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Results 1 to 10 of 14
  1. Default My return to the hobby: 5g Fluval Chi

    0 Not allowed!
    After a few years of moving and being busy, I have finally settled down to the point where I can being keeping an aquarium (or two, or know how this works). Since this forum was instrumental in my learning as an aquarist, and because I enjoy forums in general, I thought I would start a journal here. I am well aware that an kit has a number of shortcomings, especially the Chi. the LED lights are rather weak, as is the filter. Plus I have the feeling that it (the filter light unit) could rather easily fall apart on me.

    That said, I was inspired by the design of the Chi because it produces three unique environments for planting. The top of the filter, the water's surface, and the substrate. While in most aquariums substrate lighting is compromised by heavy surface planting, the sub-surface lighting provides an interesting opportunity.

    With no further ado, pics!

    Initial setup. Substrate is Onyx Sand from a friend, with white gravel. A moss ball, some sort of grass in the filter, and floating wisteria comprise the initial setup.

    Day 5, more plants are added. Pic is from tonight, day 7, after a slight adjustment to pack the bacopa/moneywort more densely and bring the bronze crypt to the back wall on the far left. Initially I had the moneywort spanning the entire back wall, but it just didn't flow right. In the right midground I've placed a lily, that I am hoping to see do awesome things.

    Bonus: moneywort pearling right after planting. This is no CO2. On day 5 I did add a desk lamp about a foot away with a 10w full spectrum CFL. It provides light to all three levels of this aquarium.

    The tank is reading marginal minimal levels of ammonia, nitrite, and nitrite. Against better judgement I think I may add a few shrimp tomorrow. The presence of nitrite (notably absent from my midwestern tapwater) indicates a functioning bacterial cycle, even if it isn't in full swing right now. Also the pH is substantially lower (7.2-7.4) than my tap water (probably around 10) which must either be the plant matter or the substrate. Either way I am relieved by it :)

  2. #2


    0 Not allowed!
    Cool little tank.

    pH drop from 10 to 7.2-7.4? Did you try aging your water to see if you can get a true pH reading? I'd hold off on the shrimp until we can find out why there is such a large swing...

    Do you have a hardness test kit available to test?
    Think with logic and rationality more than emotion. Act with moderation and consideration. Contemplate ideals and realistic goals and weigh out possibilities and options. Temper not with personal delusions or false hope but learn to accept and move on.

  3. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    Sorry about the typos in my original post. I meant to say there is no nitrate in my tapwater. I don't have a hardness kit handy, though I imagine my water is pretty hard. I don't actually know the pH of my tapwater (off the charts of my API kit), but the aquarium water is more acidic. It reads 7.6 on the low range test and 7.4 on the high range test. The kit is also about 7 years old, so the results are probably less accurate. I'll take it to have it tested at the LFS before buying as well. Onyx sand is supposed to be somewhat alkaline in nature, so I'm guessing it is some tannins from the plant debris that has lowered the pH.

    CRS are supposed to be pretty tolerant little guys, so I'm thinking they'll be okay.

  4. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    Been thinking more about the pH. The pH readings for my tapwater were taken right out of the tap, I suppose I'll try aging a cupfull and see what happens. I'll also take some water to my LFS to get it checked, since my kit is rather old.

    The other thing that is probably lowering my pH is the Lily bulb. I can only imagine that it has quite a few tannin to it.

  5. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    I don't want to put a negative feel to this journal, but if your intending to have crystal red shrimp in that tank it may prove to be more of a challenge than your expecting, this is from my own personal experience. Since you don't have stable water parameters at the moment as they keep fluctuating, I think it would be better if you waited a bit until you get consistent test results. Crystal reds may have got slightly hardier over the last few years but unless you have stable parameters in the ranges that they require, especially in a small tank, it may cause a few problems.
    I recommend getting a full break down of your tap water parameters, find out exactly what is in it, PH, Ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, TDS levels, GH and KH. It will be better to find out if your tap water is right now before you add the shrimp, then suddenly loss some and waste money. I will also recommend investing in a new master test kit and some other bits of equipment such as a TDS meter, GH and KH tests and maybe a copper test. With crystals its best to have all the equipment there and ready to use because, if your anything like me with shrimp, you will be constantly testing the tank water, looking out for any potential problems that may rear it's ugly head.
    Enough of the negatives though, your tank looks stunning and when you do eventually have some crystals in it, you will spend most of your time admiring them as they are such a beautiful species. I look forward to seeing more pictures of the tank when the shrimps are in.
    • 50 Gallon Black Water Asian Project: 12 x Sparkling Gourami, 10 x Kuhli Loaches with 25 Chili Rasbora on order to be added

  6. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    Man my number of typos got unacceptable last night, my apologies. My plan is to do red cherry shrimp, at least at first. I understand these guys to be much more tolerant than the crystal reds. (Difficult to keep them straight since their acronyms are the same letters in different order).

    If I can validate the readings from my kit with the LFS I'll be satisfied. I know that in a perfect world everything would be new and done right, and also that your advice is meant to spare me the headache of having problems down the line. That said, knowing the risks, I still might cut some corners in terms of testing my parameters.

    The LFS also offers RODI water for $0.39 a gal, but I'd rather not go that route.

  7. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    Red Cherry Shrimps are extremely hardy. I left a small jug with left over plant cutting and water from my red cherry tank on the flow, next to my radiator for nearly a week. When i went to throw it away I realized there was around 10-15 shrimp inside, just goes to show how hardy this species actually is. That said, it would only be beneficial for your to get into a script schedule regarding water parameter checks etc and have most of the essential equipment so when you do decide to get crystal red shrimps, you will be used to it and it won't be much of a step up.
    Some deep red cherries would look lovely in your tank. However, they may not reach their full colour potential as they prefer dark substrate. You won't need RODI water for your cherries unless your tap water is at the extreme ends of the parameter range. If you do decide to get crystals later on, depending on your tap water, you may need to look into using RODI water.
    • 50 Gallon Black Water Asian Project: 12 x Sparkling Gourami, 10 x Kuhli Loaches with 25 Chili Rasbora on order to be added

  8. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    Some updates: The good news is that my kit still seems to produce valid results, the bad is that it appears my tank is going through a cycle. Moderate levels of ammonia, nitrite and nitrate lets me know that there is a colony, but I must have either set it back by rinsing the filter media (in aquarium water) too soon. Alternatively, the unavoidable carbon in the stock media may be wearing off. Furthermore the wisteria is melting, probably because I was too rough with it trying to plant it last week, this is probably the source.

    I was still pretty surprised to see it, since it is moderately planted now, but I guess its just some new tank syndrome and I need to let the plants establish themselves a bit more.

    I was also able to test my kH and it is actually somewhat low at 2. Finally, I should have the answer on my water aging tomorrow. I'll just have to keep the water changes on the smaller side, or get a second bucket so I can age my water.

    I guess the cherries will have to wait until next week.

  9. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    I have some more data to add to the picture. After aging my tapwater for about 24 hours in a cup, the pH fell from >=8.8 to 8.2. The tanks pH has remained steady at what I am calling 7.5 (reads 7.6 or high on the regular range pH scale and 7.4 or low on the high range pH scale).

    I also checked out the 2013 water quality report. Of note, nitrate averages 0.99ppm, Ammonia 0.17ppm, alkalinity 30 (I'm not sure what this means, something about buffering), pH 9.7, total hardness as CaCO3 107.

  10. Default

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    I really wish I could edit my posts. Anyhow, some fantastic news (not). I checked a local forum and it turns out our water supply is experiencing an ammonia spike, about 0.5ppm from the tap. Which explains all this mini cycle business. Best not to add stock regardless.

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