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Everything posted by biodives

  1. I'm back!

    There are also advantages in starting from scratch, such as learning from what you did and did not like about your previous setup. If costs is an issue you can always look out for other poor souls selling their equipment for "must be sold now' prices. Good luck with the new setup.
  2. I haven't and they didn't kick me off
  3. Hi! But also Help!!!!

    Still a bit early but I hope your troubles are behind you now.
  4. Hello

    I don't consider apistos difficult to breed but if you use plain Alberta tap water you may be limited in the species that will breed and yield offspring under those conditions. Same story with food. If you only use dry food you are unlikely to have success. Frozen foods are much better and I feed some live food almost every day. Linebred aquarium strains and some wild apistos from harder, or more variable, water parameters may work as well. I use RO water and only keep and breed wild-caught fish. After more than a dozen species, the only apistos I haven't got to spawn are those where I only had males, and I have fry from 8 species growing up at the moment. However, there are some tricky blackwater species that I get to spawn but have yet to find a way for the fry to survive more than a week or two.
  5. Hello! Newbie here!

    Haha. I had one tank and when I got fry I though that was a good excuse for a 10 gallon nursery tank. Then I got a sick fish and the nursery tank had fry so I "was forced" to get another 10 gallon tank. I'm now 24 tanks later, but still loving it. Good luck with the rescape. Unfortunately ABaquatica isn't good for uploading pictures, but you can put in links to pictures or youtube videos.
  6. Water circulation overkill?

    Do you enjoy your tank less without the current blast from the wavemaker? If not then leave it off, the tank doesn't need it and many cichlids, apart from pike cichlids and some other specialists, don't hail from water with strong currents. If you are having African Rift Lake cichlids then I don't know their habitats but them being lakes I expect there will be little current except for possible wave action if they live shallow. Opinions vary on the need for current in tanks. Most say it is beneficial or necessary but I have more than a dozen tanks with zero current and they run just fine. I'm not recommending that in general but IMO the two Eheim's should certainly do the job for filtering and current.
  7. Mid zone plants

    Several easy stem plants if you have to patience to top and replant on a regular basis. Helanthium quadricostatus doesn't grow to tall but produces new plants by horizontal runners. Nice bright green and needs very little light. Not common but I got some from Hung Lee in Calgary. Not sure if he still has them.
  8. Hi! But also Help!!!!

    Hi Kate, I send you a private message including how to do it yourself in the future.
  9. Hello

    Welcome to AA. I'm into South American dwarf cichlids, breeding several Apistogramma species, and other South American fish. The African cichlid community is much larger and you should find like-minded hobbyists here. Another good place to participate in and contribute to the aquarium community is the Aquarium Club of Edmonton. Meetings are on the first Tuesday of the month at 7:30pm in the Allendale Community Hall (6330 - 105A St) and attendance is free.
  10. Hi! But also Help!!!!

    Hi Kate, I'm in the UofA area, 78Ave 106St intersection, and am happy to give you some free plants, floating and submerged. I still do water changes, just a lot less than most others. For me, keeping aquariums is more intuition than science and focusing too much on hard&fixed rules or "what someone else does" may not be as effective as just keeping an eye on the tank and fish and make gradual adjustments if needed. As jvision said, once you get the knack of it it is pretty easy. Bart Send me a private message if you can to come by.
  11. Hi! But also Help!!!!

    I agree with John that your readings indicate the tank is cycled and the low nitrate suggests you are not overfeeding. In my experience the highest risk of losing fish is in the first two weeks after purchase with a higher risk when buying from fish stores than from local breeders. But getting one weak batch of fish is one thing, I hate thinking that could go on for a year. That has certainly not been my experience with Big Al's, PetLand, or others but it helps to observe the fish and their behaviour prior to making the purchase. There are other potential causes of ongoing problems like using a rock or other materials in the tank that leach toxic metals. Coral-based sand and carbonate rocks increase water hardness and pH beyond the already hard and basic Edmonton tap water. You have a submersible heater and I assume you measure temperature. I consider 24-25C typical, much higher/lower could give issues. There are probably other sporadic and hard to predict things that could cause your problem but in general you seem to be doing things right. I am a strong proponent of using plants to assist (or instead of) a filter. Floating plants are particularly good at removing nutrients and allow you to perform fewer or smaller water changes, they can help reduce algae by competing for food and lowering light levels that reach the bottom of the tank. It is not a miracle cure but you could consider adding some. If you want I can give you different kinds for free as all my tanks are covered with them. Bart
  12. Disaster

    Some bacteria are either strictly aerobic or strictly anaerobic but facultative anaerobic bacteria, E. coli being the best known example, prefer to use oxygen but under anoxic conditions they switch to use nitrate, sulfate, fumarate or other terminal electron acceptors (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0005272897000340). Ammonia oxidation in our filters is aerobic but there are bacteria that can do so anaerobically (ANaerobic AMMonium OXidation ANAMMOX bacteria) and even some Nitromonas-like species have been found to be able to do this (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0168649601002082). Filters don't only contain ammonia-oxidizing bacteria so there may be other facultative anaerobic species that can produce anaerobic metabolites of various kinds. I certainly have switched on filters that had been switched off for a while without ill consequences but most of my tanks have no filter or a very small one relative to tank size. But if I decide to do a filter clean prior to switching it back on it has a distinct unpleasant smell. So collecting a few filter-volumes worth of water in a bucket after switching on an anoxic filter seems like a good precaution.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. I hope to see the same but unfortunately there aren't any hydra right now. But perhaps that means they are doing their job.
  16. 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
  17. Hi all. I just uploaded my latest blog. This one is on how to make a DIY LED light powerful enough for high-tech tanks at 1/10th the cost of commercial and with up to 3 times higher energy efficiency. You can build it in under an hour with a pair of scissors as the most advanced piece of equipment. Parts, pricing, suppliers, pictures, and step-by-step guide can be found at biodives.com/blog.Enjoy!
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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).
  22. 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
  23. 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
  24. 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.
  25. 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.