Aquarium Tip and Tricks
So some people have asked me about breeding fish. Well, when I am breeding fish and in the zone with that, I will hook it up.
But right now I am in the world of raising baby rainbow fish fry so…
This has all kinda been a learning experience for me as I have two different species of rainbowfish that produced fry. It is exciting to watch them grow.
(Full disclosure, the only fish I have meant to breed are my goldfish out back, all others have been accidents)
Once you have fry it is important to get the parents out of the tank ASAP. Some will argue that they will be ok. Perhaps with Convicts or other cichlids, but with most fish I would advise getting them out. Why risk it? All it takes is one hungry fish to ruin your next generation. This will also include almost all other fish in the tank. Again, why risk it? (If your like me, this was an awesome accident, so roll with it)
So by the removal of the fish we have done a few things…
Aside from getting ride of potential baby eaters, we have also lowered the bio load on the tank. This is important as it gives us not only more room to grow, but also more room to screw up. Yes- people make mistakes.
With a larger volume of water to work with we are better off. (less fish = more space)
So if number one is get rid of bigger fish and make room….
Step two is to feed them. This is a critical part, but if you are reading this you are more than likely into aquarium plants, so you have a secret weapon. Yes plants.
People often forget how baby fish live in the wild, them more than likely grow up in algae beds or hidden in plants. Plants too provide not only food that lives on them but perhaps even the plants themselves.
If I had another school of fry swimming around tomorrow in a tank I would load that tank with Java moss and water sprite asap. I think the stringy nature of java moss and the roots of watersprite are all good for baby fish to either eat or eat the creatures off of. Keep in mind, just because you don’t see something on the plants, doesn’t mean they aren’t covered in stuff for your fry to eat.
Perhaps this is counter intuitive to what some might be thinking…
Part Two coming up…
The old story goes that when the world was about to get flooded Noah built an ark and filled it with a male and a female of each species to live on.
Well guess what people. Your fishtank isn’t Noah’s ark.
This has been in some books I’ve read and some other places but it is worth noting as well. Often times people get into the hobby and have great joy in buying their first fish. They don’t know what to get so they buy one or two of a few different species.
This might work for a beginner to see what they like. But I would argue that people will have a better looking tank when they pick one or two species as a whole and just use them.
If you remember the golden rule of fish keeping, “Copy Nature” or “Emulate Nature” this will hold true with how you see the fish in the wild.
Some of the best tanks I have ever kept have been 6 of one species of fish. I currently have a 90 gallon with nothing but 50 Neon Tetra’s and 12 Sterbai Cory cats. I don’t want to brag, but it looks damn good.
It’s more natural.
Keep this in mind when selecting your fish. And while you are at it. GO NUTS with one species. Get a bunch of them. It will look awesome and you’ll get more natural behavior out of your fish as well.
(special thanks to Dave Jolley for this post idea….ask the forum what to do in the 220 you’ve got 😉
A bunch of people have been asking me what kind of fish food buy. The answer is, the good stuff.
It took me a long time to figure out good fish food = good looking fish. I always used to buy whatever was on sale and just go with that. What I’ve found is that the better, more diverse mix of foods you can feed your fish, the better off you are gonna be.
Some others have asked me, “Do I over feed to activate the soil or recharge it?” This is a great question as Diana Walstad talks about this in her book. The answer is that personally I don’t intentionally over feed. The reason is that I have found that less is more. I would be interested to know if anyone has done any experiments with this sort of thing and can provide some results.
The concept makes sense but I’ve never tracked it….
Seriously. I have said this before and I will say it again. You have to do waterchanges. They are the best filter you can have. You could get away with just an airstone and big water changes.
Here’s some thoughts, If you are in a room full of people smoking and you just use an air filter, it may or may not get better. But if you take out half the air and replace it with fresh air, you are way better off.
Proof of the power of waterchanges can be seen in the old petshop that kept the most awesomely healthy fish I’ve ever seen. Each tank had a standing drainpipe right smack in the middle so all you needed to do what turn a ball valve under it, and you could drain half the tank. They only had airstones/sponge filters in the tank… WATER CHANGES…
So beyond that filters will make life a little easier.
I have used Whisper hang on back Filters for probably 17 years and I can say that they are quiet and probably THE most reliable filter out there. This is said based on the fact that I have never had a major seal leak or catastrophe like I have had with canister filters (both Eheim and Fluval) If you are filtering smaller tanks. (under a 55 gallon) I recommend Whisper filters for the best value and reliability.
It wasn’t until about three years ago that I got into canister filters. They aren’t cheap, but they certainly are badass. It was a game changer for me. In an act of good fish karma, Tony Roberts who used to own Just Fish in Lexington. gave me a Fluval 405. (I went to his shop trying to get help piecing together a broken Eheim) He told me he didn’t want my first experience with a canister filter to be a bad one. The Fluval has lived up to everything I have hoped for in a canister filter. Big media chamber, higher flow rates. Easy to shut off and work on.
If you tell me that you want it, I’ll do a filter by filter break down. I know there are a bunch of options out there…..
I waited a week and got the salinity going pretty low on the “pre mix”..
This video end quickly but not to worry, nothing got messed up;)
So this is a big step for my reef as now I can just mix big ass amounts of salt all at once and not have to mess around with mixing the salt. In my opinion, mixing the salt is that step everyone hates…well I do anyways.
Now if I can get a big order of Reef Crystals and keep jacking the Calcium my reef will bump…
One note on using Oceanic Sea salt or cheap salt:
You want to make sure that you are adding both Calcium and probably more importantly Magnesium as the salt doesn’t have good amounts of these. While I am hardly as good at reef keeping as I am plants. I do know there is something to be said about how calcium level are better maintained when the proper amounts of magnesium is present.
But the bottom line on Maintenance…
The Trick is simple. MAKE IT EASY or it won’t get done…
So I have a bunch of planted tanks yes, and every F-ing one of them has dirt in them as well.
The reason is that they are all designed specifically to…
A. Look good.
B. Be low maintenance.
Maintenance on a fishtank can be a real chore. Some love it, some don’t. I hear all the time about people who have a fishtank but, “gave up, it was too much work.” If it’s too much work, then you are doing it wrong.
The goal is to have it look sweet while not being that much work. I don’t have any exact number on how much time i spent actually working on keeping my planted tanks clean. Down the road I will keep my eyes on the time better. But for now I can tell you that it isn’t that much time.
You will notice a theme in my tanks. Most of them have not an overly large amount of light or fish. Fish create waste and light creates algae. So I run my tanks under stocked and probably no more then 1 watt per gallon. This is done on purpose.
When I run them lightly I can not have to worry about the health of the fish as much because they aren’t competing with each other. They also create less waste and cause me to do less work. The lower loads of fish might also contribute to my fish wanting to spawn more. Just like humans, its easier to get it on when no people are around…
I do run heavy plant loads on the tanks to help compensate on the filters. I believe that the plants are a vital part in the filtering process and more importantly. LOOKS OF THE TANK. Seriously. Your tank has to look good. The filtering as a bonus, plus its protection for your fish.
So the yes, you can run a hightech tank. You can run with CO2 and lights at full blast with 4 watts per gallon. I have. Here’s a picture of my 125 back in the day.
You can grow plants like wild, but if something screws up. You are going to be battling either algae or dead fish.
Don’t run the tank at full throttle and you can get away with more….
I am going to be releasing soon a monthy news letter for premium members of fishtanktv.com It’s going to be 19.95 a month for the first 10 people. These 1o people are going to be coached by me on how to set up a dirt tank. step by step. Each week a little bit more of full details will come out. Everything from dirt, to rocks, plants and yes…design. (hard to teach but we’ll try)
From there I am going to be selling a how to kit, so the first 10 are getting a book written around how they set up their tanks with me. (kinda a badass deal for the new people)
Post a reply below if you are interested…
off to play in my tank….
This is how I roll with the 220. Big water changes are just easier then lugging out the hose every time.
Notice how the Duckweed gives the tank an almost Blue tint to it….
and then there was light….
I was talking softly because my wife and baby were upstairs. I’m normally a loud mouth!
So I am convinced this stuff is of great benefit to the planted tank and helps fight algae as well…ask away.
You can’t beat waterchanges. Rainbows must have Dechlor. I have killed 8 rainbows at one time when i did a waterchange without decholrinator. Use Prime. Its great and highly concentrated.
Water changes are the single most important thing you can do for ANY fishtank. The fish love them and the plants love them. Sorry you all had to see me in my boxers. Hope I didn’t scare anyone with my bird legs..
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