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Stroth

Aquarium Advice

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Back in December a thread on here inspired me to get an aquarium going again. I have grown up with them always having one in my house. I got out of the hobby for a few years, but this past christmas my five year old son got into it and really wanted a tank. We've got a 40 gallon set up and it has been a lot of fun, but I have a few questions and I am struggling to find good information.

 

Brown Algae: Just this week we are experiencing some brown algae. It is mainly on the rocks in the bottom of the tank. I spoke with a salesperson at my local fish store (tropic isle) and he basically said there was not much I could do and it would go away on its own. He sold me four snails though saying they would eat some of it. Should I worry about this stuff?

 

How many fish?: Right now we have six platies, one zebra danio, and three cory catfish (just got those yesterday). One of our platies had babies and we have six or seven babies in the tank as well. It also appears that at least three of our platies are pregnant. How many fish are too many for the tank? What other fish should I add that would go well?

 

Feeding: I have heard so many different takes on this. Some say two or three feedings a day others say just one. What is best? This week I started alternating between a frozen shrimp / flake combination every other day.

 

Plants: I have two amazon swords and some other plant (forgot the name). Another salesperson said do not use a carbon filter insert for my filter, just use the filter material. Is this right?

 

Cloudy water: Finally my water is pretty cloudy. Should I do anything about it or just let it resolve on its own?

 

I know quite a few of you on here are very knowledgeable about aquariums, I have enjoyed reading your posts. Any advice you can offer is much appreciated!

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Im sure that Hotfishinggirl will jump in here at some point (she knows her stuff)but I can tell you my experience. As far as feeding goes, I would feed what you have mentioned on an every other day schedule. That being said, a lot of your algae is probably coming from left over food. I have never had luck with snails in a fresh water tank. The biggest controllable factor in algae is sunlight. Most algae require sunlight to bloom. Sometimes relocation of the tank is required. Most pet stores will tell you that you can stock your tank with 1" of fish for every gallon. I tend to dissagree. For most people, I would say more like 1/2" per gallon. The bio-load is too high when the fish begin to grow . I have an african red devil that I bought at 2 inches and he is now 12-13 inches and alone because he eats anything any size I put in the tank. Always be sure to research your fish before taking them home! Once you have a clear tank, it will tend to stay clear. Im not sure what you used for water to fill the tank and that can help resolve some of your issue as well. Well water, water softener, city water.... they all have their drawbacks....

 

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Take it from me everybody says how saltwater is so much more work than freshwater tanks. Personally, i wanna put these rumors to rest! They actually have less maintenance involved but they can be more expensive. Once they're stabile the only thing u should worry about is TEMPERATURE and keeping the trace elements up such as salinity, calcium, magnesium,etc. Also having high alkalinity will help your corals and inverts grow and with that being said the out come on a reef or saltwater fish aquarium is truly an amazing piece of this world that everyone should own in their homes. I ran a retail store front dedicated to these beautiful tropical environments for 3 years and let me tell u i sold everything in my freshwater tank to get sand to start my 1st reef. That also meant that after of growing my silver arawana for 2 years, my freshwater tank wasn't really doing it for anymore. I had a friend who showed me his reef and when i ever saw the Maze Brain Coral he had in there, i was HOOKED! I mean memorizing when it comes to an in home ecosystem there's no comparison. Eye blinding color, water quality, minimal testing and NEVER any ammonia built up in your gravel bed that u have to vacuum. This is usually the #1 problem in freshwater aquariums and with a reef u don't have to worry about that ever again!!:)

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brown algae is most likely coming from too much light,sun light,and over feeding.Increase your water changes,make sure any direct sunlight is blocked,and shut your light off earlier for a few weeks until it is gone.The biggest problem i see in the hobby is over feeding.

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i would also recommend any lighting be regulated by a timer this way u can cut back and save yourself the ahssle of turning the light off on time every day. if u dont mind me asking what type of lighting are u using?

 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Stroth View Post

 

Brown Algae: Just this week we are experiencing some brown algae. It is mainly on the rocks in the bottom of the tank. I spoke with a salesperson at my local fish store (tropic isle) and he basically said there was not much I could do and it would go away on its own. He sold me four snails though saying they would eat some of it. Should I worry about this stuff?

 

How many fish?: Right now we have six platies, one zebra danio, and three cory catfish (just got those yesterday). One of our platies had babies and we have six or seven babies in the tank as well. It also appears that at least three of our platies are pregnant. How many fish are too many for the tank? What other fish should I add that would go well?

 

Feeding: I have heard so many different takes on this. Some say two or three feedings a day others say just one. What is best? This week I started alternating between a frozen shrimp / flake combination every other day.

 

Plants: I have two amazon swords and some other plant (forgot the name). Another salesperson said do not use a carbon filter insert for my filter, just use the filter material. Is this right?

 

Cloudy water: Finally my water is pretty cloudy. Should I do anything about it or just let it resolve on its own?

 

 

 

I have a planted fresh water setup and struggled with brown and black beard algae last year. I tried 9 Zebra snail, but they could not keep up with the algae. I also had albino ancistrus pleco. I blocked any sun light that would hit the tank and also reduce the time of light on. 30% water change every week. None of that help. I don't have a CO2 system and did not fertilize the plants. That was part of my problem. The algae was out competing for nutrients in the water and the plants were dieing.

 

 

 

What worked for me is Seachem Excel. This is a water based CO2 for plants. The Excel is not marked as an algaecide, but it will remove the algae. For a 40G tank, day 1 does would be 8 caps of excel. This first heavy does of excel will kill the algae. Day 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, = 0.8 cap. Day 7 = 25% water change.

 

 

 

Once the algae is gone, You can continue to use the Excel, but the day 1 does would be 4 caps. Day 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, = 0.8 cap. Day 7 = 25% water change.

 

 

 

Warning! The excel killed my Moss Ball. That was the only plant casualty. I also use other seachem products to fertilize the plants. What I read is you want your plants to out compete the nutrients in the water and not let the algae take over. It is a balance that you have to tinker with, with your setup. The trade of with all these fertilizer is getting a greenish color in the water, but I can live with that because the plants and fish are happy now.

 

 

 

I feed my fish once a day in the morning. I put a little food in and if they finish within a minute I add a little more and repeat one more time. The point of doing this is not to allow any extra food to fall in the substrate or get sucked in the filter as much as possible.

 

 

 

Cloudy Water: I think you should check your Ammonia & Nitrite levels. I am guessing from your time line that you might be adding fish to fast. Your bio load is too much for your good bacteria (in your filter, substrate, or ornamets) to handle.

 

 

 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by GeneralSwimBait View Post

u running a CO2 kit on that tank? pretty nice for freshwater...



I am not. I does with Seachem Excel as my CO2 suppliment and other fertilizer. I want to setup a CO2 system, but the initial cost is too much. So I tried the Excel and fertitilizer. It is working very well for me.



 



To me, fresh water setup without aquascaping is like Salt setup without live coral and sea anemone. I like to create a small eco system that looks as much as the natural environement as possible.



 



Thanks



 



 


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As was stated above - cloudy water is usually a sign of ammonia.

Bring some water to Tropic Isle, Uncle Ned's Fish Factory, or Unique Aquaria for a water test, they can tell you exactly what's going on without the guesswork I'm about to indulge in :)

 

A tank that size I usually aim for about 8 fish total for the first few months (assuming an average fish size of about an inch), so you're right where I would want things.

Ideally at this point, you should have values of ammonia - zero; nitrite - zero; nitrate - between 10 and 40 ppm.

 

However - I also don't change the filter cartridge at all the first two months, so that lots of the good bacteria can grow there. I'm not sure if you've done any cleaning of the filter, or overfeeding, or anything that might be slowing your nitrogen cycle.

 

As for the algae - that's pretty normal in a new tank. as HFG mentioned, a bristlenose (ancistris) pleco will work wonders. You also may find that vacuuming the gravel during your "regular partial water changes" removes the algae.

(you are changing a portion of the water on a regular basis, yes ? I usually don't do so during the first 2 months, but after that I recommend changing 10-20% every 2 weeks. In your case, 8-10 gallons every few weeks should do the trick)

 

Just don't change the filter media the same day you change the water, and use a good dechlorinator ( I like Prime).

 

As for the plants - I don't use carbon if I am adding liquid fertilizers but other wise I don't worry about it.

More important in my opinion is having enough light - I usually recommend ~ 2 watts per gallon or more for amazon swords. Some plants (Anubias, crypts) can get by with lower light. Many plants need more light than 2 wpg.

Unfortunately, many aquarium "set ups" come with very poor lighting - often about 1 watt per gallon. Many 40g tanks come with a single 32w light or two 14 or 18 w lights -- many plants will struggle under that lighting IME.

 

Oh - feeding. I generally feel that as long as the fish average about 1-2 flake(s) per fish per day they are good. (these fish have stomachs the size of their eyeballs - a typical flake is like a big mac, fries and a coke) These are still essentially wild animals who do not always eat every day - so they are always looking to eat. Some days I feed once, some days two smaller feedings. Some days flake, some days thawed frozen food (bloodworms, etc), with some sinking pellets for the catfishes.

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Yes it is a ruffled amazon sword. I noticed a flower is growing out in the middle this morning. I am useing two dubble T8 6500k shop lights that you can buy from Lowes for under $20 each. It is about 1W per gallon on this 125G tank.



 



Thanks



 



 



canopy open.jpg



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Very nice.

I love those bulbs, I think I pay about $6 per pair of bulbs at Lowes and they look great.

I'm trying to get one of my coworkers to try them instead of the $20 bulbs he's been buying :)

 

I used to have shoplights over all of the tanks in my fishroom, but over the past few years I've been moving towards T5 fixtures as much as possible - I tend get only a year or two out of each shoplight (I think the humidity in there is killing them).

 

I like the sponge-on-the-filter-intake trick - I do that on alot of my tanks, saves me alot of baby shrimp and fish :D

 

And that cabinet is sweeeet !

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Quote:

Originally Posted by redpaulhus View Post

Very nice.

I love those bulbs, I think I pay about $6 per pair of bulbs at Lowes and they look great.

I'm trying to get one of my coworkers to try them instead of the $20 bulbs he's been buying smile.gif

I used to have shoplights over all of the tanks in my fishroom, but over the past few years I've been moving towards T5 fixtures as much as possible - I tend get only a year or two out of each shoplight (I think the humidity in there is killing them).

I like the sponge-on-the-filter-intake trick - I do that on alot of my tanks, saves me alot of baby shrimp and fish biggrin.gif

And that cabinet is sweeeet !



 



I open the canopy after the lights are off. Hopefully the lights will last longer that way. When I put in the T8, the home centers does not carry T5 6500k bulbs. Are you getting the T5 at a good price?



 



The sponge is mainly for that reason and not to suck in leaves and java moss.



 



I found the cabinet on the WEB and copied most of the design. I built the cabinet and canopy for ~$100 of material.



 



Thanks



 



cabinet unfinish.jpgcabinet finish.jpg


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