Go Back   Aquarium Advice - Aquarium Forum Community > Freshwater > Freshwater & Brackish - Planted Tanks
Click Here to Login

Join Aquarium Advice Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about them on AquariumAdvice.com
 
Old 06-14-2006, 06:08 PM   #1
Aquarium Advice Regular
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 112
Beginner's tank, 12 gal

Hello everyone ^^ Please be kind since this is actually my first time on the boards, but seeing as how everyone here is so knowledgeable, I figured I might as well throw myself to the wolves here.

I started a planted aquarium about 2 months ago, and I have quite a few questions to say the least. But first, since I know it is needed, I will give the stats that I know for my tank.

~12 gallon kit, Eclipse brand, measuring 20 1/2in front, 18in back, 14in tall, and 10in wide
~small (i think) sized substrate varying in earthen hues and black
~light information (which I know nothing of) 120 vac, 60 Hz, .30 amp
~9 neon tetras, 1 yo yo loach
~fish food: tropical flakes, variety wafers, soft small pellets, tubifex worms (was thinking of having gouramis)
~Jungle CO2 fizz tabs
~First Layer Pure Laterite
~Fresh Lab Deluxe testing kit
~2 Anubias Barteri, 1 Anubias Nana, 2 Cardinal plants, 1 giant Hairgrass
~1 medium sized ceramic driftwood imitation piece

Ok, I know that was a lot of information, but until I get my pictures that I recently took developed, its the least I can do. But as you answer my questions, I ask only one thing. Keep in mind that I am very much a beginner. Using certain terminology won't be of any use to me, it took me weeks to figure out what they were talking about whenever someone mentioned substrate. Now, on with the questions.

1) Because I have live plants, I know I am supposed to be using fertilizer. Originally I was just putting one drop of Red Sea's Flora 24 in and placing one cap full of Thrive Aquatic Plant Supplement in with every water change (which is anywhere from once every 2 weeks to a month). I have no idea if I am supplying my plants with the proper nutrients and would like some opinions on how I could improve this.

2) As stated in 1, I only change my tank maybe about 2 weeks to a month, seeing as how I am busy with 2 jobs. Because of the small size of my fish and the fact that my tank never really got dirty, I never felt it necessary to do more than that. Should I be cleaning it more often?

3) Although I stated that I have CO2 fizz tabs, I rarely use them because they cause a major blossom in algae, despite the directions stating I should be doing it once a week. But I am also afraid that if I do the recommended once a week, it will deplete oxygen in the water for my fish. What is everyone's opinion on this and should I be using the tabs anyway and just clean my tank more despite it?

4) I currently have 10 fish, all fairly small, but in the back of my mind I would like to add more, either more tetras of different types or possibly a pair of Dwarf Gouramis. However, since I know I want a lush plant setting, should I just scratch the idea of more fish?

5) I am planning on adding to my plant list by buying some Jungle Vallsneria (sp?), possibly 3 of them. Would this be advisable in my current setup?

6) My ceramic driftwood piece seems a little low for me and I want to expand it by gluing some pieces of tree branches to it to stretch it out into the upper part of the tank more. I currently have an aquarium glue sitting around somewhere, but do I have to coat the branches in something to keep them from seeping out harmful toxins and possibly disintegrating in my tank, or will it suffice to just soak them overnight? I am thinking of gluing sugar maple branches to the piece for anyone that needs to know what kind of branch.

I am sorry about all my questions, but like I said, I am a beginner and feel that if I don't start doing this properly, I will be wasting a lot of time and money. Hopefully in about a week I can get some pictures up and it might give people more of an idea. Any suggestions at this point, however, are greatly welcomed ^^
__________________

__________________
LittleNami is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-14-2006, 06:52 PM   #2
Aquarium Advice Addict
 
dskidmore's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Genesee Valley
Posts: 2,616
Re: Beginner's tank, 12 gal

Welcome to Aquarium Advice!

Thanks for starting out with your tank info, it helps us alot!

I belive the Eclipse System 12 comes with a 13 watt CF light.

Sounds like you're off to a good start!

1) You only need to use fertilizer if you have an algae problem or if you want really fast growth. The fish waste will fertilize slow-growing plants without suppliments. If your current regimine is working, no reason to change it. Are you having any specific problems with plants/algae that you want to address?

2) You can usually get away with cleaning every two weeks if you change 20% or more of the water instead of the 10% you would change on a weekly basis. Smaller changes more often are better, but you can run a sucessfult tank the other way.

3) Normally CO2 reduces algae, that is very interesting. Are you adding these tabs in the morning or at night? The plants will only use CO2 during the hours when the light is on. Adding the tabs at the end of the day may be giving you a pH swing that causes the algae.

If adding the tabs increased your algae, I'd just stop using them.

Adding CO2 does not decrease your oxygen levels, the water in the average aquarium does not reach the gas saturation point where driving in CO2 will drive out O2. Injecting CO2 will actually allow your plants to create more O2.

4) Keep in mind the freshwater rule of thumb: one inch of full-grown fish per gallon of water.

Neon tetras = 9x2"=18"
Clown Loach = 12"
Total 30" of full grown fish, more than double your tank capacity.

Your fish may be small now, but they will grow. If the Loach lives a long and healthy life, you will have to trade him in or upgrade your aquarium someday.

5) Jungle Val can get rather huge for a 12 gallon aquarium. You might consider some of the other val varieites. You could grow it if that's what you really want though.

6) Natural wood is a good addition to any aquarium, but it must be well cured. Fresh wood will contain sap that will not be good for your aquarium. I suggest you read this drifwood article for suggestions on how to cure fresh wood.

Never be sorry for asking good questions before you act! The mark of a responsible pet owner is one that researches thier pets instead of just acting on impulse.

Could you post the results of your test kits?
__________________

dskidmore is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-14-2006, 06:52 PM   #3
Moderator Emeritus
 
Purrbox's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Iowa USA
Posts: 5,860
After a bit of digging, I was able to determine that your current setup has a 13 Watt Compact Flourescent Bulb. Using WPG as a guide you've got just over 1 WPG which would be considered Low Light. Using Wizard~Of~Ozz's Lighting Theory you have Very Low Light.

With a Very Low to Low Light setup you are looking at fairly low maintenance. The primary Ferts that you are likely to need are a good Trace Mix and Potassium. For Trace Ferts I would recommend Flourish Comprehensive, Tropica Master Grow, or CSM+B. For Potassium you could use Flourish Potassium or K2SO4. It's possible that you might need to dose Nitrates or Phosphates down the road, but since you have a fairly high bioload I think this is fairly unlikely.

My personal preference would be to be doing at least 20% water changes each week. However with a low light tank there are many who find a great deal of success by doing water changes significantly less often. You might want to check out Steve Hampton's Article on Low Light Tanks.

Ditch the Fizz Tabs. At best these are ineffective, at worst they could pose a danger to your fish. If you really want to do CO2, I would recommend looking into DIY CO2 instead. However with the amount of light that you are dealing with this isn't necessary if you don't want to deal with it.

Your current stocking sounds like you are probably already at the limit. You may want to wait for some additional feedback on this as I tend to be fairly conservative in my stocking.

With the amount of light that you have, I've got a feeling that the Val probably wouldn't make it. In addition the Jungle Val is really too tall for your tank anyway. You might want to look into Crypts and Java Ferns as these should do well with the amount of light you have.

I would recommend against glueing the branches to your ceramic drift wood. It would be highly likely to leach things into your tank that could be harmful to the inhabitants. Even if you seal it really well with some kind of sealer, it is likely to start decomposing and looking really bad. Perhaps you could find some compatible ceramic peices and use those instead.
Purrbox is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-14-2006, 07:06 PM   #4
Aquarium Advice Addict
 
dskidmore's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Genesee Valley
Posts: 2,616
I definately agree on those crypts! Crypts are wonderful plants for small, low-light tanks.

I'm not positive this tank is classified as low light. Note that the bulb is CF, which puts out more luments (a measurement of light) per watt (a measurement of electrial usage) than an NO light. You might be able to use some medium light plants.

That article was interesting, but I would make one major change: do the top-offs with distilled or RO water. Tap water in my area has so many minerals that the chemistry of the tank get way off. The fish food should contain sufficient nutrients for the plants. I have done similar things before, by accident when a tank started to bore me and I slowed down my maintenance schedule.
dskidmore is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-2006, 12:33 AM   #5
Aquarium Advice Regular
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 112
Oh, thank you so much dskidmore and purrbox for your quick replies, this helps a lot already ^^

I am starting to wonder if indeed the reason why I had a recent algae bloom is because there was an increase in light exposure instead of the co2 tabs. Now that it is summer here in Minnesota, sunlight is coming in a lot stronger through my window and at the time of the bloom I was also keeping my aquarium light on longer than really necessary. I think I will start up the use of the tablets and record how things go from there.

I try to use distilled water when I do change the water because our city water type is very alkaline, almost too much for my tetras, and trying to change it via chemicals would only cloud the water up I think.

Looking at my tank today I realized that with how happy my tetras seem when schooling and the one yo yo loach, I should not add more fish since I also am thinking of more plants, whatever they may be.

As for the Jungle Vals, I am actually hoping for them to grow tall. See, originally I was trying for a floating plant of sometime in my tank because the top portion of my tank is very barren and unappealing, but no floaters worked to my liking. Instead, I am hoping to use Vals to create a nice side height to my plant scheme to possibly replace my Giant Hairgrass and then to kind of collect at the top of the tank, creating a false sense of a floating plant, but would the plant's tips at the top of the water like that be harmful to it?

I don't think I have a low light because to me at first it seemed almost too bright than was needed, but I think that is only because my plants are still fairly small. Edit: If it is actually a low to medium lit tank, what plants would be better suited for height and narrow width instead of Vals if it is not suited for that kind of lighting?

I actually would like for my plants to grow a little faster, as impatient as I probably am -_- But I feel my tetras might feel a bit more safe with a lusher growth. What nutrients would you all recommend?

And one last question to top it off. Recently I had removed 2 Kuhlie Loaches and 1 extra Yo Yo Loach due to what I felt was overcrowding already. Luckily my local fish store was more than happy to take on the healthy lovelies, to my delight, but I think the whole netting experience might have caused some serious damage to my other Loach. He has taken up a new habit which kind of frightens me. The outgoing stream for my filter is open and from time to time, when I am looking for him to just check and see how he is, I find he has actually wedged himself into the filter's outgoing container! I really don't want to see him placing himself in potential harm, but I don't know how I can correct this or if he is doing this for a specific reason. If anyone has any help for this, please come to my aid on this -_-

Thank you though for your help so far, this is proving very enlightening for me ^^

Edit: I didn't have time tonight, but hopefully tomorrow or Friday I will have a chance to give everyone some stats on the tests of my tank, just to give a better idea of what might be going on inside ^^
__________________
LittleNami is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-2006, 10:24 AM   #6
Aquarium Advice Addict
 
dskidmore's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Genesee Valley
Posts: 2,616
Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleNami
Oh, thank you so much dskidmore and purrbox for your quick replies, this helps a lot already ^^
We're here to help!

Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleNami
I am starting to wonder if indeed the reason why I had a recent algae bloom is because there was an increase in light exposure instead of the co2 tabs.
That is a very likely case. Is there any direct sun falling on the tank, or is it just ambient light that is increasing? Most people with planted tanks use a timer to keep the light on 8-12 hours a day.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleNami
I try to use distilled water when I do change the water because our city water type is very alkaline, almost too much for my tetras, and trying to change it via chemicals would only cloud the water up I think.
Perhaps you can test your tap water and share the results with us? Most fish are adaptable to a rather wide range of waters. The distilled water suggestion was in reference to the article where they were suggesting just making up the evaporation loss without doing water changes. This would cause the hardness to go up considerably over time, above the tap condition. With frequent water changes, your aquarium should stabilize at tap conditions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleNami
Looking at my tank today I realized that with how happy my tetras seem when schooling and the one yo yo loach, I should not add more fish since I also am thinking of more plants, whatever they may be.
Sounds good.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleNami
As for the Jungle Vals, I am actually hoping for them to grow tall. ...but would the plant's tips at the top of the water like that be harmful to it?
Mine are perfectly happy continuing to grow on the surface. Note: My crystal Vals grow around 15" long, my Jungle Val has grown to 36" long, and only stopped because I trimmed it. You can decide for yourself what you really want.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleNami
I don't think I have a low light because to me at first it seemed almost too bright than was needed, but I think that is only because my plants are still fairly small. Edit: If it is actually a low to medium lit tank, what plants would be better suited for height and narrow width instead of Vals if it is not suited for that kind of lighting?
Well, that would be the cheapest and most available type, bunched stem plants. I personally am fond of hornwort for beginning tanks, but there is a huge variety out there. (Here's a link to my supplier.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleNami
I actually would like for my plants to grow a little faster, as impatient as I probably am -_- But I feel my tetras might feel a bit more safe with a lusher growth. What nutrients would you all recommend?
Your test kit should have come with a nitrate kit? You want to keep nitrate from bottoming out. Potassium may also be useful in small amounts, as are trace nutrients. CO2 is useful if you are having algae problems, although I suggest you switch to yeast generated DIY CO2 when you run out of the tablets. DIY CO2 is very easy to do, and cheap.
Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleNami
I think the whole netting experience might have caused some serious damage to my other Loach. He has taken up a new habit which kind of frightens me. The outgoing stream for my filter is open and from time to time, when I am looking for him to just check and see how he is, I find he has actually wedged himself into the filter's outgoing container!
Some fish just like fast current. You might consider getting a powerhead with prefilter to put in the tank, and see if he likes playing near that. If it is a result of physical trauma, the best thing you can do is keep the water clean and the diet steady.
dskidmore is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-2006, 08:37 PM   #7
Aquarium Advice Regular
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 112
Well, finally around to testing my water conditions, and the numbers kind of scare me to say the least, although a few others look more desirable from what they were last time I checked on the tank. Keep in mind I am new to this testing, so I am not sure how these numbers are supposed to be converted to their measurement.

pH: 7.8
NO2: .5
NH3, NH4: 0
Cl2: 0
Fe: 0
KH: 13 degrees
GH: 13 degrees

Now I am quite pleased with the pH since last time I tested it, it was above 8 and my mother gave me some peat to place inside my filter to lower it. My nitrite I am not sure is supposed to be that high, but I have no idea how to lower it if it is. My iron is non existent, but I found a plant supplement buried in the test kit that adds iron, manganese, zinc, boron, copper, and molybdate. As for my hardness, I think it should be a bit lower since I have neons, but if I am to lower it, how do I do that? As far as I know the only water conditioner I have is for removing chlorine and heavy metals from tap water.

Thank you kidmore on the info on the Vals, I think I am going to get them now since I want that over growth at the top. That supplier shop is also amazing, I normally just go to the lfs because the guy there is very nice and its a small shop, making it very easy for me to get a hold of him for orders and suggestions.
__________________
LittleNami is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-16-2006, 08:04 AM   #8
Aquarium Advice Addict
 
dskidmore's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Genesee Valley
Posts: 2,616
I'm hoping your nitrtite reading is a mistake. The tank is 2 months old, so you shouldn't be cycling, and you havn't had any recent deaths.

The fact that Nitrate is 0 says your plants are nitrogen limited in thier growth. If you want really fast growth, you need to suppliment Nitrate.

Iron is tricky to test for, does your test have alternate directions for alternate forms of iron? Iron doesn't remain free for very long in the aquarium. My test recomends waiting 30 minutes for testing cheleated iron, and only then does anything show up on my iron test.

I don't suppose you have an RO filter for drinking water in your house? Given how hard your water is, you might benifit from using RO or distilled half and half with tap water. If this is not pheasable, the neons will adjust. Just be careful to acclimate new fish slowly.
dskidmore is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-16-2006, 12:28 PM   #9
Algae Fighter
 
JustOneMore20's Avatar


 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Birmingham, AL
Posts: 3,872
Send a message via MSN to JustOneMore20
Quote:
He has taken up a new habit which kind of frightens me. The outgoing stream for my filter is open and from time to time, when I am looking for him to just check and see how he is, I find he has actually wedged himself into the filter's outgoing container
My yoyos like to wedge themselves behind the heater. They also get behind a rubberband I have on my driftwood. They are silly little guys.

I personally think a 12g is too small for yoyos. They are social, so your one is probably lonely. Mine play together all the time, so I know they need company of their own kind. If you can't get him a buddy (the tank's a little small), then I'd find him a new home also. I think a minimum for yoyos is a 29g tank. They get pretty big.
__________________
~Kristin~
2 planted tanks: 40g, 20g ; 38g Reef tank
My links to pics: 40g breeder planted build, 40g breeder planted update, My 38g Reef Build

JustOneMore20 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-17-2006, 12:42 AM   #10
Aquarium Advice Regular
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 112
Yeah, I am afraid that as he gets bigger that I will have to trade him into my lfs for some other bottom feeder. Actually, he was a bit snippy with my other loach, but I think it was due to small space. Does anyone have a small fish that they would recommend for my tank size, hopefully something that can handle being alone or in very small groups?

As for the testing, it is very considerable that I either did not test right or something might be wrong with the kit. Judging by the behavior of my fish, though, I think my tank is in fairly good condition for now since I recently added some plant supplements with iron, potassium, and such. I will do another test before I do my weekly pwc at 10% and let you know if the results were any different before and after the change.
__________________
LittleNami is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-17-2006, 08:18 PM   #11
Algae Fighter
 
JustOneMore20's Avatar


 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Birmingham, AL
Posts: 3,872
Send a message via MSN to JustOneMore20
Quote:
Does anyone have a small fish that they would recommend for my tank size, hopefully something that can handle being alone or in very small groups
If you are looking for another bottom fish alternative, I'd go with a group of Pygmy cories or Habrosus cories...5-6 would be great.

If you are looking for some type of centerpiece fish, I'd go with a single German ram or Bolivian ram. 12g tanks are still on the small side, so remember that.
__________________

__________________
~Kristin~
2 planted tanks: 40g, 20g ; 38g Reef tank
My links to pics: 40g breeder planted build, 40g breeder planted update, My 38g Reef Build

JustOneMore20 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
beginner, tan

Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about them on AquariumAdvice.com

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
A beginner's guide to lighting malkore Freshwater & Brackish - Planted Tanks 2 04-10-2006 07:14 PM
Beginner's Anemone amphibianboy528 Nano Reefs 26 01-10-2005 12:54 AM
beginner's observation about water volume - your comments? guitarded Saltwater Reef Aquaria 4 11-24-2004 04:10 PM
faceless bloodfin: a beginner's plight Mephistopheles Freshwater & Brackish - Unhealthy Fish 14 10-01-2003 11:00 PM
faceless bloodfin: a beginner's plight Mephistopheles Freshwater & Brackish - General Discussion 0 09-25-2003 09:10 PM







» Photo Contest Winners







All times are GMT -4. The time now is 11:30 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.