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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-06-2011, 01:05 AM Thread Starter
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Help sought for rookie aquarist!

Hi there,

I've only recently entered the world of aquariums and I'm starting to find myself a little bit overwhelmed.

I have a 3 foot tank, about 35G, which is currently housing the following;

9 Corydoras
2 Chinese Algae Eater
4 Clown Loach
2 Guppy
3 Molly
3 Platy
1 Ghostknife
1 Betta (F)

Now I've been going along changing things and buying things as required (Costing me a small fortune ) and I've been reading that I should consider replacing my substrate with sand in order to ensure the health of my Corydoras. The current substrate is small smooth gravel about 3-5mm in size usually.

Was just after any advice on A) whether I should change my substrate to sand and B) how should I go about fostering plant life in my tank? At the moment it's a mishmash of ornaments for my ghostknife to explore and plants I've purchased simply because I thought my fish would like them (Which has simply left my tank looking crowded and disappointing). Finally C) what sort of plants I should look at obtaining for my tank.

Thanks in advance

P.S. Will be reading the forum's Sand Substrate article shortly
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-06-2011, 01:11 AM
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Good to have you on board! Personally, I wouldn't change the substate for two reasons: 1) Cories are remarkably adaptive and mine are very happy with similar sub. you've described, and 2) when you change your sub. you disturb the healthy bacteria growing there --that's a definate no-no. Before getting into plants recommended, tell us about your lighting; how many, how many watts, and what kind (T5 ...T8?).
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-06-2011, 01:20 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by ScottFish View Post
Good to have you on board! Personally, I wouldn't change the substate for two reasons: 1) Cories are remarkably adaptive and mine are very happy with similar sub. you've described, and 2) when you change your sub. you disturb the healthy bacteria growing there --that's a definate no-no. Before getting into plants recommended, tell us about your lighting; how many, how many watts, and what kind (T5 ...T8?).
Thanks for the welcome

As for the lighting well to be honest I have no idea, it's just a small reflector with a 2' halogen globe I think. It was obtained more for seeing the fish than any plant related purposes. More than happy to obtain something else if what I have is completely unacceptable (If you can tell that from the little information I'm able to give you ).
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-06-2011, 02:20 AM
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Look at the end of the bulb. It's probably a T8 (most common) or a T5 (slimmer than the T8) flourescent bulb and the numbers/letters usually start with either T5 or T8. Most important, look for how many whats you have. It's probably only 18-25 watts, which is considered pretty low for growing plants.
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-06-2011, 05:05 AM
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It seems like you are way overstocked. I plugged your info into aqadvisor and you are 4x overtocked. the clown loaches can get a foot long, the ghost knife can get a foot and a half, chinese algae eaters tend to suck onto other fish and can get almost a foot long. I would really reconsider the fish stocking before getting around to the plants. Basically unless you plan on getting a 180g very soon you need to return a lot of fish.
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-06-2011, 06:50 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by ScottFish View Post
Look at the end of the bulb. It's probably a T8 (most common) or a T5 (slimmer than the T8) flourescent bulb and the numbers/letters usually start with either T5 or T8. Most important, look for how many whats you have. It's probably only 18-25 watts, which is considered pretty low for growing plants.
Thanks, will check when I get home.

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Originally Posted by koebwil View Post
It seems like you are way overstocked. I plugged your info into aqadvisor and you are 4x overtocked. the clown loaches can get a foot long, the ghost knife can get a foot and a half, chinese algae eaters tend to suck onto other fish and can get almost a foot long. I would really reconsider the fish stocking before getting around to the plants. Basically unless you plan on getting a 180g very soon you need to return a lot of fish.
You're probably right, like I said I've probably impulse purchased far too much without really appreciating what I'm getting myself into. Any chance you can link me to this 'agadvisor'? I also have a 4' or 50G tank that isn't overly full but I may indeed need to start planning to transfer some fish. Cheers for the warning, particulary on the Clown Loaches! Knew the Algae Eaters were going to be a problem long term but had no idea the size Clown Loaches could grow to!
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-06-2011, 07:05 AM
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http://aqadvisor.com/ I only discovered it lately, but it's helpful when planning out tanks.
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-06-2011, 07:21 AM
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This option might help save a few of your funds for other things.
I used the Red Sea Florabase as a filler addition on my oldest tank when I first started tanking plants beyond Java's. Adding it started in January 2008 and ended on 5/9/2008. The tank already had normal to smaller river gravel at about 1.25" thick and was already stocked. Using a 32oz plastic drink cup I added 2 cups scattering the 'little brown bunny turds' on top of the gravel and only adding more as it naturally worked its way into a mix showing gravel through the fill. Stopping at about a 50/50 mix.

Yes it has broken down, but not all of it, and my water has never clouded to date. (except for an algae bloom that had nothing to do with the sub). Much of it is still in pellet form. The tank is a low tech planted I use for breeding angels and raising spawns. Root tabs are added 3 times a year and the mix is still in it.

My experience having a mixed sub wasn't/isn't a complete mess. Sometimes easy is better.

Welcoming another member from down under LOL

my opinion haha
9 Corydoras; great fish!
2 Chinese Algae Eater; not a favorite and they get mean
4 Clown Loach; get large after 2 years but love these fish
2 Guppy; won't be only 2 for long LOL
3 Molly; see guppy
3 Platy; see guppy LOL
1 Ghostknife; get big and owns the tank all by itself
1 Betta (F); can be cute


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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-06-2011, 09:18 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScottFish View Post
Look at the end of the bulb. It's probably a T8 (most common) or a T5 (slimmer than the T8) flourescent bulb and the numbers/letters usually start with either T5 or T8. Most important, look for how many whats you have. It's probably only 18-25 watts, which is considered pretty low for growing plants.
All I could find was "PL-11W/8000K" if that helps? I have a smaller light than usual as it was recommended I try to maintain some darker areas in the tanks in case the fish want to avoid the light.

Quote:
Originally Posted by koebwil View Post
http://aqadvisor.com/ I only discovered it lately, but it's helpful when planning out tanks.
Thanks, looks very useful

Quote:
Originally Posted by wkndracer View Post
This option might help save a few of your funds for other things.
I used the Red Sea Florabase as a filler addition on my oldest tank when I first started tanking plants beyond Java's. Adding it started in January 2008 and ended on 5/9/2008. The tank already had normal to smaller river gravel at about 1.25" thick and was already stocked. Using a 32oz plastic drink cup I added 2 cups scattering the 'little brown bunny turds' on top of the gravel and only adding more as it naturally worked its way into a mix showing gravel through the fill. Stopping at about a 50/50 mix.

Yes it has broken down, but not all of it, and my water has never clouded to date. (except for an algae bloom that had nothing to do with the sub). Much of it is still in pellet form. The tank is a low tech planted I use for breeding angels and raising spawns. Root tabs are added 3 times a year and the mix is still in it.

My experience having a mixed sub wasn't/isn't a complete mess. Sometimes easy is better.

Welcoming another member from down under LOL

my opinion haha
9 Corydoras; great fish!
2 Chinese Algae Eater; not a favorite and they get mean
4 Clown Loach; get large after 2 years but love these fish
2 Guppy; won't be only 2 for long LOL
3 Molly; see guppy
3 Platy; see guppy LOL
1 Ghostknife; get big and owns the tank all by itself
1 Betta (F); can be cute
Thanks for the welcome

Will investigate this Red Sea Florabase, just to be sure you're recommending a few cups at a time, waiting until they base uh...disappears? Also root tabs? They are? Yeah I'm new at this alright

Bit confused by you're comments regarding the livebearers...are you saying they'll likely breed? Thought breeding fish was something that was difficult and needed to be planned...

Also agree on your summation of the other fish, do fear I will regret my purchase of the Chinese Algae Eaters

Thanks everyone so far for their help, I've definitely made a meal of things so far so appreciate every assistance I can get in getting things back on track
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-06-2011, 02:30 PM
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as for loaches. if u like them.. get 4-6 botia striata (zebra loaches) they stay small (4 inches)
live bearers are easy to breed in most cases in ur case.. with good water conditions VERY EASY.. with bigger fish.. the fry are likely to become scooby snacks but..

no need for sand cory's are very adaptable like previously said.

as for plants take some time at night and look at other tanks and take some time to think about ur layout. u can arrange them so they fit ur needs. for me, i have to rearrange all the time till i find a happy spot.. u may be the same play with it till u find what u like. after all its a hobby
HAVE FUN

welcome to TPT!!!

edit:
root tabs are little balls or pills that are full of fertilizer that can be stuck in the substrate for the plant roots. HIGH CEC susbtrates don't require root tabs if you are fertilizing the water column

florabase will turn to mud.. it can be messy and cause anaerobic pockets if not taken care of when it gets muddy. it should last about a year or two before it becomes mud

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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-06-2011, 03:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Cynic View Post
All I could find was "PL-11W/8000K" if that helps? I have a smaller light than usual as it was recommended I try to maintain some darker areas in the tanks in case the fish want to avoid the light.


Will investigate this Red Sea Florabase, just to be sure you're recommending a few cups at a time, waiting until they base uh...disappears? Also root tabs? They are? Yeah I'm new at this alright

Bit confused by you're comments regarding the livebearers...are you saying they'll likely breed? Thought breeding fish was something that was difficult and needed to be planned...

Also agree on your summation of the other fish, do fear I will regret my purchase of the Chinese Algae Eaters

Thanks everyone so far for their help, I've definitely made a meal of things so far so appreciate every assistance I can get in getting things back on track
Did you buy a special light and fixture, or is it the stock light on the tank?

If it is the stock lighting, it wont do anything except light the tank for viewing.
If you bought just a bulb - and have the same fixture (the thing that houses the bulb) it wont do anything either. GOOD LIGHTING is much more than just the bulb....the "magic plant bulbs" fish stores sell do nothing without good reflectors and more...

In terms of the actual tank stock - WAY Overstocked, but the good news it simply because only a few fish. The Clown Loaches get huge. They are cool, but literally they can get a few feet. Given it will take years, but they get large even after a year, and 4 of them is too much in that tank. I agree with Botia's as another poster mentioned. Usually fish stores are cool working with you on things like this, at the same time they know better than to sell you this without first understanding your setup. I hate it.

The Knife is an awesome fish, but it does get big and when able...well just say goodbye to your guppies.

Livebearers such as Guppy's, Molly's, Platy's, Swords are very easy to breed. The hard part is keeping the fry alive.

I had Chinese Algae eaters - never saw them being mean. You can read the fish profile on this site for them and you will see mixed reviews. They do get big, I would suggest 1 only, but dont think it will be a big deal.

Keep asking questions - this is an addicting hobby - and similar to most hobby's there is some investment involved, and there are many ways to do things...
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-06-2011, 04:19 PM
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actually good light is easy to come by. even halogen and incandescant bulbs produce PAR (photosynthetically active radiation) however slight which can be used by plants.. to prove this.. algae can grow with any light source because it can use next to zero PAR.

a flourescent bulb in the 5-10k range will suffice if u don't have c02 less light is better.. more light will only raise the demand for c02 and fertilizer. keep it simpel tostart with

i just upgraded to my high tech light yesterday (YAY!!!) but i've spent months tuning c02 and ferts.. go slow.. learn why things work the way they do and u will eventually have a beautiful watre garden and healthy fish

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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-06-2011, 06:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HD Blazingwolf View Post
edit:
root tabs are little balls or pills that are full of fertilizer that can be stuck in the substrate for the plant roots. HIGH CEC susbtrates don't require root tabs if you are fertilizing the water column

florabase will turn to mud.. it can be messy and cause anaerobic pockets if not taken care of when it gets muddy. it should last about a year or two before it becomes mud
Substrate fertilization is always helpful to the plants as reported by any and all accounts even posts by the father of E.I. Tom Barr. Tom advocates both many times throughout the forum.

I've had Florabase in tank for >3yrs without problems. Yes about 20-30% has broken down and further mixed with the gravel, but not all of it, and my water has never clouded to date.
Can you provide support for this comment and better yet post it into my thread containing this base mix rather than side track the OP's thread?
Recent thread regarding concerns of florabase break down.
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/ge...ml#post1531165
My old tank that contains it.
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/lo...tanks-56k.html

Bacteria both anaerobic and aerobic

This is another example of our at times confusing hobby.
The confusing part of this is because reported by Walstad and other sources both conditions are a normal part of any substrate with both anaerobic and aerobic activity being part of the process in every aquarium.

Large imbalances are the problem.

Found a very simple video addressing this at the overview level of detail.
http://youtu.be/NU7UjA0AHos


There is very detailed information available but some of it is rather 'chewy'.
HTH

sorry OP and hope not to derail you're first thread.


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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-06-2011, 07:30 PM
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I didn't say that root tabs weren't beneficial. i said don't require****
that's assuming the substrate has a high CEC

anaerobic can be good assuming its the right form.. just like nitrifying bacteria.. its good.. bacteria that make fishies sick.. bad

I was referring to the bad kind that can cause problems. i don't know their name off the top of my head

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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-06-2011, 08:39 PM
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Thanks for that website, I wish I knew about it before I started, I selected all my fish and I got all kinds of warnings! and the big chain stores only cares about selling the fish wich is very sad to a lot of fish.

Note: African Dwarf Frog are 100% aquatic & should never be out of water. They may jump - lids are recommended. Do not feed freeze-dried or dry pelleted foods which can cause intestinal blockage and death. They are meat eaters and they wont eat flakes. They will eat any fish that will fit in their mouths. Hand feeding recommended if kept in community tanks. Tank depth should not exceed 15 inches because they come up for air and any deeper can be difficult.
Warning: Blue Gourami is not recommended for your tank - it may eventually outgrow your tank space, potentially reaching up to 5 inches.
Warning: Blue Gourami is not recommended to be with Kissing Gourami - they may agressively fight.
Warning: Buenos Aires Tetra is not recommended for your tank - it may eventually outgrow your tank space, potentially reaching up to 2.5 inches.
Warning: At least 5 x Buenos Aires Tetra are recommended in a group.
Note: Common Pleco needs driftwood.
Warning: Common Pleco is not recommended for your tank - it may eventually outgrow your tank space, potentially reaching up to 18 inches.
Note: Kissing Gourami needs driftwood.
Warning: Kissing Gourami is not recommended for your tank - it may eventually outgrow your tank space, potentially reaching up to 11 inches.
Warning: African Dwarf Frog may become food for Kissing Gourami.
Warning: Bloodfin Tetra may become food for Kissing Gourami.
Warning: Kissing Gourami is not recommended to be with Blue Gourami - they may agressively fight.
Warning: Buenos Aires Tetra may become food for Kissing Gourami.
Warning: Platy may become food for Kissing Gourami.
Warning: X-Ray Tetra may become food for Kissing Gourami.
Warning: Pictus Catfish is not recommended for your tank - it may eventually outgrow your tank space, potentially reaching up to 4.3 inches.
Suggestion: If you want to keep more than 1 Platy, minimum recommend male to female ratio is 1:2 (M:F). You will be less likely to experience problem if you get even more females.
Note: Spiny Eel may escape - lids are recommended.
Warning: At least 5 x X-Ray Tetra are recommended in a group.

Warning: Your selected species may eventually require 530% of your aquarium space. You may need to deal with territorial aggressions later on. Try removing some of (Hymenochirus boettgeri, Pterygoplichthys pardalis, Macrognathus aculeatus) or get a larger tank.
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