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Discussion Starter #1
How do you know if you have good water quality? My PH is 7, nitrites 0, ammonia 0, temp at 76F, crystal clear water, no odor. I'm using tap water when I do water changes I add cycle, AquaSafe, and Aquarium salts to my water b4 pouring it in. My tank is 20 gal and I do a 3-5 gal water change about every 2-3 weeks. I have good water movement and a whisper filter. I only have 3 small tiger barbs and 1 dwarf blue guarami. Everything looks good but how do you know if your fish are healthy/happy? (stupid question i know!!!) :lol: Am I doing and using the right stuff???

also, my water wysteria is yucky looking with algae. what kind of pleco would y'all suggest?
 

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Hi Sarah.:wave:

What is your nitrate level? Make sure it is below 40 ppm otherwise it will inhibit the fish's growth. The only stuff I'd add during water changes is dechlorinator to eliminate the chlorine and chloramine(depending on the dechlorinator used). Aquarium salt is unnecessary.

I'd shift the water change schedule to weekly instead of 2-3 weeks. Weekly will prevent further accummulation of mulm and other toxic substances.

What algae does your tank have? A picture will help. There are plecs that will not algae at all but some do eat specific types of algae. On the side note, do not buy a common plec. Even if someone suggested it(especially when that "someone" is your lfs employee), a common plec will outgrow your 20 gallons tank soon.
 

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Looks like a soft algae and if that is the case, a BN pleco would eat it like there is no tomorrow. I have 3 of them and the largest is a male that is only 5 inches long, they don't get much bigger.

I can agree with weekly 40-50% water changes and no salt added. I change that every week if not a little more often because my tanks are overstocked a little. You might get away with smaller water changes seeing as how you have plants and a very light bioload but if you don't change weekly, the ditritius and toxins will build up to potentially toxic levels.
 

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Agreed with everything you said, fish_4_all.:) I will add that if you are to pick BNs, make sure you give them veggies otherwise they will likely decimate your plants.:blink:

Sarah, your tank looks nice.:thumbsup: First time I ever get to see your tank shot. The other one was generally just the fish.:mrgreen:
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks y'all!!! I love my tank!
What is a BN pleco? My fish store is not very good and would most likely send me home with a regular pleco...I'll try to find a pic b4 I get one.

Oh, any suggestions for my tank???
 

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BN pleco is a Bristlenose Pleco. They have small bristles along the bottom lip and the male has bristles along the top of his noseline toward tha back of his head.



Actually really hard to miss :D
 

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just want to add toxic ammonia is different at different temperatures. the average tank is near 79 which holds safe at 1.0 or lower if a 7.2 ph yeah ph and temp have an effect. jump to an 8 ph with same temp keep it below 5.5 get a kit and it will help.
 

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dont get a pleco- they are such big things. i recommend a dozen ottos, so cute and they never stop eating algae, the plecs tend to become lazy with age. O how could i forget shrimp!! Well thats what i use in my tank/keep in my tank.
 

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Shrimp would be lunch for your tiger barbs and the gourami. BN pleco only get to 5 inches or so. There are others that only get to 3-4 inches. And as for getting lazy when older. My my BN I showed is huge and I know he is over 2 years old and when it comes to the algae helikes, he would eat my finger off if it were covered with it. Keep them happy and I think they will eat algae for along time, but you have to know which algae they eat. Hair algae, staghorn, BBA will NOT be eaten by any pleco I know. Tetras, FFF and black mollies are the only ones I have heard that will munch them.

Also, I think my BN wold eat a shrimp if given the chance. He tried to eat my bamboo shrimp and I wound up having to return them so he didn't kill them. Ghost/glass shrimp last about 2 hours in my BN tanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
OH NO NOT AGAIN!

my guarami is sick! i don't know whats wrong with it. it's stomach kinda looks fat, and he hides ALL the time (very abnormal), swims slow and kinda looks funny, and weak! what could it be?
 

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Post in sick fish section so you can get some better help. The only thing i can think of is a parasite or constipated. Feed some frozen peas with the skins peeled off is all I can recommend.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
i just posted there but it's laying at the bottom of the aquarium now and it's head looks darker (abnormal for it) than the rest of the body. also the water wisteria leaves have been coming off like crazy today and i dont know why...don't know if they have anything to do with each other or not!
 

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The problem with the gourami could be a number of different things. Before attempting to diagnose anything, we'll need to know those nitrate levels in teh tank.
How much decoration is in the tank? Can you give more details about symptoms?
As for the debate about algae eating animals... For starters, in a 20 gallon tank I would not put more than 3 - 4 ottos in there, if working with ottos. A BN would be safe, but will outgrow a 20 gallon tank. Shrimp would be ok, and the fish should NOT eat the shrimp. The tricky part with the shrimp is in getting the right species if you're wanting them to eat algae, as not all shrimp eat algae and some shrimp can eat fish.
We may find that when you check nitrate levels, if there is an elevated nitrate, it is part of what is causing an algae bloom, and if the water params get fixed, a lot of times algae will go away on its own. I would also suggest checking phosphate if it's a hair algae, and I'd want to know how old the light bulbs are and how long in a day they are kept on.
 
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