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Everything posted by MFF

  1. Water hardness is from various salts (esp Calcium salts) dissolved in the water. Trouble is, these salts are very soluble. So they're hard to remove. I'm assuming your tap water comes from a bore or something? Town water should not be that hard. If you're using town water, then the hardness could come from something you've added to the tank, e.g. one of the rocks or gravel. Have you measured the hardness of the tap water before it goes in the tank? One option is to use 50/50 tap water and soft water during water changes. Soft water can be either rain water or tap water filtered through a RODI filter. Best not use 100% totally ion free water, because you don't want zero hardness in the tank either. This is what I do for my discus tank, 50% RODI. However, if the fish are used to the current water, and are behaving normally, it may not be a problem at all.
  2. Yup, that's what I did in the end. First half of sand was easy, with a 1 L jug. After that it got harder, and eventually I siphoned the last bits out. Just took a LOT longer than I expected, overall. The tank is in the study, on carpet, so I needed to be very careful about spills.
  3. I've done this about 6 months ago. Tank was 2 years established, and I wanted to replace the very fine black sand with a more stable fine gravel. It's a 6 foot, 600L tank with severums, blue acara, ellioti, silver dollars and a few other things. My process was as follows. 1) timing - don't start this process right after cleaning the filter. You want the filter well and truly loaded up with beneficial bacteria, so it can colonise the new substrate quickly. I did mine 3 months after the last clean of the canister filter. 2) Wash all the new substrate properly in tap water, then rinse with tank water. Do this first, to make the change over as quick as possible. 3) remove all rocks and bogwood, store in tank water during the process. Keeps the wood wet and anything on there alive. I didn't have any plants in that tank, which would have complicated things. 4) remove the existing sand - this took about 4 times as long as I expected!!! Removing gravel would be much easier. 5) Plonk in the washed new substrate (fine gravel), restore the rocks/wood, and top up the tank as required. 6) Do NOT clean the filter for at least a few weeks. Throughout, the fish remained in the tank. This process worked well, there were no losses. In fact no stressed behaviour at all AFTER the rocks/logs were returned - obviously while the tank was empty and I was mucking about in there, I don't think any of the fish were too happy, but nothing long term. The Ellioti spawned within a few days of the process. Monitoring water parameters afterwards showed no interruption to the nitrogen cycle. Don't know if the precautions I took are all strictly necessary, but better safe than sorry. Hardest part of the process was getting the last 10% of the old sand out.
  4. Absolutely agree - discus are not a reasonable choice for 40L, and angel fish also get much too big for 40L. Your previous experience with betta might have coloured your perception on how much water a fish needs. Betta can survive in very tiny amounts of water - but they will also do much better in a larger tank. For 40 L, I'd suggest only look at fish that stay small. Perhaps another betta, and then some tetras or rasboras are nice. The biggest fish I kept long term in my 80L tank (my smallest) was a dwarf gourami.
  5. Agree with both the previous comments. In terms of other fish to add - I like the Rainbow Cichlids (Herotilapia multispinosa) I have with my severums. They stay small, nice colour, and they sort of school. Otherwise perhaps one of the larger tetras, like Colombian?
  6. The larger water volume will definitely be more stable in terms of parameters. If you used to do 25% weekly change on the 15 gallon tank, and you're now putting the same fish in a 50 gallon, you would not need to do the same water changes. Of course, if you give in to the temptation to add more fish.... Another option to consider would be 12.5% weekly - that's 24 liters, or 3 buckets, each week. That's what I used to do years ago when I had a tank that size.
  7. I've never had a tank without fish - but I imagine in a plant only tank (or tub), water changes would not be necessary. There is no waste created that needs removing. Even circulation I think might not be strictly necessary for the plants, although they might do better with it. I would think some surface agitation would be useful to avoid mosquito breeding in the tub, that would be a more important reason. So if you're going to put a pump in there, I'd be sure to agitate the surface enough to disrupt the mozzies.
  8. Do you need to feed the turtle entire plants, or could you just trim the ends? I have some vallis growing in my 6 ft planted rainbow tank, and every week I need to trim it because it just grows and grows. I get a (small) handful every week that I chuck in the other tank with the silver dollars. Don't know how many individual plants I've got, but it's approx 30 cms by 30 cms that is in vallis, quite sparsely planted too - the rest of the tank has other plants. In my tank, I find if the vallis is too densely planted, I have more problems with hair algae than if there is room for the water to flow between the plants. I've also grown vallis very well in a tank with no filter before, so I don't think a filter would be required. But I do give it fertilizer with every water change. The one I'm using at the moment, and seems to work for me, is Easy-Life Profito. If you get a native vallis species, I imagine it would do well in an opaque tub, in full sun - but I've never done this, just thinking about where native val grows.
  9. Thanks for the update Mick. Good to hear the result, even if it wasn't a successful experiment. Shame though, would be a nice way to reduce water changes.
  10. Nope. I've only been looking at them (seriously) for a few months, although I've been aware of them for years. I did email Dave there about something else, and he was very prompt with a reply, so if you're after something specific, you might try an email.
  11. Try Aquagreen. They're based in Darwin and have a wide range of native plants. Only problem is, not everything is available all the time. Check their catalogue first, and maybe get in touch with them directly if you're after something specific.
  12. I've seen several ready made (small) tanks recently with built-in lights that are ferociously bright. Fish don't like this!! Most fish will be quite happy in a tank with no light at all - unlike plants. My tanks all have lights, including one planted tank with healthy plants. Just make sure the light is not too bright. If you can control it, use the dimmer settings at least until the fish get used to it. If your light doesn't have dimmer settings, put a shade of some sort between the light and the tank (preferably non-flammable material!!) again, at least until the fish get used to it.
  13. Inspirational. I have enough trouble with my canister filters.
  14. True, I also have a few of them in my planted tank. They still are cichlids, after all - even if the biffo is nothing like my Malawi tank.
  15. Cheers mate. I did figure if I want the fry to survive, the Calvus in particular would have to go, and also ideally separate the other groups of cichlids. They're all in there together in one big tank, 6 * 2 * 2. Also some Metynnis but they don't bother the fry. Three remaining tiger barbs, which also like snacking. I have had success with Ellioti when I separated just a pair of them into a smaller, 80L tank by themselves.
  16. Very nice! What are their tankmates? I've not had any luck with pairs of American cichlids keeping their fry due to predation by tankmates. I've had Ellioti, Blue Acara, Severum, all with fry but none survived. The main culprit in my case is a Calvus (which I know is Tanganyikan and doesn't belong in that tank). Really remarkable how the Calvus can sneak into any nest to steal fry.
  17. Indeed billfish, that was the plan. But I lost both males after 2 months, and then it gets harder! Being annuals, the clown killies have a shorter window in which to achieve the reproduction necessary to establish a colony. At some point, I'll give this a go again.
  18. You're not mucking around there!! Nice setup.
  19. Very nice tank! I'm always impressed with these tanks, although I can't do it myself. I do have a planted tank, but it's a struggle to keep them alive. My thumbs are both blue, so my focus is definitely the fish!!
  20. They are very nice fish! Used to have some, and mine spawned by themselves in the tank, no assistance from me. It's a "very well established" tank - been running continuously for 15 years or so, various things in it, and I let it get a bit wild - lots of algae, plants, roots etc. encouraged further with Indian Almond leaves. Survival rate of fry was not great, but some did make it. Then I tried to put clown killies in there, and the Gardneri were bullying the clowns, so I moved the Gardneri into my big planted tank, fingers crossed, but none survived in there. The clown killies unfortunately didn't spawn themselves, and I lost the 2 males I had within a couple of months, so end of that story. Clown killies are really cool fish also, but they are annuals, so I imagine it must be harder to get a breeding colony going. I wouldn't mind trying the Gardneri again at some point - that tank is my "fry tank", currently housing Ellioti and miscellaneous African cichlid fry. I've decided after the current batch, I'll tidy up the tank and put something else in it, haven't decided what though.
  21. OK, well the obvious cichlids that would fit into a general tropical community would be Angelfish, Blue Rams, and any Apistogramma species. These are all from South American rivers, so the water requirements are compatible, temperature is compatible, and none of these are too aggro.
  22. What kind of cichlids are you thinking of? There are so many... Some are downright obnoxious and need a tank to themselves, others - esp. dwarf cichlids - can certainly fit in a community.
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