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Sir Dingdy Dang
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Discussion Starter #1
Does anybody use wood in their aquarium? Where did you get it (bought or scavenged) and how has it affected, if at all, your water?

Does a tank need an algae control fish? I would rather not have any but am worried I will have problems if I dont. Anybody have any opinions?

Anybody have a tried and true method for water changes on a large aquarium? Somewhere in the vicinity of 150 gallons? (567.811768 liters, gotta love google)
 

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So long as you get the balance of an aquarium right, you don't have to have algae eaters. The trick is finding that good balance. Is the tank to be planted? That makes a difference to what needs to be in balance to have a fairly algae free aquarium. You should be aware that all aquariums have a little algae in them, no matter what you do.

How you do your water changes will depend on if there is any difference in parameters & temp between the water straight from your tap & what is in the tank. If the water is the same (or very close) straight out of the tap, you can just fill directly from the hose adding dechlorinator as you go. If there is a substantial difference in PH, GH, temp or anything else, it is best to prepare the water in a large tub or tank to get the parameters & temp the same & then pump it up into the main tank.

I've got wood that I have bought & wood that I've found. Look for dead, solid wood (no rot) that has no sap & no bark. The tannins released by wood can lower the PH of the water but that's about it. The tannins can turn the water a tea colour. You can presoak wood for a week or more to remove some of the tannins. You may need to change the water that it is soaking in several times during this period. If you put the wood straight in the tank & don't like the tea colour, you can use carbon in the filter to remove the discolouration or you can do frequent water changes to help control the discolouration. Eventually most of the tannins will leech out of the wood & stop having an effect on the PH & colour. Some woods contain hardly any tannins & won't have any effect on the coulour of PH. If your planning a rift lake cichlid tank it is not advisable to use wood because of the PH lowering effect it can have & because rift lake cichlids do not need wood in thier aquariums.
 

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Sir Dingdy Dang
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Discussion Starter #3
Are you saying it is easier to control algae with live plants? I do want some in any case.

So adding water soaked wood is not really an issue other than the chance of a lower ph and change of water color? Sounds easy enough.

What I am going for is:
20 neon tetra
20 cardinal tetra
5 german blue rams
5 kuhli loach
5 shrimp or prawn
 

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It is often easier to control algae in a planted tank as the plants compete with the algae for the available nutrients in the water. You need to get the balance of light, co2 & nutrients correct though or you can have algae problems pretty quickly. Water quality also needs to be really good.

There is very little risk with teh wood. If you collect your own though be sure that it has not been exposed to any fertilisers or other chemicals & make sure that if it comes from a river or lake that the water it has been in is of good quality & free off pollutants like sewerage & crop run off.

What ration of male to female Rams are you thinking of having? To keep 5, I would recommend having 1 male & 4 females. If they are all males they will fight, if there are more males than females they will fight, if there are two males & three females the males will fight. Best to go with 1 male & 4 females or settle for two seperate pairs, each with thier own territory to breed in & defend. I'd add more Kuhli Loaches. At least 5 more. They have a very light bio-load & will be much more visible if kept in larger numbers. I would be very carefull about adding any shrimp or prawns. Depending on what species of them you get there is a very good chance they will either be eaten by the fish or actually catch the fish & eat them!! I would change either the Neons or the Cardinals for a different schooling fish seeing as they look so similar. Either that or just go for 30 Cardinals or 60 Neons. For algae eaters I would add in 10 Otos & 2 SAE (Siames Algae Eater). Don't get the Chinese Algae Eater, commonly sold as a Sucking Loach. They get big, aggressive & are not very good algae eaters when they get older. A Bristlenose or similar sized Pleco would also go well with your stocking list.
 

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Just do the right lighting and regular Partial water changes...........keep feeding in-check and you can have a few low light plants...............Fish feel more secure with some live plants.

Your bioload is going to be pretty low , with such few fish for the large volume.




About wood...........some Do leach a LOT of tannins, but the water changes and your large volume will help.
 

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Sir Dingdy Dang
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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Thanks for all the help and advice. I will keep it in mind when I get to the point where I can add fish. I would probably go with shrimp instead of prawn, actually I have never seen a freshwater prawn in stores. Thanks for the tip on the male rams too. I will try to keep just one male and the rest female. Are you saying that neon tetra and cardinal tetra shouldn't be kept together? Why not?

Thanks for the advise on the wood. I am currently soaking two nice pieces and will give them a couple of weeks to see if I can't water log them and pull some of the tannins out.

Gfish, is that your current list of aquariums? You seriously have 4x180 gallon tanks? My god man, where do you find that kind of space? Let alone floor boards to support the weight? Not to mention the 3x120 gallon tanks. It must take a whole day to do maintenance on those tanks all at once.
 

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The person probably only commented about changing around the neon/cardinal tetra combination because there is little... point to having so similar of fish. Of course, if that is what you want, that is obviously up to you, but I guess I'd also be wondering why have both of them? I think most people feel that cardinal tetras look better between the two and are hardier, so why not just stick with those in 30, or 60?

Another very nice looking schooling tetra of similar body shape/size and extent of coloration, I would suggest rummy nose tetras.

With what you have in your tank, I think you can add at least 30 other similar sized fish.

You are aware of the cycling process however right? If not, I'd suggest you look it up because I'd probably guarantee that the neon tetras would die off very soon after the start of your tank.

I don't believe it would be the worst thing to have a few male german rams in a tank that large. Most any site that I've researched on blue rams stated that you should have 1 male per 20 gallons because of their tendency to fight with one another. I do think that is still probably unsafe, but I can't imagine catastrophic results to have 2 german rams males in a 150 gallon tank that would have plants, driftwood, etc. You should probably get 4 females as well, because they will eventually pick and form a couple. Then you could return the two remaining females or whatever.

After dealing with my current ich/other issues that sprang up in my tank, I'll shortly be re-adding the german blues to my 75 gallon tank (which currently house a pair of gold rams). Germans are pretty hardy in my opinion, but only in established tanks with very low nitrates, so you should not be adding any of those at least for a month or two after starting your tank anyway. I'll let you know how the germans interact in my tank by that time.

Yes, algae can be controlled by adding plants, however as I've recently discovered (just bought some otos), it's not really the best thing to have the tank completely clean since it would be food to many of the bottom feeders. You should definitely get plants, but not worry so much about algae buildup just yet. If you have the tank in a place where natural sunlight enters the tank, then you will probably get a massive algae buildup. Aquarium light with plants won't produce much algae.

Driftwood, unless something is wrong with it, apparently only changes the ph by maybe .5 at the most, so I don't think it would be a problem for the fish that you currently are interested in.

I'm not sure what you mean by a tried and true method of water changes for a 150 gallon. Did you mean what's the easiest and safest way to do a water change for such a large tank? What I would suggest is getting a python, which is now called lee's.... I forgot. It is essentially a two way hose which connects to your sink. You can siphon water out, or put water in with it. Naturally, you should not put water directly into the tank, but you can put it into a bucket nearby the tank and have it at the ready to dump in.
 

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Yes that is my current tanks. There are about another dozen dedicated to breeding & live food as well. My house has concrete floors so weight isn't an issue. There's one dedicated fish room & I have a 4 car garage that has a section dedicated to non display tanks.

I only suggested something other than the Cardinal Neon combination because the fish look so similar. Compatability wise they are absolutley fine together. Rummynoses are good I've got 20 or so of those in one of my planted tanks. Harlequin Rasboras, Lemon Tetras & Emperor Tetras are also really nice.

You could do two male Rams in the tank so long as you design the decor carefully. With the right decor design you could probably do 3-4 males Rams with at least one female each. Each female would need it's own territory that is suitable for breeding that it can defend against the other females & the males would need to have thier territory clearly defined from the other males but encompassing the territory of at least one of the females territories.
 

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Sir Dingdy Dang
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Discussion Starter #9
The reason I want both neon and cardinal tetras is because they are very similar. I think it will give the school a little bit of variation when closely examined but will look uniform when casually viewed. That's the idea anyway.

I'll check into those other tetra you mentioned. I don't want too many fish in my tank though. I don't really want to max it out, I would prefer to keep the "bio load" very light.

I am aware of the cycling process and am currently doing that right now. I won't be adding fish for quite a while. I am soaking wood and hope to get some plants started soon. I do have 4 black skirt tetra that my mother brought me from her tank. I was a little concerned about putting them in early but after 2 weeks they seem to be fine. Hopefully having a couple of starter fish will speed the process up some.

I was refering to a method of water changes that is quick and simple when I asked for a tried and true process. The idea of scooping out buckets and toting them through the house sloshing water everywhere kinda bothered me. I ordered a python a few days ago and hopefully that thing works as easy as advertised. They wanted almost $90 for it at PetCo and the LFS. I found it on Amazon.com for $35 new. How long should water sit in the bucket before it's added to the tank? Does any water de-chlorinator bought from the LFS work?
 

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The python is great, but it is limited in that you cannot put chlorinated water directly into the tank, it's only good for siphoning water out.

Here is what I would do, and I do it to some extent. Get a water cooler, or a very large container that can hold the amount of water that you intend to change (so about 40 gallons or so depending on your circumstances). Getting something smaller is fine, but it would probably mean that you'd have to refill it a few times.

Assuming your tap water is very close to what is in your aquarium, the only thing you really need to worry about is the chlorine, and the temperature.

First, siphon out and clean the amount of water you wish to change. I wouldn't even use the python for this if your tank is nearby a window. Just buy one of the simple vacuum siphons, get it started and have the end outside the window, better to have fish nasties outside to the open doors rather than your sink. This is under the assumption you have a house or the people you live with wouldn't mind seeing water being dumped.

Then, using the python, adjust the water temperature of the sink and pump it into your water cooler/large water container which should be right next to your tank.

Now inside this cooler, you should dechlorinate it, medicate it, make sure the temperature is equal to that of the tank, etc, whatever it is you need to do to ensure that the water is safe for the fish.

Apparently the dechlorinating medication is near instant, under the assumption that your tap water doesn't have much chlorine like mine. But, I don't actually know how fast the dechlorination time would be, somebody else may help you on that.

After that is all done with, buy a water pump of no less than 300-400 gallons per hour pumping rate. Stick that into the cooler, and have a hose connect from that into the tank, and start pumping.

It has saved me SO much time, I have moved from a 30 gallon to a 75 gallon tank recently, and the thought of running back and forth with dechlorinator and thermometer at hand with a 5 gallon bucket from my bathroom (none of our sinks are compatible with the python) made me want to shoot myself.

It's a bit more stressful for me because I have to use the python from the outside of house hose connection, which means its cold water and I'd thus have to still go to the bathroom for a few runs to regulate the temperature.

Well the neons are your choice as I've stated, it's not my preference because neons to me are the cliche/played out fish.

I think you should add more kuhli loaches however, they apparently produce really low bioload and are excellent at finding leftover food that most other of their bottomfeeder counterparts can't because of their thin size and borrowing capabilities.
 

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Good suggestion about the refill tub from Mikolas. I use much the same thing for my larger tanks except that I use a 55gal tank for refills. I don't even bother with dechlorinator. I have a cheap heater installed in the 55gal tank along with a 300g/hr pond pump. The pump is plumbed with PVC to 4 different tanks complete with two way valves to direct the water flow to which ever tank I want to fill. There is also a valve to alow the water just to be circulated in the top up tank. I just fill the top up tank straight from a garden hose & heat the water up. Make any changes to parameters that I need & leave it circulating for 24hrs to dispell the chlorine. Be sure to check if your local water supply is treated with chlorine or chloramine. Chlorine is dispelled over 24hrs but chloramine MUST be treated with chemicals.

I'm not a fan of pythons at all. I just use standard gravel vaccuums with garden hose extensions on them so that I can run them right through the house & out onto the garden. The plants love aquarium water.
 

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Aspiring Aquarist
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So for driftwood would the store bought wood have to be pre soaked as well?
 

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Sir Dingdy Dang
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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
The piece of wood I have in mine has been waterlogged for a long time but still releases some tannin. I actually kinda like it. It makes the water look more natural in my opinion, like a river or lake bottom. As far as I know it's harmless to the fish. This is my 155 gallon bowfront. I will be adding more plants this weekend hopefully.
 

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wow that thing is really pretty! do you like bowfronts better than rectaangular tanks? what is the difference in them?
 

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Sir Dingdy Dang
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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks. The only other aquarium I had was a 20 gallon regular box shape years ago. As far as I can tell, the bow fronts are just more aesthetic. They give the whole thing a more decorative look. I read one post a while back where a guy was complaining about how they distort the view. I have no idea what he was referring to. I have absolutely no distortion from any angle I view it at. After having this one for just under a month, I couldn't imagine having bought the standard square shape I was thinking about buying for a little less.
 

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I'll keep that in mind when I upgrade :)
 
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