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Sand size and type

Discussion in 'Beginners Corner' started by Cam0405, Jun 16, 2019.

  1. Cam0405

    Cam0405 New Member

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    Hi all!

    I bought a 120x40x30 cm tank to improve my Apisto maintenance. I have few questions for you.

    1. Is a silica/quartz sand of 0.4-0.5 mm (pool filter sand)?

    2. Is it better if I chose a natural sand, but bigger size (1-2mm)?

    3. Is the color of the sand matter for the fish?

    I currently use Fourite black sand but I think that it is to sharp... My borellii don’t swift a lot.

    Thank you for your help!
  2. Mike Wise

    Mike Wise Moderator Staff Member 5 Year Member

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    It is a good size and close to the size seen in apisto habitats in the wild.

    This is the size I have used for 40+ years and works OK. Still, if I was starting new, I would use the above sand. I'm just too lazy (= cheap) to change.

    Only to a minor degree. Very light sand under bright lighting causes the apistos to pale; dark sand tends to darken apistos too much. In the wild sandy substrates tend to be bright white to 'sand' color (yellow or pinkish white). Realize that in most locations this sand is mostly covered by leaf litter and the streams shaded by trees.

    Any sand that is small AND sharp is dangerous to apistos. It can lacerate the delicate gill membrane. It also does major damage to whiskers on catfish.
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  3. Cam0405

    Cam0405 New Member

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    Great, thank you! I will buy a bag of the first sand to test its sharpness/feel it. I hope I will be able to tell if the sand is sharp or not.

    To keep some bacteria, I will mix my old Flourite in the bottom with new sand and add a new layer of sand on top.
  4. Cam0405

    Cam0405 New Member

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    Hi all!

    I have a big problem in my tank. Sorry for the big message.

    I just moved in my new home this week. My new 120cm tank have been completed on June 24. I kept my canister filter to offer a better biological filtration (my sponge filter is too new). The canister was off for about an hour because of the moving (sorry for my english here...). I tried to siphon the old tank (all the stuff on the bottom) + keep some Flourite. Then, I added black soil (%organic, no additives) with the Flourite on the bottom. I put a good layer of silica/quartz 0.5 mm (pool sand filter) on top (5cm total for those 2 layers, maybe 2 cm max of soil).

    I put the decaying stuff on top off that to recreate a more natural look and to add some bacteria to my new sand.
    I also kept my plants and my Java moss + add a bunch more (Hygrophila sp., Ludwigia sp., Vallisneria, Elodea, ceratophylum, Lemna minor, etc.)
    I also added wood (new, aquarium purpose)
    Unfortunately, NH3/4 is soooooo high even if I try my best to avoid it. Is my canister « died » during moving?
    Nitrite and nitrate are 0.

    What can I do? All the fish (3 apisto borellii) are in plastic containers with clean water...
    Is something interacting with the ammonia test? I use Nutrafin drop test.

    Thank you all for your help, I am so sad and frustrated!
  5. Cam0405

    Cam0405 New Member

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    I also found 5 Emperor Tetra fry (1cm maybe) in my old tank. I put them in the new one (I didn’t know that NH3 will rise so high). I saw them this morning even if Nh3/NH4 is 3 ppm. I am not able to capture them...

    What can I do?
  6. dw1305

    dw1305 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Hi all,
    Don't panic just keep changing water at the moment. If you have floating plants they are really userful, they aren't CO2 limited so can make use of any available nitrogen.

    If you've used a conditioner like "Prime" it will effect the ammonia test kit results. The fact that the fry are still alive makes me pretty sure you don't have 3ppm NH3.

    If you need to move your canister filter again just make sure the taps are open and then pour ~90% of the water out of it. In biological filtration oxygen is the important factor.

    cheers Darrel
  7. Cam0405

    Cam0405 New Member

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    Hi Darrel, thank you so much for your answer.

    Yes, I use a lot of Prime because I change 40% water per day with tap water (my water is very soft, so usefull for apisto). Is it because of Prime that my readings of ammonia are high?

    Thank you for your help for the canister. I just move my 20G with your advice and I hope I will be able to skip the NH3 off the chart part ahahah!

    Do I have to keep my apisto in their plastic containers for some days?
  8. Mike Wise

    Mike Wise Moderator Staff Member 5 Year Member

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    Don't feel, look! Use a magnifying glass and look at individual grains. If they have angular corners then they are too sharp. If you must 'feel' for sharpness, then do as a geologist does - put some between your teeth and grind them. You'll know if it is angular or not.
    MickeM and ButtNekkid like this.
  9. dw1305

    dw1305 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Hi all,
    I'd put the Apistogramma into the tank.

    I'm not a great fan of test kits, I like the idea of them, but they don't necessarily <"work very well">. I use a different approach, I've called it the <"Duckweed Index">.

    It is the <"Prime that interferes with the Ammonia testing">. This is what <"Seachem say">.

    In terms of the filter I like a sponge pre-filter to stop any debris getting into the filter body, and then in the filter I don't have any mechanical filter material, like fine sponge or floss. I want the filter media to remain aerobic, I'm not interested in anaerobic denitrification.

    Have a look at this thread (<"on UKAPS">) it explains why plants are a better option for removing nitrate (NO3).

    cheers Darrel
  10. Cam0405

    Cam0405 New Member

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    Hi Mike! The sand I bought is great! So round and soft, I really think I made a good move in buying this type of sand. The other stuff I was using (Flourite sand) was sharp with a lot of angles under a magnifying glass. I kept some of it to put it under the new one. Thank you!

    Hi Darrel! Thank you for the link on the other forum, it is a great reading.
    I really think I will switch to a sponge filter entirely. For the moment, I keep my Eheim canister.
    The problem with the canister (and me!) is that I never open and clean them. I open them only 1x a year. The canister in my apisto tank is never dirty, but the one in my dwarf puffer’s is always dirty.

    The next time I open them, I will remove the fine foam (the « soft » one). I will keep the ceramic noodles and balls, and maybe the coarse blue foam.

    I also think that plants are extraordinary: I never have had a reading of NO3 in my tanks.


    I will put my apisto in their new home today! What a good thing you help me guys!!!!
    I wnatnto put a photo of my tank but don’t know how...

    Have a good day!
  11. Cam0405

    Cam0405 New Member

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    Hi all! My water is now very clean with no NH3, NO*.

    I have a question for you. My tank is 120x35x40, with lot of plants and wood. I currently have 1 male + 2 females Apisto borellii in this tank.
    My LFS just received borellii but from another breeder, so hopefully not the same genetic.
    Can I safely add a female or even a male? My fish are very peaceful even when the 2 females were garding eggs in my much smaller tank. My goal is to keep them healthy and have fun watching them interact with each other.

    I will add some Emperor tetras (to have a better group with my 5 surprise fry) in few months.


    Thank you! Love this forum.
  12. Mike Wise

    Mike Wise Moderator Staff Member 5 Year Member

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    It probably is OK in a tank that sizet. Still, I prefer to remove all the the apistos, rearrange the decor somewhat (removes old territories) and the add all the apistos at the same time. This allows all to have an equal chance at sorting out territories. I would do this once the new fish are out of quarantine - a good practice when adding any new fish to an established community tank. Speaking of community tanks. I would hesitate keeping my Emperor tetras (Nematobrycon lacortei) with A. borellii. They are just too rowdy and the males are territorial in their own right ... and, of course, 'a community tank is not a (good) breeding tank'.
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  13. Cam0405

    Cam0405 New Member

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    Hi Mike, thank you. I will think about this before adding new fish. I will definitely quarantine any new fish.

    I already have 5 Nematobrycon palmeri fry (1 to 1.5 cm), but I never kept adults N. palmeri for long before. I was thinking maybe 2 males and 5 females max.
    I don’t want to have a lot of fry, so predation don’t bother me. But I don’t want them to bother my precious (yet probably inbreed lol!) borellii.
    Is there a good male for female ratio for my borelli? Like 2/2 or 2/4? Even 1/3?

    Do you think about nice looking fish for my tank? I don’t like Cardinalis and neons. I like species with special fins (like N palmeri and H megalopterus) and not too colorful.

    Thank you for your help, I am learning a lot.
  14. Mike Wise

    Mike Wise Moderator Staff Member 5 Year Member

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    A. borellii is an apisto that I consider 'casually polygamous', where males are happy with just 1 female or happier with more. In your size of tank I would suggest an odd number of males and at least the same number of females - or more. It all depends on the dimensions of the tank and how it is decorated.

    I hate suggesting fish for a community. Everyone's taste is different, but if you aren't into colorful dithers maybe Nannostomus eques or N. unifasciatus (the 2 'dip-tail' pencilfish) might be different enough to pique your interest.
  15. Cam0405

    Cam0405 New Member

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    Thank you.

    I just want to make it right and dont make mistake.

    My tank is 120x40x30 (approximatly). How can I post a photo on this thread? I think it is well decorated, but I am not a pro.
    My 2 females are always together. I will add one and check for a male after that.

    I really love Nannostomus and will check onto them.
    Do you think I can keep my Emperor fry?

    Sorry for my questions!
  16. Mike Wise

    Mike Wise Moderator Staff Member 5 Year Member

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    All I can say is try it and see how it works out for you. Your tank is larger than any of mine, so you might have a different experience.
  17. Cam0405

    Cam0405 New Member

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    Hi, sorry to ask another question.

    I think I already know the answer, but I want your opinion on this because there is not a lot of info on these fish.

    Is it possible to add A. Papagayo or Atahulpa to my tank (with my present borellii)? Probably that Borellii are too gentle but...
    Are they hard to maintain?
    Thanks!
  18. Mike Wise

    Mike Wise Moderator Staff Member 5 Year Member

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    In a word: NO! Both are much more aggressive and territorial than A. borellii. Add to that, these 2 species tend to form breeding pairs which jointly guard their breeding territory and fry. 2 against 1 = dead fish in most cases.
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