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Old 01-22-2007, 03:01 PM   #21 (permalink)
 
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Default Substrate and "Cool" fish

Okay for substrate, I use ADA Aquasoil as I have a SE Asian biotope. They are very good at blending the right nutrients for certain areas. So if you use it find where your plants originate and use that as a guide. Or another good choice is Eco-Complete Planted substrate and that can be found at your LFS and is slightly cheaper.


For fish, I love Gouramis and with your sized tank you can get quite a few. They are generally well-tempered and extremely colorful. I am going to be getting some Dwarf Honeys, but Flames and Powdered Blues are nice. You could also consider a German Ram (Gold or Blue), they only get to about 2-3 inches and are beautiful.

Good Luck!
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Old 01-22-2007, 03:37 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Muirner View Post
Also, Black Beauty Blasting Sand, is that for the top of the soil? I assume i could use anything here if i did desire? Such as moon sand or the liking. My only question is. What should the total depth be? 1" or 1" of soil and 1" of gravel or equivalant top? Again i've confused myself!
For the soil layer use about 1". The top layer can be 1 to 2" and you can use what you like the look of, such as the moon sand, eco complete, pool sand, etc. Just make sure you'll be able to plant in the top layer easily and that it will hold the plants down. Most gravel is too coarse and is hard to plant in. I like the size and color of Eco complete but a lot of people prefer sand.

I normally put in the soil layer and pat it down. Then I add about 1" of the top substrate, plant the plants and then add more of the top substrate as needed. When planting some rooted plants it can be hard not to get the substrate layers mixed up and its easiest just to add more of the top layer of substrate to keep things neat.
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Old 01-25-2007, 08:39 AM   #23 (permalink)
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pH - 7.0 - 8.0 After treatment. Raw it's about 5.3
KH - 35.7milligrams per liter (he said it was soft)
GH - i didnt get one number he broke all the components down
magnesium - 2.71milligrams per liter
manganese - 0.021milligrams per liter
iron - .01milligrams per liter
calcium - 9.82milligrams per liter

What does that say about my water if i can ask? I know sense i'm going el Natural, that i'll probably be staying away from ferts but any advice on those results of the water test.
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Old 01-25-2007, 01:33 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Ummm ok? So i guess no ideas. humph. Total depth of 2" (1" rock or other top layer, and 1" soil) or 1" (1/2" of each)??
you should look for a average substrate depth of ~3". the average depth will allow you to plant all sorts of plants sufficiently in all sorts of substrate, including flourite
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Old 01-29-2007, 08:13 AM   #25 (permalink)
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Hood is built, soil is about 2 days out from being fully cured. Now it's time to begin the planning. I have a few questions any that are answered would be great!

1) When i put the jolly gardner in there, along with the soilmaster select, and begin to fill it, it's suggested that i use something with a very low flow rate. Are we talking like air hose? Also if so, how do you set up the syphon?

2) I will use biomax rings in the filter (xp3) to add additional benificial bio media. My question is. If i soke the rings in water from my established guppy tank can i start the bio media bacteria growth early?

3) Do i need to cycle this tank? I hear with soil on the bottom it will not need to cycle. I'll have results of my soil testing in the next day or two on here. i've only pulled the test results as of now 3 times.
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Old 01-29-2007, 12:36 PM   #26 (permalink)
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If using a soil underlayer, 3" is rather too deep - it risks promoting anoxic pockets. 1" of soil, 1" of gravel/coarse sand. If you've got a lot of experience with soil underlayers, and have found a dependable source, perhaps try 3", or even just 3" in a terraced area for deeper rooting plants, but I've had even large-bulbed plants do fine with a rather shallow substrate. Some of the bulb is exposed, but they grow well.


I usually dampen the soil, then gently layer the gravel/sand top layer over it.

With the water - You just have to go VERY slowly for the first few inches of water addition. I do use an airline tube! And, I put the outflow on a piece of filter media or sponge to keep it gentle. Yeah, that's a little over the top, but once I blasted the layers, and what a mess! I put a bucket with the water up on a stool (perhaps a ladder?) and let it siphon out with the airline tubing. An office supply clip can keep the tubing secured to both the bucket and the tank rim. Don't clip directly on the tubing or it will stop the flow. I thread it through the "ears". Then, go do something else for awhile. I will top off the bucket from which the water's siphoning, too, until I've got about 2" of water over the substrate. It percolates in nice and slow, and, IMO, gives the soil and gravel time to release all the air pockets that could otherwise be trapped.

Then, I get something like long-tined plastic fork, or long handled tweezers. I poke the substrate vertically, to release air pockets. You don't have go go wild about it, but 1 poke for every 3-4" sq inches is good.

Then, you can put in a plate or plastic lid, etc and gently pour water in ONTO the flat thing, to break the force of the water. After the depth is about 5", I'll siphon a much faster flow into a bowl - the overflow will dissipate sideways.

I know its a bit of work, but its a long term setup, so I think its worth it.

Sorry I wasn't answering IN the thread earlier, but I got/responded to your PM's.
-Jane
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Old 01-29-2007, 12:42 PM   #27 (permalink)
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With the use of a soil underlayer, you'll already have lots of bacterial colonies at work! I'll usually add fish the next day after setting up an NPT. There will be a lot of outgassing (bubbles on everything) from the tap water, and this can distress fish, so I generally give it 24 hrs to come up to temp, and test pH, Nitrites, Nitrates, etc.

Soaking the media in an established tank is a good idea, and if the established tank is healthy, it couldn't hurt.

Is this a canister, or HOB filter? The theory behind NPT is that the plants act as the biological filter. Plants preferentially take up ammonia. Using a lot of "bio media" will actually compete with the plants. Most NPTs will use a filter for just mechanical filtering and water movement.

-Jane
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Old 01-29-2007, 10:24 PM   #28 (permalink)
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it's a cannister filter. a XP3. I had it from my previous setup and well it's only been used for about 2 months.

I will actually pull that biomedia out, because it seems more harmful then helpful... I will have sponges in the bottom basket, and i have read that using polyfill (like pillow stuffing) in the baskets will help polish the water? I'm willing to do that too. Of course i'll have the course sponges in the bottom, but other then that i'll have just water scrubbers.

Also will it be harmful to the plants if i dont have the fish in there right away? And how many fish would you say I'll need to add. Of course i know this depends on size, type ect. But for now i'm looking at schooling fish, i'm not sure what kind and i'm trying to look for some different looking fish... BUT i dont want to have fish that are crossbreading "mutts". (i use the term crossbreading loosly there, just to mean different fishes mixing and matching)

But i did find at my local PetSmart, they sell Male fish and Female fish separatly, so maybe if I minimize the female guppies in the tank i can be ok? But I would like to have some breading going on. For now I like the look of Bleeding Heart something or others, Cardnal Tetras, Zibra Dannos, and some others.
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Old 02-04-2007, 08:05 AM   #29 (permalink)
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Well, once its established, the macros for an NPT mostly come from us adding fish food, and the fish eating, then excreting. You don't HAVE to add fish immediately, but I wouldn't go for more than two weeks without SOMEthing in there, even if its just a few ramshorn snails, who will gladly eat a few flakes of fishfood. This will help keep the bacterial diversity going. Or, if you KNOW there will be something you're certainly going to get, like corydorus cats, you can put them in before making the decision about your midwater fish.

I know what you mean about "mixing". At the last BAS meeting, I couldn't resist a group of 6 of those little blue eyed rainbowfish, the M. furcata, with the buttercup yellow fin edges. They're kinda hanging out with the harlequin rasboras in a mixed group, rather than staying in their own discreet group. And, the rasboras are now much more lax about schooling, since the M. furcatas really dont' school, but stay in a loosy-goosy group. Oh well.

What polyfill are you meaning? The one similar to filter floss? I'd go with the filter floss intended for aquariums. If you're meaning the stuff like sponge, I've gotten that on occasion (I have a few HOB filters that I just custom cut a block of the large spongy stuff for mechanical filtration). Be VERY careful of the "outgassing" of this stuff. It was not intended for aquarium use, and some of the by-products of the polymerization process are pretty nasty. I always wash it thoroughly in hot water, let it sit, wash throroughly again, repeat at least a dozen times. Then, I soak it in an acidic bath (white vinegar 1:1 with water) for several days, then soak it in a basic bath (baking soda, 1 tsp/quart) for several days. Remember, the aquarium is a closed environment, and if there are noxious chemicals leaching out of the sponge, they will get to pretty high concentrations in the tank, and stay in there, too. I know it may be overkill, but finally I soak it in siphoned-off water from an established tank, in case there's any bacteria or enzymes which will break down something in the poly sponge, they can do it before it gets into a tank. And yes, at any given time, I've got a few buckets of projects cluttering up the little 1/2 bath, LOL! But, once I've "seasoned" a custom-cut block of sponge for a HOB filter, I use it for YEARS.

Yes, I'd take the biological filter material out, the mechanical should be fine.

In terms of the plants, PLANT DENSELY! I can't emphasize that enough. Even if its something you're planning on replacing later, its really critical for an El Natural type tank. There will be enough nutrient spike released into the water from a soil underlayer for the first several weeks, but if those nutrients aren't used up, its an invitation to algae. I think that getting lots of plants in there initially is far more important than lots of fish.

Hope this helps!
-Jane
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Old 02-06-2007, 08:14 AM   #30 (permalink)
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Jane - Thank you for all of the help you have given me over the setup time of this tank. You've been great. I will try to stop by PetSmart to check out what i can look for in terms of snails and such, but to be honest, I just got a 25 dollar gift card in the mail from them and that will go twards my fish collection. I also have picked up a dwarf puffer that will make his way into the tank (i hope to find a male at PetSmart, i have a female currently). He is a good snail killer and enjoys his bloodworms.

When you say corey cats, are those like bottom feeders? I'm maybe thinking of some species of shrimp in the future with this tank, such as maybe Cherry Reds, maybe ghost. I'd love Crystal Reds, but they are a lil pricey for me for now. I dont wanna lose this option. BUT, i do need a bottom feeder i do understand this. I guess i'm going to have to look more.

That sounds like a nice loose school though Jane, I dont mind that, but i dont want to end up spending a good amount of money on endlers and then having them mix with guppies, that'd leave me with a real bad taste in my mouth ya know. Mixed schools is ok, Mixed schools interbreading, negative.

The polyfill i read somewhere. I cant remember where. Someone said that if you went to walmart and picked up the polyfill used in pillows that they use that for their filters. But, i do see what your saying. I wish i could find that source so i could see what their results were. I dont want to kill an entire tank.

As far as planting goes, I have to transfer money into my paypal account so that I can pay that way instead of using a CC. I'll be making that thread in the For sale and trade forum soon, hopefully i can find a good # of plants from a smaller # of people. AND i'll have to go to those meetings and see what it's all about. I cant remember, but when is the next one? I think it's in my PM box, but It's up by where my internship used to be so i'd be willing to drive up, it'd be fun.

Everyone else thank you as well, every opinion helps make this closer to done.
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