Inherited an aquarium

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by Undefined, Dec 8, 2012.

  1. U

    Undefined New Member Member

    First off, let me apologize for my lengthy post, but I know I should give all the info I can. Also, I'm not very good at turning thoughts into coherent paragraphs; please bear with me.

    I just inherited a real small (sigh... 10g) aquarium and equipment, most of which is/was new-in-box. I bought everything else that was needed along with replacing some of the inherited equipment that I didn't feel safe using and wasn't new.

    All in all here is my inventory: (purchased new unless stated except for 10g tank)
    2 10g tanks (one covered in lime scale with cleaning equipment being stored in it, not in use; may not ever use it) fluorescent deluxe hood, incandescent economy hood (not being used), power filter (100gph, rated for up to 15g), corner filter (90gph, rated for up to 20g, not being used, kept as a backup, inherited), 50w submersible heater, 6 artificial plants, a couple different air stones, 2 air pumps and line (one was inherited and quite old,used a backup), 2 gravel vacuums (one was inherited, but was moldy/algae-covered; not being used), 2g bucket, 4 air-line gang valves (all inherited, not used), under-gravel filter (inherited, not being used), canister filter w/ separate water pump (not being used, for some reason it was being used with a 10g tank...:confused:; outlet nipple snapped off when moving, may try to fix it with some aquarium silicone), 20 lbs polished gravel (inherited, not being used, smells awful), 10 lbs black/mardi gras mix, bulk activated carbon and zeolite crystals (I assume for the canister filter, not being used), 2 thermometers one floating and one standing (standing one used during water changes in bucket), algae scraper, fish net, API freshwater master test kit, tetra 6-in-one test strips, pH test strips (inherited, expired, not being used) water conditioner, tropical flake fish food, flash-frozen bloodworms, start-zyme (dormant nitrifying bacteria).

    My current setup is the 10g tank, power filter, 10 lbs gravel, heater, all artificial plants, small airstone/air-line/air pump, fluorescent hood, and 2 (as of now) glofish.

    Now onto the problems and concerns. I have very undesirable tap water here; between 150 and 300 ppm GH and a little low on total alkalinity ~80 ppm KH and a pH of 8.4. I have bulk spring water with 300 ppm GH, 180 ppm KH and 8.0 pH. I can also get bulk distilled water. I cannot find a combination of tap water, spring water, and distilled water that has the GH, KH, and pH that wont stress the fish. Any ideas on this?

    Another problem with water, specifically temperature during water changes. Since my tank is kept above room temp every time I do a water change there is a difference of at least 2-3°F between the tank and bucket. I have herd some people using hot tap water to get the right temp, but I have also herd to never use hot tap water because it sits in a metal tank all day long and thus has a higher GH. I have thought of 2 ways to increase the temp of the water in the bucket; either point a space heater at it for a little while (incredibly stupid idea) or buy another aquarium heater and put it in the bucket. I have a few reservations about using the aquarium heater in the bucket. First, could the heater melt the bucket? Also, having to wait 30 minutes to turn it on and another 30 to turn it off and take it out of the bucket will get annoying very fast and there is always the (good) possibility I will forget to wait to turn it off and take it out of the bucket.

    Next problem/concern is I use an ultrasonic humidifier in the room the aquarium is in. since ultrasonic humidifiers atomize everything in the water, including heavy metals and chlorine, there could be microscopic bits of heavy metal, chlorine, and calcium in the air that could land in the aquarium. Is this a valid concern or am I worrying too much?

    If you need more info on anything, ask.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Mer-max

    Mer-max Well Known Member Member

    The heater in the bucket shouldn't melt. Think of how you can take water in a plastic bottle and boil it above a fire to sterilize it. I dunno about the humidifiers though. Sorry.
     
  3. Eienna

    Eienna Fishlore VIP Member

    Looks to me like you're doing fine :)
    Cool :)
    90GPH really shouldn't be rated for 20g. The one you're using is better.
    Pitch all the strips and stick with the Freshwater Master (if it's the liquid one and not expired)
    Which ones? Brands?
    Don't even bother with the Start Zyme. Use Tetra SafeStart.
    Those glofish are sold for grossly undersized tanks. They are genetically-modified zebra danios, and zebras need a good 20g at least simply because they're such active fish. They need room to move. They are aggressive enough that they seem to need a group of at least 8, as well.
    First, don't worry too much. Most fish can adapt to a pH and hardness outside their normal range as long as it isn't extreme. I'm not sure how to convert your hardness readings into how I understand it from my test kit, so telling me how many drops it takes to turn color would help :). Your pH IS awfully high, though...I personally use RO water with and add minerals/etc back in. I had an incident with tap water that made me quite certain that I never want to use tap again.
    I'm no expert but 2-3 degrees should not harm your fish at all in my opinion, especially if you take your time refilling.
    Regular water changes (30-40% a week or so) and using Seachem's Prime water conditioner should keep hazards from that to a minimum.

    :)
     
  4. OP
    OP
    U

    Undefined New Member Member

    Yes, I agree with the 90 GPH not being enough for 20g. I did a little research and it turns out it is a filter you get with a "starter kit" aquarium.

    I'll throw away the expired strips that just measure pH, but I need something to measure GH and KH. The freshwater test kit is the liquid one and I just bought it 5 days ago so it's good.

    Brands are Top Fin for the water conditioner and bloodworms; Tetra TetraMin plus for the flake food.I will go out and buy Tetra safestart the next time I go to my pet store.

    Unfortunately I found out that zebra danios should be in a larger tank shortly after I bought them. Darn. I chose them because an employee at a local petstore said they are very hardy and good for cycling aquariums. I guess I should have done more research before I bought my fish. Oh well, I'll take it as a life lesson. Once my tank is cycled, would fish like white cloud mountain minnows do better in my small tank (not in addition to the danios, replacing them)?

    Can you recommend a product/brand for adding minerals to distilled water?

    I bought a digital aquarium thermometer today and asked an employee for some advice reguarding the temperature difference. He said the way he does his changes is hold the thermometer probe under running tap water and adjust hot/cold until it is close to what is in the tank. Do you see any problem with that? Refilling takes about 1-3 minutes for me, since I have to hold a 20 lb bucket at head-level with arms extended.

    Thanks for the help.
     
  5. fishynoob

    fishynoob Well Known Member Member

    That's what I do. I have not heard about not using the hot water tap before ... but I don;t have a hot water tank as such I have a combi boiler so it may be different for you.
     
  6. Eienna

    Eienna Fishlore VIP Member

    Right now, I'm using Seachem's Replenish and my usual plant ferts (Flourish Comprehensive and API Leaf Zone), but my tank is dirted, so some elements are already being taken care of at the moment. You may wish to add Seachem Fresh Trace as well. Note that I am new to RO so my recommendations may not be the best ones. :/ I just know that everyone seems to be loving it, including my Rummynoses (really gorgeous deep red faces right now!)
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2012
  7. Ziggi

    Ziggi Well Known Member Member

    If your not comfortable acclimating a fish to the high pH, or alternatively having to keep the pH at a different level through chemicals (I would not recommend, I was going this route to up my pH but I dont think it's REALLY worth the risk imo), there's a couple of hard water fish you may could try.

    At the risk of sounding like a broken record, :) shellies do fine in a 10 gal. 20 is always better but my pair were fine in their 10 for about 5 years (just upgraded them)  

    Oh and congrats on the inheritance!!! :D Thats quite the catch! I inherited a 20 gal long, but just the tank and (what I later learned was) an ancient air pump!
     
  8. OP
    OP
    U

    Undefined New Member Member

    Thanks for all the help guys!

    I just tested the water in my tank and it came out at:
    GH: between 150 and 300 ppm
    KH: 80 ppm
    pH: 8.0
    Ammonia: 0.5 ppm
    Nitrites: 0 ppm
    Nitrates: 0 ppm

    With my tap water being somewhat close to that, could I reduce shock/stress to the fish by doing small 5-10% water changes everyday instead of 20-30% weekly?

    I have a few other thoughts/questions/concerns. Sorry for asking so many questions, I'm paranoid and have a thirst for knowledge.

    Sometimes when I feed my fish it takes them a while to notice that there is food in the tank; how can I get them to look up and see the food? They usually notice the food after a few particles sink and cross their sight, but sometimes they miss it completely or just 1 fish gets everything. My father always lightly tapped the glass when he fed his fish and they seemed to get the message, but I don't want to spook my fish into hiding right when I feed them.

    Last night I noticed that all of my fish become much more active after I turn off the aquarium light. I'm pretty sure it's not the shock of changing light conditions because they remain more active for hours after the light is off. Could my light be too bright; making them uncomfortable? I'm using the light that came with the fluorescent hood; it is a Aqueon 8000k 15w T8 18". Would a full spectrum or 50/50 light do better? My next thought kind of goes along with this one; could adding more artificial plants reduce the brightness? I'll attach a pic of my tank so you can see how I have everything setup.

    I read during cycling you should vacuum the gravel slightly less often than you would with a cycled tank to allow the bacteria to grow more easily/readily. My water is a wee bit cloudy now, I'm assuming it is from overfeeding (I'm still learning how much these fish eat) and not from a bacterial bloom because I have no nitrites/nitrates. Should I start vacuuming the gravel more regularly and frequently?

    When I tested my tap water for GH/KH/pH, I tested within minutes of the water coming out the faucet and with water temp very cold (~40F). Will leaving the water out for a while and/or letting it warm up effect the pH test results? Note that the pH test is with the API mater test kit and the GH and KH is with strips. I know strips are innacurate, but I, nor my pet store have no other way of testing those parameters.

    The second 10g tank I inherited is at least 15 or 20 years old and has held household cleaning products in it. It has heavy lime scale buildup on the glass, some of which I can get off with a straight-edge razor, but there is still some left which no amount of scraping or cursing can remove. It also has a hole in the glass, sized for an air-line, plugged with cork, about 1.5' from the top. Is there any hope for this tank or should I just throw it away? I would like to use it as a quarantine or hospital tank if it can be recovered.
     

    Attached Files:

  9. Eienna

    Eienna Fishlore VIP Member

    If it has held cleaners, I would be wary of using it. It only takes a tiny bit of soap contamination to cause a disaster in your tank.

    Your tap will almost always be a little off from what's in the tank. From what I hear, aging it with an airstone is the best way to go to match it, but with the glofish at least...well, I don't think they're that sensitive. While you're cycling with fish, daily changes are the way to go, though, regardless (unless you're using SafeStart, in which case no changes for 2 weeks.)

    I did not cycle with fish and cannot give you a definitive answer on vacuuming more frequently. I can tell you that cloudy water is a normal part of cycling, however. Since you're already changing out the danios, why not rehome them and fishless-cycle your tank? It's a ton less stress and far less damaging to your future little buddies.

    Feeding? Eventually mine figured out that when the lid opens they might get fed, so they pay attention. They won't die of starvation in the time it takes to figure that out unless they're just REALLY dumb. When I had danios, my Small Fish NLS pellets would float for a while and then start to drop when the filter flow hit them, so there was ample time for them to notice. One often did get more than their share, but when that happened I just dropped a little more right overtop of the fish that missed out.
     
  10. OP
    OP
    U

    Undefined New Member Member

    I'm not changing out the danios , I was just considering putting mountain minnows in my tank after cycling is complete so I won't have the guilt of keeping too few danios in a too small tank. However, if my fish happen to die because of the ammonia spike I'm having, I will go with a fishless cycle.
     




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