Back After 15 Years - My New Tank

mcordelia

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@ITViking as someone who is also coming back to the hobby after a long (10+ year) hiatus, all the water hardness stuff was completely new to me. In the early 2000's when I still had fish I was active on a different forum (that no longer exists) and it was always about matching fish to temp and pH, but nobody talked about hardness. Do you share that experience?
 
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ITViking

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@ITViking as someone who is also coming back to the hobby after a long (10+ year) hiatus, all the water hardness stuff was completely new to me. In the early 2000's when I still had fish I was active on a different forum (that no longer exists) and it was always about matching fish to temp and pH, but nobody talked about hardness. Do you share that experience?

Yea, the that's the same for me. When I was last cycling a tank it was around 20 years ago and I was doing so under the guidance of my LFS alone. This is my first foray into a fish keeping forum I believe. So I'm refreshing my memory on some things and discovering the pros & pitfalls of seeking info online from a fish keeping perspective. I think the old saying "measure twice, cut once" might be best applied. :)
 

essjay

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Realisation about hardness is fairly recent. Byron has a post somewhere about fish necropsies done in Germany on cardinal tetras that were kept in hard water and had calcium deposits in their organs. Other members who have hard water have commented that their soft water fish lived only around 18 months until they started using RO water and now they live for years. And we know that fish like mollies suffer from a condition called the shimmies if they are kept in soft water.


To expand on my comment about TDS for those who don't know what I'm talking about -
TDS is total dissolved solids - everything dissolved in water. Hardness (GH) is a measure of divalent metal ions, which in practice means mainly calcium, some magnesium and trace amounts of others. Sodium is a monovalent metal ion so it is not measured by hardness.
TDS measures everything. The hardness minerals, sodium, carbonate, things like tannins from wood, other things excreted and secreted by fish etc etc.
Adding baking soda (aka sodium bicarbonate) does not increase GH but it does increase carbonate (KH) and TDS.
 
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ITViking

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Today's #'s after a small water change.

PH = 7.0
Ammonia = 0.0 (yellowish-green, but < 0.1)
Nitrites = 0.0 - 0.1 (might be close to 0.1, still light purple but not dark enough to be 0.1)
Nitrates = 5

I feel like the next couple of days should be telling. I added to the bio-load a few days back (small fish), so am expecting to see some more ammonia possibly.
 
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ITViking

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Realisation about hardness is fairly recent....

To expand on my comment about TDS for those who don't know what I'm talking about....

Thanks essjay! I really appreciate that you took the time to expand on TDS. Although I don't have plants, I do have several pieces of mopani in the water.
 
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ITViking

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A day later, with no water change in between...

PH = 7.0
Ammonia = 0.0 (yellowish-green, possibly a bit lighter than yesterday)
Nitrites = 0.0 (absolutely clear)
Nitrates = 5

Could be my tank is completing it's cycling.
 
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ITViking

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Two days later; no water change in between. Slight color changes on tests; possible slight bump in ammonia & nitrites that's barely noticeable, due to adding 5 fish last week.

PH = 7.0
Ammonia = 0.0 (yellowish-green, possibly a bit darker than last test two days ago)
Nitrites = 0.0 (still clear, but with very slight pink tint noticeable)
Nitrates = 5 (might be slightly darker color now, so still 5 but climbing... maybe 6?)
 
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ITViking

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Here's a picture of my tank, a Fluval Mega Flex (32g).

Currently all plastic/silk plants but I plan to slowly replace them with live plants and the gravel substrate with a proper growing substrate in areas where I'm planting. More specifically I plan to fill in the back side of the tank by adding more rock/slate caves, and growing some plants off the mopani. Then growing taller plants in the two corners (maybe Vallisneria or Amazon Swords?). I have much to learn about live plants first though, before I dive in.

Over time I want to make it appear much more natural, with hints of Orinocco River environment without quite going to a realistic biome kind of build.

I have 18 fish in the tank currently, fifteen smaller (1") and three about 2".

4 x Panda Corys
3 x Ottos
8 x Harlequin Rasboras
2 x German Blue Rams
1 x L129 Blue Phantom Pleco

tank.jpg
 
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ITViking

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No water changes for more than a week (9 days I think?) and tank seems pretty stable. Nitrates are up a couple of points, and PH is slightly higher.

PH = 7.2
Ammonia = 0.0
Nitrites = 0.0
Nitrates = 10

Will do a water change tomorrow. Added a few Rummy Nose Tetras.
 

Deanasue

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Please keep us posted on how your pandas do. Several people have lost their pandas rather quickly after adding. I lost 5 out of 8. I believe they don’t do well in a new tank. My tank is now 6 months old and ready to buy a few more panda Cory to add with the 3 I still have. Would like to know your success with them first. My bronze cories, including the albinos have been spawning like crazy and I have gotten a number of nice fry from them.
 
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ITViking

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Please keep us posted on how your pandas do. Several people have lost their pandas rather quickly after adding. I lost 5 out of 8. I believe they don’t do well in a new tank. My tank is now 6 months old and ready to buy a few more panda Cory to add with the 3 I still have. Would like to know your success with them first. My bronze cories, including the albinos have been spawning like crazy and I have gotten a number of nice fry from them.

So far so, good. No fish lost so far. I can sure tell though that the Panda Corys are extremely social. They stick together a lot of the time, and really seem to like the piece of wood I have laying on the bottom right of the tank under the power head. I have heard they prefer larger groups around 6, so I may add a couple more. There's a small bit of space under the wood and they seem to have made it their home.

Originally I bought three Panda Corys, but found out later on that there was one left at the LFS after I bought mine. Couldn't have that, so went back for the loner so he could be with his pack mates.

The Blue Phantom Pleco really love hanging on the underside of the purple slate that's right in the main flow of the power head.
 

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