air stones and tap water

cosmic dust

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Hi!

So I finally bought my first fish tank (actually, it's the second......long story involving 10 gallons of water, gravel & broken glass all over the floor (luckily no fish!))

So I have two questions....the first is about water. I bought a test kit - a mardel master test kit - sorry it's one with the dip sticks, I now know you guys recommend the other kind with bottles and test tubes. Anyway, my results for water straight out of the tap was pH 7.6, total alkalinity/buffering capacity 80-120ppm, total hardness 0ppm, nitrate & nitrite 0, ammonia 0.25ppm. The readings after I added API tap water conditioner were about the same. According to the booklet I got with the test kit, my hardness is way too soft & the buffering capacity is kind of on the low side & obviously I don't want to put ammonia in my tank. What should I do? One of my friends told me he used to buy the cheapest spring water at the store - is that the best way to go?

Also, I have a question about air stones. Maybe you can point me to an article on them, I just can't seem to find one. I have a 30 gallon tank with a penguin 350 bio-wheel filter. Do I need an airstone? Would it be a good thing to have? If so, what would you recommend? The guy in Petco told me since I had a good filter, I really didn't need one & if I got one I should just get a small pump (like for a 10 gallon tank) and a 1 inch stone. Do you agree?

This site has been so helpful to me & even though I haven't posted much, I've been reading a bunch & learning so much! Thanks for all the advice you give!
 

Butterfly

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First question.. If you have no fish in the tank and aren't adding ammonia why do you have a reading of ammonia .25ppm. You shouldn't have any ammonia. This is why strips are a little unreliable, their hard to read.
Your ph is ok and most fish will acclimate to the other parameters. The important ones to start off with are ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. I wouldn't use spring water just plain dechlorinated tap water will be fine.
You can use plain no scented, no additives ammonia to cycle your tank.
Usually you want to aim for ten times the total gallons of water turnvover. This is called gallons per hour(gph). 30 gal. x 10=300gph needed. With the penguin 350 you you have a gph of 350 so the penguin is a good size for your tank. Now if you like bubble wands or other bubbler apparatus then it won't hurt to put some in. But as far as necessary, not really you have plenty of water movement with your filter. Hope that helped
Carol
Carol
 
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cosmic dust

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Thanks so much for the reply.
I'll try and get some better testing kits - what brand do you suggest? I have read somewhere some discussion of chloramine in tap water turning into ammonia (sorry to any chemists for that bad explaination) I thought that might be the problem.
If I buy an air pump, what sort should I get & how powerful?
Sorry for all the questions......thanks for all the answers
 

Butterfly

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Aquarium Pharmaceuticals is an excellent testing kit. I think somebody said petsmart had a coupon online you could print out to get it cheaper.
I have heard that discussion also but if you are using a dechlorinator that takes care of chlorine and chloramines(most do) that shouldn't be an issue.
a small single air pump should run just about anything you want to run. Remember to get air line also to run from your pump to your bubbler. Since this isn't included with either I always forget it. Don't worry about the questions, gives us a chance to stretch our brains
Carol
 

chickadee

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I use the following air pumps and they are SUPER QUIET.  The other brands I have used have been louder and interfered with my sleep or work at the computer as I do not have a lot of noise tolerance.



I would get the smallest one that will fit your tank.  That way you won't have to get all the valves to tame the airflow as it will not be too strong for the szie of the tank.

The airstones I use are like this:

Airstones

http://www.drsfostersmith.com/Product/Prod_Display.cfm?pcatid=3679&N=2004+113405  (this one includes the check valve)
(this one will need a check valve like the one below)

Check Valves


You will also need to get airline tubing. You can find it at any fish store.


You can probably buy them cheaper at the local store than to order online and pay shipping.  You will need to have a check valve like the one I have here to put in the water line to keep the water from backing up into the airline and ruining your air pump if the power fails.
 
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cosmic dust

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A little update with more questions!
My tank is now full of water - yay! & I bought some better testing kits.
Okay, so my tap water doesn't have any ammonia etc, so I added dechlorinator and then put it in the tank & started "feeding my invisible fish" (ie adding flakes to give the tank ammonia) So my first question is, how many flakes should I be adding (I have a 30 gallon tank)? I started this on Sunday & so far I've added just over .11oz or 3g (I got little tester packets free with some of the other stuff I bought). The water's still clear, but I can see flake residue around on the ornaments and particularly on the filter intake - am I adding the right amount?
I added BioSpira on Tuesday and my readings today were ammonia 0.50ppm, nitrite 0.50ppm and some nitrates (haven't got the good nitrates test kit yet). I assume I'm supposed to add fish flakes until my ammonia & nitrites = 0 and then I can add fish...is that right? When should I do my first water change?
I bought the pump, valve, air stone - I got a 4 inch airstone - is that too big for a 30 gallon tank?
So what about fish......I live in Texas & I can't get my tank colder that my air conditioner (obviously!) so I need fish happy at about 78F. Also my water is at pH 7.8 - pH 8 - that's what it comes out of the tap as, so what fish would be happy in that?
Sorry for the endless questions!
Thanks!
 

chickadee

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If you use Bio-Spira then you should add the fish right away as it is considered an instant cycle. You do not need to add flakes to make ammonia or other methods of cycle. It needs to have a fish load right away (at least one or two) to keep the bacteria alive.

Rose
 
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