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Old 10-21-2005, 02:16 PM   #1
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First Tank, First Post

Hello folks. I've had the luck of moving into a new home where the former owner left behind her 50 gallon tank. It's a freshwater tank with 3 plecos, although I think she must have had many more fish. One plec is 5" long and the other two are about 3."

One of the smaller ones is noticibly lighter in color and the spots are wider apart - a different kind of pleco?

I've read on this website and heard from the lfs that I should take it slow in getting more fish. So right now I'm concentrating on maxing my water quality and have some questions.

My tank water (80 degrees) is as follows: ammonia .25 ppm; nitrite 0; nitrate 40 ppm; total hardness (I'm using the mardel test kit lingo) 120 ppm; alkalinity 100 ppm; pH (about) 7.6-8.0.

My tap water: ammonia same; nitrite same; nitrate 20 ppm; total hardness same; alkalinity 80 ppm; pH 8-8.4.

I've been in the home for three weeks and have made weekly water changes, from about 15 to 20% (10 to 15 gallons each time). In my replacement water I've put recommmended amounts of AmQuel+ and Seachem Neutral Regulator (both advised to me by the lfs to condition the water and lower my pH).

I'm going for a community tank, and feel like my nitrate and pH levels are too high - right? And probably my ammonia as well? What should I do - bigger water changes, more additives?

Also, I've got a concern for how the water looks - it seems like there's a lot of algea (which I don't think the plecos are keeping up with) and I see these real small squiggly things swimming around, like real small worms - might they be parasites? I've read up on ich, and I don't think it's their free-swimming stage, put am not sure. But the plecs don't seem ill at all.

Last question, how much water current will I eventually need for my community tank (I'm thinking danios, tetras, loaches and some dwarf ciclids). Right now, I have an AquaClear filter (two sponges and biomax) that creates some water movement, and two air hoses that the former owner just buried in the gravel (no airstones) which create two large columns of bubbles which rise to the top.

Would the AquaClear be enough, and wouldn't some cross current, rather than straight up or down be better?

Sorry for the load of questions, thanks in advance for your help!
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Old 10-21-2005, 02:33 PM   #2
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Welcome to AA!!!

I have a couple of questions for you? Did you add amquel to your tap water before you tested it? What model AquaClear filter do you have?
What kind of test kit did you use?

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Old 10-21-2005, 02:41 PM   #3
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[center:ced5f67912] Welcome to Aquarium Advice, Pescador22! [/center:ced5f67912]

Quote:
One of the smaller ones is noticibly lighter in color and the spots are wider apart - a different kind of pleco?
"Common" plecos come in a variety of colors and they all get quite large. The dwarf varieties max out at around 4-6" depending on the pleco. If you can post pics, we might be able to help ID them.

Did you allow the tap water to sit out for 10-12 hours before testing? The gases need to equilibrate before you get an accurate measurement.

Quote:
Seachem Neutral Regulator
The pH is fine. A stabel pH is better than a "perfect" pH. I would stop using that product.

Quote:
I'm going for a community tank, and feel like my nitrate and pH levels are too high - right? And probably my ammonia as well? What should I do - bigger water changes, more additives?
Ammonia and nitrite need to be undetectable in an established tank. Nitrate levels are tolerated by most fish up to 40-60 ppm. The presence of nitrates tells us the tank is cycled; however, the presence of ammonia says something is out of whack. PWC of 25% per week (once the ammonia is taken care of) will keep the tank stable. Right now, try 25% PWC daily until the ammonia is undetectable. The only additive you need is dechlorinator. PWC take care of the rest and are free!

Quote:
real small squiggly things swimming around, like real small worms - might they be parasites?
More than likely nematodes that have resulted due to the poor up keep of the tank. They show up when excess food is available. Search for threads of that subject here at AA to get more information.

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how much water current will I eventually need for my community tank
It’s not so much the current you need to be concerned with, but the gph that the filter moves. Aim for 6-8 times the amount of water in the tank. A 50 gallon tank should have a gph rating of 300-400. Filters are rated when they are empty; therefore, you need to go higher in the rating, since you will run it with media. For my tanks 29 and higher, we use canister filters because of the gph and the amount of media they hold.

I think I answered everything
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Old 10-21-2005, 02:42 PM   #4
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Welcome to AA! The first thing I'd recommend is not worrying about trying to change your ph, a stable ph is far better than changes are for the fish. This in addition to rich's questions.

The worms could very well be parasite if indeed they are worms, can you describe them a bit more?
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Old 10-21-2005, 02:42 PM   #5
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Here's a thread on nematodes: http://www.aquariumadvice.com/viewto...991&highlight=
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Old 10-21-2005, 03:33 PM   #6
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You all are great! I'll try to get all the questions answered:

- I have been adding the Amquel with each water change (each Friday). The test numbers I gave you came from this morning (and I haven't changed the water yet, so the water was "additive-free" for about a week)
- AquaClear 300
- Mardel 5 in 1 and their Ammonia test (both strips come with the "Master Test Kit")
- I did not allow the tap water to sit for 10-12 hours before testing - I'll do that next time, thanks
- the little worms are really small, about 4-5 mm long, and the thickness of a pin, there is no noticable head or tail, but they do seem to try to swim in a direction, I don't see too many, at most 2 perhaps 3 at a time (and I'll check the thread on nematodes).
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Old 10-21-2005, 03:44 PM   #7
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That filter does 300 gph so it should be adequate.

I would suggest getting a liquid test kit. Strips are known to be inadequate. I recommend this one: http://bigalsonline.com/catalog/prod...tegory_id=2255

I am curious to see what your test results will be on your tap after sitting out over night.

Rich
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Old 10-21-2005, 03:45 PM   #8
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Quote:
- Mardel 5 in 1 and their Ammonia test (both strips come with the "Master Test Kit")
Test Strips are widely known for being inaccurate. Try finding the Aquarium Pharmecuticals Freshwater Master Test Kit. It's about $20 from www.bigalsonline.com after shipping. The lfs tends to be upwards around $30 to $40.

Contact your local water company and obtain a water quality report to determine if they use chlorine or chloramines in the tap water. If Ammonia is reading from the tap, it could be that they use chloramines. In that case, you'll want to use a dechlorinator that removes the chloramines. Prime is a good product for doing that.

If you do actually have 3 Common pleco's in the tank, I would try to take them back to the lfs. Even one is too much in a 50 gal tank. I'd look for another type of pleco such as a Bristlenose or Rubbermouth. Both very cute and stay relatively small.

The "bubble" filter that you are speaking of is an ugf. If I were you, I'd remove it from the tank. They are Nitrate factories and are more difficult to maintain than a standard hob or canister. When you do remove it a bunch of gunk will be kicked up so be prepared with the gravel vac.

The excess algae is probably from either too much sunlight, overfeeding, or high phosphates. I'd do extra water changes to try and reduce the amount of algae. Scrub it off the glass/decor and keep up with the water changes.

Welcome to AA! I hope we can help.
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