New HELP please
Hi, im starting up a trrpical aquarium i need some help. I have never done itg before so i need to know whati need to use the start up the tank and also how to kepp it well. Eg salts, test kits, water cleaner, stress coat, conditioner and other stuff
Hi andy - welcome to TFK :wave:
First thing is to cycle your tank.
Then depending on tank size, ph and hardness/softness of your tap water (bring a sample to a local fish store), you can start to determine what type of fish will work well for you. You can find out a lot about fish requirements and compatability at the top of the main page of the forum in Tropical Fish Profiles right under the forum logo.
We're here to help so ask anything you need to in the meantime.
Forget the aquarium salt. Buy Prime as your water conditioner. You will need test kits for ph, ammonia, nitrites and nitrates. A syphon/gravel hose, scrub pad to clean glass/acylic. If you want to have live plants (the best way to go), you'll need to think about a good substrate, such as fine/pea size gravel or sand. Comprehensive or Seachems root tabs are good fertilizers. It's very expensive to get set up, but best to make decisions first about what type of fish you want, do research on those types of fish, and make sure you are getting fish that are compatible and have similar water parameter requirements.
Than of course, you need to cycle your tank. The fishless method is best, as you don't have to worry about losing/killing fish.
If you do use fish to cycle, be prepared to do perhaps daily water changes during your ammonia and nitrite spikes.
Hope you enjoy the hobby. Welcome!
What's wrong with salt?
It's just not needed, even though PetCo I know tries to promote it. Won't hurt I guess, but from what I hear here, not at all necessary.
See what others say :)
Welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum, and to the hobby. You've asked about salt, so I'll explain why Gwen recomended against it.
Salt is detrimental to freshwater fish and plants in varying degrees. Salt makes the water more dense than the same water without salt. The aquarium contains water. The bodies of fish and plant leaves also contain water, and the water in the aquarium and the water in the fish/plant are separated by a semi-permeable layer which is the cell. Water can pass through this cell. When either body of water is more dense, the other less-dense body of water will pass through the membrane to equalize the water on both sides.
Water is constantly passing through the cells of fish by osmosis in an attempt to equate the water inside the fish (which is more dense) with the water in the aquarium. Put another way, the aquarium water is diluting the fish's body water until they are equal. Freshwater fish regularly excrete this water through respiration and urination. This is the issue behind pH differences as well as salt and other substances. It increases the fish's work--the kidney is used in the case of salt--which also increases the fish's stress in order to maintain their internal stability. Also, the fish tends to produce more mucus especially in the gills; the reason now seems to be due to the irritant property of salt--the fish is trying to get away from it.
Plants: when salt is added to the aquarium water, the water inside the plant cells is less dense so it escapes through the cells. The result is that the plant literally dries out, and will wilt. I've so far been unable to find a measurement of how much salt will be detrimental to plants; all authorities I have found do note that some species are more sensitive than others, and all recommend no salt in planted aquaria.
No species of freshwater fish needs salt, though a few can manage with it. But it is best avoided.
i'd say 65% of aquarium habit is trial and error. one can never have too much filtration.
It's my understanding that osmosis is precisely the reason for using some salt, especially with ill fish. As you said, the tank water is constantly penetrating the fish and attempting to water log it thru osmosis. The fish is constantly working to collect the water and excrete it to keep its internal salinity up. By using salt, the tank water is denser and less is penetrating the fish actually making it less work for the fish. I'm certainly no biologist, but that does seem to make sense.
I feel that a small amount of salt provides some amount of antiseptic and antimicrobial properties to the tank water. I haven't read about any microbes (I admit that they possibly do exist though) that prefer the salted water.
Many soft water fish cannot tolerate salt. None of these live in water with any measurable level of salt. [I understand about those species that do occur partly in brackish, such as mollies and a few others; I am considering true soft water fish here.] These fish have trouble with minerals in hard water too. But salt goes further by weakening the kidneys. The stress it causes to the fish weakens the immune system, and that means health issues that the fish would normally be able to fend off, and almost always a premature death (shortened lifespan).
A 2-part article in TFH (June and July, 1996) authored by Stanley Weitzman, Lisa Palmer, Naercio Menezes and John Burns, dealt with "Maintaining Tropical and Sub-Tropical Forest-Adapted Fishes." The authors noted that 100ppm of salt was the maximum tolerated by characins if short-term, and many species demonstrate considerable stress leading to death at levels of 60ppm. To equate this, 100ppm is approximately equal to 0.38 gram of salt per gallon of water, and one level teaspoon holds six grams. So one teaspoon of salt in 16 gallons of water will cause death in some species and considerable stress in the others.
Subjecting fish to such stress un-necessarily is not recommended. The above would offset any possible benefit, and I am not saying any such exists. Clean water is the best preventative for fish health problems.
I apologize to the OP for hijacking this thread, but I have one question for Byron. I tried to find a copy on the web, but I can't. Is there a link to the article anywhere? I'd really like to read it. That's an awfully small amount of salt to be considered dangerous. I've not run across anything like that before.
As for the OPs original question, be sure to get a test kit for pH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. Hardness is nice to know, but you can get a local store to tell you that since it's not likely to change much unless you change your source of water. Don't buy fish until you have your tank set up and ready and you understand the nitrogen cycle. Read, read, and read some more. There's tons of information available, and plenty of it is conflicting. Get ready to have to use your own judgment with some things. You're going to have to decide how you want to cycle your tank. You'll need a clean (food grade) bucket, a siphon hose, and water conditioner (dechlorinator). An extra heater is nice to heat your bucket of water (I always take my water from an outside tap that is right by the water entrance to the house so it is cold). I'm a big fan of air bubbles, plants aren't but the fish certainly won't complain about too much oxygen. Most fish seem to like to play in them on occasion anyway.
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