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Monday, February 22, 2010

Aquarium Chemistry Suggestions; from Everything Aquatic

Threads from Everything Aquatic Members

This post takes posts from many different threads at the Everything Aquatic Board (which do not appear in internet searches as Pro Boards uses “no follow” tags)
The obvious theme is aquarium chemistry as it pertains to minerals and buffers in aquariums and the importance of positive mineral ions for fish health, disease prevention/treatment and more.

I put a medicated wondershell in my 20g and this cleared up the floating algae. I now that I have changed the light in the ceiling next to it and have blocked off the sun coming in the nearest window I think I have finally beaten this back enough to resolve this issue. I am still very careful with food and have upped the cleaning schedule a bit. Things in that tank must not be going too bad because the rams are about to spawn again. They have dug a new nest and are guarding it.

So in summary I'd say you need to focus on getting the tank cycled either with fish or without (without is less work IMHO and usually won't require a lot of water changes). I'd consider upgrading the filtering depending on how much of a bio-load you plan on having. For example mollies are great community fish and very personable and friendly (ours lets us pet them for example) but they are also voracious eaters and create a lot of waste. They also get quite big (the 2 adults we own have doubled in length and probably quadrupled in mass/weight) so I'd say one is plenty for a 10g tank! Keep max fish growth size in mind unless you plan to upgrade to a larger tank in the future. Spot test your tap water so you know what you are dealing with; for example my tap water is soft and acidic so I treat it by adding Wonder shells to my tank to get the missing minerals and adding buffer to raise the pH to a level I'm targeting (and more importantly adding buffering capacity to keep the pH stable). Good luck and keep us posted!

You said the molly was hanging around the top which is usually a sign of stress and/or not being able to get enough oxygen. I've seen this before - in fact just recently with a blue Mickey Mouse platy we just got. We put her in an isolation tank with a medicated Wonder shell for about 1.5 weeks and gave her a couple of salt/MB baths and now she is doing very well in our main tank. Mollies are pretty hardy fish but if this one is already stressed it may not be the best one for cycling with fish.

I also have livebearers and tetras in the same tank with tetras generally preferring somewhat more acidic, softer water and livebearers preferring more basic, harder water. So I kind of split the difference on the pH (tap is very soft and acidic, about 6.4) and use Malawi buffer to keep it in the 7.0 to 7.4 range. Your GH/KH seems like it might be enough for tetras but I think you want higher numbers for the livebearers... an excellent and cheap way to do this is to keep Wonder shells in your tank. I always have 2 medium sized ones in my 26g, one that is almost wasted and one that is almost new. As babygeige says, once you decide on a target pH (if different from your tap), keep it consistent (so if it's different from your tap use the right amount of buffer with each water change).

Although this is subjective, the general health of my fish over the long term has improved since I started using the UV sterilizer. I am using the 5W terminator in my 26g (the UV Bulb should be replaced every six months for optimum effectiveness). I would recommend getting the kit form with the pump and tubes so there's nothing else to buy to get going with it. I was able to get mine hooked up and running in much less than an hour.

A lot of the science can be confusing, but I think the most important thing is to keep your tank consistent. Chasing after a specific pH, GH or KH number with chemicals will usually cause more harm than good. Wonder shells are handy for helping with minerals and such. Consistent cleaning and water changes will help you keep things in order.

All the other fish appear fantastic, including the two other Monos.. I use the Seachem Malawi /Victoria Buffer in conjunction with the Salt...I also used a product called AragaMight by CaribSea I was told it was a similar product to Wonder Shells, which I cant find locally. I just re-read the whole thread and noticed you mentioned the salt ratio of 1 " Tablespoon" per 5 gal. ratio is basically 1 "Teaspoon" for 10 gal which would mean I am at a lot less them your recommendations...3 teaspoons =1 Tablespoon...and my ratio is based upon 10 gal instead of 5... I am guessing my salt levels are way to low... ::) I have spent many hours on this forum reading the many informative and very helpful tips and articles posted by you , I have learned SO MUCH, since I found this place , I really cant thank you and everyone else enough for all your help and guidance....and A Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family


I counted my fish (Guppies) and again I got the feeling that a fish was missing. I kept trying to get the number of fish (again they swim super fast so trying to get their numbers is extremely difficult) and came to the conclusion that there was only 9 plus one of my blue tailed females was nowhere to be found. I searched around and then finally found her, mildly wet and flopping on the floor under my dresser. I immediately put her back in but shockingly, her only symptoms of stress was that her breathing was slightly heavy, her tail fin was dulled in color, and her dorsal fin partially down. I put in a regular wonder shell for a day to help with stress just in case. She is doing better now and is schooling with the others and eating well.

I have had scoliosis develop in young bettas and guppy fry before. Much of the time, even if the scoliosis was bad, they still ate well and acted healthy. I actually have a male betta that is almost two years old that developed scoliosis about a month ago. I have increased his food intake (he was losing weight as well) and added wonder shells and he is doing better now.

My best advice would be to feed her good quality food, keep the best water parameters possible, and if she is lacking any nutrients, add a wonder shell to the tank. Also, is she showing any other symptoms? In my experience, scoliosis is a sign of a deformed fish but not sickly one. If it is scoliosis and you take good care of her, she may last a while to come. Best of luck with her!

For recommended related reading information:
*Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle- this is by far the most accurate/researched article dealing with the aquarium & pond nitrogen cycle!

Other Suggested Resources:

*Aquarium Chemistry
*Aquarium Redox
*A Healthy Aquarium; Disease Prevention
*Freshwater Care, Basics to Advanced
*Aquarium Tap Water Use

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