New set-up

Discussion in 'Advanced Topics' started by Zoom, Apr 14, 2009.

  1. Zoom

    Zoom Retired Moderator

    Apr 13, 2009
    Likes Received:
    Jhb- Fourways
    Hi Professor,

    I recently joined TASA, and have found a wealth of information regarding problems and how to solve them etc.I shared my setup with fellow members in the "community tank" forum, and have received some good tips/advice.

    I currently have
    1 x Angel
    6 x Zebra Danios
    2 Guppies (1m + 1f)
    4 Black widow tetras &
    7 Pristella tetras.

    My substrate is gravil bought from a LPS (I'm assuming that stands for Local Pet Store). I have rocks creating a cave, and about 75% of the gravel surface area is covered with plastic plants with varying height.
    Tank is a 40l Boyu, with filtration pump sucking water up into the hood of the aquarium, pouring the water over the filter medium, which consequently falls back into the aquarium. I have 2 airstones under the gravil for visual aesthetics.

    I have some questions that people have advised me on, and would like your opinion. (You may answer whenever your time permits)

    * The members of the forum have advised me to put in real plants, in order to assist with the nutrients and Oxygenation. I went through the Ammonia spike, and currently seeing the end of the Nitrite spike. My Nitrates are at 40ppm. What plant should I get? Is my substrate suitable? What care do I need to do for the plants? (Additives? light? etc.)
    * What is the correct filtration medium to have in the hood. Currently the water pours over a fine substance, (almost like stuffed toy stuffing), through cabon chips, and finally through a thick gauze type stuff. (This was all sold as a kit). Should I be adding anything else to the filtration medium? (I've seen wierd and different things available at LPS that show is for filter)
    * How should I clean the gravil? With the tank being so small, when I use the syphon, I only get about 1/8th of the gravel surface syphoned, and then I've taken out 20%! My LPS advised me to clean the filter, take out the decor, churn up the gravel, and let the filter clean out the waste, then re-clean the filter. But the last time I did that, I ended up with an algae infestation from hell... resulting in me literally taking all gravil out, rinsing thoroughly, scrubbing the rocks and plants. I don't like doing this as it resulted in too much water change (as high as 80%), and it stresses my fish too much.
    * With the tank mates I have, can I and should I introduce a bottom feeder? (loach etc?) and what type would you recommend?
    * I am currently feeding the fish Omega One tropical colour flakes only... but have read that people feed live/frozen food as well. What other food can you suggest & how often?

    My wife and I (WITH ZERO FISH EXPERIENCE- Except the I&J Fillets in our freezer) have had the aquarium for just over a month now, and we are very proud of the fact that followed our LPS recommendations on setting up the tank, and have maintained the correct chemical balance. We have lost only 1 angelfish, which we believe was due to the stress of adding the second batch of fish about 3 weeks ago. Our female Guppy gave birth over the weekend (sadly all were eaten)... but our success's so far have given us great enjoyment, and we would love to keep up.

    Your assistance, advice and tutoring will be greatly greatly appreciated.


    (P.S Anyone else may also add their advise... this is not only restricted to the Professor.)
  2. Guest

  3. Dirk

    Dirk Dwarf Catfish

    Feb 10, 2009
    Likes Received:
    Somerset West
    Hi Ashley,

    I have read responses by other members of this forum and their advice in perfectly correct, I cannot improve on it.

    With regard to the questions you ask, I can answer as follows:

    1. I would also recommend that you add plants, it makes the whole aquatic environment much more real and it is not any more work to grow plants than to just keep the tank without them.

    2. The filtration media are fine except that the activated charcoal looses its use pretty rapidly so you can remove it after a few weeks and replace it with filter wool. I would only flush the filter wool under a cold tank when cleaning the filter and unless the filter wool is seriously compacted, I would not exchange it at all.

    3. I would clean the gravel with a syphon once every 4 to 6 weeks, but I would not mix up the whole lot to get the sediment into the filter, I would rather just syphon off any debris.

    4. you can safely introduce some bottom feeders but do not add something that gets too large. I can suggest Corydoras catfish as they behave well and do not steal food or eat plants.

    5. Omega one is an excellent food, so it is good to feed that. If you want to you can buy some bloodworm and some frozen brine shrimps and feed that as well, but do not overfeed.

    Otherwise all sound fine. If you go through threads on this forum, you can certainly learn a lot, and do not hesitate to ask.

    Kind regards,


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