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humbug last won the day on October 23 2017

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  1. As you say sharknado, restricting flow won't increase the load on your motor in filters with a magnetic impeller. Problem with restricting flow to the levels you need is that you will likely get overheating of the motor as canisters rely on water flow for cooling. A couple of points - I'm guessing from what you describe that you are testing using an API test kit. Can I suggest that before you do anything else, that you test your water using another brand of kit - preferably one that uses a powder as one of the reagents. We see far too many people chasing "high nitrates" where the only problem they have is their brand of test kit. If you truly do have a nitrate problem, and you aren't overfeeding or using a "budget" fish food, then can I suggest you consider placing one of the large blocks of Marine Pure in a low flow area of your tank - perhaps hidden under rock-work. I have some in low-flow sections of a couple of sumps and have had appreciable reduction in nitrates using them. It will take months for the bacteria to establish, so you need to be patient.
  2. Is topping up your aquarium regularly an issue for you? The evaporation is actually working to help reduce your tank temperature. The greater the rate of evaporation, the greater the heat loss from the tank.
  3. If you are interested in understanding a bit more about fish foods and ingredients, the Oscarfish.com forum is a good starting point. There is a good run down on the primary ingredients used in foods. They provide ratings for some of the bigger brands, and an explanation on why they rated the foods the way they do. Even if a food you are interested in isn’t on their list, then there is good information there to help you make your own assessments.
  4. To my knowledge, nothing is coming from Germany at all now - only Asia. Keysborough Aquariums in Melbourne last imported from Germany early this year. I've heard of no further plans of imports from them, or any of the other players who were importing from Germany before the testing regime came into play.
  5. Pretty much the only African cichlid imports coming into the country now are the "assorted" peacocks from Asia. Many/most of these are "colour fed". I'd be delighted if someone were to correct me on this one and tell of us any new developments!!!
  6. OK – I’ll take a different position. Why are we so dependent on imports? So many of the species kept in the hobby can be readily bred in captivity. Take African cichlids for instance. There are a hell of a lot more species available here in Australia today than were available in the 1980’s when I first kept them, and we had pretty much unrestricted imports then. Why aren’t we seriously preserving the species we already have? Why are we so dependent on continuously importing new fish?
  7. In every forum I've been involved in, password protected areas create them-and-us sentiments within the group. Always ends up having a negative impact on the forum. You want to encourage the youngsters - the next generation of hobbyists? Don't block them from any discussion. Set rules and enforce them.
  8. Have you spoken with Andrew at Labyrinth in Sydney? He may be interested in hosting.
  9. I suggest that if you have no concern as to whether your nitrate level is 20 or 160ppm then you have no use for a test kit.
  10. I'm not talking high accuracy here! I'm talking about repeated instances of API kits effectively giving WRONG results. If you are paying for a product then you have the right to expect that product does what its supposed to. If you have fish dropping dead in your tank from nitrite poisoning, but your kits are saying your parameters are fine, then how do you identify and rectify the situation? Is that not the reason for having the kit??? That's a scenario I have personally faced. The situation we are hearing of far too often is people doing huge water change after water change in an attempt to reduce a "nitrate problem", because their test kit is telling them their nitrate level is 160ppm. Here's just one example of a test I conducted on someone else's tank. Her tank maintenance was textbook. Tank and filter very clean. Very regular, good sized water changes of a lightly stocked tank. Her nitrate reading, using an effectively brand new API Master Test Kit, with the bejeckers shaken out of the bottles and used in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions TO THE LETTER (I stood and watched her undertake the test), was 160 ppm. I repeated the test using her kit and got the same result. I tested using JBL and got a reading below 20 ppm. We have repeated this experiment on numerous occasions now, with multiple API test kits of varying ages, and a range of hobbyists doing the testing, and results such as this aren't uncommon. We have made comparisons against a number of other brands. Not quibbling about a difference of a few ppm when comparing results from different brands here! In the situation highlighted in the photograph, one result indicates that things are running fine, the other indicates action is required. False negatives in tests such as nitrite are equally of concern.
  11. I outlined some testing of API test kits I did on a previous thread. Here's a link. https://www.qldaf.com/topic/113332-nitrate-test-kits/#comment-776478 Since then we have found example after example of similar experiences. We have undertaken a number of comparison tests on samples using different brands of kits. The API results are anything but reliable. Problem is that we trust these kits with blind faith. I know I did. As consumers, we have an expectation that products sold in this country are "fit for purpose". Perhaps that faith isn't always justified . . . . . I personally like the JBL kits. I feel that they are a reasonably priced product which give reliable, repeatable results. Problem has been that for some time there hasn't been an Australian wholesaler handling JBL products, so hobbyists have been forced to buy on-line from overseas. Just recently a local wholesaler has negotiated to start importing JBL products. I'm told that products should start to appear on Australian LFS shelves again in around 3 months time. We will have to wait to see how the price compares to other products. As to which kits you need, I'd suggest ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, high range pH, gH and kH as the basic kits you need for a rift lake cichlid tank. If possible, choose a nitrate kit that has one of the reagents as a powder. The problem with the API kits may well be because that particular reagent precipitates out of solution. Using it in dry form gets around that problem.
  12. The pale green reading from an API test kit is pretty normal, and doesn't necessarily mean ammonia is present.
  13. I agree that water changes won't crash your filter. I too do very large water changes weekly.
  14. Providing you continue to use a good quality (complex) water conditioner, and match your water parameters and temperature, you can continue to do large daily water changes indefinitely with zero harm to your fish. I tend to agree that your problem is more likely to be a cycling issue. In theory what you did by moving a cycled filter should have worked, but I think its likely that the filter has crashed for one reason or another. If this is the case, you will need to nurse the tank until the cycle is reestablished. The problem here is that if you continue to do large water changes, you are starving the filter bacteria of the food they need (ammonia and nitrite), and will slow the process. You need to get the balance of keeping conditions safe for the fish, but still providing a food source for the filter. The complex water conditioners such as Prime / Safe / Continuum are your best friend here, helping to detoxify the water for the fish, while still leaving the ammonia and nitrite in a form that the filter can use. I personally no longer use API test kits. I used to recommend them to people, but have seen far too many dud results now to have any faith in them. Nitrate results are particularly unreliable, and I have had zero readings from API nitrite kits (multiple kits) despite fish dropping dead in the tank from nitrite poisoning. If you have ongoing problems, it may be worth your while getting hold of at least a nitrite test kit from a different manufacturer, or have your water tested by a shop that doesn't use API kits, as a double-check. At this stage its probably not worthwhile, as the number of large water changes you have done will have diluted toxins. If you still think that something else is poisoning the fish, then its probably worth adding another filter filled with new activated carbon. Leave this running for a couple of weeks, then replenish the carbon and continue to run it. Again, the more complex water conditioners should also be able to remove many forms of poisoning, such as heavy metals etc. Prime and Safe can be used at five times manufacturer's recommended dosage without causing issues to your fish.
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