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New Starter - Fish Advice

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Offline Mici

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New starter - fish advice
« on: November 22, 2018, 10:54:34 PM »
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Hi everyone  :wave:

New to the forums (I've put a little introduction in the intro section of the forums ) feel free to have a look

I'm getting a fluval Roma 200 ( will be my first tank ) although I grew up with fish ,my dad had 2. 10 foot tanks with red belly piranha and oscars.

So like I  say I'm getting a fluval Roma 200 and I'm looking at making it into a planted peaceful community tank. My water details - which I will test myself at some point  (according the website is moderately soft at 22mg/L as calcium which is about 3.08 German de)

So the fish....
I've been looking at the fish fish profiles on this site and I've been into pets at home just to have a quick look, i will be using MA to get my fish as there is one close by, I'm going to go there soon as they will have a lot more fish to look at!

But at the moment the fish that have caught my eye, and would be okay in soft water are

Schools of fish -  I would love 3 to 4 schools of about 8 to 10 fish ( this is probably to many if so how many?)
  Harlequin rasbora
  Cardinal tetra
  Cherry barbs
  Rummy nose
  Black phantom tetra
  Some sort of Cory

Alongside with the schools of fish I would like a centre piece fish , the ones that have fought my eye are ( I know I could only have one of these maybe as a pair?)
  Electric blue ram
  German blue ram
  Honey gourami
  Opaline gourami
  1 male betta

These are just the fish that have fought my eye , and like I say I'm going to visit Maidenhead aquatics to get a better look at these fish and maybe spot some different fish that look stunning,  I would love your opinions on the fish I've listed and maybe if there are any fish u think I should take a look at that suit my conditions please let me know

Thanks in advance for your replys , look forward to hearing from you all
 
 




Offline Matt

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Re: New starter - fish advice
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2018, 11:17:23 PM »
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Have you tried the community creator (green link at the top of the page?) This will help tell you how many of each fish species you can fit in your tank.  :cheers:

FYI for your trip to MA the male Betta should be housed on its own rather than in a community. Oh and please do not take everything they tell you as factual. Check back in here... we don't have anything to loose of you don't buy anything!!

Offline fcmf

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Re: New starter - fish advice
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2018, 11:22:59 PM »
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As per other thread, Matt's suggestion of Bolivian rams are an option. As for cories, pandas as you suggested would be a good, similar size to your proposed fish and I have a soft spot for the patterning of julii and false julii cories. However, cories have little concept of territory and so may fall foul of your proposed rams if a pair were to breed and become territorial re their fry. Bettas often, but not always, don't take too well to tankmates so it would be a risk having a betta in a community tank - others may be able to advise further on this.

As for sizes of shoals, have you tried using the Community Creator?

Edited to add: sorry - overlap with Matt's post. Texting/typing on my phone and takes an age!

Offline TopCookie

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Re: New starter - fish advice
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2018, 02:55:00 AM »
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Watch out for the Black Phantoms Michael...  Fantastic looking fish, but they do tend to squabble with each other more or less constantly...  No harm tends to come from this constant quarrelling, but it can drive you a bit mad if wanting a more peaceful community... 

Although I don't have Black Phantoms myself, I do have Red Phantoms...  If the power of hindsight was a real thing, I would have got Harlequins instead...  :)

Having said all that, you may not actually mind this harmless squabbling that Phantoms do, and for sure they certainly look fantastic (the males) when squaring up with their fins all flared up and erect etc... 

Offline Sue

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Re: New starter - fish advice
« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2018, 09:13:40 AM »
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I see you've added extra fish in this list  ;D

My comment on opaline gouramis made in the other thread still stands, and to add that bettas are not community fish. If you really want one, find room for a small tank, somewhere in the 25 to 40 litre size is ideal for a betta on his own.

Since I've never had black phantoms, go with what TopCookie says  :)
Does your Maidenhead Aquatics have albino cherry barbs? I once had some from my MA, the orange males and yellow females are unusual, though a lot of people are put off by their red eyes.



There are 2 schools of thought about stocking a tank. One is "minimum number of lots of different species". This tends to be favoured by new fishkeepers, myself included when I started. The other is "big shoals of just a few species" which is where I am now. I have 2 shoals of at least 12 (I can't count them) - rice fish and Espe's rasboras (related to harlequins, and in the fish profiles on here as slender harlequin). Something to think about while you get the tank ready for fish  ;D





What are your plans for decor? The shoaling fish you list come from rivers/streams with lots of overhanging vegetation and don't like bright light. They are much happier in a tank with floating plants. My Espe's rasboras huddled together in the back corner when I first got them. Then I read about floating plants and bought some water sprite. The rasboras came out of their corner but only as far as the edge of the plant cover. Now that the plants cover most of the surface, the rasboras are everywhere.
Gouramis of all species also like floating plants.

Offline Mici

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Re: New starter - fish advice
« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2018, 06:38:11 PM »
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Hi guys , just got in from work and read through your great replys .

Yea I've read that betta should be kept alone , just I had read a few articles and watched a few vids saying they can work in peaceful community's , but taking in to account what everyone is saying I'm going to stay away from them in a community tank.

Thanks topcookie for your information on the black phantoms , and taking that into account seen as though I want a peaceful community tank I'll stay away

For the decor sue I've been looking st the tropica site for ideas I'll defo be having a planted tank with some wood and rocks and will defiantly be taking your advice on floating tanks if it brings out the fish!

So I've had a play with the community creator and came up with the following (taking in what sue has said and also personal preference I would like larger shoals ):
  100long 200litre tank / moderately soft water 3.08 German de.

- 3 x honey gourami 1m 2f
- 12 x harlequin rasbora
- 12 x cardinal tetra
- 12 x rummy nose tetra
- 8 x panda Cory

To me this seems like to many middle dwelling fish??? I dunno if this is to many schools of fish?  The community creator says it's 73% stocked .

If you guys do think this is to many middle dwelling schools of that size what would you think about

-3 x honey gourami 1m 2f
16 x harlequin rasbora
16x cardinal tetra
8x panda Cory

Would love to hear your opinions and expertise on these lists , feel free to tear them apart and remake them if you wish :rotfl:






Offline Sue

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Re: New starter - fish advice
« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2018, 06:54:03 PM »
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I think the second option would look great. The orange of the harlies would contrast nicely with the blue of the cardinals, and with shoaling fish the more the merrier. I would also go for more cories. Either another 8 pandas or 8 of another species.

Which colour morph of honey gourami? I have come across three. The wild colour is easiest to tell males from females, yellow ones are next easiest while the red variety (also called red robins) are quite tricky to tell apart.



If you intend planting the tank quite heavily, you don't need to do a fishless cycle. Plants prefer their nitrogen in the form of ammonia and they take it up faster than filter bacteria. And they don't turn it into nitrite, nor then on to nitrate. If fish are added a few at a time and the ammonia and nitrite levels monitored daily, provided there are enough plants it is likely that there will never be any ammonia or nitrite showing up. Floating plants are particularly good for this as the other two things plants need - light and carbon dioxide - are plentiful at the water surface.
Put the plants in the tank and wait a week or two to make sure they are starting to grow and not die. Then add half a shoal shoal of harlequins. If everything stays at zero for a week, add the other half shoal. It is usually recommended to buy complete shoals, but harlies are very peaceful and the first batch won't object to the second batch. I would then wait a couple of weeks before getting whichever group you fancy next.


Or do a fishless cycle with ammonia, then plant the tank. A lot of plant species can't cope with 3 ppm ammonia going in the tank in one dose. Fish make that much in the course of a day in continual tiny amounts not all at once.

Offline Mici

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Re: New starter - fish advice
« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2018, 07:15:47 PM »
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Thanks sue

I just kept the pandas down because I was over doing it a little

I will have to take a closer look at the different morphs of honeys and then decide from there , only seen pictures of them , going to have a good look at them at MA , I'll see what they have then decide from there .

That's great advice on the plants !!! And I was wondering on how to go about the cycle with a planted tank..
talking of plants I'm looking at getting a system nano from tropica to feed them co2 , I will only be keeping easy plants I think (easy as in the easy plants on the tropica site) and will be adding about 3mg co2/l , I know this is a small amount and that's why I'm keeping the easier plants .

I forgot to say , what do you guys think ( if I go for the second list with. 8 added cords) to keep a large number of amano shrimp ?  I've read they really combat algae and dirt? Or will I not really need them

Offline Sue

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Re: New starter - fish advice
« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2018, 07:29:40 PM »
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They won't combat dirt - they don't eat that. But they will eat certain types of algae - nothing eats every type  :)
Amano shrimps are among the largest of the commonly available shrimps. Females do carry eggs but you will never see baby amanos. Amano eggs hatch into a larval stage which needs salt water to develop. This is because they get swept out to sea then once they've metamorphosed into the adult form they swim back up river.
If you want a self sustaining shrimp colony, look at cherry shrimps. they hatch into miniature adults and will survive unless they get eaten first.
Either wait till your tank had grown algae or feed them algae wafers or veggies such as a slice of blanched courgette.

You don't need algae eaters, but of you like the looks of a fish/shrimp by all means get some.


If you want something that will 'eat' dirt, Malaysian trumpet snails spend their days in the substrate eating fish poo and left over fish food, before pooping it all back out in a much smaller form. This then breaks down easier to provide plant food.



If you get slow growing, 'low tech' plants, you won't need to add CO2. It's fast growing plants that need a lot of light that need CO2.
But I am not the best person to talk about plants as although I have a lot they are all slow growers which are attached to wood rather than planted in the substrate - apart from the water sprite. Other members who have a better variety of plants will be able to advise you better  :)

Offline Mici

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Re: New starter - fish advice
« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2018, 07:39:54 PM »
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The plants I have been looking at don't need co2 , the only reason I was looking at getting a small co2 system is because the tropica site says that even though they don't need any co2, if I give them co2 they will look a lot better and last a lot longer? Is this false? Are they just trying to get me to buy a co2 system?

As for the shrimp , I'm not to fussed about having them I just thought maybe they would help keep the tank clean maybe if my tank becomes dirty with algae or whatever I could look at getting them or some snails

Offline Littlefish

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Re: New starter - fish advice
« Reply #10 on: November 23, 2018, 07:54:28 PM »
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I'm going to jump in on the plant conversation here.
The plants will be fine without CO2. I've been working with @Matt  on aquascaping my tanks. My priority is always my fish, so I wan't keen on CO2 addition. We've used easy Tropica plants, and they are doing fine.
If you want to have a look at what we've done, and get some more information on easy planting, Matt has a site
http://scapeeasy.co.uk/index.htm  and the tanks he's worked on for me are here http://scapeeasy.co.uk/advice.htm
There are arguments to say that the addition of CO2 provides carbon for plants in very soft water conditions. I recently met an ecologist at the fish store who told me that the plants labelled as "easy" are truly aquatic, and the medium and hard plants are actually marginals, with leaves growing out of water, which is why they require CO2. Today I was told by a member of staff at MA (who is a total plant nut) that it is partly true, but a bit ore complicated than that.
Personally I would tend to concentrate on the fish, use easy plants, and no CO2. You can always add a CO2 system in the future if you feel that it is necessary, but I would be reluctant to spend out on the kit for now.

Offline Littlefish

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Re: New starter - fish advice
« Reply #11 on: November 23, 2018, 08:02:34 PM »
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I'm staying out of the fish conversation because my water is hard, 17dH.
I mix RO with tap water for some of my tanks, but most of the time I just go with fish that will be ok with my water.

Offline Mici

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Re: New starter - fish advice
« Reply #12 on: November 23, 2018, 08:51:39 PM »
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thanks littlefish , this is all great info .

i will take a good look at matts site tomorrow , ive had a quick scan and it looks like i can learn alot!!

i really appreciate your advice on the "easy" plants about adding co2, ive read easy plants dont need co2 but they "look"better with a little. but like i say this could be them saying what i want to hear for me to buy their product.

i totally agree on concentrating on the fish , and have always been looking to use "easy" plants as i didnt want to be pumping my tank full of co2 and lot of light!

im going to try without co2

Offline Sue

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Re: New starter - fish advice
« Reply #13 on: November 23, 2018, 09:14:48 PM »
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Don't forget that fish breathe out CO2 and that all the fish poo and uneaten food that finds its way into the substrate gets broken down there to make more CO2. A tank with a good number of fish generates a lot of its own CO2.
Those people who have plants as the priority tend to have just a few fish to add a bit of interest, and they do need to add CO2 as they have a lot of plants and not many fish.

Offline Matt

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Re: New starter - fish advice
« Reply #14 on: November 23, 2018, 09:22:36 PM »
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Finally getting round to this thread sorry... Friday night after a long week and all that!

CO2 basically means faster plant growth. Plants require three things, nutrients, co2 and light to grow. So if you have a tank with plentiful nutrients, high light and high co2 you will get fast growth. You will therefore have a lot of financial outlay on feeding all these three things into your tank and a lot of tank maintnenace to do as the plants need trimming each week. Conversely in a tank without co2, you need lower lighting levels and lower nutrient levels (excesses will encourage algae) and you get a far more stable system which you can sit back and enjoy :) bit more patience required maybe but otherwise there a few disadvantages (in my probably biased oppinion!).  :isay:

Happy to help with getting your planted tank off to a good start... had a look on my site and shout up with any questions!

Offline Mici

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Re: New starter - fish advice
« Reply #15 on: November 23, 2018, 09:23:47 PM »
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That's a very good point, and one I didn't even think of sue!

Offline Mici

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Re: New starter - fish advice
« Reply #16 on: November 23, 2018, 09:36:23 PM »
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Hi Matt, yes I feel ya, this week has been a long week very busy with work!!

I'm going to take a good look at your site tomorrow and over the next few days, when I was looking at plants I was thinking ' my god the plants are going to be more of an expense and harder to keep than the fish' but seeing what people have said I may have read to much into it, especially as I am only looking to keep easy plants

By nutrients you mean something like tropica premium nutrition yes? Do you recommend at least (if I'm not used generically co2) dosing the tank with this ?

Also what's your opinion on aquarium soil under the substrate and nutrition capsules?

Offline Littlefish

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Re: New starter - fish advice
« Reply #17 on: November 23, 2018, 09:47:00 PM »
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In my tanks I've used planting substrate under a layer of sand, and have also used root tabs in some areas.
I also use liquid fertiliser, and do smaller doses daily rather than a large dose once a week.
I'll leave the rest of the plant advice to Matt and his site as I am very inexperienced with a lot of plants.  :)

Offline Matt

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Re: New starter - fish advice
« Reply #18 on: November 23, 2018, 10:46:14 PM »
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Tropica do 2 ferts the specialised and the premium variety. The specialised has macro and micro nutrients. The premium just has micro nutrients. Take a look on my site for what the difference is but in super summary if your lightly stocked with fish and heacilty stocked with plants you definately want the specialised fertiliser. If your on the other end of the spectrum them you want premium. My site explains in more detail :)

Aquarium soil under substrate is a complex picture... there are many different ways to go... genuine soil (like you'd use for pond plants) under sand or gravel... aquarium planting substrate under sand or gravel... a complete planting substrate which doesn't need capping with sand or gravel...  or an inert substrate (just sand or gravel) with root tabs. There are pros and cons to every approach. Given you are starting a tank rather than converting an existing aquarium to a planted one, I would personally forget about root tabs and go with one of the other options... lots of people get great results with pond type soil under sand or gravel. This is like the other extreme for me. It's definately a good way to go but I wouldn't personally recommend it for a first tank as it comes with risks too.  So that leaves a planting substrate that needs capping or one that doesn't. This leave you to think about which look you prefer in your tank :)

Offline TopCookie

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Re: New starter - fish advice
« Reply #19 on: November 24, 2018, 12:13:08 AM »
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I agree with Sue here...  your second list is classic, a great selection...   :fishy1:

  3 x honey gourami 1m 2f
16 x harlequin rasbora
16 x cardinal tetra
  8 x panda Cory

Offline Sue

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Re: New starter - fish advice
« Reply #20 on: November 24, 2018, 09:30:58 AM »
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Something to bear in mind when it comes to substrate is that you want cories. So you can't have sharp substrate, and from what I understand some of the plants substrates are sharp. Others leach ammonia into the tank for several months (ADA soil is notorious for this).
In other words, do plenty research  ;D


Question to those with soil capped with gravel or sand and cories - do cories dig enough to mix the layers badly?

Offline Littlefish

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Re: New starter - fish advice
« Reply #21 on: November 24, 2018, 10:03:36 AM »
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I have planting substrate capped with sand.
The panda cories have not dug enough to mix the layers, and neither have the gold stripe cories in another tank.
However, the peppered cories in the temperate tank, who I admit are quite large, have tended to dig in one particular corner. Luckily this was the front left of the tank, and it was an area that didn't have planting substrate under the sand because I wasn't planning to have any plants in that corner, and the sand was sloped (higher at the back), so perhaps this was just a prime spot for their rummaging.
I have a layer of sand approximately 2cm thick on top of my planting substrate, and it takes even the peppered cories quite some time (weeks - months) to shift that amount of sand. If there are any concerns about cories mixing/releasing substrate, it's just something to keep an eye on, and perhaps move the sand back, or add more sand in that area, to keep things in place.

Offline Matt

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Re: New starter - fish advice
« Reply #22 on: November 24, 2018, 10:39:40 AM »
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Something to bear in mind when it comes to substrate is that you want cories. So you can't have sharp substrate, and from what I understand some of the plants substrates are sharp. Others leach ammonia into the tank for several months (ADA soil is notorious for this).
In other words, do plenty research  ;D

Sue is completely right on this... but just to give you an option that would work in a planting substrate as I'm guessing you won't have considered these products before... see https://tropica.com/en/plant-care/aquarium-soil/aquarium-soil/

Offline Littlefish

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Re: New starter - fish advice
« Reply #23 on: November 24, 2018, 11:35:11 AM »
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I have used that brand previously, and have also used JBL Pro Flora AquaBasis plus. For me it just depends on which fish store I go to. Both have worked under a layer of sand in my tanks.

Offline Matt

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Re: New starter - fish advice
« Reply #24 on: November 24, 2018, 01:49:17 PM »
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Tropicas poor naming of their products isn't helping here... tropicas ' soil' is a complete product thag doesn't need capping and their 'substrate' is a base layer which does  :cheers:

Offline Mici

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Re: New starter - fish advice
« Reply #25 on: November 24, 2018, 03:28:44 PM »
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Yea I think Iím going to go with tropica plant growth substrate with gravel or sand above

Iím going to heavily plant the tank from the start and Iím going to copy one of the tanks on the tropica site (the easy section) and wait a few weeks and go with sues advice of adding 8 harlequins and test the water daily.

I havenít had a chance to look at your site yet Matt but I will tonight when I get home.

Yea so my final list for my fish looks like
3 honey gourami 1m 2f
16 Harlequin Rasbora
16 cardinal tetra
16 panda Cory
I may add cherry shrimp but I donít know yet

Probably going to do a blog once I get the tank (will be after Christmas )

Thank you for everyoneís advice

Offline Littlefish

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Re: New starter - fish advice
« Reply #26 on: November 24, 2018, 03:41:52 PM »
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Top with sand for the panda cories. They will rummage in it for food, and if you go with gravel (which can be a bit sharp/rough) it can cause damage to the barbels near their mouths.

Offline Sue

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Re: New starter - fish advice
« Reply #27 on: November 24, 2018, 04:17:04 PM »
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The cheapest sand (if that matters) is play sand. Argos and B & Q are the usual places to look. Being fit for children to play in it doesn't have anything nasty in it, just a lot of dust which needs washing out.

Fish need a darker substrate rather than a lighter one. They have evolved over darker substrates so they are programmed to expect this. This is why fish are pale on the underside so they don't stand out against the sky to a predator when viewed from underneath, but their backs are dark so they are hard to see over a dark river/lake floor by a predator looking down on them.

Offline Mici

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Re: New starter - fish advice
« Reply #28 on: November 24, 2018, 06:50:41 PM »
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Yes defiantly think I will go for the tropica substrate with Argos play sand above .

Looking at the instructions on the tropica substrate it says add about a 1cm layer , but how deep would the sand be that goes on top? 4cm?

Offline Littlefish

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Re: New starter - fish advice
« Reply #29 on: November 24, 2018, 07:45:06 PM »
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Use a layer of sand up to 2cm thick.
A lot of planting substrates suggest using a layer of gravel 4cm deep, but you can use half that for sand.

Offline Mici

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Re: New starter - fish advice
« Reply #30 on: November 25, 2018, 12:21:07 PM »
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@Matt a few questions for you,

---ive just been looking at your site in the fertiliser section, and i see you recommend  The Aquascaper Complete Liquid Plant Food, but it says if you have a heavily stocked tank " we recommend that you have a separate macro and micro fertiliser " so if my tank was 73% stocked(according to the community creator) with a lot of plants would you not recommend the complete liquid plant food?

---how much fertiliser do you actually put in on a daily basis? would there be instructions that come with it?

---"give your plants a stable daily dose slightly in excess of the recommended amounts. You should do large weekly water changes to accompany this dosing regime," everywhere ive read says do smaller (10-20% ) weekly water changes rather than large water changes , so if i do large water changes wouldnt this affect the fish? (what is classed as a large change)?

sorry for the barrage of questions !!  :-[


Offline Mici

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Re: New starter - fish advice
« Reply #31 on: November 25, 2018, 12:28:38 PM »
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sorry another quick question to everyone

would you recommend "dipping" your plants before adding them to tank?

for that matter would you recommend dipping fish before adding them to a tank?

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Re: New starter - fish advice
« Reply #32 on: November 25, 2018, 12:36:26 PM »
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I can answer the last question!

The recommended water change regime is at least 50% once a week. Smaller, more frequent water changes are not as effective as one large weekly one.
You will read that water changes are necessary to remove nitrate. However, when the tank is heavily planted, it does not make much nitrate as the plants use just about all the ammonia made by the fish and they don't turn it into nitrate. But there are a lot more things excreted and secreted by fish which also build up in the water, although we don't have test kits to measure them. So even though there is little nitrate in a planted tank, we still need to do water changes to remove all those other things. [I once worked in a hospital lab and you'd be amazed at the things we tested in urine. Fish produce similar, if not exactly the same, waste products]





Something else that has occurred to me. Lights.

Fish expect the tank lights to come on every day at the same time, for the same duration. You will need to select a duration to suit your plants, and the time of day to suit your lifestyle. You don't want the lights to be on while you are out, and the tank in darkness when you are at home.
The room should have either daylight or room lights on for at least an hour before the tank lights turn on (equivalent to slowly brightening dawn) and then again for at least an hour after the tank lights turn off (dusk). And there should be a period of total darkness in the room for several hours a day. This is usually a night when we are all in bed!
This 'dawn and dusk' on each side of the tank lights on is simply to allow the fish' eyes to adjust. If the tank lights turn on in a dark room, or the tank lights turn off when the room is in darkness, the fish become stressed until their eyes adjust.

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Re: New starter - fish advice
« Reply #33 on: November 25, 2018, 12:43:33 PM »
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What do you mean by dipping?

If you buy plants grown in the EU, they will not have been treated with chemicals. Plants grown outside the EU must be treated with snail killing chemicals before import. This legislation resulted from the ban on import and spreading of apple snails within the EU after one species was found in a river in Spain. The bureaucrats had decided that were also going to ban plants from outside the EU until this compromise was reached.

As for treating plants yourself to kill snails, again this is not a good idea if you ever want to keep snails or shrimps in the tank. Snails are not bad, they are actually an important part of a tank ecosystem.
Treating plants for possible contamination with fish parasites/bacteria is also not really a good idea, but leaving them in a bucket of water for several days should allow the 'bugs' to die off without a host.



Dipping fish is not a good idea and it is harmful to them. Good practice is to have a separate small tank to use as a hospital and quarantine tank. New fish are placed in quarantine for around 4 weeks, but medication added only if the fish show signs of illness, not as a preventative.
A quarantine tank needs to have either a cycled filter or lots of live plants.

Offline Mici

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Re: New starter - fish advice
« Reply #34 on: November 25, 2018, 12:53:04 PM »
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so you would recommend before i put any new fish into a tank to keep them in a separate once for four weeks yes? and if they show no signs after then to add them to the tank..   looks like im gonna have to cycle 2 tanks


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Re: New starter - fish advice
« Reply #35 on: November 25, 2018, 02:43:19 PM »
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If you get all the fish from the same shop within a couple of weeks there should be no problem as they'll all have been exposed to the same bugs. The danger comes when you get fish from several shops - and each shop will potentially have different bugs in their tanks - or if you get more fish quite a long time later so there is a chance that even with the same shop they could have a different set of bugs by the time you buy the last ones.

This is one advantage of a fishless cycle using ammonia. You know that you have enough bacteria at the end of the cycle so you can buy all your fish on the same day from the same shop. Provided the shop will let you - Pets@Home used to have a small limit on the number of fish (something like 6 fish per customer) sold to any one customer on any one occasion, and they still might. In this case take a few friends with you and each buy one set of fish  ;D



However, with the fish mentioned so far, even a 40 litre tank would be plenty big enough and if you got lots of elodea, which is fairly cheap, and just leave it floating that should be enough to take of the ammonia. And it would make the fish feel safer if there was an elodea jungle.

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Re: New starter - fish advice
« Reply #36 on: November 25, 2018, 09:39:17 PM »
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What are your tap water nitrate levels? If high I would recommend alternate dosing of micro only and complete fertiliser. There are instructions on the bottle regarding how much to dose per litre.

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Re: New starter - fish advice
« Reply #37 on: November 25, 2018, 09:43:39 PM »
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I suspect his nitrate is low if Newcastle is provided by Northumbrian Water  ;)

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Re: New starter - fish advice
« Reply #38 on: November 25, 2018, 10:24:24 PM »
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I would have to get a test kit to check my nitrate levels but yea I'm supplied by Northumbrian water

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Re: New starter - fish advice
« Reply #39 on: November 26, 2018, 07:00:49 AM »
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Northumbria waters website should have a section where you can find out about the water quality in your area, normally by entering your postcode. This will tell you the average nitrate in your supply.

If we assume it's low though for a moment, go with the complete product. If you find you are getting too much nitrate at the end of a week before you do your water change you may need to reduce your dosing. Does that make sense?

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Re: New starter - fish advice
« Reply #40 on: November 26, 2018, 10:12:21 AM »
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One thing you need to buy very soon is a testing kit. Master test kits are cheapest and they usually contain pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. Get liquid reagent testers rather than strips.

https://www.nwl.co.uk/your-home/your-account/your-area.aspx
Look for nitrate in the water quality report.
My mean nitrate is 2.215 ppm - it shows up in the API nitrate test as over 0 but less than 5.


Liquid nitrate testers have a reagent in one of the bottles which does not dissolve. It settles out on the bottom of the bottle. All brands have this, and the instructions will say to shake this bottle before using it and to shake the test tube after you add the reagent. This shaking is very important as it disperses the insoluble chemical evenly throughout the liquid. It is recommended to shake the bottle even longer than it says to.

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Re: New starter - fish advice
« Reply #41 on: November 26, 2018, 03:07:58 PM »
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Just a quick reply as Iím at work , it says my mom nitrate is 2 , max is 9... mean value is 3.28

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Re: New starter - fish advice
« Reply #42 on: November 26, 2018, 03:47:24 PM »
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That's great from a fish point of view because it will be easy to keep it below 20 ppm. Some people have 40 + ppm in their tap water. It has become known in the last couple of years that if tank nitrate is above 20 ppm, the fish don't live as long. Nitrate is not as toxic to fish as ammonia and nitrite, but it is not harmless in levels above 20 ppm.

But from the plant point of view, that might be a bit on the low side. I'll leave it to Matt to answer that.

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Re: New starter - fish advice
« Reply #43 on: November 26, 2018, 06:34:16 PM »
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Your situation is very similar to my own. I would start with a complete product and monitor your nitrate levels at 3/4 dosage levels. I would then consider a micro only product if you find nitrates are higher than say 40 at the end of the week :)

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Re: New starter - fish advice
« Reply #44 on: November 26, 2018, 06:57:03 PM »
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Will do, thanks for all of the great advice I have received in such a short space of time , I have learned so much!!!

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Re: New starter - fish advice
« Reply #45 on: November 27, 2018, 07:16:24 PM »
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hi sue was just scanning through this post , earlier you said weekly water changes are 50%? is there a reason its so high? just everywhere i read it says do small weekly changes, or has this changed over the year where people have found that larger changes are better?

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Re: New starter - fish advice
« Reply #46 on: November 27, 2018, 07:40:28 PM »
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It is a more recent finding, that fish do better with large weekly water changes. A lot of people reckon we should change 75% a week  :o

The only time I now see small water changes recommended are with shrimp only tanks, and even then it's a small water change more often that once a week. And shrimps to not have the same bioload as fish.


It used to be said that you only needed to water changes as big and as often as necessary to stop nitrate going up by 20 ppm between one water change and the next. We now know that 20 ppm is bad for fish, so if tap water had more than zero nitrate, this regime would push nitrate over the critical level.
And of course planted tanks can't use this guideline anyway as the nitrate above tap level in non-planted tanks comes from ammonia excreted by fish which live plants promptly take up leaving virtually no ammonia for bacteria to turn into nitrate.



Yes, 50% water changes are time consuming if you use a bucket like I do. And especially as we have the type of hot water system with a cylinder in the airing cupboard so I can't use hot tap water to warm the new water. At this time of year, mains water is so cold it takes forever for the kettle to boil 1.5 litres.
You can use a hosepipe to remove the old water, and just have the pipe going out of the window. And with a combi boiler, you can use hot tap water if refilling with buckets.

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