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MJV Aquatics

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  1. Yes, the average aquarium has less 'fresh' water than we most often see in nature. But it would be a stretch to blame allelopathy for any plant failure. New plants often 'melt' back due to how they're grown for sale. Often plants just don't get the nutrients they require for optimum growth. And then there's lighting. I quite like fast growing floating plants to aid in water quality as they more quickly convert nutrients (aka pollution) into plant tissue, eventually trimmed and removed. But of course these shade rooted plants already at a disadvantage due to tank depth. So if allelopathy is a factor in plant growth, it could be the least of several other issues. But if/when in doubt, up the anti on partial water changes in frequency and/or volume as generally speaking, 'there's no such thing as too much clean, fresh water' 🙂
  2. Yes, you want a submersible pump - they are rated as to GPH and head height. Even relatively inexpensive pumps will typically pump up to six feet.
  3. - Switching from gravel to 3-4" of sand substrate that is never disturbed. No gravel vacuuming for me! Organics don't get down under to decompose and Malaysian Trumpet Snails manage things. The undisturbed substrate fosters an environment for advanced bio-filtration. - Stay on top of routine periodic partial water changes! Lots of loose talk on the interweb about reducing partial water changes. However, with rare exception, as it is in nature, "There's no such thing as too much clean, fresh water". - Using an inexpensive submersible pump connected to Python like hose for partial water changes. Water goes down the drain or out to the yard. The same hose with quick disconnects is used for refill either from a sink adapter or pumped from a 45g Brute trash can of preheated water (basement tanks). - Filters - All of my filters are completely filled with sponge material. Sponge is often thought of only for mechanical filtration, HOWEVER, sponge material is also an EXCELLENT platform for biological filtration (I feel better than ceramics, plastics, or rocks!). - Only clean filter sponges when flow rate noticeably slows down to a trickle. Much like the value of the undisturbed substrate, the beneficial biology develops and grows in the filter sponges. Excessive cleaning disrupts their progress so it's best to leave it alone until absolutely necessary! - Feed only high quality foods augmented with live and frozen foods. High quality foods result in less waste and less waste means higher quality water. -Plants, plants, plants. Plants, especially fast growing floating plants are ammonia sponges as they grow and convert nutrients (aka pollution) into plant tissue that's eventually trimmed/removed. 🙂
  4. I use a sand (either pool filter or play sand) as the substrate that I never disturb...ever. Nothing gets down under with sand so partial water changes are merely that - no hassle with gravel vacuuming! Note: The sand is managed by Cory catfish and an army of Malaysian Trumpet Snails. Down under the bacteria and microbes live undisturbed.
  5. I use an inexpensive EcoPlus 396 submersible pump (from Amazon). It has a 6 foot pump height or so. Now I'm on a private well and septic system so my waste water often goes out the drain for the basement tanks, although I can run the hose out to the lawn for the 60g display tank in the living room.
  6. With excessive air flow or darting to avoid parents, fry could be drawn into a coarse sponge filter. Then again they could be hiding under it or, as mentioned, been a tasty snack for a hungry parent. After all, little fish are just food for bigger fish. Always a good idea to rescue fry and grow out until too large to be food.
  7. I'd say that you're stuck unless you totally tear it down to start over.
  8. It's an interesting idea for a bare bottom tank... but I tend to prefer 2-3 inches of sand for a bio-rich substrate.
  9. If we assume the room is already 'room temperature' it would take very little to raise the temperature 4 degrees or so.
  10. I disagree. It seems to me that if a fishroom is already at room temperature, increasing the temperature slightly makes more sense than having 100w-300w heaters in every tank. It also eliminates the potential of any heater failures that may kill fish. I don't have energy data but I know that many dedicated fishrooms heat the room rather than individual tanks... Each to his/her own.
  11. KUDOS on taking in the grandkids! ... I hope the circumstances weren't/aren't too disheartening. You might breed fish to help pay for food, but unless the scale is large, it's not really NOT a money maker to offset other costs. Selling fish to a LFS is about 1/3 retail price so the average tropical fish yields about $1/each. Gotta sell a lot of fish to make any real money! I can't speak to selling plants, but again, in general, you need to sell a lot to make a little! A fish breeder won the lottery and when asked what he will do with the win fall he said "I guess I'll just keep breeding fish until it's all gone." Energy and food would seem to be the biggest cost savings... - As others have suggested heating the fishroom might be better than individual tanks. However, if you're already at room temperature, you may need little or no additional heat at all? I took a different approach in my unheated basement by insulating tanks with styrofoam. For a 110g stock tank I used a double wrap of old carpet padding to make a koosie. - Although a I'm 'a fan' of deep sand and fast growing plants for improved water quality, you might push out partial water changes a little, I wouldn't try to skimp too much on partial water changes. Don't over clean filters as powerful bio-filtration is a fishkeepers best friend. I use coarse sponge material exclusively in all my filters and let them continue to run until flow is noticeably reduced as this provides the very best bio-filtration and crystal clear water. - FOOD: As previously mentioned, buying fish food in bulk can save $ over time. Store in the freezer for longer, fresher use life. High quality commercial fish food can be expensive. You might culture /collect some live foods to help offset the cost while providing even greater nutrition and diversity for your fish. Micro worms, white worms, daphnia, scuds, and collecting mosquito larvae in season may be options. I have a lot of articles on my blog about culturing live foods. I hope everything works out for you and if scaling back makes the most sense, gotta do what you gotta do, 🙂
  12. We don't think of fish as monogamous but then I've seen a lot of amazing videos of fish and animals that have far more compassion than we often credit them for. I was driving home one night and on the side of the road I saw a young racoon that had been killed most likely by a car. It looked like a sibling was frantically trying to get his/her brother/sister to get up and go...sadly to no avail. It was a real heart breaker. 'Critters' have feelings too. I don't really have any advice other than to just let it play out in time.
  13. Pools can be turned into ponds but it takes a commitment especially depending on location. For example if it's in an area where real winter comes, will the pool support life or will fish need to be re-homed? Then again, this almost sounds like a homeowner that's let his yard turn into a field and wonders if he could get sheep or goats to mow the lawn! ... I appreciate your skepticism.
  14. You really need to culture and/or collect live foods as live foods are really not sustainable in the aquarium as fish will eat them as quickly as they appear. I have many articles on my blog about live foods. I especially like white worms, daphnia, and collecting mosquito larvae in season.
  15. But if we're comparing tanks to nature we'd have to acknowledge that in nature, fresh water is constantly renewed by rain and snow melt. Creeks, streams, and rivers flow endlessly. I read that the volume of water exiting the amazon river is so great that fresh water can be collected 12 miles out at sea. Ever go to Niagara Falls and marvel at the millions of gallons flowing between the Great Lakes? So nature does water changes 24/7 in a flow through system! Now of course there are exceptions, but the water quality is typically much lower in those exceptions.
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