Planted Aquarium kaki

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Re: Planted Aquarium kaki

#71 Post by mygis » Wed Nov 12, 2008 8:35 pm

bernGPS wrote:I always take the lift closer to Fawina
No wonder we never met, Fawina is far far away!
Unless if you are talking about the bearing, then yes you are right.

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Re: Planted Aquarium kaki

#72 Post by bernGPS » Wed Nov 12, 2008 9:30 pm

mygis wrote:
No wonder we never met, Fawina is far far away!
Unless if you are talking about the bearing, then yes you are right.
Yeap bearings :-'

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Re: Planted Aquarium kaki

#73 Post by bernGPS » Sun Jan 18, 2009 2:52 pm

I think I need to redo my aquarium foundation again. There doesnt seems to be be enough "ingredients" and food in my Substrate of coarse river sand and some red earth. The remaining aquatic plants were uprooted by those naughty Goldfish who had been behaving very well since the weeds were planted last year. How deceiving. I suppose you cant expect the behavior of a fish or animal to change permanently.

My plan of action. a) Have a thin layer of coarse river sand at the bottom of the tank.
b) Add a layer of red earth (hopefully enough nitrate will be supplied and than top it up with the coarse river sand.
c) Replant the aquatic plants from the "kiam chai ang" (salted egg jar)
d) Give the remaining Goldfish away

I have a question. A friend says I should have a undergravel filter installed. Should I?

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Re: Planted Aquarium kaki

#74 Post by LLCC » Mon Feb 09, 2009 2:36 pm

bernGPS wrote:I think I need to redo my aquarium foundation again. There doesnt seems to be be enough "ingredients" and food in my Substrate of coarse river sand and some red earth. The remaining aquatic plants were uprooted by those naughty Goldfish who had been behaving very well since the weeds were planted last year. How deceiving. I suppose you cant expect the behavior of a fish or animal to change permanently.

My plan of action. a) Have a thin layer of coarse river sand at the bottom of the tank.
b) Add a layer of red earth (hopefully enough nitrate will be supplied and than top it up with the coarse river sand.
c) Replant the aquatic plants from the "kiam chai ang" (salted egg jar)
d) Give the remaining Goldfish away

I have a question. A friend says I should have a undergravel filter installed. Should I?
Show a pic so we all can see what your tank's problem now is. If you are going by the NPT way, you may be feeding the fish insufficiently. However, that doesn't mean you need to tear down your substrate. In fact the only time you need to tear down the substrate in an NPT is when it had grown anaerobic with spots producing "rotten egg gas" which plants cannot survive. Otherwise, an infertile substrate is easier remedied with feeding more, or even fertilising than with a complete teardown.

For fertilising, you can buy commercially available substrate fertiliser sticks/capsules and corns to insert into your soil. That will rebuild the supply of Macro nutrients (Nitrate, Phosphorous and Potassium) as well as Trace elements. Note that for best effect, you should get the kind that is meant for aquarium. Using terrestrial plants fertilisers can result in killing the fish, or instigating an algae bloom.

You should not use an undergravel filter (UGF) in your NPT. The UGF only takes nutrients away from the plants' roots, and deposits them back into the water column. And since you are using laterite (red earth) as your base layer, the UGF will be pumping out muddy red water if you deploy it in your tank. So forget the UGF, you don't need that. (BTW, you need not put gravel beneath the laterite, just a top cap of gravel like in your kiam chai ang will do).

Back to goldfish... as many had said before, Goldfish and water plants don't go together. You should give them away if you want to have a planted tank. But if you absolutely must have goldfish in a planted tank, short of using plastic plants, the only live plants you can use are Anubias spp. Alternately, if your tank is not deep, you can plant a pandan plant, or those lucky bamboo canes (Dracaena) with their foliage above the waterline to go with your golfdish.
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Re: Planted Aquarium kaki

#75 Post by bernGPS » Mon Feb 09, 2009 6:32 pm

LLCC wrote: Show a pic so we all can see what your tank's problem now is. If you are going by the NPT way, you may be feeding the fish insufficiently. However, that doesn't mean you need to tear down your substrate. In fact the only time you need to tear down the substrate in an NPT is when it had grown anaerobic with spots producing "rotten egg gas" which plants cannot survive. Otherwise, an infertile substrate is easier remedied with feeding more, or even fertilising than with a complete teardown.

For fertilising, you can buy commercially available substrate fertiliser sticks/capsules and corns to insert into your soil. That will rebuild the supply of Macro nutrients (Nitrate, Phosphorous and Potassium) as well as Trace elements. Note that for best effect, you should get the kind that is meant for aquarium. Using terrestrial plants fertilisers can result in killing the fish, or instigating an algae bloom.

You should not use an undergravel filter (UGF) in your NPT. The UGF only takes nutrients away from the plants' roots, and deposits them back into the water column. And since you are using laterite (red earth) as your base layer, the UGF will be pumping out muddy red water if you deploy it in your tank. So forget the UGF, you don't need that. (BTW, you need not put gravel beneath the laterite, just a top cap of gravel like in your kiam chai ang will do).

Back to goldfish... as many had said before, Goldfish and water plants don't go together. You should give them away if you want to have a planted tank. But if you absolutely must have goldfish in a planted tank, short of using plastic plants, the only live plants you can use are Anubias spp. Alternately, if your tank is not deep, you can plant a pandan plant, or those lucky bamboo canes (Dracaena) with their foliage above the waterline to go with your golfdish.
Hi LLCC,

I have done some work just before the CNY so that my tank is presentable. I did take photo and will post them later.

I did these.

1) Wash the red earth that I got from my parents house in a plastic basin which I slanted partially to facilitate draining until the water is clear. About 1/3 of the volume of the earth made up of fine red particles will be washed away. The remaining red earth though will cloudy the water is stirred but clears up pretty quickly.

2) Gave away all my goldfish to my sister-in-law who keeps them without any real plants. I only kept a red tail shark and a silver shark. I cant seems to locate the pleco. Dont know it it had died without my knowledge but I swear that I saw it a couple of days before that.

3) I drained almost all the water from the tank and pushed the coarse river sand from half of the aquarium to the other half. The water left in the aquarium is probably about 3 mm deep, what remains after sucking with a hose. Some parts of the coarse river sand has turned black, showing an accumulation of organic matter from the fish.

4) Next I place the red earth at the part of the aquarium where the coarse river sand has been cleared and I covered the red earth with the sand.

5) Than I refilled the tank with tap water slowly making sure there is minimal water movement especially towards the area where the red earth is placed. The water turns slightly cloudy when filled but it is not that bad. Its looks just like a couple of drops of ideal milk has been dropped inside.

6) I removed a few bunches of the of the Vallisnera from the salted egg jar outside and transplanted them, to the aquarium. I also planted 2 bunches of broadleafed aquatic plants which I bought from the shop and Rm a bunch. In the mean time the overhead filter pump is working fulltime and I see the while aquarium wool begining to turn yellow/reddish at the place where the water enter the filter. That is a good sign that the fine cloudy particles/suspension in the water are being removed.

7) Than I put in the remaining silver shark and the red tailed shark. Ooops. Bother, I have forgotten to put in anti-chlorine into the 2' x 5' tank full of tap water. I check in the storeroom turns up an empty anti-chlorine bottle. So it was a race to the shop to get a couple of bottles of anti-chlorine. Luckily, the fished were still swimming happily at the bottom of the tank. And surprise, the pleco which has disappeared (presumed dead) turned up at its usual spot beside the water pump head. I wonder where it has been hiding all this while.

8) Than I bought another 4 silver sharks, 4 red tailed shark ( 2 black and 2 albino), and 10 tiger barbs and place them in the tank. I did notice that the silver shark was noticibly darker than normal and a couple were swimming up and down near the top of the tank in an agitated manner. I just brushed it off as them being unfamiliar with their new environment.

9) 2 days later, a couple of the albino tiger balb died and so did an albino red tailed shark. The next day, to my horror, I saw white spots on the body of 2 of the 3 remaining silver shark while the other 2 also died.

10) I quickly went to the neighbourhood aquarium shop which recommended I buy a RM30 bottle of Sera Omnipur liquid. I removed half of the volume of the water of the aquarium and put in about 20 drops of the Sera Omnipur.

Image

11) 3 days later, I topped up the tank and put a few drops of the sera liquid again.

12) I understand that the Sera Omnipur is hostile to the plants. I have yet to see the situation since coming back to KK. Will get my son to give me the feedback.

13) Lessons learned from this is to quarantine all new fish before adding them to the community tank.

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Re: Planted Aquarium kaki

#76 Post by LLCC » Tue Feb 10, 2009 6:23 pm

Bro Bern,

Take heart that WE ALL learn from our mistakes. The lessons we learnt made us better in what we do, and sometimes, it is through mistakes that new, groundbreaking discoveries are made. An example was the mis-use a an organic carbon additive called Seachem Excel. A fellow aquarist was adding Excel to his tank, and made a mistake in his dosage calculation. He overdosed by 3 or 4 times the recommended amount. But it turned out for the better for him in this case, because he found the unsightly algae in his tank dying back, and his plants suddenly growing vigorously. That "accident" led to people using Seachem Excel for a purpose that it was not designed to do - as an algaecide!

Anyway, I'll try to help you point by point below.
bernGPS wrote:1) Wash the red earth that I got from my parents house in a plastic basin which I slanted partially to facilitate draining until the water is clear. About 1/3 of the volume of the earth made up of fine red particles will be washed away. The remaining red earth though will cloudy the water is stirred but clears up pretty quickly.
There's 2 types of "red earth" that I know of. One is a reddish, crusty earth called "Fire burnt soil" in my side of the pond. This is sold at plant nurseries, and is made from burning plant matter (and other stuff) and the cooled soil is collected and sold. I don't use this soil for the tank because I'm unsure how safe it is. There may be fuel residue used to start the fire, as well as undesirable toxic residue from the other stuff that was burnt which may kill the fish.

Another red soil is a clayey sticky "mud" when wet, called "Tanah Liat" at my side. This is also called Laterite, and it is good base fert for a planted tank. The red colour of the soil is caused by Fe (iron) which is needed by the plants, which makes it so good. Clean Laterite normally contains no Nitrogenous matter, so it is safe for the fish. If you washed away the "red" from your soil, you are actually removing what is good for your plants.

Actually, I do not wash my soil. Instead, I do a test, and if results are favourable, I sterilise the soil before using it. I place some soil sample in a water bottle, and fill it carefully with distilled water. Then I take an ammonia test reading from the water, and set it aside. I continue to do tests daily for 2 weeks, and also observe the water. Normally it will clear up within a few hours to a day, otherwise I deem it too troublesome to use. There must be no ammonia detected in the test for the whole period. After 2 weeks of good results, I deem it safe for the tank.

Sterilising the soil is the easiest if you have access to the kitchen.
1) Ensure you are the undisputed owner of the kitchen, or you have a very loving, understanding relationship with the BH.
2) Send the BH out on an errand just for good measure before you start.
3) When the coast is clear, place the soil in a large microwave safe container, taking care to ensure your soil does not contain any metallic objects.
4) Place into microwave oven, turn to full heat and "cook" for ten minutes.
5) Let cool before use, restore the kitchen ASAP.
bernGPS wrote:2) Gave away all my goldfish to my sister-in-law who keeps them without any real plants. I only kept a red tail shark and a silver shark. I cant seems to locate the pleco. Dont know it it had died without my knowledge but I swear that I saw it a couple of days before that.
Giving the goldfish for adoption is the first positive step. However, do note that both Red Tail Black shark and silver shark are also a cyprinids - the same carp family that goldfishes belong to. Since carps will graze on plant matter, your sharks will start eating your tender shoots if you do not give them sufficient vegetative matter in its diet.

Plecos are masters of hiding and camouflage and can disappear into a pool of water 3 inches deep and not get detected. Do note that like the catfish, Plecos have a spine at the tip of each pectoral fin that are studded with microscopic barbs along its length. So you should not use your bare hand to grope for the fish.
bernGPS wrote:3) I drained almost all the water from the tank and pushed the coarse river sand from half of the aquarium to the other half. The water left in the aquarium is probably about 3 mm deep, what remains after sucking with a hose. Some parts of the coarse river sand has turned black, showing an accumulation of organic matter from the fish.
The black stains on your gravel can be due to the humus that is decomposing. This is good stuff as it is both fertiliser for your plants and also food and home for the beneficial bacteria that purifies your water. You should try to retain some of these.

On the other hand, if you smell the stench of rotten eggs from this black gravel, that means your soil had become anaerobic. This is caused by a combination of too deep a gravel layer, and insufficient root activity from your plants to aerate the gravel. If your gravel is blackened due to this, you shouldn't reuse the gravel as it becomes difficult for plants to grow and soon, bad water parameters from the anaerobic soil will start killing the fish too.
bernGPS wrote:4) Next I place the red earth at the part of the aquarium where the coarse river sand has been cleared and I covered the red earth with the sand.
Normally, I'd lay around 1-2 inches of soil at the back, sloping down to nothing at the front. That's because I don't grow plants at the front of the tank, the soil looks ugly through the front glass wall, and also having a sloping floor gives the tank an illusion of depth.

Next I cap the soil with around 2 inches of gravel to prevent the soil from being stirred up and cause water to be muddied. Again, I slope the gravel down from the back to the front. The gravel serves only as a cap for the soil, and also for decorative purpose. It is the soil beneath that serves as the growing medium for plants.
bernGPS wrote:5) Than I refilled the tank with tap water slowly making sure there is minimal water movement especially towards the area where the red earth is placed. The water turns slightly cloudy when filled but it is not that bad. Its looks just like a couple of drops of ideal milk has been dropped inside.
Good job! If your tank's volume is large, It may take a long time to fill up slowly. Here is what I do:
1) Place a wide dish on top of the gravel, with a beer glass on top of the dish. I place my hose into the glass and start filling at a moderate flow rate.
2) The water will overflow the glass, splash onto the dish, fill the dish and gently flow onto the gravel. This will minimise disturbance of the gravel and soil.
3) When water level had neared the level of the dish, I add an amount of Seachem Prime to neutralise Chloramine (Worse than chlorine, it is used to treat Singapore water), as well as to lock up whatever nitrogenous products and heavy metals that is in the water or washed out of the soil. I continue to fill till water is near level with the beer glass.
4) I then start decorating and planting the tank. I tend to overplant a newly set up tank to anticipate for plant dieback (Yes, my plants do die too), as well as to take up the water filtration role from the beneficial bacteria, giving them time to colonise and get to work. This prevents fish death from New Tank Syndrome (NTS). Since water bends light, It is also easier to see and plant in a partially filled tank than trying to do so with a filled tank.

After the decor and planting is done, the water may become muddied, so I siphon off half of what is within, and resume refilling from the hose using the beer glass and wide dish as the splash shield. At half full, I stop to check for leaks, throw in the remaining amount of water conditioner (Seachem Prime) and at this time, it is also high time to take a break to brew me a cup of tea, while waiting for any signs of leak to show, before I finish filling the tank.
bernGPS wrote:6) I removed a few bunches of the of the Vallisnera from the salted egg jar outside and transplanted them, to the aquarium. I also planted 2 bunches of broadleafed aquatic plants which I bought from the shop and Rm a bunch. In the mean time the overhead filter pump is working fulltime and I see the while aquarium wool beginning to turn yellow/reddish at the place where the water enter the filter. That is a good sign that the fine cloudy particles/suspension in the water are being removed.
You should plant as densely as you can afford to. Borneo is one of the last great frontiers that aquatic plant collectors dream of going to get at the plants there, and you have it at your doorstep. However, I do know of another person who has problems getting any live aquatic plant because where he is (BSB) there are no readily accessible river for him. So you may be facing a similar problem.

But do remember to sterilise your wild collected plants of any parasite or pathogen before introducing into your tank. A 5-8 minute dip in dilute potassium permanganate bath or 1:20 diluted bleach will do nicely. In a pinch, a salt water dip will also work. In fact, it may be wise to sterilise even shop purchased plants as they may be wild collected. Whatever you do, treat live plants like you treat your filter wool - do not rinse them under tap water. Drain out some tank water for rinsing and dips instead.

Be careful to check your overhead filter frequently. With this model of filters which rely on gravity to move the water through the wool, you lose filtration ability when the wool gets laden with soil matter. Carefully rinse out the wool using some water drained from the tank. Never rinse off your filter wool with tap water as it may kill off all your available good bacteria.
bernGPS wrote:7) Than I put in the remaining silver shark and the red tailed shark. Ooops. Bother, I have forgotten to put in anti-chlorine into the 2' x 5' tank full of tap water. I check in the storeroom turns up an empty anti-chlorine bottle. So it was a race to the shop to get a couple of bottles of anti-chlorine. Luckily, the fished were still swimming happily at the bottom of the tank. And surprise, the pleco which has disappeared (presumed dead) turned up at its usual spot beside the water pump head. I wonder where it has been hiding all this while.
You can find anti chlorine in many places. If you do your own B&W photography, you may have some Hypo (Fixer) solution or crystals you can use. Well Sodium thiosulfate or hypo is the active compound in anti chlorine and it is way cheaper than to buy an aquarium anti chlorine medication if you have a series of huge tanks. Alternately like me, you may want to try Seachem Prime. After using that, I never use any other anti chlorine again. A bit goes a very long way, and it also treats a lots of other aquarium related problems that it had become my "miracle water".

Since you are using old media, you should apply anti chlorine as soon as possible, when you fill in the water. That is because the chlorine may have killed the beneficial bacteria in your gravel causing your tank to go back into cycle, even though the fish look OK. Eventually, without the beneficial bacteria, your fish start to die, almost like you are encountering NTS even though you have an old established tank.
bernGPS wrote:8) Than I bought another 4 silver sharks, 4 red tailed shark ( 2 black and 2 albino), and 10 tiger barbs and place them in the tank. I did notice that the silver shark was noticibly darker than normal and a couple were swimming up and down near the top of the tank in an agitated manner. I just brushed it off as them being unfamiliar with their new environment.
There are many reasons for such a behaviour and being "new" in the tank is a minor reason. With a planted matured tank, properly acclimatised fish will look jittery for about 5-10 minutes when first released into the tank. Then they will start to look for cover and within a day or lesser, they will show back their colour and normal character.

So other than your tank being uncycled because of the antichlorine incident, it may be the fish is not well from poor packaging and acclimatisation. Assuming your tank is cycled and stable, here is what I do for new fish, which I usually get 99% survival rate within the first month of introduction.

1) Choose good healthy fish from a shop you know and trust. Inspect the fish carefully for parasites or signs of illness before taking them. If the water in the tank is coloured bright yellow or blue, don't buy the fish as it is under medication. But some soft water fish from Bornean peat swamps are kept in tanks of water tannin stained a dark brown almost like thick black tea. Then that is OK.

2) Scoop out a bucket of water from the tank that this fish was displayed in, and catch the fish out into this water.

3) Insist that the shop assistant pack the fish with this water. If he needs more water, insist that you take the same water from that tank to fill the bag. This prevents Osmotic shock (more of that below). Otherwise refuse to buy fish from that shop.

4) The bag must only be half full and is large enough to sustain the fish comfortably at that filling level. Then check the assistant squeezes out all the air before pumping in the other half of the bag with oxygen.

5) Transport the fish with the bag lying down. It gives the water a better surface area to access the oxygen. If that is too shallow for the fish, the bag is too small change up to a bigger one.

6) When you get back, place the bag into a deep pail. Draw out some water from your tank into this pail to match the water level as the bag - this is to help equalise the water temperature so as not to shock the fish, and to buffer the sides of the plastic bag as it stands in the pail.

7) Then open the bag, and with a length of air hose, form a drip system to siphon out tank water and drip it, drop by drop into the bag till the water level is twice that of the water in the pail. Empty half of that water into the pail to equalise the water level and repeat the dripping till water level in the bag is again twice as that in the pail. This time, the fish will be ready to be netted out and introduced in the tank fully acclimatised with no shock. I time my drips according to the bag size. If the bag's water is around 2L in volume, I adjust the drip valve to 1 drip a second. If it is bigger, I'd tune it to 2 -4 drips a second, never more than that. In general, the dripping will move the water level to double its original amount in 1 hour, therefore taking the fish 60 minutes to acclimatise to 50% of water parameters, which is a good comfortable pace.

8) Refill the tank with treated tap water. Do not pour shop tank water into your tank.

By going through these steps, I am able to bypass quarantine and yet maintain healthy livestock in my tanks and new purchases without encountering illnesses or deaths. I had since never had acclimatisation deaths, except the time I mistakenly tried to acclimatise saltwater milkfish for my freshwater tank. I assumed it was freshwater milkfish without inquiring. Dumb.

All this effort is to address this issue called Shock. A fish can sustain shock from too great a difference in temperature, great difference of dissolved organic compounds (DOC) in the water, and pH differences. Temperature shock stresses the fish often causing Ich (White spot disease). pH differences causes pH burns which affects the fin tips and eyes, resulting in cloudy eye disease or fin rot disease. Worst and most lethal of all is differences in DOC in the water which causes Osmotic shock. an explanation of what it is is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osmotic_shock.

When a fish is shocked, it normally swims erratically or frantically up and down rubbing their noses against the tank glass. In that state, there's little one can do except to hope and pray unless one had the bag of old tank water available to put the fish back into it.
bernGPS wrote:9) 2 days later, a couple of the albino tiger balb died and so did an albino red tailed shark. The next day, to my horror, I saw white spots on the body of 2 of the 3 remaining silver shark while the other 2 also died.
Deaths could be because of the acclimatisation shocks, or the tank being uncycled. White spot parasite (research Ich on the internet) is always in the tank. It is like the common cold bacteria is always around us waiting to catch us when we're shocked, eg getting caught out in the cold rain. So appearance of the parasite is not necessary the cause of deaths, but shock which allowed the resistance of fish to be lowered, allowed ich to overpower the fish. In the case of my wife's fish, each time the thermometer dips at the end of the year, he's get a case of the ich. If you are not absolutely bored by now, take a look at his photo album chronicling his "disease" and the simple treatment here: http://gaspinggurami.multiply.com/photo ... u_gets_Ich
bernGPS wrote:10) I quickly went to the neighbourhood aquarium shop which recommended I buy a RM30 bottle of Sera Omnipur liquid. I removed half of the volume of the water of the aquarium and put in about 20 drops of the Sera Omnipur.

Image
Umm, I have no experience using Omnipur. However websites I visited to get info on the product didn't list Ich (white spot disease) as one that it can treat.
bernGPS wrote:11) 3 days later, I topped up the tank and put a few drops of the sera liquid again.
Actually, I normally shun medicines for my tank, preferring instead to give the tank better living conditions so they have the resistance to fight diseases. I only have in my "fish medicine box" these medications in order of preference:
1) Aquarium salt. Treats anything from dropsy (fish swelling up), to ich, to Nitrite poisoning. Used mainly for treating plants before introducing to the tank. I still go with my late father's advise of when fish get sick, throw in some salt.
2) Melafix - or any pure melaluca (tea tree) oil. Try asking the wife. I use a few drops for treating cuts and scrapes and torn fins from fights.
3) Seachem Prime. Mainly used for dechlorination and water conditioning. In emergency, I use for treating ammonia / nitrite / heavy metal poisoning.

And I have a few heaters when the end of year cold weather approaches. That's all I have outside of giving the fish good living conditions, for medication.
bernGPS wrote:12) I understand that the Sera Omnipur is hostile to the plants. I have yet to see the situation since coming back to KK. Will get my son to give me the feedback.
Anything that is hostile to plants should contain heavy metals like copper or melachite. These are bad for fish, as well as the ecosystem too.
bernGPS wrote:13) Lessons learned from this is to quarantine all new fish before adding them to the community tank.
The greater lesson learnt here is to plan in advance, check and recheck the equipment, refine the plan, get the BH away when you are about to do anything, and a few good friends in to help or just for company while you do the work!

Good luck on your tank and happy planting.

LL

PS. I just previewed what I typed and realised I'm too longwinded. My apologies and Thanks for bearing this.
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Re: Planted Aquarium kaki

#77 Post by bernGPS » Sun Feb 15, 2009 6:13 pm

WOW. Where do I start?

Thanks for the comprehensive answers and info. I try to feedback one by one.

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Re: Planted Aquarium kaki

#78 Post by bernGPS » Sun Feb 15, 2009 7:17 pm

LLCC wrote:Bro Bern,

Take heart that WE ALL learn from our mistakes. The lessons we learnt made us better in what we do, and sometimes, it is through mistakes that new, groundbreaking discoveries are made. An example was the mis-use a an organic carbon additive called Seachem Excel. A fellow aquarist was adding Excel to his tank, and made a mistake in his dosage calculation. He overdosed by 3 or 4 times the recommended amount. But it turned out for the better for him in this case, because he found the unsightly algae in his tank dying back, and his plants suddenly growing vigorously. That "accident" led to people using Seachem Excel for a purpose that it was not designed to do - as an algaecide!
Yes, I know, sometimes I could have been more organised with proper planning. Oh well.

LLCC wrote:1) There's 2 types of "red earth" that I know of. One is a reddish, crusty earth called "Fire burnt soil" in my side of the pond. This is sold at plant nurseries, and is made from burning plant matter (and other stuff) and the cooled soil is collected and sold. I don't use this soil for the tank because I'm unsure how safe it is. There may be fuel residue used to start the fire, as well as undesirable toxic residue from the other stuff that was burnt which may kill the fish.

Another red soil is a clayey sticky "mud" when wet, called "Tanah Liat" at my side. This is also called Laterite, and it is good base fert for a planted tank. The red colour of the soil is caused by Fe (iron) which is needed by the plants, which makes it so good. Clean Laterite normally contains no Nitrogenous matter, so it is safe for the fish. If you washed away the "red" from your soil, you are actually removing what is good for your plants.

Actually, I do not wash my soil. Instead, I do a test, and if results are favourable, I sterilise the soil before using it. I place some soil sample in a water bottle, and fill it carefully with distilled water. Then I take an ammonia test reading from the water, and set it aside. I continue to do tests daily for 2 weeks, and also observe the water. Normally it will clear up within a few hours to a day, otherwise I deem it too troublesome to use. There must be no ammonia detected in the test for the whole period. After 2 weeks of good results, I deem it safe for the tank.

Sterilising the soil is the easiest if you have access to the kitchen.
1) Ensure you are the undisputed owner of the kitchen, or you have a very loving, understanding relationship with the BH.
2) Send the BH out on an errand just for good measure before you start.
3) When the coast is clear, place the soil in a large microwave safe container, taking care to ensure your soil does not contain any metallic objects.
4) Place into microwave oven, turn to full heat and "cook" for ten minutes.
5) Let cool before use, restore the kitchen ASAP.
I used the Fire burnt soil for my 1st one last year in the salted egg jar and the plant grew really well. The earth is safe without any fertiliser because my parents being horticulturist burnt it themselves. The raw soil is clean topsoil bought by the lorry.

For this one, I had to resort to the 2nd category i.e. the clayey variety as my parents has semi retired from the horticultural scene. But the earth is actually quite loose. I dont know, if I put that stuff straight in, I dont dare imagine what the colour of the water would be like. Let me show you some photo during the "washing process".
mini-01Wash aquariumliteriteearth.JPG
Colour of water after washing for 20 minutes.
The waste water that has flowed into the drain.
mini-02Laterite soil of aquarium In drain.JPG
LLCC wrote:2) Giving the goldfish for adoption is the first positive step. However, do note that both Red Tail Black shark and silver shark are also a cyprinids - the same carp family that goldfishes belong to. Since carps will graze on plant matter, your sharks will start eating your tender shoots if you do not give them sufficient vegetative matter in its diet.

Plecos are masters of hiding and camouflage and can disappear into a pool of water 3 inches deep and not get detected. Do note that like the catfish, Plecos have a spine at the tip of each pectoral fin that are studded with microscopic barbs along its length. So you should not use your bare hand to grope for the fish.
Oh no. OK, I will only have a couple next time. I would not replace those that died. Instead will replace them with other tamer fish like Neon tetra. Can I put in a couple of angle fish as well?

Is the Red tail eating the shoots???
mini-07Overall view.JPG
Really eating???!!! Oh no.
mini-08Red Tail Shark in plant.JPG
I didnt try to look for the pleco as I assumed it has died earlier. But there was still no sign of any movement when the water level was about 3mm deep. :o
LLCC wrote:3) The black stains on your gravel can be due to the humus that is decomposing. This is good stuff as it is both fertiliser for your plants and also food and home for the beneficial bacteria that purifies your water. You should try to retain some of these.

On the other hand, if you smell the stench of rotten eggs from this black gravel, that means your soil had become anaerobic. This is caused by a combination of too deep a gravel layer, and insufficient root activity from your plants to aerate the gravel. If your gravel is blackened due to this, you shouldn't reuse the gravel as it becomes difficult for plants to grow and soon, bad water parameters from the anaerobic soil will start killing the fish too.
There is only a small amount and it got mixed with the course river sand during the mixing with the red earth. And no, there is no rotten egg smell yet.
LLCC wrote:4) Normally, I'd lay around 1-2 inches of soil at the back, sloping down to nothing at the front. That's because I don't grow plants at the front of the tank, the soil looks ugly through the front glass wall, and also having a sloping floor gives the tank an illusion of depth.

Next I cap the soil with around 2 inches of gravel to prevent the soil from being stirred up and cause water to be muddied. Again, I slope the gravel down from the back to the front. The gravel serves only as a cap for the soil, and also for decorative purpose. It is the soil beneath that serves as the growing medium for plants.
I placed the earth/gravel mixture quite evenly over the surface.
LLCC wrote:5) Good job! If your tank's volume is large, It may take a long time to fill up slowly. Here is what I do:
1) Place a wide dish on top of the gravel, with a beer glass on top of the dish. I place my hose into the glass and start filling at a moderate flow rate.
2) The water will overflow the glass, splash onto the dish, fill the dish and gently flow onto the gravel. This will minimise disturbance of the gravel and soil.
3) When water level had neared the level of the dish, I add an amount of Seachem Prime to neutralise Chloramine (Worse than chlorine, it is used to treat Singapore water), as well as to lock up whatever nitrogenous products and heavy metals that is in the water or washed out of the soil. I continue to fill till water is near level with the beer glass.
4) I then start decorating and planting the tank. I tend to overplant a newly set up tank to anticipate for plant dieback (Yes, my plants do die too), as well as to take up the water filtration role from the beneficial bacteria, giving them time to colonise and get to work. This prevents fish death from New Tank Syndrome (NTS). Since water bends light, It is also easier to see and plant in a partially filled tank than trying to do so with a filled tank.

After the decor and planting is done, the water may become muddied, so I siphon off half of what is within, and resume refilling from the hose using the beer glass and wide dish as the splash shield. At half full, I stop to check for leaks, throw in the remaining amount of water conditioner (Seachem Prime) and at this time, it is also high time to take a break to brew me a cup of tea, while waiting for any signs of leak to show, before I finish filling the tank.
This is how it looks after filling up with water

Slightly cloudy condition of the water after filling up the tank
mini-03Cloudy aquarium water.JPG
The fish happily swimming around in the tank
mini-04View of Tank.JPG
More of the fish in the tank
mini-05View of Tank.JPG
LLCC wrote:6) You should plant as densely as you can afford to. Borneo is one of the last great frontiers that aquatic plant collectors dream of going to get at the plants there, and you have it at your doorstep. However, I do know of another person who has problems getting any live aquatic plant because where he is (BSB) there are no readily accessible river for him. So you may be facing a similar problem.

But do remember to sterilise your wild collected plants of any parasite or pathogen before introducing into your tank. A 5-8 minute dip in dilute potassium permanganate bath or 1:20 diluted bleach will do nicely. In a pinch, a salt water dip will also work. In fact, it may be wise to sterilise even shop purchased plants as they may be wild collected. Whatever you do, treat live plants like you treat your filter wool - do not rinse them under tap water. Drain out some tank water for rinsing and dips instead.

Be careful to check your overhead filter frequently. With this model of filters which rely on gravity to move the water through the wool, you lose filtration ability when the wool gets laden with soil matter. Carefully rinse out the wool using some water drained from the tank. Never rinse off your filter wool with tap water as it may kill off all your available good bacteria.
Yes, I do face the problem faced by your friend. There are a few rivers nearby but not that many of them have nice aquatic plants. Perhaps there are, just didnt know which one is suitable.

I just love reading the Advantures of one Mr Michael Lo http://www.aquarticles.com/articles/tra ... round.html. Perhaps I get a better idea what I can get from the neighhood streams.
LLCC wrote:7) You can find anti chlorine in many places. If you do your own B&W photography, you may have some Hypo (Fixer) solution or crystals you can use. Well Sodium thiosulfate or hypo is the active compound in anti chlorine and it is way cheaper than to buy an aquarium anti chlorine medication if you have a series of huge tanks. Alternately like me, you may want to try Seachem Prime. After using that, I never use any other anti chlorine again. A bit goes a very long way, and it also treats a lots of other aquarium related problems that it had become my "miracle water".

Since you are using old media, you should apply anti chlorine as soon as possible, when you fill in the water. That is because the chlorine may have killed the beneficial bacteria in your gravel causing your tank to go back into cycle, even though the fish look OK. Eventually, without the beneficial bacteria, your fish start to die, almost like you are encountering NTS even though you have an old established tank.
I hope the bacteria survive. I have bought a few bottles of anti-chlorine and kept them at home.
LLCC wrote:8) There are many reasons for such a behaviour and being "new" in the tank is a minor reason. With a planted matured tank, properly acclimatised fish will look jittery for about 5-10 minutes when first released into the tank. Then they will start to look for cover and within a day or lesser, they will show back their colour and normal character.

So other than your tank being uncycled because of the antichlorine incident, it may be the fish is not well from poor packaging and acclimatisation. Assuming your tank is cycled and stable, here is what I do for new fish, which I usually get 99% survival rate within the first month of introduction.

1) Choose good healthy fish from a shop you know and trust. Inspect the fish carefully for parasites or signs of illness before taking them. If the water in the tank is coloured bright yellow or blue, don't buy the fish as it is under medication. But some soft water fish from Bornean peat swamps are kept in tanks of water tannin stained a dark brown almost like thick black tea. Then that is OK.

2) Scoop out a bucket of water from the tank that this fish was displayed in, and catch the fish out into this water.

3) Insist that the shop assistant pack the fish with this water. If he needs more water, insist that you take the same water from that tank to fill the bag. This prevents Osmotic shock (more of that below). Otherwise refuse to buy fish from that shop.

4) The bag must only be half full and is large enough to sustain the fish comfortably at that filling level. Then check the assistant squeezes out all the air before pumping in the other half of the bag with oxygen.

5) Transport the fish with the bag lying down. It gives the water a better surface area to access the oxygen. If that is too shallow for the fish, the bag is too small change up to a bigger one.

6) When you get back, place the bag into a deep pail. Draw out some water from your tank into this pail to match the water level as the bag - this is to help equalise the water temperature so as not to shock the fish, and to buffer the sides of the plastic bag as it stands in the pail.

7) Then open the bag, and with a length of air hose, form a drip system to siphon out tank water and drip it, drop by drop into the bag till the water level is twice that of the water in the pail. Empty half of that water into the pail to equalise the water level and repeat the dripping till water level in the bag is again twice as that in the pail. This time, the fish will be ready to be netted out and introduced in the tank fully acclimatised with no shock. I time my drips according to the bag size. If the bag's water is around 2L in volume, I adjust the drip valve to 1 drip a second. If it is bigger, I'd tune it to 2 -4 drips a second, never more than that. In general, the dripping will move the water level to double its original amount in 1 hour, therefore taking the fish 60 minutes to acclimatise to 50% of water parameters, which is a good comfortable pace.

8) Refill the tank with treated tap water. Do not pour shop tank water into your tank.

By going through these steps, I am able to bypass quarantine and yet maintain healthy livestock in my tanks and new purchases without encountering illnesses or deaths. I had since never had acclimatisation deaths, except the time I mistakenly tried to acclimatise saltwater milkfish for my freshwater tank. I assumed it was freshwater milkfish without inquiring. Dumb.

All this effort is to address this issue called Shock. A fish can sustain shock from too great a difference in temperature, great difference of dissolved organic compounds (DOC) in the water, and pH differences. Temperature shock stresses the fish often causing Ich (White spot disease). pH differences causes pH burns which affects the fin tips and eyes, resulting in cloudy eye disease or fin rot disease. Worst and most lethal of all is differences in DOC in the water which causes Osmotic shock. an explanation of what it is is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osmotic_shock.

When a fish is shocked, it normally swims erratically or frantically up and down rubbing their noses against the tank glass. In that state, there's little one can do except to hope and pray unless one had the bag of old tank water available to put the fish back into it.
The fish looks agitated
mini-06Agitated Silvershark.JPG
Yes, I learned my lesson. ie NEVER TAKE THINGS FOR GRANTED AND DONT BE LAZY :cry: :cry:
LLCC wrote:9) Deaths could be because of the acclimatisation shocks, or the tank being uncycled. White spot parasite (research Ich on the internet) is always in the tank. It is like the common cold bacteria is always around us waiting to catch us when we're shocked, eg getting caught out in the cold rain. So appearance of the parasite is not necessary the cause of deaths, but shock which allowed the resistance of fish to be lowered, allowed ich to overpower the fish. In the case of my wife's fish, each time the thermometer dips at the end of the year, he's get a case of the ich. If you are not absolutely bored by now, take a look at his photo album chronicling his "disease" and the simple treatment here: http://gaspinggurami.multiply.com/photo ... u_gets_Ich
I never knew that the Ich is always present in the tank. I thought it was introduced from outside.
LLCC wrote:10) Umm, I have no experience using Omnipur. However websites I visited to get info on the product didn't list Ich (white spot disease) as one that it can treat.
Looks like I got conned.
LLCC wrote:11) Actually, I normally shun medicines for my tank, preferring instead to give the tank better living conditions so they have the resistance to fight diseases. I only have in my "fish medicine box" these medications in order of preference:
1) Aquarium salt. Treats anything from dropsy (fish swelling up), to ich, to Nitrite poisoning. Used mainly for treating plants before introducing to the tank. I still go with my late father's advise of when fish get sick, throw in some salt.
2) Melafix - or any pure melaluca (tea tree) oil. Try asking the wife. I use a few drops for treating cuts and scrapes and torn fins from fights.
3) Seachem Prime. Mainly used for dechlorination and water conditioning. In emergency, I use for treating ammonia / nitrite / heavy metal poisoning.

And I have a few heaters when the end of year cold weather approaches. That's all I have outside of giving the fish good living conditions, for medication.
I will take note of that. Yes, I do put in the aquarium salt.
LLCC wrote:12) Anything that is hostile to plants should contain heavy metals like copper or melachite. These are bad for fish, as well as the ecosystem too.

I did tell my wife and son to change half of the water. I will check if they have done it.
LLCC wrote:13) The greater lesson learnt here is to plan in advance, check and recheck the equipment, refine the plan, get the BH away when you are about to do anything, and a few good friends in to help or just for company while you do the work!

Good luck on your tank and happy planting.

LL

PS. I just previewed what I typed and realised I'm too longwinded. My apologies and Thanks for bearing this.
Thanks Lawrence. I have learned a lot there. Looks like there is life after GPS mapping. Looking forward to it.

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Re: Planted Aquarium kaki

#79 Post by LLCC » Mon Feb 16, 2009 8:52 pm

I'll be shorter this time. I try...
bernGPS wrote:I used the Fire burnt soil for my 1st one last year in the salted egg jar and the plant grew really well. The earth is safe without any fertiliser because my parents being horticulturist burnt it themselves. The raw soil is clean topsoil bought by the lorry.

For this one, I had to resort to the 2nd category i.e. the clayey variety as my parents has semi retired from the horticultural scene. But the earth is actually quite loose. I dont know, if I put that stuff straight in, I dont dare imagine what the colour of the water would be like. Let me show you some photo during the "washing process".

The waste water that has flowed into the drain.
Great. That means your parents have sterilised the soil for you, and since they have burned it properly, it is great to use. Your 2nd resort soil that is washed away is EXACTLY what is the good stuff. FYI the price of that stuff packaged into neat balls is a lot when sold in the west. A 24oz can of "Substrate Gold" sells for US$20+ Go gooogle it and be shocked how much "gold" you had flushed down your drain. haha. Next time save the washing. It is very good for growing Echinodorus (your sword leaved plant in the pot).
bernGPS wrote: Oh no. OK, I will only have a couple next time. I would not replace those that died. Instead will replace them with other tamer fish like Neon tetra. Can I put in a couple of angle fish as well?
Is the Red tail eating the shoots???

Really eating???!!! Oh no.

I didnt try to look for the pleco as I assumed it has died earlier. But there was still no sign of any movement when the water level was about 3mm deep. :o
Some fish don't mix well with others. Angelfish look harmless and almost still, but being from the cichlid family, it is a territorial creature and will sooner or later attack the Neon tetras. The picture of your fish is not a red tail black shark (Epalzeorhynchos bicolor) but a red finned shark (Epalzeorhynchos frenatum). They are from the same family. It is not eating the shoots of your Sword Plant (Echinodorus spp) as that is too tough for it. Most of the time, this fish will graze on the softer leaved shoots and moss. If you feed it well, it should stay away from your plants. But these are a quarrelsome fish, and you should keep a bunch of 5 or more so they quarrel amongst themselves till a pecking order is established. Otherwise, without their own kind to quarrel, they start to bully your other fish.

Your pleco on the other hand will find the Echinodorus shoots a local delicacy, since both come from the same district. So don't blame the E. frenatums if you see holes in your young Echinodorus leaves.

bernGPS wrote:This is how it looks after filling up with water

Slightly cloudy condition of the water after filling up the tank


The fish happily swimming around in the tank


More of the fish in the tank
You did well in filling the tank. If you have an adequate, cycled filter, such water will be crystal clear in 6-12 hours.

Another note on the pleco. Remember I said it has tiny barbs all along its spikes? if you net it and it gets tangled in the net, do not attempt to free it by unpicking the tangle. it will get worse, and you probably spike your hands. instead, put the net in water and it will soon free itself. If it doesn't, you can help by cutting the net with a scissors, so it can untangle itself.
bernGPS wrote:Yes, I do face the problem faced by your friend. There are a few rivers nearby but not that many of them have nice aquatic plants. Perhaps there are, just didnt know which one is suitable.

I just love reading the Advantures of one Mr Michael Lo http://www.aquarticles.com/articles/tra ... round.html. Perhaps I get a better idea what I can get from the neighhood streams.
Michael Lo is from Kuching. He has posted many more interesting stories at the fish forum I frequent. To read his posts there visit http://www.aquaticquotient.com/forum/fo ... y.php?f=11 and look for the user called Kuching.

bernGPS wrote:I did tell my wife and son to change half of the water. I will check if they have done it.
Yes, do the water change as soon as possible, because medicines will not help your fish get stronger, but on the contrary, they sicken your fish too.

bernGPS wrote:Thanks Lawrence. I have learned a lot there. Looks like there is life after GPS mapping. Looking forward to it.
There's much much more after gPS mapping. For starters, when you pick up plant and fish collecting, you can contribute to the database of fish pics and the point map of where it is collected. there is still much use to GIS data, even for fishkeeping and aquarium planting.
Lawrence Lee

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Re: Planted Aquarium kaki

#80 Post by bernGPS » Wed Feb 18, 2009 12:00 am

LLCC wrote:I'll be shorter this time. I try...

Great. That means your parents have sterilised the soil for you, and since they have burned it properly, it is great to use. Your 2nd resort soil that is washed away is EXACTLY what is the good stuff. FYI the price of that stuff packaged into neat balls is a lot when sold in the west. A 24oz can of "Substrate Gold" sells for US$20+ Go gooogle it and be shocked how much "gold" you had flushed down your drain. haha. Next time save the washing. It is very good for growing Echinodorus (your sword leaved plant in the pot).
Dont worry, I dont mind long replys as you replies are so informative.
LLCC wrote:
Some fish don't mix well with others. Angelfish look harmless and almost still, but being from the cichlid family, it is a territorial creature and will sooner or later attack the Neon tetras. The picture of your fish is not a red tail black shark (Epalzeorhynchos bicolor) but a red finned shark (Epalzeorhynchos frenatum). They are from the same family. It is not eating the shoots of your Sword Plant (Echinodorus spp) as that is too tough for it. Most of the time, this fish will graze on the softer leaved shoots and moss. If you feed it well, it should stay away from your plants. But these are a quarrelsome fish, and you should keep a bunch of 5 or more so they quarrel amongst themselves till a pecking order is established. Otherwise, without their own kind to quarrel, they start to bully your other fish.

Your pleco on the other hand will find the Echinodorus shoots a local delicacy, since both come from the same district. So don't blame the E. frenatums if you see holes in your young Echinodorus leaves.
Gosh :oops: :oops: And I though they are the same since their tails are red.

Matter concerning the angles noted. Will they eat or dig up the plants?

LLCC wrote: You did well in filling the tank. If you have an adequate, cycled filter, such water will be crystal clear in 6-12 hours.

Another note on the pleco. Remember I said it has tiny barbs all along its spikes? if you net it and it gets tangled in the net, do not attempt to free it by unpicking the tangle. it will get worse, and you probably spike your hands. instead, put the net in water and it will soon free itself. If it doesn't, you can help by cutting the net with a scissors, so it can untangle itself.
The water becomes crystal clear the following day. But the 3 layered filter layer (especially the polyester wool layer) is very dirty and needs washing.
LLCC wrote:Michael Lo is from Kuching. He has posted many more interesting stories at the fish forum I frequent. To read his posts there visit http://www.aquaticquotient.com/forum/fo ... y.php?f=11 and look for the user called Kuching.
Thanks for the link Will look into the fish forum when I am ready.

LLCC wrote:
Yes, do the water change as soon as possible, because medicines will not help your fish get stronger, but on the contrary, they sicken your fish too.
Thanks for the remainder. Will remind them again.

LLCC wrote: There's much much more after gPS mapping. For starters, when you pick up plant and fish collecting, you can contribute to the database of fish pics and the point map of where it is collected. there is still much use to GIS data, even for fishkeeping and aquarium planting.
Would anyone be interested with the location of where the fish plant is is collected?

Some photo to whit your appetide

1) Children playing at the freshwater stream at Sematan beach
01 Playing in the freshwater stream at Sematan beach.JPG
2) Hermit crabs galore
02 Hermit crab galore.JPG
3) Hermit crabs
03 Hermit crabs.JPG
04 Hermit crab.JPG
4) Prawn in the bucket. I caught this prawn found sitting in the stream by cupping my hand together
05 Prawn in bucket.JPG
06 Closeup of prawn.JPG
5) I managed to persuade my children to release this prawn back into the stream as I have no idea how to keep it in my aquarium
07 Releasing the prawn.JPG
6) These marine creatures were not so luckily though.
08 Thos that are not as lucky.JPG
We caught a Borneo sucker fish also hiding in a small moist hole in the piece of wood in the stream. Unfortunately the photo went missing. :cry:

I hope you enjoyed that.

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