Advice On Stocking New Aquarium Please

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Online adenann

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Advice on stocking new aquarium please
« on: November 01, 2016, 11:41:44 PM »
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Hello

Sorry to introduce yet another thread concerning what to stock in a new aquarium.

We Newbies have a SuperFish Home 80, 80L tank with oversized internal filter.  The size, in centimetres is w60 x h45 x d30.  The Community Creator indicates we could stock to 96L, because of the oversize filter and the width of 60cm would mean a max length of a mature specimen of 10cm.

After 3+ weeks of fishless cycling we're seeing water parameters starting to come round to "acceptable" levels.  Current parameters are:-

         Ammonia            <0.02 ppm
         Nitrite                   0.06 mg/l
         Nitrate                   34   mg/l
         pH                        6.8
         Temperature          26   C

Our current thinking on stock levels are shown in the tables below.  The first table is the total stocking, ordered by position in the Tank Area.  The others are stages along the way to, hopefully, introduce the hardiest species first and not unduly overload the bio-system.

Option 5, the Rosy Tetras, is very much an optional option as we're not sure about the possibility of fin nipping by them on the Guppies.  Plus we may well change our minds if something else more appealing comes out of our many visits to the supplier or advice from the forum.

The percentage value for each section is the percentage stock level against the, assumed, 96L capacity.

Any / all advice gratefully received.

Many thanks.


                                  Qty     Size (cm)  Total (cm)    Tank Area          Temp C     Hardness
SuperFish Home 80                  
Yellow Honey Gourami    4              4              16        All                     22-28        vs,s,m,h
Assorted Male Guppies    8              3              24        Top/Middle        24-28         m,h,vh
Rosy Tetra                     5              3              15        Middle               24-28        vs,s,m,h
Cherry Barb                   4              4              16        Middle/Bottom   24-28        vs,s,m,h
Sterba's Cory                 2              6              12        Bottom              24-28       vs,s,m,h,vh
Assassin Snail                4              2                0                                  N/A        vs,s,m,h,vh
Japonica Shrimp             4             4                 0                                18-27       vs,s,m,h,vh
7 Species                     31                              83         
                                                                    86%         
Stage 1                  
Cherry Barb                   4              4              16
Assassin Snail                4              2                0
2 Species                       8                              16         
                                                                    17%         
Stage 2                  
Yellow Honey Gourami    4              4              16
Japonica Shrimp             4              4                0
2 Species                       8                              16         
                                                                    17%         
Stage 3                  
Assorted Male Guppies    4              3              12
Sterba's Cory                 1              6                6
2 Species                       5                              18         
                                                                    19%         
Stage 4                  
Assorted Male Guppies    4              3              12
Sterba's Cory                 1              6                6
2 Species                       5                              18         
                                                                     19%         
Stage 5                  
Rosy Tetra                     5              3               15
1 Species                       5                               15         
                                                                     16%         
Complete                  
7 Species                     31                               83         
                                                                     86%         

Offline ColinB

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Re: Advice on stocking new aquarium please
« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2016, 10:52:34 AM »
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Hello, and welcome to the forum.

A quick point about stocking. If you're doing a fishless cycle with 3ppm of Ammonia it means you have all the bugglies you need so can can fully stock straight away. The stocking in stages is a throwback to doing fish-in cycling where you'd start off with a few 'hardy' fish to get the bugglies established, then stock slowly to let the bugglies increase in line with the stock level.

What test kit are you using to get your results as they're very precise numbers for the usual testing kits?

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Offline Sue

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Re: Advice on stocking new aquarium please
« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2016, 12:07:16 PM »
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Hi Adenann, welcome to the forum  :wave:

I too would be interested to know how you can get a reading of ammonia below 0.02 (my test kit measures 0 then 0.25) and nitrite at 0.06 (again my kit goes from 0 to 0.25)  :)

And can I check, are you doing a fishless cycle as in the method on here in the Filtration & Cycling section?


Comments on your fish list:

Yelllow honey gouramis - in a 60 cm long tank, go for 1 male and 2 or 3 females. The surface area is not big enough for 2 males to set up territories, and the territory of these fish is based on a certain amount of surface. With yellow honeys, the males are the ones with most orange on the tail and the females tend to have a darker line running from nose to tail. It can be quite faint and even broken but only females have these lines.

Guppies do better in hard water and with a pH of 6.8 you most likely have soft water. You can check the hardness on your water company's website.

Rosy tetra and cherry barbs do better with more than the minimum. I'd get at least 6 of each. If you leave out the guppies that will give you more room for them.

Sterbai cories are pretty big cories. In a tank with a 60 x 30 cm footprint I would go for one of the dwarf species - C. pygmaeus (pygmy cory) C. habrosus (salt & pepper cory) or C. hastatus. And get 10 of them as they do better in big groups. I see that you have 2 sterbai cories in your list but all cories need a group of at least 6.




If you change your list to
Honey gourami x 3
Rosy tetra x 6
Cherry barb x 6
Pygmy cory x 10

that would be a better fit, for tank size, species numbers and water parameters.
Alternatively, go for either rosy tetras or cherry barbs. A big group of 10 of just one of them would look stunning. [I should confess that I'm in the 'few species but lots of them' group rather than the 'minimum number of lots of species' group  ;D ]

Assassin snails - I'm not sure that your tank could grow enough pest snails to feed 4 assassins. I'd get less to start with, you can add more if you find the tank is growing pest snails faster than 1 or 2 can eat.



As Colin says, you can get virtually all your fish right from the start. But I would leave the cories, of whichever species, till the tank has been running a few months. Cories tend to do better when put in a tank that has been running a few months, that is a tank that has grown biofilm over all the surfaces.

Online adenann

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Re: Advice on stocking new aquarium please
« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2016, 12:14:56 PM »
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Hello ColinB

On advice from MA, where we got the tank from, the "fishless" cycle is without dosing with Ammonia.  We just used AquaCare Bio-Boost, supplied by MA, to get things started.  We have queried this with MA and another local independent and both say it's not necessary to use Ammonia, just the Bio-Boost.  And, of course, dechlorinating the water with AquaCare Tap Water Conditioner.  Both also discounted priming the reaction by feeding fish food that would then decay and produce Ammonia.  I must say I'm confused by this, as without continually adding a source of Ammonia I would have thought the Ammonia-to-Nitrite bacteria would die off and, eventually so would the Nirite-to-Nitrate bacteria too.  We also got MA to test our straight out of the tap water as a comparison.  Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate all zero.

After the inital Bio-Boost dose, we got a massive bacterial bloom.  We persisted with the remaining 3 days of dosing and, as predicted by MA, the bloom cleared up in about 3 days.  Our first test at MA showed a massive level of Nitrite and moderate Nitrate.  Subsequent testing, both at home and MA have shown persistently raised Nitrite with Nitrate rising then falling back.

I did a water change after the first MA test results.  Maybe a bit to keen with the filter.  Current advice is to get another hobby for a few weeks and leave the tank alone in a wait-and-see mode, for the 6 to 8 weeks cycle.

As to the parameters, we have two Seachem Alerts in-tank.  One for pH and the other for Ammonia.  Hence the odd result for Ammonia which indicates "Safe" as <0.02.  For all I know it could be zero or anywhere in between.

I also use Tetra 6-in-1 test strips with visual comparison against the charts plus using their smartphone App. The values I then average 3 results for pH and the 2 Tetra results for everything else.  The Tetra stips do not analyse Ammonia.

I have results for hardness, CO2 and CL2 but both suppliers said they're not that important as the fish are kept in the same water, i.e. same supplier for both them and us, and we don't have live plants, yet.

For completeness, GH is currently 8, KH 20, CO2 3 and CL2 0.

Interesting thought from the independent retailer.  "We're water keepers, not fish keepers.  The fish are incidental to good water management and in some respects get in the way of that".

The thinking behind the staged stocking was a) not to overwhelm the tank too quickly and b) not to risk losing the whole lot in one incident.  By my calculation, to stock all we like would be around 150.  A lot to lose in one go!

FYI: I estimate any tank set up cost as being one third for a tank, one third for all the extra kit needed (substrate, decor, heater, etc) and one third for the stock.

No wonder we're confused!

Offline Sue

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Re: Advice on stocking new aquarium please
« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2016, 12:41:00 PM »
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The first lesson for fishkeepers is don't believe the shop.

Most shops will advise using a bottled bacteria product. But most of them contain the wrong species of nitrite eating bacteria. Besides which, shops make money from selling you bottled bacteria and then medication to cure the fish that get sick during a fish-in cycle, and replacement fish for those that die.

The danger is that although the tank looks cycled, it isn't and you find yourself doing a fish-in cycle. The readings may be virtually zero but you haven't yet added a source of ammonia - from a bottle or made by fish - so the water should have low or zero ammonia and nitrite.

The safest way to go is to buy a bottle of ammonia to test the cycle. It isn't very expensive compared to everything else. Most people seem to buy it from Amazon or Ebay, though my local DIY shop stocks Kleen Off Household Ammonia which I used earlier this year to cycle a filter.

Once you have the ammonia, add a 3 ppm dose and test next day. If either ammonia or nitrite is above zero, the tank is not cycled. Then just follow the method on here to get the tank ready for fish.
If both readings are zero 24 hours after adding 3 ppm ammonia, you'll know the tank is safe for fish.



I should also add that test strips are not highly regarded. Those test kits with liquid or solid reagents usually give more accurate results. Buying on-line is cheaper than real shops.
And I'd check the hardness reading with your water company's site to be on the safe side. GH 8 is a bit on the low side for guppies.

One tip for liquid reagent testers is that most brands have  2, sometimes 3, bottles for nitrate. One of these needs shaking even longer than the instructions say or it gives false results.

Online adenann

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Re: Advice on stocking new aquarium please
« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2016, 12:57:01 PM »
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Hello Sue

Many thanks for your advice.  We'll certainly give it some thought.

I replied to ColinB earlier as to how I arrived at the parameter values and the cycling method.

I've noticed that I quoted an incorrect value for pH.  It should have read 7.3, which is slightly down on what it has been.  It's been bumping along between 7.6 and 7.9 until this last test yesterday.

As to the comments on the Sterba's Cories.  The Community Creator complained, or rather advised against some of our original choices, which is why our list is the third iteration of playing about with the CC.  It doesn't, however, seem to have any problem with the size or quantity of the Cories.  Max length 6cm and not a peep about 5 or more.

The Assassin Snails we chose on the basis of debris eating rather than snail control.

So, it's back to the drawing board, or rather, the Community Creator, to check out your suggestions.

There'll be more posts on this in due course.

Offline Littlefish

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Re: Advice on stocking new aquarium please
« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2016, 05:25:24 PM »
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Hello there and welcome to the forum.  :wave:

Nice tank you've got there. Please keep us posted on your progress - I love hearing about other tanks and the stage of deciding what to get/working with the community creator is quite exciting.

 ;D

Online adenann

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Re: Advice on stocking new aquarium please
« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2016, 06:46:41 PM »
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Hello Sue

Further to your recommendations about stocking our new tank, I'm very interested to know the pros and cons of small numbers of more species against large numbers of fewer species.

I've noticed in several of your posts that you're firmly in the later group but haven't, as yet, come across the argument for the other way round.

Whilst related to my original thread, I'll start a new thread for just this purpose to help me and others understand the issues in a free-standing topic.

Offline fcmf

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Re: Advice on stocking new aquarium please
« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2016, 08:41:20 AM »
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Current advice is to get another hobby for a few weeks and leave the tank alone in a wait-and-see mode, for the 6 to 8 weeks cycle.

I also use Tetra 6-in-1 test strips with visual comparison against the charts plus using their smartphone App. The values I then average 3 results for pH and the 2 Tetra results for everything else.

Interesting thought from the independent retailer.  "We're water keepers, not fish keepers.  The fish are incidental to good water management and in some respects get in the way of that".

The fishless cycle process is a great time for taking up the hobby of working out which fish to stock, in which numbers, etc, so you're doing a great job there. :)

I find the test strips accurate for nitrate and nitrite (and easier to read for these than liquid-based tests) and chlorine, but find the reading for PH lower and the reading for GH higher than other tests, while the KH result doesn't really resemble any of the colours.

I think the quote about keeping water, with keeping fish being incidental to that, is quite true ie if water quality is sub-optimum, health problems for the fish do set in or take hold. Having said that, even perfect water quality won't eliminate problems, and unforeseen problems still occur.

Online adenann

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Re: Advice on stocking new aquarium please
« Reply #9 on: November 10, 2016, 06:52:50 PM »
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Right, back again after some thoughts on what to stock our tank with.

We're almost there, we think, with our tank cycle.  Just three days of the parameters holding steady at NH3 - 0, NO2 0, NO3 - 30, pH - 7.5, Temperature 26C, 20% water change weekly for the last 3 weeks.

As recommended, we've been spending our "free" time thinking about alternatives for our stocking plan.

Our local MA have suggested looking at 3 species we haven't considered before.  We've found that often a tank of young / juveniles bear little or no relationship to the mature adult.  Often they're rather dull and drab whereas the adults are very different.  Does anyone have any thoughts on species where this is the case as we think we could be missing out by visiting suppliers to look through their stock since we would tend to ignore extremely small of "boring" colouring.

We've seen Halfbeaks, Forktail Rainbows and False Julii Corydoras at our local MA. So we have seen nearly the end result for them.

I can find Halfbeaks through the Community Creator but not the others, so I'm not yet able to figure out if they would fit for size and conditions.

I believe the Halfbeaks require (or would benefit from?) "a little salt in the water" plus floating plants.  How would the salt affect other species we have on our wish-list?  I also think their size would rule them out for our 80cm / 80L tank.

Too much choice and, hopefully, so little time!!

Offline Sue

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Re: Advice on stocking new aquarium please
« Reply #10 on: November 10, 2016, 07:31:18 PM »
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Just to check - have you been adding ammonia to the tank? If that zero ammonia and zero nitrite are the results 24 hours after adding a 3ppm dose of ammonia, then you are indeed cycled.
But if you haven't added any ammonia (you don't say whether you have or not) then there is no way of knowing if the tank is ready for fish. Those zeros could be zero because there has been no source of ammonia and then when you get fish they shoot up.


Halfbeaks.
Hmmm I wonder why the original owner of the site put it in miscellaneous rather than livebearers? Like most livebearers it needs hard water, that being more important than salt. Salt can be added to the tank but as long as the water is hard and alkaline (pH over 7) it should be fine without salt.
Seriously Fish has more info on these fish. Minimum tank size 60 x 37.5 x 30 cm. They suggest 1 male to several females in smaller tanks. These fish can be shy and easily outcompeted for food.
Preferred water conditions - hardness 10 to 20 German deg (178 - 357 ppm) and pH 6.5 to 8.0.
But you said earlier that your GH is 8 German deg which is too soft for halfbeaks.

Forktail rainbow aka forktail blue-eye, Pseudomugil furcatus.
Needs hard alkaline water and the same minimum tank size as halfbeaks so these two would work together. Need at least 8 to 10 of them.
Preferred water conditions - 15 - 30 German deg (268 - 536 ppm) and pH 7.0 to 8.0
But at GH 8, your water is far too soft for these fish.

False julii cories - Corydoras trilineatus.
Thinkfish had to move host a few years ago and the fish profiles before the move had a category 'corydoras' which included all the 2 inch cories such as these. The category vanished during the move and never came back.
I would just substitute sterba's cories in the CC. Trilineatus are slightly smaller but their requirements are pretty similar.
Their range is 1 to 12 german deg hardness (18 to 215 ppm) and pH 5.8 to 7.2
At GH 8 your water is fine for these fish.
They would be OK in your tank size, but as they need to be in a group of at least 6, they would eat quite a hole in your stocking allowance.


Online adenann

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Re: Advice on stocking new aquarium please
« Reply #11 on: November 10, 2016, 09:23:17 PM »
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Thanks Sue for yet another fulsome, and very speedy, reply.

I managed to find some cheap-as-chips Kleen Off Ammonia on Amazon so, yes, I'm fairly sure we're there, almost, maybe, who knows???.  Another few steady readings and I'll be happy.

Interesting comments about hard water.   Our GH is indeed a steady 8 and KH steady at 20.  I know the KH is on the high side, but all the local suppliers (2 x MA plus 2 independents all say this is OK (they would wouldn't they!) as they do nothing but take their water off the tap the same as we do so the hardness is what it is.  However, I'm thinking that it probably doesn't matter too much for them as the fish are only passing through from who-knows-where they're bred to the end customer.

I've always thought of our supply as being hard.  Anglia Water say we have hard to very hard without quoting actual numbers.  They quote it for things like dishwashers and washing machines with no mention of fish but I've always thought it doesn't matter what the context is, if it's hard it's hard and if it's soft it's soft.

The only test I have for hardness are Tetra 6-in-1 test strips.  For GH there are only three colours for 4, 8 and >= 16 that the chart marks "OK".  There's not too much difference between the 8 and >=16 colours but I'm fairly sure we're at 8 or close on it. Fcmf, in an earlier reply, said strips read higher for GH which would make our true level softer than 8. You don't seem to have much confidence in strips either.   Next time we're at MA I'll get them to do specific liquid tests for hardness to try and see if the Tetra strips are recording low or high.

I'm reluctant to go out and buy more testing chemicals.  Our simple "lets start keeping an aquarium" project has already cost us a whole shelf in a kitchen cupboard for all the sundry bits-and-bobs we "need".  Just for water quality testing, I already have the aforementioned strips, an NT Labs kit for NO2 and a 3-step Hagan NutraFin test for NH3.

Does "prefers soft water" in any fish description mean that hard water would kill a fish or just that it wouldn't reach it's full depth or vibrancy of colour?

From the little I found out myself, I think we can rule out the Halfbeaks if we need 8 - 10, plus the Community Creator is saying our tank is too small.

8 to 10 Forktails would, indeed, eat into the stock allowance.  As would 6 Sterba's or False Julii.

We'd almost got it into our heads that we could have 4 x 6cm Sterba's and, as the guy at MA said that the Julii came to "about" 4cm, we could just about accommodate 6 x 4cm False Julii.  Still, your comments will provide some questions next time we're at MA.

We may give up on bottom feeders altogether.  A comment from MA today ran along the lines of "in order to make sure enough food gets down to them you have to over feed the other fish in the water column.  Otherwise you're messing about with sinking pellets and such.  yet another complication we can do without.

Thanks for your help, yet again.

Offline Littlefish

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Re: Advice on stocking new aquarium please
« Reply #12 on: November 10, 2016, 09:44:47 PM »
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My water comes from Cambridge Water Company, and the area boarders with Anglian water. I also have hard water, and have found my water supplier gives accurate information
http://cambridgewater.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/85/kw/water+hardness/session/L3RpbWUvMTQ3ODgxNDA0My9zaWQvN0VPbkdrM24%3D
With Anglian water they provide this section to put in your postcode and find information on your water
http://waterquality.anglianwater.com/map.aspx
I sometimes struggle to find fish that I like that work in a community tank with the water I have in this area, but I also struggle with the difference in information given on different sites as well.  ::)



Online adenann

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Re: Advice on stocking new aquarium please
« Reply #13 on: November 10, 2016, 10:24:04 PM »
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Hello Littlefish

I too get billed by Cambridge Water Company!!  I always thought that the supply came from Anglia Water.  A bit like getting gas billed from one supplier or another when it's the same gas in the same pipes as someone next door who's, perhaps, billed by another supplier.

Either way, the map that came up on the CWC page shows hard to very hard for everywhere from Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, East Anglia and a great swathe across the Midlands down to the South Coast and across through Kent.  So we seem to be in hard to very hard no matter what.

CWC say "When water falls as rain, it is "soft" and free of minerals. It picks up minerals as it passes through rock, sand and soil. The water supplied by Cambridge Water is all ground water - drawn from water-bearing rocks, or aquifers, under the ground. The calcium and magnesium in the rocks causes the water to become "hard."".  That being so, we are in a hard area.

I see they quote a value for German hardness, which I think is what the Tetra strips are calibrated in, as 17dH.  That being so, my Tetra reading of 8dH is way out of whack.  Definitely going to get MA to check when we're next at Scotsdale's or Poll Hill.

Thanks

Online adenann

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Re: Advice on stocking new aquarium please
« Reply #14 on: November 10, 2016, 11:43:54 PM »
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@Littlefish

Following up on your useful link to CWC's website I've done some more digging around as to who supplies where.  On map data on Anglian Water's site, we are in CWC's area, by about 4 miles from the CWC / Anglian boundary.

As noted earlier CWC give their hardness as 17dH.  The figure that I've now managed to find for Anglian is lower.  It's only 16.699dH!  Near enough equal to me.  I've got enough trouble getting a correct reading from the Tetra test strip in whole numbers, let alone to 3 decimal places!

@Sue

I think this now reverses your advice, at least based on water hardness, that Halfbeaks and Forktails would be OK but is now too hard for False Julii.  As far as I can tell Sterbas would be OK as they seem to be in the range all the way from very soft to very hard.  I think it also means that Guppies are back in the frame too!

Offline Matt

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Re: Advice on stocking new aquarium please
« Reply #15 on: November 11, 2016, 12:18:29 AM »
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Just wanted to answer off a previous question in this thread and say that water hardness is very important to fish.  if they have the wrong water conditions their lives will be shortened and they will be susceptible to disease.  I believe its something to do with they cannot properly regulate their bodies thought osmosis I believe...

Offline Littlefish

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Re: Advice on stocking new aquarium please
« Reply #16 on: November 11, 2016, 08:51:28 AM »
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I'm very impressed with the 3 decimal places, that makes all the difference.  :rotfl:

I have also recently been looking into the pH of my water, which comes out of the tap at 7.4, and goes up to around 8.4 within 48 hours, regardless of temperature, dechlorinator, etc. @Sue has mentioned the possibility of CWC adding carbon dioxide to the supply, which gasses off over a relatively short period of time. This explanation makes a lot of sense to me as far as my change of pH is concerned, and it is something I keep in mind now if I ever have to do a lrge water change or set up a quarantine/hospital tank in an emergency. Don't want to be shocking an already poorly fish with such a huge change in pH as well.

I'm assuming that our locations are very close, as you have mentioned areas that I know. My most frequent haunt is MA @ Scotsdales. If you are prepared to head towards Soham then give Amwell Aquatics a try as well. It is a very good independant LFS and sometimes makes a change from a large chain like MA. I go there most weeks to collect live bloodwroms for my dwarf puffers.  :)

Apologies for the lack of good news on the water parameters in this area, but thought I'd let you know about the pH thing as sometimes more knowledge is helpful in avoiding issues.

Offline Sue

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Re: Advice on stocking new aquarium please
« Reply #17 on: November 11, 2016, 12:46:19 PM »
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The simplest way to go is to take a sample of tap water to a shop and ask them to test it for GH. That's the important one as KH doesn't impact fish directly. Make sure they give you the number.
There are 2 units used in fishkeeping - German degrees, also called dH, and ppm, also called mg per litre. Water companies also use about half a dozen other units, so you need to make a note of the units as well as the number when looking at their websites.

GH is a measure of divalent metal ions, which in practice means mainly calcium, some magnesium and trace amounts of others. It is what water companies mean by hard and soft water. Matt is quite right that the wrong GH affects the fish's ability to cope via osmosis. Hard water fish have evolved to remove a lot of calcium from their bodies while soft water fish have evolved to retain the calcium.

KH is what water companies call alkalinity. It is a measure of the buffering capacity of the water, and in natural water sources KH is composed of mainly carbonates and bicarbonates. Buffer is a chemical term for something that keeps pH stable, and this is how KH indirectly affects fish, via the pH.
The natural tendency of tank water is to become gradually acidic. This is caused by nitrate at the end of the nitrogen cycle and also acidic things excreted by the fish. If the KH is low, there is little buffer and it gets used up leaving nothing to stop the pH falling. About 10 years ago I was very overstocked and lazy about water changes. And I now know that I have a KH of 3 German deg. I tested my tank's pH one day after not having done a water change for 3 weeks  :-[ and found the pH had dropped from 7.5 to below 6 - off the bottom of the scale. This is not very good for fish, and I came on here to ask the then advisor on the forum what to do
High KH makes it impossible to alter the pH. The fishkeepers that don't realise about hardness just look at pH. They think 'my pH is too high for the fish I want, I need to lower it' so they add a product designed to lower pH. These works for a few hours then the high KH bounces the pH back up again. This yoyoing pH is bad for fish.


So find your GH either from the water company (website or phone) or by getting it tested at a shop.

Online adenann

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Re: Advice on stocking new aquarium please
« Reply #18 on: November 18, 2016, 08:43:39 PM »
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Now we're really in it!

We've stocked our tank with 3 fish species trying to row back from the small quantities of large numbers of species following @Sue comments on my original stocking plan.

We finally decided on "only" 5 x Cherry Barbs, 6 x Yellow Honey Gourami and 4 assorted pairs of male Guppies.  On advice from MA, instead of the Assassin Snail we were thinking of, we've also got a Zebra Snail.

The Barbs and Guppies are all males.  We think we got 1 male and 5 female Gourami but I'm not sure if we've managed to accidentally get 2 males after all.

Barbs and Gourami were first, last week, and have settled in very well.  They all seemed to be a bit pale at first, possibly from being stressed.  Now they've calmed down and started to colour up.  Which is why we think we might just have an extra male Gourami.  If it turns out we do, I've sounded out MA about swapping one of them for another female.

The Guppies went in yesterday, 17/11.  They're a bit hyper at the moment but have calmed down a bit overnight so hopefully peace will be restored soon.

We've dropped our plans for Rosy Tetras and any sort of Corydoras, the latter because we've twice had conversations with MA along the lines of "in order to feed the bottom feeders you have to slightly overfeed the others".  Not something we feel happy about and not, for now, wanting to mess about with sinking pellets for them.  In any case, we were looking at Corydoras as sweepers up of left over food.  The Gourami seem to be doing that on their own, foraging in the gravel substrate.

According to the CC, we're just 71% stocked so we think we've resisted the temptation to cram as much in as possible and allowed scope for a little bit more if we find something interesting.  Like we might add some Japonica Shrimp later, once everything has settled.

Can't help being a little paranoid about keeping them health, we do a count up every morning.  The Barbs are easy to count, the Gourami not quite so as a couple of them are a bit shy first thing so we waste a lot of time waiting for them all to be accounted for.  At the moment, the Guppies are a bit tricky too as they're so fast moving it's easy to miscount.

I've attached a few pictures below.  The difficulty of trying to get decent shots on a mobile phone has caused my very first hobby to be resurrected.  Out with the trusty camera, manual focus, aperture and exposure and use a tripod.  I can see an awful lot of time being wasted from now on.  Just sitting down watching can easily run off with an hour.

@Littlefish

I've still not quite got to the bottom of variance in pH readings.  After your post about pH rising after 48hrs I ran a test of my own with water straight off the tap left standing.  Both readings came out at &.6.  I've also been on to SeaChem about their pH Alert disc I had that went cloudy.  They very quickly sent a replacement which, for now, is showing a steady reading between 7.4 and 7.8 colours, which I'm assuming to be 7.6 too.  Checks before we bought the Guppies at MA still came out at 8.5.

I must say I'm a bit disappointed that there doesn't seem to be any standard or method of calibration across any of the testing products on the market.  Still, for what I have researched in this area, consistency of level is possibly more important than the actual level itself.

I've also contacted Cambridge Water to try and get all their parameters confirmed, not just the GH on the website.  No reply yet.

Offline Littlefish

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Re: Advice on stocking new aquarium please
« Reply #19 on: November 18, 2016, 08:55:56 PM »
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Great to see your fish doing well.  ;D


Offline Sue

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Re: Advice on stocking new aquarium please
« Reply #20 on: November 19, 2016, 09:14:39 AM »
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Nice mixture of fish  :)

I found that honey gouramis, particularly females, spend a lot of time searching everywhere for bits of food, including the bottom of the tank. Males not so much because they couldn't spare the time from trying to attract the females.

Nerites of all colours are the best algae eaters in a fish tank. I find they don't eat anything else, but you do have your gourami bottom cleaners  :)


Offline fcmf

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Re: Advice on stocking new aquarium please
« Reply #21 on: November 19, 2016, 02:38:14 PM »
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Great update and pics.  :cheers:

Online adenann

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Advice on stocking new aquarium please - Final Stock Level
« Reply #22 on: December 02, 2016, 07:42:19 PM »
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After what seems to be a very long time, we've finally reached our desired stock level :fishy1:.

We now have :- 5 x Yellow Honey Gourami
                        5 x Cherry Barbs
                        8 x Male Guppies
                        4 x False Julii Corydoras

Along the way we unfortunately lost Jimmy the Snail  :( (Grandson like things to have names, don't ask!).  He only lasted 10 days.  After clearing up the main patch of algae, he went walkabout up the side of the tank and back then sat on the substrate doing nothing.  Checked him out after a couple of days.  No bad stench like others had describe to indicate he was dead.  MA said they sometimes "go to sleep" and don't move around for days on end.  Propped him up near the glass to try and observe any movement.  Then his trap door fell out and left just a tiny blob inside.  I tipped out the remains, gave the shell a good boil and put it back.  I still move the shell around a bit so the grandson doesn't notice he's not moving.  I've no idea as to why he died so we're not about to rush out and buy another.

Only overnight this last Wednesday, one of our 6 Gourami decided to sneak into the internal filter/heater chamber and get himself trapped between the filter and the box :(.  So we're down to 5 of the original 6.  Although not killed by any illness, for now we're not going to replace him either.  It now leaves us with 1 male and 4 females.  I've, hopefully, Gourami proofed the box to stop up the only gap he could have got through, with a piece of sponge.

Today we completed our purchases with 4 False Julii Corydoras :D.  The very helpful people at Scotsdale's MA overcame my reluctance to go ahead with any sort of bottom feeders.  They've given me a few JBL NovaTabs to try.  However, I'd already realised that I could feed them without necessarily overfeed the top feeders.  I have been trying some Tetra Bloodworm and Brine Shrimps in a gel sachet for the fish we already have (from P@H).  No matter how carefully I add it, the blobs of gel very quickly sink to the bottom and get, eventually, cleaned up by grazing Gourami so it's occurred to me that this is an easy way of getting food down to the bottom quickly.  What with that, and the sinking pellets, I think we shall be alright.

Many thanks to everyone who contributed to this and associated topics. :wave:

Offline Littlefish

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Re: Advice on stocking new aquarium please
« Reply #23 on: December 02, 2016, 09:10:36 PM »
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Sorry to hear about Jimmy the snail (nothing wrong with naming aquatic housemates  ;) ) and your gourami, but the rest sounds as if it has been quite a sucess. Well done.  :cheers:

Any pictures will be admired (hint, hint).  ;D

Offline fcmf

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Re: Advice on stocking new aquarium please
« Reply #24 on: December 02, 2016, 10:14:19 PM »
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Good to read of your update - well done.

Agree with Littlefish - and your grandson isn't the only one to name is aquatic inhabitants; despite intending not to, I end up naming mine :). Sorry to hear about the two fatalities - I had a similar episode with a fish and filter, but glad that you've taken the right precautions to prevent a recurrence involving anyone else.

Best of luck and enjoy your time watching the fish.
 :fishy1:

Offline Andy The Minion

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Re: Advice on stocking new aquarium please
« Reply #25 on: December 02, 2016, 10:16:54 PM »
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@adenann The NovaTabs are fish magnets, absolutely everybody in the tank will love these including the Corys You will find that if you slide them down the glass they stick and you can watch the bunfight.

Offline Sue

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Re: Advice on stocking new aquarium please
« Reply #26 on: December 03, 2016, 09:14:24 AM »
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The JBL tabs are what I feed my cories too  :) Though I'm not sure about sticking them to the glass or the rice fish would eat the lot before the cories got near them.

I have found that shop workers can be a bit rough with snails. If they wrench them off the glass it doesn't do the snail any good. When I need to remove a snail for any reason I slide it up the glass till it falls off the edge. But I've also had snails just die on me. Maybe wait a month or two then try and find an identical one.

Offline Littlefish

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Re: Advice on stocking new aquarium please
« Reply #27 on: December 03, 2016, 10:08:32 AM »
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I admit that a lot of my fish like the tabs and sinking wafers. I've tried several brands, including those mentioned, and they have all been greeted with the same levels of enthusiasm. It's possible that my lot are just greedy though.  ::) . I quite enjoy watching the cories find a tab as their reaction is hilarious - bottoms slightly raised and it looks as if they are trying to cover the tab with their barbels to hide it from others while they have their fill. Though the peppered cories in one of the temperate tanks may have learned to do this due to the enthusiam for food that the female platies have always had.
Even the shrimp have been seen making off with an entire tab to enjoy elsewhere in peace, bless them.  :)


Online adenann

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Re: Advice on stocking new aquarium please
« Reply #28 on: December 03, 2016, 11:47:46 AM »
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The NovoTabs seem popular with all my guests too.  It doesn't seem to upset the cories that everyone else is tucking in.  They just go for what's in the cloud of bits that float off.
MA's advice was to feed 2 tabs a day, cutting back to one if that seems too much. That was for the 4 cories and not the other 18.
What quantity should I use for the tabs?  I won't use them all the time,  alternating with Tetra Pro Colour, normal flake and gel with Brine Shrimps and Bloodworms.
MA gave me about 30 tabs to try. On the Net they seem to come in tubs measured by volume. How many are there in, say, 100ml?
Thanks.  :wave:

Offline Andy The Minion

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Re: Advice on stocking new aquarium please
« Reply #29 on: December 04, 2016, 08:40:18 AM »
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@adenann they are 0.4g each so you would get 250 per 100g

Offline Sue

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Re: Advice on stocking new aquarium please
« Reply #30 on: December 04, 2016, 09:29:36 AM »
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I'm glad someone worked that out  ;D All I know is that my tub has lasted ages and it's not empty yet.
I have about 8 or 9 pygmy cories, which are smaller than trilineatus (false juliis) so my lot probably have less body mass than the 4 of adenann's. I feed one tab a day, half at lunch time and the other half at dinner time. Our mealtimes  ;D I also beak each half into four pieces before putting it in the tank. And I feed flakes and a couple of tiny algae wafers in the evening for the stiphodons.
All the fish eat everything with the exception of the rasboras which don't feed from the bottom of the tank.

Online adenann

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Re: Advice on stocking new aquarium please
« Reply #31 on: December 04, 2016, 11:21:39 AM »
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@Andy the minion
Thanks.  But the tubs I'v seen are measured in volume not weight.  They seem to be  50ml, 100ml, 250ml  then maybe go into kilos.   All very confusing and I'm still none the wiser!

Offline Andy The Minion

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Re: Advice on stocking new aquarium please
« Reply #32 on: December 04, 2016, 11:27:08 AM »
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@adenann Sorry I misread your question I have a 250ml tub which is 150g so that would be 375 tabs, so I guess you could do the density calc if you wanted the other tub sizes :)

Offline Sue

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Re: Advice on stocking new aquarium please
« Reply #33 on: December 04, 2016, 11:34:48 AM »
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My tub says 60g/100ml. To be totally accurate, it says 60g e /(100ml)

Just so we know we are talking about the same thing this is what I have. The only difference between the photos in the link and my tub is that my tub has only English written on the front.

Online adenann

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Re: Advice on stocking new aquarium please
« Reply #34 on: December 04, 2016, 01:33:06 PM »
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Perfect! Now we're all talking about and looking at the same thing!  :))
Thanks also for the information on how much to use.  :wave:

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