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Old 03-12-2015, 11:01 PM   #1
ichthyogeek
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Ichthyogeek's summer tub project(and questions)


Update: So...I'm not exactly sure about this whole tubbing thing, but I'm going to give it a try! I've got a 20 gallon blue kiddie pool (very shallow, ~6 inches deep maximum), and a 72 gallon vat. I have a 55 gallon aquarium full of white cloud minnows, water sprite, elodea, java moss, a platy fry, and a neon tetra. I also have a 30 gallon aquarium with a red wag platy, convict cichlid, and pictus catfish. Additionally, I would like to add cherry shrimp. Last year I know that these fish (not the shrimp) all went outside, and came back alive, so I know that they can live outside. Right now, it's raining and the vat is filling with rain water. Tomorrow I'll probably drag the kiddie pool outside.

Future picture update: (this is where I'll stick pictures in future posts_

Questions:
Right then. So the the temperature from today till next Thursday has a low of 40 F. My parents don't want me to start breeding mosquitoes, so I need to add WCMM ASAP. The books I read state that the minnows can stand temps from 40-100F. Does this mean I can add the WCMM's after the rain stops? Do I need to add a solid gravel layer to the tubs? The plants I have are all either floaters, or can be delegated to plant baskets, so there's no need, right? Can I put gravel into the plant baskets, or does it need to be a special substrate? How do I start getting amphipods and copepods to start coming into the tubs, as well as green water? I have some blue dissolvable miracle grow powder, and it seems to have urea ammonia in it. Can I use it to add a nutrition boost to the tubs, as well as start the cycling process?
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Old 03-12-2015, 11:35 PM   #2
Diana
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Right then. So the the temperature from today till next Thursday has a low of 40 F.
This is a bit too cool for fish, even the cool water fish. I agree that WCMM are from a cool location, but the coolest I have kept them was at about 60*F. Sure they might be OK in cooler water- but you cannot just add them. It is not cycled. Your WCMM would take some time acclimating to the cooler pond. So start acclimating them to cooler water, a degree or so colder each day or every other day.

My parents don't want me to start breeding mosquitoes, Get some mosquito dunks for a month or so, while it is cycling.

Do I need to add a solid gravel layer to the tubs? The plants I have are all either floaters, or can be delegated to plant baskets, so there's no need, right? Gravel is optional for the bottom. Benefits: Helps the fish feel more comfortable because they are camouflaged. Holds beneficial bacteria.

Can I put gravel into the plant baskets, or does it need to be a special substrate? I would use Pond Soil (look for it in nurseries that sell pond plants)

How do I start getting amphipods and copepods to start coming into the tubs, as well as green water? Green water algae will find the water. I think it drifts around in the air. Not sure about the other things. Maybe you have to find starter culture.

I have some blue dissolvable miracle grow powder, and it seems to have urea ammonia in it. Can I use it to add a nutrition boost to the tubs, as well as start the cycling process? Nope. Wrong nitrogen source for pond/aquarium sort of set up. Won't do anything for the ammonia or nitrite removing bacteria, either. See the fishless cycle below. Use pond fertilizer tablets in the pots.

More comments:
The kiddie pool may be too shallow. If it worked for you last year, OK, but I would be concerned about it over heating in the sun, temperature swings from day to night, and predators getting very easy access to the fish.

Here is the fishless cycle. It will go very slow when the weather is so cold, but get started ASAP. Get all the equipment running and so on. It is fine to add mosquito dunks while cycling, they are safe for bacteria, fish and plants. They target mosquitoes only.

Cycle: To grow the beneficial bacteria that remove ammonia and nitrite from the aquarium.

Fish-In Cycle: To expose fish to toxins while using them as the source of ammonia to grow nitrogen cycle bacteria. Exposure to ammonia burns the gills and other soft tissue, stresses the fish and lowers their immunity. Exposure to nitrite makes the blood unable to carry oxygen. Research methemglobinemia for details.

Fishless Cycle: The safe way to grow more bacteria, faster, in an aquarium, pond or riparium.

The method I give here was developed by 2 scientists who wanted to quickly grow enough bacteria to fully stock a tank all at one time, with no plants helping, and overstock it as is common with Rift Lake Cichlid tanks.

1a) Set up the tank and all the equipment. You can plant if you want. Include the proper dose of dechlorinator with the water.
Optimum water chemistry:
GH and KH above 3 German degrees of hardness. A lot harder is just fine.
pH above 7, and into the mid 8s is just fine.
Temperature in the upper 70s F (mid 20s C) is good. Higher is OK if the water is well aerated.
A trace of other minerals may help. Usually this comes in with the water, but if you have a pinch of KH2PO4, that may be helpful.
High oxygen level. Make sure the filter and power heads are running well. Plenty of water circulation.
No toxins in the tank. If you washed the tank, or any part of the system with any sort of cleanser, soap, detergent, bleach or anything else make sure it is well rinsed. Do not put your hands in the tank when you are wearing any sort of cosmetics, perfume or hand lotion. No fish medicines of any sort.
A trace of salt (sodium chloride) is OK, but not required.
This method of growing bacteria will work in a marine system, too. The species of bacteria are different.

1b) Optional: Add any source of the bacteria that you are growing to seed the tank. Cycled media from a healthy tank is good. Decor or some gravel from a cycled tank is OK. Live plants or plastic are OK. I have even heard of the right bacteria growing in the bio film found on driftwood. (So if you have been soaking some driftwood in preparation to adding it to the tank, go ahead and put it into the tank) Bottled bacteria is great, but only if it contains Nitrospira species of bacteria. Read the label and do not waste your money on anything else.
At the time this was written the right species could be found in:
Dr. Tims One and Only
Tetra Safe Start
Microbe Lift Nite Out II
...and perhaps others.
You do not have to jump start the cycle. The right species of bacteria are all around, and will find the tank pretty fast.

2) Add ammonia until the test reads 5 ppm. This ammonia is the cheapest you can find. No surfactants, no perfumes. Read the fine print. This is often found at discount stores like Dollar Tree, or hardware stores like Ace. You could also use a dead shrimp form the grocery store, or fish food. Protein breaks down to become ammonia. You do not have good control over the ammonia level, though.
Some substrates release ammonia when they are submerged for the first time. Monitor the level and do enough water changes to keep the ammonia at the levels detailed below.

3) Test daily. For the first few days not much will happen, but the bacteria that remove ammonia are getting started. Finally the ammonia starts to drop. Add a little more, once a day, to test 5 ppm.

4) Test for nitrite. A day or so after the ammonia starts to drop the nitrite will show up. When it does allow the ammonia to drop to 3 ppm.

5) Test daily. Add ammonia to 3 ppm once a day. If the nitrite or ammonia go to 5 ppm do a water change to get these lower. The ammonia removing species and the nitrite removing species (Nitrospira) do not do well when the ammonia or nitrite are over 5 ppm.

6) When the ammonia and nitrite both hit zero 24 hours after you have added the ammonia the cycle is done. You can challenge the bacteria by adding a bit more than 3 ppm ammonia, and it should be able to handle that, too, within 24 hours.

7) Now test the nitrate. Probably sky high!
Do as big a water change as needed to lower the nitrate until it is safe for fish. Certainly well under 20, and a lot lower is better. This may call for more than one water change, and up to 100% water change is not a problem. Remember the dechlor!
If you will be stocking right away (within 24 hours) no need to add more ammonia. If stocking will be delayed keep feeding the bacteria by adding ammonia to 3 ppm once a day. You will need to do another water change right before adding the fish.
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Helpful hints:

A) You can run a fishless cycle in a bucket to grow bacteria on almost any filter media like bio balls, sponges, ceramic bio noodles, lava rock or Matala mats. Simply set up any sort of water circulation such as a fountain pump or air bubbler and add the media to the bucket. Follow the directions for the fishless cycle. When the cycle is done add the media to the filter. I have run a canister filter in a bucket and done the fishless cycle.

B) The nitrogen cycle bacteria will live under a wide range of conditions and bounce back from minor set backs. By following the set up suggestions in part 1a) you are setting up optimum conditions for fastest reproduction and growth.
GH and KH can be as low as 1 degree, but watch it! These bacteria use the carbon in carbonates, and if it is all used up (KH = 0) the bacteria may die off.
pH as low as 6.5 is OK, but by 6.0 the bacteria are not going to be doing very well. They are still there, and will recover pretty well when conditions get better.
Temperature almost to freezing is OK, but they must not freeze, and they are not very active at all. They do survive in a pond, but they are slow to warm up and get going in the spring. This is where you might need to grow some in a bucket in a warm place and supplement the pond population. Too warm is not good, either. Tropical or room temperature tank temperatures are best. (68 to 85*F or 20 to 28*C)
Moderate oxygen can be tolerated for a while. However, to remove lots of ammonia and nitrite these bacteria must have oxygen. They turn one into the other by adding oxygen. If you must stop running the filter for an hour or so, no problem. If longer, remove the media and keep it where it will get more oxygen.
Once the bacteria are established they can tolerate some fish medicines. This is because they live in a complex film called Bio film on all the surfaces in the filter and the tank. Medicines do not enter the bio film well.
These bacteria do not need to live under water. They do just fine in a humid location. They live in healthy garden soil, as well as wet locations.

C) Planted tanks may not tolerate 3 ppm or 5 ppm ammonia. It is possible to cycle the tank at lower levels of ammonia so the plants do not get ammonia burn. Add ammonia to only 1 ppm, but test twice a day, and add ammonia as needed to keep it at 1 ppm. The plants are also part of the bio filter, and you may be able to add the fish sooner, if the plants are thriving.
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Old 03-14-2015, 02:21 AM   #3
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Umm...okay, so I do have to cycle the containers, and from what you said, it's pretty much the same for outdoor tubs and vats as it is for the aquarium. However, from what I've read, tubbing doesn't require a filter, so where does that leave me in regards to the whole filter thing? Can I just add a handful of aquarium gravel, and start dosing ammonia, then wait for the vat to cycle?
non cycle questions: What's the optimal temperature to start adding in water sprite, elodea, duck weed, and taro outside? For cherry shrimp? The kiddie pool definitely worked quite well last year, it didn't overheat at all, and I had a ginormous shoal of WCMM's halfway through the summer. I actually bought some fruit netting last year, and draped part of it over the pond, which prevented the fish I added halfway through the summer (pictus cat, convict cichlid) from getting eaten. Last year I used some metal gardening gates to keep my sisters' golden retrievers away from the fish, but is there a way for me to construct some sort of frame for the netting to make it look respectable this year?

Also, if I plan on adding Aponogeton bulbs to the tubs, should I worry about seeds from the flowers spreading? I don't want to accidentally add any aliens to Arkansas!
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Old 03-16-2015, 12:53 AM   #4
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Temperature: The fish are currently in a nonheated tank, and it's still running at 74-76 F...umm...how do I lower the temperature to get them outside?

Would it be beneficial to add non-pesticide sprayed oak, apple, pear, and mulberry leaves from last fall to the tubs?

I just filled out the tubs today, and added some duckweed, and a capful of Flourish to the kiddie pool (3x the dosage), and 2 caps to the vat (regular dosage). The flourish can't cycle the tubs, right? Ohhh!! I have some very old fish flakes/pellets, can I use those to cycle the tubs?

Finally, my dad really, really, REALLY likes carp, specifically koi/goldfish. He says that the ones he wants to buy will be dead by winter and still small (I died on the inside when he said that...). I'm reluctantly saying he can add one small koi/goldfish when it gets warm enough. It will go the giant 100 gallon vat. However, the first half of summer will have WCMM and red cherry shrimp, and the second half of summer will have a convict cichlid, pictus catfish, and red wag platy in there. I'm worried mostly about oxygen being depleted due to the warm temperatures and lack of water movement.... thoughts on this? Also, come winter, when the fish will surely be alive, can I move it to the garage when it starts dropping to 40 F and below? The garage remains at a toasty 45 F during the coldest nights.
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Old 03-17-2015, 04:15 AM   #5
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Okay, let me start off by saying don't put the fish out yet, it's too cold. I would just wait and check your weather until you have a week where it will be no colder than 60 degrees. At this point, you can add the white cloud mountain minnows. I would wait until mid April to add the more tropical stuff. Don't worry about lowering your tank temps, just acclimate the fish around midday when it is close to 70 degrees or more outside, they'll be fine.

I would not put gravel in the tubs as it's not necessary for the plants and tends to become a sink for detritus. Cycling can be done with the old fish food, but honestly if you let it be and leave it alone for 2-3 weeks it'll be cycled enough for your initial white cloud additions. Also, don't add ferts!! It's too cold and plant growth hasn't taken off, so all you'll be doing is feeding algae

Lastly, no koi for sure. You can get small feeder goldfish, maybe they will survive the winter if you insulate the bigger tub well. As far as 02 levels go, you should be fine if you have a good amount of plants and the temp stays under control. A small solar powered pump couldn't hurt, but is not really required

Bump: Tubbing is loads of fun! I've been doing it for the last 2-3 years. I have a pond that stays up year around and then I add some tropicals that breed and then I sell them off, and choose some to keep for myself and bring those inside before the first cold snap

I am working with some nice red blonde guppies and pearl danios for this year, and am keeping my fingers crossed for some nice yields!
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Old 03-18-2015, 06:51 AM   #6
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Ok, thanks for the info!! Good luck with the guppies and danios!
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Old 03-19-2015, 04:20 AM   #7
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While I'm waiting for the tubs to cycle, I had this idea... I've got a 10 gallon aquarium that has 3 Danio tinwini, and 2-3 Corydoras pygmaeus. I'm thinking that I should let the tub cycle for sure, and when the temps go up, add in 2 WCMM's as test fish (to make sure they don't die of reasons unknown), as well as a few cherry shrimp. If all is well, I plan on removing the white clouds, and adding in the D. tinwini and C. pygmaeus as well as a few cherry shrimp into the 100 gallon vat. That's 6 tiny fish and a few shrimp in a 100 gallon vat. However, I'm going to try and get them to spawn while in the vat. Luckily (or unluckily depending on how you see it), Arkansas gets lots of mosquitoes. Which means, that I get a lot of mosquito larvae. Last year I stuck about 8 WCMM's in the 20 gallon tub, and they made a giant school appear by the 4th of July. What are y'all's thoughts on me getting a middling size school (~20) of each fish if I add the fish in around late April/early May, allowing time for the plants (taro, elodea, etc.) to establish the filter? A herd of cherry shrimp should easily establish itself (~100) if I add them in during early April, right?
Projected timeline (for reference):
Early April: add a few cherry shrimp, elodea, tropical plants if possible, and 2 WCMM
Late April/May: remove WCMM, and add in the corydoras and danios. Add WCMM school, neon tetra, and platy fry into 20 gallon tub.
4th of July: bring in all D tinwini and C. pygmaeus as well as cherry shrimp. Add half of WCMM flock into 100 gallon vat.
11th of July: Add in cherry shrimp culls, pictus catfish, convict cichlid, and adult red wag platy to 100 gallon vat (yes, the pictus will eat the WCMM and shrimp, that's the point.)

Odd question: If I add in a few frozen daphnia cubes from Hikari, what are the chances I can get some ephippia to hatch in the tub water?
Finally, how do I keep out the frogs?!!!!! I severely dislike them with a passion.
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Old 03-20-2015, 05:32 AM   #8
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That seems really complicated. Why are you putting all your fish outside? Neon tetras? I would do two tester WCMM in the 20 first. If all looks good for a few weeks, move them to the 100. I would put the pygmies and the danio in the 20, they'll struggle to find each other in the 100 and you don't have too many of them to start with, so you don't want to lose them.

So in the 20: Danios and Pymy corys

In the 100: Platys, WCMM, shrimp

No clue on the daphnia or the frogs
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Old 03-20-2015, 11:23 PM   #9
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I need to redo a couple things in my house, such as moving around fish, fish tanks, etc. The 55 gallon that the majority of the fish are in, is being turned into a reef, because the 29 gallon the saltwater fish/inverts were in, sprung a leak.

Just an update on dimension:
Tub: 38 inch diameter X 4.5" depth (about 22 gallons)
Vat: 48 inches long X 31 inches wide X 13 inches deep ( about 100 gallons)

I can't get water hyacinth in Arkansas (it's illegal), so I'm thinking of replacing that with water lettuce, parrot's feather, pickerel rush, taro, and dwarf cattails. Would this do a good job of filtering the water?
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Old 03-21-2015, 03:07 AM   #10
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the plants won't technically filter the water, just help reduce some toxins and more stabilize the tank compared to a plantless setup.

you don't need a filter either, but what I suggest is that before a good rainstorm, siphon off 20%+ of the tub's water and let the rain fill it up, which will serve as your water chance.


keep the tubs simple in my opinion. the more complicated you try to make them, the bigger the chance is of a mess up.
if you want live daphnia, find a live culture, they aren't hard to find and aren't expensive.
probably nothing you can do to keep out frogs, best you can do is hope the fish eat the eggs/tadpoles, or you can get aggressive and catch them as you see them. the convict and pictus will most likely eat both if still small.


the cherry shrimp will go well with the wcmm but I would not put anything larger with the shrimp, as they'll be eaten and will fail to breed well. don't put in the shrimp until the tank is well cycled and looking to be well setup with lots of cover, plants, etc to eat off of.

and again, just keep things simple.
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Old 03-21-2015, 03:25 AM   #11
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Well, not filtering the water per se, but more of sucking up nitrates, and reducing more biowaste.

The vat actually has a built in overflow, so do I still siphon out 20%? We only get a few inches here per rainstorm, unless it's a giant rainstorm...

simple....have...to...keep...it...simple.......... .
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Old 03-21-2015, 04:41 AM   #12
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depending on the estimated rain you'll get, where the tub is located, like under a tree which will block a lot of rain, it depends.
you don't really want the water to go over the overflow bc then you could lose plants and shrimps, especially in a heavy rain.
I'd say play it safe, lower it a bit.
If even possible figure out a rain collection tub off a roof like a metal room. but not asphalt roof, as far as I know this could be toxic to shrimp.

I knew what you meant about the plants, but just wanted to correct you. as many people think plants replace filters.
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Old 03-21-2015, 04:52 AM   #13
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Ahh, gotcha.

I took an old sponge filter that I had, and stuck it into the overflow. It sufficiently blocks the intake....but I will go ahead and try to do what you say. If it doesn't rain, then I can always add in some garden hose water (dechlorinated of course).
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