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Old 11-02-2003, 03:16 AM   #1
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Bundle of newbiw questions

Hello all. Nice forum. I'm new here obviously. Anyway I have just setup a 40 gallon freshwater tank and before I add anything living to it I have a few questions so here it goes.

1. How important is water hardness to plants? There are a few I'd like to get but the recommended dH is 5 while my water is about dH 2. Will these things just die if I try and plant them? I'd rather not raise the hardness as it seems a difficult thing to do and the extra soft water is perfect for the Amazonian fish I want to keep.

2. Anyone heard of a product called "Bio-Spira"? Does it actually jump-start your tank cycle?

3. Are cory cats or plecos going to uproot my plants?

Thanks for any advice.
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Old 11-02-2003, 03:21 AM   #2
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Water hardness makes plants easier to survive, in my understanding.
Yes bio Spira jump starts your aquarium, but personally, i would just wait a couple of weeks (4-5) so i don't add chemicals
And Cory cats i don't know but my pleco uproots almost all the plants in it
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Old 11-02-2003, 03:40 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by azn dreamer
Water hardness makes plants easier to survive, in my understanding.
Yes bio Spira jump starts your aquarium, but personally, i would just wait a couple of weeks (4-5) so i don't add chemicals
And Cory cats i don't know but my pleco uproots almost all the plants in it
I wanted to point out that just letting the tank sit for weeks without adding fish, or any other ammonia source, won't make it cycle.
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Old 11-02-2003, 04:41 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by azn dreamer
Water hardness makes plants easier to survive, in my understanding.
How so? I know that plants can convert KH (into CO2) once CO2 is exhausted, but I'm talking about GH, not carbonate hardness.

Thanks for the tip on the plecos, I'll get something else to suck algae at least until the plants are well established. My plan is to populate the tank with some Dwarf Sagittaria and Chain Sword, then gradually add several albino cory cats, neon tetras and angelfish. How hardy are the cory cats? I'm thinking they should be the first to go in (not to cycle, that's what the Bio-Spira is for...).
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Old 11-02-2003, 07:47 AM   #5
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Re: Bundle of newbiw questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phlegethon
Hello all. Nice forum. I'm new here obviously.
Hi dude, welcome

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phlegethon
1. How important is water hardness to plants? There are a few I'd like to get but the recommended dH is 5 while my water is about dH 2. Will these things just die if I try and plant them?
I do not know, however in the UK, plants are very cheaper than water testing kits, so just add them and if they die replace them with a different species. Lets us know the results.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phlegethon
I'd rather not raise the hardness as it seems a difficult thing to do and the extra soft water is perfect for the Amazonian fish I want to keep.
I agree that messing with PH will lead from one problem to another.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phlegethon
2. Anyone heard of a product called "Bio-Spira"? Does it actually jump-start your tank cycle?
We do not have it here in the UK. However from reading through topic on this forum, most swear by it whilst a few have not had as good an experience. Use the search function of this forums to find out more. I personally am sceptic of dumping a load of fishes and Bio-spira in a tank at once. I used 5 zebra danios to cycle my tank.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phlegethon
3. Are cory cats or plecos going to uproot my plants?.
What type of cory or pleco. My albino peppered corys or bristlenose pleco do not dig up my plants but the pleco gnaws on the leaves , the bastard.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phlegethon
Ö then gradually add several albino cory cats, neon tetras and angelfish.
apparently the neon tetra is the angelfishes natural snack in the wild. I am currently experimenting with the larger cardinal tetras and juvenile angel fishes against great opposition from these forums and my LFS. Will let you know the results when the angelfishes grow larger. Terry reckons it may be possible to keep both in the same tank if the cardinal (not neon) tetras are fully grown when the young angelfishes are introduced.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phlegethon
How hardy are the cory cats? I'm thinking they should be the first to go in
What type? I actually used albino peppered corys with zebra danios to cycle my tank without any Bio-whatitsname. Yup they are hardy but ensure they have a good flow of oxygenated water to the bottom of the tank. I use UGF so no problems there.

Angelfishes and cardinals in the same tank (for now)
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Old 11-02-2003, 12:09 PM   #6
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Hiya Phlegethon and welcome to Aquariumadvice

You've gotten some good advice already, so I'll just add a coupla things.

I am a strong proponent of Bio-Spira. I have used it successfully 4 times; it DOES work and work well. However, there is always a chance of a bum container; one needs to keep on top of water parameters to be sure. As they say, your mileage may vary.

*edit*
Oi I should reread carefully LOL If you use Bio-Spira, add most of your fish. If you don't, the extra bacteria will simply die off. No need to waste it. Personally I'd add everyone except the angelfish initially, let the tetras mature, and then add juvenile angels. I also happen to think, with an established adult neons/cardinal school in the tank and adding juvenile angelfish later, it may be possible to have them coexist. But theres no guarantee they won't munch on em; its just something to be aware of (btw Gman; what cute lil angels *grin* gonna let me meet em when I'm over during Xmas for my beer?).
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Old 11-02-2003, 12:39 PM   #7
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Your hardness is low. This is not as bad as a dh of like 10, which is very hard on plants. I know, I have hard water around here and have to use water softner pillows in the final media tray of my filter.
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Old 11-02-2003, 12:54 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Allivymar
I also happen to think, with an established adult neons/cardinal school in the tank and adding juvenile angelfish later, it may be possible to have them coexist. But theres no guarantee they won't munch on em; its just something to be aware of (btw Gman; what cute lil angels *grin* gonna let me meet em when I'm over during Xmas for my beer?).
Hi Allivymar, do you currently have your cardinals and angels in the same tank. No problem on the Xmas thing
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Old 11-02-2003, 01:40 PM   #9
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Heh no peaceful tetra/angelfish coexistence in my tanks; my angels would scoff them down as soon as look at em. All my guys are about adult size and aggressive eaters (and aggressive with each other as well...so much for the ANGEL in angelfish eh? ). Had I realised it when they were small, I'd have given it a go, but by the time I got neons/cards my angels were pretty big. However, the adult tetra/juvvie angelfish combo makes sense to me, and I know I've read of others having both successfully in their tanks when its done like that.
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Old 11-02-2003, 01:42 PM   #10
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I too will promote bio-spira.... but understanding the nitrogen cycle, the bacteria needs ammonia... thus in a barren tank...the bacteria will just die and do absolutely nothing for you... I say add 10 inches of fish to get the ammonia going, then add the bio spira after a couple of days.... Tetras are very hardy, so I say add those first
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Old 11-02-2003, 05:57 PM   #11
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more questions...

Thanks for the various answers. It's true plants are not expensive and the varieties I'm going to use are supposed to be pretty tough. I think I'll go with the Bio-Spira and a few fish. I've heard tetras don't like unstable water so I figured the corycats would be better to start with (Albino Aeneus Corys to be precise: http://www.liveaquaria.com/product/p...=21&pCatId=953 ).

Once the tetras mature I'll think about adding the Angelfish then. Tetras are not that expensive...

Another question, for this setup ("Amazonian" conditions; soft acidic water + plants & driftwood), would anyone recommend a conditioner like Black Water Extract or "Instant Amazon"?

All this talk about dechlorinators is frustrating as well because I used Aquaplus, which I now realize does not deal with the chloramine fully, just breaks it down releasing ammonia. I also read that it can skew ammonia test results but I wonder if people say that because of the ammonia it releases? So anyway I found another dechlorinator ("Prime" by Seachem) that supposedly DOES fully remove chloramine, but I just read somewhere else that THAT skews ammonia tests. And on top of it all, I can't find a test kit for chloramine anywhere. I used a hot tub test strip to see if my tap water has any chlorine and it doesn't appear to so I'm guessing it probably has chloramine instead. It'd be nice to know how much. It'd be even better to find out it doesn't have EITHER.

This water chemistry stuff is making my head hurt. But I'm happy my tap water is suitable for some cool species without much treatment.
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Old 11-02-2003, 09:00 PM   #12
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LOL yeah Phlegethon; starting a fish tank is a lot like a chemistry experiment.

Some of the dechloraminators (I still think thats not a real word) do break the chlorine/ammonia bond, releasing the ammonia. Others do that, then neutralise the ammonia by converting it to ammonium (which will still show up as ammonia on Nessler tests btw but is not deadly to fish). If a tank is cycled, the nitrifying bacteria will take care of the small amount of ammonia rather quickly and it shouldn't be a problem. If you test the water immediately after a water change you might get a small reading; I'll bet if you tested it again the next day it wouldn't register at all.

Theres an interesting post about it here: http://fins.actwin.com/aquatic-plant.../msg00215.html

As for the black water conditioners, you can certainly use them with your guys; the tetras would likely appreciate it as they like more acidic waters. That being said, as long as your tap water isn't too horribly alkaline, they will probably be fine once they get thru the QT period (neons/cardinals have a history of being REALLY tetchy and initially sensitive) and the conditioner not really necessary unless you are looking to breed em. The angels are even more flexible; they've been known to breed in a pH as high at 8.0! I believe it will discolor the water slightly, but not having any personal experience with it I'm not positive.
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Old 11-03-2003, 01:35 PM   #13
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[quote="azn dreamer"].
Yes bio Spira jump starts your aquarium, but personally, i would just wait a couple of weeks (4-5) so i don't add chemicals
quote]

FYI-- BioSpira is NOT a chemical. It is a packet of real, live bacteria. All you are doing is adding a nitrifying bacteria colony to your aquarium. There is no way this can hurt your fish, it can only help. I used to lose fish in the beginning when setting up a new aquarium, now because of BioSpira, I haven't lost one! I have had FABULOUS results with BioSpira & I highly recommend it!

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Old 11-03-2003, 01:54 PM   #14
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so how did you do it?

Ok PrettyFishies, I'm doing it your way. The plants go in Friday, followed by 10 tetras, followed by a bag of Bio-Spira on Sunday. Hopefully I will have an instant-ecosystem and not a tetra-tomb.

BettaLisa, so how did you use Bio-Spira? Did it go in before the fish, after the fish, or at the same time?

Let there be light!
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Old 11-03-2003, 04:45 PM   #15
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Don't wait to add the Bio-Spira; add them AND the fish as close to the same time as possible (In other words, not days apart; the same day would be fine). The fish will be producing ammonia from the second they enter the tank.
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