Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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add629 09-21-2007 04:26 PM

another newbie
 
Hello to all!
I am an avid animal lover, my expertise is reptiles. I've always wanted to keep fish but it never worked out because of one thing or the other up until now. I currently have 3 lizards, a snake a kitten and a 30 gallon freshwater tank that's been running since August 21st. In this tank now live 8 tiger barbs, 1 chinese algae eater, 1 rainbow shark and my husband surprised me with a pair of platys (wag-tail?) He thankfully got 2 females but one of them he purchased pregnant. Funny enough we are expecting our second son in a few months so I became compasionate of my prego platy and bought her a breeding net/trap to isolate her and her potential babies within the tank. I have a few questions for you guys and really looking forward to your feedback...
When should I expect the little ones? Typically how long do fish stay pregnant for?
I have been using Mardel's master test kit to test water every 4-5 days but I feel like the tests aren't precise enough for a new tank as far as ammonia, nitrites and nitrates. Any recommendations on how to get a little more accurate?
Everything seems to be cycling normally and the only thing I have had a problem with was a few weeks ago the PH went sky rocketing but remains stable after partial water changes every couple of days. After that my buffering capacity seems a little of. It is at 80 when recommended levels for community tanks is anything over 120. Should I use buffer up? I read that it is a good idea to stay away from chemicals and to try and pinpoint the source of the problem. Help please!!!!
I also read that while performing maintenance it is not recommended to change or clean the filter or carbon in order to not eliminate the beneficial bacteria I am trying to spawn. When should I change the cartridge, should I rinse it in used tank water in the mean time?
So I think that covers my immediate questions, so sorry I sound lost but we all have to start somewhere.........
I thank you in advance!

fish_4_all 09-21-2007 05:37 PM

Test strips are terible. Ge a good liquid regent test kit and you will see much better accuracy. Like most things, the more you spend the better the results and the easier they are to see.

My best guess would be that the strips are not accurate enough and oyu have something going on in your tank.

As for your pH, let it be and don't try to adjust it. It will only cause more problems later. If you want a higher GH and KH then add calcium carbonate and/or crushed coral to the tank, I put 2 tablespoons in every month in each of my 10 gallon tanks. My pH stays about 7.2, GH 7-10dGH (125-179ppm) and KH is always right around 7dKH (125ppm).

Falina 09-21-2007 06:03 PM

F4A answered all your parameter questions. The only thing I really have to add is about your pregnant platty.

The breeding nets are usually very stressful for the fish and can sometimes cause the fish to abort the whole lot. I personally think it's much kinder to let them stay in the main tank. When the babies are born you can transfer them to the breeder net if you like. If your tank is planted however, the fry are great at hiding, and are very fast so can escape. I find that very few fry get eaten in a planted tank.

willow 09-22-2007 03:46 AM

hello and welcome aboard.(a little late)
i'll echo all of the above advise.
nothing to add,just wanted to say "hi there"


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