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Everything posted by SnBMeg

  1. Yep, remove the pots and remove as much of the rockwool as you can from around the roots (the wadding stuff, which is used as a cheap, effective root medium by aquatic plant producers). Both the pots and rockwool are unnecessay in substrate, and the pots can restrict future root growth, while the rockwool will eventually rot under the water. Although I have seen goldfish tanks with sand used as substrate, is it generally recommended not to because the fish will sift through it, looking for food, and the fine particles can damage their gills.
  2. Sorry for taking so long to reply! Both work and home life suddenly got extremely busy (tight deadlines and visiting relatives), and I've been mia from almost all of the forums I'm on for the past several weeks. So now I'm playing catch-up. Okay, a few suggestions: Depending on how bad the brown algae is, it may be best to just clean the plants. For the broad-leafed plants, take a tank sponge and thoroughly wipe them clean. I use this method on my low-light gf tank, in which brown algae is a given, and although it's something that I have to do every week, it keeps the plants healthy and growing. If the algae is "embedded" into the leaves, clip off the effected leaves and throw them away. If necessary (if the algae is really bad), remove the plants and give them a bleach solution bath. Don't use any fertilizers until the algae is back under control, unless you want to try an Excel overdose. And check your water params to be sure that waste levels are all zero. Reduce the photoperiod; only leave the lights on for a few hours each day, and cover the tank to prevent excess light from getting in. You could also give the tank a 3-4 day blackout, where it gets no light whatsoever. Since brown algae is low-light, these methods won't be as effective as with green or red algaes. If things get really bad, pull the plants out and prune and treat them with bleach as needed, and give the tank an extended blackout of a week or more. I've never personally used phosphate or silicate removers, so I don't know how well they work, but you might give them a try. And lastly, something to remember: it is not possible to have a planted tank without some amount of algae. For those with luscious tanks chock full of plants, it's a constant battle to keep algae to a minimum. The key is to figure out what exactly is causing your outbreak, and to control that factor to limit algae growth as much as you can. Again, I'm sorry for disappearing, and I hope that things are going okay.
  3. Absolutely no. In addition to the reasons that Peaches gave above (all very important--especially the nipping), mollies are also brackish--they need marine salt in their water. They can be kept in (very, very clean) freshwater, but they'll be highly susceptible to a number of diseases, including finrot and fungus.
  4. I've started opening the shade on the window that's adjacent to the tank before I leave for work each morning, so the tank gets a nice wash of dawn/early morning light before the lights come on--definitely a nice transition. I'm working on adjusting how low the shade needs to be in the evening so that it still hits the goldie tank, but not the molly tank next to it. I'm removing all the live plants from the to-be-greenwater tank. Ime, even if gw doesn't harm the plants from blocking out all their light, if the plants are taken out of the water after a few months they'll be well "infected" with spot algae, and most or all of the leaves will have to be clipped. Plastic plants would be great though.
  5. Definitely the more you can get in, the better. I fill my filters almost completely with them, just leaving space for a little bit of crushed coral and/or carbon. (I've got Fluval 405s, primarily, and I leave one of the 4 trays--or only half a tray--for the coral and carbon, and the rest is those ceramic tubes.) Pack it in!
  6. Most popular in the US, I'd say Comet or Common. I see more Comets in stores in my area--though mostly feeders, but from time to time I see Comets being sold in the pet goldfish tanks--I only very rarely see Commons being sold as pets and not feeders. (It could just be a matter of where I happen to live, that there are few Commons.) My personal favorite is the Ryukin. I prefer very compact, rounded body types and arched backs--no flat backs. (Though if I had the space, I'd definitely get at least one Shubunkin, because I also like the really long, sleek body shapes with long fins.)
  7. Horray! I'm very glad that I was able to help you out with your questions! (I, too, remember when I didn't know about the stolon--I think I had javas back then--and ended up wasting money on killing my new plants. ;p) Anytime I'm planning on doing some planting, I make sure to clear my schedule for most of that day and get started in the morning. It does take a surprisingly long time to put together, not to mention plenty of aches and pains (just try planting a tall acrylic aquarium sometime ), and I can't imagine how much it would take to setup one of those large Dutch-style planted tanks. I hope to see pics whenever you get ahold of a camera! De nada.
  8. Definitely a good idea, Trinket! I always imagine what it would be like if I wanted a nap in the bright sun, but didn't have eyelids. Right now I've got a wide strip of plastic mesh over half of the top of the tank, which provides some shade without blocking out all the light from getting into the water (since I am trying to get it green.) I'll most likely remove it once I get the greenwater really established and semi-opaque.
  9. If you can put the plants somewhere where they'll get a fair amount of sunlight, they should be fine. Right now I've got a bunch of Amazon Swords and Java Ferns laying in a large, round Tupperware (held flat with forks >_>) in my dining room. That area of the house gets quite a bit of indirect light, and the plants have been doing well for over a week now. If you have a lamp of some sort with a 60-watt full-spectrum bulb, you could position that over your plant tank. In this case, the light should be just a few inches over the surface of the water. When you do get to planting: 1. Yep, remove all the rockwool from around the plants' roots. Otherwise, when it eventually starts rotting in the water, it'll raise waste levels in your tank. Try digging a thumbnail into the top of the wool, and pulling a section out/downward; the wool will come off in chunks and strips. If you try to just pull the plant one way and the wool another in one go, the plant's roots will be broken and damaged. Take your time and be patient with it. 2. Using a sharp pair of scissors, snip off the last 1/4 inch or so off each of the roots; this will promote new root growth. If the plants have barely any roots to speak of, just snip a millimeter or two, or none at all. Also remove any unhealthy leaves (those with holes or spots, or that are dying.) 3. Give the plants a last rinse under the tap or a hose to remove any bits of dead leaves, bits of cut-off roots, stubborn pieces of rockwool, and other detritus that might have snuck on. After this, you could also, if you want to, give them a brief soak in water that's had 3x the normal amount of de-chlor added, in order to remove trace amounts of chlorine from the tap water rinse. 4a. For the Anubias, secure it to a rock or piece of driftwood. You can use any number of things, but the most popular are cotten thread (which will eventually disentegrate) or fishing line. The stolon (the thicker, roughly horizontal portion of the root system) must be above the substrate. If this is buried, it will rot and the plant will die. (Same as with Java Ferns.) 4b. For the Lotus and Crypts, just weigh them down--the plant weights work well, I can't think of anything better to suggest--and bury their roots. Wrap the weight snugly--but not tightly!--around the base of the plant; the upper portion of the roots would be a good place. It might be a good idea to leave the root crown (the very top of the roots, where they connect with the stems) exposed; I'm not entirely sure why this is, but I've heard it recommended from sources that I trust. 5a. If these plants already have good root systems, then you're in luck! Put the fish in a spare tank or bucket or whathaveyou for a little while, turn off the filter and any other tank hardware, drain the tank, and remove the upper layer of substrate: about an inch. Partially refill the tank, so that the level of the water is only a couple inches above the lowered top of the substrate. Have some of the removed substrate ready in a large cup or bowl. 5b. Take one plant (or more, if you want to plant them in a close group) and position it on top of the substrate. Make sure that its roots are spread out a bit. 5c. Take the small container of substrate (the cup or bowl), and pour it all around the base of the plant. If necessary, get more substrate and pour that on, until the plant is stable enough that it won't fall over. 5d. Repeat steps b and c until all of the Lotus and Crypts are in the tank. Have a spray bottle of water on hand, so that you can dampen the leaves if they begin to dry out; or you could use a cup of tank water, and carefully pour it over the leaves (try not to wash away the substrate at the base of the plants, or you'll have to do those over.) 5e. Pour the remainder of the removed substrate into the tank, filling in the lower areas and completely covering the roots. 5f. Take your Anubias, attached to rock or wood, and position it where you want it. Press the rock or wood into the substrate a bit so that it is stable. If you'd like, you can certainly bury the rock or wood completely (in which case, you should add it to the tank along with the rest of the plants, before putting in the last of the substrate)--just make sure that the stolon is still above the surface! 5g. If, at any time, you find that you've buried the plants a little too deeply (like if the substrate is covering the stems), simply grip them at the base and gently tug them upward until you're happy with their depth. If you accidentally pull too far, pull it out completely, scoop out some of the substrate where it was, and replant it. 6. Slowly refill the tank. Turn everything back on and add fish. Really, the only way to ensure that the fish won't pull the plants up is, unfortunately, to give the plants several weeks or months of unmolested time to develop full root systems. If the fish aren't heavy pickers, they may be fine, but if your fish love to tear things up, you may have to find a way to block their access to the plants for a while. Another option would be to plant the plants in a grow-out tank for a while. Provide them with all the comforts they could want--including substrate--and let them grow some good roots. Then plant them in the fish tank later. I think all of the plants you've chosen are fairly hardy, so you shouldn't need the CO2. With it, they would grow faster, but it is not necessary for their survival, by any means. If in the future you decide that you do want CO2, you might look into ways that it can be incorporated into the filtration system, so that you could have the benefits without the clutter. If the plants do seem to sicken, chances are there's something else going on. That's a fair amount of info, so if I missed anything or wasn't clear enough, please let me know! Being a visual person, myself, I know that images can help a lot, so if you'd like to see photos or drawings, I can provide those at your request. Otherwise, good luck!
  10. How large is your tank? Do you have any live plants? If you've got more than 1 or 2 watts per gallon, and few or no live plants, you're likely to get tons of algae. As long as you provide shaded areas for your goldies, and there are at least a few hours at night when the lights are off, they should be fine. (Pretty much everything that Trinket already said. ) I've got a 90-watt compact fluorescent over my 38G goldfish tank, and it looks like the sun! I have it set on a timer to turn on at 10 am (when the real sun is already well up, so it's not a shock) and go off at 8 pm. I'm working on getting greenwater in this tank, so the excessive light is good.
  11. As Sushi said, it's been posted before (with increasing frequency, actually), and it's a hoax. There was a small discussion the last time it was posted (earlier this week?), concerning whether or not it was done with magnets or using some other method (though my vote is still for the magnets. ) Regardless, though, as neat as it would be if it was real, in this case it's faked. But anyway, welcome back! Several of us have been having some forum issues recently...apparently it's a server problem.
  12. Yep, I'm afraid that's the wrong type of light for a freshwater tank; those lights are intended for saltwater tanks. What you want is a fluorescent or compact fluorescent bulb that's around 6500-6700 Kelvin. 10,000K lights are more suited to saltwater algaes (many freshwater plants can be grown under such lights, but they don't do very well, as you've seen.) 6500K lights are the closest you can get with artificial lighting to real sunlight at noon. Look for a light that says it's for freshwater: something like "daylight" or that specifically says it's for plants. I don't know what brands you have access to, so I can't suggest more than that. If you wanted, you could even just get a lamp with a standard full-spectrum bulb to put over the tank.
  13. Definitely seal it! Even if it doesn't leak now, chances are the weight of the water will eventually open the crack up enough that it will start to. The aquarium sealant is pretty much the same stuff that's used to put the tank together in the first place, so it's reliable--I've heard of people using it when they build their own tanks. This is the stuff that I use. (Although mostly I just use it to seal off the tops of backgrounds so that water doesn't get into them and leave a mess. >_>) You apply it over the crack on both sides of the tank wall, smoothing it flat with an old credit card or something like that, it takes 48 hours to set completely, and after that you should be able to fill up the tank just fine.
  14. If his tail looks like this, then he's most likely a Common. If his tail looks like this, then he's most likely a Comet. Take a look at this chart (taken from http://www.fbas.co.uk/ASK3.html): A is a Common B is a Comet C is a Fancy (not applicable in this case)
  15. You're certainly not the only one who's having problems. There's a topic about it in progress here. It seems to be happening to a number of people (including me, and I use IE.) Here's hoping it'll be fixed soon! I can't view the forum at all from home. :/
  16. True, there are many programs out there that could be used to produce such effects, but, being an animator, I can tell you that the amount of time and effort it would take in order to get such a realistic piece would not be at all worth it (unless it was a pet project that someone spent many, many months of their free time on, and even then, chances are it would show up frequently on animation forums and sites.) Much, much easier, cheaper, and faster to just use magnets to create the effect. Just my 2 cents. I think, in any case, we can agree that the video's not authentic. It would be excellent if it was, but it's not.
  17. Once stem plants have had a few months to get settled, they can develop quite a root system. A while back I decided to remove the stems from one of my tanks, and had quite a time of getting them out! If the ties are your best option, and you also have some hot glue or aquarium silicone lying around, you can put a dab on the ends to seal them off. Quick and easy solution. But otherwise the fishing line is certainly a good idea (much better than leaving the ties bare.) Or, for a temporary tie which you won't have to worry about removing later, you can use cotten thread (like the kind used for sewing); it will eventually disintegrate harmlessly, and is very popular for tying mosses, java fern, anubias, and other plants to rocks or wood.
  18. I have used grapevine in both freshwater and brackish tanks with no problems whatsoever. If the stuff you've got is the same is mine (which I also purchased from the reptile section) then it's the sand-blasted, completely dead stuff. There should be no chemicals on it that would harm your fish. I've had a piece of grapevine in my trop tank for many months now, and haven't seen any odd or sickly behavior or appearances from any of the fish. The same goes for the tank that used to house my balloon mollies, and they would pick at the wood to get algae off of it. The one thing to keep in mind about the grapevine, though, is that it has a real reputation for rotting. Personally, the piece I'm currently using has softened a bit (as all wood does), but does not appear to be falling apart at all. However, many people have had their wood disintegrate, and prefer to use manzanita (if I remember correctly) instead. Fyi, the water in my area is really hard, so that could have an effect on the endurance of the pieces I've used. Oh, one more really important thing about the grapevine is that when you first put in in the water, for a couple of weeks or so it will get fungus. This is particular to this type of wood, so there's no way of avoiding it (that I've heard of yet, anyway.) I've found it's best to soak the pieces for at least a month or two prior to putting the grapevine in the tank (which you'd need to do anyway to keep it from floating), and if you've got a filter on your soak bucket/tub/whathaveyou, then it'll keep the worst of the fungus out of the water (otherwise, unless you're changing the water in the soak every few days, the fungus will get pretty stinky.) Before you finally put the wood in the tank, give it a good, hard rinse with a garden hose to remove any last clinging bits. There's a thread in the Planted Tank Photos forum of my trop tank with its piece of grapevine. I'd link to it here, but I've been having forum problems recently and can't get to that forum; the name of the thread is something like "20 Gallon Hex Tropical Tank," or something to that effect. It's got all the info on the tank's setup, including more precice dates for how long I've had it set up with the grapevine. It looks pretty much the same today as it did in those first photos, except that now it's got a bushy covering of (surprisingly pretty) hair algae growing on it. However, all of that being said, generally the reptile section is not a good place to get wood (tempting as it is, since they've actually got a lot of really good pieces!), because most are treated with chemicals, typically to prevent water and animal waste from getting into the wood and making it rot. A long boil will usually clear off the most harmful of these, but for the most part it's not something I would risk. But, as I said earlier, the grapevine should be fine.
  19. My all-time favorite dumb-people-in-the-fish-section quote: A man and his young son walk into the pet store's fish section, looking to get some fish. There is an employee there cleaning tanks, so they get her attention and ask for help in finding the fish they're looking for. Man: Do you have any of those fish that eat poop? ......
  20. It sounds to me (and please do correct me if I'm wrong!) that the fins are curling over--like a piece of paper that's been rolled up and now doesn't lay flat. In this case, it's most likely permanent malformation or damage. So long as the fish is swimming and staying upright just fine, I don't think it's a problem. My blind albino's pectoral fins have curled under ends, because she uses those fins to guide her along the tank walls. Goldfish who have had swim bladder issues that caused them to rest upside down on the bottom of the tank will often have bent-over dorsals to show for it. Some curling in the caudal fins could just be a birth "defect"--it was probably features such as those that eventually led to the development of Tosakins. As Trinket said, though, if the dorsal fin is clamped against the fish's back, and isn't standing up at all--as if it is uncomfortable to raise it--it could be an indication of serious health issues. If the first spine of the fin looks like it has been broken, and healed at an angle, it could be malformation or past damage (in which case it's permanent, but shouldn't have an immense impact on the fish's daily life.)
  21. Yes, a node is where they leaves grow from. It sounds like your plants are plenty long enough, or will be very soon, so what I would recommend is to: 1. Trim them a few inches lower than the desired height; this way you'll have a little more time before you'll need to trim them again, and doing so also gives you more "new" plant to work with. 2. Take the cut off portion and strip the lower inch or so of leaves (planting the leaves beneath the substrate will make them rot, which adds unneccesary waste/toxins to the tank.) Roots will grow directly from the stripped nodes, which is why it's good to remove more than just the leaves on the very last node: more roots will make the plant more stable, as well as allowing it to soak up more nutrients. 3. Then just stick the bare portion into your substrate. Fast as anacharis grows, you should have a veritable forest in no time!
  22. Well darn, now I've got an itching for Maple bonsai. I wonder how one of those would do on top of a tank.
  23. I find that the plants that work best with nibbly goldfish are those with broad leaves (swords, java fern, anubias) or grass-like leaves (vallisneria, micro sword.) One important thing is to make sure that the plants are mature and healthy! I have one goldfish that mercilessly and repeatedly mowed down a tender baby Amazon Sword, but completely ignores larger, tougher leaves. A lot of it depends on the individual fish. Some will completely ignore any plants, while some will only go after certain types, and others will rip apart and devour or otherwise destroy any living thing that's put in the tank. For what you've described, I would go for something with wide, thick leaves (maybe Anubias?) And before you put it in with your goldfish, put it in a grow-out tank (could just be a 2-5 gallon with a good light over it, even a cheapo desk lamp with a full-spectrum 65-watt bulb) for a few weeks and let it grow and strengthen a bit and develop a decent root system. Or you could order mature plants online (I recommend AquariumPlants.com, because their plants are grown submersed and so won't die back when introduced to an aquarium.) The plants that I mentioned above have all worked with my Apple Snails, but there are different types of Apple Snails. The kind I have don't grow enormous and don't eat healthy plants. There is another type that grows to baseball size and will eat plants.
  24. I think it's excess phosphates, although I could be misremembering. A while back I was researching different types of algae, and found a fair amount of useful info on various causes for different algae types, so here's a little cut-paste of what I coped down: lots of light nitrate phosphate (<--check plant fertilizers) silicates iron have more phosphates than silicates to deter brown algae high pH + carbonate hardness promotes red/brush algae no carbon in filter red/brush algae more common in brackish/marine environments Flourish Excel is widely reputed to be able to eliminate any kind of algae, including bba. True Siamese Algae Eaters will also eat it.
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