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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I originally posted this at AB but have only gotten one reply. Hoping I can get more here. Here's the cut-and-paste:

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Hi, All!

I have a niece who is turning nine next week. I was racking my brain trying to think up a nice gift. Then it hit me - I have an Eclipse System Three that's not really being used. I e-mailed my brother last night to see what he thought of taking my used tank and setting up something nice with (or more like "for") his daughter. He thought it would be fantastic, since they live in a small apartment. Ran the idea by his wife, who would probably have to take on the lion's share of the responsibility, and got the "OK."

Anyway, I'm seeking help from y'all in NYC because I'm clear across the country in California and I'm not about to order a 15-lb bag of Flourite for this tiny 3-gallon tank. But the idea is to set up a low-maintenance planted tank, and I can supply most of the plants. Does anybody know of a shop in Manhattan that might sell Flourite in bulk? Or might any of you be willing to sell my brother maybe 3 or 4 lbs. (unused)? And are there any LFS's that carry some good-quality plants and fish? I suggested a few small guppies or Endler's livebearers along with algae-eating shrimp.

I'm going to take care of everything they'll need to get started, but the substrate is the one thing I could use a little help with. I would really appreciate any help. Thanks!

-Naomi
 

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Here is some info.

Hey Naomi,

I do have some Flourite but it is used. I live about 20 miles from the city so can't say when I'll be in Manhatten. But for a small tank like that, you are better off using the natural gravel from Este. They are the prefect size for plants and only $2 per a 5 lb bag. There are a lot Petland discount store all over NYC that carry it.
For plants your brother can try either

New World Aquarium
204 E 38th NYC
(646) 865-9604
They carry health common aquatic plants.

Pacific Aquarium
46 Delancey NYC
(212) 995-5895
They carry imported aquatic plants.

Good luck
Ken
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Ken,

Thank you VERY much! I passed the info along to my brother. I could never get vigorous growth with plain gravel, but I remember I didn't really use much fertilizer, either. I think you're right, though. It's definitely easier to plant in natural gravel (I've used #3) and the color is nicer. I may pick up some Flourish to send to him.

BTW, do you have any idea about the water parameters around there? Is it particularly hard/alkaline/chlorinated/etc.? I remember one lady telling me a long time ago that they put so much chlorine in the water during some parts of the year, it almost smells like a swimming pool.

Anyway, I really appreciate the help! Thanks.

-Naomi
 

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NYC has the best drinking water

I never have problems w/ NYC water. I would bottle it and sell it myself.
The water is 7.0 neutral here in Bayside, NY.
You might be better off not using Flourish and go with root tablet. More control and less algae.
That is what I'm using w/ the natural gravel and the Cryptocoryne loves it.
The gravel I use is Estes' natural aqua gravel 5 lbs bag natural #3.
They go for $2.39-$2.50 at Petland discount all over NYC.

Good luck w/ your niece's first plant tank.
Ken
 

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Naomi,

I've moved the topic to the General Discussion section so that you get more responses.

Good luck with the aquarium. It sounds like a wonderful gift.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Sorry for the delayed reply.

Art - thanks for moving it here. I think we just don't have many New Yorkers registered on this site... YET. When is WetmanNY (the Skeptical Aquarist guy) going to get his rear over here :wink: ? I hope he knows about APC; then again, I haven't seen him at his usual spots too much, lately. I think he's more of a fish guy, anyway, but he's just a library of knowledge. He oozes useful information. Hope he's all right.

Ken - I was indeed considering sending some crypts, which would be planted into the substrate, and would certainly benefit most from a type of root tablet. But I was also thinking of some plants on a piece of driftwood, in which case, the epiphyte would be getting nutrients entirely from the water column. An occasional drop of Flourish might keep things looking happy.

It seems to me that Flourish Tabs are pretty big. Can they be broken into smaller pieces? I've never actually seen one... But this is a teeny 3-gallon tank, so I think an entire tablet might be overkill. Anyway, I take it that the Flourish line of products are available at this Petland Discount place...? I have the tank ready to send, but I'll probably include money with instructions on what to buy.

One last thing - do you know if Pacific Aquarium carries Marimo? That's actually what gave me the idea to send the tank. I wanted to just send my niece a Marimo (so she can have her own Japanese national treasure) but then decided to give her the aquarium in which to keep it. I've seen them sold locally, but it would be even better if she could pick one out herself.

Thanks for all your help!

-Naomi :)
 

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Marimo

You mean those algae balls....I just dropped by Pacific and no Marimo. The only thing I brought is 28 SAE at $1.33 each.

The only place I saw Marimo is a shop out in Long Island about 45 minutes from Manhatten called Aquarium Adventure, 177 Glen Cove Road, Carle Place, NY 11514 (516)294-9699.

Later
ken
 

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Naomi,
I hope the info is still timely. I just joined this group yesterday.
New World Aquarium on East 38th and 3rd is by far the best store in NYC for plants. They usually get an order in once a week (lately on Wednesday), but the more more intresting species are gone in less than a week. They have had the algae balls for a while sitting in a dimmer fish tank away from the rest of the plants.
Regarding the water here in NY, I've always had trouble getting the KH over 2 dKH without driving the pH through the roof, but that is an issue that I have to address in another article. I think that most of NYC's water comes from the same sources but I'm not sure if the water parameters are the same throughout the entire city. There is a good amount of chlorine in the water and because of the old pipes in most of the city they may want to let the water run for a few minutes to flush out the metals.
Best of luck.
 

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Why not just add some Terralit instead of Flourish Tabs, that way you can avoid all the algae problems. Then just add a small piece of driftwood, and plant A.nana and Java fern on it, and scatter some C.willisi around...For fish, you could try a pair of Killifish there very colorful, small, and great for kids! Get them off of aquabid, there's a great selection there. Then maybe have a Cherry shrimp for algae control. There are only suggestions, do what you feel happy with! After all, it's your/his tank. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hi, All!

Sorry I abandoned this topic for a while... I was waiting for the tank to reach my brother and get set up. So...

The Eclipse System Three was finally delivered last Wednesday. Eager beavers set it up right away. I didn't want to confuse them with the whole concept of cycling, so I told them that ideally, they should hold off on fish until they put a few plants in there. So on Saturday they went to Petland Discount and bought white gravel as well as an Amazon sword :shock: and some bunch plants I was not able to identify from the photo :roll:. And their plan was to get the guppies on Sunday. I think "wait a week until after I send you the plants" would have been impossible for an enthusiastic nine-year-old so I said leave their plants in the tank until mine get there (although I have no idea what they're going to do with them after that).

ANYWAY, they went back on Sunday (yesterday) with the intention of getting a pair of guppies. I had recommended they get two females and a male, but the person who was helping them said that all of the guppies in the tank were males. From my brother's description, this was NOT the case, but what the hell... So they picked out one male and decided they'd go back another day for some females. Well, I got a call last night as well as a digital camera shot via e-mail. The fish "was staying at the top and didn't move around very much." The photo showed how the top part of the caudal fin was discolored and ragged-looking. I was pretty sure it was fin rot. I told him it didn't sound good and to add double the recommended dosage of Prime (just for starters) and to not hold out much hope for fishy.

Got a call today that fishy bit the big one.

So I see that at least two of you recommended New World Aquarium for healthy plants. Can I presume that they give their fish the same care and attention? And is the staff knowledgeable or do they also not know the difference between a gravid spot and gonopodium? I don't want to encourage my brother to ask them questions if they're just going to be fed BS. But I feel terrible that I'm unable to help from here in choosing healthy fish. I'm just glad that my niece has the gumption to keep trying. Losing her first fish couldn't have been fun...

Well, that's the latest.

-Naomi
 

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Well, I don't know if the folks at New World knows the difference between agravid spot and gonopodium but they are knowledgeable and the fish are healthy. I think it is the best LFS in Manhattan for the advanced hobbyist and beginner. Pacific is the only other. I would, and do, stay away from the pet store chains in the city because I do not have a quarantine tank and I don't trust the health of their fish.
Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I spoke to my brother again yesterday. It turns out that they bought another guppy from the same store, same tank, new shipment (this time, my sister-in-law took the niece to the shop). Same thing happened - it died after one day.

A few things came to mind:

(1) They're not adding enough Prime
(2) They're adding too much Prime
(3) These guppies were raised under elevated salinity and they're going into shock when placed in a fresh water tank
(4) The disease from the first fish remained in the tank and was passed on to the second fish
(5) This shop practices extremely substandard fish care (my niece said she saw a lot of dead fish covering the floors of the tanks during her second trip - after the new shipment came in)

So I told my brother that he should drain the Eclipse of as much water as possible, refill it with straight tap water, allow the chlorine from the tap water to "disinfect" the tank over night, add the Prime (I did suggest Tetra AquaSafe, which is what I've been using for years) next day, and proceed once again. He assured me that the next fish was going to be purchased from New World Aquarium. I encouraged him to ask them questions - have them take a stab at what the problem might have been with the first two fish. I warned him that if they suggested ammonia poisoning, they'd be wrong; there's no way ammonia could have accumulated so quickly, and besides, the plants probably would have taken up any that was released by one small fish. I also told him to ask and make sure that these guppies were suitable for *fresh* water.

The plants I sent arrived yesterday. I sent a Marimo, two small pieces of Java fern, and two small pieces of Anubias nana. I also included a piece of African bogwood so they'd have something to attach the Anubias and/or the Java fern to.

This is just so heartbreaking :cry: . I'm beginning to think that this whole tank idea was a bad one since I can't physically be there to run tests, pick out healthy fish, etc. I'm glad that my brother and niece are both so enthusiastic, but that can only hold up for so long... My husband joked to me, "...you've turned her into a fish-killer, too!"

If any of you New Yorkers are still reading this, I'd like to know how you treat water for your tanks. What dechlorinator do you use, and what dosage would you recommend? Would it be adviseable to add stress coat to the tank before adding the new fish? Personally, I feel that these sorts of products are snake-oil-ish... But I could be wrong.

Okay, well, here's to hoping that Fishy #3 can last a while.

-Naomi
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Okay - this is mostly just a "thank you" for the help.

Yesterday my brother and niece went to New World Aquarium and my brother wrote, "...[we were] amazed at the difference in the quality of the store and the staff, and, of course, the fish!"

They asked questions, even took a water sample, and got very good advice from the employee that was helping them. I was so happy to hear this. When I heard the message they left on my machine, telling me to call them back, I was actually dreading that another one bit the dust :wink: . So what a pleasant surprise to hear otherwise!

The cherry on top was when very soon after the guppies were released into their tank, my brother and niece started seeing baby guppies swimming around! One of the females was dropping her brood, already! So what a wonderful turn of events...

The only thing I'm worried about now is that the guy suggested maintaining 1/2 tsp marine salt per gallon of water. He explained that the city water was particularly soft. I know the salt is good for the guppies, but I'm not sure how the plants are going to fare. And it's not so much the welfare of the plants I'm worried about than the fact that if they're not taking up the ammonia because of their compromised health due to the salinity, then the tank's going to have to cycle and this would complicate things.

Well, I guess they'll cross that bridge when they come to it. At least they can seek help from a good shop.

Thanks again!!! I'm so glad to have gotten info about a good shop. I'm truly grateful.

-Naomi
 

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A little salt should not hurt the plants. Is there any way you could find the kh and gh of their water? Actually, in my opinion, testing the water would be both a fun and an interesting project for a young child. Atleast I would have found fun:) If their water is a little soft you can always have them add a little epson salt to bring up the gh, some baking soda to bring up the kh, get some calcium carbonate which will raise both kh and gh or get some of those ready made kn/gh buffers (although IMO why spend the money. Calcium carbonate might be found in a drug store but will almost certainly be found in a home brew shop. If the kh and or gh is below 2 or 3 then I would consider raising them.

Hope this helps. I really htink this is a cool thing you are doing and I hope that your little neice, and mabey your brother also, will take something good from this experience. Also glad you found a good store.
 
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