I’m a new member that started all wrong...

Strmwrng

Fish Fanatic
Joined
Nov 4, 2019
Messages
73
Reaction score
65
Hi all! This is my first forum and not sure how this all works, or to which sections I should be putting my varied questions in.
I’ll start with some info on what I have and would appreciate direction from there.
I initially started a 5 gal tank to serve as ‘cat tv’ to my inside only cat. And she loves it!! I’m gone at work 30 hrs at a time so she’s alone a lot☹
But now that I’ve started this, I’ve become quite attached to it also and am starting to get some of it right, but still have puzzling wrongs.
I have questions about water flow, filter stuff, going from plastic to real plants, and algae to start with...where should I go in the forum to ask these? Also, an aside, I’m not able to have a bigger tank at this time, but definitely a future goal. Thank you already for what I’ve already learned from all of you! I look forward to learning all I can about this!
 

Attachments

AilyNC

Fish Gatherer
Joined
Aug 4, 2020
Messages
2,123
Reaction score
2,655
Location
Ireland
Welcome :hi: cute tank.:wub: you could swap out your fake plants for some very easy low maintenance plants. Water Wisteria, Amazon Sword, Java Fern, Limnophila sessiliflora, Elodea and floating plants like Salvinia, or Frogbit. All easy beginner friendly plants. If you put the lights on a timer switch for 8 to 10 hrs a day you can make sure they get right amount of light while you're not home.
 
OP
Strmwrng

Strmwrng

Fish Fanatic
Joined
Nov 4, 2019
Messages
73
Reaction score
65
Welcome :hi: cute tank.:wub: you could swap out your fake plants for some very easy low maintenance plants. Water Wisteria, Amazon Sword, Java Fern, Limnophila sessiliflora, Elodea and floating plants like Salvinia, or Frogbit. All easy beginner friendly plants. If you put the lights on a timer switch for 8 to 10 hrs a day you can make sure they get right amount of light while you're not home.
 
OP
Strmwrng

Strmwrng

Fish Fanatic
Joined
Nov 4, 2019
Messages
73
Reaction score
65
Thanks! Yes, I agree about the plants! I have some that will be arriving on Monday. However, this is a place where I also went wrong. I ordered them from EBay and it’s simply a box full of ‘aquarium plants’. I won’t know what they are or what they’ll need for conditions until I unpack them. (nope, won’t do that one again) My light is on a timer, 8 hrs/day, and thinking that’s probably why I have had algae for the past 2 weeks. That’s why I decided to try live plants. I have 2 guppies and 3 endler guppies, all males. The tank is 10 weeks since set up, 3 weeks since cycled.
 

AilyNC

Fish Gatherer
Joined
Aug 4, 2020
Messages
2,123
Reaction score
2,655
Location
Ireland
I think if you agitate the water with air stone it can help reduce algae. I think a surprise pack of plants sound fun and if you need help with plant care post query with pic of the plant in the plant chit chat section. You can get plants ID'd there too. Some plants like CO2 added so hopefully you don't get those as a low tech set up will be easier. I love how both guppies & Endlers move :wub:
 
OP
Strmwrng

Strmwrng

Fish Fanatic
Joined
Nov 4, 2019
Messages
73
Reaction score
65
I think if you agitate the water with air stone it can help reduce algae. I think a surprise pack of plants sound fun and if you need help with plant care post query with pic of the plant in the plant chit chat section. You can get plants ID'd there too. Some plants like CO2 added so hopefully you don't get those as a low tech set up will be easier. I love how both guppies & Endlers move :wub:
I think if you agitate the water with air stone it can help reduce algae. I think a surprise pack of plants sound fun and if you need help with plant care post query with pic of the plant in the plant chit chat section. You can get plants ID'd there too. Some plants like CO2 added so hopefully you don't get those as a low tech set up will be easier. I love how both guppies & Endlers move :wub:
Thanks for the thoughts about identifying the plants! I definitely want to keep it low tech. I do have an air stone in the tank, it’s about 4 in long and runs along the side wall farthest from the filter.
 
OP
Strmwrng

Strmwrng

Fish Fanatic
Joined
Nov 4, 2019
Messages
73
Reaction score
65
Help please? Could I ask a filter question here?...or is there another area I should go to for that? Thanks!
 

AdoraBelle Dearheart

Fish Gatherer
Joined
Jul 22, 2020
Messages
2,991
Reaction score
4,206
Location
UK
Welcome! :hi:

Cute little tank, livebearers are great, and it was a good move to go with males only! So you didn't start all wrong, don't panic :)

What are your questions about going from fake to live plants? I'm sure you have dozens, but your main concerns or queries? Trust me, once you have a few real plants in there, and you see how the fish swim around them and pick at them in a way they just don't with fake plants, you'll be hooked. @AilyNC can vouch for that, I convinced her to get some live plants, and now she's hooked and building bonsai trees and everything :wub:

No worries about ordering a general plant pack either, I've done it before, it can be fun! If you can place the plants in a glass container and get some decent photos of them, someone here will be able to ID them for you and give you some basic planting guidelines! I ordered a package like that when I was beginner and just dotted them where ever, ended up with a lot of tall plants at the front and small ones at the back... lol. But it wasn't a problem, just meant moving them around a bit once they'd grown in a bit.

As for where to put questions, if you go to the main forum page and scan down, there are sections for plants, for algae, for cycling etc, just find the topic your question seems to most fit in. If you're not sure, then "tropical discussion" is a pretty good catch all section for general questions and sharing :D
 
OP
Strmwrng

Strmwrng

Fish Fanatic
Joined
Nov 4, 2019
Messages
73
Reaction score
65
Welcome! :hi:

Cute little tank, livebearers are great, and it was a good move to go with males only! So you didn't start all wrong, don't panic :)

What are your questions about going from fake to live plants? I'm sure you have dozens, but your main concerns or queries? Trust me, once you have a few real plants in there, and you see how the fish swim around them and pick at them in a way they just don't with fake plants, you'll be hooked. @AilyNC can vouch for that, I convinced her to get some live plants, and now she's hooked and building bonsai trees and everything :wub:

No worries about ordering a general plant pack either, I've done it before, it can be fun! If you can place the plants in a glass container and get some decent photos of them, someone here will be able to ID them for you and give you some basic planting guidelines! I ordered a package like that when I was beginner and just dotted them where ever, ended up with a lot of tall plants at the front and small ones at the back... lol. But it wasn't a problem, just meant moving them around a bit once they'd grown in a bit.

As for where to put questions, if you go to the main forum page and scan down, there are sections for plants, for algae, for cycling etc, just find the topic your question seems to most fit in. If you're not sure, then "tropical discussion" is a pretty good catch all section for general questions and sharing :D
Thanks for your ‘pick me up’ and info! That helps a lot!
 
OP
Strmwrng

Strmwrng

Fish Fanatic
Joined
Nov 4, 2019
Messages
73
Reaction score
65
Sure! Ask away
Thank you! Here I go... in my little 5 gal tank I bought a filter that hangs on the back of the tank. An aqua-tech 5-15. I also put a sponge over the intake as I was afraid of the little endler guppies being sucked up into it. So, that sponge is the ‘filter’ now, right? Nothing is in the filter itself that is on the tank back like bits or pieces, but of course not, I shut off it’s ability to suck stuff up. Is this ok? What are my options or the pros and cons to having done this?
 

AdoraBelle Dearheart

Fish Gatherer
Joined
Jul 22, 2020
Messages
2,991
Reaction score
4,206
Location
UK
Thank you! Here I go... in my little 5 gal tank I bought a filter that hangs on the back of the tank. An aqua-tech 5-15. I also put a sponge over the intake as I was afraid of the little endler guppies being sucked up into it. So, that sponge is the ‘filter’ now, right? Nothing is in the filter itself that is on the tank back like bits or pieces, but of course not, I shut off it’s ability to suck stuff up. Is this ok? What are my options or the pros and cons to having done this?
The sponge you put over the intake is great, tiny fish like endlers (especially any fry) can get sucked into filters, so an intake sponge is a good idea, I have them on my filters because of guppy fry and baby shrimp. It will act as a pre-filter, catching the bigger pieces of muck, but the main filter on the back is still important. That's where most of your beneficial bacteria will be living, they process the ammonia that your fish produce, making the water safe for the fish. So even if you're not seeing a lot of big debris back there, it's still filtering the water and doing a job. If you place some fine filter wool into one of the compartments, that will also filter out finer particles than the intake sponge can.

If you're not sure what I mean about beneficial bacteria or the job the filter is doing besides removing big pieces of muck like the poop itself, have a look at this video. It's essential to understand the nitrogen cycle when keeping fish, and this video explains it much better than many others I've seen. I hope you find it helpful!
 

AdoraBelle Dearheart

Fish Gatherer
Joined
Jul 22, 2020
Messages
2,991
Reaction score
4,206
Location
UK
I just checked out your filter model, it's one of those with cartridges that they tell you to replace every month, right?
Ignore that! They just want your money, and it's actually more harmful to your tank than helpful, since you end up throwing away the beneficial bacteria that we work so hard to cultivate in our filters, that prevent ammonia spikes and keep the fish safe.

We can teach you how to modify your filter using any old brand filter sponge, which will last for years, only needs replacing once it's falling apart. Will save you a lot of money, not having to buy unnecessary filter cartridges every month, and your tank will be more stable to boot.
 
OP
Strmwrng

Strmwrng

Fish Fanatic
Joined
Nov 4, 2019
Messages
73
Reaction score
65
The sponge you put over the intake is great, tiny fish like endlers (especially any fry) can get sucked into filters, so an intake sponge is a good idea, I have them on my filters because of guppy fry and baby shrimp. It will act as a pre-filter, catching the bigger pieces of muck, but the main filter on the back is still important. That's where most of your beneficial bacteria will be living, they process the ammonia that your fish produce, making the water safe for the fish. So even if you're not seeing a lot of big debris back there, it's still filtering the water and doing a job. If you place some fine filter wool into one of the compartments, that will also filter out finer particles than the intake sponge can.

If you're not sure what I mean about beneficial bacteria or the job the filter is doing besides removing big pieces of muck like the poop itself, have a look at this video. It's essential to understand the nitrogen cycle when keeping fish, and this video explains it much better than many others I've seen. I hope you find it helpful!
Very nice, thank you! Right now my ammonia and nitrites are 0, but my nitrates have climbed in the past 2 weeks. I also attribute my algae bloom to the nitrate, so live plants can’t come soon enough. It’s around 30, so I do 40% water changes every 2-3 days, because of my work schedule. Pretty easy in a tank this size. Could I replace the sponge with a nylon (from a knee-high)? Only because of the unsightlyness of the sponge?
 
Top