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Questions about substrate, fish classification/breed and swim bladder

Discussion in 'Planted Aquariums' started by ezziecat, Mar 14, 2012.

  1. ezziecat

    ezziecat AC Members

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    Hello all, this is my first post :) I have two main areas that I have questions about at the moment:

    SUBSTRATE:

    1. Is substrate better than gravel for plants?
    2. If it is, or if substrate is still an option even if gravel is better, what filtration options are there for substrate tanks? I presume under-gravel types wont work? What other considerations are there? Can you still use a siphon when you're cleaning the tank, or does all the substrate get sucked up (i read somewhere it depends on the substrate)?

    I've had fish for about two years but I'm starting now to research it properly as I'd like to give them a proper planted home when we move house ourselves! They currently only have one live plant as they ate the rest -_-

    I want to give them lots of interesting things to poke around in, and have a proper aquascape, hence the questions about substrate, as I prefer the look of it in sculpted aquariums.

    BRIAN THE FISH:

    3. I have a fish I've often wondered about as he looks for all intents and purposes like a fantail, but he only has one tailfin :/ Is he a different breed, or has he got a little shubunkin history in him or something? The tailfin itself is lovely although it does flop a bit at the top. His other fins match my other faintails - two side fins, two belly fins and two fins under the main tailfin (i.e. under the bum). He's the same shape as a fantail too as far as I can tell.

    He's called Brian, although I don't really know if he's a boy or a girl >.< if you can answer that too, feel free! Here's his pics, sorry for the quality. First pic is a better one and shows his nice dorsal fin and the shape of his tailfin, and the second pic although rubbish does show his shape better:

    DSC02385.JPG DSC02384.JPG

    4. Unfortunately, Mr. Brian is also having swim bladder problems at the moment - for the last 3 or so days he's alternated between being fine and then struggling to stay off the bottom of the tank. Is there anything I can do? He's not being fed and although I'm obviously not an expert the fact that he keeps getting better and then worse makes me think it's not constipation, am I wrong? I have some all-round fish meds and a bit of aquarium salt that I could give.

    Thank you for your help, sorry for the long post!

    Erika.

    DSC02384.JPG DSC02385.JPG
     
    #1 ezziecat, Mar 14, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2012
  2. schapman1886

    schapman1886 AC Members

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    Hi Erika, welcome to AC :)

    Well I'll give as much information as I can. You really learn a lot on these forums.

    As far as gravel goes, it is considered a substrate. Anything on the bottom of the tank is, whether it be clown-puke gravel, sand, or Flourite. Some plants can grow in gravel, while others have a harder time. A lot of it depends on how the specific plants root system works. For instance, I had an Anubias Nana send out roots no problem in small/medium, smooth, gravel. You just have to check into the specific requirements for your plants.

    Under-gravel filters are generally shunned, or so it seems, by most hobbyists now-a-days, though I can't give you any info on them. I've never used 'em, though I can't imagine they would be fun to use with sand, or the fact that you will, eventually, have to pull them out and clean them. That would be a nightmare.

    Oh and about the substrate getting sucked up. Yeah, it happens. Though I found with my sand/Flourite mix (sand being under the Flourite) that I can suction, very gently, off the surface and any Flourite pieces get caught in the 'filter' thing that is built into my gravel vac. http://www.amazon.com/Aquarium-Main...W1AQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1331732563&sr=8-1

    As far as Brian goes, I can't help with the speciation, but as far as the buoyancy issues go, maybe http://thegab.org/Illness-and-Treatment/buoyancy.html will be of some help/insight. I've never kept Goldfish before however.

    Hope this helped a little :) These forums are a great place to get advice and learn! Always keep an open mind =)
     
  3. ezziecat

    ezziecat AC Members

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    I had no idea! Makes perfect sense though.
    Thanks, that's interesting. When I start aquascaping I'd prefer to have something finer than gravel, more like sand. Do sand-type substrates get very obviously dirty? Are they harder to clean?

    I have heard that too. I'd be most interested in a hidden filter eventually, as I hate seeing it in the tank :/

    Huh, I had heard of gravel vacs but didn't realise they had a sort of filter. I inherited a siphon which is basically a big tube with a wide business end.

    It's a mystery!

    Thanks, that's great. I may go ask over in the proper newbie forum as I realise this may not have been the best place to put this, d'oh!

    It did! Thank you for the warm welcome :D
     
  4. bradlgt21

    bradlgt21 AC Members

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    I think goldfish all eat plants. So you might not ever be able to do planted with your tank.
     
  5. schapman1886

    schapman1886 AC Members

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    Depends. If you're using sand, it depends on the color. I used play sand by itself previously and it doesn't get too bad. You can siphon the fish waste right off the ground easily enough, but it would stand out if you don't. The Florite I have on top of the sand is all browns and such, so it looks pretty clean.

    Yeah, I got the siphon without knowing it had a filter in it. I assume it's to keep larger debris from getting into the hand pump section. It's both good and bad. It depends on what you are trying to siphon out of the tank :p

    Definitely. There will be more people ready to help you there :)
     
  6. ezziecat

    ezziecat AC Members

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    It's surprising me that I didn't know this, after a google search it certainly seems it will be difficult. However this is encouraging: http://thegab.org/Plants/goldfish-and-plants-the-low-tech-approach.html . It looks like you have to be wily and keep on top of things.
     
  7. ezziecat

    ezziecat AC Members

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    That's encouraging. I don't mind it getting a bit dirty, just as long as it's not permanently dirty. My gravel is all green from algae -_-

    Yes! My fantails poop is enormous lol.

    Thanks again :)
     
  8. bradlgt21

    bradlgt21 AC Members

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    I believe you can get away with certain plants still. Like I know Anubius is a hard leaf and fish have a hard time eating it. There are others too I just can't think of any others at this time.
     
  9. AfishIonado

    AfishIonado AC Members

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    Under gravel filters are a pain because they end up getting clogged and you have to take then out and clean them from time to time.


    Sent from my iPhone using MonsterAquariaNetwork app
     
  10. ryukin_5

    ryukin_5 AC Members

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    About the gender as best as I can make out it looks like a he ...
     

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