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New fish tank owner

Post by Silk on Fri Mar 11, 2016 10:20 am

My son wanted a pet and cats or dogs are out of the question so we got him an aquarium for his bday, that said I find I am enjoying it as much if not more than he is...lol

That said while I have enough experience with other animals, grew up on a farm, I don't know much about taking care of fishes and other aquatic life forms past catching them in a river and...well lets not go there ..lol

I bought a 10g Marina tank kit.  It comes with the 10g tank ofc and a slim s15 water filter system with LED lighting on the cover, only other thing I can find about the light is that its an "LED natural daylight effect enhances fish and plant color".  

I bought two thermometers, one with suction cup that stays in the tank for quick daily checks and one I use for weekly water changes. It also came with some fish feed (nutrafin flakes) which I am not using and nutrafin aqua plus water conditioner and nutrafin cycle biological supplement.

I also bought, on the advice of pet shop owner, fluval water conditioner and fluval micro nutirents for plants for when the nutrafin stuff runs out and because I have two live plants in the tank. I also bought a marina gravel cleaner.  I also bought nutrafin basix blood worms for the beta and some pellets though he doesn't seem to fancy the pellets all that much.

When I first got the tank I set up it up, put in the water followed all the instructions about water conditioner and all that and put in the gravel, one plant and one russion ball I think its called along with a sunken ship deco and a couple big rocks and let the tank run for two days before adding the beta which my son chose at the pet store.

I also bought another plant and snail and a cave deco the beta could go hide in. Put them in and all went well, did the slowly adjusting Mr Henry the beta over the course of one hour but had a mishap with the snail..... his bag slipped out of my fingers due to it being wet and fell like five inches down and hit cover of the aquarium which was on the table where the tank is set up.  Poor fellow seem to have a round chip on the tip of his shell that cracked/broke...I feel terrible every time I look at him and see it...I thought he might die after a couple weeks but he seems fine so far!

Here's a pic of the products and gravel cleaner:





It's now been three weeks since we started this aquarium and all seems to be going okay. I have a few question though.

I seem to have some leaves of one of the plants going brown which I assume is algae as some of it came off when I gentle rubbed it with my fingers and one of the plants seem to have  a few holes here and there on the tips.  I trimmed the one with holes when I first put it in as it was too long and just now have trimmed both plants as they were sticking up out of the water.

What should I do about the algae?  Is one snail not enough to keep that down? I thought of buying another snail but my wife says she doesn't a bunch of baby snail everywhere so what else could I put in with a beta?

Also what kind of plants do I have? Can anyone identify them from the video and pics I will put up at the end of this post? Same for the snail what type is it?  Guy at pet store told me it was a non plant eating type but didn't specify more than that.

For the plant micro nutrients I was told to put half the dose the bottles says since my tanked doesn't have lots of plants, so I have been putting 2.5ml weekly.

Also what about my lighting, I was told this was enough for the plants I had but I see others get all kinds of fancier lighting systems so is what I have enough for the plants?  I also have had the lights one from 7:30am to about 7:30pm which I am guessing is probably too much and the cause of the algae?

I am thinking of lowering lighting down to 8 hrs a day is that okay for the snail and beta..how much light do they need, do they even need any at all?

For the beta I think I have been over feeding him, I feed him once in the morn and once at night but think I should maybe go down to once a day?  Also what type of beta is he? They had like three varieties.

I also have trouble knowing how much to give him since I switched to blood worms rather than the pellets we originally bought with the tank kit.  I have read about feeding him an amount the size of one of his eyeballs but it have a hard time telling how much that is with the dried blood worms.

I also am having trouble cleaning all the gravel properly before too much water is gone from the tank with the gravel cleaner I have, is it too big or do I just need more practice at this?  First couple cleaning I did a 25% water change but manage only to clean half the gravel, one half of the tank one week the other half the other week. This third week I cleaned it all but this means I did a 45% water change.

All comments suggestions about my tank are welcome. I want the aquatic life in there to be happy and calm with as little stress as possible.



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Re: New fish tank owner

Post by Shell on Fri Mar 11, 2016 6:21 pm

Welcome to the community!  Great set up you have for your Betta!

I will comment on what I do with my Betta, but keep in mind others may have further suggestions. We feed our Betta twice a day, about 3-4 pellets daily, and then once a week each, we feed frozen shrimp and frozen bloodworms (shrimp on Wednesdays and bloodworms on Sundays). We usually give about 4-5 bloodworms, and the same for shrimp, and the rest goes to the other fish, which I assume might be difficult if you are only feeding a Betta - usually they come in cubes or 'slabes'. But is it still doable. You just 'cut off' a tiny slabe each time. We always let it sit in a dish for awhile before feeding - maybe not necessary, this is just what we do!

As for light, our Betta currently has no live plants, but our other tanks do. We generally keep lights on for about 7 hours here. There is one tank, however, where we keep lights in for only 6 hours - odd, but, for this tank, it seems to work better and we figured this out through trial and error!

Welcome again! I am sure others will chime in!

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Re: New fish tank owner

Post by CAAIndie on Mon Mar 14, 2016 11:13 pm

Welcome to the forum Silk! Nice to read about your tank.

You have a Betta splendens (but I'm not sure what morph it is exactly). Betta is just a genus, there are many species, but most pet stores splendens (bred to have long fins, and some with nasty tempers).

My first bit of advice would be to keep up the water changes (especially the first 6 weeks). I would read up of the nitrogen cycle in the aquarium, to get an understanding of how to ensure your tank is healthy (it takes time to establish colonies of beneficial bacteria that break down your fish's waste from ammonia, to nitrite, to nitrate).

Cutting down lighting is also good. My planted tank really only goes for 5 or 6 hours of light per day.

Don't worry about only being able to vacuum part of the tank each time, that works totally fine.

I feed my fish once per day (very small amounts), and skip 1 to 2 days per week. Overfeeding, especially before the nitrogen cycle is completed can result in water toxicity problems (ammonia builds up from decaying food).

Most snails will munch on plants, and reproduce a ton. Some snails may be sold as "algae eaters" but most critters sold for a "purpose" don't really do the job. Algae is best controlled through water changes, and finding the right amount of light for the tank.

I would also replace any carbon in your filter (it will absorb a number of fertilizers, and will leak what it absorbs after a few weeks) with more mechanical filtration (more sponge) or more biological filtration (the porous ceramic media often included), both are more useful.

Feel free to ask lots of questions. You'll find lots of helpful members.


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Re: New fish tank owner

Post by Silk on Tue Mar 15, 2016 5:54 pm

Hi thanks for the replies guys!  I have been cutting down the light to about 7 hours, keeping it on like noon to 7.  

I have noticed my snail moves around far more than I expected I can often see him, when hes on the glass, scraping the glass with what looks like two "teeth". I guess that him feeding?

About the light I turn the light off that came with the tank but there a little ambient light from the rest of the apartment even if there no window in the room hes in and often there's alight from the fan above the kitchen oven.

When people say only 7hours of light does the tank need to be in complete darkness?  

Should I put something around his tank to block the light from other sources?  

Also as I cut down the amount of light per day will the color of the plant leaves go back to what they were, for those that have started to brown?

The filtration system came with the kit and has three cartridges, the box say it has 2x Bio-Carb and 1x Bio-Clear.  It says the bio carb has carbon to eliminate odours and the Bio Clear has Zeolite to absorb toxic ammonia and reduce fish stress.  

Are you saying I should replace the Bio Carb filters with something different or that I should just replace them every 3 weeks?

I am not sure what you mean by, "more mechanical filtration (more sponge) or more biological filtration (the porous ceramic media often included), both are more useful."  

Sounds like your saying there better "cartridges" I can get or something else entirely I can put in the tank?

The snail I got is not suppose to eat the plants but I guess that not a big deal if he does, what I would like to know is will two snail produce lots of little ones  and if so will keeping only one avoid this?

What other kind olf little critter could I put in there that might help by eating some algea, I read something about those little shrimp but my wife wonders if the Betta will try and eat them?

It's not just about eating algea I would like to have some other life in there other than the betta and the snail.

Thanks again. Smile
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Re: New fish tank owner

Post by Biulu on Tue Mar 15, 2016 7:08 pm

The plant on the left hand side is a vallisneria and a root feeder. This means it needs a nutrient rich substrate underneath to thrive.

You can achieve this by buying root tabs and sticking them into the substrate close to the plant, or take out all your substrate, put a layer of potting earth and then cover this with the gravel, then plant.

The plant on the right will likely not stay red if the light is low. Red plants need a lot of light and iron. This plant however, might produce green leaves at lower light levels.

Brown algae are nothing to worry about and perfectly normal with a new set-up. Doing regular water changes will take care of it.

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Re: New fish tank owner

Post by Silk on Fri Mar 18, 2016 6:57 am

Thanks for the reply Biulu!
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Re: New fish tank owner

Post by CAAIndie on Fri Mar 18, 2016 11:06 am

I'm not a fan of cartridges at all. They are expensive because you need to constantly replace them, and not really good for the fish. Unfortunately a lot of fish tank kits come with these types of cartridges.

I would replace the carbon with aquarium sponge or the ceramic bio media (you can find both in most fish stores/pet stores). Carbon isn't that useful (unless you are trying to remove medication from the tank). Smile

I'm not actually a fan of the zeolite either. I would say the majority of aquarists will establish an aquarium cycle (do a google or youtube search on these). Rather than just using a substance to absorb ammonia (which is toxic to fish), they establish a cycle. In short, bacteria form in the filter (especially bio media, something absent in your filter) that convert ammonia into nitrite (toxic but slightly less so) and then other bacteria turn nitrite into nitrate (much less toxic) which is removed through regular water changes and uses by plants. Smile

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Re: New fish tank owner

Post by Silk on Fri Mar 18, 2016 5:51 pm

@CAAIndie wrote:I'm not a fan of cartridges at all. They are expensive because you need to constantly replace them, and not really good for the fish. Unfortunately a lot of fish tank kits come with these types of cartridges.

I would replace the carbon with aquarium sponge or the ceramic bio media (you can find both in most fish stores/pet stores). Carbon isn't that useful (unless you are trying to remove medication from the tank). Smile

I'm not actually a fan of the zeolite either. I would say the majority of aquarists will establish an aquarium cycle (do a google or youtube search on these). Rather than just using a substance to absorb ammonia (which is toxic to fish), they establish a cycle. In short, bacteria form in the filter (especially bio media, something absent in your filter) that convert ammonia into nitrite (toxic but slightly less so) and then other bacteria turn nitrite into nitrate (much less toxic) which is removed through regular water changes and uses by plants. Smile

Oh I see, so the s15 filter system that came with my kit is actually a chemical system.  I am a little annoyed with the pet shop guy as he spouted the shop has been in his family for 70 years and he led me to believe this system was okay and would would be a mechanical/bio system like you are describing.

He led me to believe I would establish a cycle with the s15 system and that I just had to not change all 3 cartridges at once, I even bought a 60$ testing kit for ammonia, ph nitrite and nitrate etc but seem like there no point in the kit if I use the system that came with the tank.

After some research I read the cartridges frames that came with the marina s15 can be modified to use these aqua clear foam inserts, I assume this is what you mean by sponges?


Edit: I found this and was wondering if something like this would work, its a s10 which is not as wide as my s15 and if you have any particular brands or media I should go for.


Last edited by Silk on Fri Mar 18, 2016 6:12 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: New fish tank owner

Post by CAAIndie on Fri Mar 18, 2016 5:58 pm

Yes absolutely! You got it.

The test kit is great to have on hand when you are cycling. Smile

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Re: New fish tank owner

Post by Silk on Fri Mar 18, 2016 6:23 pm

@CAAIndie wrote:Yes absolutely! You got it.

The test kit is great to have on hand when you are cycling. Smile

Great!   I did some more googling to try and find something that would work good for my s15 filter system and edited my previous post before noticing you replied to me.  

Would you mind taking a look at the video and items used to see if this a good option for me.  

I am also wondering about how the water flows from the little tube into the filter "tank", I am guessing the ideal is that you want the water to be forced to flow through the three filter medias instead of around it?

If so would it be a good idea to put two of the aqua clear foam media, linked in previous post, one on top of the other so that the tube feeding that tank is inside it some which would force the water to go through it rather than just around it? You could see what I mean if you look at the video at around 1:20 to 1:30 and you can see the aqua clear foam comes only to about half the height of the s17 tank with the tube right above it.
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Re: New fish tank owner

Post by CAAIndie on Tue Mar 22, 2016 9:47 pm

Sorry for the late reply. Crazy week. I haven't had a look at the video yet, but I will!

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Re: New fish tank owner

Post by CAAIndie on Sun Mar 27, 2016 11:41 am

@Silk wrote:
@CAAIndie wrote:Yes absolutely! You got it.

The test kit is great to have on hand when you are cycling. Smile

Great!   I did some more googling to try and find something that would work good for my s15 filter system and edited my previous post before noticing you replied to me.  

Would you mind taking a look at the video and items used to see if this a good option for me.  

I am also wondering about how the water flows from the little tube into the filter "tank", I am guessing the ideal is that you want the water to be forced to flow through the three filter medias instead of around it?

If so would it be a good idea to put two of the aqua clear foam media, linked in previous post, one on top of the other so that the tube feeding that tank is inside it some which would force the water to go through it rather than just around it?  You could see what I mean if you look at the video at around 1:20 to 1:30 and you can see the aqua clear foam comes only to about half the height of the s17 tank with the tube right above it.

The more sponge you can fit in there the better. I would replace the second section shown in the video with the sponge too. I'm not particularly familiar with the purigen media. From what I understand is it's a porous synthetic polymer that is used to filter our a bunch of nitrogenous waste. It's better than carbon in that it's "rechargeable", but I'd personally just stick with the sponge and the bio media. The use of a substance to remove nitrogenous waste seems a bit counterintuitive (in the video), as the beneficial bacteria in the biomax (ceramic media) feed on that waste, and turn it into nitrate. The last section on the left (the ceramic biological media) can be even filled up more.

In short, imho, forget the purigen. Jam that puppy full of as much sponge and ceramic media as you can, and still maintain good flow.


How is everything progressive with this tank otherwise? Have you been able to begin the alterations on the filter? Very Happy

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Re: New fish tank owner

Post by Biulu on Sun Mar 27, 2016 3:40 pm

People keeping planted tanks and want crystal clear water swear by Purigen. It works great BUT if you don't recharge it on a regular basis it becomes useless and actually starts leaking the nutrients it absorbed back into the water.

I was tired of recharging/cleaning it so often so I quit using it.
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Re: New fish tank owner

Post by Silk on Mon Mar 28, 2016 10:47 am

Thanks for the reply guys, been busy...easter and all with the kids!

I am doing a 40% water change today and will clean the gravel with the gravel cleaner. I am on the same filters that came with the tank for the time being, been about 5 weeks and everything seems okay with maybe the red plant is seeming to have some trouble with the algae.

I am going in town this Thursday and will buy two packs of the AquaClear BIO 20 shown in the video, keep in mind my filter is the s15 and not the s10 so its wider, and will buy one pack of the AquaClear Foam 20 since it's a 3 pack. Will do another water change that evening when I get back with the new replacements.

I am also looking into getting root tabs for the green plant that has root in the substrate like Biulu suggested. I might also get another snail or maybe one of the shrimps that like to eat algae.

My beta and snail seem to be doing fine so far. I have been keeping an eye on the betta scales and everything looks nice and shiny like when we first got him.

Will take a video of what I do when I get my hands on the items needed and post it.
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Finally got some new fiters for the tank!

Post by Silk on Fri Apr 01, 2016 6:49 pm

I went out and got this :



I decided to go with the AquaClear 30 instead of the 20 as it looked like it would be a more snug fit in the filter tank. The very bottom sponge I trimmed a little as the s15 filter tank is more narrow at the bottom, kind of like this \_/.  I took out the two carbon filters and left the old bio one.

Here's a couple videos of what I did.






I also did a 40% water change while I was at it, it really needed it and will change out the middle filter that's quite dirty in 5 or so days. I left it in so any good bactieria on it can move on to the new biomax 30 I put in there.  

Next time I go in town I will get 3 or 4 of the shrimps that eat algae and add them to the tank.  I like the snail but he's quite the poop machine...lol  I also think the shrimp will have a much easier time to eating the algae off the leaves of my red plant than a snail would.

The guy at the pet shop suggested I get some CO₂ and told me it would help my Vallisneria.  Also looking into root tabs like suggested to go with the Fluval plant micro nutrients that I have been using.
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Re: New fish tank owner

Post by CAAIndie on Fri Apr 01, 2016 7:55 pm

Great update. Looking very good.

Root tabs are great. If considering co2, consider a diy system. All you need is a 2L pop bottle, tubing, yeast, sugar, and some baking soda. That and something to seal things (crazy glue works). It's way way cheaper.

If that's too much work, seachem's excel, is another way on increasing co2 available for the plants.

Snails are big waste machines (especially when you end up with a lot of them...)

Smart idea to keep the old media in wth the new stuff for a while. I would suggest a week at least. It will speed up the cycling of the new media.

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Re: New fish tank owner

Post by Silk on Fri Apr 01, 2016 8:07 pm

Thanks for the advice, I will keep the old filter for at least a week as you say, maybe longer if you think its not dangerous. Wasn't sure since it's kinda dirty.

Also I have done more reading and read shrimp are more sensitive than fish so should I wait awhile before getting some and adding them to the tank?

I am also a little worried about the CO₂, I mean I know it's good for the plants as they need it but it not good if there's too much for the fish and and shrimp too I imagine.  How do you go about finding a good balance?

The guy at the pet shop tell me the fish produces the CO₂ but I am guessing one fish and one snail doesn't produce all that much. Also will adding 4 shrimp increase that by much?
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Re: New fish tank owner

Post by CAAIndie on Fri Apr 01, 2016 8:31 pm

If you take out some water during a water change, you can rinse the old filter media in there, and preserve the beneficial bacteria. It's a good habit to do even on the new filter in the future. I give my sponges a bit of a squeeze and a rinse when I do filter maintenance. The beneficial bacteria are stuck to the hard surfaces of the filter, not so much in the gunk.

With the plant/fish and CO2, that is why I like a DIY CO2. It doesn't produce as much a fancy pressurized system, but never enough to nuke the fish.

Plants will absorb CO2 while photosynthesizing, but actually also release CO2 when it's dark. Not enough to worry about, most just gets gassed off. It's actually hard to maintain CO2 in most aquariums (you can see the lengths planted tank experts go to get it in the water to begin with).


@Silk wrote:Thanks for the advice, I will keep the old filter for at least a week as you say, maybe longer if you think its not dangerous. Wasn't sure since it's kinda dirty.

Also I have done more reading and read shrimp are more sensitive than fish so should I wait awhile before getting some and adding them to the tank?

I am also a little worried about the CO₂, I mean I know it's good for the plants as they need it but it not good if there's too much for the fish and and shrimp too I imagine.  How do you go about finding a good balance?

The guy at the pet shop tell me the fish produces the CO₂ but I am guessing one fish and one snail doesn't produce all that much. Also will adding 4 shrimp increase that by much?

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Re: New fish tank owner

Post by Biulu on Sat Apr 02, 2016 4:55 pm

Vallisneria is a root feeder and although each plant benefits from co2, a nutrient rich substrate is more beneficial for this type of plants.
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Re: New fish tank owner

Post by JanesAddiction on Sat Apr 02, 2016 10:06 pm

Welcome to the tank Smile
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Re: New fish tank owner

Post by Silk on Mon Apr 04, 2016 12:49 pm

@JanesAddiction wrote:Welcome to the tank Smile

Thanks!
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Re: New fish tank owner

Post by Silk on Fri Apr 29, 2016 8:14 pm

Okay so I got myself 4 amano shrimp and added them to my tank, boy they swim around a lot zip zip all around...lol

My betta has shown interest in them but hasn't attacked them and in fact seems to be a little stressed out?   Not sure.. he swam around a lot and didn't go to his usual spot for the night.

The shrimp don't seem bothered about the betta very much, hopefully my betta wont stress out too much after I turn the tank light off and will settle down.

Another thing, when cleaning the gravel do you guys take the shrimp out or will they move away on their own?  

A little worried I will suck one up the tube when doing my next cleaning/water change.  

While I am talking about water changes/gravel cleaning I am wanting to get somethiing that will allow me more control over the gravel cleans.

I did some googling and found you can get items like the python which hook up to your sink or battery operated gravel cleaners.  I was thinking of maybe getting a battrery operated one and removing the sock part and just pluging some hosing to it that then goes to my tank.

Ideally I want something that will allow me to control the amount of water flow or has a quick and easy on off so I can do some really good gravel cleans but have more control over how much water I change out and to avoid the whole shake shake shake procces I have to ge through using my existing gravel cleaner.

Any input on the python and maybe some good battery powered cleaners would be appreciated.

Was looking at these:

really like the price of this one
Tom Aquarium Maintenance Mr. Cleaner Battery Operated Gravel Siphon

another similar one with similar pricing
Marina Multi-Vac Battery Powered Vacuum

both of these looks like I can easily and simply remove the sock part and put tubing there leading to a bucket.


There's also this one but it doesn't look like I can make it filter into a bucket or atleasr not very easily and seems like it might chuck fine poop and debris back into the tank plus much more costly so..
EHEIM Quick Vac Pro Automatic Gravel Cleaner and Sludge Extractor

Last but not least there's the python but not battery operated and need to rely on pluging it to kitchen sink
Python 25NS 25-Feet No Spill Clean and Fill Aquarium Maintenance System

Any one have any experience with these items?
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Re: New fish tank owner

Post by Biulu on Sun May 01, 2016 9:21 pm

I don't have experience with any of this as I use a simple vacuum cleaner. The only 'luxury' I allow myself to have is that it has a kind of hand pump so you don't have to do difficult tricks to make it work. Like this one:

http://www.ebay.ca/itm/like/331541848972?limghlpsr=true&hlpv=2&ops=true&viphx=1&hlpht=true&lpid=116&chn=ps

I have never sucked up shrimp to be honest but I move it around quite a lot while I vacuum so the shrimp are warned....
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Re: New fish tank owner

Post by CAAIndie on Sun May 01, 2016 9:45 pm

I love my python. It's 100% my favourite "tool" for my aquarium. No batteries. Works fast.

I too have amano shrimp, and never sucked one up. The force of the intake isn't crazy. I've accidently grabbed tetra once, but there is a valve to stop the intake, never got beyond the main siphon. No damage no problem.

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Re: New fish tank owner

Post by Silk on Mon May 02, 2016 3:48 am

@CAAIndie wrote:I love my python. It's 100% my favourite "tool" for my aquarium. No batteries. Works fast.

I too have amano shrimp,  and never sucked one up. The force of the intake isn't crazy. I've accidently grabbed tetra once, but there is a valve to stop the intake, never got beyond the main siphon. No damage no problem.

Once it's going and pulling water out of the tank can you turn that valve say halfway so there's less water flowing but still have it pull up debris or does closing the valve some lower force of the intake too?

Btw looks like my betta and the shrimp are doing okay, the next day I found what I thought was a dead shrimp but after googling I found out one of them molted during the night and I was able to see 3 of them during the day, I suppose the one that molted was hiding somewhere I couldn't see it.  The next day another on molted too.
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Silk
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