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About Schwack

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    The Quiet Type
  • Birthday December 10

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  1. I didn't quarantine until I brought camallanus worms into a community tank, which slowly wasted 10 of my favorite fish away before I was able to catch a glimpse of the culprit. Now, I quarantine and treat new fish brought into the house. Typically a QT lasts 2-6 weeks, it really depends on what you choose to treat and how long each dose takes to administer. As an aside, sodium thiosulfate will treat chloramine, you'll just end up with ammonia afterward. Many water conditioners include other chemicals which will result in NH4+, ammonium, which is significantly less toxic to fish.
  2. I get around this anxiety by only keeping tanks in my office, which is small-ish and carpeted, rather than in any more central areas of the house which have hardwoods. If a tank pops, for whatever reason, replacing underlayment and carpet is so much easier, and cheaper, than replacing finished hardwood. I definitely share your perpetual anxiety though.
  3. Hikari, unlike Seachem, actually provides composition information on their decholorinator! Based on what they divulge, they all seem to use some combo of sulfur and salt. Trying to rank them seems like a fruitless endeavor. They all contain chemicals intended to deal with both chlorine and chloramine.
  4. I've tried products from Seachem and Fritz and not seen any actual cycling activity, outside of what had already been going on, after adding them. I've heard people who believe their addition speeds up the cycle, but cycling in a single day without taking media/substrate/plants/etc from a cycled tank sounds a bit farfetched for me.
  5. I wouldn't be changing water at .25ppm ammonia. Ammonia toxicity is relative. pH and temperature both influence how harmful it is to fish, but at .25ppm you'd need to have some wild parameters to see much reaction from your fish, especially a betta. Keep an eye on things, but I wouldn't go crazy and test more than once every other day or so. Bettas are tough fish. People keep them for years in tiny vases without heaters or even water conditioner. It's not right, but it does demonstrate their adaptability to sub-optimal conditions. If you start to see ammonia creep over the .50ppm mark, maybe consider a 25-30% change without a gravel vac or cleaning. You could also skip the water changes and dose the tank with something like Prime in order to temporarily neutralize the ammonia's toxicity.
  6. I wouldn't be too worried about stressing your fish out by looking at them. The effects of long-term, persistent stress are myriad, but sudden fish death seems unlikely to be one of them. Typically, based on my understanding, stress leads to sicklier fish who are more prone to disease and infection.
  7. Any chance you have snails or anything in there? It seems like a good bet there's still ammonia being produced from leftover food and fish waste, but it's probably not a bad idea to create a new, continuing source for your bacteria to consume. Adding fish food each day will give you some decaying organic matter and ensure the bacteria in the tank are able to feed and grow. I'm a huge fan of using pure ammonia, mostly because it's fast and easy to dose. The fish food method will get you to the same place, but will take a bit more time.
  8. I cant remember where I saw it, but someone on this forum broke down how much most farmed fish are handled before they even get to a fish store. We treat our fish like royalty compared to how they're handled in many fish farms. I wouldn't worry too much about over-stressing your fish by adding them to the tank. However, 10 goldfish at once probably overwhelmed your biological filter. With a 55 gallon, you could probably keep something like 30+ neon tetras and have room for more fish down the road. So long as you add them slowly, you won't overwhelm your tanks ability to process their waste. How long has the tank been without livestock?
  9. The problem is, at least some of these fish come from big box stores where even the people selling the fish aren't aware they're selling a fish that can grow massive. Every time I browse through Petco they're loaded with common plecostomus. I'm guessing they bank on unsuspecting, new aquarists buying them and killing them off before they end up 18 inches long.
  10. The only concern I've heard when using raw fish/shrimp for cycling is that it can smell. I opted for a bag of ammonium chloride off Amazon. Odorless and easy to measure! The tank is empty right now, yeah? If so, leave it that way for a while. Stop cleaning anything in the tank. Even if things get brown and gunky, let 'em be for a while. Like @Brandy said, you'll need to add a source of ammonia into the tank if it's empty. Snails work for this, but they don't produce much. You can also "feed" the tank every day or so. Eventually, the fish food will start to rot. Same principle behind the raw shrimp/fish/NHCl3. Just a waiting game after that. Once you see ammonia start to rise you'll know things are moving along. First, dont use half a salmon, haha. Use a tiny chunk of raw fish or shrimp. I think folks usually end up having to weight it down for a bit. Did you actually have ammonia and nitrite rise in this tank? Leave all the dead stuff in there! Water changes probably didn't kill any good bacteria you had started, but they can certainly slow the process by depriving them of food from the water column. Snails are awesome. Let them infest all the tanks!
  11. Are you just concerned about the bubbles at the top? I'm guessing it has to do with the amount of air running through your sponge. It's hard to tell based on a still, but it looks like the air flow through that sponge is on the high end. What is the ammonia source for the tank? If you're just dumping in bottled bacteria without any source of ammonia, you're not going to see any cycling begin. Snails, rotting fish food, chunks of shrimp, or pure ammonium chloride are all options, but some will take longer than others.
  12. My understanding is that carbon won't pull all the fertilizer out of the water, but it's likely going to catch some. Letting things settle before you start making changes is typically a good way to go. That said, giving a squirt (or half a squirt for a 5 gallon) is unlikely to result in any issues in the tank and will definitely provide your plants with nutrients they don't have access to otherwise.
  13. In my experience, driftwood and catappa leaves won't have a dramatic impact on your pH without adding a large amount of botanicals. I've seen some betta keepers cover the entire floor of their tank with various leaves. It results in a very nice dark water look, and likely drops pH, but it's not my style. The same goes for driftwood. I've added giant chunks of wood to small volume tanks and not seen any consistent drop. The water gets nice and brown, but my pH would be rock solid. After a few months of adding leaves/wood/etc I gave up on hitting any "ideal" pH. If you're looking to get your plants to blow up, it's probably worthwhile to pick up some fertilizers. Aquarium Coop has a great trio, although I might skip on the Easy Carbon. Easy Iron, Easy Green and root tabs have been a great combo for me.
  14. I'd like to replace the white sand in one of my tanks, but haven't really been thrilled with the Black Diamond Blasting Sand I've got in another tank. It's very soft to the touch, perhaps it's too fine, but took forever to settle out and still leaves little bits of "glitter" all over any hardscape in the tank. I've seen Ace Hardware pool sand recommended. How coarse is it? I was sort of hoping to try a bit of a chunky grain this time around. I'm loathe to buy specifically aquarium substrate these days. The price always feels way out of whack compared to non-aquarium sand/gravel.
  15. The Sera Micron will be good if you decide to breed your rasboras. I found that First Bites were a bit large for my CPD fry once they were free swimming, but the Sera was fine enough for even the tiniest fry to get a bite.
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