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Byron Hosking

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Viewing 15 posts - 16 through 30 (of 148 total)
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  • in reply to: Rain water problem… #355352

    Byron Hosking
    Participant

    Rainwater is ideal for soft water fish species provided the source is safe.  But rainwater should absolutely never be collected from roof run-off.  Chemicals from the shingles and animal excrement (bird, squirrel, racoon, rats all scamper over roves) are major issues.

    The only safe method is to place a large container out in the open, away from trees.  If one is really serious about collecting rainwater, a large collecting container could be constructed.  But never use run-off from roves.

    Byron.

    in reply to: Listen very carefully to my tale of waterchange woe… #355342

    Byron Hosking
    Participant

    We would need more specific data in order to possibly narrow down the issue, so what I suggest will be more general in nature.  First off though, when dealing with issues involving water (which is most of the hobby) always give the numbers.  You mention the GH being high, and then normal for rasbora…but without the actual numbers we don’t know what this may mean.  

    Part of diagnosing an issue is to test pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate.  These tests are easy with the API or similar kits.  A sudden drop or rise in pH for example could cause serious issues.  And ammonia or nitrite above zero is an immediate problem.

    As for GH, while this does certainly affect fish it is not likely to cause the symptoms you describe, by which I mean the sudden reaction of fish to a change…though again, without the actual numbers there may be something else here.  Chlorine certainly will kill fish within seconds, and here you would see the fish at the surface, gasping, then possibly jumping to escape; but you say you always use a conditioner, and these work immediately for chlorine, though chloramine may be a bit different and require more.  Do you have chlorine and chloramine in your tap water, or just chlorine (the water authority can tell you this, don’t mess with test kits)?  And what specific conditioner do you use?

    Plaamoo mentioned the issue of water chemistry changes before/after a water change.  Test tank water pH prior to the water change, and test the tap water, then test the tank water about half an hour to an hour following the change.  Temperature is important here too, a slight cooling is fine for most fish, even beneficial, but not more than a couple degrees.

    I agree there should be no need for adding bacterial supplements once the tank is initially cycled.  Some of these can do things, though from your description I would not suspect this here.

    Finally on water changes…one of the first things I and many others do when something is obviously amiss is a water change, and usually a substantial one.  The only detrimental issue with water changes are if the chemistry/parameters are vastly different, and depending which parameters.  A water change once a week should normally be sufficient (except when issues arise), and I tend to do 50-60% of the tank.  However, this may be an issue depending upon your water so sort out the chemistry first.

    Byron.

    in reply to: Replacing tiger barb shoalmates with black ruby’s? #355340

    Byron Hosking
    Participant

    Unfortunately this will not work, all but guaranteed.  While these two fish may have similarities in pattern (the female Black Ruby does closely resemble the Tiger) they are two distinct species.  Being shoaling species, they need a group of their own species.  The profile here for the Tiger, Puntigrus tetrazona, explains this quite well. http://www.seriouslyfish.com/species/puntigrus-tetrazona/ A group of 8 at the very minimum, with more being much better, is necessary.

    Having kept both species, I would not advise mixing them even in much larger quarters.  The Black Ruby (Pethia nigrofasciata) http://www.seriouslyfish.com/species/pethia-nigrofasciata/ is by barb standards a very peaceful fish, though very active (like all barbs), and should be separate from the Tiger.

    Byron.

    in reply to: Stocking My 50 Gallon #355331

    Byron Hosking
    Participant

    I would not think it likely that KanaPlex will harm invertebrates; I don’t have shrimp, but my multitude of snails have never been affected as far as I can tell.  But Seachem will answer emails on their products, and aside from weekends and holidays, within a few hours usually, so open that link I gave previously and email them.  I didn’t see anything specific.  B.

    in reply to: Stocking My 50 Gallon #355328

    Byron Hosking
    Participant

    If you are fairly certain that some type of bacterial fin rot is present, I would recommend KanaPlex.  This is a Seachem product, and is in my experience highly effective with bacterial issues like fin degeneration.  I believe they recommend three doses, two days apart.  I have found this antibiotic (kanamycin) does not seem to bother fish, and I have lots of corys and some fairly sensitive wild caught species.  This antibiotic is readily absorbed by fish, so it is in the bloodstream where it can be most effective.  Data:

    http://www.seachem.com/Products/product_pages/KanaPlex.html

    Corydoras sterbai is ideal in warm tanks.  This species is often seen with wild-caught angelfish (that need the higher temps) and discus.

    One pencilfish species comes to mind, Nannostomus beckfordi.  It should be fine with the GH and pH, and might manage with the warmth.  It is rather an active, sometimes boisterous fish, and remains in the upper half/third so a nice addition.  A group of at least 8-9; males are forever challenging each other, with some neat interactions.  I’ve had this species several times over the years, and found they are only a problem with quiet surface fish, like hatchets, which they like to nip at, probably because they are in “their” space.

    Hemigrammus ocellifer would be ideal, for all your parameters.  I prefer the closely-related H. pulcher but this is a bit fussier with pH, and seems hard to find.  The Glowlight Tetra, Hemigrammus erythrozonus, might work for you; more tolerant of parameters than the neons.  Hyphessobrycon flammeus, the Flame Tetra, should work, quite well actually.

    You can search all of these here on SF in the knowledge base.  B.

    in reply to: Stocking My 50 Gallon #355326

    Byron Hosking
    Participant

    I see some issues with the fish species, primarily temperature-related.  There are a few cory species that manage well in warmer tanks (and here I am thinking 80F and up), but the vast majority do not.  Given the natural range of the laser species, being the Peruvian Amazon, Ucayali and Maranon systems, I would myself keep them around 76-78F.  I would not venture to suggest the temp is the problem with your corys, but at the same time it is likely not helping; I’ll return to this in a moment.  The other factor here may be the water hardness; these corys will be wild caught, and from water with a GH next to zero.

    Neons must be kept cooler, around 76-77F is absolute max for this species.  The Pristella and hatchetfish have 82F as their upper range, but they will fare better a bit lower.

    Most fish, with some exceptions, will always function better in the middle of their range; the higher the temperature, the greater the effort the fish must put out just to maintain its physiological balances, and this takes more energy and literally wears down the fish.  One author of an article in TFH a couple of years back likened this to driving a car up a steep hill; it takes more gas (energy) to maintain the same speed as when driving on level ground, and this adds to the wear and tear over time.

    Brief periods of warmer temperatures are generally tolerated, such as I have in summer heat waves when my tanks have been over 80F.  But if these high temperatures are fairly constant year-round, that is going to be somewhat detrimental in my thinking.

    The blue ram is a warmer water fish, 80F-82F is fine.  The Bolivian can manage with this, though I would keep it around 77-78F; I just lost my male Bolivian a few weeks back, and he was well into his 8th year, which is pretty good for a fish with an average expected lifespan of around 4 years.

    in reply to: Stocking My 50 Gallon #355324

    Byron Hosking
    Participant

    That is a very wide range for the GH, from 8 to 194 ppm.  I wonder if they have different sources for the water?  Whatever, the high end is still not too bad.  I wouldn’t recommend sensitive fish, like wild caught needing very soft and acidic water.  But there are a number of species that should be fine with this.

    I do not offer advice when it comes to disease/issues as this is a very complicated subject and guessing will often make things much worse.  I will leave that for others.

    Byron.

    in reply to: Stocking My 50 Gallon #355322

    Byron Hosking
    Participant

    It would help to know the hardness (GH) of your source water.  This is actually the more important than pH; provided the pH remains stable, it is normally easier to deal with but the GH does affect fish internally.  It is very possible to have a rather high basic pH as here, but have soft or moderately soft/hard water, and this option would open the possibilities.  Before getting a GH/KH test kit which you may only use the once, check with your municipal water authority; most in NA post water data on their website, and the GH and KH (sometimes seen as Alkalinity, and it is worth knowing this too) may be there.

    While waiting for that, I would agree than a high temp like 80F is going to cause issues for some SA fish.  Bolivian Rams are fine in this (though they can be lower, unlike the related common blue ram) and gourami should be too, but many of the corys would find this too warm long-term, as would some characins.  But there are many that are higher temperature tolerant, but the GH is going to be important.

    Byron.

    in reply to: My 90gal. Planted Dirt Tank #355318

    Byron Hosking
    Participant

    Beautiful tank and not a sign of algae, I need to do something with mine, also low tech but no matter how low I keep the nitrates , I just can’t keep the algae under control, need to increase my ferts I think. Might try your Seachem regime

    Algae is controlled by the balance of light intensity and nutrients; both must be sufficient for the plant species.  I have had algae increase due to light (too strong, or too long), as well as due to increasing the nutrient fertilization.  There is no hard and fast rule, it is specific to the given aquarium.  I would be glad to explain if you want, and can provide me with the data.

    Byron.

    in reply to: Stocking feedback for 29 US gal? #355305

    Byron Hosking
    Participant

    It’s actually at 7.2 and seems to be fairly stable, though I’d need to double check it. The GH only concerns me because the profile on here for diamond tetras recommends a minimum hardness of 5 degrees, which is higher than 30 ppm. However since you’ve been successful in keeping them, perhaps I shouldn’t worry so long as I acclimate my fish properly.

    It also looks like softened water to me. The landlord doesn’t even know what a water softener is, though, so it’s a bit of a mystery.

    The pH may lower naturally in the aquarium once it is running with fish.  I assumed this 7.2 is the tap water, since this aquarium is not running yet (?).  When testing tap water for pH, remember to out-gas the CO2.  Tap water on its own won’t lower much, unless it is lower naturally (the source of the water) and the water authority is adding something like soda ash, as this can be temporary.

    I would definitely check into the softener; these can be bad for fish, especially if they use sodium salts.

    On the GH for Diamond Tetra, this is not so much a difference that I would worry.  The data in our profiles is highly reliable, though sometimes a profile may be “out of date” or in need of revision, and I don’t know about this particular one.  When it comes to GH, with soft water fish I tend to be much more concerned with the upper end of the range.  I tried to find the parameters for Lake Valencia, the habitat of this species, but couldn’t.

    I was actually thinking of adding locally bred GBRs instead if I could find them because they’re less aggressive, but it sounds like they would be more intimidated by the diamond tetras. Still possibly worth considering I guess?

    EDIT: I’ve read varying things about the minimum temperature requirements of rams. I will be keeping it in mind if I choose them.

    Difficult to be exact, but I wouldn’t see the Diamonds bothering the rams much, if at all.  In the 29g they are not likely to be swimming very actively.  But even in my 5-foot tank, the Diamonds are not rambunctious.  On the temp, yes, I would suggest 27C/80F as minimum (I know the profile here has it very much lower).  It is my understanding that at lower temperatures they will not live more than a couple years, not their normal average of four years.  The Bolivian Ram is different; my latest male lived into its eighth year, and it too has a four year normal lifespan.  I have had M. ramirezi, the common blue ram, twice, but they did not live much beyond a year; in hindsight (it was several years ago) I suspect the temperature was the issue, as both times I had them in a community aquarium around 77/78F.  If you have a local breeder, check with him/her on the temp they maintain the aquarium normally (they may raise it for spawning).

    -a top dweller or a top and middle dweller, IF the diamond tetras don’t frequently hang at the top of the tank. Otherwise it doesn’t have to be a top dweller (or if needed I can just drop it altogether). I don’t really know what to add here. I already have a silver fish so I don’t want silver hatchetfish or lampeyes. Marbled hatchetfish are supposed to be shy… Daisy’s ricefish look like they go to the top (I don’t really know… I have trouble finding schooling topdwellers, I think), and the Trichopsis genus seems like it could fit as well? They’re small so maybe a little breeding wouldn’t hurt too much. I’d need to look into it.

    I personally would not combine any gourami [Trichopsis] with active fish, and here the Diamonds are active by comparison.  I have six T. pumila in my 33g, and I rarely see them; they remain among the thick Java Ferns most of the time.  They have spawned, but so far no fry have managed to escape predation, as there are a number of fish (rasbora, dwarf loaches) in this aquarium.

    Marble hatchetfish (Carnegiella strigata) should be OK.  I have a group of 21 in with the Diamonds and other characins in my 115g.  The only uncertainty here is that with a smaller space, the Diamonds may not conform to what I see in the larger space.  This species is quite sedate (all the species in this genus are), compared to the larger silver species in Thoracocharax and Gasteropelicus. 
    I have all of these, and the latter two are now in the 115g with the Diamonds.

    The Beckford pencilfish (Nannostomus beckfordi) is worth considering.  I had this species in this tank as well, and had to remove the hatchets because the Beckfords spend a lot of time near the surface (you must have floating plants) and they take unkindly to competitors.  Unlike most of the pencilfish species in Nannostomus, this one is much more active and robust, and rather beligerent.  But a nice and colourful upper fish when combined with other peaceful but somewhat active fish.

    -I would like a small pleco or other solitary catfish, but I can see this also being an issue with them eating cichlid eggs and having a lot of waste. With another centerpiece, I’m more likely to get one. I’d also, again, go back to having a loach… Which species depends on how much activity I want and where, I suppose. Unless you had a reason not to add kuhlis besides not mixing loaches? (If it’s either loaches OR catfish, that’s fine too.)

    Small loaches could work, but as you said, with any of these (loaches, catfish) survival of cichlid eggs is very unlikely.  Kuhlii loaches, or corys, if cichlid spawning is not relevant.  Another nice catfish oddity is the Whiptail, Rineloricaria parva [not the much larger “Royals”].  There are the colourful “Red” variants as well as the normal natural species.

    I’ll end with a comment on centrepiece fish…I find this difficult to do in a small aquarium.  Small fish are better alone in small quarters.  And given their size and the tank, the Diamonds will be centrepiece on their own.

    Byron.

    in reply to: Stocking feedback for 29 US gal? #355294

    Byron Hosking
    Participant

    First, on the parameters…why does a GH of 30 ppm (= mg/l) concern you?  So long as you stay with suitable soft water fish this should cause no issues; my tap water GH is less than this, at 7 ppm, and I add nothing in seven tanks to raise the GH.  Assuming the KH is also low, the pH should lower slightly below 7 naturally, which is ideal.

    Now to the stocking, which has some issues, so I will begin by saying that there are many factors involved when mixing species in a community tank.  Water parameters is one, water flow another, the decor (substrate, wood, rock, plants, etc), activity level of each species, and obviously temperament/compatibility.  Many focus on the latter but ignoring the others will lead to problems.  So with that in mind…

    The barbs I would forget.  This species, like most all of them, are quite active fish, and this means not only more length to swim but the effect this has on sedate fish, like the Bettas and even the cichlids.  The Diamond Tetras are getting close here too, but as you really like them I think you can build a community around them in your 29g.  A group of 6-7 should be OK.  I am sort of conceding here, as personally I would want this species in a longer tank.  I have had them for many years, always in 4 or 5-foot tanks, and there are fry in the group.

    The Nannocharax brings with it the need for stronger water currents, and this is something the kribs will not appreciate, and the Diamonds may not be too pleased either.  You are wise to have not selected the filter until you decide on the fish species, as there are variances as you can see, and a 29g tank is not large enough to have “one size fits all,” so to speak.

    The rosy loaches should be fine, but I would not add kuhlii loaches.  Combining different loaches takes some thought.  The loaches are very social species, so groups always, but they can be territorial.  Not much is known of the rosy loach yet, though Loaches Online says it is active.  I would just mention here that if kribs do enter the tank, and if you intend spawning with successful rearing of fry, this is not likely to occur with substrate fish that are very adept at eating eggs and/or fry during darkness.  And yes, in reverse the kribs will not take kindly to any substrate fish poking into their territory; I have seen this with corys, loaches and the SA Characidium (similar to the African Nannocharax).  Even without a female present, my male Dicrossus hounded the Characidium mercilessly, and I have observed similar toward corys and whiptails from Apistogramma females and Mikrogeophagus.

    I won’t suggest other species until I have a better idea of which way you intend going with the above.  Hope this helps get things started.

    Byron.

    in reply to: Fish for my new 180L #355293

    Byron Hosking
    Participant

    Hi xcitu and AS, welcome to Seriously Fish.  

    Sorry it has taken me three weeks to respond, xcitu; I saw your post three weeks ago but I have been unable to post anything due to some glitch I guess, which has just been resolved by the admin.  To answer your question, you have many options with soft water as the majority of the hobby fish occur in South America and SE Asia.  Just avoid livebearers, rift lake cichlids, and a few others that would require harder water.

    A 180 litre is roughly 50 gallons which is a good size too.  Many of these fish are relatively small, and need shoals (groups).  Your mentioned fish are South American, so staying in that region I would suggest pencilfish, hatchetfish, and other tetras.  When setting up a community tank, several factors are involved; water parameters for the species, water flow/current, aquascaping (substrate, plants, wood, rock, etc), and of course the species themselves (size, numbers, temperament/compatibility).  With corys mentioned, a sand substrate is best as these fish naturally sift the sand through their gills as they browse for food; you don’t mention substrate, but now is the time to change should you need to.  Branches, roots, wood and plants are ideal for the fish we are discussing.  Floating plants should always be considered with these fish.

    A group of minimum 7 but with this much space I would suggest 10-12 Parachierdon axelrodi.  Otocinclus are also also shoaling fish, and I have found that a group of 3-5 works well.  Corydoras also need a group, no fewer than five or six, and in this tank you could have up to 20 of the “normal” sized species (those remaining 2 inches max).  You can mix species but it is best to have a few of each species in the mix if possible.  Ancistrus, the bristlenose plecostomus, would be fine as a single specimen.  The largest I believe is around five inches, but many species remain in the 3 to 4 inch range.

    With the above, you have fish that will prefer the lower half of the aquarium (otos the exception) so other fish should be species that will prefer the upper levels to provide a balance visually as well as having more individual space.  Many of the pencilfish prefer the upper half, some like Nannostomus eques near the surface, and of course hatchetfish are surface fish; any of the species in the genus Carnegiella would be ideal here, and you can mix the species in this genus.  The other genera (Gasteropelecus and Thoracocharax) get a bit larger.

    I’ve only given broad suggestions, as I would prefer to know more of your own preferences once you have had a look at these.

    Byron.

    in reply to: Female Harelquin Rasbora sparring. #355043

    Byron Hosking
    Participant

    I would not be concerned.  Eight is a decent number for this species, and what you describe is certainly normal interaction.  Different individual fish can behave differently, but interaction among individuals is to be expected.  I am not aware that this ever develops into a problem, though that doesn’t mean it won’t, but I see this with many shoaling fish.  I have the closely related species Trigonostigma hengeli, and this is observable from time to time.  I like to think the fish are probably “happy” (in the fish sense of the word) when I see interactions.

    Byron.

    in reply to: Nitrate levels up.. #355042

    Byron Hosking
    Participant

    I agree that nitrate is something being considered more now than it used to be.  There are several areas where long-held thinking has been challenged and frankly found to be lacking substance.  Nitrates is one of these.  But before I explain, I do not believe you have anything to worry about with nitrate at 5 ppm, or even 10 ppm, provided it is consistent over time as it should be in a balanced aquarium that receives adequate water changes.

    The number of 40 ppm nitrate used to be bandied about, but this is in fact too high.  Dr. Neale Monks has frequently written that nitrates should always be kept below 20 ppm.  The problem is not immediate but accumulates over time, and there seems evidence that some species are more affected than others.

    Ammonia, nitrite and nitrate are all toxic to fish.  Ammonia and nitrite are more serious in that they act fairly rapidly to deb ilitate fish; even if the fish “survive” poisoning by ammonia or nitrite, there is usually internal damage that can have repercussions down the road.  Nitrate is less obvious, but recent studies have demonstrated that increasing nitrates, or continuing exposure to nitrate, will in time cause trouble for fish, leading to death.  It depends upon the level, the exposure period, and the species.  As Dr. Monks has written, nitrates at 40 ppm can cause severe issues for many fish, including as one example cichlids.  Some sources are now advising high nitrates as a major factor in diseases such as Malawi Bloat that previously was largely blamed on inadequate diet.

    All of this should not be a surprise when we consider that no fish we keep in aquaria are exposed to nitrates much above zero in their habitats, and they have evolved to function best in such environments.  My tanks run at 5 ppm, or at any rate the API liquid test indicates between 0 and 5 ppm, and have done for as long as I’ve tested.  I don’t test much now, except if something seems to be wrong and water testing is one of the first steps we take, but a sudden rise from what has been consistent over a period of months is cause for concern in an established aquarium.

    Byron.

    in reply to: Labeo bicolor and Clown loaches #354918

    Byron Hosking
    Participant

    I saw this thread yesterday and decided to await Matt’s comments, as I was interested in the source.  Now that the source is a mystery, I will suggest that this may be erroneous.  When I was preparing data on this species a couple of years back, I had this to say about the behaviour:

    Compatibility/Temperament: Not a general community fish especially for beginners. Very aggressive with its own species (it probably lived in solitude except when breeding) and as it matures is often aggressive with other fish especially those resembling it and those with vertical stripes. Should be kept solitary (one fish per tank) with carefully-selected tankmates like the larger barbs and rasbora. Bottom fish (loaches and most catfish) should not be included with this species.

    In my wanderings hither and yon, no one has ever contradicted this, and I have heard of more than one case where a single Red Tailed Shark terrorized other bottom fish and some upper fish with stripes, so I would myself not recommend combining the species.

    Byron.

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