Anyone into tropical fish?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Andrew Pratt, Oct 6, 2002.

  1. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Producer

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    I have been out of fish for almost ten years but yesterday I came across a fantastic deal on a 30 gallon hexagon tank with a nice metal stand so I guess I'm getting back into fish[​IMG] I'm picking up the tank this afternoon so anyone have any advice on where to begin? I came across this report on how to cycle a new tank...does this seem right?
     
  2. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    ABSOLUTELY!!!
    Did I stress that enough? Welcome (back) to aquaria, you'll find a lot of people on this board are fishkeepers. Just do a search in this forum and you'll find a bunch of fish folks and fishy posts. Tom Griffen and his message boards are great, alot like the HTF except it deals with fish. MANY people over there are very knowledgeable and it's a nice atmosphere without all the riff raff like other places.
    As far as the link you posted, I highly recommend fishless cycling, it makes complete sense and I have used it on my 20gallon tank when I got it many years ago. It makes complete sense since if you've read up on cycling a tank, you're basically going through the Ammonia spike, the Nitrite spike and a possible nitrate spike until your filter is colonized by good bacteria. Ammonia is produced in the urine of fish (and us too), but naturally in too much quantities is harmful and possibly deadly to all fish (and us too). With one of two starter fish, you reduce the ammount of urine, hence ammonia, in the water and the ammonia spike is less severe as it's more gradual. However, why put fish through this slow and possibly harmful process??? You can add ammonia bought for a few dollars from the store and add as much as you want without any worry about harming fish. Therefore the time you wait for the ammonia spike is greatly reduced. When I did my 20gal, i think it took like 3-4 days for me to get a nitrite reading and go through my ammonia spike. I was adding abunch of ammonia to the tank every day thereby speeding up the Ammonia spike. It doesn't do anything to the nitrite spike though as what you're adding is Ammonia. I waited about another 5 days or so and I finished cycling the tank and got a bunch of platies and stuff while monitoring the tank afterwards.
    I think fish cyling is a ploy by LFSs to get people to buy more fish, you know you've heard the stories before? Some newbie goes into a store and perhaps the store isn't as good as others and selling the guy 5 angels, 10 cardinal tetras and 3 pl*cos for a 20gallon that isn't cycled and the guy comes back complaining that all his fish died a week later.... The fishless cycling is harmless and even gives you time to do some decoration and stuff...
    Jay
     
  3. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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    fishless is the way to go. Though in the saltwater world the process I think is a little easier, we just toss in a dead, cooked shrimp for a few days [​IMG]
     
  4. ollie_k

    ollie_k Stunt Coordinator

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    my last oscar just kicked the bucket last week [​IMG]
    Buddy we hardly knew ye. Oh well, Ive been keeping a 25 gallon tank for many years now, had some great fish in there. But for now Ive decided to hang up the algae scraper for a while.
     
  5. Ryan Wright

    Ryan Wright Screenwriter

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    Hi Andrew,

    I'm not sure what the answer to your question is, but I wanted to pop in here and ask one of my own. Hope that's OK.

    I have a 75 gallon freshwater aquarium. My fish don't seem to live very long. A year or two at best, then they start to die off in droves. This has happened three times, and I can't figure out what's wrong. Just last week I lost another Angel.

    Diseases? Checked. Everyone appears fine. The fish don't die with any visible problems, and fish store guy (whom I respect) agrees that disease does not appear to be a problem.

    I bought a test kit and tested for three different things (Ph, nitrates, ammonia). All is well.

    Filtration is (was?) an issue. We were using a 350gph Magnum canister filter. Fish store told us that wasn't enough filtration, so I built a sump out of acrylic early this year. I'm now pushing ~700-800gph, according to the rating on my pump at 4' head which I'm not entirely sure is accurate. Water flows through a sponge pre-filter, drops into a stack of blue bio-balls, flows under a partition in the sump to reduce nitrogen levels, through another sponge filter and into the pump, where it's pushed back into the tank.

    Something is wrong, though, because my fish still aren't doing well. What else should I be looking at or doing? What should I be doing to maintain the tank? I do very little in maintenance. The fish are fed daily with an automatic feeder, lighting is automated, I really just sit back and look at them. I test the water quality once every couple of months and top off the tank every once in awhile, but that's about it.

    Note that only three of my fish have survived these death rates - a large Pleco, whom I've had for 7 or 8 years now, and a couple of culi loaches I've had for ~5 years. They all seem oblivious to everything and are doing just fine. Other fish only last long enough for me to grow attached to them before they croak.

    Any help would be appreciated (after responding to Andrew's question, since this really is his thread!).
     
  6. David Ely

    David Ely Supporting Actor

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  7. Mark Dubbelboer

    Mark Dubbelboer Screenwriter

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    Me and my girlfriend are jsut in the process of setting up a 30gallon tank after being unable to pass up an unbelievable offer as well (ended up getting rid of two paintings we didn't have room for, and i didn't like).
    I was trying to tell her about fishless cycling but she actually worked in a LFS and i think they brainwashed her.
    I'm just going to print out Jay's post and show her that. thanks eh jay.

    btw, we decided on some angels and some clown loaches. i love the loaches and she loves the angels.

    Mark
     
  8. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Producer

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    Mark et al you might find this fishgeeks forum helpful. I have a post here that has some info on angels in small tanks...seems they aren't suited to 30 gallon tanks.
     
  9. Ryan Wright

    Ryan Wright Screenwriter

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  10. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

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  11. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    Hi Mark, good luck!!! It's sometimes hard to relearn info that has existed for MANY years, but after thinking about it, it makes perfect sense. You've just named two of my most favorite freshwater fish, Angels and (clown) loaches. I like all things loach though. You should look into Kuhli loaches too, they are cute and fascinating even though they tend to hide under your decorations for most of the day. They are typically nocturnal and there is such thing as a "kuhli ball" where if you have like 10 or more of them, they can roll themselves up into a small ball and I guess, frolick and play... Fascinating fish. Of course the clowns have their own personality. [​IMG]
    Ryan, I do about 30% water changes every 3 weeks, which seems good for me. I think the water changes are important, no matter how good or low your nitrates or PH is, theres stuff that is bad for your fish that isn't measured by any test kit, stuff that doesn't evaporate and may affect things like your hardness level and salinity levels and stuff. Good thing you do have a larger 75 gal tank, but I think you would be much better off doing regular water changes. No matter what the people say that says "new water is bad". Hogwash, some people don't even use dechorinators but I think living in ones own piss would be worse than getting new water. You don't have to change the water every week, unless you're like breeding discus or something, but ocasional water changes is a age old task that I believe is worth following. You can even look into something called a Python which is a siphon thing that makes water changes, especially on larger tanks, easy. It's a neat gadget that you will probably like, knowing that you like gadgets [​IMG]
    Also realize that tanks typically have much less water than the size! Don't forget all the gravel, decorations, fish, etc that is in it.
    Jay
     
  12. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    Water changes are a must (with gravel vacuuming), but to avoid stressing out the fish it should be as close to the same as the tank water as possible in temperature, pH and hardness. Topping up the tank isn't good enough, since with evaporation, you are concentrating all the waste byproducts and chemicals.
    The filters also need rinsing frequently with aquarium water so as not to kill off the good bacteria. Power heads need cleaning as well.
    Assuming there is already salt in the tank, salt should only be added when water is being replaced, since the levels should remain constant otherwise (salt doesn't evaporate).
    Of course, take my advise with a grain of salt, since I've recently been killing off my fish friends with disturbing regularity. I lost another this morning who was in treatment, and have killed 10 in the past month. They were all in separate tanks, but have come down with mysterious infections or parasites which have been lethal. I'm hoping I can revive my last gourami from a systemic infection, but am not too optimistic. I find it very upsetting when I kill these things.[​IMG]
     
  13. Mark Dubbelboer

    Mark Dubbelboer Screenwriter

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    I have a 10gallon at my house that's housing a handful of smaller cichlids as well. With a tank that small I find the need to do water changes even more regularly, I try to do it almost every week and at least every two weeks. make sure when you're doing them you use a decholorinator (assuming your water contains it) it's actually quite gross to watch the water that is being sucked up from within the gravel...especially since i have a pl*co who is lazy as my butt and doesn't even bother to eat the pellets i give him all the time.
    Andrew let us know what kind of fish you decide upon.
    oh and thanks for the advice on the angels, we're actually just going to get a few smaller angels to start with and her dad actually has a massive angel tank that we might "release" them into if they begin to outgrow their surroundings...it's my personal hope that we just get a bigger tank to accomodate them [​IMG]
     
  14. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Producer

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    So far i've been really impressed with that fishgeeks forum. I picked up some used gravel from a pet shop tonight to help seed the new tank. I have it in the bottom of the aquaclear so that should get the bacteria growing nicely.
     
  15. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    Just remember that the gravel won't do anything unless you have fish/ammonia in there to feed the bacteria. With no food the bacteria will die. Also, you have to be careful with gravel from pet stores (or any other tank) as it also can contain diseases and parasites along with the good bacteria...
     
  16. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    Typically, you have to rinse any new gravel from the store a bunch of times before you place it in the tank anyway. If you're really worried, you can use a bleach solution and of course, rinse that off real well too. I've seen 1 part bleach to 10 parts water as a good solution to use when disenfecting anything that goes into your tank. Of course it will kill off all beneficial bacteria too if that's your intended purpose for the gravel.
    Random Fish links:
    http://www.fishlinkcentral.com/
    http://www.aqualink.com/
    http://www.aquariacentral.com/
    http://aquaweb.pair.com/LOACH/
    Hey, I just found out that JAWS is the place that became fishgeeks.com, that has a pretty active message board too, but it used to be known as JAWS a few years ago.
    www.tomgriffen.com
    Jay
     
  17. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Producer

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    I intend to use off the shelf amonia at 5 ppm to start the cycle process then monitor it untill the bacteria can consume that amount in 8 hours...at least thats what the report I linked to above recomends.
     

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