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What's going on at Thinkfish / 2018 was a great year at Thinkfish, Happy New year!
« Last post by Robert on January 09, 2019, 08:58:47 AM »
Hey all, as we are just into 2019 I thought it would be good to share some stats with you all.

2018 was again an excellent year at thinkfish as we can see from the numbers below.
388   New Topics were discussed   
6582 New posts were made
337   New people have joined   
Our busiest day saw 314 people online   
We had over 14,950,941 page views this year, which is up by over 4 million on the last year (10m +)

A very big thanks  to all on behalf of all those who read here silently and to those who participate and make this the great, helpful community that it is.  :cheers: 

Happy new year all!
General Fishkeeping Chat / Re: Fishkeeping in 1984
« Last post by Hampalong on January 09, 2019, 08:13:20 AM »
Iíd call the biorb filtration system ďUPMĒ (Under Porous Media), a hybrid I suppose between UG and canister(?), or a UG with a porous medium instead of gravel. At least thatís how I remember the biorbs...

UGs arenít so good for plants in small tanks... thatís simply because in a big tank you can have gravel deep enough that the UG is actually beneficial for plants. The deeper the gravel, the slower the flow (especially as you donít Ďgravel cleaní right up to the plant, so that part is allowed to be full of lovely mulm). Plants like Amazons with big root systems love it. In a small tank... the recommended gravel depth was about 2-3Ē, which is not enjoyed so much by most plants when thereís a vigorous flow and the gravel around the roots is kept clean.

UGs were a common entry point for new fishkeepers mainly because they were so cheap, compared to the newer filters which were quite expensive back then.

In the 70ís the norm was fishless cycling, using Waterlife Seamature. Iím pretty sure I didnít hear of fish-in cycling till much later.
General Fishkeeping Chat / Re: Fishkeeping in 1984
« Last post by Matt on January 09, 2019, 07:00:56 AM »
I actually think the book is great! If I were getting into the hobby at the time I would have hugely benefited from the detail, diagrams etc etc it contains... I just want to compare the hobby from then to now, so it's interesting that you say much of the knowledge and filtration types were around at the time. The books section on filtration seems to assume you want an under gravel filter then goes on from there. It does mention power filters at one point but it is only once an under gravel has been used and the is what all the diagrams basically relate to the use of. I don't have experience with under gravel filters but don't necessarily have a problem with them. They are basically the system the biorbs use are they not? Why do you say they weren't as good for plants specifically in smaller tanks?

I guess the book is showing the 'flavour of the time' which was fish-in cycling and undergravel filtration. Or is this a reflection of how people tended to enter the hobby at the time? Much like nowadays people tend to enter the hobby with an all in one tank heater and filter kit and to be fair probably still unwittingly employ fish-in cycling...
General Fishkeeping Chat / Re: Fishkeeping in 1984
« Last post by Hampalong on January 08, 2019, 10:06:04 PM »
Matt, please donít assume that this book bore the whole of our knowledge at the time. There were also some Good books around.  :)

I started fish keeping in 1972. We knew all about fishless cycling, cleaning gravel, quarantining fish, water changes, etc etc. We also knew about biological, mechanical and chemical filtration. We had internal power filters and external canister filters, and even diatomaceous canister filters.

I still maintain that UGs are just as good as any other form of biological filtration. They were Ďimproved uponí simply because newer technologies made for quieter alternatives that allowed for clean gravel and/or less gravel. Also sand became an option. Also for small tanks UGs werenít as good for most plants...
General Fishkeeping Chat / Re: Fishkeeping in 1984
« Last post by Matt on January 08, 2019, 08:28:25 PM »
In the opening to "setting up the tank" the book reads "It is as well to have everything you will need ready to hand, including pliers, screwdrivers, a sharp knife and a sense of humour"

This is quite intriguing!... none of these are tools I would consider as being required... i started to wonder about potential uses for them and the comedic effects that might result!!...

The first section to be tackled is "Filters and gravel". The section starts with "If you are using biological filtration, the filter plate must go into the tank before anything else". This is referring to air powered under gravel filtration. I expected to see undergravel filters in use but it surprises me that this is referred to as biological filtration as if other types cannot undertake biological filtration... then there is the word "if"... clearly biological filtration is not thought to be an essential!!

The book then talks about other filtration equipment being installed but it is not clear to what this refers.though there is a sketch of a tank with a hang-on-back type filter with what I assume is filter floss and sponge for mechanical filtration.

On to "Adding the plants"
This is probably more of a personal point but I like the fact that the book mentions hiding equipment with rocks and plants... solid advice I feel that is still relevant today in the modern world of aquascaping.

The book also mentions trimming the roots of plants slightly to encourage the growth of new roots. It says to "Spread the roots out in the gravel and remember not to bury the crown of the plant in the gravel, or the plant will rot away in a short time. The best way to do this, is deliberately to put the plant in too deeply, and then gently pull it up to its correct position". ... "Plant the aquarum with a purpose; it should look natural, not formal, but avoid making it look untidy". I've included this only because I felt it might be useful to others on here who are struggling with the planted tank side of the hobby...

Things get a bit weirder next though as the book seems to be stealing somewhat from pond planting techniques...
"Specimen plants should be planted in pre-formed, nutritious 'plant plugs, which are buried in the gravel. Alternatively, such species can be cultivated in shallow pots, which are then buried. A layer of small pebbles around the plant crowns will prevent uprooting."
This certainly isn't something I instantly recognise from the modern hobby though I have seen on an aquascaping forum people planting heavy root feeding plants in this way. That said it is definately the exception and not the rule. The difference I feel is that there are now so many more options available to the planted tank hobbyist. From active substrates, to root tabs, even water column dosing all negate the need to follow techniques such as this.

"Final checks"
I suddenly realised that the book had not mentioned washing the gravel before putting it in the aquarium when it was mentioned that "Any scum on the water surface (dust from the gravel) can be removed with a sheet of absorbent paper drawn across the surface." Much better to wash it first I feel!!

Following this is "The tank is now ready for the fishes, although some fishkeepers give time for the tank to settle down and the plants to take root. The biological filter will take a period of time to develop a mature colony of bacteria and this can be hastened by adding withrr some gravel from an established aquarium or one or two hardy fishes to provide the initial ammonia and waste products for the bacteria yo work on and multiply".
So unsurprisingly there is no mention of faithless cycling. That said, there does appear to be a decent understanding of start of the nitrogen cycle etc which is really great to see in my view...
Gallery Showcase / Re: Matt's 64 litre tank
« Last post by Matt on January 08, 2019, 07:17:58 PM »
Just a quick New Year's update... still contemplating the next move for this tank but managed to get some decent snaps of the tank and inhabitabts earlier... i may have to try again for a khuli loach and/or oto picture though... they are far less easy to catch out in the open!
General Fishkeeping Chat / Re: Fishkeeping in 1984
« Last post by Hampalong on January 08, 2019, 01:13:17 AM »
There was actually quite a range of fluorescent tubes available. We now inevitably know more about wavelengths required etc, but the old gro-lux tubes were fantastic for plants, as good as anything today imo.

I totally agree with the comments on daylight and even direct sunlight. No other spectrum shows fish colours as well. Itíll grow algae like thereís no tomorrow but so what? Algae is not inherently a bad thing in an aquarium. If you donít mind wiping the glass itís not a problem.

Re the pot-permang, there was a time when there were no off-the-shelf disease treatments, so everything was done with the raw ingredients. They worked very well, unlike a lot of the modern premixed treatments off the shelf. Pot permanganate, Meth blue, Malachite green, Gentian violet and others were all staples for the fishy drug cabinet. Back then you bought your disease treatments from the chemist, not the lfs. Graham Cox pretty much put paid to that in this country in the late 60s with his award winning range of off-the-shelf treatments (the Waterlife range), but the books were very slow to change. One of the best books on Ďproblemsí of all kinds, from 1999, still lists all the raw drugs and how to administer them.
General Fishkeeping advice / Re: Water chemistry according to my Seneye
« Last post by Helen on January 08, 2019, 12:29:41 AM »
Thank you @jaypeecee  for your comments, they are interesting.

My responses are more for anyone else looking at a Seneye - they're not cheap, so it is good to have as much information as possible.

1. My pH does read higher than I expected, but I only using liquid tests as an alternative, so always assumed the Seneye was the more accurate. To be honest, I'd be happier if my pH was a little lower, so it's fine for me. And I do have low hardness.

2. I appreciate that the Oxygen reading given is calculated based on temperature, so I don't really use this. As far as I am concerned, the Seneye makes no difference to me on this because I didn't measure my oxygen levels prior to using the Seneye.

3. I've had a few discussions about this. It is different to the results from a liquid test, but I've not got it straight in my head what the difference actually means. For my use, I don't get too worried about the actual number (each slide seems to be to be slightly different calibration), but keep an eye on the trend, as long as it stays in the green "safe" part if the chart.

I've been using my Seneye for 3-4 years, on and off now. I noticed at the last slide change that there appeared to be water inside one of the sensors (only enough for me to keep an eye on, not worry yet).

The thing that I've found most frustrating is that my Seneye often loses data instead of uploading it, when it's been monitoring offline. I'm reluctant to spend more money on it (buying the server and Wifi units), but it bugs me that I have to leave the laptop running for it to work properly.

I went away for a week over Christmas and deliberately didn't look at the data online. There would have been nothing I could do if something went wrong, and it would have ruined my holiday if I new my fish were dying!
Items for Sale Or Giveaway / Re: Free crypts - assorted
« Last post by Matt on January 07, 2019, 09:46:10 PM »
Ready whenever you are @Helen I have a space ready and waiting for them if they are still available!?
Just avoid a cold snap though if you can as the plants will fare better without it  :cheers:
Fish Tank Plant Advice / Re: Bio liquid co2
« Last post by Matt on January 07, 2019, 09:41:16 PM »
I've been far less regular with my dosing recently but am getting my act back together now... I've had a few algae issues pop up too so clearly being regular with this things is a big plus! I think I will be switching back to glut based co2 only whilst this calms downs a bit... maybe there is something to be said for the algecide factor with these products after all... green hair algae is not a good look...
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