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  #31  
Old December 6th, 2005, 11:21 AM
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Oops My bad!

It's a 10g not a 15g, I had a bad case of wishful remembering! I went looking for a 15g, but they were too big for where it was going.

The ottos seem to have settled in, the barbs and the krib aren't bothering them too much, I'm watching them to be sure. I am ready to move them out if I have to. Not 100% on who is going where though. I think the barbs and the krib will be too much for the 10g. I do wish I had another tank right now but then I'd be in trouble. I should wait at least a few months before indulging my hobby more.

Would increasing the number of barbs help? They are focused on each other right now, but 1 more would round out the school a bit better.

Now I'm rethinking adding pandas to the 25g, I may go for another variety of cory for that tank. Something a bit bigger, like a spotted, or a zebra.We'll just have to wait and see who winds up where before deciding on the next fish.
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  #32  
Old December 6th, 2005, 05:19 PM
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Hmmm....
How many T-Barbs do you have now?
It is often said that getting more of these disperses
aggression. Sometimes I wonder if you will just end up
with more of the little hellions!
I have always heard the best number for a semi-aggressive
schooling fish is 8.

Im glad your ottos are settling in and the krib isnt bothering them!
Thats good to hear! Could be that she is just going through a
breeding phase making her more aggressive than usual.
Think it happens about once a month with kribs! LOL sounds
familiar!!

Anyway, I am not sure what you mean when you say "Spotted" or
"Zebra" Corys- im pretty sure this must be yet another
peculiar common name. Wish people would just stick to the actual
names of species, regardless of whether is it easier to pronounce or
not!
Im betting the "Spotted" Corys you are talking about are Trilineatus.
Actually the Three-Lined or Leopard Cory.

If so, i can tell you they are, then they are hardy little guys that are very
nice looking and great schoolers. They often hover above my plants like little
UFO's. Dont know why or how they do it, but it looks really cute.
Heres a pic of one of mine, is it what you mean by Spotted Cory?
OH, I also had another thought, I have some Ambiacus Corys, sold to me as
Aggassizi Corys, which also may be called Spotted. I will post a pic of that one too. And I also remember when browsing my photos that Pepper/Paleatus Corys are sometimes called "Spotted". Please let me know if it is one of these corys.

Trilineatus Cory _ I have 2, cant find any more. One of my Absolute Favorite Corys of all time. They are soooo gorgeous!





Ambiacus/Aggassizi Cory - I have 3 of these, never been able to find
anymore of them. Another of my Fave corys!





Pepper Cory - keep in mind how large the stone
lapping barb is- a solid 3.5 inches in length. Compare the
size of the pepper Cory. This is a female, which are of course
larger than males. However, Pepper Corys, along with Bronze/Albino,
and Metae/Bandit Corys, are the largest of the cory cats.





Oh and I found a super cute pic of one of my ottos I wanted to share with you, I think they are totally the cutest type of pleco-type fish out there!


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  #33  
Old December 6th, 2005, 09:27 PM
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The spotted cory I was thinking of (I haven't seen it except in my brother's 55g tank) has the same stripes as the panda but also the spots of the corys you posted. They are all real sweethearts though. I also like the habrosus (?) or dainty cory and the metae also looks real cute as well.

LOL more of the hellions! They really are little hell raisers! But they have also settled down. The temp is almost right and I lowered the pH a bit to closer match the water in the ottos bag and the T-Barbs are doing mating dances all over the tank. At least that's what they look like they're doing. HE HE HE! One of them has been so fat for so long I've decided she must be a she and she's about to pop. The krib would enjoy that I'm sure. I haven't found any live food for them, so the best they get is frozen.

I really like the ottos. Day 2 and they're all still with me. I have been able to count 4 in the big tank and 2 in the small one. They have been eating like crazy. Busy little guys! Should I do a water change or try not to disturb them too much? I knocked an anubias off it's rock trying to catch the krib and have been unsure about reaching into the tank. I don't want to stress the ottos anymore than I already have. Both tanks are due for a water change soon. The plants in the 10g have been sucking up the nitrates like crazy and I had to add N,P,K to top it off. I have to get a phosphate test so I can judge the uptake of that.

Thanks for the pics of the corys. I'll check out the profiles to figure out which one my brother has. He doesn't get the proper names. Or worry about if they need to be in schools, he just buys one or a couple of whatever catches his eye.Work in progress. I'll get him all straightened out soon enough! He bought 2 plants for his 55g because the lfs guy said plants help with nitrates. He doesn't read as much as I do. I'm just itching to get my hands into his tank and show him how plants should look! I also have to make up a feeding schedule for him and make sure he gets the right stuff. Guess what he's getting for Christmas? Yep! Fish store certificates, I'm thinking Big Al's, there's one in Edmonton, I haven't been there yet, can't wait to go though!
Wow this was a long one. Thanks for your reply, it's always good to hear (?) from you!
-Colleen-

PS: How do you get your vals to be so lush, good light, food? That's something I always forget, I assume the fish feed the plants! I read they need calcium in their water and I think peat filters out calcium or something. I know mine all disappeared and now they're tiny. The broad leaf like in the otto pic is down to one leaf although a new leaf is coming up!
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  #34  
Old December 6th, 2005, 11:15 PM
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Hi there,
I wouldnt worry about water changes.
Ottos while sensitive, are not really phased by human
presence in the tank. So many times I have had them
accidentally suck onto my arm! LOL

The plant the otto is on is Vallisneria Americana.
It is the largest of the Vall plants, and currently I keep
removing the longest leaves, as it grows up the side and clear
all the way across my tank along the surface of the water.
I have heard it will grow to as much as 70 inches tall!
Oh well I just keep trimming it back. I had it in my low light tank
for some time, and it grew almost as fast as it does under the medium
light. I did have some in my 10g high light tank, but it simply grew so
fast I couldnt see into the tank for its leaves!
Plants really need 3 things:
Proper Temperatures
Light
Food
All my plants grow naturally in environments where temps
are considered tropical. I keep my tanks all at 82F, which is a
pretty warm temp. However it inhibits disease! And besides, the
fish like to be warm! lol - the discus are always telling me its
still a little chilly for them though LOL
The Vall americana is hardy from -12 - +40, so is a good all round
plant.
Light- I have 3 tanks one low light .5wpg, my 25g tank, one medium light at 1.5 wpg, my 75g tank, and the high light 10g tank with 4.3 wpg of light.
Its not so much the wattage as the type of bulb which really helps.
I use true daylight 6700 compact flourescents on my 10g and 75g tanks.
This is the best type of lighting you can give your plants period.

Food- plants use up various minerals and elements from the water,
as well as NitrAtes and carbon dioxide.
There are ways of improving these things in the water,
by adding trace elements, or by providing a fertilizer than
contains trace elements.
Yes peat removes calcium from the water. Water hardness is caused
by dissolved calcium ions in the water column, and peat essentially
removes these by bonding to the calcium ion. I have well water that
is incredibly hard ph 7.6 and gh of <280ppm.
I add 2 pounds of peat to my filters, 1 lb to each, to keep
the water at a ph of 6.6 and a gh of >60ppm.
There are some good fertilizers, but the best way to give your plants the nutrients they need is with a combination of in gravel ferts, and liquid ferts.
I use "Jobes Plant Spikes for Lush Ferns and Houseplants". Get em anywhere just about, I get mine at Walmart.
Bury one deep under the gravel below each large plant.
I replace these approximately once every 3 months by simply adding
a new one.
I supplement with a liquid fertilizer, a pair of them actually,
One is Flourish Excell. It contains trace elements, as well as nitrogen,
however, if used too regularly I have always found it causes staghorn
or black beard algae! So, I use another fert, called "Aquarium Plant Fertilizer" by the "Aquarium Stuff Company" out of Burnaby BC.
It lacks some of the high levels of nitrates that are in the Flourish, so doesnt
cause algae.
So my total plant regime is:
Lights on at least 12 hours.
Plant Food sticks once every 3 months under
every major root feeding plant.
Liquid Ferts- Week 2, following water change, full dosage
of Flourish Excell. Week 4 following water change, full dosage of
Aquarium Plant Fert. Repeat.
Water change of 35% every 12-14 days.
:-)

Also, plants require C02, so if you have a large or great many air stones
in your tank, this causes the c02 to be released from the water.
If your fish can tolerate it, remove all air stones, or limit
their use. This will cause less
dispersion of c02, and allow plants better growth.
I like to use a single air stone, as my canister filters
do not provide surface agitation, so This keeps
the surface agitated to promote oxygen exchange.
It also provides more oxygen to the fish, which I always
find is beneficial.
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  #35  
Old December 6th, 2005, 11:58 PM
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I just started using the jobes sticks, my regime calls for them to be broken into thirds and added bimonthly. 2 sticks in the 25g and 1 stick in the 10g. I found it on the krib I think, in one of the articles. I have also started using flourish excel and plant-gro N,P,K. The excel is supposed to go in every morning, 1/2 cap in the 25, 1 ml (approx 1 thread) in the 10g, and the N,P,K after each water change. I also add flourish iron about every three days, that's how quick it seems to disappear, I don't just stick to the tests though, the plants will tell me when they need more iron. My biggest challenge seems to be light, I can only get about 1wpg. But I am using the flora-glow lights, the spectrum is the 67000. The 10g has the better amount of light. Still my swords aren't doing badly, they just don't grow madly. HEE HEE poet.
Anyway, I am doing the right things for the plants. I have also rmoved the airstone I had in the 25g as soon as I was assured the fish were getting enough air. I barely slept the first night, I was dreaming they were all drowning LOL. I went away over the summer and the filter quit, but I still had the airstone in and it kept the water moving. The plants did the rest. Good plants. We're going away for a bit over Christmas and I'm worried it may happen again, luckily I'll have someone come and check on things, make sure it's all running. NOT feed them though, I'll use the timed release food. Last time I had family feed fish the water was disgusting when I got back. I couldn't see the fish for the left-overs!
I change water every 7-14 days depending on how it looks, what the fish are doing. My pH is higher though. Keeping it close to 7.5 is hard enough. I haven't ever had it down to 6.6. I don't think the krib would like it too much if I got it that low. In the 10g I am trying to work it down lower though. My profiles site logbook recommends a lower pH for the fish going in to that tank. The 25g pH suits the current residents and the logbook recommendation as well.
Juggling temperature needs is tricky too, plants like cool with warm roots, fish like warm and I like small power bills. The fish win hands (or fins) down.
I am definitely going to borrow a camera so I can take pics of these ottos, they are so cute, and the 2 in the 10g are really lively now. The 4 in the 25g are starting to come out a bit more. They totally ignore the barbs nosing around. And the krib must be finishing breeding mood, she's leaving them alone. She sure is pretty when she wants some love! Her anal fins turned a really dark purple and her pink belly was almost neon! She was trying to boss the barbs around and then they started their dancing and she seemed to get all excited. Yikes, my tank is turning into some weird fish mating display tank. Pervy fish! Poor little innocent ottos, to have to live with such creatures!

Wow, I'm tired and losing my marbles, so I'll say goodnight and talk (type) at ya later!
-Colleen-
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  #36  
Old December 8th, 2005, 06:30 PM
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Hi Colleen,

Sounds like your krib is a very pretty girl!!
I have always liked them, but always been afraid
to add one to a community tank because of their
aggression. Espescially after my sisters kribs killed
like half her in fish a weeks time!

In my 10g tank I try to keep the ph down by using a small bag
made of a knee high with peat in it, suspended just under the filter
output. It wont fit in the filter, its one that takes pre made cartridges,
tall and skinny, a Cascade filter. This seems to have lowered the ph
a little bit, but has softened the water by about 80ppm. Not as much
as I would like, but better than it was!

Your lighting, while lacking in wattage, is definetly the right kind,
which makes all the difference in the world! While you may not
be able to get high light plants like rotala indica to grow,
you will probably get most others to! A Sword is a very good
indicator of whether your light is good enough or not.
Swords are notorious lovers of high light. If it survives, and
does well, regardless of how fast or slow it grows, then you can
probably pick up most medium light plants and run with them.

I am really having a hard time deciding what to put in my 10g.
I have gotten rid of all the guppies but one big female,
and a few platies, all of which will be going this friday.
That leaves me with 4 Cory Hasbrosus and a Rubbernose pleco.
I am currently treating them all for Camallanus worms.
If this final medication doesnt work, I have no choice but
to euthanize them all.
I have tried about 7 different anti-parasitics, including those
for dogs, cats, and birds. I have tried anti parasitic food, nothing
is working. I am trying some fizz tables Parasite Clear, and hope
they work. Otherwise I have run the gambut of every single
wormer available in the country, except one, and that one is for
cattle, and comes so strong it would be impossible to treat
these small fish without killing them. UGH.

So I may end up with a totally empty 10g tank.
Dont know what to put in it!
Its a jungle, so whatever goes in there has gotta
love a planted tank, and be hardy!
I have had quite enough of gouramis and guppies with their
diseases and affluence for parasites!
This is the 2nd time I have lost a whole tank full of fish
to these parasites.

Anyway, any ideas for my 10g tank?

- Your friend, Koran.
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  #37  
Old December 9th, 2005, 11:53 PM
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Hi Koran,

Yes, she's absolutely Gorgeous. She eats from my hand, nips at me when I am rooting around in the tank, she likes to show off for me all the time, and she's leaving the ottos alone and has gone back to bossing the 5 T. Barbs around, the dear.

(Added in Dec 10
I picked up 6 harlequin rasboras, while I was acclimating them, I tried to cut the bag so it would fit in the hood of the tank. There was so much pressure in the bag it exploded! I checked to see how the fish had done and there were two missing! I found one fairly quickly and got it back in the bag, it took 5 mins to find the other one though. I was sure it was dead and was going to toss it when it gulped for a breath, I dropped it in the bag and it floated upside down, so I scooped it out and it gulped again! I put it in the cup the betta came in and added water from the tank, it gradually turned itself upside right then started swimming backwards, LOL. I left it in the cup for a bit and continued getting the other 5 ready to go in the tank. Then I decided to try adding it back into the bag to see if it would swim forwards. It did, then I added them all to the tank. They seemed fine but now one seems to have a dislocated jaw or something. I think it's one of the ones that hit the floor but I could be wrong. Will this interfere with it eating? I am not feeding them much yet as I like to let them get settled in first. This happened yesterday and I didn't write about it because I was worried I might lose those two.)

Because I like them so I'd suggest a single krib or a bolivian ram (haven't found any here but I'm looking, my betta won't live forever) with some smaller fish, like the harlies and pandas or, a pair of kribs or rams, as you have not tried kribs this may be the time to try.Mine does not seem to mind the lower pH and hardness of peat filtering. Have you ever had shell dwelling cichlids? The neo. multis are so cute and they stay small. I have seen some of them posted on FP and I would like another 10g for them.

That worm sounds like it's really hard to kill. You may wind up taking the plants out and bleaching the tank, then setting everything back up. That's what I would do, just to be sure they were finally gone. I'm assuming you've tried pimafix and melafix, how about -metrodizonole- it was recommended as a prophylactic anti-parasite on FP, I can't remember who, but someone whose advice I would trust. I will be looking for some, he says it's ok to treat the whole tank with it, in food form or as a med. It also doesn't require carbon filtration to remove it as it oxidizes in 24 hrs. I haven't had any problems with parasites so far, knock on wood. Hope you finally get it all cleared up. Did it come in with some fish? If so I wouldn't buy from that store anymore. I had kribs from a lfs that had just opened and the kribs died one by one, the clerk said it was my water, which had nothing wrong with it, I tested. Their tanks weren't cycled and they shouldn't have been selling fish. I will only buy supplies from them when I don't want to go into the city. I refuse to buy fish from them at all.

Let me know how it goes and if you find something that works for those worms I'd be interested just in case. I'm going to pick up that metro stuff if I can find it. I've been lucky seeing I don't have a QT. I try not to get store water in my tanks, unless I trust the store. So far the fish in my 10g have all come from the same place. Even the danio was from that store.

Talk to you later
-Colleen-
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Last edited by gottahavepets; December 10th, 2005 at 05:28 PM.
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  #38  
Old December 11th, 2005, 09:23 PM
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Sad news!:sad:
The harly that was on the floor for 5 min is dying. The gills on one side are reddened, he is gasping and sometimes on his back. He doesn't have long at all. I am so sad as he made such an effort to stay alive, even when I had given up. I have been advised the gills may have been fatally damaged while he was out of the water.Poor baby, it is hard to watch him go belly up and try to right himself, swim that way for awhile then struggle some more. I am going to put him out of misery. It's probably better that way. I can't suffer anymore.
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Old December 12th, 2005, 02:59 PM
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Awww, what a shame.
Well, these kind of things happen!

In response to your earlier post about Metranidazole.
I have treated these worms now with Jungle Brands Anti Parisitic food
for three weeks, ingredients Metranidazole, and Prazinquantal.
Medicated with liquid Prazi-Pro, prazinquantal main ingredient.
Tried Kent Marine RX-P which treats most parasites with a dose of
hot pepper. Works great for ich and flukes, not for worms.
Tried Salt Dips at a super high concentration nope not that either.
Tried "General Cure" for parasites: metrinidazole, trichlorfon and levamisole, nope nothing.
Tried Dog Wormer with ingredient Piperazine Citrate.
Tried Jungle Brands Anti Parasite fizz tabs now, which are metrinidazole,
couple antibiotics, and arciflavine. I have seen no improvement after second dose.
I really am at a loss. Im amazed my paradise fish is still alive, the state it is in. I will spare you the horrible details. I really would like to cure this fish and the others, but it is looking hopeless.
I have now used all but 2 medications listed in my fish health guide, and have spent probably 70 dollars on anthelmentic treatments.
I suspect because fish are so heavily medicated in the fish farms, that a lot of these parasites have become immune to these common medications.
I suspect I will be unable to find anything to kill the worms that wont kill the fish. UGH.
Oh well.
What can ya do I guess?
These worms can come in on any fish, particularly gouramis, labyrinth fish,
and livebearers, as well as many wild caught fish. The problem is, in some fish it can take so long to even show symptoms of the worms, that the QT tank doesnt work. Even after QTing these fish for 3 weeks, having them in the tank for 3 months, It took 4 months solid before any fish even demonstrated a single symptom. UGH.
Horrible.
Just my luck! LOL

On a lighter note, I got 7 Red Eye tetras, and 6 Glass Catfish recently.
The Glassies are so cute and so nice looking I love them!
They look like what you get when you cross a mouse with a catfish LOL
Great little critters!
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Old December 12th, 2005, 03:44 PM
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Those glass catfish sure are neat! I haven't tried them yet. The barbs make me a bit nervous about what other fish to add. And now the krib does as well because she gets so snarly once a month. Like me I guess, cause I do too!

Those worms sound really horrible. It's too bad that it takes so long for the symptoms to show up. There's got to be a way to treat them without killing the fish. That makes me nervous as I don't have a QT, I introduce my fish right into the display tanks. The bettas almost a year old so he must be clean. So far I haven't had too much bad luck. I did start with a 50% loss rate, but I really rushed putting fish in. This time I'm trying to wait at least a week in between adding fish.
Any idea how long tiger barbs live? I can't find it in any book, or in the profiles. I am starting to think about putting different fish in the 25g when they are all gone but I don't know how long that will be. I am waiting on putting cories in that tank because of how the krib reacted to the otos, I don't want her scaring little cories also. Although that worked out ok I guess.
I hope to be able to post some pictures soon. I found out what I'm getting for Christmas and I'm so excited! But I must act surprised because the kids don't know I know, although everyone else does. LOL, I just can't keep secrets, it's beyond me.

Your Fishy Friend
Colleen
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Old December 13th, 2005, 05:33 PM
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Tiger Barbs are pretty long lived fish.
I would say they probably live anywhere from 3-7 years, maybe more.

Yes the worms are horrible. This is the second time I have had
to deal with them.
My paradise fish has had a third treatment of meds, and is still
getting worse and worse.
Sigh. I am going to euthanize all affected fish this weekend and
then watch the rest carefully.
Ugh. Poor fish.
I may have to break the tank down and do a full tank clean.
I am not sure if the worms can survive without a host, or not.

I just dont want to have re-cycle this tank again, it would be the 4th time!
lol
serves me right for always changing my mind anyway!
Well, next fish I get for this tank are going to be ones who arent
commonly plagued by parasites. So no livebearers and no gouramis
of any kind!
Maybe go with some type of tetra, I have never had a single issue
with any tetras, and even have some neons and glowlights that are over
2 years old! They are only supposed to live about 9 months to 1 year most commonly. Amazing.
Anyway, I too am looking forward to christmas.
It will be a nice break.
I look forward to your pics Colleen!
Talk to you soon,
Koran.
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Old January 12th, 2006, 02:20 PM
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Peat Questions...again

Koran, how much peat do you use to lower and maintain a stable pH? I am lowereing my pH to about 6.5-6.8 because iron is insoluble at anything over 7.2.
My plants have been showing iron/potassium deficiency and I think the reason is the pH is too high to keep the minerals soluble. The problem is the pH keeps going back up! You stated you use 2 pounds in the water change bucket right? And then some in the filter as well. For both my tanks, one bucket is 5 gallons the other is 2.5 g. How much peat would you recommend in the buckets and how much in the filters, one is aqua-clear 50 the other is the a-c mini? I have been using pH adjust down to lower the pH before it goes into the tank as well as to adjust the pH of the water in the tank. The fish are all fine with the lower pH, I have done it gradually over a couple of weeks. Now to keep it from bouncing back up. I have a feeling the gH is really high, as well as the kH coming from the tap. I will be getting those tests and testing the tap and both tanks asap. I will continue using the peat as I see it as very beneficial to both plants and fish.
Thanks in Advance!
Your Friend
Colleen
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  #43  
Old January 13th, 2006, 09:02 PM
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Hi Colleen,
Really depends on the tank size!
I use 2 lbs of peat in my filters. 1 lb in each.
Are you wanting it for the 25g?
If so, I would start with 1/4 of a lb (1/4 of a box if you buy it that way in the Hagen peat granules box)
and then test you water about 24 hours later.
If its still not soft enough, add some more.
I dont use any in my water change water, just in the filters.
I test my water after each water change, and if the hardness
begins to rise I change the peat. Usually its good for between
1-2 months depending on whether I do extra water changes or just
the regular schedule.

Just reread your post and saw the filter types.
For these filters the best thing to do is get some knee high pantyhose
and rinse them well, then add the peat to it and tie and cut the excess off.
Then you can make it in smaller packets to fit your filter better!
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Old January 17th, 2006, 11:10 AM
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So if the kH from the tap is really high it will take more peat to reach the desired pH right? And when the kH starts to rise the peat is spent. It takes 6 doses of pH adjust down in a 4 gallon pail to lower the pH by 1 degree, I have to use 6 times the recommended dose to adjust the pH in the tanks, I'm guessing this is because the kH is so high, the pH goes up because the kH buffers it even though I have peat in the filters.
I am almost tempted to give CO2 a try because it will drop the pH for me and keep it there. I don't have enough light for Co2 though, it would probably cause some sort of crisis.
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Old January 17th, 2006, 11:45 PM
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Cool

Hi Colleen,
actually with even lower light c02 would be effectual
in your desires. While It may not help the plants as much as
if it was a higher light tank, it will still create improvement.

yes, the kh is definetly buffering the gh and thats why the gh keeps
rebounding. Thats also a common issue with chemical buffers.
Do you have any real driftwood in the tank? Driftwood often
acts as a KH buffer, by releasing tannins into the water.
This, combined with peat, is usually a very high level of buffering
and water softening.
Even a small peice of driftwood will release tannins continously for
about 2-3 years, depending on the type of wood.
Just boil it if you can fit it in a pot, scrub it good,
and soak it in a plastic tub of water for 2 weeks changing the
water daily or every second day - this will remove the majority
of the tannins which would turn the tank water brown.
The rest will be enough to buffer the kh sufficiently.

Yes, the peat lowers the gh, and ph, and when it is spent the ph and gh
climb again. I find it usually is good for 3-4 months before the ph starts rising.
Mind you I use a ton of it, probably would need to be replaced more often if using smaller amounts.
Also - you can imbed peat granules/fiber/plates/pellets underneath your gravel,
and this will not only nourish the plants but help to buffer the water acidity as well.
I use the little round pellets, and turn the sideways and bury them deep under the gravel - but I have very thick gravel - so this may not work for all. My gravel is about 4 inches deep.

Also Colleen, you may want to look into Kent's product Black Water Extract.
This may give you better results quicker, as it is a concentrated formula of tannins and peat concentrate as well as some other things that create a soft water environment.
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Old January 18th, 2006, 06:21 PM
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Hi, would the Blackwater extract be better than the pH adjust down? It is sulphuric acid and the amount I have to use is astounding and I wonder what it could be doing to the water, plants and the fish. I worry about H2S poisoning sometimes. I can't find the kH test locally, so I'll be heading off to Paradise in St. Albert, I know they've got it there. The local store uses and sells the test strips, the 5 in 1's, and they are not accurate enough. No wonder they were telling me there was a problem with my water! I use the hagen test kits and I haven't had problems with them.
Because my water is so buffered it would probably take a lot of peat and driftwood to reverse it, I may need to get a small chunk of driftwood to have in the water buckets and add more to the tank. Both tanks have real driftwood, and I can add more to the bigger tank, it's on the list, and while I have all the gravel out in the spring I can put a layer of peat under the gravel. I have read that in an article in the Krib I think it was, making great substrate or something, I did wonder about the peat being lifted during gravel cleaning though. I guess in a planted tank gravel cleaning doesn't have to be really deep to be effective, there should be a layer of mulm for the plants anyway.
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Old January 20th, 2006, 03:04 PM
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Ok I found a hardness alkalinity test. The KH was between 180 and 300, the GH was at 300, that's from the tap. The pH was 7.5, I adjusted it to 6.8.I changed the peat in the buckets a few days ago and when I tested it the results were KH 80, and GH between 75 and 150 and pH was at 7, not the huge shift it usually does. The numbers are definitely getting better. I changed the peat in the filters as well and switched from the granules to the loose stuff as the granules just didn't seem to work. I will be testing more often and changing as needed. This summer I will be looking for a cheaper source of peat. I always get a bale for the garden and as long as it's pure with no added chemicals I should be able to use it!
I put the peat in the buckets so that it's already softer before it goes into the tank. This way I don't need to add as much to the filters. The water will steep for a week or so with an airstone to keep it moving before I put it in the tank. The theory is that it will need less adjustments at water change time and not stress the fish by being too hard. So far they really seem to be doing well. The plants will tell the tale eventually if I can keep the iron and potassium in solution long enough for the plants to use it. The Kents Blackwater extract is also a source of chelated iron, do you think they add it to the bottle or is the peat a source of iron? Flourish Excel is not a source of nitrogen, it is a source of carbon and it helps to reduce iron to the state that is most readily used by plants. It is supposed to control algae but I haven't found that to be true, although the tank with the most algae is the 10g with a bit higher light and some direct sunlight. Soon that will be changed, I have a blind I just haven't put it up yet. I love that window except when the sun beats right in and blinds me. Although it's cool to see the amazon sword pearl when the sun shines!
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Old January 20th, 2006, 10:00 PM
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Thats a good idea!
I never would have though bout it!
Yep you could definetly use any peat as long as it has
no additives. Is definetly cheaper that way.
I use the granules as they are way more concentrated than the
bulk fiber, but maybe it depends on the water?
If blackwater extract uses iron, its probably added to the mix,
as most soft water is low in iron, and iron is required for fish and plants
to some degree.
It definetly wont hurt.
How are your fishys doin these days?
Mine are finally getting over the worm problems thank god, remember you wanted me to tell you what I found that worked in case you ever encountered it - pure crystalline metronidazole. Only thing that has worked.
Thank god!
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Old January 21st, 2006, 02:29 AM
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Thank goodness you found something that works! The crystalline must be stronger than the other type.

My fishies are all happy, the pandas are getting over their shyness, the otos are fat and happy, the new danios and barbs are all finding their places in the shoals.
I am so looking forward to replanting in the spring, but to tide me over I get to play in my brother's tank (55g long). I gave him a Big Al's gift certificate for Christmas to get plants and maybe some fish if we don't blow it all. He has tetras, one of each I think. I've convinced him we need to limit it to 2 or 3 schools and build them up.
I'm looking at cardinals, black skirts and lemons, what do you think and how many? Also maybe add some otos (6 to 8) to replace the pleco he lost over the last few months. It swam into a fake driftwood and didn't swim out again. My brother found the skull while cleaning the tank! He's got some cories and I think we'll increase the numbers there too. First though I want to get the plants in then let the tank settle before we work on the fish. I'd hate to introduce cardinals and such then shock them all with a major planting operation.
So that's what I'm doing, dreaming about little tanks and big tanks.
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Old January 21st, 2006, 09:11 PM
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Hi Colleen,
yep the crystalline stuff is way stronger, and has no adverse reactions, and is safe for all fish. Big Als had a great price on it too.
I got enough to do 8 full doses of slightly above recommended dosage,
and it says just to treat every second day until symptoms disappear.
I am going to run 5 doses, then keep the other 3 and watch. It may take a couple weeks for the fish to shed the worms, and some may die from this, but hopefully the majority of affected fish will survive.
I have already seen some of the worms peeping out turning from red to white - which assures me they are dying.
I am also feeding the fish a new type of gel based food with metronidazole, prazinquental and flubenol, as well, 2 days each week, to assist the powder in the water. It seems to be helping and the majority of the fish actually eat the gel stuff.

Ohhhh, planning a 55g! what fun!
Does he want it to be tetras only?

Lemons, Cardinals and Black Skirts sounds like a great match, nice and contrasting, and very colorful!

I think this would be a good stocking:
6-8 ottos would be a good number
10 Cards
10 Lemons
8 Black Skirts
8++ Corys of one species

That would be a nice busy bustling tank.
Or he could do 1 group of 6 corys, and then he could
have a little space to do a centerpeice fish if
he so chose, like a gourami or something.
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Old January 22nd, 2006, 12:30 PM
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Oh how much fun was that! I played in the big tank last night. He has really low-light so we stuck to the hardy low-light species and also 3 swords, I know they aren't low light but they have done well in my tanks. We got 3 largeish driftwood pieces and a really neat pagoda stone, (heavy!) to make some caves and such, I tied the ferns and moss on and placed them in. We added the blackwater, his water is also very hard, so we doubled the dose. After I was done playing my sister-in-law said she really liked it, so I guess I did a good job. When it grows in it will look much better I'm sure. In a couple of weeks we will be adding a few more plants, a smaller anubias like the nana, and some crypts. I wanted a water onion but couldn't find any. We were at Big AL's in Edmonton and I couldn't believe how much their plants cost! So we headed to my favorite LFS in St. Albert and got a lot more plants than we could have at BA. I have had no problems with the plants or the fish I've gotten from there.
The tank has been having problems with un-explained deaths, I think it's the really hard water, the blackwater will help with that I'm sure. And now that he knows how to clean the filter properly and will be adding to the biolagical filter with some bio-max in it he won't have as many problems.

So here's what is in the tank right now, we are making decisions but it's hard, my SIL like lots of colours in the tank and many types of tetras, I haven't yet got her convinced that three of each and 6different kinds isn't a good idea. The ones we won't be adding to I'm not sure what to do with, I don't think I should rescue them, I took the lone rasbora last night and it didn't make it, too long in the bag I think. 1 1/2 hours. But here's what's left I think I remember them all.
2 red-eye tetras (big)
3 black skirts
2 black neons
1 bleeding heart tetra
1 black-spotted cory
1 blood-fin tetra

She wants 3 more red-eyes, he wants lots of cardinals, they both want the otos and cories, and she wants rummy-nose tetras now as well as what's already in the tank. I like the black skirts, they are really pretty and set the other fish off nicely.
Are all tetras short-lived? I may be able to convince her that she could wait and replace them later as they die off, that way she can have all the tetras she wants in a never-ending pattern. So let me know what you think and I'll see what I can do, they have a bad habit of buying whatever catches their fancy.
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Old January 22nd, 2006, 02:44 PM
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You should never have one or two tetras of any kind. You should have at least 3 in a small tank, and 5 or more in a big tank. Odd numbers make a more attractive display I think but that's just personal taste.

Corys shouldn't be kept alone either, as they are quite sociable.

Rummy nosed tetras are pretty, but delicate to water conditions, moreso than many other kinds.

Other fish I like and have always kept are gold barbs and cherry barbs. They are attractive, peaceful and live a very long time. You need 3 or 4 females to one male, as the males tend to harass the females a lot.
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Old January 22nd, 2006, 04:48 PM
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Hi Lucky Rescue! You know that, I know that, I need to make them see that as well. I'm trying to convince them not to just buy whatever catches their eye but to actually plan it out beforehand. Looking at needs and compatibility before purchasing them.

Here is what I'm thinking may work, the numbers are all negotiable.
10-20 Cardinals
5 Red Eyes
6 Rummy Nose
5 Serpae Tetras(formerly thought was Bleeding Heart)
8 Otos
6 Cories

The ratio works out to about 1.5"/gallon, using 50 gallons and 20 Cardinals. This to me is acceptable in a long planted tank with regular weekly water changes and not over-feeding. I see it as a colourful and active tank which is what the SIL wants. They have two young daughters who love watching the fish.
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Old January 22nd, 2006, 08:11 PM
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10-20 Cardinals
5 Red Eyes
6 Rummy Nose
5 Serpae Tetras(formerly thought was Bleeding Heart)
8 Otos
6 Cories

This should work Colleen - Red Eye Tetras have the possibility of
being quite nippy (I have 7), so you may want to consider upping
the number to 7. I started with 4 and found them to be harrassing my pristellas, which are too peaceful to handle it. Upped it to 7, now they only harrass each other.
Red Eye tetras get very large as well - about 2.5 inches.
If you were to get 2 more, Id stick with only 15 cardinals.
Not all tetras are short lived- the red eyes will probably live 5-7 years,
the serpaes 3-5, the rummynose 3-5, and the cardinals 2-5 depending on water conditions.
Sounds like a nice tank!
Hope you post some pics of it!
As for the unexplained deaths - have you tested the ammonia and nitrItes,
in a cycling tank none of those tetras stand a very good change of making it through. If its still cycling, id wait now till it finished, then add only 3-5 small fish at a time at 2 week intervals. This will prevent mini cycles and rebounds.
Or- it could just be the fish were a bad batch, that also happens sometimes.
Keep me Posted,
Koran.
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Old January 22nd, 2006, 09:21 PM
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The tank has been running for two years now, it isn't still cycling. The ammonia and nitrites are both zero, I think it was the hardness, we have really hard water here and he's farther into the city. My husband has a degree in water/waste water treatment and Edmonton water gets worse as you go East. We're on EDM. water but ours is the farthest West and therefore has the least treatment done to it, I still think it's awful water though. My brother also doesn't change the water every week, he does it once a month. That'll be changing right away, and he used to change both halves of the filter at the same time as the water changes. This is also changing. His tank has a Whisper 60 from Tetra, I'm not 100% sure what filter media to recommend aside from peat and bio-max, he can't run carbon with the blackwater extract, I'm thinking loose filter floss in a media enelope on one side and peat on the other side. Rinse one then the other next month. Do you think that'll work? I have only used the Aqua-clear filters so far. He may be changing to the AC 70 or larger when he can afford it.
Stress could have killed them as well, the numbers are really poor for schooling fish. He also had a pleco go into a cave, get stuck and die, all he found was a skull, it would have raised the nitrates really high. We'll be testing for phosphorus as well, it's something I've never tested for and maybe we should.
The blackwater hasn't reduced the GH far enough yet, how long do you think we should wait between doses to bring it down to where we want it? Right now it was a double dose last night which was recommended on the bottle, a single dose tonight then he'll test again tomorrow. If it still hasn't done it's job I'll tell him to take the carbon out and just put the floss envelope back in. Maybe that's what it is, the carbon.
Thanks as always I look forward to your imput.
Colleen
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Old January 23rd, 2006, 04:20 AM
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Thats good to know the tank isnt cycling.
I couldnt remember whether it was new or not.
I suspect you are right about either water or stress doing
them in.
Poor Pleco. That happened to 2 ADF's I had, got stuck in a
ornament and died.
Cool though on finding the skull thats kinda morbid and neat!
*lol*

Im glad to hear your working on his maintenance regime with him!
Way to go!
Even happier to hear they listen. Some people - its like talking to a
brick wall - im sure you know some of those!

The BW extract is probably being filtered out by the carbon.
I would suggest removing it and seeing if it makes a difference.
Like you know, carbon isnt really needed for a tank except
in certain situations.

I dont know Whisper filters either - never heard very good things about them so chose to avoid them.
I know aquaclear and cascade and eheim and fluval. Just got a Rena XP-2 thats exciting! Now to wait for the missing tube to come ....

I think bioballs/peat/floss are the best things in filter personally.
:-D
Take care my friend,
Koran.
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Old January 23rd, 2006, 06:12 PM
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I hope he listens to me, this is my little brother we're talking about. Fish may be the only thing he listens to me about this century! It's funny he's had his tank 1 year longer than I've had mine and already I know more about fishkeeping than he wanted to learn. I think he thought there was nothing to it, put fish in and enjoy. Hopefully the new regime doesn't turn him off. Although I could wind up with a 55 that way!

He may be getting an AC 70 soon as it is the one I know the most aboutand have the most experience with. That doesn't really say much but I figure stick with what works until it stops working.

How long should the tank settle before add new fish? I'm thinking at least a week, then we can start topping up the schools we are keeping and add the more sensitive otos and rummies another week or so after that. We'll be adding more plants as we go along as well. But I read the rummies are very sensitive to transport shock and will take the recommended measures to prevent this when it comes time for them.

I may be upgrading to higher light. It would be nice to have 1 wpg or even 2. Right now I'm lucky if it's at 1/2 wpg! Hagen has a double light hood that will fit my tank, it is the same make as the one I have. This way maybe I won't lose as much water to evaporation as I won't be cutting out for an undergravel filter, and if I have a submersible heater by then I won't need as big a hole on the heater side either.
With higher light I will be looking at CO2 as well. I may go with the hagen one because it looks simple to set up and use and it is the right size for my tank.
I am hoping this will all be accomplished during my spring tank reno. We'll see how that goes. I have to start saving my pennies now.
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Old January 23rd, 2006, 11:19 PM
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Hi Colleen,
I think that you could probably add about 4-6 new fish (if theyre small) each 10-14 days.
That will give the tank time to stabilize in between each.
If I can suggest, for a 55g tank, a hang on the back filter is really not
the way to go. For a bigger tank, with a higher bioload, I would really suggest a canister filter.
If he wants easy maintenance, canisters are the way to go.
I clean my canisters only about once every 3-4 months when flow rate decreases. They also hold about 10X more media in one chamber alone than a whole HOB filter does.
Sure a canister may be more expensive, but in the long run, its worth it.
In the past 3 years I have gone through 4 Aquaclear filters, and 2 Cascades
Hang on the back style filters. I have switched all my tanks but the 10g over to canisters now.
Fluval makes a decent cheap canister,
Rena would be second in cost, high in quality, second only to Eheim.
I have all 3. The rena so far seems to be the easiest to maintain, start, and put together. The eheim is the most difficult, but has the best quality.
Just a suggestion if he wants more filter for his buck, go for a canister.
For a 55g tank I would recommend personally a filter that does at the very least 75g.
My 75g tank is now receiving 220G of filtration, or 20X per hour turnover rate.
You wouldnt believe how much less maintenance of the filters I have to do.
Anyway just a suggestion you might want to consider.

I am also going to be getting a C02 system for my birthday next month.
Im getting one of the Nutrafin easy grow c02 systems for my 10g tank and see how that goes. With 4.5 wpg, im sure it will help!

-Koran.
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Old January 24th, 2006, 03:21 PM
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I have shied away from canisters because I thought they would be more work to clean than the ac hobs. Mine has been a dream, I have had it from the beginning. We'll see what he says, so far I've had free reign on this project! I was thinking for the hob we'd go with the larger one that will do 60-100gal size tank, I haven't seen the price on it. If they're about the same then we'll give the canister a try.

Next month is my birthday as well! 3 days after Valentines day, so I usually get something red and heart shaped for my birthday. Can't complain the hubby is usually prepared to give in to my every whim at that time of the year! Heck last year I got the 25g! This year it's a wonderful trip to a spa for a wrap, massage and soak in an epsom salt spa. Can't wait.
Colleen
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Old January 26th, 2006, 12:59 PM
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Koran, get this, I was checking the profiles of the fish I want to put in the 55g and cardinals can live 10yrs! The black skirts 6, not all the fish have a lifespan listed though. So I'm wondering if the black skirts would be ok in my 25 or if we should move them into my brother's 10 with the mollies. I really need to get more info on tetras. The mollies are doing great in the 10 as it is, it is kept brackish the way they like it and they are breeding well. I think the black skirts are compatible with the fish in my 25, at least according to the profiles they are. Let me know what you think, here's what's in there now:
1 krib
1 SAE
5 mixed danios
6 tiger barbs
4 otos

The only real problems I see are the krib and barbs aggression, I do have a method that has worked lately for introing non-aggressive fish to the tank, and will use it, as well as lights out during the intro. If you think it is a bad idea then we'll donate the fish to whatever store we're buying from. That's what I did with the fox and sharks, they didn't give me credit but they did take the fish.
Thanks
Colleen
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