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Cleaning tank
January 1, 2013
4:45 pm
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maxcapacity
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I am a new fish owner. Have a 15 gallon column tank with 2 Cory Catfish, 2 Red Mickey Mouse Platy and 3 Neon Tetra for now. I am curious about cleaning. For my monthly cleaning. Is 25% or around 4 gallons the right amount to take out and replace? I use tap water, so do I add that into the tank and then add the water purifier/conditioner I bought or do I add that to the water in a different bucket and then add to tank? When I put in a new filter isn't that going to hurt/kill the fish since the necessary bacteria that built up in the old filter is now gone? Lastly, is it safe to place my hand/arm in tank and move around the gravel and plants and such when I do the cleaning? Thank you so much

January 2, 2013
10:40 am
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Eyrie
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Welcome!

Firstly I'd recommend cleaning on a weekly rather than a monthly basis.  This won't take long for a 15G and will ensure that the water is always clean for the fish which will improve their health.  It also gives you a bit leeway in case you miss a week for some reason. 

25% is a reasonable amount to change, but I'd recommend a test kit covering ammonia, nitrIte, nitrAte and pH so that you can monitor the water quality and increase the volume or frequency of changes if required.  A master test kit covering all four is cheaper than individual kits and dip strips should be avoided as these aren't accurate enough.  If you live in a softwater area than a test kit for carbonate hardness (kh) is also useful as the water can acidify over time.

As you're using buckets for changes then it's best to put the conditioner in first and then add tap water to let it take effect (almost instantaneous).

I'd be interested to know why you want to change the filter.  If you do go down this route then just move the existing media over from the old filter to transfer the bacteria.  However if you're thinking that the filter media needs replaced, then this should never been done unless it is falling to pieces, and even then only one part at a time.  Just give the media a quick rinse in old tank water to clean it - the water you remove at each change is ideal.

It's safe to put your arm in the tank, assuming you don't have any unhealed cuts etc.  However you should always wash afterwards.  Don't wash with soap before going in the tank however.

Lastly I note that you refer to your stocking as "for now".  Both the corydoras and the neon tetras are shoaling fish, so I'd increase their numbers to six and eight respectively.  Add one group first, then leave it for a couple of weeks to let the filter bacteria increase before adding the second group.

Any questions, just ask.

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January 3, 2013
3:37 pm
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maxcapacity
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Thank you for the response. I didn't mean changing the entire filter, I mean the and not sure what it's called, that goes inside, that has charcoal pieces in it, the part you rinse off first. Looks like a white sponge. This thing that goes in the filter unit itself. I guess it's called a filter media? Last time I had a tank it was cotton and charcoal. 

 

My tank is small, 15 gallons, you still recommend getting 5 more Tetras and 4 more cory catfish? I was told catfish eat the junk on the bottom of tank and that even 2 was too many. I also want to get an algae sucker. I do want more tetra though, like them. So 8 tetra, 6 catfish, 2 platies and 1 algae sucker is okay for a 15 gallon tank?

 

Thank you. 

January 3, 2013
5:14 pm
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Rüdiger
Brunswick / Germany
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Hi,

The problem I see is not the volume of your tank as such, which is plenty for the suggested stock, but again the weird dimensions, almost twice as high as it is long or deep. Personally I regard such tanks a entirely useless, except maybe for small jelly fish.

 Whoever told you the story about 2 corys being too much because they eat the "junk" off the bottom, don't listen to that person. If you give them real food, they won't touch that "junk" in the first place. It's only about the footprint i.e. available space where it matters; and that's the bottom.

Even though I basically agree with everything Eyrie said above, I think he might have missed that yours is a 15 gal column.

The measurements translate roughly to 30x30x60 cm, basically a standard 54 l tank stood on its short side. That does get a bit tight for 6 corys. But as Eyrie said, you shouldn't keep less than 6.

On a 30x30 cm footprint, I would go for a nice shoal of either species of the so called dwarf corys, C. pygmaeus, C. habrosus or C. hastatus. They are a lot smaller and not as substrate bound as your regular cory, with C. hastatus being the one that really goes for a swimm about. Really entertaining fellers, the whole lot. Smile

Regards

R.

 

 

If you must insist on living in a box ...... at least do your thinking outside.
January 3, 2013
6:32 pm
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Eyrie
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Thank you for the response. I didn't mean changing the entire filter, I mean the and not sure what it's called, that goes inside, that has charcoal pieces in it, the part you rinse off first. Looks like a white sponge. This thing that goes in the filter unit itself. I guess it's called a filter media? Last time I had a tank it was cotton and charcoal.    My tank is small, 15 gallons, you still recommend getting 5 more Tetras and 4 more cory catfish? I was told catfish eat the junk on the bottom of tank and that even 2 was too many. I also want to get an algae sucker. I do want more tetra though, like them. So 8 tetra, 6 catfish, 2 platies and 1 algae sucker is okay for a 15 gallon tank?   Thank you. 

 

The media is all of the contents of the filter box.  The white sponge will be a fine-thread cotton pad used for mechanical filtration - ie it stops the crud sucked into the filter box from going any further.  This should be rinsed on a regular basis to keep it free from obstructions and allow the water to flow through to the other media, which is likely to be sponges or ceramic pieces (both of which are where most of the cycle bacteria are to be found).  It's easy to do this as part of a weekly water change regime.

Rudiger is correct that I missed the fact your tank is a column-style.  I'd agree on the dwarf corydoras being ideal and add that an algae eating fish isn't necessary for keeping the tank clean (just use an algae scraper), so you should only get one if it is a fish you particularly want to keep.  The problem then is finding a species small enough for your tank's footprint.  The commonly recommended Ancistrus species (aka bristlenoses) need a larger footprint so you would only have room for Otocinclus.

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January 3, 2013
7:19 pm
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maxcapacity
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13.6" x 13.8" x 24.8" these are my tanks dimensions. LxWxH. 

So I have 2 CoryCat, 3 Neon Tetra and 2 Mickey Mouse platies now. 

I should get 1 algae sucker and dwarf cory? No more neon tetra? 

These are the ones I am interested in. Can you tell me the best and how many to go with my tank and current community. 

CORY CAT FISH, NEON TETRA, RED BLUE TETRA, TURQUOISE GUPPY, MARIGOLD VARIATUS, BLACK MOLLY

BLACK KUKLI LOACH, GLOFISH, GHOST SHRIMP, SILVER LYRETAIL MOLLY, ALGAE EATERS-OTOCINCLUS, MYSTERY SNAIL

 

Thank you

January 4, 2013
12:24 am
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Rüdiger
Brunswick / Germany
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Ok, you are asking for the best. That would be: Sell or give away the two corydoras, because they shouldn't be kept in such small numbers and the bottom area of your tank does not support more of them. Get another 5 neons, 6 to 8 of any of the 3 mentioned dwarf corydoras species and if you really want something for your algae, you could add 4 or 5 oticinclus to he mix. If you really want snails you should look for a smaller species than apple snails and perhaps a species that does not reproduce in freshwater. Otherwise you just might ask in a couple of weeks how to get rid of a snail invasion. Smile Your aquarium might be a bit crowded quite soon anyway as I suspect you got yourself a pair of those platies?

As for your wish list, keep in mind that most commonly kept fish species should have at least 10x it's standard length as the length of the tank it's kept in. Should you buy another aquarium any time soon, first look at the species you want to keep, then do a little calculation an buy the tank accordingly.

Regards

R.

If you must insist on living in a box ...... at least do your thinking outside.
January 4, 2013
2:43 am
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Plaamoo
Bellingham, Washington U.S.A.
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Hi Max, Just a few suggestions to add to the good advice already provided.

You might consider replacing that tank with another with a better footprint. Smaller tanks can be found for next to nothing. Something like a 20 gal long-30x12x12, or a 29gal-30x17x12 would give you more options. If you're in the US check your local craigslist.

Filters that use those flimsy inserts should be avoided. The ones that disintegrate when you try to rinse them! I still have a few but am slowly phasing them out in favor aquaclear filters that have much more versatile, re-usable media available. The ones that I do still use, I have removed the worthless floss/bags and attached something like this....http://www.drsfostersmith.com/.....tid=25534I buy sheets at my LFS and cut to fit.

I also add something like this either loose or in a fine mesh bag, whatever best fits the particular filter that you have. This will provide a home for bacteria that can be maintained through cleanings.

http://www.drsfostersmith.com/.....catid=8983

These can be rinsed in water removed from the tank while cleaning and put back in the filter.

 

January 4, 2013
1:37 pm
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maxcapacity
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Thank you for all the help. I'm torn on getting rid of any of my fish. I like them. lol. I think I'm going to keep the 7 I have-2 Cory, 3 Neon Tetra and 2 Mickey Mouse Platies. I will get an algae sucker and add some more tetra. So will 2 Cory, 2 Platies, 1 Algae and 8 Tetra be too many fish? I guess they will grow, but right now my Cory seem to have a ton of room on the bottom. They stay there, my tetra stay in the middle and my platies stay in the middle or top. 

January 4, 2013
2:28 pm
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Rüdiger
Brunswick / Germany
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Hi Max,

it seems like you are going to ask that same question all over again until you get the answer you like. Smile But you won't.

It might well seem that your 2 corydoras have "a ton of space" but that does NOT change the fact that they should be kept in groups of at least !!6!! specimens.

You always talk about an "algae sucker". There are different species of fish, which are specialized algae eaters. Sizes vary a lot and only very few are suitable for the size of your tank! So if you dont want to go for the suggested Otocinclus spp., which are "sort of" algae eaters, you are basically out of options.

You should never keep a single specimen of any species especially when it is known to need a group of conspecifics to fare well.

There is nothing else or different to be said to your "dilemma".

Regards

R.

If you must insist on living in a box ...... at least do your thinking outside.
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