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Newbie questions

ButtNekkid

Active Member
Hi!

I bought some sphagnum peat from a local garden center. What is the best way to add it into aquarium during water change?

Is there a limit how much i can add leaves into aquarium? I really like the look of leaf litter and my ottos seem to love them. I have access to IAL and oak leaves.

Can i get a harem of Cacatuoides (1+2) in my tank (a 63 G)? I read that they are not a blackwater species and i kinda like to look of tanning stained water. Will they possibly breed in it?

Will they fit into my quarantine tank (a 15 G)? Should I get the females first?

Tank conductivity is about 120 to 200 µS depending on wc time. And tap is 80 to 100 µS. Tank KH 3
PH 7. No idea about the rest of the values.

My tanks has lots of plants, malnly floaters, and are low tech in general. As in T8 lights and no additional CO2.

I have a culture of white worms but I´m struggling to get it up to speed. Any ideas what´s wrong.
It´s over a month now and i have not fed from the culture yet. Could it be too moist?

I´ll add pictures of the tanks later.

Stocking:

10 paracheirodon axelrodi
2 Megalechis thoracata
1 Crossocheilus oblongus this will be given away
3 Otocinclus
Betta splendens 1+1 these will leave the tank if Cacatuoides moves in

Quarantine tank has 7 Carnegiella myersi


Thanks in advance!

BR,

BN
 
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Mike Wise

Moderator
Staff member
5 Year Member
I don't know if you can have too deep of a layer of leaves, unless it affects water quality.

Everyone has their own method of using peat. Some put it in the tank. I don't. I put peat in a separate container and allow the water to cycle through the peat. I have more control of water values in this way. Once I have my preferred values I use the water for aquarium water changes. Do a search on the forum. It has been discussed many, many times.

A trio of cacs can easily be housed in a 63 gallon tank (I'm assuming it's not a column-style tank). I hope you don't want many fry from the trio, because your community members excel at eating apisto fry. As for the 15 quarantine, it should be fine, just add some hideouts (I use PVC pipe; easy to sterilize if necessary).

White worm cultures can be a problem. They don't do well above 68°F/20°C and often are invaded by flies. Keep them cool and well covered. Grindal worms handle warmer temperatures but still have the same fly problem.
 

dw1305

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Hi all,
Grindal worms handle warmer temperatures but still have the same fly problem.
I have both cereal and house mites in all my Grindal worm cultures at the moment. It doesn't matter what I do, they always find their way back in.

cheers Darrel
 

Phile

Member
I haven't had white worms for a few years, but when I did, I kept them in a fridge in my garage. Production was slow. Good news is that they didn't drink too much beer, and my wife didn't want to store much food in there. I used to keep peat in small draw string bags that I found in a fish shop somewhere. They worked great. You can also get paint strainer bags at a hardware store. The material is similar to brine shrimp netting in mesh size. You can cut it to the size you need and wrap the peat up in it. If you have a spare HOB filter, you can just put the bag in it and run the filter for as long as needed.
You can also make an in tank one using a plastic disposable water bottle. Just cut the bottom off, drill some holes near the cap, and attach a suction cup to the side of the bottle. To use, insert an air stone down to the cap, place a peat bag over the stone(you might have to weight the bag so it doesn't float out), and stick it to the inside of the tank with the cap end down, open bottom up. Make sure it is completely under water, then turn on the air stone. You can adjust the flow by adjusting the air. You can use it PRN, take it out when not needed.
 

dw1305

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Hi all,
Now I have the peat in a filter bag https://www.jbl.de/?lang=en&mod=products&func=detail&id=2430 next to the Juwel´s filter outlet. How long should it take to tint the water?
It will depend on how white (undecomposed) the peat is. Because you are in Finland you should have access to high quality white sphagnum peats.

Very white peat will tint the water less than darker, more decomposed peats, but should have more ability to sequester cations.

cheers Darrel
 

ButtNekkid

Active Member
Hi,

I think this is fairly accurate color of the peat. Excuse the disorder.

I just noticed it´s being manufactured about 10 kilometers from our house. That´s convenient! :)
 

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ButtNekkid

Active Member
should have more ability to sequester cations.

cheers Darrel
Hi Darrel,

What does this mean in terms of water parameters?

Btw, where I live, there are a lot of heated opinions about the environmental effect on water quality of nearby lakes and rivers, when it comes to peat bogs.
 

dw1305

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Hi all,
"should have more ability to sequester cations...." What does this mean in terms of water parameters?
When the sphagnum moss is growing it is extremely effective at exchanging H+ ions for other cations (Ca++, K+ etc), but as the Sphagnum dome begins to grow up above the water table (to form an <"ombrotrophic mire">) the only source of cations is from rain-water and 99.9% of the "<exchange sites in the sphagnum are filled with H+ ions>". That is why you can use peat as a fuel once it is dried (it is 99% carbon), and as a horticultural growing medium, it doesn't contain any nutrients, so you have a blank slate to add fertilizer etc to.

The extremely acidic, base poor conditions exclude most other plants and the dome is almost pure Sphagnum. When the moss dies, it doesn't decompose (you don't have enough oxygen or nitrogen) but the dead cells retain their ability to exchange ions.

After you've extracted the peat, when you run tank water, with cations present, through the peat, it will exchange H+ ions for the Ca++ ions etc in solution and dGH will fall.
Btw, where I live, there are a lot of heated opinions about the environmental effect on water quality of nearby lakes and rivers, when it comes to peat bogs.
I had a look on the <"Vapo site">, almost 30 years ago I did some research on peat alternatives as horticultural growing media, and they were the new big player in white peats. I noticed some bits about water quality.

The problem is that there are now no commercially exploitable sphagnum peat reserves left in the UK, Netherlands or Germany, and Ireland has stopped burning peat in power stations. Finland still has white peats, but they've taken 12,000 years to form.

cheers Darrel
 

ButtNekkid

Active Member
Thanks for the reply, Darrel!

This site is a real goldmine!

A few more questions, if you don´t mind:

How would you add this peat into my tank? Should I worry about KH when putting peat into the tank?
Are KH drop tests accurate? Are there more reliable test ways for a consumer level? Last time it gave me a result oh 3 KH.

I read somewhere that if the water does not tint, PH wont drop. Is this true. What´s the science behind that?

Is there any way to add a http://www.swisstropicals.com/filtration-shop/cornerfilter-shop/ to my bigger thank when it´s already running (the tank, I mean).
I really like the look of it, and I´d like to think it´s more efficient as a biological filter (just an opinion) and it´s more foolproof if power goes out.
 

dw1305

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Hi all,
How would you add this peat into my tank? Should I worry about KH when putting peat into the tank? Are KH drop tests accurate? Are there more reliable test ways for a consumer level? Last time it gave me a result oh 3 KH.
Probably best to treat the water outside of the tank. I used to used a cotton pillow case filled with peat and submerged in a water butt. It works OK. Have a look at <"Peat Moss Filtration">.

Yes KH drops will give an approximate measure of total alkalinity, the drops are a form of "end point titration".
I read somewhere that if the water does not tint, PH wont drop. Is this true. What´s the science behind that?
I'm not sure, the humic compounds that cause the tint are weak acids, but you could have a lot of tint without any change in pH (if the water had high dKH).
Is there any way to add a http://www.swisstropicals.com/filtration-shop/cornerfilter-shop/ to my bigger thank when it´s already running (the tank, I mean). I really like the look of it, and I´d like to think it´s more efficient as a biological filter (just an opinion) and it´s more foolproof if power goes out.
I like the Poret foam corner filters. Stephan Tanner's "day job" is as a scientist who works in the USA. He is Swiss and gets his Poret foam and Jetlifters etc from Germany. I you search for <"Eck Matten filter"> you should be able to find some European suppliers.

If you haven't read his <"biofiltration"> article I would recommend it.

cheers Darrel
 

ButtNekkid

Active Member
Thanks for the help Darrel, you have no idea how long I´ve been looking for that filter!

Will one of those be sufficient in my big tank or do I need 2? If they are powered by air, will it cause enough circulation?
I might up the numbers of otto´s and cardinals in the near future.

http://aqua-mac.de/unser-sortiment/hamburger-mattenfilter/hmf-eck-mattenfilter/132/hmf-mattenfilter-em-300

Can I put floaters on the corner of that filter. That might look nice!

How does one know when air powered sponges filters are starting to clog up? My filters produce a LOT of bubbles in the quarantine tank.

I have a gravel bed in my big tank. Could that rise GH/KH? My test for KH: https://www.jbl.de/?lang=en&mod=products&func=detail&id=2436

Conductivity:

Are there any more "natural" ways to reduce conductivity other than water changes? I don´t have an RO unit.
Any guesses whether these rise conductivity:

https://www.jbl.de/?lang=en&mod=products&func=detail&id=2316
https://www.jbl.de/?lang=en&mod=products&func=detail&id=2319

Or does everything we put in tanks rise it? I use these products during water changes.

Does adding peat and leaves rise conductivity?

During acclimatization I always match the conductivity between the bag´s water and tank water.
Is that a good practice? My LFS´s water is about 300µS and tank is pretty much between 100-140µS

When I got my Carnegiella myersi, the bag water was 600+ µS!

Br,

BN
 

dw1305

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Hi all,
Will one of those be sufficient in my big tank or do I need 2? If they are powered by air, will it cause enough circulation? I might up the numbers of otto´s and cardinals in the near future. <"http://aqua-mac.de/unser-sortiment/hamburger-mattenfilter/hmf-eck-mattenfilter/132/hmf-mattenfilter-em-300">.
One should be fine, it depends a little bit on the dimensions of the uplift tubes and the rating of the air pump. I would use the 20ppi sponge, rather than the finer 30ppi.

I haven't used them (I don't have a tank with a HMF at the moment), but I like the look of the Czech style airlifters that Stephan sells (also sourced from Germany).

Can I put floaters on the corner of that filter. That might look nice!
You can plant the top of the filter sponge.


How does one know when air powered sponges filters are starting to clog up?
When the water level drops on the inside of the filter sponge. The larger the difference is between the tank water level and the internal water level the dirtier the sponge is.

I have a gravel bed in my big tank. Could that rise GH/KH? My test for KH: https://www.jbl.de/?lang=en&mod=products&func=detail&id=2436
Possibly, I mainly use silica sand, which is inert.
Conductivity:

Are there any more "natural" ways to reduce conductivity other than water changes? I don´t have an RO unit.
Any guesses whether these rise conductivity:

https://www.jbl.de/?lang=en&mod=products&func=detail&id=2316
https://www.jbl.de/?lang=en&mod=products&func=detail&id=2319

Or does everything we put in tanks rise it? I use these products during water changes.
Yes, you are right basically everything that is soluble that you add to the water raises conductivity. I use rain-water in my tanks, but I realise that isn't an option for every-one.
Does adding peat and leaves rise conductivity?
They could, but they may also chelate some ions, so I wouldn't expect them to have a major effect.
During acclimatization I always match the conductivity between the bag´s water and tank water. Is that a good practice? My LFS´s water is about 300µS and tank is pretty much between 100-140µS. When I got my Carnegiella myersi, the bag water was 600+ µS!
I don't personally, I usually work on the theory that my tank water is going to be a lot better quality than whatever the fish have been in and I add them to the tank straight away. I turn the tank light off, pour away 9/10 of the water that the fish came in, and then I submerge the bag in the quarantine tank so that water flows in and the fish can exit in their own time.
and tank is pretty much between 100-140µS.
I wouldn't worry too much, that is quite a low conductivity level, and you should be able to keep most Apistogramma species in it. If you want to breed the "black-water" species you will need to lower the pH (and ideally conductivity).

cheers Darrel
 

ButtNekkid

Active Member
Hi,

My "peat bucket" of 10 litres (no circulation)that has a filter bag full of peat, has lowered it´s conductivity from tap´s 120 µS to 70 µS.
Does that sound about right to you guys. I started the mix about a week a go.
 

ButtNekkid

Active Member
Hi,

I have two sponge filters in my smaller tank, 15 G / 60 L
What kind of output (L/hour) should I be aiming for my air pump?
There´s not much jet of water coming out of these filters now. Quite a lot of bubbles though.

What is the optimal position of the outputs? Above or below water level?
 

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Phile

Member
For a 15 gal. that's probably fine depending on your live stock load, and whether you have plants or not. It's always better to overplant and understock, rather than the opposite. This is especially true if you don't have much experience. Also, sponge filters do not produce a water jet, just a lot of bubbles.
 

dw1305

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Hi all,
It's always better to overplant and understock, rather than the opposite. This is especially true if you don't have much experience.
Very true, plants are the thing that make water management easier.
Also, sponge filters do not produce a water jet, just a lot of bubbles.
They should produce a jet of water if you have an uplift tube that ends above the surface, sponge filters are much more effective with an up-lift tube. Have a look at Mike's comments in <"10 gallon apisto setups">.

I like the look of the Czech type jetlifters that Stephan Tanner sells in the USA <"jetlifters - Swiss Tropicals"> (made in Germany by Beck & Harich).

cheers Darrel
 
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