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Fish tank water

Discussion in 'Fish Keeping Chat' started by Jason25, Apr 28, 2020.


  1. Jason25

    Jason25 PetForums VIP

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    I was given a tank by a neighbour a while back with 1 male guppy and 3 female guppies.

    It came with a filter and some gravel.
    I’ve gave it a good clean and washed the filter and gravel off, not sure if I should of done that now but they have been fine for the last few weeks.

    I’ve added 2 live plants, hygrophila polysperma and limnophila sessiliflora and an air pump with a air stone. And 15 Malaysian trumpet snails.

    it all seems to be going well I’ve done a 20% water change each week since I’ve had them.

    from what I’ve been reading I need to be testing my tank water and doing cycles or something? How do I do this? I’ve never done it before and always been under the impression that if your fish gets ill you take a water sample to a pet shop and they would test it for you?

    I’m keen to learn so if you know any sites I can read from that would be great

    Here’s my tank lol

    D73AB677-C90C-4085-AE03-7E5BFB48DDDE.jpeg
     
  2. LinznMilly

    LinznMilly Moderator
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    How big's the tank?

    Cycling refers to the nitrogen cycle which you may have learned about in school, but fishkeepers need to know it in depth. So.

    Fish produce ammonia via their gills and waste. Ammonia is toxic to fish and is responsible for the vast majority of illness and death.

    This is where the filter comes in. It creates the perfect conditions in the media (sponge, rings, bio balls etc) for bacteria to thrive. The bacteria use the ammonia as food, and convert it into nitrite (NO2) (notice the I - it's important).

    Nitrite is equally toxic to fish, but the filter comes to the rescue again, and grows another species of bacteria to take up the nitrite and convert it into nitrate (notice the A).

    Nitrate (NO3) is less toxic, and most fish can tolerate it up to about 40ppm. We keep that down by doing partial water changes each week.

    Ammonia (NH3) -- Nitrite (NO2) -- Nitrate (NO3)​

    Now, there are 2 ways to do a cycle - fish-in-tank, or fishless. Fishless cycling involves adding a source of ammonia, such as household ammonia, to the tank and testing for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate.

    Fish-in-tank cycle means you don't have to add ammonia, because the fish do that for you, but it does mean exposing them to an unstable tank and 2 different toxins. You'll still need to test every day, and you'll have to do 25% water changes every day until the tank is cycled. You can get Seachem Prime which will remove chlorine, chloramine, heavy metals, and temporarily locks ammonia and nitrite away from the fish.

    So, shopping list:

    Liquid freshwater testing kit (Personally, I recommend NT Labs master test kit - it's cheaper and better value for money than the usually recommended API)
    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/NT-LABS-...283731?hash=item1cd452d993:g:D-IAAOSwaKZdGm97

    Dechlorinator (if you're going to cycle with the fish, you'll need Prime)
    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Seachem-PRIME-AQUARIUM-Water-Conditioner-FISH-TANK-DECHLORINATOR-Ammonia-Remover/122379010692?epid=1205194530&_trkparms=ispr=1&hash=item1c7e5b8284:m:mgFS4YRPmMXcT3ZYVzwzZvQ&enc=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&checksum=122379010692460f60955b6c42b7b44af9f4baa52dcf

    Gravel vac - I'd you haven't already got one;
    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Super-2-...067376?hash=item258d56d270:g:f7AAAOSwvvJeT8xf

    Filters advise replacing their media every month or so. This is unnecessary and a marketing ploy. Keep the media in the filter until it literally starts to fall apart. My media is about as old as my tank - 13! The exception is activated carbon, but you don't need that unless you're removing meds and/or other impurities from the water. Just shove some bio rings or something in its place.

    Don't rinse the filter media at all during the cycle (it'll take between 2-6, weeks. If you know anyone with a fully cycled tank, ask them if you can borrow some of their media to speed up your cycle - it'll be done in days that way). Once the tank is cycled, rinse the media in old tank water during a water change only!

    That's a lot of information already. If you have any questions, just ask. :)

    ETA;. Pet shops will test your water for you, but they have a tendency to say "it's fine" or "it's a bit high". If things go wrong, the first thing we'll ask you fro ammonia, nitrite and nitrate reading in ppm or mg/l. If all you can tell us is the LFS said it was fine a week ago, we can't be much help. So if you do get the pet shop to test your water for you, ask them to write down the actual values. But, honestly? It's quicker and easier if you have your own kit. That way, you have the results within minutes and know exactly what's going on in your tank.
     
    #2 LinznMilly, Apr 28, 2020
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2020
  3. Jason25

    Jason25 PetForums VIP

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    Thanks for the reply, the tank is 27 litres 30cm x 30cm x 30cm. I spent most of last night watching videos on fish tank water and fish keeping lol, I think I understand about cycling now.
    How long do them kits last for?
    I will get one ordered along with the gravel cleaner and prime. Should I keep doing water changes or should I wait until I get the prime?

    They never tell you need to do any of this when talking about fish keeping in the pet shop :Hilarious
     
  4. LinznMilly

    LinznMilly Moderator
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    Whichever one you get, you're adding drops at a time, so they last for months, even if you're testing daily. For the NT Labs kit, ammonia, nitrite and pH are all 5 drops per bottle. Nitrate is 6. GH (General Hardness) 1 is 2 drops. GH Bottle 2 and KH (carbonate hardness)are the outliers because you add as many as it takes to turn the liquid from one colour to another, so if you're in a hardwater area, with high KH they'll be the ones which run out first.

    Carry out daily water changes until you get the test kit. You've had the fish for a few weeks, so you may be over the worst by now.

    Just so you know, livebearers like guppies put rabbits to shame in the breeding department. A female can store sperm for up to 6 months from a single breeding and self-impregnate at will during that time.

    Ideally, you could do with a bigger tank, especially in the long term Larger tanks are actually easier to maintain, because the water chemistry is more stable and naturally, toxins take longer to accumulate. Plus you can keep more fish. :D A recommended minimum for beginners is 10gal/45ltrs.
     
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  5. Jason25

    Jason25 PetForums VIP

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    I will get the one you recommended :D
    I’m still getting to grips with all this. Is hard water to do with ph? My tap water is around 8 if I remember correctly. I’ve got a ph pen somewhere which I can use to check the water? But I will continue with the water changes and start doing them daily. I’ve got to go pets at home later for daisys flea and wormer so I will see if I can get a gravel cleaner too.

    I am hoping for babies one day, there’s a nice blue with dark blue fins female guppy and an albino looking male guppy with a tail
    that looks like it changes colour when it’s light. Would love to see what they produce lol.

    I’ve been looking at bigger tanks already, my plan is to learn about water with this tank and get it ‘established’ I think that’s the word for it lol and then use it to set up a new tank. I read if you’ve already got one established it’s much easier to get another one set up?


    thanks for all your help :D:D
     
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  6. LinznMilly

    LinznMilly Moderator
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    GH, PH and KH are all interlinked, yes. Generally speaking, GH and KH generally fall within the same ranges, because some minerals such as calcium carbonate show up on both tests, and KH affects the stability of PH. So the higher the GH, the higher KH is likely to be. And the higher the KH, the more stable pH, which, like you point out, means it's likely to be more alkaline than acidic.

    Unless you have stupid crazy water like the one in my 120ltr, where GH and KH are 3°H (low) and pH is 8. o_O :Wacky

    The good news is, guppies and other livebearers are hardwater fish, so if your water is hard, the fish are ideally suited to your water conditions.

    https://www.myaquariumclub.com/what-is-the-relationship-between-gh-kh-and-ph-11484.html

    Yup, you can very simply take out everything from the smaller tank - fish, substrate, decor, filter (or it's media) and heater and transfer it to the bigger tank. Instant cycle. :D

    And then MTS (Multiple Tank Syndrome) sets in
     
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  7. Jason25

    Jason25 PetForums VIP

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    Hey @LinznMilly ive just ordered the nt labs kit and prime. I’ve got myself a new sponge filter that I connect on to the air pump instead of the air stone, should I wait until I get my water quality sorted or can I add it right away? I read the sponge filters are better for guppies? Not really sure what to do next lol :D
     
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  8. LinznMilly

    LinznMilly Moderator
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    Add it right away, but don't remove the old filter for a few weeks.
     
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  9. LinznMilly

    LinznMilly Moderator
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    Should probably clarify this - if not for you, then for others reading it in the same situation. You'll need to run the filters concurrently so that you don't lose the bacteria you've already built up. After a month to 6 weeks, if everything's stable, squeeze the old filter media onto the sponge filter if possible, and then you're free to remove the old filter.

    Sponge filters are great for many species, guppies with their long fins being one of them. They're ideal for fry, too. If you want to raise fry, you'll need plenty of hiding places, or a separate aquarium, because the adults will eat any fry they can find.

    As for what to do next, you could always plan how you want the tank to look in terms of decor, and look into which fish you'd like to stock your bigger tank with. :D. I'm planning a massive rescape of my two. :D
     
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  10. Jason25

    Jason25 PetForums VIP

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    Thanks I’ve added it to the tank :D
    CA2207B5-3101-4102-93A6-FEF9164A2082.jpeg

    My next project is this
    99552EDC-6312-4609-A1CD-EF83885BFBBD.jpeg
    My nieces old goldfish tank, it was sat in a shed for months not in use but with water still in so I’ve had to clean it all, I’ve got most of the hard water marks off and cleaned the gravel off too, but might have to change it...not keen on the colour :Hilarious
    I want to turn it into a tank for snails. I’ve got 15 Malaysian trumpet snails in my main tank but once I’m ready to start on getting this one set up I will move some snails over to it and see if I can get them to breed.

    as for the fish for the next tank I want some that’s pretty large and ugly, uglier the better really :D I like stuff like eels and loaches. Them oranda goldfish look pretty cool too :D

    I used to find fish pretty boring when I was a kid but now I end up sitting there watching the fish more than the tv :Hilarious

    good luck with your tanks I can’t wait to see some pics :D

    oh and I forgot to say I got a gravel filter the other day and been doing daily water changes at 25%, is that about right?
     
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  11. LinznMilly

    LinznMilly Moderator
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    Not a hot pink kind of guy, huh? :p. My niece would probably be the same if her parents got her a fish tank, but I think I've scared SIL off. :oops:
    . Too afraid of getting it wrong and feeling my wrath, I think. :Shy :Hilarious But she's (SIL) tempted, I know she is.

    Bright gravel notwithstanding, with some sand (play sand's fine) that would be ideal for inverts like your snails and shrimp.

    Fancy goldfish will need a tank of about 90ltrs for 1, plus an additional 45ltrs for each additional fish. They're messy, too, so you'll need a filter designed for tanks up to double the size of yours. I'm going to tag @magpie as she has goldies, so will be able to provide you with more info than I can.

    Most loaches and eels are softwater fish, so if you want them, you'll need to bring the hardness and pH down. This can be achieved by adding peat moss, driftwood, almond and other dried leaves - anything that'll stain the water, basically. You could also go down the RO (Reverse Osmosis) route - either by buying it from the LFS, or by getting an RO unit.
    https://aquariumadviser.com/freshwater-aquarium-eels/

    Cichlids tend to be colourful, but may also fit your description, depending on what you think of as ugly :D . The rift lake cichlids from Malawi, Victoria and Tanganyika tend to be hardwater fish, too, so they'll better match your water parameters. Most keepers deliberately overstock their tanks to minimise aggression, and put them in the tank at the same time.

    South American cichlids tend to be softwater fish.

    Some sites to check out;
    Seriously Fish - great for checking out fish profiles and caresheets,;
    https://www.seriouslyfish.com/knowledge-base/

    Aqadvisor - great for checking stocking levels - if/when it works! Some people say it's best to try different service providers, others say try Incognito mode. It mustn't like me because it hasn't worked for months for me.
    http://www.aqadvisor.com/
     
    #11 LinznMilly, May 2, 2020
    Last edited: May 2, 2020
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  12. magpie

    magpie PetForums VIP

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    Wow, the MTS has really hit you hard :D

    I currently have 5 fancy goldfish & 4 of them are orandas, I'm obviously biased but they are amazing fish, very personable and full of character, but they do grow huge! As @LinznMilly says, you'd want a tank of around 150-200 litres to keep 2-3 of them (they're not shoaling fish but they are sociable and do seem more relaxed with company). And as well as extra filtration it's usually recommended to do larger water changes on a goldfish tank, due to them being waste-producing machines :D

    This is an old pic, but here's one of mine to give you an idea of size:
    [​IMG]
     
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  13. Jason25

    Jason25 PetForums VIP

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    I’m surprised it won’t scare the fish :Hilarious and yes I’m terrified of getting it wrong but also looking forward to learning about fish keeping :D

    I’ll look at getting some play sand ordered, can play sand be used in a tank with fish too?

    I think for now I’m going to stick with the guppies I got and see if I can breed them, once I’ve got all that going and everything is settled I’ll look at getting some bigger fish/fancy gold fish and a bigger tank then, I’m more looking forward to the breeding and seeing how many snails I can get as well lol. Also growing aquarium plants seems cool too, I’ve got 2 going at the moment and I’m surprised how quick they are growing lol.

    I’ve seen these ro system things before, didn’t know you could use them for fish keeping lol, if I get a lot more tanks I might consider one :D

    them cichlids could be next on the list, but might have a hard time choosing which ones :Hilarious

    I’ll check them websites now thanks :D

    by the way am I right in thinking this is a male guppy, sorry about picture quality lol
    9723F9EE-F8E0-439F-B836-9069442EB4A4.jpeg
    I wasn’t really aware that guppies need a heater but I’ve got one ordered now so should be here in a few days. I’ve also been and got some blood worm block things for a treat that they will have later :D

    Yes i think I’ve found myself a new hobby, I’m planning stuff for tanks that I don’t have yet :Hilarious but it’s keeping me occupied while in lockdown so all good :D

    They are really cool looking fish, I remember seeing them in the pet shop when I was a kid and they always seemed so weird :Hilarious I’ve recently just seen one on YouTube called belfin and it’s got me interested, but the requirements for them has put me off a bit so I think it might be a while before I get some :D:Hilarious
     
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  14. LinznMilly

    LinznMilly Moderator
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    Yes, play sand can be used as substrate for tanks occupied by fish. In fact, it's ideal for the likes of corydoras catfish and loaches ;). I have some in my 120 and am awaiting delivery of a 15kg bag from Argos for the big'un (200ltr). Best to do it before the fish are in the tank, though, because otherwise it's best to temporarily remove the fish from their tank until the sand settles.

    Breeding livebearers shouldn't be too difficult. :Hilarious If there's a single male in the tank, chances are, all the females will be pregnant. The challenge is in stopping them. :D

    It was through fishkeeping that I first heard of RO systems. I don't have one myself, but in the next few weeks, I can see me buying RO water from the LFS. :D

    Yeah, cichlids are for when you have more experience under your belt. Something to work up to. :)

    I can't see the fin shape clearly, but to me, it looks more like a male.
    https://www.wikihow.com/Identify-Male-and-Female-Guppies

    Don't worry, you're not the only one. I'm planning Tank 3 as well as planning on overhauling the current two. :D

    Remember, bigger tanks are easier to maintain and keep water quality and chemistry stable, so don't let tank or filter size requirements you off.[/QUOTE]
     
    #14 LinznMilly, May 2, 2020
    Last edited: May 2, 2020
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  15. Jason25

    Jason25 PetForums VIP

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    Great, well I'll look at getting sand for my tanks soon, it looks a lot nicer than gravel lol. I really like the look of the kuhli loach, would love some of them in the future :D what fish do you keep in your tanks?

    I'm pretty sure it's a male, it's got the pointy anal fin like it shows you the males have, but he doesn't have a big tail like the other males do in pictures :Facepalmi really do hope they are pregnant, especially the blue one I can't wait to see what the young look like lol
     
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  16. LinznMilly

    LinznMilly Moderator
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    120ltr:. 1 Pearl Gourami and 10 Hengelii Rasboras (did have 13, but 1 launched itself out of the tank and 2 have vanished, presumed dead. They are pretty old now).
    IMG_20200427_150131.jpg

    200ltr;. 19 Neon Tetras, 2 Electric Blue Rams and 1 Bristlenosed Pleco.
    IMG_20200501_144039.jpg

    There's room in each tank for another shoal or something, and indeed, I was going to get kuhli loaches myself for the 120, but never got round to it. Not up til now, anyway.
     

    Attached Files:

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  17. Jason25

    Jason25 PetForums VIP

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    Love it, it must take some time cleaning them tanks :eek: I’ve just googled them bristlenose pleco and really want one :D
     
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  18. LinznMilly

    LinznMilly Moderator
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    I can do both water changes and substrate cleaning in about an hour, wipe down the outside of the glass and the hoods and that's more or less job done. The hardest part is cleaning the algae off the glass on the 120ltr without disturbing the substrate or it ends up looking like this;
    IMG_20200501_111626.jpg


    BNs are pretty awesome fish. The Mouth is my 3rd BN.
     
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  19. Jason25

    Jason25 PetForums VIP

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    I need to get one of them glass wipers on a stick (or make one.. can’t be that hard?lol) I’ve got a sponge at the moment and going elbow deep in the tank to wipe the glass is making a right mess :Hilarious

    I want a bigger tank already lol but don’t want to buy one new so will have to until lockdown is eased and get one off gumtree lol.

    So fish on my list is:
    Bristle nose pleco, I seen an albino looking one last night, they look pretty cool lol
    Kuhli loach
    More guppies
    Maybe some catfish type fish, not sure which ones yet lol
    Oscar fish, these look well cool but I don’t think I’m up for keeping them just yet lol


    Where do you put your fish tank water to? My friend would chuck all of the crap from his pond filter over the base of his plant and it grew massive, looked like one of them prized plants from a garden centre lol.

    ive been chucking the water over the base of the willow tree outside, is that okay?

    I’ve been watching fish keeping videos all weekend, daisy has enjoyed the peace :D:Hilarious

    I don’t know if I’ve made a bit of a mistake but I’ve been and bought some AquaSafe from pets at home for conditioning the water. I’m not sure how long it’s gonna take for the prime to come so I’ve started using the AquaSafe since yesterday. Can I just start using the prime when it arrives?
     
    #19 Jason25, May 4, 2020
    Last edited: May 4, 2020
  20. LinznMilly

    LinznMilly Moderator
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    Nah, you haven't made a mistake. Like I said, chances are, unless you didn't use dechlorinator until you posted this thread, after a few weeks, the tank should be over the worst of its cycle, so the Prime may arrive too late anyway. You won't know that until the test kit arrives.

    Yup, watering the plants and trees with fish tank water is fine. Just don't use it if you ever have to treat the tank with salt, like I did last week. New plants, too. :Facepalm.:Bag. I think I've gotten away with it, as it was only the once and some of the plants seem to be flowering despite my error.

    Oscars - definitely not beginner fish, but somehow I knew they'd find heir way into your list. :D They're supposed to have great personalities.They get to about the same size as common goldfish, so you're looking at the same kind of set up -, big tank with bigger filter/s. I'm looking at my 200ltr, trying to imagine an Oscar in that, and shaking my head.

    Better go. Milly's decided it's toilet break time.

    ETA;. Algae cleaners -, don't waste your money. Just get a long-handed dish brush or scourer - like the type you out washing up liquid in. Does exactly the same job.
     
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