 
My grandmother's retirement home has a tank that's about 100 gallons or more (I still need to measure). They are clueless about fish care and have already killed 2 batches of Goldfish and one pleco. They asked me for help and advice and I had the good sense to come ask yall as my tanks are much smaller and my water is different. So here are my questions...

1. How can they do pwc in a tank that big? Can they add the decorinator straight to the tank after they remove the old water, but before they add the fresh from the hose? I think that would make it easier on them.

2. Whht is a good inexpensive declorinator that they could get in bulk at Walmart or Pet Smart? That is the only stores and they only have one 3 gallon bucket so letting the clorine evaporate off wouldn't work for them.

3. What fish would be good for their tank?
a) My API pH test only tests up to 7.6 and its pH looked to be well beyond that. For those of you with the kit, you can see that the color of 7.6 is blue with a hint of green. The color in the tube was a saturated deep blue with no green. I will try to get a more accurate test soon.
b) The fish need to be harty. The workers there will be caring for them most of the time and after talking to them, it's easy to see that they don't give a darn. They wont even turn the hood light off at night! Only the owner seems to care and she has far too much on her plate to do the PWCs herself. It's why she called me begging for help because she knew I had my own tanks.
c) The fish are going to be for the enrichment of the elderly that live at the retirement home who often sit around the tank to relax and have conversations. Please keep that in mind when offering suggestions.
d) I would like it to be as self sustaining as possible, so I also need suggestions on plants, algae eaters, mantinance products to make care easier, timers, aditives to help cycling and amonia, and anything else yall can think of.

I was almost thinking about suggesting a Betta sorority as Bettas are just about the hardiest fish I have ever encountered. Or perhaps chiliads (sp?). I am compleatly clueless about the species as my water is soft.

Thank you all for your help. :)

Byron 07-05-2013 07:30 PM

Quote:

1. How can they do pwc in a tank that big? Can they add the decorinator straight to the tank after they remove the old water, but before they add the fresh from the hose? I think that would make it easier on them.
Yes. I assume from your wording that they have a Python implement? I start the water flow into the tank, and then add the conditioner, but to make sure they don't forget [I have, though only three times in 15 years] adding the conditioner before they start the influx of tap water is fine. Just make sure they are not still draining water out or it could all be removed.;-)

Quote:

2. Whht is a good inexpensive declorinator that they could get in bulk at Walmart or Pet Smart? That is the only stores and they only have one 3 gallon bucket so letting the clorine evaporate off wouldn't work for them.
The conditioner needed depends upon the issues in the source water (tap) that need to be addressed. If this involves chlorine (certainly would) and chloramine, most conditioners will handle these, just make sure it mentions chloramine on the label if chloramine is in the tap water. Beyond this, heavy metals is usually next. If the source water contains ammonia, nitrite or nitrate, the conditioner should be able to detoxify whichever. Several conditioners deal with ammonia, it will say this on the label. Only two I know of handle nitrite, these being Prime and Ultimate. And as far as I know, only Prime also detoxifies nitrate.

I don't know what Walmart where you live might carry, but I am now using Nutrafin's Aqua+ conditioner. It deals with chlorine and chloramine, and heavy metals. I buy it online by the larger jug and save a lot of money. This might be worth looking into, online I mean; you could for instance buy sufficient to last them a year and save them money, plus you don't have to have someone remembering to buy more. Big Al's brand only handles chlorine (and chloramine I think), and I had no trouble with it except it turns the tank slightly cloudy for a day or maybe into the second day, each water change. Not sure why, I know others have had this too. Not a problem by all accounts, but a cloudy tank is a bit disconcerting.

Quote:

3. What fish would be good for their tank?
a) My API pH test only tests up to 7.6 and its pH looked to be well beyond that. For those of you with the kit, you can see that the color of 7.6 is blue with a hint of green. The color in the tube was a saturated deep blue with no green. I will try to get a more accurate test soon.
b) The fish need to be harty. The workers there will be caring for them most of the time and after talking to them, it's easy to see that they don't give a darn. They wont even turn the hood light off at night! Only the owner seems to care and she has far too much on her plate to do the PWCs herself. It's why she called me begging for help because she knew I had my own tanks.
c) The fish are going to be for the enrichment of the elderly that live at the retirement home who often sit around the tank to relax and have conversations. Please keep that in mind when offering suggestions.
d) I would like it to be as self sustaining as possible, so I also need suggestions on plants, algae eaters, mantinance products to make care easier, timers, aditives to help cycling and amonia, and anything else yall can think of.

I was almost thinking about suggesting a Betta sorority as Bettas are just about the hardiest fish I have ever encountered. Or perhaps chiliads (sp?). I am compleatly clueless about the species as my water is soft.
Check with their local water supply people for the GH and pH data. The staff are not going to be fiddling with these, so once you know what is coming out of the tap, that's it. And I would go for hardy fish that will not be belly-up at the first overfeeding or neglected water change, while trying for some colour to make it interesting.

Assuming the water will be moderately hard and a basic pH (above 7), livebearers are probably the best option. A few chunks of wood, some rounded river rock of varying sizes to create a river habitat. Live plants aren't needed, and would be too much of a burden here, so a Central American stream/river aquascape seems best. Platy, swordtails. Molly are too finicky and prone to disease if water conditions are not kept good, so avoid them. Some other shoaling fish can be combined, say Zebra Danio. Whiptail Catfish are fairly resistant, and their "prehistoric" appearance might be of interest. I wouldn't include corys here, as they will succumb easily to lowering standards which we must assume could occur, hopefully not often.

The light is a real problem, it must be off at night for at least 6-8 hours. Get them a timer. Otherwise, algae will be rampant and then they will have to clean that, and they won't, so the fish will start dying; and so-called algae eaters are useless in this scenario. And even before this, leaving the light on 24/7 will cause ich as the fish are severely stressed by not having a period of darkness. There is no option on this point. If the light stays on, I would not offer any fish as they will not last.

Bluewind 07-06-2013 02:09 AM

Thanks Byron. As always, you are a life saver ;)

I will try to get those levels posted for you next week when everything is open.

They don't have a python (not even sure what that is). They just take the water out with a gravel syphon or a bucket and in with a hose. By the way, since they will be adding water that will not have the same temp as the tank, what % and how often should their pwc be?

Many of the little ladies that hang out in the main room have vision problems (all are over 70. Most in 80s and 90s). One is near blind. Would they be able to see those fish easily? (think apperance, activity, size, possible schooling, and so on...)

jaysee 07-06-2013 02:44 AM

Why can't the water be the same temp that's going in?




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Bluewind 07-06-2013 03:15 AM

They are just putting water in it from a garden hose, not the tap. Also, they were just stocking it with Goldfish (which ended badly for the Goldfish). They don't have a heater atm but are willing to get one if necessary. Mind you the area we live doesnt get very cold and they keep the area a constant temp for the elderly.

NewFishFiend 07-06-2013 06:09 AM

I admire that you are donating your time to help out with such a noble cause. My fishtanks relax me and make me happy. I can only imagine that nursing home residents would like to enjoy the serenity of a fishtank too (I'm a nurse so these kinds of therapuetic relaxation makes me smile). I really got no advice, just encouragement :)

jaysee 07-06-2013 10:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bluewind (Post 2481266)
They are just putting water in it from a garden hose, not the tap. Also, they were just stocking it with Goldfish (which ended badly for the Goldfish). They don't have a heater atm but are willing to get one if necessary. Mind you the area we live doesnt get very cold and they keep the area a constant temp for the elderly.

Find out what the temp of the water is without a heater.

If they are using a hose, then all you need is the piece that connects to a faucet - about an $8 part.


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Byron 07-06-2013 12:44 PM

I think from what we're hearing that your or someone has to sit down with the management staff of this home. An aquarium requires a basic amount of maintenance, regularly; if they are not able or willing, they should not restock the tank, and move to some other entertainment. Use the analogy they a person confined to their house is not going to get a dog that requires 2-3 hours of long walks and exercise each day; one has to acquire "pets" according to one's ability to look after them properly. Fish are living creatures as much as human beings, and they deserve decent care.

The goldfish was perhaps the best option, given that temperature is never an issue, and everyone can see them, and they are colourful. However, they probably overstocked...goldfish grow and produce considerable waste. Which means major tank maintenance or they will be unhealthy and die. Which seems to have occurred.

No fish is going to be maintenance-free; a regular weekly partial water change is frankly essential in such a situation. Perhaps they could find a volunteer aquarist, or offer a small annuity to one? A donation to a local aquarium society in exchange for different members to volunteer help in turn? Several possibilities.

Byron.

Bluewind 07-07-2013 05:24 PM

Thanks yall. I'm pretty sure most of the care will fall on me. Picked up some Prime and got the tap water tested at Pet Smart. Here are the nasty results...
Ammonia: 0.5
Nitrate and Nitrite: 0
Hardness: 75
Total Clorine: 0
pH: 8.4+
Alkalinity: 300+

I am at a loss on how to work with such extreme water. I've never seen anything like it! Prime should help, but it can only do so much. Can anything live in this stuff?
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Byron 07-07-2013 07:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bluewind (Post 2491394)
Thanks yall. I'm pretty sure most of the care will fall on me. Picked up some Prime and got the tap water tested at Pet Smart. Here are the nasty results...
Ammonia: 0.5
Nitrate and Nitrite: 0
Hardness: 75
Total Clorine: 0
pH: 8.4+
Alkalinity: 300+

I am at a loss on how to work with such extreme water. I've never seen anything like it! Prime should help, but it can only do so much. Can anything live in this stuff?
Posted via Mobile Device

I would confirm the GH, KH and pH with the municipal water folks; tests at fish stores are sometimes reliable, sometimes not, depending how they do them. Livebearers would be the best given all the circumstances. While the GH is very soft at 75ppm (= 4 dGH) this is easily raised by using a clacareous substrate material. Again considering the minimal maintenance, a fine calcareous gravel with rounded rocks and some wood to replicate a Central American stream, and livebearers.


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