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mordalphus 04-16-2010 08:34 PM

My 50g, oh boy! (big pictures?)
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Hey everyone, over the past month I've been feverishly soaking up the information here at TFK. And during that time, have cycled (sorta) my 50g and stocked and planted it.

It's been great fun, and I'm almost done setting up my tank, just waiting on a full length glass top and a shop light for my plants... But I have a few questions.

Do you think my tank is "heavily planted"? Enough at least to keep my nitrites and nitrates down?

My aqadvisor link is: here

As far as the plants I have are concerned...

I have
1 bunch of pennywort
2 bunches of stargrass
1 banana plant
3 dwarf lilys
1 pot of dwarf baby tears
1 micro grass
1 pot of 4 leaf clover
2 leopard vals
1 glossostigma elatinoides
about 6 little crypts
about 4 amazon swords
bunch of hornwort
lots of floating frogbit
rotalas and other standard LFS plants i dont know the names of (the ones that are bushy like hornwort)

also a ball of java moss i tied up, and then the lava rock and coconut house i made are covered in christmas moss.

I'm using a jebo 835 pump, its 100l/h, its for tanks up to 100g.
I use air at night, because so far the plants aren't making enough oxygen to last em through without me waking up to the fish and shrimp at the top of the tank gasping.

So here are the pictures... Tell me what you think

mordalphus 04-16-2010 08:38 PM

Ahh, I forgot, I also have 2 otocinclus as well.

Pep 04-16-2010 09:01 PM

Looks good. I would suggest you are fairly heavily planted yes. I really like how you have part sand part gravel substrate.

aunt kymmie 04-16-2010 09:05 PM

Your tank is beautiful. What concerns me is your fish waking you up gasping for oxygen? How long has this tank been set up and what are your water parameters? Other than your two otos what fish do you have in this tank??

mordalphus 04-16-2010 09:19 PM

They only wake up gasping if I dont use air at night..

The tank has been full of water for 1 month.

mordalphus 04-16-2010 09:23 PM

Umm, water parameters, I have medium soft water, ph 7.2, temp is 77, ammonia sometimes spikes a little (especially if I've had the airstones going), but other than that, everything is stable.

Byron 04-17-2010 11:10 AM

The fish and plant ratio is fine, I see no problems there.

Can you explain this "gasping" more? And these "ammonia" spikes, when are they (like after a water change? in the morning? etc)? And what exactly is the "air at night"? I'm assuming the filter runs constantly.


mordalphus 04-17-2010 12:40 PM

Well, it's not all the fish that are struggling... Mainly the danios, rasboras and mollies, they'll stay at the top skimming the surface with their mouths. I'm assuming this is from the lower amount of oxygen during the night.

I'm not running air all day, because I want to make sure the plants have enough CO2. And more recently I've been turning on the air stones at night so the fish will have oxygen.

The ammonia tests higher (between 0 and .5ppm) after water changes and when testing in the morning... Afternoons it's usually between 0 and .25, which I think is an acceptable amount of ammonia.

Although I'm sure I have a bacteria colony (since i've gotten results for nitrate and nitrite previously), but I know my tank relies heavily on the plants absorbing the excess. That's probably why the ammonia is higher in the AM, seeing as how plants don't absorb nutrients at night.

I've been doing 20-25% water changes twice weekly, rather religiously, using prime to condition the water, using API leaf zone, and fertilizer tablets under the swords and crypts.

Byron 04-17-2010 01:21 PM

General comment first, with the ratio of fish to plants you have I would not expect any ammonia or oxygen problems, which is why I asked the earlier questions (thanks for responding).

Have you tested your tap water for ammonia? It is worth knowing, as "ammonia" in planted tanks is frequently from the tap water and occurs following the partial water change (for the day or so). Also, in case you may not realize it, (most) test kits read ammonium and ammonia together as "ammonia" and as most ammonia detoxifiers (like Prime) convert ammonia to ammonium, and the latter is harmless, an ammonia reading after Prime is used is nothing to worry about as far as fish health. Plants also use ammonium as their preferred source of nitrogen, so in planted tanks if say ammonia is present in tap water and you do a water change using Prime, you will see "ammonia" readings for the day but it will be ammonium which the plants will utilize. If you are not observing unusual respiration in the fish during daylight, I myself would not worry about ammonia; if it is present, fish will be respirating faster, possibly hanging at the surface gasping if it is bad enough, as it affects their gills.

On the oxygen, does this behaviour occur at night during total darkness well after the lights in the room are out? I used to have mollies and recall they spent considerable time as you describe. Danios and rasbora I wouldn't expect to do this. Also, when the tank lights first go off, it is normal for many fish to approach the surface. But after a couple hours of total darkness, they should be "sleeping" by which I mean motionless in the aquarium. Except for nocturnal fish of course, like Corydoras and other catfish.

Airstones at night is not going to harm the plants. It is just that it should not be unnecessary. One thing you didn't mention, my question on the filter, I assume there is a filter running constantly so there will be some water movement?

On nitrite, I assume it is zero now? And what is the nitrate reading presently (latest test)?


mordalphus 04-17-2010 01:47 PM

I just tested, I tested .25 ammonia .25 nitrite and 0 nitrate

The canister filter is going 24/7, and has zeolite?(ammonia remover pellets), water polisher, and bio beads
There is no surface movement, I have the spray bar pointing down against the back wall.

The fish don't "GASP" i suppose, they're breathing normally, but if I leave the airstones off for an entire night, they WILL mostly head to the surface and hangout there. I think you're right on the ammonium, especially since plants will first convert ammonia to ammonium, then to chloramine, then they'll use it as food (correct?).

But right now, it may just be that my lights aren't strong enough for the plants to be converting co2 to oxygen rapidly enough... I have 2 24" hoods over my tank, and those little 18" 15watt bulbs don't really throw the light down. I just put a 42 watt cool white (6500k) bulb over the left side of the tank to see how they'll do today with more light.

Thanks for the help Byron, means a lot to me.

-- liam

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