Looking for critiques/comments on my first tank

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by SentientMeat, Dec 15, 2012.

  1. SentientMeatNew MemberMember

    Hi all, first post here so I apologize if it's a little lengthy...

    This is my first tank, although I'm currently cycling a 29g and a 10g to try my hand at breeding down the road.

    I'm looking for any comments/critiques on my fish keeping:
    55g main tank which was fish-less cycled with fish food for 5 weeks.
    10 healthy/seemingly happy tiger barbs (6m4f) added 11/02/12
    1 white snail of unknown species for a little cleanup which they leave alone 99% of the time.
    Lightly/medium planted with several species of plants.
    Gravel substrate 50lbs spread to various depths between 3/4" to 2".
    Couple decent sized pieces of driftwood.
    Water parameters are as follows:
    0 ammonia
    0 nitrite
    5-15 nitrates
    Ph of 6.5-6.7 depending on how much of a water change I perform/time of day (water is around 7.2 out of the tap and treated with approx 3 drops of Prime/per gallon)

    I use the API Master freshwater kit.

    10-20% water changes daily (usually) with about 1/4 of the gravel vacuumed with each change. Water matched to within a couple degrees of the tank. A small splash of liquid flourish added at every other water change. I generally do the water change In the evening, approx 1/2 hour after feeding.

    Temp is kept at 77-79.

    Food: new life spectrum flake food fed once/day or smaller portion twice a day (depending on my work schedule) with quality frozen blood worms given once a week. Fast them for one day a week and de-shelled frozen peas/mixed with freshly minced garlic on the day before fasting.

    Lighting is attached to a timer and is set to be on from 11am to 8pm. When I turn off the aquarium light I have a room light on for about 1/2 hour after to let them adjust their eyes to the darkness. I do the opposite when turning it on in the AM as well.

    Plants are doing surprisingly well despite my incredibly inadequate lighting. (less than 1watt/gallon)
    This will be my next addition and if anyone has affordable suggestions I'm open to it.

    If anyone can think of anything I should/shouldn't be doing, or anything I can do to improve I am all ears!

    Thanks in advance...
  2. JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    Welcome to the forum

    My only suggestion is to switch from the flakes to pellets. That's all I got - keep up the good work. You'll settle into a routine that likely doesn't involve daily water changes, but it sounds like you have a good foundation to work with.

  3. freak78Well Known MemberMember

    Sounds good. Just one question, why the daily water changes?

  4. SentientMeatNew MemberMember

    Thanks for the replys.

    Jaysee: What is the benefit to using pellets? I was under the assumption that they are for larger fish. What size fish does one move to pellets?

    Freak: it's probably due to my (possibly irrational) fear of disease. I figure if anything makes its way in, there's no way for it to take hold. I just want the highest quality water possible. I suppose I should take it easy and just relax a bit. It does only take me about 10-15 mins a day so its not a hassle, but can it be detrimental in any way?

  5. JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    Pellets maintain their nutritional value longer, and they are cleaner than flakes. NLS makes pellets as small as 0.5 mm in diameter - My small fish community eats 1 mm pellets.
  6. SentientMeatNew MemberMember

    Very good to know (especially that whole being cheaper part :) )

    I'll have to take a look at them.

    Oops, you said cleaner lol. That's good too!
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 16, 2012
  7. JoannaBWell Known MemberMember

    If you can keep up the daily water changes, and do not mind doing it, more power to you! Your fish will love the fresh water. Most of us do weekly water changes, and then change more than just 25%, and daily water changes are reserved for when fish do get sick. However, daily water changes are exceedingly healthy for fish, so if one is willing to do them, great!

    If your concern is illness, here are some ideas which you may already be aware of, but just in case you are not:

    (1) regularly observe your fish to find out what is "usual" for them, looking out for any unusual behavior such as significantly more or significantly less activity level, any fish that usually socialize with others keeping to themselves, any ususual weight loss or loss of appetite or fin rot or redder than usual gills, etc.

    (2) keep extra filter media in your tank so that you can stand up a new hospital tank at a moments notice ideally by moving some of the already cycled media to it;

    (3) always quarantine new arrivals, the longer the better but at least a couple of weeks or even better a month to be sure they are disease free, and also move any suspects who look ill into a hospital tank as soon as symptoms occur.

    (4) some people treat new arrivals prophylactically for parasites for example, and some people apply the natural heat treatment to new fish just in case for ICH.

    (5) healthy, high quality and ideally varied nutrition goes a long way to keep fish healthy

    (6) testing pH, ammonia, nitrites, nitrates regularly to ensure that water quality remains good, and there is no change in pH.

    (7) if you can then it is best to overfilter and understock any tank, meaning have more filtration than needed for the fish in your tank, and have fewer fish than recommended for your tank size - most of us cannot resist the temptation to stock our tanks to their size limit, but if you can do that, this would help with health of fish.

    (8) whenever you get new fish make sure to research carefully their requirements and compatibility with your other fish. My understanding is that tiger barbs can be a bit aggressive toward tank mates, so any fish you get to be in same tank would need to be able to handle tiger barbs without too much stress.

    (9) keep in mind that illness in fish cannot be completely avoided, since germs are in the water always, and our fish could not survive in a sterile environment. However, just like most of us do not get colds constantly even though people around us have them, most fish will not get ill most of the time if they are not overly stressed and are kept in good conditions and new arrivals are quarantined and all that.

    Welcome to Fishlore!

    best, Joanna
  8. SentientMeatNew MemberMember

    Thank you very much for all the info. I suppose I will keep up with the water changes then if its only going to benefit them. It really doesn't bother me to go through the effort but I'm sure once I get some other tanks running I'll tone it down a bit...

    As far as this tank goes, I plan to keep only tigers but thank you for the heads up about tank mates. I really love their antics so I'm content letting them have the room to play.

    I guess I should just buy another 10g for breeding purposes and let the current one be used for the innevitable quarantining of a fish. Besides the occasional battle for alpha male (no signs of damage besides ego), they have been active and getting along. Hopefully it stays that way.

    Thank you all again!!
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2012
  9. FashoogaFishlore VIPMember

    I'm not in to breeding my fish but you seem to want to do it. Just remember to have fun with the hobby. There are going to be lots of ups and downs.
  10. SentientMeatNew MemberMember

    I just feel it would be satisfying to raise a new generation of them and I'm sure I'd learn a lot. Just gettin this one completely under control first.

    As long as there are more ups than downs, I'll be content :)
  11. JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    Last edited: Dec 15, 2012
  12. YeoyWell Known MemberMember

    It sounds like you have a great setup with your feeding, water changes and everything else. Photos of your fish/tank are always welcomed! Are you planning on breeding the barbs?
  13. guppygrlValued MemberMember

    Cool videos!! Love the crayfish :)
  14. QQQUUUUAADDDWell Known MemberMember

    Jaysee, what type of crayfish are those? Are they the ones they sell at Aquarium center?
  15. JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    It's the same one - it's an Alleni I believe. I got it at ocean aquarium.
  16. SentientMeatNew MemberMember

    Jaysee: I could totally be into the crayfish idea, but would I have to worry about him beating up on the barbs? Or snail? The snail I have is about an inch in diameter and my wife is very attached to him lol. Very cool videos!

    Yeoy: Yes, I do plan on it once I have this one going for a little longer. I was thinking about using a 10g with divider. I currently have the floor covered in "moonstones" I picked up at a beach. They passed the vinegar test and should be ok at hiding the fry like marbles would. Have some java moss growing in there as well.

    I'll start a new thread when that time comes.

    I'll try and get some pics when I get home from work.
  17. JoannaBWell Known MemberMember

    Post a photo of the snail please, so we can ID it! :)
  18. SentientMeatNew MemberMember

    So I tried taking a few pics of the general layout of the tank although several of the plants are still in their pots. I just havent figured out exactly where I want everything planted yet. It's def a work in progress.


    And one of Badger the snail...


    I don't really know anything about snails so not sure what kind it is...
  19. JoannaBWell Known MemberMember

    Oh that is a pretty snail, and looks like one of the larger snail species I think - I wonder whether it's like a baby mystery snail or something? It's not one of the snail species I have had anyway: it does not look like a pond snail, Malaysian trumpet snail, nor a Ramshorn snail. So I can tell you a few species that it is not, but cannot tell which it is. Maybe someone else will be able to identify it. Anyway pretty snail.

    Edit: I just remembered that this other thread recently included a photo for identification of different snail species. Take a look here https://www.fishlore.com/fishforum/fish-id-help/133806-unknown-snail.html - after looking at that photo and comparing to yours, my guess is yours is an apple or mystery snail.
  20. JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    Perhaps you didn't notice the barbs taking the pellet from the crayfish ;) I was more concerned about the tiger barbs beating up on the crayfish. It might catch one occasionally, but like in the wild - the young, sick and the old are the primary targets. And, that's nature. I guarantee you'll love your crayfish and won't mind about have to re up the school from time to time. To be honest, that's something you may have to do anyway. Tiger barbs, for whatever reason, will sometimes kick a fish out of the school. The fish wastes away and eventually dies. I used to rehab them and reintroduce them, but it just prolonged the inevitable. A fish that is the target of the aggression of the rest is a dead fish swimming, IME.

    The crayfish will eat any snails you have in the tank.

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