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Stocking A 215 Litre Aquarium
December 26, 2011
5:20 am
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Mattz fish
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I am getting a 215 litre tank and planning what to put in it and was wondering would an Oscar suit this tank? If not what else could I put in there? I would prefer fish along the lines of new world cichids or other south American species. Thanks

December 26, 2011
1:57 pm
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Bluedave
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I would say you need a bigger tank mate, see the Oscar listing in the Knowledge base:

http://www.seriouslyfish.com/p.....file.php?g...atus&id=231

A tank of your size would be good with a couple of shoals of smaller fish and maybe a pair of South american Cichlids.

I reckon you can get about 50-60 inches of fish in a tank that size (tank dimensions would help confirm this) but nothing too big.

If you wanted to stick to a community of small fish, how about something like:

1 pair apistogramma sp. or pair of Keyhole Cichlids
1 shoal of rummy nose tetras -(say 12) (or other tetra)
1 shoal of hatchet fish (say 10) (assuming you've got a hood - they like to jump if not1)
1 shoal of small corydoras (6-8)
and either another shoal of small tetras (cardinals or lemon) or an ancistrus or a shoal of otocinclus

If you wanted to just keep a couple of larger fish how about 5-8 Cichlasoma boliviense or perhaps some severums or a pair of geophagus? I've never kept the last two, so not sure of numbers (but it wouldn't be many). I'm sure others can chip in with some advice if these took your fancy.

What about plants mate? If your going for a community of small fish then there are all sorts of species of Echinodorus that would go well, some large, some small. A bit of bogwood (especially if your going for an ancistrus) and away you go.

that should give you a few ideas to start with anyway. You can always search the knowledge base for some more ideas.

December 26, 2011
9:32 pm
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Mattz fish
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That sounds really good I already have some tetras in my smaller tank that I have at the moment (Serpae and Blackskirt) aswell as a bristlenose so I can save a bit by not buying a whole tank full of new fish when I get my new tank up and running. I have never kept hatchet fish before but am interested in them and yes I do have a lid which is good because I assume those guys can jump. I had a feeling that the tank might have been too small for oscars. Someone told me that oscars needed a minimum of 114 litres that is obviously not true. Thanks again for the suggestions they sound really good just need to see what dwarf cichlids are available to me, so far I have only spotted Apistogramma Agassizii and Rams but I'm sure something will pop up. Plants wise, would amazon sword also look good in this sort of set up?
Thanks.
Matt.

December 26, 2011
11:30 pm
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Mattz fish
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With the Corydoras and their sensitive barbels would fine gravel be alright for a substrate. The individual pieces of gravel can't be more than 3mmX3mm or should try to return it and get sand of some sort. The only thing with sand is will it get sucked up through a syphon? Could I kind of cap the gravel with the sand or will it just mix?
Thanks
Matt

December 26, 2011
11:46 pm
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Mattz fish
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Sorry forgot to mention dimensions 99Wx47Dx60H (measurements in cm)

December 27, 2011
12:28 am
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ender2811
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Hey Mattz.

Gravel is OK for the corys as long as it doesn't have very sharp edges. The size is just right especially if ur gonna have plants in the tank. It is a little easier to clean gravel than sand but even with sand it just takes a little practice, it's not that hard. U can go for a top layer of sand over gravel if u like but unless its thick enough it will mix.

Amazon swords are great plants, they come in all shapes and sizes and some are very hardy. Are u planning to put just A swords in your tank? There are loads of other plants to choose from but a setup with different types of swords could look great /thumbs_up.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":thumbsup:" border="0" alt="thumbs_up.gif" />

Have u had a planted tank before?

December 27, 2011
10:13 am
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Bluedave
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Hi mate,

As Ender said, small rounded gravel should be fine for the corys - in my opinion it's a better susbtrate than sand for plants (not that theres anything wrong with sand as a planted substrate).

Swords are perfect for your south american set up. As i said there are all sorts of different Ech. species. Most don't need to much attention so they make good starter plants as well.

What lighting do you have and whats the pH/hardness of your water? Ech. species also benefit from some root tabs in the substrate as they are greedy root feeders.

A few Ech. species that should be suitable -

Background - Ech. Bleheri (swords), Ech. cordifolius, Ech. major, Ech. osiris
Midground - Ech. parviflorus, Ech. uruguayensis,
foreground - Ech. quadricostatus, Ech. tenellus (although needs bright light)

other suitable plants could be ceratophyllum demersum (background or floating), Heteranthera zosterifolia (background, requires bright light), Limnobium laevigatum (amazon frogbit - floating plant, hatchets would benefit from some floating plants), Myriophyllum sp. (background or mid ground if constantly pruned), salvinia sp. (floating).

That should give you something to look into!

How are you cycling the tank mate?

December 29, 2011
8:23 pm
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Mattz fish
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My smaller tank that I have at the moment is my first planted tank so yes ended I ha e had I planted tank though I have never used a co2 diffuser or many fertilizers exept a brand of plant food. I only know a few species of plant but I have seen (I think) some of these plant species for sale . Not sure about the watts to litre ratio in the new tank as it hasn't arrived yet but will post it when the tank arrives. The tap water pH here is 7.5 but am thinking about getting one of those pH down kits unless you guys know of a different method of lowering my pH? As with hardness I need to buy a test kit for softening the water. For cycling the tank I'll add a few fish to build up the bacteria in the filter then over the three or so weeks of cycling I'll add the rest of the fish. Sound good?

December 29, 2011
10:55 pm
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ender2811
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U can cycle the tank that way but ur gonna have to do a lot of water changes for the first couple of weeks so that your first fish don't get harmed. If u could get your hands on some ammonia that would make it a lot easier for u and faster.
Test your water before the tank arrives so u can plan accordingly. Water hardness is gonna be important for choosing appropriate fish and plants. And if the carbonate hardness (KH) is too high no amount of pH Down is gonna help.
Co2 is not absolutely necessary, u can have a very nice, healthy and natural looking setup without it. U just have to choose the right plants.

December 30, 2011
3:03 am
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Plaamoo
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Hi Mattz,
If you haven't already, read this.
http://www.seriouslyfish.com/f.....topic=2691

Get your KH & Gh tested before you start meddling with your PH.

December 30, 2011
9:00 am
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Bluedave
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pH 7.5 is fine for most fish. Unless you plan on keeping wild caught or very delicate fish (that need acidic water) then I wouldn't worry about it. As the guys said, dont mess with pH without knowing your water hardness. With very soft water you can very quickly kill your tank!

All the plants I suggested will be fine without CO2 (conversely they will grow better with it! but it's really not needed). You only really need to be adding CO2 if you have high light levels anyway.

All you'll need is a once a week liquid fert and a few root tabs when you set up. I also chose plants that can do ok in lower light levels (except the ones I noted that need higher light levels) as most tank packages never come with enough light (in my opinion!). The more light, CO2 and ferts you add the quicker the plants grow, which leads to constant pruning or an overgrown tank (which is fine if thats what you want). Adding too much of one of these three will imbalance your tank and you'll start getting algae growth so, unless you want to get into planted tanks in a big way stick to a once a week fert and no CO2! If your going to plant more than 50% of the substrate then you might need to use that fert more than once a week but we can sort that when your set up!

I would fishless cycle mate, follow the link that plaamoo posted to a very good piece by Eyrie on cycling.

December 31, 2011
4:23 am
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Mattz fish
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Could I put my smaller filter that Im using at the moment in the new tank while the new tank cycles with my current fish. Would this work or would I still have the problem of harm to the "pioneer fish" or the new tank not cycling fully? If this suggestion is doomed to fail then Ill go back to the page that plaamo mentioned (thanks for that by the way). I bought the hardness kit and found the water to be quite hard. How would you suggest I soften it? All water problems aside would angel fish suit this tank in a community setting? I know these fish can be quite difficult so would not get any until I know my water is perfect (or as close as possible).
Thanks
Matt

December 31, 2011
11:27 am
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Eyrie
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It depends on whether you are moving all of the fish from your existing tank to the new one. If you are, then moving the filter media into the new filter will be sufficient to instantly cycle the new tank as the bacteria colonies are already at the correct size for the current stocking. Give the new tank a couple of weeks to settle, then increase the stocking gradually. This would mean adding no more than 1/3 of the existing fish load at a time, then testing daily to check for a mini-cycle as the bacteria colonies adjust to the new stocking and a minimum of two weeks between additions to be safe.

On the other hand if you plan on keeping your current tank running then it would be best to move some of the media over to the new tank to kickstart the bacteria colonies as you do a fishless cycle, which will speed up the process dramatically. However don't move more than a third of the media, and this will need replaced in the existing filter with new media so that the bacteria colonies can grow back to match the stocking in your smaller tank. You'd need to monitor the ammonia and nitrIte levels in the existing tank whilst this mini-cycle takes place. It can be beneficial to cut back feeding to every second day to reduce the waste produced by the fish until the bacteria colonies have grown back.

As regards softening the water, ignore the chemical buffers sold in your LFS. A reverse osmosis unit would be your best bet here, but it's not something I can comment on as my own water is very soft. I'd add that a stable hardness and pH is more important than a precise match as fluctuations can cause problems. This assumes that your water parameters aren't too far off, and I'd say that tank bred angels should be able to cope with a pH of 7.5. Willing to be corrected though.

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December 31, 2011
12:08 pm
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Mattz fish
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I am planning on moving all of my current stock into my new tank. Was wondering if adding new plants will affect the cycle or should I wait until the the full cycle is complete?
So I should keep water parameters as they have been and avoid fluctuations until I'm finished the cycling and have found an effective way to soften the water (eg reverse osmosis unit) and alter the pH to suit fish if I need to?
I was researching ways to soften water and came across Indian almond leaves. The only down side I can see with those would be the dyes which arent all that bad as it would look more natural. Can you see anything wrong with this method? I will definitely look into the reverse osmosis method that you suggested so thanks.

December 31, 2011
12:43 pm
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Mattz fish
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Just read about peat and how it lowers pH and softens the water would you recommend it and if so where would you get it?

January 1, 2012
9:25 am
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Bluedave
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Think Eyrie covered it pretty well!

What is the hardness of your water - you didn't say. I would agree with Eyrie that tank Bred angels will be fine at a pH of 7.5 and probably at an elevated hardness.

Again, as Eyrie said stability is more important than the readings themselves (unless you are keeping non-tank bred or species particularly susceptible to certain conditions).

I have used peat before -you can get aquarium safe stuff from your LFS (I used Sera). It only works with softer water (low KH) though and has less of an affect with harder water (same as the leaves) as the KH is yout pH "buffer" for want of a better phrase. You will need to keep refreshing the peat as well.

RO is expensive and again I'd only use it if you really, really, really want the perfect conditions for sensitive/hard to keep fish or you have bad/fluctuating tap water. It's expensive and there is a lot of wasted water (they may have improved recently but mine is roughly 4 or 5:1 waste water to RO water). You will also need to remineralise it or cut it with tap water as RO completely strips the water of everything.

Your tank is on the limit for keeping Angels mate. I would suggest a minimum of 5 to spread agression (like most cichlids). I assume you mean Pterophyllum scalare as Altums are bigger and generally wild caught.

Your not gonna get more than 5-7 scalare in that tank and 7 is pushing it. I would go for 5 with a few smaller fish.

hope that helps

January 2, 2012
10:50 am
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Mattz fish
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Hi. Sorry. KH 7 (125.3ppm) and GH 12 (214.8ppm)Tap water has GH is 6 (107.4ppm) so I don't know what's happening will test again tomorrow to make sure it is not a mid reading or somthing. Is there supposed to be a large " gap" between KH and GH? I think I'm starting to grasp the buffer concept does the KH keep the pH the same or roughly the same as "it" (KH). I hope that makes sense. I hear what you guys are saying now and am not going to try to change the water parameters.
I do mean Pterophyllum Scalare. If I were to keep angels would you suggest the same set up as you suggested at the start of this topic minus a few shoals of fish.
Do you know where to find information on t bar cichlids? I can't find their profile on this site. Probably wouldn't get them as I don't know much about them but saw some at my local fish shop today.
Thanks heaps to all who have helped me so far
Matt

January 2, 2012
12:17 pm
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Eyrie
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I think the gravel must be affecting the GH if the tank reading is 12 but the tap is only 6. Given that you want to keep softwater fish I'd replace the gravel.

KH is a measure of carbonate hardness and does not have the same value as pH. It does however help maintain a stable pH as discussed in The Science Bit of the article Jim linked to.

GH is general hardness and thus measures more than just carbonate hardness, so again the two values will be different.

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January 2, 2012
4:23 pm
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Plaamoo
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Looks like you're getting on the right track Mattz. It's far better to get fish that can thrive in your existing water. especially for a beginner. One thing I'd add as you mentioned new plants, quarantine! I sold a group of rainbows a few months ago and the buyer put them in a well established tank but added new plants. They were covered with ich and gone within a week. You can use your smaller tank for a q-tank.

January 2, 2012
9:35 pm
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Bluedave
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same set up mate but loose a few shoals like you said. Just the fish you have now and the scalare will do it.

think the guys have covered everything else. The lower your KH the quicker you pH will change - read the science bit as Eyrie said, lol.

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