British Columbia Aquarium Forums banner

1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I've recently purchased a 36 gallon tank, i went into the store blind and basically asked for help setting up a tank on a whim. I have had this tank going for about a week and a half now and haven't had any problems and i would like to keep it that way. Any and all info and tips that anyone could help me with to help me maintain my aquarium would be fantastic.

What I have going now is 36 gallon bow front with a community of fish (2 marble angelfish, pictus catfish, high fin loach, tire track eel, Electric blue jack Dempsey, dozen neon tetras) and a assortment of plants. I didn't take note of which plants I picked, I sort of just got what I thought would look good. IMG_20130213_163235.jpg I can post close up pictures of each individual plant if needed but would love to have some help identifying the plants I have so I can actually speak with a little confidence about what i have in my tank.

I bought a substrate that was for plants, once again out of ignorance I did not take note of the type of this substrate but i'm certain it was good for planting live plants. The bags were about $20 each and the man selling me the substrate said it was ideal for plants.

I have been using a product called "Flourish" "a comprehensive supplement for the planted aquarium" by seachem as directed.

The lighting fixture on my aquarium is a coralife 30" with dual f18-t5-bp tubes at 18w each. I run the fixture for about 16 hours/day

my ph levels are about 7.4 and the kh levels are at 6.

Any and all tips/help to keep my aquarium would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

IMG_20130213_155128.jpg
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,203 Posts
You're certainly not the first one to jump right into it!

First off, the Jack dempsey will quickly grow to be a real prick and become aggressive toward everyone else in the tank. The neon tetras will eventually become food for both the angels and the JD. The tire track eel i believe will get quite big, and pictus cats are not very hardy so keep up with your water changes to ensure good water quality for him.

Which fish store directed you to keep this mix in a tank together?? maybe it's better you don't say that if it's one of our sponsors....

The plants you have look to be an assortment of vals, ludwigia, some carpet plant that might be dwarf sag, or hair grass... I think your lighting is very low for the hairgrass and the red plant for sure... red plants usually require you to also dose some iron (another seachem flourish product).

Your off to a decent start though, the substrate looks like its either flourite black or eco-complete, which are both very good products and i've had success with both.

Read these two sticky threads from our planted section
http://www.bcaquaria.com/forum/planted-tank-specific-13/basic-guide-lighting-13/
http://www.bcaquaria.com/forum/planted-tank-specific-13/basic-guide-carbon-dioxide-81/

To really get plants to thrive you will need to upgrade your lighting, and find a source of CO2. You can dose products like Seachem Excel but some plants like your Vals (the tall skinny green ones) wont react well to it, while others will thrive.

You may want to look into some easier plants first to get used to keeping them healthy and when you can upgrade your equipment move into some of the trickier ones. I'll tell you now that you can expect your red plants and the carpet ones up front to die off before long. I could be wrong about that, but that is what i would expect at this point. The flourish Comprehensive is a great additive but it's not enough alone for some of these plants.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,318 Posts
I second the mix of fish. Tetras are dinner for the Jack dempsey and the Angels once they get big enough. The Jack is a cichlid and should be kept with other large cichlids. He probably will start digging up all your plants aswell. He needs to go.

Im going to disagree with the lighting and co2 comment. If you have NO idea about fish I would suggest not worrying about co2. Everyone thinks you must have tons of light and co2 to have a nice planted tank and thats not true. However the grass you planted in the front will not grow very well without good light and co2. Carpet plants are one of the harder things to grow. The rest of your plants will be okay. Having the proper bulbs in your light will help a lot. I have the same light on my moms tank and shes growing plants fine. The problem is..... that light comes with 1x 6700k bulb and one called a color max. The color max is useless for plants. Switch it to another 6700k or a 10,000k. Keep asking questions and start doing your own research otherwise you will be tossing money in the garbage. Trial and error is always good but there is always a breaking point. Good luck with the tank!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
824 Posts
Your tank has only been up & running for about a week and a half, so I expect it's not yet 'cycled' with beneficial bacteria.
It seems you have a test kit of some kind - have you been testing for ammonia & nitrites ?
If you want to keep those fish alive over the next few weeks, I strongly suggest you undertake large daily, or every other day, water changes using Seachem Prime as your conditioner, in order to de-toxify the ammonia & nitrites until your tank is fully cycled, which usually takes from 4 to 6 weeks. And test your water daily for the next while.
I'm assuming here that you did not use some seeded filter media from the ouset, and if not, there's little question your fish will start to suffer soon, perhaps fatally, from the toxicity of the ammonia & nitrites.
So get yourself some SafeStart or Stability to assist with the nitrification, follow the directions carefully, and do your water changes using Prime in order to save those fish.
Google 'cycling a freshwater aquarium' and I'm sure you'll get a proper guide to cycling a tank with nitrifying bacteria.
The others here have told you about your stock of fish, their eventual size, nature, lack of compatability, and I also suggest you follow their advice.
Unfortunately, you've started off on the wrong foot by not having done your homework ahead of time, and now you must rectify that.
Best of luck to you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
First off I would like to Thank everyone in this thread for taking some time and steering me in the right direction. It's much appreciated and hopefully one day with help from people like you and researching for myself I will be able to pay forward the knowledge I have learned to other newbs!

Here's what i've learned specifically to my tank. I like to write out what I learn, helps the process :)

lighting: my lighting levels are running at about 1 watt per gallon as of now. From what i read only my darker colour plants will survive with this lower light condition (darker plants typically have more chlorophyll which make them more efficient at photosynthesis) I am also going to change one

Stock of fish:
- Jack dempsey is a Chiclid and chiclids "get big and like to arrange the tank the way they want it." Therefore I will try to sell the jack dempsey.
- I am also going to purchase a few more pictus catfish so my solo catfish won't go crazy.
- My neon tetra are almost all eaten... I believe by the Jack Dempsey or possibly the eel? the angels chase the tetras a bit but haven't eaten any because they are too small. So I will not be buying any more tetra's.
- angels seem good to go. I feed them a mixed diet of flakes and shrimp pellets
- I don't ever see the tire track eel eat but every other night I have been leaving frozen blood worms by his cave. I have also read he may try to burrow and cut himself on the gravel but I haven't noticed this yet.
- The high fin loach will get very large sooner or later and once he becomes too large I will have to sell him. other then that his personality seems to jive in the tank, very slow and dosile. Likes to eat from the bottom.

live plants: due to my lower light levels as of now, 1 watt per gallon, i will only be able to sustain the darker green plants. I am going to pull up the hairgrass as I can already tell it's not taking very well. My vals seem to be doing okay and will let them keep on keeping on. I'm still having trouble ID'ing a lot of my plants, i think I will just pull the ones that aren't doing the greatest as of now. I'll keep an eye when I go to the store and try to ID the rest that I am keeping.

Water testing:
-I did a full test of my water today and found that indeed like discuspaul mentioned my Nitrite levels are high. Looks as those the beneficial bacterias that convert nitrites to nitrates have not yet kicked in. On the bright side my ammonia test came back with 0 ammonia so i guess that part of the cycle has already kicked in and/or my plants are absorbing the excess ammonia. So to try to rectify this situation and keep my fish alive I will do water changes with seachem prime as much as possible to keep the nitrite levels down.
-Also a few days ago a friend mentioned Vancouver's water system has a very low GH level. So i have already begun slowly bringing my GH level up using a product called 'Equilibrium' by Seachem. I was advised not to use salt to increase my GH because salt is bad for live plants. currently my GH level is at 3.

Once again I would like to thank the people who have posted in this thread and furthermore would like to thank the members of BC Aquaria. I probably wouldn't have even made it 2 weeks without you!
 
  • Like
Reactions: monkE

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,318 Posts
First off I would like to Thank everyone in this thread for taking some time and steering me in the right direction. It's much appreciated and hopefully one day with help from people like you and researching for myself I will be able to pay forward the knowledge I have learned to other newbs!

Here's what i've learned specifically to my tank. I like to write out what I learn, helps the process :)

lighting: my lighting levels are running at about 1 watt per gallon as of now. From what i read only my darker colour plants will survive with this lower light condition (darker plants typically have more chlorophyll which make them more efficient at photosynthesis) I am also going to change one

Stock of fish:
- Jack dempsey is a Chiclid and chiclids "get big and like to arrange the tank the way they want it." Therefore I will try to sell the jack dempsey.
- I am also going to purchase a few more pictus catfish so my solo catfish won't go crazy.
- My neon tetra are almost all eaten... I believe by the Jack Dempsey or possibly the eel? the angels chase the tetras a bit but haven't eaten any because they are too small. So I will not be buying any more tetra's.
- angels seem good to go. I feed them a mixed diet of flakes and shrimp pellets
- I don't ever see the tire track eel eat but every other night I have been leaving frozen blood worms by his cave. I have also read he may try to burrow and cut himself on the gravel but I haven't noticed this yet.
- The high fin loach will get very large sooner or later and once he becomes too large I will have to sell him. other then that his personality seems to jive in the tank, very slow and dosile. Likes to eat from the bottom.

live plants: due to my lower light levels as of now, 1 watt per gallon, i will only be able to sustain the darker green plants. I am going to pull up the hairgrass as I can already tell it's not taking very well. My vals seem to be doing okay and will let them keep on keeping on. I'm still having trouble ID'ing a lot of my plants, i think I will just pull the ones that aren't doing the greatest as of now. I'll keep an eye when I go to the store and try to ID the rest that I am keeping.

Water testing:
-I did a full test of my water today and found that indeed like discuspaul mentioned my Nitrite levels are high. Looks as those the beneficial bacterias that convert nitrites to nitrates have not yet kicked in. On the bright side my ammonia test came back with 0 ammonia so i guess that part of the cycle has already kicked in and/or my plants are absorbing the excess ammonia. So to try to rectify this situation and keep my fish alive I will do water changes with seachem prime as much as possible to keep the nitrite levels down.
-Also a few days ago a friend mentioned Vancouver's water system has a very low GH level. So i have already begun slowly bringing my GH level up using a product called 'Equilibrium' by Seachem. I was advised not to use salt to increase my GH because salt is bad for live plants. currently my GH level is at 3.

Once again I would like to thank the people who have posted in this thread and furthermore would like to thank the members of BC Aquaria. I probably wouldn't have even made it 2 weeks without you!
Its great to see someone ask for advice and actually listen. Your original post showed you had not done much research. Now after reading your last post I am impressed with the knowledge you have gained. The internet is full of great information. Be carefull listening to others as everyone has their own opinions and some things that work for others might not work for you. Fish tank keeping is a process and no one has a beautiful tank over night. Keep reading, keep asking questions. You are now well on your way to a nice tank.

IMO Stick with the angels and build your tank around them. I personally wouldnt keep the pictus cat. I know they look neat but a school of cory"s would go good with the angels. Buy a school of larger tertras and a bristle nose pleco and keep the tank like that. Too often beginners buy too many fish to start the tank off. All it does is cause problems later on. I just set up a planted angel tank for my mom at christmas. She loves them. I added a school of 8 white clouds, 4 cory's and a bristle nose. I might add another school of mid swimming tetras soon. The tank is nearly maintenance free because Ive over filtered the tank and it has a small bio load. If you stick with the basics at the start your tank will thrive instead of crash later on. I try to think of fish tanks as a mini eco system. The more well rounded it is the better off the tank does. Buy catfish to eat the missed food. An algea eater to clean the algea. Fish to swim in the middle. Fish to sim at the top. Good luck with the tank and keep us posted
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
824 Posts
Good for you, Doug - you're doing the right things now, and with a little luck you should be able to save the fish you eventuallly want to keep, and the others you can re-home.
And yes, using Equilibrium in Vancouver water should turn out to be a definite plus in bringing up the mineral content and stabilizing your params. Keep up the good work.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
813 Posts
It's your pictus picking off the tetras when the lights are out. They are very good hunters.
Wouldn't the jack dempsey be a more likely culprit? I know I keep africans and not SA cichlids but most cichlids are pretty quick to pick off smaller fish that are around the size of fry and it's likely that the JD is much larger than the pictus cat at this point. Mind you I have read that catfish like petricolas and pictus cats will hunt small fry. I could be wrong about this but I believe the smaller tetras like neons are much more sensitive to high ammonia/nitrites than other hardier fish. If they're weakened from the high levels of ammonia/nitrites it could make them an easy target as well
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Top