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Multiple newbie questions

Discussion in 'Freshwater Newbie Forum' started by Teddy's Mom, Jan 7, 2017.

  1. Teddy's Mom

    Teddy's Mom AC Members

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    Hi, I have a bunch more questions for you experienced fish keepers. :)

    1) How to clean the substrate of a planted tank without disrupting the plants? What about when plants get really dense?

    2) Is there a rule of thumb for how many gallons per hour you need your filter to turn over?

    3) Tips for what to do for your fish during a power outage (such as during a severe storm)?

    4) Opinions on items to keep on hand for a "first aid kit"?

    5) Some sources say it's good to add aquarium salt to freshwater tanks to help keep your fish healthy. Do you agree? Would that be contraindicated for invertebrates or some species of fish?

    6) What are your favorite online/national chain sources for supplies/equipment, fish, and plants?

    7) Is there some way to find out whether a seller sources their fish ethically and treats them humanely? (Other than what you can observe in person of the conditions the fish are living in at store?)

    Thanks for any recommendations!
     
  2. FreshyFresh

    FreshyFresh AC Members

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    1) I don't touch the substrate on my tanks with rooted plants.
    2) Many say go with a 5x turnover rate.
    3) Use battery powered air pumps w/ established sponge filters.
    4) I don't have meds on hand, but Seachem MetroPlex is a good one to have I hear.
    5) I've never used salt.
    6) I like Big Al's, Ken's, DFS and cll_Petsupplies (from eBay).
    7) Buy from local aquarium groups
     
  3. Teddy's Mom

    Teddy's Mom AC Members

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    Thanks, FreshyFresh!
     
  4. OrionGirl

    OrionGirl No freelancing!

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    I will swirl the intake of a python over the substrate to remove build up waste if it gets out of hand. The more solid mulm seldom lasts long.

    I don't think there is a rule of thumb. It depends on the fish. Some fish come from rapids, and need high turnover to maintain oxygen levels. Some fish come from lakes, or slow moving rivers, and it's not as much of an issue. Knowing the animals native habitat should be the guide.

    Depends on how long of an outage. 2-3 hours, no worries. More than than, battery operated air pumps to maintain oxygen levels, potentially wrapping to maintain temperature.

    An empty, clean 'tank' for quarantine/treatment. I don't keep meds to hand, since they all have a shelf life and aren't used often enough to keep fresh.

    No. Salt can be used to treat specific ailments, but it is NOT a cure-all, and it actively irritates the fish. Anything that stresses the animals is not a great choice for long term.

    Most of my stock comes from Invertebrates by MsJinkzd (http://msjinkzd.com), Franks Aquariums (http://www.franksaquarium.com/) or from auctions at local clubs. The Wet Spot is also a great source, though I don't have anything from them right now.

    Smaller scale importers and specialists will be the best source. Places with on hand experts will do their best for the animals.
     
  5. dougall

    dougall ...

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    I guess I can give my two penn'oth too.

    Generally the plants will handle any nitrogen created by any waste, so I would suggest gtrying to gently get what is unsightly, and on top of the plants and ignore anything at the substrate if covered

    I have heard the number of 10*volume bandied about in the past... I don't believe it though, it might have about as much technical standing as not using the word 'pleco' as all the ones you own will die... I'd suggest remembering that there's a difference between turnover and the speed of the current... different methods of filtration will work better with different flow rates, just be sure that your water is as clean as you want it, and you fill current flow needs of any livestock you have...
    Also beware of any dead spots in your aquarium too... having flow everywhere will stop there being spots where waste will accumulate

    If you are expecting a storm, or there is a storm, try to be lighter that usual on your feeding.. less feeding = less ammonia building up.
    Wrap tanks to keep in the heat if you can, unplug lights if they will be covered.
    use battery operated air pumps to aerate the water and get a little current in the water (If not s[ecific aquarium ones, walmart will sell them in the fishing section)
    If you use canister filters, where the water in them is not exposed to air, watch for anaerobic conditions to develop, after a couple or so hours of losing power to them, think about unplugging them so they don't flood the floor, and opening them so any built up gases can escape to the room vs. the aquarium

    A test kit and a python. :)
    Clean water will never cause problems (Unless you are lax with water chnges in the first place) and a test kit will let you know if anything is out of whack.. otherwise, know where you can get meds in an emergency (know hours and stuff too) I wouldn't keep them on hand unless I had good reason (selling/importing fish for example)
    Quarantining and buying from somewhere you trust will go a long way vs. needing to treat at all.

    I wouldn't... I have heard it with regard to some wild-caught livebearers, but I really don't see a need... And I'm not interested enough to study more to see if there would be any benefit.

    Amazon can be pretty cheap... and use camelcamelcamel for price alerts, or google shopping.. at least for dry goods.
    Maybe 90% of our current livestock has come from invertebrates by msjinkzd (http://msjinkzd.com), Lots have plants have come from our local aquarium plant group (http://www.njagc.net/wp/) And I'm also a big fan of in-vitro plants (especially from Tropica or Dennerle)

    Look around when they receive shipments to see who their styrofoam boxes come from.. See if they have any flyers for organizations that help with this sort of thing. anythign regarding captive breeding. I'm personally a fan of all the work Segrest Farms do in this respect, their involvement with legislation, and things such as project Piaba.

    You can talk to them, see if they have any quarantine procedures before selling fish, see if each tank is filtered separately or if it's a central water system, see what food they use.

    Test them, ask about buying a 10g tank, bag of gravel and 6 oscars in one go... see if they ask about your setup or just want to make a sale.

    But really, personal recommendations for places, and just educating yourself... get involved, maybe join an aquarium society, attend a large fish event, ask questions.

    Take a weekend day, and just drive around as many fish stores as you can in a day... see what is out there for you. Given time you will work out where is best for what you want.

    hope that all helps. :)
     
  6. Teddy's Mom

    Teddy's Mom AC Members

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    OrionGirl and dougall, thanks for giving me tons of food for thought. Good tips and insights.

    I never thought about the issue of what the current is in a fish's natural habitat; I think most of the fish I'm coveting are from slow-moving rivers but I need to double check.

    I have a little temporary/transport plastic tank I brought my Betta home in, that I figured I can keep as a hospital tank/quarantining new fish. I think I will try to get an extra sponge filter or two going in my main tank and that way I will always have a filter that's seeded with bacteria ready to go in case.

    I visited a LFS that was full of beautiful aquascapes and vibrant fish, and they say they quarantine all their fish prior to offering them for sale. However, they were crazy expensive, so definitely will continue scoping out other sources.

    OK, I will get a battery-operated pump; we were expecting the storm of the century in my area this past weekend, which is what prompted me to ask about power outages--fortunately it was not as severe as forecast, but we did have several brief outages yesterday, and more storms to come this week.

    Got my API master test kit, need to get me a Python... :)
     
  7. dougall

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    Just remember, that when it comes to price, you want to be paying for a fish that is healthy, young, and likely to survive. It's much easier (both financially and on your feelings) to buy a fish once rather than a few times. so having a quality source can be key...

    Remember that buying from the best sources, and taking care of a fish, quarantining, treating, feeding, will all cost money, and will cost more to not do it if you are choosing to do it with quality products rather than the cheapest available. Also finding less common fish, or sourcing from reliable and replenishable locations will cost more too

    There's a thread here to suggest good fish stores across the country, or you can just start a new one asking for your particular location.. or look to see if there's an aquarium society in your area, they can be a good source of home bred fish, and great advice too.
     
  8. Teddy's Mom

    Teddy's Mom AC Members

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    Good points...I should probably focus on quality and not quantity. I'd like to keep things a little understocked anyway. :)
     
  9. fishorama

    fishorama AC Members

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    In our SF area, but not your Marin locale, Albany Aquarium quarantines fish for 2 weeks. Not the most huge stock list ,but call if they may have something specific you want. PetSmart often has better fish than they used to, including BN plecos, but it's on a store by store basis.

    I never use salt unless it's the best TX for my suspected fish problem. If needed, add it slowly over a few days & remove it the same way. Petco "used?" to have salt containers in all their "freshwater" tanks.

    As for filter turn-over, I have 10x...but I have high oxygen loving loaches, bettas want much less & more gentle.

    I have 1 battery sponge filter from when I had discus but not enough for 3 tanks. In my limited experience here, power is off for a couple hours, not days like on the east coast sometimes.

    You're doing a great job on researching before, that's great! Have you narrowed down fish you might like to keep?
     
  10. Teddy's Mom

    Teddy's Mom AC Members

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    Hi Fishorama, thanks for your input. Albany Aquarium is actually the place that I visited that seemed so amazing, but expensive. :) I bought a couple plants from them. Also could not resist buying 3 Glowlight tetras. I've been spending a lot of time haunting the two Petcos near me, as well as Pet Clubs, checking out all their fish and plants.

    I'm just thinking of lightly stocking with a few kinds of tetras (glowlight, neon, cardinal?), probably a couple kinds of platies, and no doubt one or two other random fish I haven't discovered yet...and my Betta in the same tank if possible. I'm also really interested in a dwarf Gourami, maybe a pair of powder blue ones. But I'm reading that the Gourami and the Betta would probably not work together. If not, I might have to get a second decent-sized tank for the Betta.

    And to think, my original reason for getting an aquarium was primarily to display some stones from Lake Superior that only show their beauty when wet. And also have a fish or two to entertain my cat when I am away pet sitting. LOL
     

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