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About Me

Found 16 results

  1. Hi all , I am new to the hobby so excuse me if I am asking silly questions, we have a small tank 7.5 gallon for a week now with three kind of live plants: Crypt lutea, Green hygrophila and Narrow leaf chain sword. on the first day I de-chloritized the water and added starters bacteria last night did a first water test and found out that well... basically we have water 🙂 P.H 7.0 ammonia 0 nitrate 0 nitrite 0 I added some easy green after for the first time , Now what ? will my plants survive ? what's the next step ? do I need to add fish ? I wanted to see that the plants are good first . Thanks and again sorry for the very beginner question there is so much information out there its so confusing
  2. My water comes out of the tap at 7.2. The only thing I add to it before it goes in my tank is dechlorinator. Just regular bagged gravel from Lowe's as the substrate. I rinsed that extremely well before it went in the tank though. Why then in the tank is my water showing 8.8? This is a 10 gallon tank that has been set up for about 4 weeks now. There are some moss balls, a couple dwarf chain swords, 2 java ferns, and 2 dwarf Lilly bulbs. No fish. I do use seachem flourish in the recommended dosage once a week. Im not convinced the tank is cycled though. Ammonia 0 nitrite 0 nitrate 5. I want to eventually add cherry shrimp but at a ph of 8.8 plus I don't think I'll be able to do that. EDIT: I also use aquarium co op root tabs.
  3. I heard about this digital testing unit watching @Fish Room Fever tonight. Has anyone tried it? It looks like it might be marketed towards retail and maintenance operations. I know we have some lab nerms here! API® | ABOUT AQUASPIN™ APIFISHCARE.COM Presenting API AQUASPIN, a cutting-edge technology that combines speed and accuracy for the best aquarium and pond water analysis results anywhere, all in just two minutes!
  4. Hey Folks, I thought I'd share something I did to help keep me organized. I have been testing my water more regularly lately and found I had settled into a standard list of equipment. In order to protect the finish of my wood desk and keep things together I was using a plate from the kitchen. This worked but it wasn't the best for moving from the upstairs tank to the down stairs and vice versa. Also there wasn't much working room. I stopped by a local craft supply store today and found a plastic box designed to store 5x7 photographs: This was a nice size. It has room for my tubes, pipette, cell tray common test cards with room to spare. With the lid open there is even a nice place to put the caps of the test chemicals such that they won't leave a blue ring on the counter top! The thin profile also allows me to tuck this away when not in use. Happy fish keeping! 🐠
  5. Extending the USB Nano Pump: A Test of Power As my order history will attest, the USB Nano Pump is hands-down my favorite Aquarium Co-Op product. It's crazy quiet and powerful for the money. In my home office where I have five tanks, there is ZERO humming sound coming from the five nano pumps providing air to the 20 longs on a wall rack. All I hear is the air rushing "white noise" that even serves to mask the hums of my hang-on-back filters. Find me a conventional 4-port pump that can accomplish that! This gives me a room with several tanks that aren't singing in the key of "E"! But testimonial aside, I recalled Cory talking about the benefits of the "USB" aspect of the pump; especially that it can be powered by a backup battery during power failures. But what if that could be taken a step further? What if it could be used as a daily workhorse pump THAT ALSO automatically switches over to backup power when the power does go out? How long will it last? Can it do this without human intervention? For twenty bucks and ZERO DIY skills, you bet it can! SELECTING THE BACKUP BATTERY In making my choice of backup battery, I listed the following criteria that needed to be satisfied: 1. It has to be Compact 2. It has to Last a Long time 3. It has to Power my pump on wall power 4. It has to Switch to battery power without my touching it 5. It has to be Affordable; I have a lot of pumps! With that in mind and a lot of research, I settled on this UGREEN Portable charger for phones and tablets, for $22 on Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07S73M12N (I'm receiving and want no affiliate kickbacks for this.) It mostly matched up with my requirements: 1. Compact: It's about the size of a pack of cigarettes 2. Long-Lasting: 10,000mAh will be tested 3. Power: Pass-through feature sends wall-power directly to the pump 4. Switch: Pass-through charges the battery and switches over when unplugged 5. Affordable: Mixed feelings on this...pass-through isn't cheap! 6. Bonus! Digital readout shows the percentage of charge remaining What is pass-through power technology? You can't just plug the pump into any phone charger and expect it to power the pump while the charger is plugged into your wall; most phone chargers will stop powering your device when they are being charged themselves. But with "pass-through", the charger passes your wall power through to your charging device while it charges itself. Instant permanent battery backup! How to use it? Simply plug the battery backup between the USB pump and its USB charging adapter that comes with it. You need nothing else! So let's dive into the testing... TEST ONE: DOES IT WORK WITH NON-PHONE DEVICES? What we're proposing here is to plug in a device that doesn't draw power the same way as a phone does, into a powering device that's made for phones and tablets. Will it handle low voltage fish stuff? This article wouldn't exist if the answer weren't a resounding Yes! I connected it all and plugged it into the wall. It immediately started the pump and started charging itself at the same time. When I unplugged the power from the wall, the pump kept going and the battery started draining. SLOWLY. Blue or orange port? I tested the charging process twice, curious about whether choosing the blue or orange ports on the new Aquarium Co-Op charger plug that came with the pump would make a difference in charging time. It made no difference. So this will work. But for how long? Here's where it gets interesting. TEST TWO: HOW LONG DOES IT LAST? I charged it up to 100% while connected to the pump (about 3-4 hours), and then unplugged everything from the wall to simulate a power failure. The pump continued to run for 60 HOURS. That's two and a half days! Not much more to be said there. It's quite an effective backup power source! TEST THREE: OKAY, BUT HOW LONG DOES IT REALLY LAST? On the theory that it will not last as long when it's under a load and actually powering a real airstone in water pressure, I connected it to a never-clog airstone on 24" of airline tubing that had already been running for several months in 12" of water depth. The runtime result was another round number: 50 HOURS on a full charge. So this means that the pump was powered for about 17% less time while under a basic load. Logically, I'd assume that as the airstone becomes more clogged, its capacity for backup time will be diminished even more. Mounting? The battery pack is not terribly heavy, so it can be mounted with some double-sided foam tape to the back or side of the aquarium, or any other flat surface so that it doesn't dangle. CONCLUSION The combination of 2+ days' power, always-ready pass-through powering, and the compact size makes this a huge winner. I'm buying one of these for every one of my USB Nano Pumps. Yes, $22 can add up fast, but for me, it's a small price to pay for the peace of mind. When the power goes out, I will have oxygenated water for days! Even if I were to lose most of the beneficial bacteria, the bacteria that remains in proximity to the moving water caused by the bubbles (on the glass, rocks, gravel, and decorations) will serve as a seed population for a new colony. But that's a moot point if the pump is powering a sponge filter! What more is there to say? Spread the word: USB battery backups aren't just for phones!
  6. I know I know, Cory has done a video on this. But I am a numbers and charts person, so I wanted to offer some more data on this topic. I have a background in chemistry and I know a lot of you NERMS on here like this sort of detailed analysis, so here it goes. Once I saw the video, I thought it was genius! Of course! If you are in the ballpark, much better to use those quick test strips (which you will use more often than the liquid kit because they are so easy. As a reminder, you can see Cory's video here: Because I thought this was great info, I went out and bought some test strips to compliment my API test kit. Of course, like any info on the internet, I also wanted to test it. I did a quick test a few weeks ago and got very different results. Whoa! That's weird, and not what Cory's video showed! So today I sat down and did some more precise testing/recording numbers. For this experiment, we have to accept that the human eye just sucks at interpreting color accurately. If we wanted to get super precise numbers, we would want something like a spectrometer, but that's not financially realistic for the average person. (Doesn't mean I'm not looking 'em up on ebay after this...) I have two different tanks I tested this on, but only once each time. One is a planted 60 gallon community tank and the other is a 10 gallon snail tank. I try to keep the gH higher in the snail tank for shell health, so that measurement is particularly important. Both tanks are moderately/heavily planted. The snail tank is overstocked, but I'm pretty diligent about water changes. The Community tank is a little understocked, and please note that I administered some General Cure today to deworm, so that could potentially interfere with results. When I did the test, I had to break my bad habit of not shaking the API test kit for a full minute. You can categorize this under "I am smarter than the sum knowledge of all fishkeepers." arrogance. Surely, not shaking for a full minute couldn't make that big a difference, right? Well, I can get into my previous quick and dirty results, but yes, you need to shake for the full minute. I got very different nitrate results when doing this. Anyway, you can't test the API kit if you aren't going to use it according to the instructions. Please note that I DID NOT USE THE API TEST KIT FOR pH. I have a pH meter which I consider to be the most accurate option available, therefore I compared the test strip to the API kit on nitrate, nitrite, gH and kH. You can see the results below in chart and list form: OK, so what are we seeing? Well first we're seeing that my nitrate levels in my tank are WAY high and I need to fix it, but that's for another day. Within the community tank, everything is pretty much the same between Tetra and API. This is consistent with Cory's results. Now if we look at the Snail tank, we see some variation. Ph and nitrite are looking the same, but gH, kH, and most concerningly nitrate are showing differences. The difference in nitrate could be because of the logarithmic scale it uses to refer to color. Ever notice how the measurement chart jumps from 0, to 5, to 10, then 20, then 40, etc? It's a bigger and bigger difference with each color change on the chart. So if you have a very high concentration that you are reading, and you're having trouble reading it, your mistake matters more than if you were reading something closer to 5. (Ex. Is it 5 or 10? Eh, it's close. Is it 40 or 80? Whoa, big difference!) I did have trouble figuring out the color of the nitrate on the API test kit; I have included pictures of the results here so that others can give input, if you like. Please note that because I thought the API nitrate reading was between 40 and 80 ppm, I split the difference and called it 60ppm. I have no explanation for the difference in KH and GH readings. API results for Snail tank: Tetra test strip Snail tank results: OK so what does all of this mean? I think it means that if your tank is generally healthy and you are just doing regular water checks (once a week, once a month, etc) and you want a heads up on anything that might be an issue, you're probably ok using the Tetra test strips. But if you are having issues with something, you may want to try the API kit. BUT, I would argue that we don't really know which method is more accurate. Within the fish community, we sing the praises of the accuracy of the API Master test kit. But why? What are we comparing it to? Well, we have reports of the test strips going bad very easily, so that's one reason. But ideally, I would want to measure my water parameters with a mass spectrometer (this is me being a super nerd- it is a scientific instrument which gives you VERY accurate reports of concentration. Again, not realistic for the home hobbyist at all! But has anyone every tried it? Ever? Anywhere? I expect API did the testing, but those aren't exactly easy to look up. Why do we choose API as the best? I think it's worth considering. Tl;dr The API Master test kit has fairly similar results to the Tetra strips if you are measuring low concentrations (everything in your tank is going as expected,) but there can be major differences if you have something like nitrates very high. This is because it's tough for the human eye to read colors accurately. I have no explanation for the differences in kH and gH in one tank but not the other. Also, consider that we don't necessarily know that the API Master kit is the most accurate. Everyone says it is, but what are we comparing it to? Thanks for coming to my TED talk. lol I don't work as a chemist anymore so sometimes it's just nice to get this out of my system. I hope some folks find this helpful/interesting.
  7. Alright everyone, I did full rounds of treatments together of API Pimafix, Melafix, and EM Erythromycin. I lost many fish to red sores, white cotton mouth fungus/bacteria, and fin rot. I have done proper water changes, my levels are all good, and I replaced the carbon filter (since I couldn't have a carbon filter in during treatment). A week or maybe 2 after the treatments, I now have a black skirt tetra losing the bottom of its back fin, and the fishes gills are looking more red again. So do I do another round of all of these treatments or try something else?
  8. Anybody have questionable ph readings with API kit? Tanks and tap are at 8.2-8.4 with high ph reagent, but paper/plastic strips indicate 7.0. Fish and plants all doing well over a couple of months. Never had lower pH reading with kit.
  9. This is my fresh-from-the-tap test. You can see nitrates are pretty high - somewhere between 20-40 (I can never tell the difference). I also suspect I have high iron. My plants seem to grow red really easily, including guppy grass, under relatively inexpensive lights. Hair algae is by far the most prevalent type and seems to be basically unstoppable. I do not regularly dose with fertilizer at all. I have not, so far, run into fish issues with this. My plants seem to grow pretty effortlessly. But I am mildly concerned and thinking I should maybe invest in actual well testing, and depending on the advice, an RO unit? I was recommended the coliform/e coli bacteria and nitrates test at $50, wondering if there are others I should select. OR, do I skip a step and look at reducing nitrates since wherever they're at, it's probably above what's considered healthy for drinking water? We have a water softener that is not currently in use as well. Looking for just general advice on dealing with this.
  10. Good morning all! Recently I watched one of the Coop's video's where Cory was talking about why we do water changes, and he mentioned "fear" as one of the reasons. That resonated with me because since starting this hobby in July 2020, that has been my motivation. Anyway, after watching that, I decided to get some test strips and stop fanatically testing my water every two days and to try to enjoy the fish more than stressing about parameters. It was an anxious time, but I finally learned that the ecosystem in my 29 is actually doing really well without me messing with it. I learned that I can wait to change water for about two weeks instead of twice a week - that was a feat of willpower.😃 But..... I have researched and watched videos about the relationship between pH, gH, and kH, and read the posts on the Forum that are related, but I still have some questions... My main tank is 29gal with sponge filters and it has been set up for about 6 -7 weeks, using media from an established tank. It is heavily planted (and has cholla wood and various river rocks which I have had since July) with a substrate of eco-complete and a black sand cap. I use Easy Green 1 time per week and root tabs once at the start and once last week - the corys and swordtails dug them up though. I have a bunch of hitchhiker snails, 3 Mystery snails, and 4-5 Amano shrimp. I also have 5 Panda and 6 Pygmy corydoras, 6 Black Neon and 10 Ember tetras, and three Swordtails, 2 F,1 M. It seems like a lot of fish, but I had to consolidate two tanks on the fly, plus they are doing great. My numbers are regularly 0-ammonia, 0 -nitrite, ~20 - nitrate, and pH of 7.8 - 8.0. My water is hard, GH of 180-300, and at first, the KH was around 120 (these values are from test strips; I've a kit on order). Within the last week or so the KH has been testing at around 40. Why has it fallen? Is it because I'm changing water less frequently and thus replenishing the minerals less frequently? The pH and GH are the same as before though. Are the plants, snails, shrimp and/or fish depleting it, and if so, should I use Wonder Shell or crushed coral. I've read that crushed coral raises pH and hardness, and my water is already very hard and the pH is quite high. Will messing with the KH affect those parameters? If I leave it alone, will my shrimp and snails suffer? I've read both to do something and to do nothing. If I'm adding something, how much should I add and how often? I should get my Gh and KH test kit this week and then will have more accurate numbers.
  11. The last two water changes I've done on my tanks I've completely neglected to to add prime! I had originally just looked up online for my area is said to have "some levels of chlorine" I also have crazy hard water... Lots of calcium because I can see the deposits on appliances but I've not specifically tested the levels. However, the tetra 6 in 1 strips seem to be registering zero chlorine from my tap. Would this be enough to stop dosing prime during water changes? I also have about 10-20 ppm of nitrates coming from the tap also.
  12. @Dean’s Fishroom64 oz over 6 hours. Water is also exchanging with the 250 gallon so the fry tray doesn’t become rancid. testing it with rice fish first. Then on to the T. schoutedeni fry! on a side note: my ricefish mixing has been fruitful. Many of my orange color fry juveniles are starting to get black patches. Hard to get on camera.
  13. Do people actually shake for the times recommend on the nitrate test? I can't bring myself to do it!
  14. I have a API master test kit and I was wondering if they ever expire? How long does it take to expire? I ask this question because I just realized today that the test kit that I have is from 2008!🤣 I think it might definitely be expired but I’m not sure.
  15. After testing my aquariums for quite some time, I thought, “there had to be an easier way” reading the liquid color test results. When using liquid test kits, the colors are sometimes a bit hard to discern. A lot of it is attributed to the ambient lighting in the room. Some homes, mine included, don't have “ideal” lighting for reading these test tubes accurately. Was always dragging a lamp, flashlight or going to the nearest window to compare the color chart with my test. So, I specifically built this light producing fixture/enhancer for my aquarium testing. Wow, what a difference. The colors are now vivid, in person, and very easy to compare. The biggest benefit is that the light 'shines through' the tubes and really gives a true color representation. Also, for some of the 'timed' tests, I.E. Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, it's interesting to watch the colors change accordingly. Basically, the parts for the unit are simple & inexpensive. Three AA batteries & holder, LED's, resistors, switch, wires, enclosure, etc. If you are into electronics, like I am, most of these spare parts are probably nearby. Am sure there are many ways of constructing the same unit. Most importantly, when dealing with liquids, one should always use low voltage applications for safety. This was my first attempt in building this color enhancer, so maybe the next one might even be better. That's another wonderful part about fish-keeping; experimenting with your own designs. 🧐 LIQUID TEST COLOR ENHANCER UNIT ** DIY ** 🥽 📊 📉 📈
  16. Extending the USB Nano Pump: Solar Power As my second test for the Aquarium Co-Op USB Nano Air pump, I have decided to start writing before the test is done, and to kick things off today. I'm hoping a few tests will come of this, but an "instant fail" is just as valuable. I'm hoping what may come of this will be some numbers (mAh in, hours per day, etc.) that can be used in later selections of solar powered batteries for this pump. I hope to answer this question: Is there a low-cost solar-powered battery by which I can run the USB nano pump indefinitely? Failure is defined as the power running out or the battery otherwise failing by other means. SELECTING THE SOLAR-POWERED BACKUP BATTERY In making my choice of backup battery, I listed the following criteria that needed to be satisfied: 1. It has to be water-resistant. 2. It has to be reasonably sized (not too large). 3. It has to be affordable. Not too much. The whole trick was to find something that is a balance between power and price. I settled on this IEsafy Solar Charger 26800mAh, Outdoor Solar Power Bank with 4 Foldable Solar Panels and 2 High-Speed Charging Ports for Smartphones, Tablets, Samsung, iPhone, etc, with Waterproof LED Flashlight from Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08611FQKT (non-affiliate link) It cost $27.50 when I bought it last week, but seems to have risen to $40. A quick search of Amazon and the internet suggests that if you're resourceful, you can find one in the $30 range with these specs. But I still don't yet know if these specs are sufficient. A WORD ABOUT LOCATION AND TIME OF YEAR This test is going to be a bit less useful around the world; access to sunlight matters a lot. I live in north San Diego county, California, and it is currently July (middle of summer). It stands to reason that if I pick my spot correctly, I will get direct sunlight for much of the day. If I can figure out how many hours of direct sunlight I'll need each day, in theory I can move the charger around as needed. But in winter months and in locations farther from the equator, this may be more difficult. THE SETUP THE FIRST THING I DID WAS CHARGE THE BACKUP BATTERY BY PLUGGING IT IN. This has to be done first before expecting to make use of solar power at all. It took several hours to charge fully. I am combining this test with another project: A small daphnia culture in a 17-gallon tub. These tubs are $5 at Walmart, so there's no excuse not to have several! I filled the tub with well-used greenish water from my small pond, added extra mulm for good measure, dropped in a medium sponge filter from Aquarium Co-Op, and connected it to the USB nano pump. The pump is hanging from a hole I drilled in the lip of the tub. Then I connected the pump's power cable to the backup battery, which I placed on an empty Amazon box. I placed this entire rig in a spot where I expect it to get much sunlight all day. (I know that the sponge filter is not necessary daphnia, and many folks keep daphnia in still water even. But I HATE mosquitoes and want to stabilize things as much as possible. Also, I won't be ordering daphnia for several weeks, as I want the water to get much greener from the direct sunlight; I'll be feeding it a steady diet of grass clippings as needed.) TEST ONE: IS THIS REMOTELY VIABLE AT ALL? Today is lightly cloudy, but the clouds are seeming to burn off. The sun hit the charger at 9am this morning, so we are off and running! UPDATE 7/20/2020: This test has been canceled, for reasons outlined below. New test coming soon! Bill
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