My "new" 3ft/92cm tank

Discussion in 'Members Systems' started by Toxxyc, May 20, 2021.

  1. Toxxyc

    Toxxyc

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    Hi guys, so I'm glad there's a section like this as I definitely want to post something regarding my new tank somewhere. I got this tank around 2 weeks ago with a loose corner which I fixed and filled. Since then it's been a rollercoaster of information for me, and I'm here to learn, as much as possible, as fast as possible. I'll post on this elsewhere (in a more suitable subforum). Anyway, here's what I have for now (apologies for the low quality pic, it was snapped in a hurry last night):

    [​IMG]
     
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  3. A new day

    A new day Moderator

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    Nice @Toxxyc a 3 foot is a good size too. Was definitely a bargain :thumbup:

    How’s the cycling process going and what are your stocking ideas?

    Feel free to ask whatever questions you might have, there are a ton of people on the forum who are super helpful and knowledgeable :thumbup:
     
  4. OP
    Toxxyc

    Toxxyc

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    OK so that's where I need help. Lots of it. When I kept a tank as a kid, I knew nothing of all this. I've read up about the ammonia and nitrite cycles, with no idea of how to keep track of it. Before I knew all this wife already popped out and bought a few fish, so they're already in there. 4 x Neon Tetras, 1 x Pearl Gourami, 1 x Balloon Molly and 2 x GMO Tetras. I wanted to buy more fish, but the guy at the pet shop told me yesterday to slow down and give the tank a chance to establish before adding more, which is eventually what lead to me being here now.

    I figured literally just getting the pH and temperature correct and to ensure the chlorine is out of the water, I'd be fine. Turns out that's a no-no. So I need help. Lots of it. I'm on a tight budget, but I can make work with what I have, I believe.

    I have 1 x corner filter, currently containing filter wool, charcoal and then filter wool again. It's running well and cleared up the water in a matter of hours. Right next to it I also have a small sponge filter, and on the other side a large sponge filter which is currently not running (the air pump doesn't work, need to try and source a new air pump). On top of that I have a small water pump that circulates the water on the top left hand side of the tank, and in the bottom of the tank on the right hand side I put another small submersible pump to keep the water circulating well.

    So now I know I have to wait to fill up the tank with fish (dude at aquarium shop said around 5 fish per week if they're small should be good, taking up to 3 months to fill the tank), so that's my plan. Slow down, let things settle.

    I have questions though - how do I measure ammonia and nitrites, and how would I know if it's too high? Do I need to purchase a test kit, and what does that cost? Also, which filters are best? One guy said a sponge filter is good, and the next guy at another shop wanted to sell me a different filter today. I have two sponge filters, a small one (running) and a large one (not running), along with the corner filter, so what do I absolutely need, and what can I work with?

    I'm honestly a bit overwhelmed, and now suddenly worried that I'm going to kill all my fish.
     
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  5. Reedfish

    Reedfish Moderator

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  6. HugBug

    HugBug

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    Welcome to the forum.

    Sponge filters are great.
    Expensive fancy filters certainly are nice, but they're definitely not a must have. Sponge filters work fine. And the corner filter with the filter floss will keep your water crystal clear.

    When you do clean your filters, make sure you rinse them in tank water, not water out the tap. So when doing a water change, before you dump the bucket of old water, squish out your sponges in it to get all the poop and gunk out of them.

    Test kits are the only way to measure ammonia and nitrates/nitrates. They can be pretty expensive. Most fish shops will also test your water for you if you take it to them though, so check with your local fish shop and ask if that's an option. More of a hassle than testing at home but much cheaper than buying a test kit if finances are an issue.
     
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  7. Shabir

    Shabir

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    Just seen this now. Well done!!

    @HugBug covered most of it there, and accurately.

    I have to say the fish shop that gave you that advice is one I would shop at always. Not often do you get pet shops that turn down a sale to consider fish health
     
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  8. Whoknows

    Whoknows Comp Coordinator

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    If you have a small budget I've got an air pump and an ammonia test kit. Its expired but you can try it. Willing to ship them both to you if you want.
     
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  9. OP
    Toxxyc

    Toxxyc

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    Thanks for the confirmation on the sponge filters. I heard they're good, but the guy in the shop said they "trash, mainly for shrimp" and it didn't make a lot of sense to me.

    Regarding the washing of the filter wool - that's awesome, thanks for that advice. I didn't know this, and previously I used to replace with new wool every week or two. I also know now that you should never "start fresh", that's bad. Earlier years I used to clean the tank every month - literally take out the fish, dump out all the water, wash and brush everything down to almost brand new and then start from scratch. This would also explain why my fish was never truly happy - correct?

    Yes I have to say I'm pretty impressed with the shop. It's Pet A Pond in Pretoria, by the way. The guy said straight to me he doesn't want to sell me fish, as I should wait, and I really appreciated that advice. As you said, not many sellers will advise you AWAY from a sale, and I like that.

    And I will gladly accept, thank you very much. I do have a very limited budget (only getting a portion of the salary I used to before, and wife is out of work completely thanks to COVID), so I am very open to accept any and all help I can get.

    I am also taking stock of what I have at home, and I'll probably be giving away the extra things I currently have at home, like water heaters (there are two I don't think I'll ever use), so if there's a newbie who'd like a small aquarium heater, let me know. I would like to give back if I am receiving.

    Mind if I send you a PM, Whoknows?
     
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  10. Whoknows

    Whoknows Comp Coordinator

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    Seems covid has been rough on a lot of people. Hoping it gets better again for you :thumbup:

    There's a freebie subforum if you want to post there for someone to take those heaters :thumbup:

    No problem you can send then we can discus:thumbup:
     
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  11. A new day

    A new day Moderator

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    Some great advice given and offers made already :thumbup:

    Ito cycling you can either use patience (as your lfs wisely recommended) or throw money at it to speed up the process (Seachem Stability added for a week). If you can score some cycled biomedia from a trusted source that will make the biggest difference.

    As already said, the only way to know if your aquarium is cycled is to test the water. You’re looking for 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites and some nitrate reading. Thereafter continue to stock gradually, only adding more fish once your water parameters are good.
    This discussion might be interesting
    https://www.tropicalaquarium.co.za/threads/water-testing-kits-product-reviews.33041/#post-412544

    With sponge filters and the corner filter I’d suggest you keep the tank lightly stocked. See if you could replace the carbon and perhaps some of the filter floss with biomedia (eg Seachem matrix, ceramic rings, very well rinsed crushed lava rock) that provides excellent surfaces for the beneficial bacteria to populate.
     
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  12. OP
    Toxxyc

    Toxxyc

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    Awesome, I'll look for the Freebie forum right now. There might be an air pump at home as well, a tiny tiny one that doesn't have the oomph to drive anything I have. I'll post that on there as well.

    Your PM is incoming!
     
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  13. OP
    Toxxyc

    Toxxyc

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    Yes I saw a bottle of that Seachem Stability in a shop near my office today. It's R200 a bottle and money is tight before payday, so it'll have to wait until that happens. Until we get there, I'll keep the tank lightly stocked. It's a 3ft as mentioned, and the better fish shop said I should be able to keep around 30 small fish in there, comfortably, so I'm not aiming for a single fish more than that.

    I'll also change out the filter media a bit later. Right now I have a good stock of filter wool and activated charcoal. The filter wool I got from the guy who gave me the tank, and the charcoal I have from my distilling hobby (wanted to filter vodka with it), so I'll use it for a bit (and not wash or replace the wool too often).
     
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  14. A new day

    A new day Moderator

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    Sounds good! And feed lightly. I’m not saying starve your fish but if you over feed at this point you’ll have an ammonia crisis on your hands since the tank isn’t yet populated with enough beneficial bacteria to convert the ammonia into nitrites and then nitrates.
     
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  15. A new day

    A new day Moderator

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    As @Whoknows said, you can always post under the Wanted section for help (specifying freebies wanted). A lot of people don’t mind giving away extra plants or other items not needed for free, if you’re willing to pick up.

    Trust me, I got a lot of freebies from a forum member when I started up, and paying it forward once you’re in the position to do so is great!
     
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  16. OP
    Toxxyc

    Toxxyc

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    Yes that's the one step I'm taking as well. I also read that underfeeding at this stage is way better than overfeeding, so I'm feeding them (currently these tiny crumbs of food I got from the guy - still in date and in good shape), and I feed small amounts at a time, as much as the fish will eat in only a few minutes. Because of the water flow, I turn off the pumps and filters for the ~5 minutes I let them feed, and then I turn it back on. This allows even the tiny Neons to get a bite or 3 each.

    And thanks, yes I'm very big on PIF. I'm an administrator on a popular local forum as well, where I started a huge PIF initiative that seems to be running well at this stage. I'd love to give back here as well. If I'm not using it, there's no point in storing it (I don't have space to store stuff), so passing it on is just as well!
     
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  17. Whoknows

    Whoknows Comp Coordinator

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    Haha can I get your 1.5m as a freebie :lol::lol:
     
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  18. A new day

    A new day Moderator

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    Hahah :lol::lol:
     
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  19. A new day

    A new day Moderator

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    No I still need it :lol::lol:
     
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  20. Shabir

    Shabir

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    @Toxxyc

    I was in your exact position just over a year ago and had to emergency cycle the tank, it was also in the middle of our harder lockdown and travel restrictions had me stuck so I had to try doing things the most natural way as possible.

    I changed 25% water every alternate days for the first 2 weeks, then changed to 25% every 3 or 4 days and then gradually went to 50% a week and though I had some losses in fish (I'm really sure unrelated but could have made things worse) it gave me a kick start to read nitrites and nitrates so I would day it worked for me. At the time I also had no media to seed nor anyone around me who I knew so it was a challenge and one I triumphed.

    If possible I'd say get a sponge from a hobbyist close to you with a mature tank, your fish will thank you.

    Edit: my daughter and wife made the decisions at first. So I know the feeling
     
  21. OP
    Toxxyc

    Toxxyc

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    So I want to keep this tank to make my wife and kids happy. Yes, me as well, but they're my priority as they're at home with the fish all day. As such, I want to keep the fish that they want, but I want to be the one to keep the tank healthy (can't trust the kid, wife's too busy). As such, the fish I have is currently very open to change. In the other thread I'll post more on that.

    Regarding the biology in the tank - I've got a live plant in there now, that came in a basket full of rockwool. I didn't transplant it and I don't intend to, as I felt that the plant will carry over some "goodness" into my tank. Correct?

    Then regarding this next 4~6 weeks (as I know they're the most critical), what would you recommend I do with this tank now? Change the water more often? If so, how much water do I change? I'm going to change with tap water, which I'll tap off and heat a little a day or two before the change to vent off all chlorine and chloramine (something I do with beer making as well), would that work?
     

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