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About biodives

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    Jack Dempsey

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    Biotopes, aquatic plants, cichlids, tetras, (fish) evolution, fish behaviour, biogeography, scuba diving, marine reef fish, underwater photography

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  1. Disaster

    Since you have been doing this twice a week for 3 years I think it more plausible that this unusual mishap is linked to the unusual event of forgetting to switch heater and pump back on. I would say there is zero chance that the little temperature dip is an issue but leaving the pump off for an hour will leave the filter in an anaerobic state for a good amount of time and when bacteria don't have oxygen they start to use nitrate, sulfate etc instead and create a whole soup of anaerobic products including hydrogen sulfide. If the filter is small relative to the tank volume I would not have expected the consequences to be that dramatic but IMO releasing the anaerobic soup into your tank when you switched the pump back on is the most likely cause for your disaster. In future, redirect the pump outlet into a large bucket and flush out a few filter volumes worth of water when you switch the pump back on. After that it should be good to operate again.
  2. Softened Water

    It is only/mostly the Rift Lake cichlids in Africa that like hard water. All South American cichlids and many/most West African cichlids like soft water. Water softeners replace calcium and magnesium with whatever counterions are on your softener's resin. But since the softened water is meant for human consumption it seems a safe assumption that your fish will be fine with it.
  3. I hope to see the same but unfortunately there aren't any hydra right now. But perhaps that means they are doing their job.
  4. They are indeed hydra. If your tank had a strong light they would turn green. I get them whenever I feed baby brine shrimp and they always disappear when I stop feeding baby brine shrimp. I've never seen a negative consequence of having them but have added some Spixy snails to a fry grow-out tank to deal with excess food and they are supposed to eat hydra as well. If you have them in enormous amounts then find out what is feeding them. If it's just the few along the bottom of the tank as in the picture I'd enjoy having them. Note: I found that Edmonton tap water kills them. Maybe I should bottle tap water and sell is as hydraBgone elixer and get rich
  5. DIY LED powerful enough for high-tech tank

    Actually I have one unused 2 foot LED strip (CRI 90, 4000K) and a 4 foot light with two 2-foot modules (I assume my standard CRI 80 5000K) and power supply left after my tank rack renovation and that I could sell. PM me for details if interested.
  6. DIY LED powerful enough for high-tech tank

    At futureelectronics.com some have to be bought in bulk but others can be bought a piece or in pairs. Those are the ones I've been using. It's a bit frustrating that there doesn't seem to be neither rhyme nor reason to why some can and others can't be bought a piece.
  7. DIY LED powerful enough for high-tech tank

    I just build a bunch more for my new tank racks. Instead of individual lights per tank there is now one 6 foot light per 2x6' shelf, 7 lights in total. After about 10 months there has not been a single failure in power supply or LED module and I have had sword plants, water hyacinth and frogbit form flowers under these lights.
  8. Feeding Cardinal/small Tetras

    I find the NLS pellets to be too hard for some fishes. Hikari micropellets are more porous. They initially float but ones they suck up some water they get soft and sink. It is my favourite dry food for pencilfish, all sizes of tetras and even some of the apistogramma eat it (not the NLS).
  9. I'll take on the 'trivia' question and do so without any formulas. Assume your tank inhabitants produce enough nitrate during one week to raise nitrate levels from 0 to 20 mg/L. And you consider to do one tank volume water replacement per week but have to decide between one 100% replacement or two 50% replacements. - in the weekly case the replacement happens at the end of the week when nitrate concentration is 20 mg/L, and when the replacement is done you are back to 0 mg/L. The average concentration over the week is 10 mg/L but with big swings during the week. - in the biweekly case the first 50% replacement happens midweek when nitrate levels have accumulated to 10 mg/L, that drops the level to 5 mg/L. The next half of the week adds another 10 mg/L so you end the week with 15 mg/L when you do the second 50% replacement. You end up with 7.5 mg/L of nitrate at the end of the week compared to 0 mg/L in the first case. The reason for the difference is that the amount of nitrate you remove per week must be the same as what is produced and the amount removed depends on volume and concentration. In the first case you let concentration grow all the way to 20 mg/L so you remove a lot of nitrates. In the second you do the replacements at much lower concentration so you remove less. Over many weeks the nitrate concentration in the biweekly schedule will keep creeping up until the average is 20 mg/L in which case you remove the same amount as the weekly schedule. If you were to do more changes per week but kept the total weekly amount at one tank volume you would also end up with an average nitrate concentration of 20 mg/L but you'll get there faster and it will vary less around the 20 mg/L average. So more frequent changes give smaller swings in nitrate concentration but a higher average nitrate concentration. Now if you add a good dose of (floating) plants they will easily take up 20 mg/L worth of nitrate per week so you need virtually no water changes, just top-ups, and your weekly average nitrate concentration is near-zero as ammonia produced by the fish is taken up immediately. Perhaps not an option with rift lake cichlids, just a thought. For more on plant-based aquarium filtration see: http://biodives.com/blog/?p=6
  10. 40b plant lighting

    What do you mean with "share". If you want to know how to build them you can find all the details, parts and places to order in these two blogs of mine http://biodives.com/blog/?p=92 http://biodives.com/blog/?p=127
  11. If you are keeping Malawi cichlids and other fish that need, like, or at least tolerate hard water then there is no incentive to use RO water apart from getting rid of the chloramine. But prime is a lot easier and probably cheaper. Untreated Edmonton water kills hydra very effectively, which was enough to make me believe it would not be beneficial for fish either. Seven 30 gallon changes will be slightly less effective than 1 210 gallon change per week. It will be more gentle in causing smaller swings in water parameters but you are disturbing the tank more often. The latter may be less of an impact if you add the water to the sump. Either way I don't expect there to be much difference for the fish but for one a week would be easier on time management.
  12. 55 gallon set up

    If you like plants then Asian or South American (or a mix) fish would be a better choice. Plecos, cories, tetras, and (dwarf) cichlids would give you an infinite set of choices based on your interest. If you like to see territorial or breeding behaviour get a cichlid pair. If you rather avoid any aggression just get one or a few of the same sex. Plecos, cories, and tetras, as well as German and Bolivian rams are typically available in LFS. Some apistogramma can be found in stores with a bit more effort or obtained by internet order or local breeders like myself. Severums and some other mid-sized cichlids are also reasonably common in stores. Asian fish include the danios, loaches, other catfish and more 'centerpiece fish' like gouramis that could be used instead of cichlids. It really depends on your taste and what is available when you visit the stores.

    Great job. Must have killed a lot of worms in those years
  14. New Tank - Stumped

    I can't solve your puzzle, but if ammonia is spiking then there is no need to add a starter fish because there is plenty of ammonia for the bacteria already. You can also add some floating plants to remove the ammonia if you don't want to wait too long before putting some fish in.
  15. Hello

    Welcome! I can't help you with salt water questions but there are others that should be able to chip in. For corals you may want to check out the ACE auction next Oct 1. Last year there were quite a few coral fragments being sold. I don't know what normal prices are but expect the auction to be a better deal. You might find other critters or dry goods of interest as well. Saturday September 30th 2017: Aquarium Workshop Sunday October 1st 2017: Fall Auction Be sure to mark them on your calendar! Both events will take place at High Park Community Hall ( 11032 154 St NW, Edmonton, AB T5P 2K1) The Fall auction will be at the usual time [9am sellers start delivering their goods, 10 am start viewing, 11am start auction]. Regular rules, 20 lots for each member. Contact Michael Pham for details and to register your lots. For the workshop on Saturday, we have flown in two outstanding speakers, Stephan Tanner and Jim Cumming. Stephan Tanner is the owner of Swiss Tropicals and is also the Associate Publisher, Senior Editor & Translator for AMAZONAS & CORAL magazines. Jim Cumming specializes in the cichlids of Madagascar and had an article in the Jan/Feb 2017 issue of Amazonas magazine written about him. Everyone, both members and non members, are welcome to drop into both the auction and the workshop. There is no charge for attending the first two workshop presentations or auction. For the third workshop presentation, we will be having a banquet. Tickets will be available for $20. Please contact Michael Pham to purchase your tickets as soon as possible. Jim Cumming’s presentation will be on: Cichlids of Madagascar; The Land that Time Forgot