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  1. Ben Rhau

    Spawning Challenges A.Elizabethe

    I think you can skip the acids. I doubt pH is very meaningful at < 20 TDS. Botanicals don't really add a lot of ions, so I think you could get the TDS lower than 20 if you wanted to.
  2. Ben Rhau

    Spawning Challenges A.Elizabethe

    Take a look at <this thread>. Though your water is theoretically fine, this user had more success at much lower TDS.
  3. Ben Rhau

    Apisto survival rate

    The only med that has worked for me is prazi for worms/flukes. Otherwise, my approach is to move sick fish to a small tank where I can manage large and frequent water changes easily, add tannins to the point where I can almost not see, and control feeding of live foods. Over time, I suspect...
  4. Ben Rhau

    Apisto survival rate

    I typically buy subadults, so mine have lived 2 - 3 years. I separate breeding pairs so as not to burn out the females. I've also kept Parosphromenus, and I do think they live longer. I don't think we can say whether it's due to conditions or just that it's a different genus.
  5. Ben Rhau

    Water changes and young apisto fry

    Since it's important to do frequent water changes with fry, it can be convenient to start with a low waterline and just add water 2 - 3x before removing water.
  6. Ben Rhau

    blackwater tank cycling?

    Pentax cameras are great. In the vast majority of cases, lenses can be interchanged, even between brands. If they don't fit directly, there is usually an adapter. That said, in some edge cases you will lose autofocus. If you already have a camera body or lenses, check the compatibility chart...
  7. Ben Rhau

    blackwater tank cycling?

    For your use case, I would recommend a DSLR body and a macro lens between 50 - 100mm focal length. If the camera body has an APS-C style sensor as opposed to full frame, it effectively lengthens the focal length by 1.5x, and is also cheaper. You can get used equipment for pretty cheap, and even...
  8. Ben Rhau

    Tank mates for a. panduro

    You may have already concluded this yourself, but I would personally not add any fish until you can get the pair into a larger tank, preferably the 29. I'm not surprised at the aggression against the pencil fish given the small footprint, low waterline, and a female ready to spawn. The pencil...
  9. Ben Rhau

    I need help!

    They look like snail eggs to me.
  10. Ben Rhau

    Wild apistogramma agassizi

    The footprint on a 30-gal cube is OK for a pair, though a longer tank is preferable. Can you show a shot of the full tank? If the fish can see across the tank, then a couple of them could get killed soon if not moved/separated. 4 apistos are too many for these dimensions, in my opinion.
  11. Ben Rhau

    Hi from Belgium

    If you haven't already, you may want to ask for help about your diatom issue on the UKAPS forum, which has a lot of plant experts. This forum tends to focus more (not completely, but more so) on the fish's needs. The floating plants will make the fish feel more comfortable, and you can have...
  12. Ben Rhau

    Hi from Belgium

    I just wanted to know which kind it was. If it were black beard algae, for example, it's harder to get rid of and you would need to kill what's there. When people say "brown algae" I'm not always sure if they're saying "it's some kind of algae and it's brown," or "it's diatoms" as Mac said...
  13. Ben Rhau

    Hi from Belgium

    Yes, just wanted to make sure it wasn't BBA or something else. In the photos, it definitely appears to be diatoms. I didn't catch earlier that you're using CO2. High tech tanks are out of my realm of experience, but that is a bright light. I think it's well worth having a dimmer to control that...
  14. Ben Rhau

    Hi from Belgium

    Do you know whether it's algae or diatoms? In either case, excess nutrients are probably not the problem. Algae can grow in extremely low nutrient environments, but plants cannot. And algae tend to proliferate when plants are not doing well. Plants usually don't do well because there's too much...
  15. Ben Rhau

    My Apistogramma borellii

    The water doesn't "capture" CO2, it happens passively through diffusion. Diffusion is very efficient without the need for flow or forced circulation. Think of what happens when you put a drop of food coloring in water. It very quickly makes its way through the water without needing mechanical...
  16. Ben Rhau

    My Apistogramma borellii

    The conventional wisdom on the forums is that, because pure water has "no" buffer, any small amount of ion change will swing the pH and there is nothing to stabilize it. There are a few key reasons this idea isn't relevant for aquariums: Perhaps the easiest way to think about it is that it's...
  17. Ben Rhau

    Introducing microfauna: scuds, amphipods, isopods into botanical tank

    Yes, that's also my experience. It's definitely nice to have other things growing in the tank. Some people even try to make the tank self-sustaining. That's not easy to do, and comes with its pros and cons. On one hand, when the fish have plenty to eat that's living in the tank, they don't...
  18. Ben Rhau

    Introducing microfauna: scuds, amphipods, isopods into botanical tank

    They have them at Aqua Imports. But I would suggest Tangerine Tigers. They will probably work, unless your TDS is below 50. And they are a LOT cheaper. Scavengers aren't really needed if you don't overfeed. Apistos are eartheaters and will definitely browse the substrate for leftovers. That...
  19. Ben Rhau

    Introducing microfauna: scuds, amphipods, isopods into botanical tank

    Where are you based? E. amazoniensis is available in the States. And also: Do you really need blackwater shrimp? And/or do you mainly want them to populate a regional biotope?
  20. Ben Rhau

    Is 48inchx16inch large enough for two groups of ortegai?

    Can you import the borellii yourself?
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