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Old 02-21-2015, 10:55 AM   #1
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Beginner with ph adjusting questioin

I'm a beginner and with my kids I'm trying to get a small tank set up. I had a very small tank with a goldfish for a couple of years while in college and never spent much time on it and never seemed to have any problems. So we set up a tank and put a couple of goldfish and live plants in it and they lasted about a month. Doing my homework and research now. Thinking of maybe trying some platies on the next try. So I have several questions at this point and wondered if someone could answer them.

1. We have softened well water. It seems to be on the higher ph side but I don't have a good test kit yet (only strips) and so I don't know exactly what the ph is. I was reading about proper ph by API but it says not for live plants. We have live plants that we put in with the goldfish and I'd like to keep them alive while cycling the tank and maintain them. Do you have a recommendation for a ph down product that works and is safe for live plants? The reviews for the API ph down weren't very good on Amazon. It seemed from reviews that it takes alot to adjust a small amount but then it didn't last long.

2. Can we keep the live plants alive while fishless cycling?

Thank so much for the help. I'm sure I'll have a bunch more questions.
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Old 02-21-2015, 11:23 AM   #2
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Welcome to AA !! 😄😄

To answer your questions directly, I'm going to work backwards due to ease. #2, yes you certainly can keep the plants. #1, while there are products out there to adjust pH, the only folks that will recommend them are those that sell them. Truth be told, the best pH is one that you keep consistent. Most all fish will adapt to any pH and thrive very well. The biggest dangers with your wet friends will be ammonia and fluctuating parameters. Some links below will help you make progress in your endeavors. Also, the most often recommended test kit is the API liquid kit. Can be found for about $30 most places. Hope this helps and if you have any other questions, ask away. 👍

What size tank do you have running now and any thoughts on a permanent stock in the future ?

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Old 02-21-2015, 12:14 PM   #3
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Thank you treemanone2003. I just finished reading The (almost) complete guide and FAQ to fishless cycling. So that has helped a lot. I have the API master test kit on order. I found it Amazon for $18 put it won't be here until 25th. My ph with the test strips right now is 9.0+, the GH is about 30 and KH is 240 (+). I'm looking forward to getting the new test kit so I have better numbers. The aquarium is small only 10 gallons but we don't have much space right at the moment and I thought smaller would be better to start but maybe not. I'm not sure what you mean by "permant stock in the future"? I'd really just like to have a small tank with a few colorful fish that the kids and I can maintain verily easily and enjoy.
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Old 02-21-2015, 01:38 PM   #4
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Beginner with ph adjusting questioin

Quote:
Originally Posted by hjsvt View Post
Thank you treemanone2003. I just finished reading The (almost) complete guide and FAQ to fishless cycling. So that has helped a lot. I have the API master test kit on order. I found it Amazon for $18 put it won't be here until 25th. My ph with the test strips right now is 9.0+, the GH is about 30 and KH is 240 (+). I'm looking forward to getting the new test kit so I have better numbers. The aquarium is small only 10 gallons but we don't have much space right at the moment and I thought smaller would be better to start but maybe not. I'm not sure what you mean by "permant stock in the future"? I'd really just like to have a small tank with a few colorful fish that the kids and I can maintain verily easily and enjoy.

Great score on the kit !!! What I was referring to was if you were going to try to start with a hardier species and as you get the hang of things move over to something a little more delicate. Smaller tanks are generally more difficult because the parameters can change very quickly as opposed to larger tanks, but don't let that discourage you by any means. It's just a little more patience and practice. Having the kids involved is great. You'll both learn great things together and tanks can be an excellent teaching tool on many subjects. LA (Live Aquaria) has a great list of nano fish that are colorful and would work great in a smaller tank. Also, if doing planted (as you mentioned before) perhaps inverts once the tank matures (6-8 months) a bit ? AqAdvisor is another good tool to help with stocking. Fairly easy to walk thru the steps and good feedback on what will and won't work together. Neither of these are the "golden books" of the hobby, but an awesome place to reference.

http://www.liveaquaria.com/product/a...lies.cfm?c=830

http://aqadvisor.com/

You're off to a great start so keep plugging away !!! Take your time and it'll be smooth sailing.

Edit : Research is your best friend, the LFS wants to be your wallets best friend 😜😂.
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Old 02-21-2015, 01:45 PM   #5
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Welcome!

Sounds like you are already getting good advice and are taking advantage of the knowledge here at AA.

As you are already figuring out, smaller tanks are actually HARDER to maintain and easier to mess up! If you can find the room, a larger tank can be gotten for probably less than you are expecting!

55gal. tanks, or thereabouts, are generally recommended to newbies who are serious enough to do research! I found my glass 55gal on Craig's List for $100 including stand! I have scanned Craig's List since and see that yes I found a good deal, but but not an exceptional one. Maybe you'd find the same four $130. Worth it in the end if you can swing it space and $$ worth.

Platies are adorable fish and fairly easy to manage IF you are diligent about filtration and water changes. They are Livebearers and therefor messy. In addition, as with other Livebearers, you may end up with "bonus fish" (fry) very soon. In a small tank you'll be re-homing or overcrowding quickly. You might want to look around for less productive fish if you are sticking with a small tank.

Just my thoughts to hopefully be of help.

Please keep the questions and concerns coming. Everyone you ask assures many others with the same question that they are not alone. Even more important, the questions and answers help those to whom those ideas were never considered!

Don't forget to update with what you end up doing - and we love pics on here!


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Old 02-21-2015, 02:54 PM   #6
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Thank you so much for the help treemanone2003 and fishymamma! Feel so stupid right now and I most have made a 1,000 mistakes in the last month. So a couple more questions. (Thank you so much for helping and taking the time to answer my questions!)

I purchased two identical plant bunches when we got the goldfish and I wanted to figure out what kind of plants they are so I'd know more about them and what they needed for care. But I can't seemed to figure it out. I've tried looking on the LA site and this site http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/f...finder/all.php. I think I might have some Oriental or Amazon sword but I can't tell which from photos on these sites. One of the other plants I think is bamboo but I can't seemed to find that on either site maybe it's not supposed to be in the water? The other plant has variegated leaves and is sword shaped but longer and narrower. Any suggestions on where I might find more about my plants and figure out what they are?

Another issue, I don't think we had a LFS anywhere near us so we purchased from a chain store about an hour away. You are completely right treemanone2003 definitely will sell you EVERYTHING you need with no good advice. They recommended API Leafzone for my plants and when I got home I read on the back of the bottle about the API root tabs. So I got some the roots tabs and added them also. I think that resulted in a big algae bloom. There is brownish black slim all over my plants now. So I just used my hands to gently clean all the leaves (I think the plants are still fairly healthy.) I only found one leaf that was definitely rotting and I removed it. Now my water looks terrible with all that floating stuff in it. So what would you recommend at this point, should I do a complete water change and clean everything and start over from scratch before I start my fishless cycle? I assumed because we had fish for a little over a month I have some good bacteria in there and I didn't want to lose it. Can I add an invertebrate like a snail to help with the algae while I'm cycling? I'm assuming no because they are probably just as sensitive to ammonia/nitrite/nitrate water issues.

Another unrelated question, given the lack of LFS other than chains around my area can I order fish online and do people have good luck with fish they order that they don't see beforehand? We live in a cold climate so I don't even know if fish could be shipped to me.

Thank you fishymamma for the craiglist suggestion. Definitely should have started there!! There is a nice 30 gal set up for sale for $140 but no heater or filter but it's two hours from me. I think at this point I'm going to try to stick with what we have and knowing WAY more than when we started and try to make it work. If we run into more difficulties in the future when I know more about things, then maybe we can upgrade to something larger and things will go better.

Thank you both for the fish suggestions. I don't know what we'll choose. Something hardy that does well in a small tank and hopefully something colorful and probably not goldfish again. Everything I read about them seems to point to them doing better with a larger set up.

Thank you again for all the help! Hopefully my questions and your answer help someone else out too!
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Old 02-21-2015, 07:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hjsvt View Post
Thank you so much for the help treemanone2003 and fishymamma! Feel so stupid right now and I most have made a 1,000 mistakes in the last month. So a couple more questions. (Thank you so much for helping and taking the time to answer my questions!)

I purchased two identical plant bunches when we got the goldfish and I wanted to figure out what kind of plants they are so I'd know more about them and what they needed for care. But I can't seemed to figure it out. I've tried looking on the LA site and this site http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/f...finder/all.php. I think I might have some Oriental or Amazon sword but I can't tell which from photos on these sites. One of the other plants I think is bamboo but I can't seemed to find that on either site maybe it's not supposed to be in the water? The other plant has variegated leaves and is sword shaped but longer and narrower. Any suggestions on where I might find more about my plants and figure out what they are?

Another issue, I don't think we had a LFS anywhere near us so we purchased from a chain store about an hour away. You are completely right treemanone2003 definitely will sell you EVERYTHING you need with no good advice. They recommended API Leafzone for my plants and when I got home I read on the back of the bottle about the API root tabs. So I got some the roots tabs and added them also. I think that resulted in a big algae bloom. There is brownish black slim all over my plants now. So I just used my hands to gently clean all the leaves (I think the plants are still fairly healthy.) I only found one leaf that was definitely rotting and I removed it. Now my water looks terrible with all that floating stuff in it. So what would you recommend at this point, should I do a complete water change and clean everything and start over from scratch before I start my fishless cycle? I assumed because we had fish for a little over a month I have some good bacteria in there and I didn't want to lose it. Can I add an invertebrate like a snail to help with the algae while I'm cycling? I'm assuming no because they are probably just as sensitive to ammonia/nitrite/nitrate water issues.

Another unrelated question, given the lack of LFS other than chains around my area can I order fish online and do people have good luck with fish they order that they don't see beforehand? We live in a cold climate so I don't even know if fish could be shipped to me.

Thank you fishymamma for the craiglist suggestion. Definitely should have started there!! There is a nice 30 gal set up for sale for $140 but no heater or filter but it's two hours from me. I think at this point I'm going to try to stick with what we have and knowing WAY more than when we started and try to make it work. If we run into more difficulties in the future when I know more about things, then maybe we can upgrade to something larger and things will go better.

Thank you both for the fish suggestions. I don't know what we'll choose. Something hardy that does well in a small tank and hopefully something colorful and probably not goldfish again. Everything I read about them seems to point to them doing better with a larger set up.

Thank you again for all the help! Hopefully my questions and your answer help someone else out too!

Hmm... For starters, don't feel stupid. Nobody's perfect and everybody has to fail in order to succeed. Keep your chin up 👍😜. I'll help where I can on this one. Plants aren't my forte but maybe it'll get the attention of those that do. If possible, could you load some pics of them ? (Sometimes pics are restricted to folks new to the site) The algae bloom is almost a definite as a result of adding those items IMO and should clear up (couple days) quite quickly. The black/brown slime, eh got me there but it may a secondary result of the additives. Also the photo period (time the lights are on) will have some impact on these things.

I wouldn't start totally over. There may be some good beneficial bacteria (bb) still in there and dosing with ammonia will keep it going. A PWC (partial water change) of 50% should be fine. Although it should probably be fine, I would pass on the snail for now.

Ordering online. You certainly can !!! The only downside is cost. It's a bit more expensive than running to a store. There are many reputable folks out there that will properly package and ship livestock for your tank. Even if you live on the South Pole. As long as you can get a delivery (USPS, FedEx, UPS) to your door, anybody will ship. Points to consider when doing so. Communication with the seller. Planning a delivery date good for you. Heat packs (they do work) if needed. Live arrival guarantee. Research the seller. Good/bad reviews, prior complaints satisfied ? Many folks use and recommend http://www.aquabid.com/ with excellent results.

As fishymama said, CL is a great place to find good stuff for less than new prices. Also if you have a Goodwill store in the area you can browse for some gold scores. Online as well. There is some junk out there as well so just be cautious of what you're looking at. When it gets to that point of looking, there's a few little tricks to be sure of what you're getting is good. We'll help you conquer that when you get to that point.

Hope this helps a little and keep em coming 😜👍.


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Old 02-21-2015, 07:28 PM   #8
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Thank you treemanone2003! What do you think of this set up?

https://burlington.craigslist.org/for/4890325458.html

I may go look at it tomorrow if I can connect with the seller but it's about an hour away from me so it would be great to know if all the parts are worth it. Seems like a great deal and gets us a bigger tank. It will actually all fit in the space I have. If I'm going to get set up to a do a fishless cycle it would be great to do it on a tank that might be more permanent.

I have read SO much stuff today. I'm feeling pretty overwhelmed. Probably got in way to deep with the real plants but I love the way they look. I didn't know about the whole C02 DIY diffusers and lighting. It's dark here now so I'll take pictures of the plants tomorrow in better light. The tank is also clearing up nicely after cleaning the leaves earlier today.

Thanks again for all the support and help. So can I use some of the water from the current 10 gallon if I get the 30 gallon to start my cycle? i don't have everything I need yet but I did add some fish food today to hopefully at some ammonia to keep whatever bacteria I have in there alive.
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Old 02-21-2015, 09:37 PM   #9
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It seems to be good but a little pricey for me. I would hold off on that one myself for a better deal. To compare it with new stuff, Petco does a $1/gal sale every couple months. Yes, a hood, thermometer, filter will add some cost but won't put you at $150 either. I would look to pay for that setup you listed...... at most.... $75.

As for moving the water, with gaining 20 gallons it wouldn't hurt really. It's like doing a 30% WC. The majority of the bb is in the filter. So I would move the filter also and run both together for about 3-4 weeks. That will be more than enough to help things along.

Btw, it looks like you're a few hours north of a good friend of mine in Bennington.


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