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Results 1 to 10 of 45
  1. Default Confessions of a Mediocre Aquarist


    0 Not allowed!
    I am here to confess. I have actively been keeping some kind of aquarium for the last 6 years. I started with saltwater but turned to freshwater about a year ago. With that much experience and a background in biology I would have expected to have a beautiful aquarium by now...but I don't!

    My aquarium is blah, mediocre. It is now my mission to create and maintain a beautiful and healthy aquarium that looks healthy and natural, and makes people go wow!

    What follows is a long description of the status of my tank (including pictures) and a plea for advice on what my next steps should be.

    Thanks for stopping by!

    My Sins:
    Cyanobacteria (under control but not gone)
    Some sort of hair bacteria that is growing on most of my plant leaves
    Detritus on the substrate
    Stagnant plant growth

    Vital Signs
    Tank Size: 40 gallon
    Tank Type: Planted Community
    Tank Age: 1 year
    Chemical Testing - Amonnia, Nitrite, Nitrate: zero
    Temperature: 77*F
    Filtration: AquaClear Power Filter 50 (rated for 20-50g tanks)
    Substrate: Can't remember the name, looks like gravel but is supposed to be great for plants
    Light: 2 39 Watt T5HO bulbs (about a year old)
    Plants:
    Anubias
    Water Sprite
    Banana Plant
    Java Fern
    + more (all were hardy low light plants according to my lfs)
    Fish:
    6 Espei Rasboras
    4 Harlequin Rasboras
    4 Purple Raspboras
    5 Rummy-Nose Tetras
    2 Red Phantom Tetras
    10 Endler Live Bearers (3 male, 7 female)
    Decoration:
    3 fist size river rocks
    1 piece river drift wood

    Goals:
    Minimal algae growth
    Thriving plants
    Well planted enough to increase fish population so schooling fish feel safe

    Routine Maintenence
    10% Water change twice a week (vaccuum half of the gravel each time-lots of detritus on gravel)
    During water change, scrub cyano off of plants

    Short-Term Plans:
    Buy Background
    Replace Light Bulbs

    Questions:
    Any advice is welcome!
    How do I get plants to stay rooted and not float?
    What do I do about hair algae, especially when it's growing on my plants?
    How do I make my plants thrive?
    How many more fish can I safely add?

    Pictures and video to come soon!
    Thanks!


  2. #3

    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    2,762

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    Troop and Military Support - Amber Alert - Bladder Cancer - Endometriosis - Equality - Liver Cancer - Liver Disease - Missing Children - POW/MIA - Spina Bifida - Suicide - Strider199 

    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    Not an expert myself but I would get a bigger filter like for an 80 gallon tank and watch how long your light is on. 6-8 hours of light is enough. If you get a timer this becomes easy. Is the tank in direct sunlight during the day? Sun light really messes with a tank.
    Plants can be anchored with fishing line to stay down. Tie your plants to a rock until the roots get into the substrate.

    I bet the red phantom tetras dont look too happy. They like to be in a school of at least 6-8 fish. Another reason to increase or add another filter to that tank.

    Have you thought about some driftwood? It makes the tank look nice, gives you places to anchor some plants, and gives the fish some structure to swim around or cover in.
    Remember that those light bulbs lose their colour spectrum after 6 months. Algae may become a problem when the spectrum goes towards the red spectrum.

    I really think increasing your filtration will take care of most of your issues.

    p.s. Have you thought about a background for the tank. A dark background really makes the inside of the tank pop.
    Last edited by Strider199; 05-09-2013 at 12:59 AM.
    Warning; Bulldog Pleco guarding my Sons tank now..

    Please remember; every keystroke has a consequence.

  3. #4

    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    The Cyanobacteria, hair algae and loads of detritus suggest overfeeding. Remember that cold blooded animals that float around all day expend little energy. The nitrate test results sound weird(ov feeding causes lots of nitrates) however, algae doesn't lie, but tests can be inaccurate. If your test is an API test, shake it as hard as you can or else nitrate readings will be inaccurate.

    I also would recommend changing more water - at least 50% once a week or 30% twice a week. You aren't particularly heavily stocked and you should be
    able to get by with your current filter, however, Strider199 has a point. Generally it is recommended to have a total filtration capacity for twice the tank volume and should you plan to add more fish, you should look into getting a second filter.

    strider199 has given you good advice on stocking. All your tetras and rasbora species should be in schools of 6+ to feel secure but you will not have room for 5 schools of 6 or more fish. Best to rehome all but one or two species of Tetra or rasbora and then get a large number of the remaining species, say 10. A single large school of one species is much more coordinated and looks much more impressive and natural than a motley setup with 2-3 of each species.

  4. Default


    0 Not allowed!
    +1 to strider, I agree that the first thing you should do is get a better filter, one suited for 80 gallons (double the size of yoour aquarium). Maybe just get another aquaclear rated for 30 gallons, for a total of 80 gallons of filtration? And I assume you know not to take out beneficial bacteria in your filter by replacing the media in your filter.
    I really love your stocking! Especially with the rasboras, the tank looks lovely (except for the algae -go with Strider's advice on that topic too). I do agree the rummynose need more fish, and idealy all of those species need 6+ in a group to feel secure. But this tank has a lot of potential, and it seems like you are on the right track. For the cyanobacteria I might cut back on feeding, and if worse comes to worse you can buy this product http://www.thatpetplace.com/blue-gre...FegWMgodIBsAJA I've used it before and it works wonders. There are other natural ways of removing the bacteria as well. Good luck!

    Didn't see madagascar's post....good advice
    Tanks: 30 gal community and 10 gal shrimp/community
    Journals Here

  5. Default


    0 Not allowed!
    Thanks for all the detailed responses!

    Feeding: I feed 1/4 to 1/2 tsp 6 days a week. It all gets eaten in less than a minute. Is this over feeding?

    As for lights: I was at 10 hrs/day, so I set it at 8 now. Buying new bulbs is on my list of things to do (and a background!...and now it sounds like I'll be getting a new filter!)

    Direct sunlight is not an issue.

    For some reason I thought the 3 types of rasboras would school together, but they don't and it makes the tank look disorderly.

    Testing: I also took water to my lfs this week and the results were the same: not ammonia, nitrite, nitrate.

    I am trying to increase populations slowly so I don't create any ammonia spikes...I suppose in the future it would be best to increase a single population in advance of introducing the second species and then increase that population before introducing the next species?

  6. Default


    0 Not allowed!
    http://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=plcp&v=XUuQxboB74w

    Ok here is a video from a few days ago, not the best quality, but you can see some of daily life in the tank. Watch some of the mating chase scene the endlers put on!

  7. #8

    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    My $0.02. It's not nice but it's offered with the best intentions

    * As a trained biologist you should know about unreliable and reliable source. Most LFS don't know a thing. Don't rely too much on them.

    * Second is habitat, what you got here is a collection of prey animals from several habitats. Prey animals rely either on huge numbers to confuse a predator or cover. You're offering none of those which is very apparent in the colouring of the Espei rasbora.

    * You don't seem to have the tools to check your own water values which is inconvenient.

    * Endlers are more of a medium to hard water species, the others like it soft.

    On the plus side, your stocking levels are not unreasonable except for the pair of phantoms. You got a decent sized tank and good lights. You don't have any tank busters (unfortunately all too common with people who shop up here).
    What I would advice you is a rebuilt and getting rid of the nuisance algae. Feed the fish like you normally would and then give the tank a 72 hour blackout. Don't switch the lights on, tape black plastic garbage bags over the glass or something like. No peeking, no feeding for 72 hours. After that do a 50% water change taking extra care to syphon away the dead algae.

    After that it's time for a good plan. What do you want to look at? Do you want to keep that gravel? Do you want to create something like my tank? OR rather something like firefly's? Or go easy and do a blackwater with just wood, leaf litter and floating plants? You got tons of options but you need to make that choice. Once you've done that we can help you create something that whenever you walk into the room gives you a sense of accomplishment.

  8. Default


    0 Not allowed!
    All great advice! A simple approach to a background is to paint the glass. I paint mine black which seems to be the common choice in freshwater tanks, blue for salt. I rescaled my 55g about a year ago and that was what really made things stand out. Good luck to you.
    Mike
    120g Mixed Reef In Progress
    120g Reef Journal
    55g Freshwater - Out of Service
    My 55g Tank Remodel Project
    72g Bowfront -Out of Service

  9. #10

    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    Quote Originally Posted by ScienceGirl View Post
    Thanks for all the detailed responses!

    Feeding: I feed 1/4 to 1/2 tsp 6 days a week. It all gets eaten in less than a minute. Is this over feeding? You are feeding flakes I assume?

    For some reason I thought the 3 types of rasboras would school together, but they don't and it makes the tank look disorderly.

    Even schooling fish dont always "school" together - if the fish are comfortable in your tank, they will wander away from each other - that's good.

    Testing: I also took water to my lfs this week and the results were the same: not ammonia, nitrite, nitrate.

    Totally agree with above comment - you can NOT rely upon a LFS to provide you with accurate water parameters - you need to get a liquid test kit and know what you have yourself. Many fish stores will say your parameters are "fine" or tell you a level of 1.0 ammonia is "fine" when it isn't. They use test strips which are inaccurate. Your LFS, for the most part, wants to sell you fish and supplies.

    I am trying to increase populations slowly so I don't create any ammonia spikes...I suppose in the future it would be best to increase a single population in advance of introducing the second species and then increase that population before introducing the next species?
    As advised above, the best thing to do is to have larger groups of 1 or 2 species - better for the fish and nicer to watch for the fish keeper.

    Also agree about upping the amount of water you remove when you change your water - most forum members change about 50% per week.
    46 gal fw tank with black skirt tetras, neon tetras, spotted corys, cherry barbs, otoclinus, snails & 4 amano shrimp - plastic & live plants
    5 gal QT
    Remember: Our job is to take care of the water our fish live in

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