Go Back   Aquarium Advice - Aquarium Forum Community > Freshwater > Freshwater & Brackish - Getting Started
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 06-22-2005, 01:50 AM   #1
Aquarium Advice Apprentice
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Long Island
Posts: 20
Questions from a total noob

Hi all,

I just set up my first tank. It is a 10 gallon tank, with an AquaClear 30 (150gph) HOB filter and gravel substrate. My tap water maxs out my PH test at 7.4, so I suppose that I either need to get a new PH kit or maybe titrate it down with vinegar.

One area where that I wasn't to sure about was how much load to put in the tank while it was cycling... so I put my trust (perhaps foolishly) in an employee at a local fish shop. Said employee recommended “6 small bodied fish or 4 medium bodied fish” from a few different tanks. What we ended up buying was 3 neon tetras and 3 of some fish that my wife picked out (they roughly the same size as the neons, are translucent silver, and have an orange stripe down the side -- possibly glowlight tetras, though that doesn't sound right). The same person recommended adding “fritzyme” to the tank to speed up the cycle (which we did). One of the fish died within 48 hours of being put in the tank but the other 5 seem to be doing well so far.

Anyway I have some questions that I hope you guys can help me get answered.

is there an FAQ/wiki around here somewhere? I feel kind of dumb asking questions that would probably be, at least partially answered, by something like that.

Does this sound like to much load?

My assumption is that even if it is I can still make it through without crashing the tank but that it will take much more attention to do so. Is that accurate?

How much ammonia and/or nitrite is to much? I don't want to stress the fish but I also want to provide the bacteria as much food as possible (right?)

My water is somewhat cloudy. Is this normal for a new tank?

I had more questions when I came here but they have slipped my mind at the moment.

__________________
aquanoob is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-22-2005, 02:23 AM   #2
Aquarium Advice Addict
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Central Kentucky
Posts: 6,015
Send a message via AIM to greenmaji
get a PH high test kit.. adding acid wont help.. it doesnt remove the minerals in the water and the PH will be buffered right back up..
http://www.aquariumadvice.com/showfaq.php?fldAuto=2
the articles are as close to a FAQ we have here.. they should help you out alot..
You could have Considered doing a fishless cycle if you wanted to max out on the bacteria's food, the articles should help you out there as well if you have the chance to do it again in the furture....
And cloudiness is a new tank issue.. it should settle down..
The amount of ammonia, nitrite that is "safe" for fish depends the PH of the water the higher your PH the less the fish can tolerate.. I hope you got a master test kit or if not you are going to get one soon..
Changing PH is something that isnt done for good reasons most of the time.. there is an article on that as well..
Good Luck!
__________________
greenmaji is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-22-2005, 02:38 AM   #3
God of primitive fishes
 
Toirtis's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 8,163
Send a message via MSN to Toirtis Send a message via Yahoo to Toirtis
Re: Questions from a total noob

Quote:
Originally Posted by aquanoob
Hi all,

I just set up my first tank. It is a 10 gallon tank, with an AquaClear 30 (150gph) HOB filter
Excellent filter for a ten...what media do you have in it? I suggest just the sponges and biomedia...nothing else.

Quote:
PH test at 7.4, so I suppose that I either need to get a new PH kit or maybe titrate it down with vinegar.
Get a new, wide-range, test kit. Vinegar will certainly lower your pH (not that you probably need to)...and kill your fish....acetic acid is not fish-friendly.

Quote:
One area where that I wasn't to sure about was how much load to put in the tank while it was cycling...
None....fishless cycling is faster, cheaper, and far less work.

Quote:
so I put my trust (perhaps foolishly) in an employee at a local fish shop.
Foolish is right, but you get to make a mistake or two as a new aquarist.

Quote:
Said employee recommended “6 small bodied fish or 4 medium bodied fish” from a few different tanks.
Yup, he's an idiot.

Quote:
What we ended up buying was 3 neon tetras and 3 of some fish that my wife picked out (they roughly the same size as the neons, are translucent silver, and have an orange stripe down the side -- possibly glowlight tetras, though that doesn't sound right).
It does sound right, and you could not have chosen two worse fish to cycle a tank with...they are very sensitive to poor water conditions, and none will likely survive the cycling process.

Quote:
The same person recommended adding “fritzyme” to the tank to speed up the cycle (which we did).
Of course they did...and thank you for that extra purchase....unfortunately, a lot of independant studies suggest that such products (with the exception of "Bio-Spira") have zero affect on cycling.

Quote:
One of the fish died within 48 hours of being put in the tank but the other 5 seem to be doing well so far.
Not for long, I am afraid...as soon as you start getting some decaying food/waste, the ammonia level in the tank will begin to rise, and those fish will start dropping off.

Quote:
is there an FAQ/wiki around here somewhere? I feel kind of dumb asking questions that would probably be, at least partially answered, by something like that.
Yes...note the 'sticky' topics at the top of each forum...especially check the ones in the 'general' and 'starting out' forums.

Quote:
My assumption is that even if it is I can still make it through without crashing the tank but that it will take much more attention to do so. Is that accurate?
Its possible, but you may need to do 3-4 30%-50% water changes daily, and your tank is going to take quaite a while to cycle.

Quote:
How much ammonia and/or nitrite is to much? I don't want to stress the fish but I also want to provide the bacteria as much food as possible (right?)
Very little is too much...almost any causes damage, and the fish species you have tolerate much less than many other species. Fishless cycling would have provided the bacteria with as much food as they could handle, and would have cycled your tank fairly quickly.

Quote:
My water is somewhat cloudy. Is this normal for a new tank?
Yes, it is caused by one of four things...chemicals released by decomposing material, algae bloom (too soon for that), bacterial bloom (which means your ammonia is already rising), or improperly rinsed gravel.

]
__________________
G. A. Christian Bilou, Herpetologist
Founder/Director, Reptile Rescue Alberta
Past-President, Calgary Aquarium Society
www.calgaryaquariumsociety.com
Toirtis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-22-2005, 02:42 AM   #4
Aquarium Advice FINatic
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 924
Send a message via AIM to Andos99
As you may have already suspected, your LFS employee didn't give you the best advice as far as which fish to use during a cycle. Neons are especially sensitive to ammonia and prefer slightly acidic water, therefore not making them a very good choice to cycle a new tank. If they do die, which they more then likely will over the next 1-2 weeks as your ammonia levels rise, I would continue on with a fishless cycle or add a few zebra danios which in my experience are some of the hardiest fish out there. Definitely check out the link greenmagi suggested and read up on the articles posted on this forum. Good luck!
__________________
If you don't have time to do it right the first time, when are you going to have time to do it over.
Andos99 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-22-2005, 08:30 AM   #5
Aquarium Advice Freak
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
Posts: 224
I just wanted to add--don't feel too bad about the responses that you're getting. Many people on these boards (myself included) started out in a similar fashion based on bad advice from LFS employees. Andos99 suggested a great fish if you really want to procede with your cycle with fish. This is a pretty remote possibility, but you may even be able to convince the LFS to let you trade your tetras for danios to complete the cycle. However, definitely consider fishless cycling--your fish will thank you for it and you will have a lot less frustration in the long run.
__________________
cplawrence is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-22-2005, 01:18 PM   #6
Aquarium Advice FINatic
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Utah USA
Posts: 865
In addition to the stickies there are some great articles, so check out that section. Great info on starting a tank.
__________________
Long live the UGF!
Apocalypse_Gold is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-22-2005, 02:48 PM   #7
Aquarium Advice Addict
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Washington
Posts: 2,467
Do lots of water changes. I would do at least 30% every other day. Don't vacumn the gravel though till the cycle is complete. The water changes if done consistently should prevent the fish from dying during the cycle. I always cycle tanks with fish in them but the key is WATER CHANGES and lots of them, especially since your tank is so small! Some people might suggest that all these water changes are going to actually slow your cycle down and they may, but they will also keep your fish happy and healthy while waiting for the cycle to complete. JMO
__________________
https://talloulou.smugmug.com/
talloulou is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-22-2005, 04:26 PM   #8
Aquarium Advice Apprentice
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Long Island
Posts: 20
Re: Questions from a total noob

Quote:
Originally Posted by Toirtis
Excellent filter for a ten...what media do you have in it? I suggest just the sponges and biomedia...nothing else.
I'm using what came in the box at the moment... which is a sponge, carbon pack, and biomedia. Other than the expense of replacing the carbon is there some reason not to use it?

Quote:
Get a new, wide-range, test kit. Vinegar will certainly lower your pH (not that you probably need to)...and kill your fish....acetic acid is not fish-friendly.
I was sugesting using titration to figure out the true PH with the kit I had not adding acid to the tank. Anyway, we got a new PH kit, and found that our tap water is between 7.5 and 8.0.

Quote:
It does sound right, and you could not have chosen two worse fish to cycle a tank with...they are very sensitive to poor water conditions, and none will likely survive the cycling process.
The other fish are orange striped rasboras...


Quote:
Not for long, I am afraid...as soon as you start getting some decaying food/waste, the ammonia level in the tank will begin to rise, and those fish will start dropping off.
I'm on day four right now...
ammonia was at .3ppm this morning... after a 50% water change it is now at .1 PH was close between 7.2 and 7.4 before the change now it is back into the 7.5-8.0 range

Quote:
Its possible, but you may need to do 3-4 30%-50% water changes daily, and your tank is going to take quaite a while to cycle.
This is why I'm trying to get a handle on how much ammonia is safe. But I still have only a vauge idea of how much that is..

Quote:
Very little is too much...almost any causes damage, and the fish species you have tolerate much less than many other species. Fishless cycling would have provided the bacteria with as much food as they could handle, and would have cycled your tank fairly quickly.
I'll keep that in mind if I have to start over.

as far as having a "master" test kit I think I have all the pieces of that now, PH (high and mid range), NH3, NO2, NO3, GH/KH. Am I missing anything? I've been testing PH and NH3 daily and am planing to add nitrites to the regimien this weekend.

p.s. thanks for you patience
__________________
aquanoob is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-22-2005, 04:38 PM   #9
Aquarium Advice Freak
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
Posts: 224
Quote:
as far as having a "master" test kit I think I have all the pieces of that now, PH (high and mid range), NH3, NO2, NO3, GH/KH. Am I missing anything?
No--if you have GH and KH, you actually have more than comes with the standard "Master" test kit. The main things you're concerned about right now are the nitrogen (ammonia, nitrite and eventually nitrate).

Quote:
I'm using what came in the box at the moment... which is a sponge, carbon pack, and biomedia. Other than the expense of replacing the carbon is there some reason not to use it?
It is simply unnecessary. "Activated carbon" only stays active for a very short amount of time and is not the best media to grow bacteria (which is far more useful). I believe that on the Aquaclear filter, you can actually replace the carbon slot with another biological component. If that is the case, it may be something worth doing. The primary reason to use carbon is to remove medication after having treated the tank.
__________________
cplawrence is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-22-2005, 04:43 PM   #10
God of primitive fishes
 
Toirtis's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 8,163
Send a message via MSN to Toirtis Send a message via Yahoo to Toirtis
Re: Questions from a total noob

Quote:
Originally Posted by aquanoob
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toirtis
Excellent filter for a ten...what media do you have in it? I suggest just the sponges and biomedia...nothing else.
I'm using what came in the box at the moment... which is a sponge, carbon pack, and biomedia. Other than the expense of replacing the carbon is there some reason not to use it?
It can mask some chemical levels in the tank, making your tests inaccurate, it is pretty much exausted after 36 hours, and it then takes up space that could be used for a media that would support beneficial bacteria population...like another sponge.

Quote:
Anyway, we got a new PH kit, and found that our tap water is between 7.5 and 8.0.
Quite acceptable for most everything.

Quote:
The other fish are orange striped rasboras...
Rasbora pauciperforata? That is an unusual choice and uncommonly available fish....could they have not been mislabelled Hemigrammus gracilis?

Quote:
This is why I'm trying to get a handle on how much ammonia is safe. But I still have only a vauge idea of how much that is..
At a pH of 7.6, anything over 2ppm is dangerous to the fish you have.

Quote:
as far as having a "master" test kit I think I have all the pieces of that now, PH (high and mid range), NH3, NO2, NO3, GH/KH. Am I missing anything?
Well, those are the main things that you will need...there are a couple of other tests in a 'master' kit (calcium, phosphate, iron, etc), but not likely anything you should be needing. What brand of test kits do you have?[/i]
__________________
G. A. Christian Bilou, Herpetologist
Founder/Director, Reptile Rescue Alberta
Past-President, Calgary Aquarium Society
www.calgaryaquariumsociety.com
Toirtis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-23-2005, 01:19 AM   #11
Aquarium Advice Apprentice
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Long Island
Posts: 20
Quote:
It can mask some chemical levels in the tank, making your tests inaccurate, it is pretty much exausted after 36 hours, and it then takes up space that could be used for a media that would support beneficial bacteria population...like another sponge.
Since the space taken up by the carbon pack is minimal, compared to the sponge, switching it out for another sponge is probably not an option. however switching it out for another bio pack should work. It sounds like it would be worth the time required to do this.

Quote:
Rasbora pauciperforata ? That is an unusual choice and uncommonly available fish....could they have not been mislabelled Hemigrammus gracilis ?
Using these two images as refference
http://www.rasbora.de/Zierfischgaler...iperforata.jpg (Rasbora pauciperforata)
http://www.akwafoto.pl/tapety/hemigr...s1280_1024.jpg (Hemigrammus gracilis)

I can say without a doubt (unless those photos are wrong) that it is the rasbora becuase it
a) has no noticable coloration in the fins
b) the stripe runs from tip to tail
c) has the sleeker profile of the rasbora

Now that I have a latin name to search on I'm getting a bit nervous about my ability to keep these fish alive at this point in time

Quote:
Well, those are the main things that you will need...there are a couple of other tests in a 'master' kit (calcium, phosphate, iron, etc), but not likely anything you should be needing. What brand of test kits do you have?
All of the kits I have are made by Hagen except the midrange Ph which I bought with the tank, I don't remember the brand and am unfortunatly not close enough to check atm.

also thanks for the ammonia numbers.
__________________
aquanoob is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-23-2005, 02:13 AM   #12
Moderator Emeritus
 
Menagerie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Vancouver, WA
Posts: 13,230


Another LIer!! Welcome--I grew up on the south shore

You are getting lots of great advice. The only thing I will add now is there is no need to have carbon in the filter. Having carbon on hand in your fish supplies is good if you need to take out chemicals (after medicating a tank).
__________________

Menagerie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-23-2005, 02:16 AM   #13
God of primitive fishes
 
Toirtis's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 8,163
Send a message via MSN to Toirtis Send a message via Yahoo to Toirtis
Quote:
Originally Posted by aquanoob
Since the space taken up by the carbon pack is minimal, compared to the sponge, switching it out for another sponge is probably not an option. however switching it out for another bio pack should work. It sounds like it would be worth the time required to do this.
It would...and trust me, another sponge will fit.....I have somewhere around 30 ACs running with three sponges or two sponges plus bio-media.

Quote:
All of the kits I have are made by Hagen
Super...Hagen and Red Sea are probably my fave test kits...easy to use and very accurate.
__________________
G. A. Christian Bilou, Herpetologist
Founder/Director, Reptile Rescue Alberta
Past-President, Calgary Aquarium Society
www.calgaryaquariumsociety.com
Toirtis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-23-2005, 03:41 AM   #14
Aquarium Advice Regular
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: ON Canada
Posts: 86
Welcome! You will get lots of excellent advice and support form this forum.
I have just gone through a very similar experience. Unfortunately none of my fish survived. So now I am cycling fishlessly.

Here is an article that really explains the process of cycling without fish.
http://www.aquamaniacs.net/forum/cms...cle.php?aid=31

One thing to think about - before 1999 nearly everyone cycled using fish. The keys components were:
1) Low livestock load
2) Testing daily for pH, Ammonia (NH3/NH4), Nitrite (NO2), (and Nitrate (NO3) after the nitrite spike).
3) Doing frequent partial water changes

It is possible that you could save your fish using the "3 bucket method" and cycle your aquarium without fish. This method was devised for goldfish, but I think it could be adapted for other types of fish. The URL that discusses this method follows:
http://www.canadiangoldfish.com/articles/berney1.php

As for safe levels - this varies with the fish (some are hardier than others).
A basic summary taken from my test kit is as follows:

AMMONIA
0 mg/L or ppm = ideal conditions
0.25 mg/L or ppm = toxic if present for extended periods of time - extremely toxic to marine invertebrates
1.5 mg/L or ppm = highly toxic if present even for short periods of time
3 mg/L or ppm = fatal for sensitive fish species
6 mg/L or ppm = fatal for all fish species

NITRITE
Ideally should be kept below 0.8 mg/L or ppm
Nitrite toxicity can be reduced with the addition of aquarium salt (add 1 teaspoon per gallon every 12 hours, until your have 3 teaspoons of aquarium salt per gallon - don't use table salt, the iodine is toxic to fish)

NITRATE
Less toxic than ammonia or nitrite.
Favourable levels are below 12.5 mg/L or ppm.
If you have live plants in your aquarium they will use the nitrate and keep it low.

HTH

Again welcome
__________________
afishoutofh2o is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-23-2005, 03:45 AM   #15
God of primitive fishes
 
Toirtis's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 8,163
Send a message via MSN to Toirtis Send a message via Yahoo to Toirtis
Quote:
Originally Posted by afishoutofh2o
As for safe levels - this varies with the fish (some are hardier than others).
Varies also with the pH...the lower the pH, the less toxic the ammonia.
__________________
G. A. Christian Bilou, Herpetologist
Founder/Director, Reptile Rescue Alberta
Past-President, Calgary Aquarium Society
www.calgaryaquariumsociety.com
Toirtis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-23-2005, 01:58 PM   #16
Aquarium Advice Apprentice
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Long Island
Posts: 20
Quote:
Super...Hagen and Red Sea are probably my fave test kits...easy to use and very accurate.
My only complaint with them is the price 7$ seems excessive for a test kit that contains around $0.10 worth of reagents. Part of the reason I finished out the set with them is that the containers look sturdy enough to refill... which could obviously offset the cost of the kits over time.
__________________
aquanoob is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-23-2005, 02:53 PM   #17
God of primitive fishes
 
Toirtis's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 8,163
Send a message via MSN to Toirtis Send a message via Yahoo to Toirtis
Quote:
Originally Posted by aquanoob
Quote:
Super...Hagen and Red Sea are probably my fave test kits...easy to use and very accurate.
My only complaint with them is the price 7$ seems excessive for a test kit that contains around $0.10 worth of reagents. Part of the reason I finished out the set with them is that the containers look sturdy enough to refill... which could obviously offset the cost of the kits over time.
It is pricey...which is why the best deal is to buy the Hagen master set online or on sale...you can usually pick it up for about $35-$40, and it has 8 test kits in it...plus a handy carrying case.
__________________
G. A. Christian Bilou, Herpetologist
Founder/Director, Reptile Rescue Alberta
Past-President, Calgary Aquarium Society
www.calgaryaquariumsociety.com
Toirtis is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

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
Noob Questions :D Bonez Saltwater & Reef - Getting Started 19 05-31-2007 09:20 PM
Total Newbie with lots of questions The Prime Freshwater & Brackish - Getting Started 13 10-29-2006 12:06 AM
Noob here with questions to ask NickNasty Saltwater & Reef - Getting Started 1 10-15-2006 09:58 PM
NooB Questions BlingBling Freshwater & Brackish - Getting Started 11 05-24-2006 08:12 PM
Total noob needs help Batman77 Saltwater & Reef - Getting Started 9 07-21-2004 12:16 PM







» Photo Contest Winners







All times are GMT -4. The time now is 10:21 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.