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Old 04-28-2005, 03:24 PM   #1
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New 29g. Few Questions

Hi all,

My first post!!!!!
I picked up a new 29 gallon tank. I also went ahead and picked up an undergravel filter (yes, before I did some research), and 25 pounds of gravel substrate.

I'm not new to the aquarium hobby, though it's been many years. I had guppy/swords/tetras growing up, though my dad did most everything. I haven't had one of these tanks since about 1995 so I've got a lot of catching up to do.

Outside, I do have a half whiskey barrel water garden with a Goldfish (3" Ryunkin to be exact). It's a 20 gallon with a Penguin BioWheel 100 and natural cycling.

Now that the background is complete, I'll start with my questions:

1) My Penguin BioWheel is rated for 20 gallon tanks. I have a 29 gallon tank. Will the UGF be able to supplement the tank filtration enough until I can get another BioWheel?

2) When setting up the UGF, should I use a reversed power head only, a reversed power head and the air lift, or should I use both air lifts?

3) I need suggestions on stocking. Like I mentioned, we had very common tropicals growing up (my dad had things like Mollies, Barbs, and Angels in his massive 100+ gal). I don't really want common (or relatively small) fish. I've enjoyed my Goldfish and the interaction he gives (will eat from my hand). I would like some nice tropicals that I can have around 5 of. My wife doesn't want a lot of fish because "I don't want to see fish floating around all the time". Apparently she doesn't believe in my fish-keeping skills (Haven't killed a fish as long as I've known her so I don't know where she got that from).

If all else fails, I'll stick with Goldfish since that's what I know how to keep. My Ryunkin isn't doing too well (I bought him before I read that fancy golds don't do too well outdoors), but he may pull out. Water conditions are hard to control in my "pond" and Ammonia is steady at between 0.5 and 1.0 ppm and nitrites about the same. Nitrates at about 10.

My tank hasn't cycled (obviously) and I'm torn between two situations:

1) Doing a fishless cycle and risking my Ryunkin in the pond any longer
2) Moving him (and the filter) to the tank and cycling with him in it.

I'm pulling toward #2 since he'll at least get clean water for a day or so to relieve him. I also made the mistake of using things like Ammo-Lock in the pond so the full cycle never really completed fully (been 9 months since setup). In all honesty, the difficult time I've been having keeping the "pond" stead was the reason for the 29 gal purchase.

Anyway, I'll quick with the story telling here. I would like some opinions on my filtrations questions, my stocking questions, and my cycling questions.

***NOTE***
I realize that if I decide to cycle with my Ryunkin and he does pull out, that I cannot go Tropical, which is fine. I'll then buy him a gold buddy (after cycling of course).

Thanks for the wonderful forum and the wonderful advice!!!!
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Old 04-28-2005, 03:56 PM   #2
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Sorry for the double post, but here's my latest thoughts:

1) Remove and return the UGF. It hasn't even been hooked up to an airpump. I'll return it to PetSmart and credit it towards another Penguin 100 or even for a Penguin 150 to bring total filtration to either ~7x or ~8.5x. Still not the 10x, but should be alright I believe.

2) Cycle the tank with my Ryunkin in it. He's already not doing too well outside so it's not going to hurt too much to attempt the cycle inside. Perhaps the double BioWheel will provide more relief for him.

I'm still open to stocking suggestion in case he doesn't pull through.

TIA
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Old 04-28-2005, 04:03 PM   #3
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First of all - Welcome to AA!

You've said a mouthful and I will try to answer your questions about filtering.

Since you've researched the UGF, you know what you're in for. I would ditch it and go with a HOB only. AquaClear has a very decent HOB (the 70) which is more than enough for the tank. If you put the UGF in while you wait for another filter and then take it out...it will release all the gunk back into the water column making your job just that much harder.

Goldfish - The only difference between tropicals and golds is the temp and, in some cases, the filtration. Since your Gold is already acclimated to higher levels of ammonia, you wouldn't necessarily be risking him. Regular monitoring of the water parameters and frequent PWC's can be successful.

Good luck (and keep the updates coming).
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Old 04-28-2005, 10:49 PM   #4
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Alright. So I went ahead and got the tank ready. I returned the UGF to PetSmart and got an AquaClear 50 (coupled with the Penguin BioWheel 100, no need for the 70). Here's an interesting story, not trying to go off topic too much:

When I went to PetSmart the other day for the UGF, I noticed that their Penguin 100 was $35!!!!! Thinking the others were marked up as well, I jumped on to their website, and found that even on their own website, the Penguin 100 was only $17. I went ahead and printed the page for the AquaClears as well. When I went in today, sure enough, the AquaClear 50 was $35. Online it was only $17. I had to fight with the manager because he said they only "price matched" other stores and not their own on-line. I simply asked for his district number and he said he would go ahead and give it to me for $17.

With that story aside, for all of you that shop at PetSmart, check on-line before you actually go!!!!! I know most of you prefer the LFS, but here in Albuquerque, the PetSmart I go to actually have better fish, better variety, and even a more knowledgable staff (<-- yes, really).

Anyway, I've got both filters up and running. Hopefully what little was on my BioWheel will give a faster boost. I've also got 2 cups of established gravel from a friends tank that has been disease free since day one and is fully cycled.

I put 4 fake plants (probably temporary for now) and a fake driftwood piece, just to take up space. I'll change it out if my goldie makes it through the cycle.

I've got my thermometer and heater, though I don't need the heater. Water is at 72F (it's hot upstairs), which is actually about what he is used to outside (kept it steady 70F).

So far, everything's perfect. He is fully acclimatized and very active, checking out his new home. He shows no signs of Ammonia poisoning from the outside tank, even though I could never keep it below 0.5 ppm. Fins have no streaks or bubbles, nor are they clamped. He is in full color with no burn marks. He is eating and pooping normally as well. Looks like a nice, healthy fish. Too bad I'm afraid he won't stay that way when the spikes start to arise.

So, now for my next questions:

1) Should I do a PWC every two days or when the ammonia reaches a certain level.... or both? If I should go by the ammonia, then what ppm should I really look at?

2) My tank and everything in it has tiny air bubbles coating it (especially the tank glass). Is this cause for any alarm? Is it just because the water is fresh and not stale in the least bit? I've noticed my goldie eating and spitting out the bubbles thinking it's food or something.

3) Are my two filters enough aeration?

As an added bonus, here's the tank. It's on our solid (not partical board) dresser for now while I finish my plans for a stand and hood. After looking, I bet the full length of the dresser would be a perfect stand for a 55 gallon. It's studry enough, that's for sure.

TIA for any help given!!!!

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Old 04-28-2005, 10:53 PM   #5
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Average NH3 level for cycling: 2ppm
Air bubbles - You just filled the tank...lots of little O2 bubbles
Plenty of aeration with the two filters

You should get a test kit with NH3, NO2 and NO3. You should do frequent water changes and test your parameters regularly.
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Old 04-28-2005, 11:14 PM   #6
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I've got the full Freshwater test suite and I was testing the pond morning and evening.

For water changes, I was doing once a week on the pond, except for one week where I did every other day. I didn't notice any difference so I spaced out the interval. I know all about testing and changing water (it's probably just as large, if not larger of a topic for ponds than for aquariums).

Thanks again!
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Old 04-28-2005, 11:46 PM   #7
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IMO, you should do your NH3, NO2, and NO3 tests every couple days and only do water changes if you need to control something excessive that you think will stress the fish. More frequent water changes will just prolong the cycling process. I think that with just a single 3" GF in a 29G tank using an established filter and gravel you may find that everything just settles in gently with no big spikes. At least that has been my experience with similar setups. Keep in mind that there are about as many cycling strategies as there are members here, so take what you can learn here and use your own judgement - it sounds like you already understand how things work pretty well.

Probably the most important thing I can think of to keep things from getting out of control is to feed lightly. If your GF is anything like mine, it will eat as long as you are willing to throw more food at it. A little control on your part can help keep the bioload low until the tank is stabilized.
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Old 04-29-2005, 11:52 AM   #8
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Thanks for the Advise SteveM. I think I'll take it and only change water when absolutely necessary (or every other week, whatever comes first). I'm open to try different strategies. My strategy with my "pond" was a weak one. I used chemicals to "try" to fix things. I used things like Ammo-Lock, Algae Destroyer, Cycle, and AmQuel. I really think that's why my pond still haven't left the Ammonia stage.

For this tank, I've got the new filter and the existing filter. New gravel and some established gravel. I have no live plants (as I do in my "pond"). I did use the "Cycle" product since it really shouldn't hinder the process if it ends up not working as designed. For my AquaClear filter, I added 1/2 cup of Zeolite in with the Bio Bag provided. Hopefully this will control outrageous ammonia levels, while still allowing enough to aid the cycle.

As for feeding, I only feed every other day and only enough for him to eat in about 2 minutes. Since the move to the tank, he has been much more active. I'm sure he would be saying "thanks" if he could talk. If for nothing else, then just for the temporary relief from the ammonia.

Again, thanks for your suggestion and your [compliment?]. I do know how things work, but I am nowhere near an expert. I read and learn new information every day (been lurking here for months now). Moving from the "pond" world to the aquarium world is more of a change than I ever thought!
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Old 04-29-2005, 10:38 PM   #9
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I wouldn't worry about zeolite. It could make your cycle take longer. I would think, but I am no expert, that it will initally bind all the ammonia it scomes in contact with until it is full, then it will stop binding ammonia and not be much use. WHat are others opinions?

I kept my NH3 ~1 - 1.5 ppm while cycling. Daily pwcs. Sometimes I skipped a day. It took 4 weeks. Not outrageously long.

Nice tank set up too! Will it be tropical or will you get a friend for your Goldfish?
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