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Fish tank equipment

(34 Posts)
spekulatius Mon 17-Nov-14 13:02:55

Just want to make sure I've got it right as the fish behave as bit odd and the water gets dirty really quickly with algae. I've asked EAU before about the filter pump but I'm still not sure I've got it right. I've got a Juwel tank so the filter sponges and the pump are in the corner. where is the water supposed to come out? There is a hole in the corner compartment where the pump sticks out a bit and a little pipe that attaches to it, that's where the water comes out. The pipe is under water, pointing into the tank, is that alright? I'm worried about not enough oxygen but from what I understand an air pump is not necessary if the other pump is working properly? I've got a leaflet from Juwel which shows how to set up the tank but it's not very detailed but the picture looks like mine. Mainly concerned as one of the Platys usually always hides all day but has been swimming up top. The tanks gets also extremely dirty really quickly, more than usual. I've only got 8 fish now. Also, at the moment I've got only plastic plants should I get some real one? How many and how to I get them to stay down? How often should I feed fish and are flakes ok? I really want everything to be right so that I can get some more fishsmile

EauRouge Mon 17-Nov-14 17:03:37

Hello smile Remind me again (shocking memory, sorry), how big is your tank and what sort of fish you have?

The filter outlet should disturb the surface of the water, so that you can see ripples. Some filters have an outlet that you can adjust the direction of, some of them you can attach a spray bar to do the job. You can buy spray bars separately, they are only a few quid.

Have you got a water test kit? That will give you a clue about what's causing your algae. How often are you doing water changes and cleaning the filter sponges? When you say the water is getting dirty, can you see actual dirt floating about in the tank?

Flake food is OK, it's good to supplement it every once in a while if you can though. Depending on what fish you have, some fresh veg or live food from an aquatic store will be well received. If you feed them once a day with whatever they can eat in a couple of minutes, that will be plenty. Anything they don't eat needs to be scooped out so it doesn't dirty up the tank. You'll soon figure out how much to give them and then you won't have to faff about scooping out the extra.

Real plants are good smile Have you got lighting for your tank? Some plants are fussier than others but there are some really easy to grow ones. Java fern and anubias are both fine under fairly low lighting but they do need a bit of wood or rock to grow on. Most aquatic places sell it already attached to a bit of wood. Crypts are pretty easy to grow too and come in various sizes.

I hope that makes sense, I am short on sleep at the moment grin

spekulatius Tue 18-Nov-14 10:07:15

How do you know all this stuff???????

It's 110 litres, got 4 Platys and down to 3 Neons. I've now got ripples, fish seem happy. Cleaned to tank yesterday but will need to do it again tomorrow. There's lots of 'slimy' dirt floating in the water and on top of plants. The glass is always dirty, minutes after I've cleaned it. Last time i spoke to you you said to remove one of the sponges from the filter cos I was using eSha2000 should I put the sponge back now?
Anf the light unit is broken so I've got LED lights but they are not always on. Will test water later if i can

EauRouge Tue 18-Nov-14 10:12:53

I'm a geek grin

If the sponge is carbon then I wouldn't bother, just get a plain sponge and put that in. Carbon needs replacing every few weeks so it gets ££££ after a while. It's good to have one just in case but I wouldn't bother using it all the time.

Slimy dirt sounds weird. Is it actually slimy to the touch? What colour is it? Does it float around or is it making a layer on things?

spekulatius Thu 20-Nov-14 11:42:04

Done the water test today Nitrite 0, Ammonia 0.25, Nitrate 20. Water looks much better, it's mainly the plants that are covered. It is quite slimy, the glass is dirtier than usual but easy to clean. Fish seem happy though. Maybe it was nothing. Maybe the filter needed a good clean. Will get some real plants, I had some before but they became rotten. Will have to be better with cleaning every week. How many fish can I have in a tank this size? 110 litres.

EauRouge Thu 20-Nov-14 18:49:41

It might be a sort of algae- real plants can often sort the problem by using up the nutrients. If the plants were rotting before then it might be that they weren't the right sort of plants- some are very picky and need the exact right conditions to grow, and some sold in shops are not even proper aquatic plants so they just die off. How many watts is your light?

You aren't overstocked but I would wait a while until things have stabilised before you add any more fish.

spekulatius Sat 06-Dec-14 22:29:05

Sorry can I ask more questions pleeeease. The pump broke, got a new one after 2 days but fish seem ok. The ild one was 600l per hour, the ine I got id 500 but should be ok shouldn't it? Went to fish shop today to buy plants, asked for the ones you mentioned and they didn't know. They said all the ones they sell would be fine so bought some and put them all in so I'm hoping that they will be fine. Got a question on the filter. It's got 2 plastic holders, one is currently empty, the other one got 2 sponges in blue and green plus the white thin poly one. So juwel say i should have 2 fine sponges in blue, 1 Cirax in grey in the bottom holder, then 1 coarse in blue, 1 Nitrax in green, 1 Carbon in black and 1 white poly pad. Are they all necessary? I know you said the carbon one isn't. How often does the poly one need replacing?

spekulatius Sat 06-Dec-14 23:06:39

I've left the plants in the plastic pots, is that alright? Guy in the shop told me to. But they are very obvious. And food, the brand of the flakes doesn't matter, does it? They did sell blood worms in a pack but i wasn't brave enough grin

EauLittleRougeofBethlehem Sun 07-Dec-14 09:01:06

The plants are transported in pots with the roots protected with rockwool. This is not meant to keep them long term, so you need to:

take them out of the pot
remove the rockwool- it won't mess up your water so don't panic if some goes in the tank, but try to get it all off if you can
(depending on the type of plant) split the plant into plantlets
trim the roots to about 1-2 inches long with some sharp scissors- this will encourage growth
plant the plantlets in the substrate

The guy in the shop had never heard of anubias or java fern? confused If you post a photo of the plants you have then I might be able to ID them.

It's good to have a mix of biological filtration (that's the Cirax, it provides a surface for good bacteria to colonise) and mechanical filtration (sponges, anything that physically removes bits of crap). There's also chemical filtration (carbon, zeolite and whatnot), but this is not always necessary in the average freshwater tank.

The poly stuff needs replacing quite often because it gets clogged. Unlike the carbon, you can try and give it a wash but it tends to fall apart pretty quickly. I don't bother with it but then I don't mind not having perfect-looking water.

Nitrax is a nitrAte remover, I've never used it so I don't know much about it. It says on the blurb that it's biological and grows anaerobic bacteria so maybe it doesn't need changing. The instructions will tell you. NitrAte is removed by water changes anyway so it's not an essential thing to have. Might be useful if your tap water nitrAte is very high though.

As to what order you should have things in, the aim is to remove the biggest bits of crap first, so fine sponges and poly towards the top and coarse sponges towards the bottom.

I haven't had much caffeine yet so I hope that makes sense grin

spekulatius Sun 07-Dec-14 10:23:03

Yeah I know what you mean about the caffeine. Well according to instructions they all need changing quite a lot that's why i wanted to know which ones are actually necessary. I haven't changed any of them for about 2 years except the poly on blush . Nitrax needs changing every 2 months and coarse every 3 months. Will get a Cirax one. I have taken the carbon out anyway. Shall i replace them gradually?
The plants well to be fair, I think it depends who is working on the day as to what advice you get, will try a different shop. The the plants, i googled it and it said to remove everything and they should go straight into the gravel. But when i removed the wool they were all loose pieces without roots and wouldn't stay down? Are Pets at home and places like that any good with plants?

EauLittleRougeofBethlehem Sun 07-Dec-14 10:32:55

Hmm, not sure whether to believe the instructions then, the normal ones that are just plain sponges sure don't need replacing every 3 months- I think I do mine about every 18 months or however long it takes for them to lose their shape. I'd probably stick to plain sponges and cirax then. The cirax isn't a sponge, it's little ceramic beads. They only need replacing when they go all crumbly and that takes at least a couple of years. Any kind of bio filtration needs replacing gradually so you don't lose all your bacteria at once.

Pets at Home is very hit and miss, if you are lucky then you get someone that knows about plants, but they don't have an awful lot of training when it comes to aquatics. You can get mail order plants, I've had them from Plants Alive before and they were fine. The bargain mystery packs are a good deal but you might end up with 25 of the same thing.

Can you get a photo of the plants? I can think of a couple that are sold without roots, but they do root really quickly. You can get weights to hold them down until they anchor themselves.

spekulatius Mon 08-Dec-14 18:43:31

PlantsAlive looks good, do they tell you which plants they've sent you once you order? I don't know how to post photos on here, have googled it but I don't have that button where you can add a file. Will I be able to plant them in the gravel? They seem very delicate. On PlantsAlive if you go to bunched plants mine look like secon d one from the left, sort of red, and first one from the right. Much cheaper, I paid £20 for 5 pots. Do I need to get fertiliser as well? Might try YouTube for instructions on how to plant, don't know why I find it so hard. Is 5 plants enough or should the tank be full of it? More or less? Fish seem very happy by the way with the plants, really calm. smile

EauLittleRougeofBethlehem Mon 08-Dec-14 19:49:29

I'm not brilliant with aquarium plants but I would guess the first one is Ludwigia and the second is Mexican oak leaf. If you've got stems with no roots then just stick them in the gravel and they will root. Fertilisers are handy, you can get root tablets to stick in the gravel or you can get liquid feed (I use Flourish excel).

Any bits that get too long can be trimmed off and replanted so you'll soon have loads of plants.

If you get a bargain pack from Plants Alive then you don't know what you'll get until you open it- it's whatever they've got left over at the end of that week, so it's a fun surprise grin I never found out what one of mine was, but the rest were quite common ones so easy enough to find out with a bit of googling.

spekulatius Thu 11-Dec-14 17:19:19

Found out that I can post photos if I use the laptop. These are the plants I bought. 3 lots don't have roots (unless they broke off) and one lot does (they don't look that pretty, don't know why I bought 2 pots of them). So far they've stayed down.

spekulatius Thu 11-Dec-14 17:35:40

And these

EauLittleRougeofBethlehem Thu 11-Dec-14 19:06:39

I think the first two are bacopa (aquatic plant, not the terrestrial one) and red hygrophila. Not sure on the other two, I've seen them before but don't know the name.

spekulatius Sun 21-Dec-14 23:53:24

So I'm struggling with the plants. They are rotting away. One in particular, will try ti take a photo tomorrow. Don't know why. The light is broken, i've got a new light unit now though so they have had no light until today, would that be the problem? I'm gonna get some Java fern, i've had that before and it was easy to keep.

EauLittleRougeofBethlehem Mon 22-Dec-14 09:36:19

Not enough light can be a problem, although there are lots of species that are fine with low lighting levels. Did you use any fertiliser, root tabs or anything like that? It's normal with new plants to get a few leaves die off. Have the rooted?

spekulatius Mon 22-Dec-14 17:45:51

No didn't put any fertiliser, no roots yet. One lot has gone completely, looked a bit like dill. I bought some frozen bloodworms, they are in a tray similar to an ice cube tray. Guy in shop said to put one cube in a plastic cup with tap water to defrost and then put half in the tank, is that alright?

spekulatius Mon 22-Dec-14 17:56:07

And my dad is staying over and decided today to 'clean' the fish tank and washed filters under the tap. Apparently partial water changes are nonsense, fish are best left alone angry

EauLittleRougeofBethlehem Mon 22-Dec-14 18:16:45

Oh, fuck. The tank is going to cycle again so you'll need to be testing every day at the beginning, and then every other day after the ammonia level has dropped (usually about a week). Keep the ammonia and nitrIte as low as you can, keep feeding to a minimum and keep the plants tidy, and your fish should be OK.

And keep your dad away from the fish! That may be how they did things in the olden days wink but new methods keep fish healthier.

Yep, the guy in the shop told you right about the food. One whole block is likely too much and bloodworm makes a right old mess. I'd wait until the tank is cycled again before you give them any bloodworm.

spekulatius Mon 22-Dec-14 23:33:02

Done the testing. PH 8.0, Nitrite 0, Ammonia 0.25, Nitrate 5.0. Do I need to do daily water changes? I'll need to clean it tomorrow, it's still got lots of dead leaves in there, looks really bare. I just want it to be right and healthy you know. Plants Alive are selling Java Fern on a piece of Terracotta for about £10, is that average price? Is there a good website that gives correct advice on fish keeping? Feel bad asking you all the time.

EauLittleRougeofBethlehem Tue 23-Dec-14 07:50:43

It's OK, I love talking about fish.

£10 is about right for shops, but you could probably buy from another fishkeeper for less; try Ebay or Facebook. I sell anubias on a cobblestone for a fiver so I'm sure you'd be able to get your java fern for a similar price.

You may not have to do water changes every day, but I would test every day for the next week or so. You will probably have to do extra water changes, but it's likely to be every other day or a couple of times a week.

There are a lot of very bad websites, and a lot of fishkeeping is open to debate so I disagree with even the good websites sometimes. But Fishkeeping.co.uk , Practical Fishkeeping and Seriously Fish are all pretty good. And you can carry on asking me if you want grin

spekulatius Tue 06-Jan-15 10:56:22

I've got more questions smile Are there any tall plants for the background? Saw some tall Hair Grass on ebay, it said it can grow potted or unpotted but surely all plants need to come out of the pot eventually, don't they? Also, I was previously sold some substrate which is a bit like soil which is supposed to go under the gravel for the plants to grow in. but it makes the water quite messy every time I clean so I'm thinking that maybe I shouldn't have added that. And with the plants, how to I get them out of the cotton wool? Struggling with that and then they rot.
What about floating plants? Have you heard about Duckweed, supposed to be very good for the tank? Or Salvinia Cucullata?

And as my light unit had broken I bought another fish tank on ebay for 50 Euros to keep for spares. I always thought I have a Juwel Rekord 800 which is the one I bought on ebay but turns out I actually have a Rio 125. My dad managed to fit the lid onto my tank though so we have proper light. Should the light be on all the time in the day? The platys hide a lot and I was wondering if it was the light. Also I've got 125 litres so should have a 100W heater but the one that came with the new tank is 200W. Can I still use it?

And finally, is it ok now to feed the fish blood worms? Do I give them every day? Water test yesterday was Nitrite and Ammonia zero, Nitrate 10 or 20.

Thanks

EauRouge Tue 06-Jan-15 12:50:04

Hair grass isn't one of the easiest to grow. There are plenty of better choices. You can get crypts that will grow to 12"+, or you could go for elodia or hygrophila polysperma- both very easy and fast growers. You'd only need one bunch as well because cuttings root really easily.

The plant substrate is meant to go underneath the gravel/sand so that might be why it's messing things up. It should settle though. I've used aquatic compost in one of my tanks and it was cloudy as fuck for a couple of weeks. If it's getting churned up during the changes then you could make the layer of gravel a bit thicker.

The rockwool is usually in a sheet wrapped around the roots but you might just have to pull it all to pieces. Try and get as much off as you can but it's not a total disaster if some gets in the tank. Then trim the roots before you stick the plant in the substrate, this will encourage them to grow.

I would steer seriously clear of duckweed, it spreads like mad and it's fecking impossible to get rid off <voice of bitter experience>. Same with riccia. I'd go for larger salvinia species because they are easier to get rid if you change your mind. It'll still spread pretty quick but you can compost or sell the spare. Pistia stratiotes is really pretty too (and it flowers!), but it's quite large. I think it would be OK in a 125 though.

I leave my light on all day, I have really heavily planted tanks though. The more hiding places you have, the less fish hide (because they feel more secure). Also if the shoal size is too small that can make them hide more. That's why tanks with lots of different species but only 2 or 3 of each tend to look a bit crappy. Floating plants will help them feel more secure.

Blood worms will be very gratefully received, but stick to once a week or less because they make a massive mess.

I haven't proofread this so I hope it makes sense grin

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