Question regarding tank maintenance

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nipper

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Hi everyone, I am new to this forum and would like to seek the advice of the knowledgable fish keepers on this forum. I recently acquired a 3ft aquarium, it holds 150 litres which I think is approx 33 UK gallons / 40 US gallons. I have a 200 watt heater, a 30 watt fluorescent light, a UGF powered by an air pump and a aqua one cf-1200 canister filter which is meant to be able to handle a 500 litre tank. I have been reading like crazy trying to learn as much info as I can regarding tank maintenance. I have had my tank running for 3-4 days. I have adjusted my pH to read around 7 which I believe is neutral, something that I cannot find info on anywhere is when I change water in your tank weekly do I have to adjust the pH to suit the tank or should it be fine as long as I condition the water? Another question I have is when I first put water in my tank the water was pretty clear but every day the tank water seems to be getting cloudier. The water is white and cloudy, I think it has something to do with bacteria forming in the water and I've read it should settle down in a week or so, does this sound normal? Any help would be hugely appreciated.

One final thing is if anyone would like to give me a few examples of the types and number of fish I would be able to stock in my fresh water aquarium that would be great as every pet store I go to tells me something different regarding the number an size of the fish I can stock in my tank.
 

Golden Fish

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Hey Nipper,
You said you adjusted your ph to 7. What did you use to adjust it? And what is your ph level prior to adjustment?
Yes you would have to adjust all water that goes into the tank. There are alot of fish that can withstand a fairly wide range of ph levels. So you should really decide what kind of fish you want before altering the water. You may not have to at all!
The cloudiness sounds like a bacteria bloom. If that is what it is this is common while a tank is cycling.
Also you may be able to get by with out the undergravel filter. Does your Canister filter have Bio filtration capabilities?

What kind of fish do you have in mind?
 

Butterfly

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It's really not necessary to adjust the ph in your tank as most fish will acclimate to what the normal ph is. When adjusting the ph, the ph tends to fluctuate when it gets close to time for a water change and just leaving it alone will result in a stable ph which is much better for your fish. Fluctuating ph tends to lead to fish death.
Please read the articles for beginners in the beginner forum it will answer alot of your questions and give you some valuable information also.
Welcome to FishLore!
Carol
 
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nipper

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I used the chemicals that came with my test kit to adjust the pH, I believe it was sodium biphosphate. Before I adjusted the pH the test kit showed readings of above 7.4, the colour was off the chart so I'm not sure how high it really was. With the bacteria bloom how long will it take for the cloudy water to settle? As for Bio filtration I am not exactly sure what it is. My canister filter has 3 compartments and the water gets pumped up through the filter media. The bottom compartment, the first one the water passes through, has bio balls on the bottom and a coarse plastic sponge type thing sitting on top, the middle compartment has ceramic noodles and a finer foam filter on top, the top and last compartment only has a very fine foam filter, I believe I can place carbon underneath the fine filter sponge but I haven't as the undergravel filter has carbon cartridges on the end of the uprights. Maybe the Bio balls provide bio filtration? I have read many things on UGFs, some people swear by them and others curse them. Is there any benefit to me keeping both filters?
As for fish I have been told that cichlids may be out of reach due to the size of my tank, I think I will wait until I get a larger tank before I keep any large fish. So small schooling fish might be good, a few catfish to take care of the bottom, a Siamese fighter for the top, maybe a red tail shark, a Dwarf Gourami if I can find one. They don't have to look colourful, I am more interested in the shapes of the fish, the colours are just a bonus.
 

Golden Fish

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Nipper,
Butterfly will be able to help you more, but here is my 2 cents.
You need to get a High Range test kit. That will give you your ph reading. Again like Butterfly said a stable ph is way more important than one that fluctuates. Which is what will happen if you have to keep adding chemicals to adjust it.
I use a canister filter with 3 trays also. I use the foam blocks as mechanical filtration. They should be the first thing the water gets pumped through. The bottom of your filter. They will also over time grow bacteria to help with amonia, nitrites and nitrates. However that is what Bio filtration is. And that is what those Bio balls are designed to do. They should go in the last (top) compartment of your filter. As for chemical filtration, carbon, (i am going to get stoned for saying this i think) it is not absoulutly neccecary as long as you keep up with weekly water changes. It is good for removing medicines and other chemicals. But if you keep the water clean the other chemicals won't be there. Carbon is good to start with to help out but don't rely on it.
With your filter I would put the coarse plastic sponge block first. Then
The ceramic noodles can go on them. They sound like they are some sort of a pre-filter.
Last the fine filter and then bio balls.
The reason you want the Bio balls last is so they get the cleanest water.
Keep in mind the finer the foam filters the quicker they will clog and need cleaning. These are not absoulutly needed either. Just stay on those weekly water changes. With this set up you should not need the UGF. The UGFs are kind of a pain to clean and would kind of be overkill with your canister filter set up right.The Benifits in keeping both would be lots of Bio filtration, you can never have to much. Like i said though the canister should be fine by itself.
Butterfly please correct me if you see anything wrong. Butterfly can also help you a lot better than I with the fish setup. Just do lots of research. What you have listed should work, be careful what schooling fish you get. Make sure they are not Fin nippers if you get the Siamese fighter.
Sorry for being so long winded.
Hope this helps.
 

0morrokh

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UGF's are not generally recommended. the problem with them is that they merely suck gunk down through the gravel, rather than getting rid of it. Once the system eventually gets clogged, there is virtually no way to get down in there and clean it out aside from stripping down the entire tank, cleaning it, and then starting from scratch. You see why that could be a problem... Oh and also I don't know if you plan on keeping live plants but if so the UGF will damage their roots. I strongly recommend you remove the UGF before you do anything further. Your canister filter will be more than sufficient to filter the tank. In fact, you will have to be careful that the outflow is not too powerful...hopefully the filter came with a flow adjuster.

As to your pH, I'm sure it will be fine. I keep fish in a pH of over 8 and they are all doing great (including the ones that supposedly need soft water). The fluctuating pH caused by the altering chemicals can kill fish...but a high pH won't. They just say so to try to sell you stuff you don't need.

Do you know how to do a fishless cycle? If not there should be an article on the nitrogen cycle under the "Fishlore Articles for Beginners" I think. Do you have test kits for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate?

As for stocking, a generic rule which applies to most tropical fish is an inch of fish per gallon. Your tank can probably support around 40 inches of small and medium fish. But before getting fish be sure the cycle is completed.

Do some looking around and see what kinds of fish you like. You have a fairly big tank so you have a lot of options for what you could get.
 
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nipper

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Thanks every one for your contributions so far, they have been very helpful. To answer some of your questions I have read how to do a fishless cycle, which I have been attempting. I only have a test kit for pH so I will buy the rest shortly. As for the UGF if I find it to be troublesome can't I just turn off the air pump and remove the upright tubes? Only reason I am not ripping them out of the tank right now is because a lot of my friends that run similar sized tanks have been using UGFs (as the only means of filtration) for a while with success, even with plants. As for my canister filter, the spray bar is almost the length of my tank so the water flow is evenly distributed, if it was comming out of a tiny, 30 cm spray bar I might have been worried but I think I will be OK with the 90cm one. If it turns out to be too strong, which I doubt, I will take off the spray bar and use the lily leaf attachment that came with the canister, although I have read they are not as effective as the spraybar. Thanks again everyone
 
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