starting over, looking for advice
if you look over in the diseases forum, you can find my post about my fish dying. due to this, i have decided that a week from tomorrow (i'm about to go out of town for a week and won't have time til then) i am going to start almost entirely over in my 29 gallon tank. i'm going to get my water from a new source (i have reason to believe that my water source is an issue that water conditioners might not be able to help with). i'm going to rinse my live plants and my rocks. i currently have gravel substrate, and i have gotten suggestions to switch to sand, i'm not sure what i'm going to do there yet. and i have 2 swordtails left, one male and one female. i'm going to rinse my filter out with the current water and keep using it, so hopefully i don't have to worry about it cycling again.
other than that, i'm looking for advice. it is likely that i will continue to have a rather high pH, that seems to be normal in southwest michigan. i am planning on getting a piece of driftwood or the like to bring it down a little and because i'd like to get a pleco. i know common plecos get huge, but i'm planning that by the time it does so i will have a tank big enough for it, as it will take a few year for it to outgrow my current one.
what other fish would do well with a higher pH, would get along with my swordtails (assuming they survive) and a pleco and not be an issue for live plants?
and i'm collecting the pros and cons of having sand vs. gravel. i already have the gravel, which would be cheaper, but money isn't that big of a deal (within reason).
also, if you have suggestions of relatively easy plants that are easy to find, i'd like to get some more of those too.
I just left a question on your other post, "What is your pH?" It is an important factor in determining what fish will survive. Also, you mentioned that the tank is in an office. Do the lights go off at night? Fish need darkness to sleep just as we do.
If you look at the top tab "Tropical Fish Profiles", this is a great resource for researching types of fish as well as it also has information on several different aquatic plants.
@brownmane....he mentioned the PH was 8.3 in the OP in the other thread.
Beaches, thanks, I missed that detail.
Where does your water come from? If it is a municipal water supply, it is unlikely to be unsuitable for fish provided the proper water conditioner is used. We can discuss this more when I know something about the "problem" with the water.
Hard (medium hard to hard) water is fine with livebearers, necessary in fact. And although 8.3 is high, they should not have a problem. Other soft-water fish might though, depending.
On the pleco, the common pleco attains 18 inches and should never be acquired for a small tank. Fish grow constantly, and the water volume has quite an impact on the water quality which is why potentially large fish must have adequate space from the start. Internal organ development can be stunted, immune system weakened, fish prone to more and more health issues...the list goes on. He doesn't need a 4-foot tank yet, but he will before very long. There are however several smaller species, attaining 4-5 inches max, that would be fine.
Sand or gravel is up to you, unless you intend fish that need either over the other. Dark playsand works fine, it is very inexpensive (one bag will easily do a 29g tank); it takes a lot of rinsing initially, and I mean, a lot of rinsing. If yo have live plants rooted in the substrate sand will work well. And Malaysian livebearing snails help a lot. [This is more important with sand rather than gravel due to the compaction.] Changing the substrate is not a problem, you only have 2 fish and with live plants there should be no discernible cycle.
I haven't seen the other thread so I may be missing some data, but if the health issue that killed the fish is bacterial/parasitic/pathogenic in origin, the filter media and gravel (if you keep it) should be thoroughly washed in very hot water. Or replaced. Again, I don't know what this was about, so this is just a caution.
ok, i've started over. and my swords didn't die :-P.
i did a complete water change, rinsed my gravel substrate and decorations (rocks and live plants) and rinsed my filter in the old water (in hopes of avoiding having to cycle it again. i got water from a different source (i'm actually buying it now, i don't like the water options i have otherwise) and my pH is now about 7.8. since i did a complete water change, measuring levels of ammonia, nitrite and nitrate isn't saying much yet, with all reading 0 (two swordtails don't do that mauch to a 29 gal tank in two weeks). hopefully this doesn't mean the bacteria all died. however, yesterday i added a 5 inch pleco (yes, i know my tank won't be big enough for him as he grows, but i will be getting a bigger tank before he out grows this one) and 5 tiger barbs. they are still alive this morning and look happy. i also added a few more plants and bought a piece of driftwood which is currently soaking to remove tannins before adding it to the tank.
i am planning on getting more barbs and i'd like a few more swords, but what else would go well in this tank?
and please don't bother telling me i shouldn't have the pleco. opinions differ on this topic and i'm not going to change my mind.
TB are fine in a group of 8-10 in a 29g. I would not add other upper-level fish. Substrate fish OK.
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