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General Aquarium Talk NO SELLING Swaps go in the Fish/Plant Swap Sticky

Discussion in 'Pets & Animals' started by Zoiks, May 9, 2008.

  1. broccoli

    broccoli Member

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    Anything that will leach out whatever is in it.... I wouldn't use eucalyptus, I don't think eucalyptus oil would be good for fish. (you can't give it to birds, except for native birds, it can be toxic, it's toxic to people too). That's the difficulty with finding driftwood - knowing exactly what it is to be able to look it up as to whether it is safe and then there's the risk of sprays or other contaminants. Even though shop driftwood is expensive, it saves that worry. Unless you can find something secondhand, I think you just need to bite the bullet and hit the shops.
     
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  2. .Radiant

    .Radiant Member

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    No water change tanks are possible but they're supported heavily by a huge amount of plants and a super thick substrate to house all that required bacteria. Remember most kits only really test for ammonia/nitrate/nitrite so the biggest worry in those setups is how trace elements get transported out of the system. Get enough plants in there and it won't be a worry.
     
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  3. Bourke

    Bourke Member

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    Not sure if it's been posted here before, it's kinda old but nice to watch, i've seen it twice on Channel 44
     
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  4. Digit

    Digit Member

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    So I've been cycling my tank (4x1.5x2) now for a bit over two weeks, and the tank has been able to handle 1.5ppm ammonia a day.

    Which means time to slowly introduce some fish, so headed in to Labrynth Aquariums and had a good chat with the boss there (who's name escapes me), he seems super knowledgeable and friendly. I walked out with 5 juvenile (2m 3f we think/hope), Geophagus Red Head Tapajos. Eventually I'm hoping to add an Electric Blue Acara and maybe something else. I'm open to suggestions. I thought about some smaller L's, Apisto's, but worried about them always being scared/hiding.

    Let me know what you think.

    20191228_195350.jpg 20191228_195344.jpg
     
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  5. broccoli

    broccoli Member

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    I'm not familiar with the fish you've chosen but IMO a tank isn't a tank unless it has cories.
     
  6. MUTMAN

    MUTMAN Member

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    Bottom feeders - Or YoYo loaches. They're mad little buggers and tend to only hassle each other, so you need a few of them.

    Lokkimg good Digit
     
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  7. Lupuscrux

    Lupuscrux Member

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    cories would love the sand, watch those ferns they'll take over the tank, which i like the look of.
     
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  8. Digit

    Digit Member

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    Haha, my partner (who knows very little about fish), picked out some cories as a fish she liked, I was thinking Oto's but maybe I'll checkout cories.

    Thanks mate.

    o_O I do hope they take off, I've never had good luck with aquarium plants yet. Do they need fertilisers? The guys at Majestic seemed to think they don't.
     
  9. broccoli

    broccoli Member

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    chanting voice: cories! cories! cories! :D
    otos are nice too, but cories are the best fish ever. They "talk" to you and do zoomies up and down the glass. They are like puppies, just lovable.
     
  10. Lupuscrux

    Lupuscrux Member

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    not sure on Ferts for them as my are planted in ADA soil, so I've not added any other then what is/was in the soil and fish poop.

    Yes Cories are good for glasss surfing and sifting through the substrate, ottos are good at keeping plants and glass clean. I'd get both...
     
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  11. VirtualNinja

    VirtualNinja Member

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    I have the most ridiculous convict. She is around 4 years old now, It will kill any fish I try to introduce so gave up doing that a long time ago. Now I put some live plants in her tank, mind you floating as she really dislikes any interference in the tank. Now it is day two of sulking buried in some leaves of a silk plant...smh.

    This fish is a complete bellend. :D
     
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  12. Digit

    Digit Member

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    I did a thing today... Well, it's been going on for a while now if you count the research, finding the tank on Gumtree, building the stand from old pallets (which still isn't finished, but I have no tools so it's good enough). Basically, I'm trying to set up a DIRT cheap tank :lol: as a breeding/display tank.

    Now the tank itself is a 60cm x 45cm x 45cm which had been used in a marine setup then converted to fresh, and I found it on Gumtree with the sump holes patched up for $50, bargain! It looks mint aside from slightly cloudy glass near the top, but I barely notice it so it should be fine. :thumbup:

    Then I did the stand, collecting pallets from the back of Bunnings (side note; my Dad works at Bunnings and told me which ones were being thrown out, which were still in use, etc. Basically if it's in the bin, it's free. Dumpster diving :Pirate::leet:). After tearing them down I used the 90*45mm for supports. I bought these Irwin clamp attachments so I could get the corners dead square, but they were horrible to work with, or at least I couldn't make them work for me, they'd always push the side out :upset:. Maybe I used them wrong, I'm not sure, but next time I'm going to just eyeball it and use straight clamps to hold in position. The stand still needs a base on top of the supports, sides and a door, both of which I plan on making from the thinner slats on pallets. But I'd really like a jointer/thicknesser/router to make them sit together real nice and hopefully reduce the thickness, and thus weight.

    The fun part, the substrate. I've been researching this for a while, and I did have my heart set on using this potting mix that has been sitting in the garage for a while. I'd read the back, looked it up online, everything looked okay not perfect. The Bunnings page shows the potting mix to be fertiliser enriched and contains wetting agents, but given the organic label on the packet, I assumed this would be okay. Then I read the back again, and I noticed something... "PROTECT: Hortico Insect killer" which was a straight out no from me. Then I also saw it has water crystals (which I couldn't see in the actual dirt), now I already mentioned I knew it contained wetting agents, but I assumed it was sphagnum moss or something given the organic label :rolleyes: but it wasn't.

    Enter a flurry of more research, where I came across 2Toned's thread on aquarium life. This was an Aussie example with similar water properties, using products from Bunnings, :shock: so I knew I could make a decent play at replicating, but I wanted to make it more my own. So I did more research and found another few guys who did a very similar substrate to 2Toned, here and here (which I've linked in case anyone wants more background, sorry if this isn't allowed mods). My process kinda mixed a bit of this and a bit of that to suit what I want to keep and breed, Apistogramma's. They add a small amount of fertiliser, but I'm hoping the propgation sand, and peat moss, aquairon will provide enough nutrients for the plants, along with the fish waste.

    - I started by placing the black sand around the edge of the tank. I might suggest placing cardboard around the sides of the tank, and adding the rest of the substrate first, then before removing the cardboard, pouring the capping sand between the cardboard and glass, simply so it uses less of the black sand, which is the most expensive part of this substrate.
    - I created a mound using some small standard aquarium rock substrate I had laying around.
    - I Added ~ 1cm (2.5L) of Brunnings Propagation Sand to the bottom of the tank.
    - I mixed the rest of the propagation sand in with 1/3 the 5L bag of Brunnings Peat Moss (from Bunnings).
    - I covered the sand mix with straight peat moss, now I've got half the bag left. This will help buffer the ph down, which most apistogramma's like.
    - I added the marble pieces or Tuscan Path White Pebbles. The idea is in acidic conditions it will buffer up, and produce carbonates and CO2 for the plants. Hopefully it'll keep a nice stables ph of 6.5ish, I'll report back.
    - The aquarium store I bought the black sand from gave me a small fish bag of the aquairon by Oliver Knott, so I sprinkled that over the top.
    - Now all that's left is to cap the mixtures with whatever sand you choose. I chose the black sand linked above, but a full bag wasn't quite enough to cover it to the depth I wanted, so I plan on getting another bag of that, and perhaps the Aquairon by Oliver Knott, which is much finer so should be better for the fish to sift, and iron rich to aid plant growth. I'm thinking I'll mix the two and make the cap deeper.

    So far it has cost me $54 for the substrate, the most expensive part of that being the black sand.

    I've added links (non-affiliate links) to all the products incase anyone wanted to know exactly what I'm using.

    Now it's time to research what rocks, driftwood and plants. There are loads of river stones in the garden, so I may use those, but some black and red basalt/granite from the old Bombo quarry might look absolutely mint! I saw driftwood at the store yesterday and I was mortified! HOLY CRAP that stuff is expensive!!!!!!!!

    The stock that I'm thinking of using, are;
    - Pair of Apistogramma Panduro, or another cool Apisto species.
    - Shrimp. Hopefully the plants will provide enough cover for them, and they can breed and create a sustainable colony even if some of them end up as apisto snacks.
    - 5 x Otocinclus for obvious algae control.
    - A school of small dither fish, like a Galaxy/Emerald Rasbora, or some kind of schooling tetra. I'm open to suggestions :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2020
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  13. callan

    callan Member

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    8 months since I reported the dramas with ammonia in my tank, I can finally report that I've had 2 weeks NH3 free. Nitrates slowly build up, buffer slowly gets consumed and nitrates are clear. you've no idea how relieved I am.

    The probable cause (I believe) was a faulty batch of water treatment stuff. In desperation I replaced it, and 2 changes later I noticed activity. I can only assume that my refilling the tank (with the siphon draining tight next to the filter) was flooding the bio beads with still chlorinated water, killing off the nitrifying bacteria. Moving the refill point, and using a fresh batch of water treatment stuff did the trick.

    Yay! No more twice weekly water changes..

    Callan
     
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  14. .Radiant

    .Radiant Member

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    Been spending a bit of time with this lockdown thinking about where I want to go with my tanks, I've got two big tanks - a 4x2x1.5 and a 3x3x2 and two smaller tanks. Really thinking that I'll shuffle the big boys on soon, I'm spending a lot of money on trying to meet their lighting/co2 requirements and it all it takes is for me to find a fancy plant that has different requirements and I try to cater to that. I've been eyeing the bookshelf tanks from Mr Aqua and Komoda which seem to be the goods, otherwise the half heighters might be the go to.

    I would recommend reading Diana Walstad's Ecology of a Planted Tank if you can get a copy. She basically kicked off the dirted tank movement and goes through a lot of the science in it. I would spend a lot of time figuring out where you want your hardscape and where you want to place your plants, it's messy when you want to move things around and have to dig under your cap.
     
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  15. matto20v

    matto20v Member

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    I have a similar problem, and when I think about it... it might be this.

    I first switch off the filter when draining water. Then when filling the tank with clean water, when its at 90% full I switch on the filter, fill to 95% or so, then add water treatment. I wonder if that minute or two or three of chlorinated water going through the filter is killing the good bacteria.

    Do you treat water and wait before turning the filter back on?
     
  16. Digit

    Digit Member

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    Glad to hear you worked it out :)

    I do love the idea of multiple smaller tanks rather than a singular huge tank, lets you have more species and play with more aquascapes :D

    Yeah I came across a lot of people mentioning the Walstad method and her book, but I haven't bought it yet, something I really should do, and now with so much free time, I should read more too!

    For my smaller tanks, I use buckets and pre-treat the water. However for a larger tank, I OD the Prime! Pump is off, water drained, start refilling, dose 1/2 the prime, before it reaches the drain, dose for the whole water volume, and switch the pump on, the water from the sump will top the tank up until it reaches the overflow.
     
  17. callan

    callan Member

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    My general order of proceedings is:
    Grab a sample of water and analyze - check chemicals and temperature.
    Add water treatment to buckets, fill with water balanced to correct temperature and leave to stand.

    Pull ornaments from tank, siphon Approx 30 percent water from tank, hoovering up any settled shit. Grub through aggregate whilst siphoning out.
    Clean glass and service in-tank filter. (replace pads as needed, disassemble pump and clean.)
    Dose water in buckets with appropriate levels of KH buffer - typically 1 teaspoon per bucket.
    Siphon water from buckets back into tank. Turn filter pump and air pump back on.
    Scrub ornaments of algae and stains. Drop ornaments into decanted bucket of old tank water and rinse. Re-place in tank.
    Clean top glass from tank and re-fit.
    Clean-up the godawful mess I've made in the above steps. Give myself a couple of fingers of bourbon :D

    Callan
     
  18. Optimus.

    Optimus. Member

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    I used 2Toned in my 3 layouts in a 5ft tank. Each lasted comfortably thorugh each one (2 years). I also bought some pond fertiliser 'cones' at bunnings and put them in under where the big plants were going to be. Also did the smashed marble tile trick.

    Make sure you don't get any fish that will disturb the substrate! No cories or loaches or digging apistos. Expect your black sand to become small potting mix bark chips after a few months as the heavier sand sinks down.

    One last tip is that it wasn't until I added a prop for water movement that the tanks came alive. I couldn't control the plant growth after that! To my mind good lights and water movement produces great growth (and can negate need for CO2 which in turn is healthier for the fish in a smaller tank).


    I also found /r/walsted on reddit yesterday. Give it a look!
     
  19. grrrr

    grrrr Member

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    I haven't been breeding discus since I moved to Brisbane ... however: I treated fresh water in a 200L drum outside before siphoning that back into the tank to protect the filter(s). I ran a bear bottom tank with plants in pots (and some on drift wood) rather than having a substrate. You have no idea how good it is. You can suck almost all crap (and any excess food) out the tank very quickly without having to disturb the plants or stress the fish...

    Plants in pots lets u do crazy stuff with slow release ferts, and caps, and pretty pots!


    (Which is great until the fish spawn on the pot instead of the spawning cone)
     
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  20. MUTMAN

    MUTMAN Member

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    i do 2x 80L treated external to my tank each week.
    seem to recall Agg has a mini wheelie bin he uses ?
     

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