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  1. I start changing at first registration of nitrates because in the past I've noticed that once the buildup starts, I usually don't have a good enough log of events to predict how fast the climb will be. I had one tank evolve over the course of years without cracking 0. I went without testing it for a month (or 2 maybe), tested and it was at 20ppm. I thought back and realized a few things. The biggest miss... I wasn't noticing deceased adult ramshorn snails, because the plant carpet was thick. There had been a snail population explosion after my gourami - a savage fry and larva hunter - passed. Many of those adult snails must have died within a short period of time. The plants probably picked up the ammonia spikes, because they prefer ammonia to nitrate, so I assume that compounded the nitrate buildup.
  2. The idea I had when I tried looking up the tank was to put it on a sturdy desk in some bright indirect light. Use it like a planter with Peace Lilly, Pothos, Aluminum Plant, all climbing out. No nerite or mystery snails, speaking of climbing out. I'm thinking I would fill it with a skittles colony of neocardinia shrimp, and maybe add some of my "pest" pond snails and red ramshorns to take on algae types the shrimp don't favor.
  3. My favorite advice is... Don't let it overwhelm you. Things work out if you start nice and slow.
  4. Here are some important questions, I think. How they are behaving? Are they lively, eating, and otherwise behaving normally? They sound relatively young, are they still growing? If yes to all of those, I would say don't panic. It's possible to overreact and put the fish through unnecessary stress. Are the white spots fuzzy? Gooey? Solid? Do they conform to the scales, perhaps even look like discolored scales or tissue?
  5. Thanks for the resource.
  6. Just want to add... These are the shiniest, healthiest looking guppies I have, even after converting back to fresh over the last several months. I really just don't get it, and I test constantly. They're all descendants of three females I added a few years ago to see if they liked brackish water better than they liked the main tanks. The fish in the other tanks are generally healthy, but they're so busy breeding I think they never really slow down. These fish will still drop fry, but... Well maybe that's it. Maybe they're all eating fry. A few fry make it, but not a lot. It's weird. I would've guessed these were the most troubled fish in my whole fishroom, but it's the other tanks I have to stay on top of. These will eat anything, while one of my other tanks has decided they hate most flakes and only want CoOp fry food, Hikari freeze-dried daphnia, bbs (frozen or live), and absolutely will not eat freeze-dried adult brine shrimp. This tank? Easy. Drop it in, they eat it. The debris on the upper part of the glass is mulm that the snails drag around on their shells. The guppies like to throw the mulm around looking for bits of food. I used to attack mulm relentlessly, now I just let this stuff sit.
  7. Happened to be around today, and just wanted to point out the weirdest tank I've ever had. 10g with 5g of water. Was brackish, converted back to fresh. It has around 30 guppies and 3 nerites. Deep sand that barely qualifies as deep, spider wood, lava rocks, zero nitrates...still. I've shown it before, here's where it's at now. I used the flash just to show the guppies, it's usually a low light tank. They're all getting moved slowly over the next couple of weeks, except for the snails. But this thing is quite the accident.
  8. So this was one of those 2020 purchases. I never got around to it, despite the expense. It has a drain in the bottom, which of course leaks. So... I know I can puddy the threads, but I just want to seal the drain off completely. Any suggestions on material and method? I'm thinking about using a PVC end cap and sealing that with silicone. Of course, as you can see from the quarter and bio ball, I don't have my step stool to reach down there, and this is going to be a pain. It's a Penn Plax. It's "cast acrylic", but feels awfully cheap for the price.
  9. For those interested in buying aquariums and equipment made anywhere but China (or Russia), where would we look? A quick search brought me to this website right away. I was surprised to see all of that listed under 'American Made', but that's a good start. Last time I checked, Aqueon and Marineland aquariums were made here, but I'm surprised to see a lot of this other stuff. https://bluefishaquarium.com/collections/american-made-aquatic-products?page=1
  10. I think there are also certain traits that go well together, right? So while two strains may look different, they are good for outcrossing and then dispersing the fry back into their respective phenotypes. I have no idea which ones, I just thought I saw that in a guppy genetics overview video once. I'll try to find that, but I was wondering if you've ever tried it. I would imagine that to really get that right, each strain would have to have several tanks/lines so that they're not diluting their A grade tank by putting mixed fry in too soon.
  11. KH is generally more important in PH buffering. My test kit is different, but if the scale is 0-12, I don't think 3 or 4 would necessarily be a problem, as long as you're not doing water changes with vastly different parameters, like straight RO water for example, you shouldn't see dangerous swings of any kind. A lot of people here seem to have water similar to yours, and they keep all of your targeted species. GH is kind of broad, but if you're at 12 of 12, I doubt your fish are missing any vital minerals.
  12. It can, but I don't think it often does in most planted tanks. In a low tech tank, with a low bioload and no ferts, I've seen pothos stunt guppy grass growth. But right now I have low tech tanks with various plants and a ton of pothos, and I can't stop any of the plants from outgrowing their designated areas. So I think the lighting and nutrient levels will make the difference, and you said you're doing ferts so you probably have that handled.
  13. I've talked to some people locally who travel down to GCCA's events, and I would bet that's a great way to really get to know the local landscape. Their auctions and swap meets seem like a great way to pick up fish too, but I'm a secondhand source when it comes to that. I've seen some fish that reportedly came from such events, but haven't been there myself. https://www.gcca.net/
  14. I guess I just don't frequently hear about people even attempting sororities, and whenever I do hear about it the person was successful but wouldn't recommend it to beginners. I don't think it's common, and the people who do it usually seem to be able to stabilize things. I know every store and every Youtuber has their take on it, but until someone wants to do a long term study on fish keepers I'm not interested in hearing any given person's ethical decree over another's. And I'm not really sure how people are gauging fish happiness. The last sorority I've seen in person lived in a breeder's tank for years, started with dozens and they still weren't fighting even as they reached old age and death. No one seemed to want these particular female bettas, so he just kept them. They just drifted around hunting for baby snails all day. The only other fish in there were a fat bunch of cories. Is that happy? How many times have you heard "oh I didn't know it would get big enough to eat all my danios", or "oh I didn't know they ate shrimp"? Is that happy? Why are people more appalled by one type of death than another? Would you rather get beaten up by an angry rando at a bar or swallowed whole by a massive catfish? Just sayin'...
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