Novice Advice Needed Please.

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Offline AdamMcneil

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Novice advice needed please.
« on: May 19, 2017, 02:13:00 PM »
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Hi guys,

First of all I would like to say hello to everyone, and thanks for creating such a wonderfully informative site to the owners and community. At 34 I thought I would take the plunge into becoming a hobbyist of fish.

Here is a lowdown of my situation and ill follow with the questions I have:

I bought my 60ltr tank last Saturday (13th), it came with the basic essentials (CF80 filter & heater). I bought two bags of large smooth gravel (multi-colour), a pack of plastic plants and decor in the form of a plastic rock formation with caves and a small round half tower/pillar. Everything was thoroughly rinsed and installed on Saturday evening, I added a few flakes of fish food and a dosage of API quick start.

Due to commitments I couldn't test the water until Wednesday (17th) and I got the following results:

pH - 7.3
Ammonia - 0
Nitrite - 0
Nitrate - 0

I then added a dozen or so flakes of food Wednesday and on Thursday (18th) I tested for ammonia and got a 0.25, I will test this again tonight and report back.

Here are some questions:

- The tank is based in my bedroom and the CF80 filter makes a fair old hum, is there a silent filtration option available for 60ltr tanks? This is an internal one with a spray bar.

- I have the spray bar about an inch under the water pointing length ways across the tank, its directed slightly upwards for a slight water ripple. Is this OK for oxygen distribution or will I need an air-stone as well?

- I made the mistake of not knowing which fishes I wanted before I purchased the tank, so have only just started looking. I have used the CC on the website and came up with:

6 x Neon Tetra
4 x Galaxy Rasbora
4 x Salt & Pepper Catfish
2 x Guppy
Shrimp?

I have since read an article on here that Guppy & Neon's are not suitable first fish anymore so I am back to square one, I just have no idea what to get bearing in mind my current 7.3 pH tap water.

- Do I really need a quarantine tank? I can afford the space but I am open to advice. It seems odd having two tanks when I don't have a fish yet! ;-)

Thanks for reading and sorry guys, the post turned into a novel ;-)

Regards,
Adam

Offline Sue

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Re: Novice advice needed please.
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2017, 03:22:05 PM »
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Hi Adam, welcome to forum  :wave:

I can answer some of your questions and give you a few pointers.

Cycling the tank -
Modern fish food is designed not to make much ammonia when it breaks down so it is not a very good ammonia source for cycling. And even if it did break down to make lots of ammonia, you have no way of knowing how much ammonia in terms of ppm per day it makes so you can't know how many bacteria you have grown.
A much better way of cycling is using a bottle of ammonia. Ebay and Amazon are good sources, and my local diy shop stocks Jeyes KleenOff Household Ammonia.
The way to use fish food or prawns is to add them to a bucket of water, wait for them to go off then measure the ammonia level of the water. Using that figure, calculate how much of the water in the bucket you need to get the tank level to 3 ppm.
Just a warning - API Quick Start may contain the right species of ammonia eating bacteria but the wrong species of nitrite eating bacteria. The use of the correct species has been copyrighted (or whatever the correct term is) so that only Dr Tims One & Only and Tetra Safe Start can use the correct species. This means you will grow ammonia eaters fairly quickly but then get stuck at the nitrite eater stage.


Air stones are mainly decorative. As long as the filter is moving the water round the tank so that it pushes the surface water across the tank, down the far side and back along the bottom of the tank, that is fine.
Air stones can be useful in heat waves or when treating diseases like whitespot which need higher water temps. The warmer the water the less oxygen it holds and the extra churning of the water caused by the bubbles helps more oxygen to dissolve.



Fish -
Small fish like galaxy rasboras (aka celestial pearl danios or cpd's) and salt & pepper cories (Corydoras habrosus) do better in larger shoals. You might have trouble finding shops that have salt & pepper cories. A commonly stocked alternative is pygmy cories, which again need at least 10.

Your list contains both hard water fish (guppies) and soft water fish (neons and cories). Have a look at your water company's website, that should have your hardness somewhere. Make a note of the number and also the unit. They could use one of half a dozen units, and you may need to convert their number to one of the two units used in fishkeeping. If they give the unit as mg/l, we also need to know if that's mg/l Ca or mg/l CaO or mg/l CaCO3.
Let us know the hardness when you find it and we can see which fish are more suited to your water :) It will take a few weeks to cycle the tank so you have time to fine-tune your wish list.
As for your pH, is the figure you gave freshly run tap water or water that's stood a while? If it's from the tank and it was more than a few hours after you filled it, that counts as 'stood' water.

If you get all your fish at one go, you don't need a quarantine tank.
Tell us your rough location (north or east etc of the county is plenty) and if other members use shops in that locality they can advise on the better ones.


Quick question - what testers are you using? I ask because a nitrate of zero is unusual - most tap water has some, anything up to 50 ppm. Nitrate is the most common test to get wrong because with liquid reagent testers, one of the reagents settles out on the bottom of the bottle and failure to shake the bottle enough causes inaccurate readings.



Filter -
I have googled CF80 and it finds the Ciano CF80. Is this your filter?
I have not come across this filter before so I can't comment on how noisy it is compared to other filters. There is no silent filter but some are quieter than others. I use Eheim Biopowers in my 180 litre, their Aquaball filter range uses the same pumps and there is one suitable for 60 litres. They do hum a bit, more so if you get air trapped in the impeller well (tilt the filter while it is running to dislodge the air).
Other members may be able to recommend quieter filters.



Hmmm, and you thought you wrote a novel  ;D

Offline Littlefish

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Re: Novice advice needed please.
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2017, 07:11:35 PM »
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Hi there Adam.  :wave:

Always good to see more people here.

The internal filters I use are these https://www.fishkeeper.co.uk/product/aqua-range-aqua-internal-200-filter
They are quiet and the only noticeable noise is the sound of the water because I have the outflow right at the surface of the water.

 ;D

Offline AdamMcneil

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Re: Novice advice needed please.
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2017, 07:16:07 PM »
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Hi Sue,

Thank you very much for your informative reply, it's greatly appreciated.

Would you suggest draining my tank and starting again after I order some ammonia and dr tims?

These are the measurements of unified utilities, north west. Sorry I'm not sure which one you needed from it ;)

Analysis             Typical value   UK/EU limit   Units
Hardness Level     Very Soft      
Hardness Clarke     2.275                              Clarke
Aluminium             <6.60           200                   g Al/l
Calcium             7.23                              mg Ca/l
Res.chlorine Ttl    0.94                              mg/l
Res.chlorine Free  0.85                              mg/l
Coliform bacteria.  0                    0                   number/100ml
Colour              <1.11            20                   mg/l Pt/Co scale
Conductivity       164            2500           uS/cm at 20oC
Copper               0.0401            2                   mg Cu/l
E.coli                0                    0                   number/100ml
Iron                       17.8           200                   g Fe/l
Lead                       <0.317           10                   g Pb/l
Magnesium       3.32                              mg Mg/l
Manganese       6.05           50                   g Mn/l
Nitrate               2.05           50                   mg NO3/l
Sodium               23.1           200                   mg Na/l

The pH level i took was from 4 day old stood tank water, I haven't done out of the tap yet. I will do this and document and post below.

The testing kit is the API master kit and after your post i read about the bottle shake up/smash around which I didn't do :) i will certainly retest!

Thanks again for your help and please let me know if I need to run some man maths on the figures above, I just wasn't sure which reading you needed.

Regards,
Adam

Offline Littlefish

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Re: Novice advice needed please.
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2017, 07:26:20 PM »
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Hi Adam,

Most of us use the API test kit.

I've only been enjoying the watery world of fish for around 18 months, and have found the information and support on this forum to be invaluable.

You have very soft water, as noted in the hardness level, so soft water fish would be suitable for you to keep without having to make any adjustments to your water (apart from the dechlorinator).

I have very hard water here, so I'm not much use for giving advice on soft water fish. Sorry.

Offline fcmf

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Re: Novice advice needed please.
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2017, 07:51:44 PM »
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Hi Adam  :wave:

Welcome to the hobby and to the forum. Youre in good company as my natural tendency is to write novels too but unfortunately Im restricted to texting rather than typing at the moment which forces me to be briefer.

Thinkfish Fish Profiles section is excellent but you might find this http://www.seriouslyfish.com/knowledge-base/ helpful for cross-checking against any species youre interested in, to see if your water hardness is suitable you may need to do some conversions around unit of measurement. As your water is very soft, though, then a few suggestions which spring to mind are harlequin rasboras (or similar espei and hengeli rasbora), cherry barbs and most of the different tetra species.

As for filters, you might find this thread https://forums.thinkfish.co.uk/new-fishkeepers/best-filter-for-70-litre-tank/ helpful, and there may be other similar threads on this site too.

Quarantine tanks can be also very useful if any fish fall ill and need isolated for treatment even a cheap, plastic one from The Range or ones marketed for children from pets/aquatic shops can be helpful. Youd need a spare heater and filter, though always useful to have in the event that one breaks and, once your filter is cycled, then filter media can be moved into the spare filter in the quarantine tank.

Hope thats helpful.

Offline Sue

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Re: Novice advice needed please.
« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2017, 08:06:26 PM »
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Hardness Level     Very Soft      
Hardness Clarke     2.275                              Clarke

Nitrate               2.05           50                   mg NO3/l


These are the figures you want.

Nitrate first. Yours is nice and low, lower even than mine. The 50 is the max allowed by law, the 2.05 is your tap water. You will have yellow-orange in the nitrate test, somewhere between the zero yellow and the 5 ppm pale orange.

Your water is very soft. There are two units used in fishkeeping, dH (aka German deg) and ppm; some sites use one, some use the other.
Your 2.275 deg Clarke converts to 32.5 ppm and 1.8 dH.

Guppies would be very unhappy in water this soft, but neon tetras and cories would be fine. It is also a bit too soft for galaxy rasboras (which need a minimum of 90 ppm).
However, the vast majority of fish from the Amazon and its tributaries will be fine. For example, ember tetras are the same size as galaxy rasboras and are fine down to 18 ppm.


You don't need to drain the tank. Make sure you get all the bits of food out or they'll go mouldy, then just use the Dr Tims (if you can find it in the UK) and ammonia. Dr Tims does recommend using their own brand of ammonium chloride - again, if you can find it - but using ammonia instead should be OK.
I think I read somewhere that the instructions that come with Dr Tims (and Tetra Safe Start) are for fish-in cycling. If that's what they are, the safest thing is to ignore the exact method they give, just use their quantities and follow the fishless cycling method on here.


One thing to be aware of. With such soft water it is very likely you also have low KH. This is a measure of the carbonate in the water. Low KH affects cycling in 2 ways.
The filter bacteria need carbonate to multiply properly and carbonate stabilises pH. With little carbonate it gets used up quickly and there is nothing left to stabilise the pH. Fish tanks naturally become more acidic, and when the KH is gone, the pH drops. The filter bacteria also like high pH to multiply.
During cycling, you can artificially boost KH by adding bicarbonate of soda; you may already have some of this in the kitchen, if not you find it in small plastic tubs in the home baking section of the supermarket.

I have low KH, though probably not as low as yours, and I have suffered a pH crash during cycling. I found that a 5 ml spoonful of bicarb in my 25 litre tank was enough to stop the pH crashing. You just need to multiply that up for your tank  :)
At the end of cycling, nitrate is high so you have to do a big water change to remove it before getting fish. This will also remove the bicarb.





Offline AdamMcneil

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Re: Novice advice needed please.
« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2017, 08:37:52 PM »
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Thanks again guys, I have just ordered some ammonia:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Concentrated-Aquarium-Ammonia-for-Fishless-Cycling-Fish-Tank-Use-High-Strength-/181130184497?_trksid=p2385738.m2548.l4275

I couldn't find the Dr Tims so I hope that will do the job :)

I will remove all the food tomorrow from the bottom and replace any water that comes out.

I have just done another test of the tank water and nitrite remains at zero, that's after shaking the life out of the bottle and hitting it against a wall (sounds daft but I read some advice). I thought i would test amonia while i was in there and that remains at 0.25. Tap water came in at 6.7pH.

I will hold fire after the clean up tomorrow until I get the ammonia and I will order a small first aid tank as advised.

Ill spend a while looking at other filters too as suggested, thanks guys!!

Adam

Offline Sue

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Re: Novice advice needed please.
« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2017, 08:43:57 PM »
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I have just done another test of the tank water and nitrite remains at zero, that's after shaking the life out of the bottle and hitting it against a wall

Just a note of caution - be careful not to mix up nitrite and nitrate  ;) I know they are very similar, but once you have fish any amount of nitrite above zero is bad while nitrate can be a lot higher before any harm is done.


The usual advice is to bang bottle #2 on the worktop a few times, I've not come across banging on a wall before  :)

Offline Girlytomboy

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Re: Novice advice needed please.
« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2017, 09:19:57 PM »
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 :fishy1: didn't realise how much work was involved in setting up a new tank!

I can't wait till its up and running!

Yey! Pet swimmers!

Hi everyone! I'm Adam's other half. Been asking to get a fish tank for a few months, he finally agreed! ;D

Offline Littlefish

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Re: Novice advice needed please.
« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2017, 09:33:12 PM »
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Hi there & welcome :wave:
Glad you finally managed to persuade him - and thanks for posting a picture, we love to see pictures of tanks and fish, and it saved us from having to be a bit pushy and insisting that you post  8)

Offline Girlytomboy

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Re: Novice advice needed please.
« Reply #11 on: May 19, 2017, 09:36:58 PM »
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Hi there & welcome :wave:
Glad you finally managed to persuade him - and thanks for posting a picture, we love to see pictures of tanks and fish, and it saved us from having to be a bit pushy and insisting that you post  8)

Thank you!  :)) I'm sure it'll look better when there's some swimmers in it! This seems like a really friendly and informative forum/community. Nice to meet you all!

Offline MarquisMirage

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Re: Novice advice needed please.
« Reply #12 on: May 20, 2017, 01:19:44 PM »
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Welcome to the forum.  :D

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