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Colin_T

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Okay so I have been reading ALOT and it seems that some say it's okay to put the new water from the tap as long as you condition the tank first dosing the number of gallons in the tank. I have also read the opposite of that... which one is true?
Even though lots of people simply add tap water directly to their aquarium and add some dechlorinator to the tank at the same time, there is always a chance it will go wrong.

Dechlorinators will neutralise chlorine molecules as soon as they come into contact with them. However, it can take time for the dechlorinator to come in contact with all the chlorine molecules and neutralise them.

Chloramine is a mixture of chlorine and ammonia. The dechlorinators break the chlorine/ ammonia bond and neutralise the chlorine, leaving free ammonia in the water. Some dechlorinators will also convert the ammonia into ammonium for a period of time (about 24 hours), which makes it safer for fish. The bacteria in the filters theoretically convert this ammonium into nitrite and then nitrate during that 24 hour period and stop it affecting the fish.

If fish swim into the chlorinated tap water they can be exposed to chlorine or chloramine (depends on what your water company adds to the water), and this can burn them and their gills. It also takes time for the dechlorinator to come into contact with all the chlorine/ chloramine molecules in the water. This means the fish are potentially swimming in chlorinated water for as long as it takes to get the chlorine/ chloramine neutralised.

If the water company adds extra chlorine/ chloramine, which they do during hot weather or after they have done work on the pipes, you can add tap water that contains a lot more chlorine/ chloramine than normal and wipe out the tank. I have done it myself and people come on here all the time with the same problem. There is a spell of hot weather, the water company increases the chlorine/ chloramine level. People do a water change like normal and fill their tank. the fish start gasping and die. They added highly chlorinated water to the tank and poisoned the fish.

Water companies do not normally inform you they have done work on the pipes and only inform you if there is going to be a major disturbance to the water supply. They can do work on the pipes any time, and will usually add 3-10 times the normal amount of chlorine/ chloramine to kill anything harmful that might have gotten into the water. A normal single dose of dechlorinator will not neutralise all of this chlorine/ chloramine and if you add heavily chlorinated water to an aquarium with livestock in, you will probably wipe out the tank.

This is why I always say any new water should be free of chlorine/ chloramine before it is added to the aquarium.

Ideally you want to fill some containers with tap water and add enough dechlorinator to treat each container of water. Then vigorously aerate the containers for at least 5 (preferably 30) minutes, or longer, before adding that water to a fish tank. This allows the dechlorinator sufficient time to come into contact with all of the chlorine/ chloramine molecules and neutralise them. The vigorous aeration helps by mixing the water and dechlorinator so the dechlorinator can come into contact with the chlorine molecules. (You can use a small water pump and hose to pump the water from the containers into the tank, if you have a large aquarium).

If you want to see how this works, get a large container of water and add a few drops or coloured food dye. Let it sit for a few minutes and see how much of the dye has spread through the water. The dye represents the dechlorinator and the water is the chlorinated water. If you stir the water up, the dye mixes in with more of the water, but it needs a lot of stirring to get all the water to change colour. Aeration does this quite effectively.

The aeration also helps get the dissolved gasses in the water back to normal levels. Water normally contains nitrogen, oxygen and carbon dioxide gas dissolved in it. Some or all of these gasses can be forced of the water while it's under pressure and aerating the water for 30 minutes or so allows the dissolved gasses to get back to normal levels before the water is added to the aquarium.

The pH of water can also change when it is aerated. This is normally due to excess carbon dioxide (CO2) being bubbled out of the water and oxygen taking its place. Carbon dioxide is an acidic gas and lowers the pH. If there is a surplus of CO2 in the water, the pH can be lower than normal and will usually go up when the excess CO2 is removed by aeration.

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Also, how do I treat hard water?
not sure what you mean by this???

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Another opposites I've read is lights on or off at night?
Fish and plants need at least 8 hours of darkness to rest. They can have light for up to 16 hours a day, but they need 8 hours without any light except perhaps a bit of moonlight during the full moon. But don't try to replicate that in an aquarium. Just turn the lights off at night and let the fish and plants have a period of darkness where they can sleep and recover from the day.
 

Colin_T

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And plants... well let's just say I don't have a single clue and the jury is still out on if I even want one.😵‍💫😆
AQUARIUM PLANTS 1.01

LIGHTING TIMES

Most aquarium plants like a bit of light and if you only have the light on for a couple of hours a day, they struggle. If the light doesn't have a high enough wattage they also struggle. Try having the tank lights on for 10-12 hours a day.

If you get lots of green algae then reduce the light by an hour a day and monitor the algae over the next 2 weeks.
If you don't get any green algae on the glass then increase the lighting period by an hour and monitor it.
If you get a small amount of algae then the lighting time is about right.

Some plants will close their leaves up when they have had sufficient light. Ambulia, Hygrophilas and a few others close their top set of leaves first, then the next set and so on down the stem. When you see this happening, wait an hour after the leaves have closed up against the stem and then turn lights off.

Plant lights should have equal amount of red and blue light and a bit less green light.


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TURNING LIGHTS ON AND OFF
Stress from tank lights coming on when the room is dark can be an issue. Fish don't have eyelids and don't tolerate going from complete dark to bright light (or vice versa) instantly.

In the morning open the curtains or turn the room light on at least 30 minutes (or more) before turning the tank light on. This will reduce the stress on the fish and they won't go from a dark tank to a bright tank instantly.

At night turn the room light on and then turn the tank light off. Wait at least 30 minutes (or more) before turning the room light out. This allows the fish to settle down for the night instead of going from a brightly lit tank to complete darkness instantly.

Try to have the lights on at the same time each day. Use a timer if possible.


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TWO LIGHT UNITS
If you have two light units on the tank, put them on timers and have one come on first, then an hour later the second one can come on. It will be less stressful for the fish.

In the evening, turn the first light off and wait an hour, then have the second light go out.

If the lights have a low, medium and high intensity setting, have them on low in the morning, then increase it to medium after a couple of hours, and then high for the main part of the day. In the evening, reverse this and have the medium setting for a few hours, then low. Then turn the lights off.


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LIST OF PLANTS TO TRY
Some good plants to try include Ambulia, Hygrophila polysperma, H. ruba/ rubra, Elodia (during summer, but don't buy it in winter because it falls apart), Hydrilla, common Amazon sword plant, narrow or twisted/ spiral Vallis, Water Sprite (Ceratopteris thalictroides/ cornuta).
The Water Sprite normally floats on the surface but can also be planted in the substrate. The other plants should be planted in the gravel.

Ambulia, H. polysperma, Elodia/ Hydrilla and Vallis are tall plants that do well along the back. Rotala macranda is a medium/ tallish red plant that usually does well.

H. ruba/ rubra is a medium height plant that looks good on the sides of the tank.

Cryptocorynes are small/ medium plants that are taller than pygmy chain swords but shorter than H. rubra. They also come in a range of colours, mostly different shades of green, brown or purplish red. Crypts are not the easiest plant to grow but can do well if they are healthy to begin with and are not disturbed after planting in the tank.

Most Amazon sword plants can get pretty big and are usually kept in the middle of the tank as a show piece. There is an Ozelot sword plant that has brown spots on green leaves, and a red ruffle sword plant (name may vary depending on where you live) with deep red leaves.

There is a pygmy chain sword plant that is small and does well in the front of the tank.


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GROWING PLANTS IN POTS
We use to grow some plants (usually swords, crypts, Aponogetons and water lilies) in 1 or 2 litre plastic icecream containers. You put an inch of gravel in the bottom of the container, then spread a thin layer of granulated garden fertiliser over the gravel. Put a 1/4inch (6mm) thick layer of red/ orange clay over the fertiliser. Dry the clay first and crush it into a powder. Then cover that with more gravel.

You put the plants in the gravel and as they grow, their roots hit the clay and fertiliser and they take off and go nuts. The clay stops the fertiliser leaching into the water.

You can smear silicon on the outside of the buckets and stick gravel or sand to them so it is less conspicuous. Or you can let algae grow on them and the containers turn green.


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TRUE AQUATIC VS MARSH/ TERRESTRIAL PLANTS
Lots of plants are sold as aquarium plants and most are marsh plants that do really well when their roots are in water and the rest of the plant is above water. Some marsh plants will do well underwater too.

Hair grass is not a true aquatic plant, neither is Anubias.

Some common marsh plants include Amazon sword plants, Cryptocorynes, Hygrophila sp, Rotala sp, Ludwigia sp, Bacopa sp. These plant do reasonably well underwater.

True aquatic plants include Ambulia, Cabomba, Hornwort, Elodia, Hydrilla and Vallis.

The main difference between marsh plants and true aquatic plants is the stem. True aquatics have a soft flexible stem with air bubbles in it. These bubbles help the plant float and remain buoyant in the water column.

Marsh plants have a rigid stem and these plants can remain standing upright when removed from water. Whereas true aquatic plants will fall over/ collapse when removed from water.


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IRON BASED PLANT FERTILISER
If you add an iron based aquarium plant fertiliser, it will help most aquarium plants do well. The liquid iron based aquarium plant fertilisers tend to be better than the tablet forms, although you can push the tablets under the roots of plants and that works well.

You use an iron (Fe) test kit to monitor iron levels and keep them at 1mg/l (1ppm).

I used Sera Florena liquid plant fertiliser but there are other brands too.


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CARBON DIOXIDE (CO2)
There is no point adding carbon dioxide (CO2) until you have the lights and nutrients worked out. Even then you don't need CO2 unless the tank is full of plants and only has a few small fish in.

There is plenty of CO2 in the average aquarium and it is produced by the fish and filter bacteria all day, every day. The plants also release CO2 at night when it is dark. And more CO2 gets into the tank from the atmosphere.

Don't use liquid CO2 supplements because they are made from toxic substances that harm fish, shrimp and snails.
 
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Coolysd

Coolysd

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Thank you so much for all of this info! As for the hard water, I live in an area where we have super hard water. In my research I have read that some fish have a preferred hard water level. The fish store gave me an API hard water pillow to put in my HOB filter. I have also been doing some research on filter media and am wondering if I could make my filter better. I have an Aqueon Quietflow LED Pro 75. From what I've read, the filters that it uses are a waste of money and there is media available that you cut to fit and to clean it you just swish it around in old tank water, ring it out and put it back. Can you please clarify this for me and possibly recommend what would be best for my filter? So much to learn! So glad I found y'all!!
 

Colin_T

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no idea about the filter. start a new thread asking for info about that particular filter and post some pictures of it and the filter media.
 

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