Hi there! Returning to fish keeping after a 10 year hiatus - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-24-2020, 02:19 AM Thread Starter
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Hi there! Returning to fish keeping after a 10 year hiatus

Hi all!
After about 10 years of not having a fishie friend I am returning to fish keeping!

Perhaps itís the pandemic that has us wanting to watch something other than the TV 🙂

My husband has never had fish and Iíve had fish since childhood and up until about 10 years ago when my beloved red cap oranda aptly named The Brain passed away. The Brain was an awesome fish that was a friend to myself and my dog. Those two had some sort of interaction all the time. My stand was low and Shakespeare (my dog) would put his snout on the ledge and watch the fish and The Brain would come and prance around. It is such a nice memory I have of them both. The Brain was with me for about 5 years and through 2 apartment moves. The 3rd move is what got him. I still am trying to figure out what went wrong. Maybe I didnít dechlorinate the water enough. Or the new townís water was SO different and I didnít test closely enough. Or maybe he was just under too much stress from the move. I donít know. I just miss him. He had such a cute personality 🙂 RIP The Brain

ANYWAY

We are starting new and fresh. Weíve done a lot of research already but there is so much information out there and a lot of it LITERALLY contradicts each other.

We bought a 36 gallon Top Fin bowfront with stand on a sale at Petsmart last week. That ordeal is a whole different post.

Since then weíve been gathering equipment.

Weíve got a Fluval 307 filter along with a sponge filter, 200W heater, and my light is the Finnex Planted + 24/7 (this is also probably a WHOLE other post)

Our substrate is pool filter sand.

Iíve got some basic hardscape in with dragon stones and a lovely spider wood knot.

Currently I am awaiting my plant delivery from aquarium coop. My test kit comes with it, along with their plant care bundle, which is why I havenít started cycling yet.

We will do a fishless cycle using ammonia.

When we are ready, we want to set up a friendly community with eventually a center piece fish.
We fully understand that this is not an instant gratification hobby.

I have found SO much helpful info in these forums. Been reading EVERYTHING for a while now. So I am hoping to continue to learn from all of your experiences so that my little fish and plant world thrives!!!

Looking forward to meeting you!
Best,
Lana

Last edited by Lanaquarium; 06-24-2020 at 02:45 AM. Reason: some weird characters in title
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-24-2020, 05:21 AM
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Welcome back to the hobby! If you go the route of just using pool filter sand, you will 100% need to dose ferts for plants to be happy.

I've heard good things about NilocG Thrive+, but I personally use dry ferts from Aquariumfertilizer.com
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-24-2020, 05:55 AM Thread Starter
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I got this bundle from Aquarium Co-op
https://www.aquariumcoop.com/collect...ilizer-package

I hope if I follow instructions my plants will take as the tank cycles
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-24-2020, 06:52 AM
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What plants did you order? What test kits did you order?

The api master test kit only comes with PH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and is anything but a master test kit, those test kits will get you through cycling process just fine. But you also need to know GH/KH, knowing PH, GH, KH in tank, there is not a freshwater aquarium keeper that should not know those stats wether it be a fish only tank or planted. Hitting you nitrate and phosphate targets are essential for planted tank as well as knowing the dozen+ other elements needed for balanced water chemistry. Mg, K, Fe, Zn, Cu etc are also needed in proper ratios for a balanced ecosystem.

Also filtration and circulation patterns in tank are equally important. You want a calm gentle breeze over complete footprint of tank and top to bottom. You want to see all plants in tank regardless of position gently swaying/moving in current. Proper gas and nutrient distribution everywhere is essential. You want at least 1 water nozzle right under surface causing a nice surface ripple and gas exchange, and another output sweeping another current down to substrate level, water moving gently around tank as well as another current pushing water high->low. In your size tank 1 filter output is not enough.

Bow front side are good design, blow water at right side front glass and it will naturally start flowing water around tank in circular pattern right to left along front glass, but you still need a jet or spraybar along back wall pushing water down and hopefully left to right to complete the circular pattern of water. You donít want 2 outputs flowing into one another canceling their circulation patterns out, you want them working together together as a whole, not fighting each other.

In that size tank 2 100gph outputs will be fine as long as they work together as a whole.

Also start thinking about what plants and fish you want as well as measuring your source waters PH, KH, GH. Let that source water set in glass or bucket for 24hrs then measure its PH, KH, GH. That what water you have to work with. Donít try keeping softwater fish like neon tetra/betta in 12dGH/high PH/KH water. Match your fish/plant choices to water parameters you can provide for them and your aquarium keeping chore will become much easier.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-24-2020, 08:28 PM
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-26-2020, 01:30 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you for your thoughtful post and such a warm welcome!!!

We got
2x Cryptocoryne Lucens
1x Scarlet Temple
1x Red melon sword
3x Jungle Vallisneria
3x Anubias Nana Petit
And some Javamoss and some slate to attach it to (Still waiting on that)

Upon further research I probably should have made some different choices but itís what I got. All these plants were labeled ďeasyĒ on aquarium coop - in my defense.

I got the API master test kit, but as you said, I donít feel like thatís enough.
Iím super paranoid about the water conditioner working right - we do have chlorine and with this kit I have no idea if itís working. No point in cycling if I canít tell what the chlorine levels are.

Are there brands for the tests you mentioned you can recommend?

We JUST put the water in. I put plenty of root tabs and the squirty nutrients in the water.

But Iím hoping for the best at this point.

Thanks!
-L

As far as circulation, I have been messing with my filter nozzle. I planted my plants as spread out as I could and I can see all of them swaying a little bit.

So I have my output from my filter in the right corner pointed to the left and slightly front. Then I have a sponge filter in the left corner.

I am planning to put an air stone in the middle near my driftwood piece as well. I just like how the bubbles look 🙂 I got the hose for it set up, the stone just hasnít arrived in the mail yet.

I also do have a power head that I have not yet installed. I figure Iíd let the tank run for a bit and see if there any dead spots or algae growth concentrations.

Last edited by Darkblade48; 06-26-2020 at 03:42 PM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-26-2020, 02:33 AM
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API GH/KH
Salifert Phosphate

If your conditioner says it takes care of chlorine/chloramine just use at recommended rate and that should be all you need. Seachem Prime is best one usually.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-26-2020, 02:52 AM Thread Starter
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Would this work as well for Phosphate? https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0006JDWGY..._hjw9EbYD93V3G

Seems that I can get a coupon if I buy with other API products

As far as fish, we are looking at a tropical community.

Definitely cories, I love them and they will probably be the first fishes I get. I like the Julii ones, they will pop against the light substrate. I also JUST learned that there are long finned ones. So that might be a game changer lol

The top school I am still up in the air about but, as cliche as it is, I have always wanted a school of Neons. Never been successful at keeping them healthy but this time I got all this fancy stuff and a bigGer tank 🙂 but cherry barbs are also on the table, or Danios. But I know Danios prefer cooler water.

Then once we get more established introduce a center piece fish, either an angel or a couple of honey gouramis

🙂

Last edited by Darkblade48; 06-26-2020 at 03:42 PM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-26-2020, 05:43 AM
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I haven’t had the best experience with Aquarium Coop. Based on my tests, their EasyGreen fertilizer actually has no usable phosphate in it, and the vall I ordered from them was FULL of pests (cyclops and detritus worms, which some people say are fine, but I don’t want either of them).
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-26-2020, 06:26 AM
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API phosphate is hard to read.

As far as fish I myself donít subscribe to the ďcommunity aquariumĒ philosophy. I cringe when I see mollies and neon/cardinal tetra in same tank. Also hate all the inbreeding it takes to make a long fin strains, it weakens bloodline, imagine if everybody in your family tree had only married their 1st cousins. One that have at least a semi-direct line to wild caught strains are way more hardy of a stock.

I use RO water and can make my water whatever I want, soft/hard. I run my KH about 3 and GH about 4-5. When you get your test kits run test I mentioned above so you know what your working with. Build your tank around water you can provide.

Your plant choices will be fine, easy to satisfy their needs. The C. lutea if your water is on harder side donít be surprised if you get the dreaded crypt melt, clean up the dissolved leaves mess and then wait it out, in about a 1-1.5mo you should see leaves coming back. They are not hard to keep but they dislike big shifts In hardness of water. This is caused by osmotic shock to plant. Read up on that, it not only may effect some plants but if drastic enough can severely effect your fish (fin rot and other secondary infections), even kill them.

Successful aquariums are about providing stabile and consistent parameters to inhabitants . Arm yourself with proper water testing and knowledge to interpret those readings.

You may also want to see if your city provides a detailed water report, but it varies from town to town, some only provide readings of known noxious substances but some will give you readings of actual Nitrate, phosphate, Calcium, Magnesium and Potassium levels.
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-26-2020, 09:01 AM Thread Starter
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My husband works for the City’s water and sewer department. So I know EXACTLY what’s in our tap. And while it’s great for humans it is not great for fishes. 🙂

@fermentedfunk - I saw a number of videos that showed that seachem fertilizers were much better that A-Co-op. But I had to get to free shipping so here I am with their stuff.
I did find some large yellow eggs in some of the plants, I discarded them.
My Scarlet temple fell apart in shipping but they will send me another. So that’s a plus.
They were also super nice about it.
@DaveKS - so the long fin things are kind of like “oodle” dogs then? Higher price for a must with false promises?

Yikes. But that makes sense to me.

Perhaps just regular cories then

Could you elaborate on your anti- community tank philosophy?
I have been reading massive amounts of information for months and I have never heard an argument against it, as long as the fish don’t overwhelm the filtration and have similar water parameter/environment needs.

My goal, as I am sure every fishkeeper’s goal is to create a stable environment for the animals.
Experimenting on living creatures is not a thing that I’m interested in.

I will cycle this thing and test whatever I must test until I’m sure it is safe for fishes.

I will look at the water parameters and make my stocking choices from there. Which is why I’ve not finalized my decisions yet.

I am excited to have the biggest tank I’ve ever had in my life. And getting a couple of cool fishie schools though 🙂

It’s gonna be AWESOME
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-29-2020, 08:44 PM
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“and have similar water parameter/environment needs.“

That’s the key, if their basic requirements overlap you can find a happy middle ground. But in my example above about putting neons (or other fish that really prefer soft water) and mollies in same tank, don’t, there is no overlap in their preferences.

If your waters running 7.5+ after degassing and GH hardness is in 8-12į range skip the neons etc.

There are plenty of fish (and plants) that will thrive in harder water that are stunning.





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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-02-2020, 05:33 AM Thread Starter
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It SEEMS that the pH in my tank has settled from 7.6 to 7

It’s been 7 for a week after the first initial water we added.

I wonder if perhaps my driftwood lowered it.

I really need to test my base water.

But that’s why we are keeping our stock options open and just kind of have an IDEA opposed to a specific choice. Except Cories. I MUST have Cories 🙂
I never had a tank big enough to have more than about 3. So now that we can have 6 or maybe even 8 if we balance other fish, I just can’t wait to see them all bunching together 🙂 #corypile

I want to learn what my water does before I make those decisions.

I do not want to be FIGHTING my natural water parameters forever.

Do I have DREAM fish group? Sure.

But I’d rather make a stable environment for creatures, especially as we are just starting out.

Maybe we can get more daring as we gain experience.

🙂
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-02-2020, 08:23 AM
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Water out of tap is usually skewed one way or the other as far as co2 content, will usually be lacking in co2 compared to water after it has set out in open air for a day or two. Water will equalize to atmospheric co2 and settle in at around 3ppm co2 in water. Then it will shift some of that co2 content into carbonic acid which over the next few days will set up your bicarbonate/carbonate system (buffers) in relation to temp and content of other gases/minerals in water.

Hit up your water geek and get Ca to Mg ratios, usually best at around a 2:1 or 3:1 Ca:Mg ratio. If lacking in Mg just use some pure Epsom salts (Mg Sulfate, no fragrances etc) to bring up Mg ratio. Your lucky to have a water geek as a spouse. Tank settling in at 7.0’ish is perfect before adding ammonia and organic load to tank.

Are you planning on doing a fishless cycle?

But yes acids/tannins from wood will have a effect. Humic/fulvic acids from biological decomposition are a major PH regulator. Don’t worry if PH continues to drop, at 6.8PH at 75į most of ammonia in tank will shift to ammonium which is easily 50x less lethal than ammonia, both are easily absorbed by plants, much easier that nitrates. I myself wouldn’t hesitate to add a few oak/almond leaves to help that PH drop along. Those 2 acids also increase bioavailability of nutrients to plants. Fulvic acid can even deliver nutrients right through cell walls of plant, plant doesn’t even have to expend any energy to absorb nutrients that way, it can actually use all of it’s growth energy from photosynthesis in growing plant mass rather than using that energy for sequestering nutrients from its environment.

Last edited by DaveKS; 07-02-2020 at 08:37 AM. Reason: Typo
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