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Help- tropical fish people - or Sweetnitanitro?!!!

(15 Posts)
potentialJP Mon 13-Jul-09 22:54:32

I have just bought an aquarium with really naff instructions and need some idiot proof advice about how full to fill it. The tank has what looks like an air vent on one side and an outlet snorkle looking thing on the other. I take it that the water level needs to be just above the lowest part of the vent so that the water can flow through into the chamber to wet the sponge but slightly lower than the snorkle thing. Am I correct?

I have added a heating element and thermometer and have started the chemical process to cycle the water. I am not planning on getting any fish until we have the water right. Will that take about a week or longer?

Thanks to anyone who can help! x

potentialJP Tue 14-Jul-09 08:15:39

bump for fishy people....

sweetnitanitro Tue 14-Jul-09 18:05:07

Sorry, been a busy day for me! grin

A fishless cycle can take around 4-6 weeks and don't let anyone from a pet shop tell you any different! Get your own water test kit to avoid them testing the water for you and telling you "it's fine".

Not sure what you mean about the filter, is it a box that sits inside the tank or is it a canister that sits underneath or is it one of those ones that sits inside the lid? If you tell me what brand it is or whatever I can google image it and have a look. What have you got in the filter, just sponge or are there any white or black granules (or a black bit of sponge?)

What chemical stuff have you added to the water so far?

Have you read this?-

potentialJP Tue 14-Jul-09 19:25:07

Sweetnitanitro - thanks for your reply. I've looked at the article and it makes a lot of sense. I went back to the place where I bought the tank and they were really helpful. They are advocates of getting the water properly prepared before adding fish and I intend to get my water perfect. I'm in no rush ....
I sorted out my own testing kit and plan on really getting to know my tank. As the article said - fishkeeping is about keeping water really!
So as you are a fish person - dare I ask what you have ?! grin

sweetnitanitro Tue 14-Jul-09 19:44:27

I've downgraded a lot, I had to get rid of a couple of tanks to make room for a baby grin

At the moment I've got a 37 gallon with congo tetras and hoplo catfish and a 10 gall with some celestial danios and an extremely cranky peacock goby who really needs his own tank lol. I used to keep fancy goldfish but they are all so inbred these days they die if you look at them wrong. Too bad they are still sold as a 'beginner' fish.

What are you thinking of getting for your tank?

potentialJP Tue 14-Jul-09 20:47:32

Well I'd be grateful for any advice on types of fish to be honest. I have been concentrating so hard on getting the water right that I haven't really determined what fish to get for the tank!

The tank is only 35 litres so I wasn't thinking of having many - perhaps a small shoal of tetras and some platys. What do you recommend?

potentialJP Tue 14-Jul-09 20:50:49

Oh and my son (who the tank was originally bought for) would like some snails! DS is 4, autistic and loves fish. Somehow he is mesmerised by watching the fish moving around and especially loves the zebra snails. I understand that snails can run riot though and that numbers need to be actively kept down!

sweetnitanitro Tue 14-Jul-09 21:35:01

35 litres is pretty small, even a shoal of small tetras would be pushing it. You could get just the one fish, a male siamese fighter would be a good choice (depending on water pH and hardness), they are colourful and have great personalities and would happily share with a couple of zebra nerites- don't worry, nerite snails won't breed in your tank and they won't eat all your plants. They are brilliant little snails, I've got quite a few of them.

potentialJP Wed 15-Jul-09 09:17:46

I realise that 35l is small so may well just do a siamese fighter fish - they are beautiful aren't they? They are happy alone too I understand. I think that and a couple of snails may suit us perfectly.

My water today was perfect on the PH front - I understand that these fish need a PH of 7.1 but can take a minor variation each way.

My ds is so excited about the snails.....

Thanks for the advice - there's so much differing advice on the net (oh and the sometimes unhelpful "let's sell at all costs shops" - one of which said it would be fine to have a shoal of tetras (7 ish) plus some guppies and some platys...Even I recognised that that was too much!)

sweetnitanitro Wed 15-Jul-09 21:45:54

Yep, neutral pH should be fine for a fighter.

And yes, shop advice can be bloody awful. I've called bullshit on quite a few shop staff before and they don't take it well grin some of them will say anything for a sale. Tetras and guppies are not even compatible, tetras need soft acidic water and guppies are the opposite.

If you do get the snails, they might lay eggs but they won't hatch. They just hang around looking untidy hmm

Are you going to have real plants or fake ones?

potentialJP Wed 15-Jul-09 23:55:20

Real! Please don't tell me plastic are better shock as I'd really struggle to do the fake ones!

sweetnitanitro Thu 16-Jul-09 11:33:10

No, real ones are definitely better! grin just make sure the ones you get are true aquatic plants, some shops will sell any old crap that will end up dying and rotting. If you've only got one lighting tube it's best to get something that likes low lighting levels. Most cryptocorynes will be a good choice and you could have something like anubias nana on a bit of wood as a centrepiece. Have you put anything under your gravel as a fertiliser?

I've got a 35l tank - sounds very similar to yours for placement of intake/ouput etc.

We bought it as a nursery for our bristlenose catfish - a breeding pair who were quite happy to dump 100 eggs every 8 weeks or so !

Mrs Sucky passed away so we don't need it for a nursery now - we currently have Mr Sucky and 5 of his offspring (still only 25mm max) 2 golden ram, 3 red platys and 1 mickeymouse platy in there - with 5 babies that they have given us ranging from 5mm to 10mm long now. There's also an aged neon that just goes on and on ...... and on !

We've also got 4 crystal shrimp (only 10mm each) and 2 rock shrimp (60mm) which are quite interesting to watch sifting through the sand on the bottom and catching debris in their 'fans' before popping into their mouths!

Eventually the baby platys and catfish will be moved back to the main tanks but we have bigger rams in there which quite happily make a meal of anything too small - including a 90mm rock shrimp just after he'd shed his shell!

In the baby tank our water quality is excellent with that number of fish and everyone is breeding/growing quite happily.

potentialJP Thu 16-Jul-09 19:34:11

The water heater is set to 24 degrees but the thermometer is reading 27.5. The outside temperature is 23 degrees so should I turn the heater down or just leave it?

sweetnitanitro Thu 16-Jul-09 19:46:56

Has it got a built in thermostat? It should do, most heaters do now. They are not always that accurate but it depends on what thermometer you have as well. What make of heater is it and what kind of thermometer?

The temp should generally be 24-26 with tropical fish, a fighter likes it quite warm so 25-27 would be OK but it's best to keep fluctuations to a minimum. You can get these little digital thermometers now that beep when it gets too hot or cold although if there is a heat wave they will drive you NUTS beeping all the time grin

The warmer water is, the less oxygen it can hold so you may need to add some extra aeration if the water gets warm and you can't keep the temp down.

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