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Ugly aquarium grass, and what fish to put in a small aquarium



 
 
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  #1  
Old January 14th 05, 05:06 PM
robin
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Ugly aquarium grass, and what fish to put in a small aquarium

Hi,

I've got an Eclipse System 3 that I set up in November for my betta
(which was in a very small bowl). As an aquarium newbie, I love the
Eclipse - very quiet, easy to set up, and small enough to fit on my
desk.

Anyway, after running the aquarium with plants but no fish for a couple
of weeks, I introduced the betta (slowly). He seemed to do fine for a
week, then was suddenly quite dead one morning. :-(

So right now I'm running the tank with a couple of neons, which seem to
be doing ok, but I'm trying to decide if I want another betta, or
something else. But first I want to get my plant situation stabilized.

Here's the setup. Everything is from the local PetsMart.

Eclipse system 3. It has a built-in filter, bio-wheel, and 6-watt
florescent bulb.
I leave the light on during working hours, and turn it off at night and
on weekends.
I don't have a heater, but the water is fairly warm during the day - a
few degrees above room temperature, anyway.

Fairly large rock-gravel (from petsmart, intended for aquariums), which
is pea-sized up to about peanut m-n-m sized. I did rinse the gravel
fairly thoroughly before putting it in.
No substrate or soil or anything, because I didn't research it at all
before doing this. :-)

A small air pump, with a bubble wall extending the length of the back
of the tank. Another product plug: I spent the extra $ for a small
'Rena Air' pump, since I'm in an office and don't want to annoy my
coworkers, and I can't hear it at all over the general office noise and
the noise of the bubble wall.

Assorted small snails, that came 'for free' with the plants. I think
they are pond snails, from pictures and descriptions I've found online.
I don't really mind them, as they are kind of fun to watch scoot
around, so long as they don't interfere with the plants and fish too
much. There are a bunch of them, but they seem to have reached a
fairly steady population, as far as I can tell in this short time.

3 neon tetras (a couple have died and been replaced)

Three (maybe) ghost shrimp that I put in just for fun. I haven't seen
more than one of these at a time since I put them in, so one or two may
have died.

Several Anacharis plants - These guys seem pretty healthy. Green
leaves from root to top, and I think they are growing a bit.

A small plant that PetSmart called pennywort, but doesn't look at all
like the pictures of it I see online. He has a few inches of 'stalk',
then a couple of little branches with long-ish, slightly curved leaves.
He seems pretty healthy (green leaves, a new little sprout coming off
one side).

A Banana plant - this guy is a monster - he's putting out little
sprouts around his 'tubers' down into the rock gravel he is planted in,
has 4 leaves on small stalks and sends up 'streamers' to the surface
with nice big pretty leaves. He seems to grow visibly from the time I
get to work to the time I leave, and definately overnight. I've got a
couple of questions about him: The big surface leaves seem to last for
a few days, then 'decay'. I've been told this is pretty normal, but
should I prune the leaf when it starts to decay, or should I just let
it go naturally? Also, if I do prune it, should I cut the streamer
down close to the 'tubers', or just cut the leaf off of the streamer?
One leaf I did let just decay, and the streamer is just sitting there -
should I prune that, or will it grow a new leaf? The streamers are
really impressive - they pretty much travel the entire width of this
small tank and up to the surface, looping as they go. The streamer
with the leaf that decayed on it's own is probably two feet long - it
goes from the banana plant in the center of the tank, to one side
before looping around to the other side of the tank by the time it
reaches the surface.

Several little 'grass' clumps. These are the ones that are bothering
me. I'm not sure what species they are, but they look pretty much like
ordinary yard grass. Little clumps of long, thin, green (well, see
below...) leaves, with no 'texture', or anything. The problem I'm
having with this stuff is that while a couple of the clumps are mostly
green, most of them are an ugly translucent gray. A few leaves of the
grass fall off from time to time and get sucked up the filter, or float
on the surface until I fish them out. I'm wondering if I should yank
the poor performers out, just let them sit, prune them, or what. I'd
like to have some grassy-like stuff on the bottom of the tank to
complement the bigger and taller plants, but I also don't want to be
fooling around with rearranging plants too much, since it uproots the
plants (most of which seem to be throwing out roots despite the lack of
real soil) and puts 'junk' in the water from the gravel which will
annoy the fishes.

I haven't had any algea problems to speak of, except for perhaps an
occasional spot of what might be algea on the tank wall, that I scrub
off with a sponge intended for this purpose.

Another question: Do I need to vacuum the gravel? As I mentioned
above, the gravel is fairly large, so most of the 'junk' seems to be
settling to the bottom. I've also got these snails and shrimp in there
which seem quite happy scooting along the bottom and I assume eating as
they go. Most of the vacuum setups I've seen require a running tap,
which means I would have to move the aquarium to do it. I'm a bit
afraid of doing that without making a mess, or at least stirring up the
tank pretty thoroughly. Also, since I've got these plants covering a
fair portion of the bottom, there aren't too many places I *could*
vacuum around and between them.

I also put in the recommended amount of 'Plant Gro' once a week - it is
a liquid with trace elements and chelated iron. I've been doing a 20
oz water change once a week, using dechorinated tap water one week, and
bottled water the next (on the theory that the bottled water might be
*too* pure, and lack random nutrients the fish might need). (Yes, 20
oz is the size of the bottled water bottles. :-))

Should I consider working out a CO2 injection system? Since I've
already sunk about as much money as I can get away with into this
thing, I'd probably have to go with the 'yeast' method I've seen
online, and a mess or smell would be a very bad thing in the office.
Thanks for reading all that, and for any advice you can give!

  #2  
Old January 14th 05, 11:57 PM
Ozdude
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

"robin" wrote in message
oups.com...
Anyway, after running the aquarium with plants but no fish for a couple
of weeks, I introduced the betta (slowly). He seemed to do fine for a
week, then was suddenly quite dead one morning. :-(


How did he come from the LFS? Was he in good condition there. i.e. NOT in
one of those cramped little 0.5L "betta tanks" - was he active and healthy
looking when you bought him? Bettas are very sensitive (in my experience) to
ammonia and waste in the water, but it doesn't sound like this was your
problem to me. He may have cycled the tank for you because the cycling
doesn't really start unless there is ammonia present, and that's what fish
pee is - ammonia. Vale brave Betta!

I don't have a heater, but the water is fairly warm during the day - a
few degrees above room temperature, anyway.


What's your room temp? My tetras were acclimatised to colder 21C water but
they have perked up and are happy as Larry now with heated water at 26C/78F.

Fairly large rock-gravel (from petsmart, intended for aquariums), which
is pea-sized up to about peanut m-n-m sized. I did rinse the gravel
fairly thoroughly before putting it in.
No substrate or soil or anything, because I didn't research it at all
before doing this. :-)


If you want your plants to be happy too, I would get something samller under
that pea gravel. You could do it while you are lightly stocked, or pot your
plants in a better plant friendly sub-strate and cover the top with your pea
gravel. The plants need 1 to 2mm type gravel without sharp edges, as a
minimum in my experience (about 1 inch thick).

A small air pump, with a bubble wall extending the length of the back
of the tank. Another product plug: I spent the extra $ for a small
'Rena Air' pump, since I'm in an office and don't want to annoy my
coworkers, and I can't hear it at all over the general office noise and
the noise of the bubble wall.


If you have enough healthy plants you don't need the bubbles. Oxygen will be
given off by the plants during lighting periods and the Betta is a Labyrinth
fish so it goes to the surface for air in any case. As long as the water is
filtered - a small internal filter will do (sans carbon) and regular 10 or
25% water changes should see your tank doing well.

Assorted small snails, that came 'for free' with the plants. I think
they are pond snails, from pictures and descriptions I've found online.
I don't really mind them, as they are kind of fun to watch scoot
around, so long as they don't interfere with the plants and fish too
much. There are a bunch of them, but they seem to have reached a
fairly steady population, as far as I can tell in this short time.


If they aren't canibalising your plants then they should be dealing with
fish waste and uneaten food. Have you seen Mystery/Apple Snails? - bright
yellow usually and they love diving from the top to the bottom - very funny
to watch.

3 neon tetras (a couple have died and been replaced)


I personally avoid Neons because they bred en-mass using all sorts of
"boosters", in Asia usually. I prefer Cardinals any how (slightly more
expensive) and I don't know of anyone I know that has had them for more than
6 months before they go off to fishy-heaven.

With Neons, make sure they look robust and healthy in the shop and ask the
LFS person these questions: 1) How long have they been quarantined? 2) How
long have they had them in the shop tank? 3) Do they have a good appetite?
4) Can you show me them eating? Also check the tank and notice if they look
generally healthy, perky and "full". It's not uncommon for Neons to last a
month or so after bringing them home - it's terrible what the trade is doing
to them. If you can find wild caught ones then all the better, but I don't
fancy your chances.

I won't guarantee you'll get robust Neons this way, but you'll get an
indication of the LFSs commitment to healthy stock. I say go with the better
looking Cardinal, or Black Neon (completely different species to the Neon)
in any case.

Three (maybe) ghost shrimp that I put in just for fun. I haven't seen
more than one of these at a time since I put them in, so one or two may
have died.


Can't comment on invertibrates at the moment ... sorry.


Several Anacharis plants - These guys seem pretty healthy. Green
leaves from root to top, and I think they are growing a bit.


As long as you only put their roots in your gravel these will do well. Don't
bury the crown or they will melt and die.

A small plant that PetSmart called pennywort, but doesn't look at all
like the pictures of it I see online. He has a few inches of 'stalk',
then a couple of little branches with long-ish, slightly curved leaves.
He seems pretty healthy (green leaves, a new little sprout coming off
one side).


I have personally had a coulpe of Pennyworts - the one I currently have is
"Brazillian Pennywort" with about 1cm leaves lower down and smaller new
green leaves at the tip. It's a stem plant and needs a fairly good sub
strate and light to really take off.

The other was (I think) actually a Moneywort - it had red leaves but not as
large as the Brazillian - very nice plant and I may get some more of it, but
red plants need pretty high light and some iron dosing I believe.

A Banana plant - this guy is a monster - he's putting out little
sprouts around his 'tubers' down into the rock gravel he is planted in,
has 4 leaves on small stalks and sends up 'streamers' to the surface
with nice big pretty leaves. He seems to grow visibly from the time I
get to work to the time I leave, and definately overnight. I've got a
couple of questions about him: The big surface leaves seem to last for
a few days, then 'decay'. I've been told this is pretty normal, but
should I prune the leaf when it starts to decay, or should I just let
it go naturally?


I have two of these. They do shoot and visibly grow almost as you watch
them. It's not uncommon for mine to grow 2cm in a day! Their large surface
pads seem to last forever and a day in my tank but I have pretty high light.
Are they tinged with red? If they are then that's normal.

As for dead leaves, mine seem to be losing their submerged ones in
preference for surface types atm. I think, but aren't sure, it's got to do
with the lighting amount - they seem to prefer surface leaves in high light,
both in medium light and submerged in low light. Their nutrients are in the
actual bananas at the crown, but they do need to build these up from stuff
in the water, like any other plant, or they might wither away to nothing and
the plant will stop growing, in my experience. I have seen them just
floating around in shop tanks too firing out shoots every which way - the
important thing is don't bury the banana's - just the hairy roots.

Also, if I do prune it, should I cut the streamer
down close to the 'tubers', or just cut the leaf off of the streamer?


I recommend cutting them off at/close to the base. I am experimenting with
propigating them by cutting the surface leaf off about 5cm down and letting
it float to see if it will grow a root system, but I do take the remaining
stalk off down to the crown after I do this.

One leaf I did let just decay, and the streamer is just sitting there -
should I prune that, or will it grow a new leaf? The streamers are
really impressive - they pretty much travel the entire width of this
small tank and up to the surface, looping as they go. The streamer
with the leaf that decayed on it's own is probably two feet long - it
goes from the banana plant in the center of the tank, to one side
before looping around to the other side of the tank by the time it
reaches the surface.


Cut it off. The plant will send up many more and I don't think it will grow
another leaf there.


Several little 'grass' clumps. These are the ones that are bothering
me. I'm not sure what species they are, but they look pretty much like
ordinary yard grass. Little clumps of long, thin, green (well, see
below...) leaves, with no 'texture', or anything. The problem I'm
having with this stuff is that while a couple of the clumps are mostly
green, most of them are an ugly translucent gray. A few leaves of the
grass fall off from time to time and get sucked up the filter, or float
on the surface until I fish them out. I'm wondering if I should yank
the poor performers out, just let them sit, prune them, or what. I'd
like to have some grassy-like stuff on the bottom of the tank to
complement the bigger and taller plants, but I also don't want to be
fooling around with rearranging plants too much, since it uproots the
plants (most of which seem to be throwing out roots despite the lack of
real soil) and puts 'junk' in the water from the gravel which will
annoy the fishes.


My Val does this until it's established - I just have a pair of scissors for
each tank and I snip all dying and dead fronds off when I do my tank
maininence on Mondays. It doesn't disturb the plants or fish. In fact my
Tetras are very interested in my plant care regime

I haven't had any algea problems to speak of, except for perhaps an
occasional spot of what might be algea on the tank wall, that I scrub
off with a sponge intended for this purpose.


Mystery Snails will deal with this, but you are doing fine.

Another question: Do I need to vacuum the gravel? As I mentioned
above, the gravel is fairly large, so most of the 'junk' seems to be
settling to the bottom. I've also got these snails and shrimp in there
which seem quite happy scooting along the bottom and I assume eating as
they go. Most of the vacuum setups I've seen require a running tap,
which means I would have to move the aquarium to do it. I'm a bit
afraid of doing that without making a mess, or at least stirring up the
tank pretty thoroughly. Also, since I've got these plants covering a
fair portion of the bottom, there aren't too many places I *could*
vacuum around and between them.


I am not sure about this. In my new tank I am not vacuuming near the
plants - just a couple of selected spots where the plants are. I think by
the sounds of it your tank doesn't need it, but I could be wrong. If your
Nitrates/Nitrites/Ammonia are high and your tank is cycled and well planted,
you may want to look at cleaning the gravel once in a while, but more
importantly your filter should be cleaned regularly.


I also put in the recommended amount of 'Plant Gro' once a week - it is
a liquid with trace elements and chelated iron. I've been doing a 20
oz water change once a week, using dechorinated tap water one week, and
bottled water the next (on the theory that the bottled water might be
*too* pure, and lack random nutrients the fish might need). (Yes, 20
oz is the size of the bottled water bottles. :-))


I don't fertilise my plants yet, but it seems to be working in your tank. It
just sounds like your pea gravel is holding your plants back perhaps?


Should I consider working out a CO2 injection system? Since I've
already sunk about as much money as I can get away with into this
thing, I'd probably have to go with the 'yeast' method I've seen
online, and a mess or smell would be a very bad thing in the office.
Thanks for reading all that, and for any advice you can give!


It may not be worth it in an office IMO. The DIY Yeast thing requires
constant attention so it seems - I haven't actually activated mine yet - I
think more importantly, your current set up seems to be working. As long as
you stick to Java Ferns, Banana Plants and their ilk and supply enough light
and fertilisation, I can't see why there should be a problem.

It actually sounds like a nice little tank to me.

Good luck with it in the future and I hope your office mates appreciate it
as well

Oz



--
My Aquatic web Blog is at http://members.optusnet.com.au/ivan.smith


  #3  
Old January 15th 05, 12:39 AM
Elaine T
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Ozdude wrote:

I personally avoid Neons because they bred en-mass using all sorts of
"boosters", in Asia usually. I prefer Cardinals any how (slightly more
expensive) and I don't know of anyone I know that has had them for more than
6 months before they go off to fishy-heaven.

Me, me, me! My cardinals usually live at least 2 years but I have had
big, fat 4 year old cardinals crusising a heavily planted tank. If you
buy small ones, so they're not adults at purchase, they should have the
same lifespan as healthy neons. They're wild-caught, and I have had
whole batches die in my tank within days of purchase but once you find
healthy ones, they should live for a long time. I think the key to
cardinals is warm water. I usually keep my cardinal tanks at 76-80F.

With Neons, make sure they look robust and healthy in the shop and ask the
LFS person these questions: 1) How long have they been quarantined? 2) How
long have they had them in the shop tank? 3) Do they have a good appetite?
4) Can you show me them eating? Also check the tank and notice if they look
generally healthy, perky and "full". It's not uncommon for Neons to last a
month or so after bringing them home - it's terrible what the trade is doing
to them. If you can find wild caught ones then all the better, but I don't
fancy your chances.


When I worked in a fish store, the big neons did fine on arrival. We
typically lost half of the tiny ones within a week. So pay the extra
and buy large neons for better results if you don't choose cardinals.
Neons do OK at lower water temperatures.

I won't guarantee you'll get robust Neons this way, but you'll get an
indication of the LFSs commitment to healthy stock. I say go with the better
looking Cardinal, or Black Neon (completely different species to the Neon)
in any case.


snippety snip...

Another question: Do I need to vacuum the gravel? As I mentioned
above, the gravel is fairly large, so most of the 'junk' seems to be
settling to the bottom. I've also got these snails and shrimp in there
which seem quite happy scooting along the bottom and I assume eating as
they go. Most of the vacuum setups I've seen require a running tap,
which means I would have to move the aquarium to do it. I'm a bit
afraid of doing that without making a mess, or at least stirring up the
tank pretty thoroughly. Also, since I've got these plants covering a
fair portion of the bottom, there aren't too many places I *could*
vacuum around and between them.



I am not sure about this. In my new tank I am not vacuuming near the
plants - just a couple of selected spots where the plants are. I think by
the sounds of it your tank doesn't need it, but I could be wrong. If your
Nitrates/Nitrites/Ammonia are high and your tank is cycled and well planted,
you may want to look at cleaning the gravel once in a while, but more
importantly your filter should be cleaned regularly.


Yes, you must vacuum your gravel. Particularly with pea gravel, bits of
food and debris settle into crevasses between the pieces of gravel where
fish and snails can't get to it. With a 3 gallon tank the small volume
of water can go downhill very fast if debris builds up in the gravel.
Trust me on this - I've learned the hard way with a 2 gal tank. You
don't need a running tap. Find one of those siphons with a fat tube for
the gravel and a thinner hose attached to it. Python makes a very tiny
one that's perfect for your size tank. Be gentle right around the
plants so you don't disturb the roots too much and all will be fine.
Move any decorations and vacuum underneath too - you'll find a lot of
gunk collects there.

Good luck with your tiny tank.

--
o __ __ o
o __' Elaine T '__ o o
  #4  
Old January 15th 05, 05:29 AM
Ozdude
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default


"Elaine T" wrote in message
m...
Good luck with your tiny tank.


My main tank isn't tiny But my substrate in it is.

Oz

--
My Aquatic web Blog is at http://members.optusnet.com.au/ivan.smith


  #5  
Old January 15th 05, 05:41 AM
js1
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

On 2005-01-14, robin wrote:
Several little 'grass' clumps. These are the ones that are bothering
me. I'm not sure what species they are, but they look pretty much like
ordinary yard grass. Little clumps of long, thin, green (well, see
below...) leaves, with no 'texture', or anything. The problem I'm
having with this stuff is that while a couple of the clumps are mostly
green, most of them are an ugly translucent gray. A few leaves of the
grass fall off from time to time and get sucked up the filter, or float
on the surface until I fish them out. I'm wondering if I should yank
the poor performers out, just let them sit, prune them, or what. I'd
like to have some grassy-like stuff on the bottom of the tank to
complement the bigger and taller plants, but I also don't want to be
fooling around with rearranging plants too much, since it uproots the
plants (most of which seem to be throwing out roots despite the lack of
real soil) and puts 'junk' in the water from the gravel which will
annoy the fishes.


Pull some of the bad looking ones out and see if the roots are rotting.
Healthy roots are white. Decaying roots start turning translucent.

I haven't had any algea problems to speak of, except for perhaps an
occasional spot of what might be algea on the tank wall, that I scrub
off with a sponge intended for this purpose.

Another question: Do I need to vacuum the gravel? As I mentioned
above, the gravel is fairly large, so most of the 'junk' seems to be
settling to the bottom. I've also got these snails and shrimp in there
which seem quite happy scooting along the bottom and I assume eating as
they go. Most of the vacuum setups I've seen require a running tap,
which means I would have to move the aquarium to do it. I'm a bit
afraid of doing that without making a mess, or at least stirring up the
tank pretty thoroughly. Also, since I've got these plants covering a
fair portion of the bottom, there aren't too many places I *could*
vacuum around and between them.


You don't have to vacuum the gravel of the planted tank. If your pond
snails get out of control, crush the shells and let the fish feed on
them. Just don't crush them with your bare hands.

Just siphon the water out. For a three gallon tank with plants, you
probably only have to change out a gallon every three weeks or so. You
can use the fishy water for the office plants.

I also put in the recommended amount of 'Plant Gro' once a week - it is
a liquid with trace elements and chelated iron. I've been doing a 20
oz water change once a week, using dechorinated tap water one week, and
bottled water the next (on the theory that the bottled water might be
*too* pure, and lack random nutrients the fish might need). (Yes, 20
oz is the size of the bottled water bottles. :-))


The fauna will provide nitrates and phosphates. You may want to
consider adding potassium if the plants start struggling.

Should I consider working out a CO2 injection system? Since I've
already sunk about as much money as I can get away with into this
thing, I'd probably have to go with the 'yeast' method I've seen
online, and a mess or smell would be a very bad thing in the office.
Thanks for reading all that, and for any advice you can give!


You don't have enough light for CO2, and the plants you have won't
require it.

BTW, here's a good site on plants: http://www.plantgeek.net/

--
"I have to decide between two equally frightening options.
If I wanted to do that, I'd vote." --Duckman

  #6  
Old January 15th 05, 05:50 AM
js1
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

On 2005-01-14, Ozdude [email protected] wrote:

If you want your plants to be happy too, I would get something samller under
that pea gravel. You could do it while you are lightly stocked, or pot your
plants in a better plant friendly sub-strate and cover the top with your pea
gravel. The plants need 1 to 2mm type gravel without sharp edges, as a
minimum in my experience (about 1 inch thick).


That all depends on the plants. The ones he listed aren't that picky
about substrate.

If you have enough healthy plants you don't need the bubbles. Oxygen will be
given off by the plants during lighting periods and the Betta is a Labyrinth
fish so it goes to the surface for air in any case. As long as the water is
filtered - a small internal filter will do (sans carbon) and regular 10 or
25% water changes should see your tank doing well.


I'm not sure if the plants put out enough oxygen in a low light setup. He
seemed to have a relatively low load, plus I think he said the betta was
gone. For the non-labyrinth fish, you still need water circulating so gas
can be exchanged between water and air.

If they aren't canibalising your plants then they should be dealing with
fish waste and uneaten food. Have you seen Mystery/Apple Snails? - bright
yellow usually and they love diving from the top to the bottom - very funny
to watch.


If you get apple snails, make sure you get the bridgesii species.

http://www.applesnail.net/content/sp...a_bridgesi.htm

In my experience, the mystery snails at PetsMart have been bridgesii.


Can't comment on invertibrates at the moment ... sorry.


Maybe consider Amano shrimp. http://www.aquahobby.org/gallery/e_shrimp.php


--
"I have to decide between two equally frightening options.
If I wanted to do that, I'd vote." --Duckman

  #7  
Old January 15th 05, 05:59 AM
Elaine T
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Ozdude wrote:
"Elaine T" wrote in message
m...

Good luck with your tiny tank.



My main tank isn't tiny But my substrate in it is.

Oz

ROFL! I hate when I'm not careful with my quoting. I meant that
for Robin's Eclipse 3.

--
o __ __ o
o __' Elaine T '__ o o
  #8  
Old January 15th 05, 01:49 PM
Ozdude
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default


"js1" wrote in message
...
If you get apple snails, make sure you get the bridgesii species.

http://www.applesnail.net/content/sp...a_bridgesi.htm

In my experience, the mystery snails at PetsMart have been bridgesii.


I found an excellent article the other day about the shell types of Apple
Snails. The bridgesii types have a 90 degree ledge, but if I hadn't known
this I think I would have been at the mercey of unknowing LFS people
There is one variety which is prevelent in the "wild" in Asia and Northern
Australia (Queensland) which decimates plants including rice in Asia.

In fact I think it may have Applesnail.net that had this information.

I'm getting myself two bridgesii next Wednesday and we'll see how they go in
my new tank. I look forward to having them

Oz

--
My Aquatic web Blog is at http://members.optusnet.com.au/ivan.smith


  #9  
Old January 15th 05, 01:50 PM
Ozdude
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"Elaine T" wrote in message
om...
Ozdude wrote:
"Elaine T" wrote in message
m...

Good luck with your tiny tank.



My main tank isn't tiny But my substrate in it is.

Oz

ROFL! I hate when I'm not careful with my quoting. I meant that
for Robin's Eclipse 3.


No problem

Oz

--
My Aquatic web Blog is at http://members.optusnet.com.au/ivan.smith


  #10  
Old January 17th 05, 03:40 PM
robin
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Thanks for the response! My comments are inline...

Ozdude (e) wrote:
"robin" wrote in message
oups.com...
Anyway, after running the aquarium with plants but no fish for a

couple
of weeks, I introduced the betta (slowly). He seemed to do fine

for a
week, then was suddenly quite dead one morning. :-(


How did he come from the LFS? Was he in good condition there. i.e.

NOT in
one of those cramped little 0.5L "betta tanks" - was he active and

healthy
looking when you bought him? Bettas are very sensitive (in my

experience) to
ammonia and waste in the water, but it doesn't sound like this was

your
problem to me. He may have cycled the tank for you because the

cycling
doesn't really start unless there is ammonia present, and that's what

fish
pee is - ammonia. Vale brave Betta!


He actually didn't come (directly) from a LFS. Our company had a
'company meeting' where beta's in little bowls (probably about .5L)
were the centerpieces for some tables. After the meeting, the Beta's
were made available 'to a good home'. I kept him in the little bowl
successfully for about 6 months, where he seemed fairly healthy, but
not really thriving - his fins were intact and he ate well, but he
wasn't really vibrant and didn't have those long flowing fins you see
sometimes. So I felt bad enough that I eventually upgraded his digs to
the 3 gallon, and the ingrate promptly died on me! :-)

I don't have a heater, but the water is fairly warm during the day

- a
few degrees above room temperature, anyway.


What's your room temp? My tetras were acclimatised to colder 21C

water but
they have perked up and are happy as Larry now with heated water at

26C/78F.

It's an office, but they seem to keep it pretty warm (lots of
computers). I'd guess around 74F.

Fairly large rock-gravel (from petsmart, intended for aquariums),

which
is pea-sized up to about peanut m-n-m sized. I did rinse the

gravel
fairly thoroughly before putting it in.
No substrate or soil or anything, because I didn't research it at

all
before doing this. :-)


If you want your plants to be happy too, I would get something

samller under
that pea gravel. You could do it while you are lightly stocked, or

pot your
plants in a better plant friendly sub-strate and cover the top with

your pea
gravel. The plants need 1 to 2mm type gravel without sharp edges, as

a
minimum in my experience (about 1 inch thick).


I'd considered it, but dread the thought of yanking everything out and
starting over - but maybe I'll go that way.

A small air pump, with a bubble wall extending the length of the

back
of the tank. Another product plug: I spent the extra $ for a small
'Rena Air' pump, since I'm in an office and don't want to annoy my
coworkers, and I can't hear it at all over the general office noise

and
the noise of the bubble wall.


If you have enough healthy plants you don't need the bubbles. Oxygen

will be
given off by the plants during lighting periods and the Betta is a

Labyrinth
fish so it goes to the surface for air in any case. As long as the

water is
filtered - a small internal filter will do (sans carbon) and regular

10 or
25% water changes should see your tank doing well.


The bubble wall is more for aesthetic reasons than anything else - I
hate the fakey 'seascape' backgrounds, and it looked funny with just my
desk wall showing through the back side of the tank. The eclipse comes
with a charcoal filter and bio wheel integrated into the hood.

Assorted small snails, that came 'for free' with the plants. I

think
they are pond snails, from pictures and descriptions I've found

online.
I don't really mind them, as they are kind of fun to watch scoot
around, so long as they don't interfere with the plants and fish

too
much. There are a bunch of them, but they seem to have reached a
fairly steady population, as far as I can tell in this short time.


If they aren't canibalising your plants then they should be dealing

with
fish waste and uneaten food. Have you seen Mystery/Apple Snails? -

bright
yellow usually and they love diving from the top to the bottom - very

funny
to watch.


Yeah, I've seen some pictures, they look cool - I'm a little worried
that they might grow too big for the tank, though.

3 neon tetras (a couple have died and been replaced)


I personally avoid Neons because they bred en-mass using all sorts of


"boosters", in Asia usually. I prefer Cardinals any how (slightly

more
expensive) and I don't know of anyone I know that has had them for

more than
6 months before they go off to fishy-heaven.

With Neons, make sure they look robust and healthy in the shop and

ask the
LFS person these questions: 1) How long have they been quarantined?

2) How
long have they had them in the shop tank? 3) Do they have a good

appetite?
4) Can you show me them eating? Also check the tank and notice if

they look
generally healthy, perky and "full". It's not uncommon for Neons to

last a
month or so after bringing them home - it's terrible what the trade

is doing
to them. If you can find wild caught ones then all the better, but I

don't
fancy your chances.

I won't guarantee you'll get robust Neons this way, but you'll get an


indication of the LFSs commitment to healthy stock. I say go with the

better
looking Cardinal, or Black Neon (completely different species to the

Neon)
in any case.


Cool. I'm not in love with the neons, I got them because they were
cheap (in case something in the water killed them like the betta), they
are fairly attractive, and I'd heard they don't last long (cruel, I
know). I wanted something I could stick in there for awhile while the
water cycled, then put another betta or something in here.

A Banana plant - this guy is a monster - he's putting out little
sprouts around his 'tubers' down into the rock gravel he is planted

in,
has 4 leaves on small stalks and sends up 'streamers' to the

surface
with nice big pretty leaves. He seems to grow visibly from the

time I
get to work to the time I leave, and definately overnight. I've

got a
couple of questions about him: The big surface leaves seem to last

for
a few days, then 'decay'. I've been told this is pretty normal,

but
should I prune the leaf when it starts to decay, or should I just

let
it go naturally?


I have two of these. They do shoot and visibly grow almost as you

watch
them. It's not uncommon for mine to grow 2cm in a day! Their large

surface
pads seem to last forever and a day in my tank but I have pretty high

light.
Are they tinged with red? If they are then that's normal.


Actually this new crop of leaves is redder than the first, and seem to
be sticking around longer - maybe they are liking the 'plant gro' stuff
I've been putting in.

As for dead leaves, mine seem to be losing their submerged ones in
preference for surface types atm. I think, but aren't sure, it's got

to do
with the lighting amount - they seem to prefer surface leaves in high

light,
both in medium light and submerged in low light. Their nutrients are

in the
actual bananas at the crown, but they do need to build these up from

stuff
in the water, like any other plant, or they might wither away to

nothing and
the plant will stop growing, in my experience. I have seen them just
floating around in shop tanks too firing out shoots every which way -

the
important thing is don't bury the banana's - just the hairy roots.


Ok. I'd stuck him in the gravel pretty far so he wouldn't float away,
but now that he seems to have rooted a bit, maybe I'll clear off some
of the gravel.

Also, if I do prune it, should I cut the streamer
down close to the 'tubers', or just cut the leaf off of the

streamer?

I recommend cutting them off at/close to the base. I am experimenting

with
propigating them by cutting the surface leaf off about 5cm down and

letting
it float to see if it will grow a root system, but I do take the

remaining
stalk off down to the crown after I do this.


Ok, I'll do that.

One leaf I did let just decay, and the streamer is just sitting

there -
should I prune that, or will it grow a new leaf? The streamers are
really impressive - they pretty much travel the entire width of

this
small tank and up to the surface, looping as they go. The streamer
with the leaf that decayed on it's own is probably two feet long -

it
goes from the banana plant in the center of the tank, to one side
before looping around to the other side of the tank by the time it
reaches the surface.


Cut it off. The plant will send up many more and I don't think it

will grow
another leaf there.


Ok, willdo!

Several little 'grass' clumps. These are the ones that are

bothering
me. I'm not sure what species they are, but they look pretty much

like
ordinary yard grass. Little clumps of long, thin, green (well, see
below...) leaves, with no 'texture', or anything. The problem I'm
having with this stuff is that while a couple of the clumps are

mostly
green, most of them are an ugly translucent gray. A few leaves of

the
grass fall off from time to time and get sucked up the filter, or

float
on the surface until I fish them out. I'm wondering if I should

yank
the poor performers out, just let them sit, prune them, or what.

I'd
like to have some grassy-like stuff on the bottom of the tank to
complement the bigger and taller plants, but I also don't want to

be
fooling around with rearranging plants too much, since it uproots

the
plants (most of which seem to be throwing out roots despite the

lack of
real soil) and puts 'junk' in the water from the gravel which will
annoy the fishes.


My Val does this until it's established - I just have a pair of

scissors for
each tank and I snip all dying and dead fronds off when I do my tank
maininence on Mondays. It doesn't disturb the plants or fish. In fact

my
Tetras are very interested in my plant care regime


Ok, I'll do that next time I'm 'in' the tank!

Another question: Do I need to vacuum the gravel? As I mentioned
above, the gravel is fairly large, so most of the 'junk' seems to

be
settling to the bottom. I've also got these snails and shrimp in

there
which seem quite happy scooting along the bottom and I assume

eating as
they go. Most of the vacuum setups I've seen require a running

tap,
which means I would have to move the aquarium to do it. I'm a bit
afraid of doing that without making a mess, or at least stirring up

the
tank pretty thoroughly. Also, since I've got these plants covering

a
fair portion of the bottom, there aren't too many places I *could*
vacuum around and between them.


I am not sure about this. In my new tank I am not vacuuming near the
plants - just a couple of selected spots where the plants are. I

think by
the sounds of it your tank doesn't need it, but I could be wrong. If

your
Nitrates/Nitrites/Ammonia are high and your tank is cycled and well

planted,
you may want to look at cleaning the gravel once in a while, but more


importantly your filter should be cleaned regularly.


Ok. I haven't actually bought a test kit or anything - I'm doing this
totally blind, chemical-wise. I guess I'd better invest in one anyway.

I also put in the recommended amount of 'Plant Gro' once a week -

it is
a liquid with trace elements and chelated iron. I've been doing a

20
oz water change once a week, using dechorinated tap water one week,

and
bottled water the next (on the theory that the bottled water might

be
*too* pure, and lack random nutrients the fish might need). (Yes,

20
oz is the size of the bottled water bottles. :-))


I don't fertilise my plants yet, but it seems to be working in your

tank. It
just sounds like your pea gravel is holding your plants back perhaps?


Yeah. Maybe I need to come in here one Saturday and 'redo' everything.
If I do, I guess I should 'save' the water from the tank and just put
the same water back in after rearranging things?

Should I consider working out a CO2 injection system? Since I've
already sunk about as much money as I can get away with into this
thing, I'd probably have to go with the 'yeast' method I've seen
online, and a mess or smell would be a very bad thing in the

office.
Thanks for reading all that, and for any advice you can give!


It may not be worth it in an office IMO. The DIY Yeast thing requires


constant attention so it seems - I haven't actually activated mine

yet - I
think more importantly, your current set up seems to be working. As

long as
you stick to Java Ferns, Banana Plants and their ilk and supply

enough light
and fertilisation, I can't see why there should be a problem.

It actually sounds like a nice little tank to me.

Good luck with it in the future and I hope your office mates

appreciate it
as well


Thanks for all the advice!

-RN

 




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