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Fishkeeping In 1984

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Offline Matt

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Fishkeeping in 1984
« on: August 01, 2017, 07:46:15 PM »
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I've just picked up an old fishkeeping book...  it's full of undergravel filters etc that we wouldn't recommend at all now...

Full book review to come... It won't be positive!!!  :isay:

Offline hampalong

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Re: Fishkeeping in 1984
« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2017, 01:43:20 AM »
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I still recommend UG filters. The concept works, and they're easy to keep clean if done right. The biggest healthiest Amazon Swords I ever saw were grown in 6" of small gravel on UG with quite a high turnover.

Offline Sue

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Re: Fishkeeping in 1984
« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2017, 09:16:01 AM »
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My understanding has been that there are a few drawbacks to UG filter - including that you can't put live plants in them as the water flow damages the plant's roots  ???. And no rocks/wood as they create dead areas in the gravel because there is no water flow underneath them.
And worst of all for me - unless you have a reverse flow UG, you have to take everything out once a year to clean the muck out from under the plates. A reverse flow UG with a prefilter on the pump doesn't need to be taken down.
I have also read comments that modern UG plates are not very well made and split easily.

Have I just been reading negative comments by UG haters?



However I do understand that UGs are excellent biofilters because of the volume of the media - all the gravel.

Offline hampalong

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Re: Fishkeeping in 1984
« Reply #3 on: August 02, 2017, 09:47:23 AM »
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UGs only work well with plants if the gravel is deep enough.

You don't need to take them out and clean them, that's what gravel cleaners are for. A siphon tube down the uplifts once in a while removes the (inert) mulm from under the plates.

Reverse flow is pretty much the same but fills the gravel from bottom up father than top down.

Offline Matt

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Re: Fishkeeping in 1984
« Reply #4 on: August 02, 2017, 10:53:54 AM »
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I can already se that this book review I have planned is going to create some debate... might even have to go chapter by chapter!!

FYI the book is dated 1984.


Offline Sue

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Re: Fishkeeping in 1984
« Reply #5 on: August 02, 2017, 06:53:30 PM »
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The books I got from the library back in the 1990s were this age or older. I remember one of them saying don't do a water change for a month before you go on holiday  :o

Offline hampalong

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Re: Fishkeeping in 1984
« Reply #6 on: August 02, 2017, 07:10:35 PM »
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I started in 1972, and after a couple of new-tank-syndrome wipeouts I happened to find someone near me who knew what they were doing.

I had some books from the 70's and 60's that were pretty good, but others weren't. Just like the internet today.

Offline Matt

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Re: Fishkeeping in 1984
« Reply #7 on: August 02, 2017, 07:42:42 PM »
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Ok so new thread and time to get started. 

I've decided not to give too much away about the book as the purpose of this thread is not to say that the book is all wrong, more simply that fishkeeping has advanced/changed since.  So the title of the book is all I shall give. I know of course you will be able to find out more should you wish but I want a clear conscious...

Offline Matt

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Re: Fishkeeping in 1984
« Reply #8 on: August 02, 2017, 07:45:52 PM »
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So page 10 is where the book gets going and by page 11 we have the first point of interest... the book states:

"most people only associate with the Goldfish in its humble, unsuitable bowl"

It surprises me that the goldfish bowl is still around given that over 30 years ago is was seemingly already well know of the unsuitability of these as tanks...

Offline Matt

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Re: Fishkeeping in 1984
« Reply #9 on: August 02, 2017, 07:49:10 PM »
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Page 12 contains a special message for one of our members...

"when the hobby begins to take over and more tanks are needed, the rest of the family might not share your enthusiasm quite so much!"

It even recommends:

"extending their aquatic interest out ... into a fishhouse where extra breeding tanks can be accommodated without taking up valuable living space in the house"

Offline Littlefish

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Re: Fishkeeping in 1984
« Reply #10 on: August 03, 2017, 07:53:01 AM »
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@Matt did you see the really small print footnote that reads "alternatively, keep the fish in the house and move any unenthusiastic family members out to separate accommodation. Or if you live on your own just go wild"? Sometimes these old books can make a lot of sense.  ;D

Offline Matt

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Re: Fishkeeping in 1984
« Reply #11 on: August 03, 2017, 07:57:13 PM »
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Ok so we're on to stocking.  This seems to be governed by oxygen levels in the tank for use by the fish and hence surface area of the tann.

"Each 2.5cm (1 in) of fish body length should have approximately 150cm2 (24in2) of water surface allocated to it"

"This is now the accepted method of 'sizing' a fish tank for its inhabitants, and is more accurate then the out-moded 'X litres (gallons) for each Y centimetres (inches) of fish's method, I which disregards the crucial factor of the water surface area"

Ill draw no conclusions and let the debate begin!!

Offline Sue

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Re: Fishkeeping in 1984
« Reply #12 on: August 03, 2017, 08:09:48 PM »
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The surface area rule for stocking usually assumes no water movement. One book I read said this is in case the filter fails when you are not around to notice (night, at work, on holiday). The tank should always be stocked as though the tank had no water movement or the fish would die should the filter fail.

I always thought the surface area rule pre-dates the volume rule  ???

Offline MarquisMirage

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Re: Fishkeeping in 1984
« Reply #13 on: August 03, 2017, 10:29:43 PM »
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I always thought the surface area rule pre-dates the volume rule  ???

I thought so too as it was before electrical filtration and air pumps.

Offline Matt

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Re: Fishkeeping in 1984
« Reply #14 on: August 05, 2017, 12:52:15 PM »
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I'm on to tank furnishings... not one I've come across before, but cork bark is recommended for both a cave like structure or as a background.  Actually nor a bad idea...

Offline Sue

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Re: Fishkeeping in 1984
« Reply #15 on: August 05, 2017, 01:18:42 PM »
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Silly question but is cork bark the same stuff that bath mats and table mats are made of? If it is, won't any decor float  ???

Offline Littlefish

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Re: Fishkeeping in 1984
« Reply #16 on: August 05, 2017, 02:18:50 PM »
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I've got cork bark in the mudskipper tanks, and they like using it for tunnels & caves - only on the land part because yes it does float. I floated some on the water and was trying to convince one of the fish to use it as a raft, but he was not impressed.  ::)
I've seen clips of other mudskippers using cork bark pieces as a raft and floating around in the flow from the filter.

Offline Matt

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Re: Fishkeeping in 1984
« Reply #17 on: August 05, 2017, 04:21:11 PM »
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Sue I think its a more natural product than the stuff you are thinking of, my parents have it as floor tiles... this is the bark of a cork tree and looks like bark as you would find it on the tree. I think I made no sense there... ahh well

Offline Sue

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Re: Fishkeeping in 1984
« Reply #18 on: August 05, 2017, 04:25:13 PM »
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I thought it had to be something different but had no idea what. I somehow can't visualise tank ornaments made of the same stuff as wine corks  ;D

Offline Littlefish

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Re: Fishkeeping in 1984
« Reply #19 on: August 05, 2017, 06:01:38 PM »
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Perhaps I have quite a bit of pith on the cork bark I have. I got it in the reptile section of the LFS. It is cork branches that have had the middle hollowed out, so the outside looks like normal tree bark, but the inside is quite smooth and lighter. The stuff I have does float, and if I ever get one of my fellas to ride a piece like a raft I promise to take a picture.  ;D

Offline Matt

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Re: Fishkeeping in 1984
« Reply #20 on: September 07, 2017, 07:02:51 PM »
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Sorry for the break in this thread... onto aeration now which due to the sticking being determined by surface area (see previous) the book is dead keen on.  What the book does also cover though is air pump maintenance. Again not something id ever thought of...

Cleaning the air filter and air valves is encouraged.  Also regular lubrication of pistons and also the oil filter to prevent this entering the tank!!?...

I dont know if air pumps have become simpler or cheaper of what but this all sounds very complicated in comparison to my silent nano pump that sticks to the glass behind the tank and has never let me down...

Offline Sue

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Re: Fishkeeping in 1984
« Reply #21 on: September 07, 2017, 07:11:46 PM »
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I think it is our disposable society. No-one these days wants to replace diaphragms etc so they are made to be non-repairable. My new Eheim air pump has only one part that can be replaced - the 'felt washer of the outlet' which can become clogged, and can lead to 'increasing wear and tear on the diaphragm'. But there is no way to get into it to replace the diaphragm, you have to buy a new pump.

Offline Matt

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Re: Fishkeeping in 1984
« Reply #22 on: September 09, 2017, 07:45:44 AM »
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Ok, filtration!!

My first observation is that the book totally rejects the fact that mechanical filtration e.g. through a dense sponge, will also perform biological filtration.  Biological filtration is stated to be performed by bacterial living in a gravel bed and therefore under gravel filtration is advised.  This is slightly confusing because gravel was not stated to be a neccessity earlier on. The only explanation I can find for this is that the book does not actually state that biological filtration is a must, I think because is was seen to be a fairly new concept at the time; "biological filters are gaining in popularity as the resistance to their use (by fishkeepers who do not fully understand their workings in theory or practice) is overcome."

The description of the bacteria and the nitrogen cycle is actually fully up to date including the benefit of plants by using nitrate.  No bones to pick there...  :isay:

Some other oddities include:
The use of spray bars to reduce the "pressure" of the returning water. Nowadays I'm sure we'd talk about improved circulation instead...
The encouragement to use motorised filters over air powered (they are clearly quite 'new' and therefore scary  :yikes:)

Offline Littlefish

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Re: Fishkeeping in 1984
« Reply #23 on: September 09, 2017, 08:26:17 AM »
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I've just been reading through this from the beginning.
It's good to know that the nitrogen cycle was understood at the time.
It makes me wonder what direction fishkeeping is heading in, and what advances in technology and understanding are going to be made within the next 30 years.

Offline Sue

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Re: Fishkeeping in 1984
« Reply #24 on: September 09, 2017, 10:24:01 AM »
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When we were sorting out my Mum's things when she moved in with us, I found a 1960s book on how to repair things around the house, and one section was on fish tanks. They covered three areas. How to reseal the tank (in pre-slicone days); how to repair the thermocouple which controlled the heater (the heater and thermostat were separate); and how to replace the diaphragm in an air pump. The diagrams showed the air pump in use powering the filter which was a box containing carbon pellets with a layer of filter wool on top to stop the pellets falling out.

Your 1984 book shows how much things had changed during the previous 20 years. We know how much things have changed since 1984. We can only guess at the future.

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