My First Tank

Discussion in 'Beginner Discussions' started by llewellyn, Oct 10, 2009.

  1. llewellyn

    llewellyn

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    Hi everyone

    Well as I mentioned nearly a month ago, I'm in the new place and my first tank is up and running. Its very basic so far. I cleaned the tank with water and a new (rinsed) pot scourer, rinsed the gravel and put it in then filled with water to about 85% full. I did a dechlorination with Nutrafin Aqua Plus, followed by adding some Nutrafin Clear Particulate (just in case since the gravel was used). Just in case, I picked up some Ick-Clear effervescent tablets and green algae treatment tabs too.

    I have an Aquaclear hang-on cascading filter. I ran it with sponge and charcoal for about a week then added the 'bio-substrate' stuff when I added in the bacteria (Nutrafin Cycle).

    There are a few artificial plants that I had got for free which are in the tank for now. There's also a long (8 inch I think) air stone running off an ancient Marltons pump (the price on the box was R40 and I still remember getting a discount on it back when I was a kid, so it really is from ages ago :))

    Although I've been quiet, I've been studying the site quite thoroughly :) so hopefully I have success first time around.

    I looked around for a water test kit with no luck in my immediate area, and since starting a new job, I didn't really want to keep running off looking for stuff in the week... After reading the best practices and knowing the care I took setting up (combined with some impatience) I added my first 3 tiny friends today. I was going to go with 5 Rummynose tetras (after reading that they are useful for judging water quality and are quite sociable), but I could only find one (Cost R20), and because it was in a tank with a zillion Neons, I just told them to leave the two in rather than stress them all out... They already looked worse for wear with some nipped dorsal and tail fins. So now I have a 3 foot tank with 1 Rummynose and 2 neons :) They started off being quite hyperactive and sticking to the bottom quarter of the tank near the glass for the first 45 mins or so but seem much more relaxed now and are wandering up into the middle section now.

    The good news (I think) is that in the past 4 or so hours since getting the rummynose into the tank, his nose has gone from a pinkinsh/red tinged colour to a really strong/defined red. I am not a great photographer, but some pics are posted below

    Assuming he and the others do well and my water quality and bacterial colonies are fine, I'll add more and bigger fish gradually.

    The fish I'm considering next (apart from 4 more rummynoses) is one of the smaller varieties of spotted Plecos (suggestions?).

    Anyway - thats me for now. Please shout if you have any advice or comments. I need to do some tank rearranging and get a hiding spot for some of the fish (rock or wood perhaps). I'm going to need to also investigate some lighting options and Silica substrate if I want to get an eel. Over the past month and a half I've seen some really sorry looking one (single?)-stripe eels in LPS which I have developed a bit of a soft spot for (I sense another tank coming already for LPS-saved fish!)

    pic 1.jpg

    pic 2.jpg

    Pic 3.jpg
     
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  3. Cool Blue

    Cool Blue

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    Netjies, ek sou net die tank vol gemaak het en 'n hand vol tenk maatjies ingegooi het.
     
  4. guido.coza

    guido.coza

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    Hi LLewellyn
    Tank is looking great.:bigsmile:
    Just take your time with the new fish. You still will have no sufficient bacteriae to "process" large amounts of Nitrate's.
    A good hardy pleco is the common Ancistrus or Bristlenose, with the true Plec. be careful. The common ones are mostly Hypostomus and Glyptorichtys both esp. the later are very pretty and cheap but grow to 50cm!:amazed:
    If you keep any of the more common Suckermouth start now to get real plants. Firstly, in my opinion, it looks much better, they remove/bind unwanted Nitrates and Phosphates and might be enjoyed by your plecos.
     
  5. OP
    llewellyn

    llewellyn

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    Update

    Hi again guys!

    Quick Update: I've been gradually stocking up the tank 1-2 fish at a time and I now have

    4 Leopard Danios
    1 Rummynose Tetra (been looking everywhere for 3 more)
    7 Neon Tetras (mostly because they get caught in the process of catching the others!)
    3 Scissortail Rasboras

    They're all doing fine and I haven't lost any yet. The rummynose seems to be identifying with the scissortails for now and is shoaling with them. No agression apart from the Danios initially giving the neons a fright every now and then, but they don't seem scared of the Danios anymore :)

    I've been doing 10% water changes every 3 days with a gravel vac and at the end of last week I did a 50%. Temperature was reduced slightly from 26.5 to 25. Every fish addition or water change is followed with a cap or two of NutraFin Cycle... so I'm hoping the bacteria are building up nicely :)

    The only major question I have so far is that the Rummynose and Scissortails are very 'lethargic' in the morning when I turn on the lights and the rummynose loses his nose colour overnight. He gets it back within half an hour of becoming more active... but since its an indicator of water quality, is something going wrong overnight or is this normal when resting? His nose is a very deep blood red colour all day long.

    When replacing the filter media, should I get rid of the charcoal and replace it with filter floss? The filter currently has a rectangular sponge (I've been rinsing in some tank water to clean), charcoal (which now needs replacing) and the biological substrate. Bearing in mind i'm adding real plants now, the charcoal may remove waterborne plant nutrients, or am I wrong?

    I'm going to get a test kit, two or three real plants, a hiding spot and some lighting today. Hopefully my substrate will be good enough for the plants (1-3mm gravel)

    Guido, I'm also taking your advice and getting a Bristlenose Plec if I can find one today.

    Another update and pics will follow shortly! :cool:
     
  6. Bufamotis

    Bufamotis

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    where are you situated dude?
    sorry if you mentioned it somewhere, maybe update your location then peeps can help you find stuff near you
     
  7. OP
    llewellyn

    llewellyn

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    Details now updated Ferryman - I'm in Atholl, JHB North
     
  8. OP
    llewellyn

    llewellyn

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    More things

    Yesterday was a busy day for the tank: I picked up a Spectra 30W ballast and a (Very expensive :() AquaGlo 30" tube (T8 18000K). The recommend it in combination with their 6800K tube, but thats best left to another paycheck... I must say it was worth it though... the fish look amazing and the new plants seem to be loving it! (will get to those in a second)

    I picked up a few fish as well... One more Scissortail, 2 Guppy males (Yellow & red), 3 Guppy females and 3 Red Platys

    I wasn't really sure about plants since none of the stores lists the species... so I bought the real equivalents of the fake plants I currently have. I rinsed them in tank water taken out for the 20% water change and left them in it for 15mins. I then separated the 3 plants into 5 and planted them around the rock. Their response to the light was immediately noticeable. Within 1 hour, the stems were facing up (the tips were pointing sideways when I planted them) and the tips were open. My Cory loves hiding in the rock, peeping through the top then scuttling off into the plants!

    Whats's next:
    I'm going to get rid of my plastic-sheet background and paint the back of the tank black when I get more plants.
    More rocks/hiding spots
    Create some variation with black fine gravel or silica sand around the rock/plants
    More plants

    My fish are very camera shy and very fast! But here are a couple of pics. Plant suggestions would be greatly appreciated! :blink1:

    Tank 1.jpg

    Tank 2.jpg
     
  9. windfire

    windfire

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    Location:
    joburg and pretoria. i cant travel to pta everyday
    great looking tank, id say dont get too many different types of plants what you have there look to me to be some amazon sword(broad leaves) and some watersprite (finer leafed plant) i could be wrong though. i tried watersprites but my apple snail decided they were lunch and demolished them in two days, you could also try lyssimachia nummerlaria (creeping jenny), its actually a garden ground cover but it looks awesome in a tank i bout two nice large plants for R24 from a nursery and you get a yellow version aswell. my guppies and platties adore it and its a nice area for spawning fish. i dont know about anyone else but the plants and plant varieties are a bit pathetic at the moment, i was looking for java fern and the best i could find had three leaves and they want like R18 for them! java fern is also nice by the way llewellyn just remeber not to plant it in the substrate rather tie it to you rock as it likes water movement around its roots, my snail has almost finished eating mine it would look pretty good if it had a chance to grow lol.

    you might also want to consider getting another female guppie, iv been told that the ratio for guppies should be 2 females to one male and keeping to that iv never had a problem with mine be prepared for lots of baby guppies though its so much fun watching give birth!

    happy fish keeping
     
  10. OP
    llewellyn

    llewellyn

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    First Fatality

    The tank itself is going great but today I suffered my first loss... My Cory decided that the filter was a good place to hide... It was very sad :( - he had a lot of character and was flitting in and around his rock cave and into the plants all the time. I wouldn't have been upset if it was a neon or guppy... I should've got more hiding spots before getting him in hind-sight... my new platies decided to cramp his style and took over his cave.

    I'm surprised he fitted through the pump intake tube which has a VERY narrow diameter - much narrower than his body! (his body was completely intact and I think if it wasn't for the media, he would've actually survived and spilled back into the tank). I'm going to do a ghetto net modification on the intake tube to prevent it happening in future...

    On the topic of filters... I don't know what I'm doing wrong - water parameters are all fine, I clean the mechanical filter elements frequently and I have 6 plants but the water is still not 100% clear. I've also added a 1-2cm layer of black silica sand on top of my 2-3cm layer of gravel, so fewer debris should be released into the water. Maybe I'm being fussy, or the 18000K light makes it seem more prominent, but it isn't as crystal clear as some of the tanks I've seen. Could the filter be too small? Its an AquaClear 20 hang on filter

    I think I am starting to really understand what MTS is... I finished work early yesterday (no water in Woodmead) and decided to buy a CD or DVD at the mall... I ended up buying R100 worth of freeze dried worms and fish :amazed: The yellow and green puffers also got me contemplating a new tank... WHATS GOING ON????? :amazed::wondering::amazed::wondering:
     
  11. Bufamotis

    Bufamotis

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    lol. it gets worse when you have no money and start contemplating whether you could stretch petrol money for two werks over 4 weeks, and use the money you save on the other 2weeks for fish... :)
     
  12. neilh

    neilh

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    Fish sleep, that's why the Rummy's loose their colour overnight.

    Please get more than 6 Rummy's and 6 or more Cory's in future, they are schooling fish.

    You want to save money on lighting? Go to Lamphouse in Linbro park, they are wholesalers of lighting equipment. Take cash as they do not have a credit card machine. Tubes to look out for are Osram Daylight/6500k and Sylvania Daylight/6500k and Grolux which is better suited to plant growth. 12 T5 tubes came to just over R1000

    All the 18000k tube is doing is casting a very blue light and not doing anything for your plants, it should be used in marine tanks.

    Have you had your water tested at all for Ammonia/Nitrite/Nitrate? Is it turbid/cloudy? Did your rinse the gravel/sand before adding it?
     
  13. OP
    llewellyn

    llewellyn

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    @neilh

    Thanks for the info and tips on lighting... I will definitely check it out. The specific tube I have is supposed to have spectral peaks for plants and fish colour... but I am definitely going to get hold of one of the daylight tubes you mentioned as well.

    I rinsed sand and gravel thoroughly (approx 10x) - I honestly think I'm being a bit fussy. It isn't *cloudy* just a bit of material floating if you look really closely. The water is as per the pics attached above (sorry they aren't the best quality)

    oh and on the fish - I've been looking for Rummys but can't find any - hence still only 1 - I am going to buy whatever I find when I finally find them. On the Cory's, I will remember in future - bad shop advice :(
     
  14. Gilbertr14

    Gilbertr14 Phenacogrammus

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    Yup most fish go pale, at night
    My neons and Rummies do it. The rummise go a sand colour and dissapear. Probably a defence mechanism in the wild.

    If they are pale during the day, then they are usually stressed. Water parameters usually being the culprit. Petticoat Tetras/ Black widows and Rummies are good "Litmus" fish. Hardy but show changes quickly.

    Get more of them to school. I got about 30 odd neons (WHERE THE CARDINALS PEOPLE!!!!) and they really look beautiful.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2009
  15. slayer

    slayer

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    tank is really progressing
    keep it up
     
  16. OP
    llewellyn

    llewellyn

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    Its been ages since I've posted an update so here goes:

    The issue I had with the water being slightly cloudy was solved with a canister filter (in addition to my hang on) and using "Aquarium Bio Vital" from Sandton Aquatic Centre.

    I still haven't changed lighting since the plants have been growing like crazy! I will be adding another tube eventually though. I actually had to give away ALL my watersprite as it had become so overgrown! I've replaced it with Amazon Sword (I think it is anyway) which is more manageable.

    In terms of losses/giveaways/additions:
    My Betta pair went off to a friend since I wanted to get fish that were incompatible with them and I didn't want to have a smaller tank specifically for them. I did get a LOT more neons and (eventually) more Rummynose tetras. I have no idea why these critters are so difficult to find in JHB. Maybe I'm looking in the wrong places...

    I still have the scissortails and Danios which are doing well. However one of my Platties had a go at some of the others for some reason... he's also a LOT bigger than the others and far more aggressive so now 2 out of the original 5 remain...

    I introduced some apple snails to the tank as well and they seem to have taken very well to the environment! There are already 5 babies making their way around the tank at very rapid rates!

    I was planning on having a bigger tank set up by now, but for the same reasons I haven't been active on the site it hasn't happened yet.

    My plan is to have the 3ft for only Rummynose's (15-20), Neons (20) and (maybe) Black-widow tetras with 3 large apple snails. I'll keep the Danios and Scissortails in there as well until they eventually die.

    I want to have a 5-6ft for Malawians (I have 3 small ones already in the tank which I needed to rescue - see pics) and my very beautiful, but very big Pleco, which is out-growing the tank very rapidly... another pet-shop misdiagnosis... I bought him when he was around 2cm and now he's VERY wide and at least 15cm long! Unfortunately he is quite camera shy, but I'll post a pic when I can. I'll also put the rest of the snails into this one.

    Generally the equipment I'm using, plant mix, silica substrate, livestock selection and chemical mix have been working well for me and I think I've been quite successful for a beginner so far :blink1: I've decided on species I enjoy and would like to keep as well as learning a lot of do's and don'ts along the way! Even though I don't post often, I still read a lot of the posts and I'd like to say A BIG THANK YOU to everyone for their contributions to this site in the form of questions and information. It has been an enormous help to people like me!

    Here are some pics. Sorry for the poor quality! There is a Malawi, adult snail and baby snail. I'll post more over the weekend.

    Malawian.JPG

    Snail 1.jpg

    Snail 2.jpg

    Apple Snail Baby.JPG
     
  17. OP
    llewellyn

    llewellyn

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    Update: Got a couple of pics of the Pleco

    Pleco 1.JPG

    Plec Fin.JPG
     

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