My first ever aquarium. Juwel Rio 180l

RolyMo

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First Post..
Bit of background. As a 40th birthday present I have been given an aquarium. Ok more like I chose it with a limit in mind. Was shooting for a biOrb until I compared what I could get if I select a more traditional shaped aquarium

First Night
Managed to un-pack and build the cabinet and put the 180l tank onto it. Every looks glossy and nice. Had to carefully read how to set up the filter etc.

Then added Tropica Plant Growth Substrate x 2 bags to give approx 1cm layer on the bottom.
Added light colour tropical tank grade sand x 2 sacks to give a further 1-2cm layer onto of the substrate.
Carefully ran a hosepipe from the outside into the house to fill up the tank to the relevant level with tap water.
Added 90ml of Tetra Water Care to dechlorinate the water.

Stood back and admired the first step in my new hobby.
tank1stnight.jpg
 

jamesb

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12 Jun 2012
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Well done it looks good mate. Did you add a background or is that your wall?


Juwel rio 180
2 angels
2 Siamese flying foxes
3 yo yo loaches
4 Julii corys
10 guppys
 

RolyMo

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2nd Day

Having left the filter on all night in the hope it might work some magic the next day I took a trip to my specialist Aquatics shop and purchased:-
1. A few rocks
2. Tropica Plants:-
2a 2 x Anubias barteri var. nana
2b 2 x Limnophila sessiliflora
2c 2 x Microsorum pteropus attached a pre-soaked piece of bogwood
2d 1 x Vallisneria sp. Gigantea
2e 1 x Hemianthus callitrichoides
3. Some reflectors for the kit T5 lights
4. The kids insisted on some glow in the dark plastic shells.

That afternoon I had my first attempt at planting the stuff in the tank, using no tweezers.

It is by no means a designer tank like most of the excellent tanks I have seen it the forum. But for my first attempt it looks interesting. I plan to put more plants in when funds allow.

I would like to see what happens to the Hemianthus callitrichoides if that carpets nicely.

Used cotton wool to wipe the air bubbles from inside the tank that formed whilst putting in the water first time.

img3063s.jpg
 

RolyMo

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jamesb said:
Well done it looks good mate. Did you add a background or is that your wall?


Juwel rio 180
2 angels
2 Siamese flying foxes
3 yo yo loaches
4 Julii corys
10 guppys


Hi Jamesb
Thanks for the comment
No it is just the wall, which is white, which probably adds to the light reflection. I wanted to try without a background. Not that I know what one with a background is really like. But by pure chance it seems to have added something. :)
 

RolyMo

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3 day

In a panic about what to do with Co2 I quickly nipped out and bought a relatively cheap CO2 kit and a Co2 testing thing. Did this as I knew it would take me a while to pluck the courage to build a FE based one. Somehow I feel I am missing something though. Hmm control of the Co2 is not perfect that would be it and no solenoid that might be what I am missing.

Trying to get 1 bubble a second, but proving a little tricky to keep the consistency.

Oh well at least I feel happier that the plants are getting their necessary dose, fingers crossed.
R :)
 

RolyMo

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Day 4

Continuing to play with the CO2 controls and managed to keep it going for a few hours without it reducing to nothing.

Plants seem to be bubbling nicely now. Is that good?

Did a water change approx 35-50%. Used a bucket to get the water out carefully and then the hose to fill it back up with tap water.

Added 35ml of the Tetra Aquasafe for the newly added water.

Wondering when I should add some shrimps. Tropica says immediately. Are they more robust than fish?
 

jamesb

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You may be right about the light wall marginally increasing light. I have never thought of it. Just be careful of cables and pipes running behind it in future. What co2 kit did you buy? When I looked for kits for suitable for the 180 they were real expensive and the co2 canisters were quite pricey too.


Juwel rio 180
2 angels
2 Siamese flying foxes
3 yo yo loaches
4 Julii corys
10 guppys
 

awtong

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Newmarket
Did you fill the tank and add the aquasafe directly to it? If so you need to add enough of a dose for the whole tank volume not just the water you added back due to dilution.

I thought I would check as yu said you were new to the hobby. If you added enough to treat the whle tank please ignore me!!

Good luck on your adventure.

Andy
 

RolyMo

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awtong said:
Did you fill the tank and add the aquasafe directly to it? If so you need to add enough of a dose for the whole tank volume not just the water you added back due to dilution.

I thought I would check as yu said you were new to the hobby. If you added enough to treat the whle tank please ignore me!!

Good luck on your adventure.

Andy

EEEeeek Andy
Thanks for the tip. I shall quickly add the remainder when no one is looking. Yes I am completely new to this so all advice tips are very very welcome.
 

RolyMo

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jamesb said:
You may be right about the light wall marginally increasing light. I have never thought of it. Just be careful of cables and pipes running behind it in future. What co2 kit did you buy? When I looked for kits for suitable for the 180 they were real expensive and the co2 canisters were quite pricey too.


Juwel rio 180
2 angels
2 Siamese flying foxes
3 yo yo loaches
4 Julii corys
10 guppys

James B - It was £55. I will dig out the box and check and come back to you on that one. I agree I was expecting close the £160 mark for a CO2 system. If I have the wrong size then I shall view it as a stop gap until I can afford a larger more cost effective rig.
 

awtong

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RolyMo said:
awtong said:
Did you fill the tank and add the aquasafe directly to it? If so you need to add enough of a dose for the whole tank volume not just the water you added back due to dilution.

I thought I would check as yu said you were new to the hobby. If you added enough to treat the whle tank please ignore me!!

Good luck on your adventure.

Andy

EEEeeek Andy
Thanks for the tip. I shall quickly add the remainder when no one is looking. Yes I am completely new to this so all advice tips are very very welcome.

If you add directly to the new water in buckets or containers then you can dose the exact amount for each volume so you would have been correct. If you dose and fill direct to the tank then you need to dose the full tank volume. This way you use more conditioner but you are covered for the removal of heavy metal ions, chlorine and chloramine. It's a common mistake for new hobbyists.

Due to your good description I could work out what you had done.

Andy
 

RolyMo

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Day 7

At the advice of my local aquatic centre I turned up with my 2 girls, wife, a sample of water from my tank which was dutifully tested. They had 2 tests with various chemicals in which in my nervousness I did not ask. Was promptly asked if I had live plants, which I confirmed. Both test were yellow. Hmmmm.

I was explained that I would have to use the Tetra SafeStart and choose from a number of Platties to allow the tank cycle to kick in better.

We all promptly chose 1 fish each and digested the instructions from the helpful assistant and dashed back home.

Did an immediate 25% water change.
Added the appropriate full amount of AquaSafe
Trimmed what looked like dead val leaves.
Added the appropriate amount of SafeStart in whilst left the back with the fish rolled back and bobbing around in the tank adding water to the bag every 5-10mins.
After about 30-45mins I transfer the fish from the bag into a net and then into the tank. Which promptly explored.

They appear to love the filter outlet pipe. Its like their very own static surf wave to play with.

Have fed them with a couple of granules of fish food each, and let them get on with it. Despite the assistant saying they are not shoaling fish. These 4 seem to like hanging out together.

So questions at this stage.
1. Having spent a bit of money on the plants, are the Platties going to start to go for the plants? I have already seen them what looks to be touching the plants in the pic below.
2. Although I have a drop test thing in the tank, I feel I owe it the fish, plants and my investment to know what is going on with the water. So what tests do I need to get?

See the new family below.

 

jamesb

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Right. Thanks to your Lfs you will need to do a fish in cycle which means as much water testing as possible. I recommend the api master kit and you will need this ASAP now. this includes a high and low range pH test, ammonia test, nitrite test, nitrate test. As soon as ammonia readings spike you will have to do water changes on a daily basis to minimise the amount of ammonia your fish are exposed to. At some point after this you will get a nitrite spike. Continue your water changes untill ammonia and nitrite readings are both 0. Make sure to treat all fresh water before adding to aquarium.
 

RolyMo

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Jamesb
Thought as much. I will hunt down the API kit and order immediately.

So from now on the water I add to the tank needs to be from a bucket and treated with the Aquasafe? Not hosepipe into the tank to fill up and add Aquasafe directly to the tank?

I still owe you the name of the CO2 kit.
R
 

jamesb

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You can add it directly but you will have to use more water greater than if you just dose the buckets. If you want to we hose treat for full 180l before adding water
 

ceg4048

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jamesb said:
Right. Thanks to your Lfs you will need to do a fish in cycle which means as much water testing as possible.
Honestly, in my opinion, this is the worst advice a new hobbyist can possibly be given. After spending all that money why on Earth would you want to spend more money on useless test kits? Test kits can't really tell you anything about your water. What you need to do instead is to change the water in the tank as often as possible, to learn as much as you can about CO2 so that you do not gas your fish, and also to learn as much about keeping your plants healthy as possible. I agree though that it was foolish of the LFS to advise a novice to put fish in the tank so early. I would strongly suggest to remove the fish and to take them back to the LFS if at all possible. Wait about 6-8 weeks before even contemplating adding any fish to the tank.

jamesb said:
I recommend the api master kit and you will need this ASAP now. this includes a high and low range pH test, ammonia test, nitrite test, nitrate test.
Which is the worst of the worst of the worst by all accounts. It is not a good idea to get hooked on test kits. Better to get hooked on best practices.

jamesb said:
As soon as ammonia readings spike you will have to do water changes on a daily basis to minimise the amount of ammonia your fish are exposed to.
There is no need to wait. Start doing water changes immediately. Having healthy plants in the tank will help to reduce the ammonia levels.At some point after this you will get a nitrite spike.

Cheers,
 

jamesb

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I'm sorry I feel that test kits have their uses at least whilst cycling and getting I know the behaviour of your fish. Yes they are inaccurate but aslong as they can show you that either ammonia or nitrite is present they have a use for the novice untill you find your feet. Of course good practice is the best thing to combat cycling but I know when I cycled my first tank having a test kit helped.
 

ceg4048

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Hi,
Well I totally understand why you feel the way that you do. Believe me, it's not my intent to bash you. I know exactly how you feel. I used to feel that way myself, until I realized the truth. In fact people find more problems than they solve using the kits. Problems that they can avoid simply by following some basic procedures.

As I continually try to point out, there are two major problems with hobby grade test kits. The first problem is a strong optical illusion and the second problem is that of misinterpretation of basic chemical principles. Because human beings are susceptible to illusions we fall prey to the test kit results, and because the wordd "chemistry" is a four letter word for most folks we assiduously avoid the discipline of studying and trying to understand the fundamental principles to enable us to properly interpret test kit readings.

In general, these kits are only able to register the existance of the chemical they are supposed to measure. They are not capable of returning accurate numbers, and they are not able to consistently register the value. That means they will return different values for the same concentration level, so you can never tell what the real number is. The worst kits of all are any kits that are supposed to measure any Nitrogen compound. That means NH3, NO2 and NO3 test kits are the least accurate and most inconsistent kits of all. PO4 test kits are about as bad. So there is the illusion. The numbers that you read are always in question. They can be hundreds or even thousands of percentage points in error. This means they are completely useless.

Secondly, inexperienced hobbyists really have no idea, for example what it means to have a PO4 of "XX" ppm. They usually get advice from the same lame LFS that told them it's OK to put fish in the tank the same day as it's set up. So the advice about what to do when a reading is high, is usually to buy some other product that is just as worthless as the test kits they were just sold.

Lets look at the alternative approach, which not only guarantees success, but also does not require the need to spend more money:

When you start a tank the reason the ammonia levels rise is because of the lack of bactria in the sediment and in the filter media. It takes 6-8 weeks for the population and diversity of life forms in the sediment to mature. It doesn't matter whether you use acceleration products or if you use nothing at all. No product can accellerate the maturity of the tank. Until such time as the population levels and the demographics of the sediment/filter microbes reach a certain level, the tank will always be susceptible to problems because there are not enough germs to do the job.

Just about every living thing excretes ammonia as a waste product. Ammonia is a byproduct of biological breakdown, so it's a certainty that NH3 will be dumped into the tank over time. We don't need a test kit to tell us that. In order to keep the concentration low, all we have to do is to perform regular and frequent massive water changes. This can be done daily or even 3X per week. The more water that is removed, the more NH3 is removed. So it's very easy to control the toxicity level in the tank. The factthat the OP already has fish in the tank makes it even more important to do frequent water changes and not wait for some test kit readings. The microbes in the sediment and in the filter bed will continue to grow and to multiply. After about 6 or 8 weeks the populations will stabilize and the tank can be considered to be mature. Fish can be added and the NH3 that they produce will be removed. This is automatic and is a guarantee.

If the tank has plants then this is even better. As long as the plants are healthy the plants will absorb the ammonia because this is a highly nutritious food source. So healthy plants remove the toxicity from the tank. You never need anything else. You never need to put ammonia or anything else in the tank. The higher your plant mass the more ammonia is removed. So we should be telling the OP to spend his money on more plants, NOT more useless test kits. Even plants that he may not intend to use in his aquascape can be used. Egeria, Elode and other fast growing stem plants such as Hygrophyla and Ludwigia should be planted. Lots of them, because they will control the NH3.

Not only do plants control the NH3 but they also provide an even more important service, and that is they release Oxygen into the water column as well as into the sediment. People don't realize how important this function is. They seem to think that the bacteria only need NH3 but that is untrue. Bacteria require Oxygen, PO4, Iron, other trace elements as well as carbohydrates. Dosing the tank with nutrients provides the NPK and trace elements condusive to bacterial growth. The plants will also release sugars and other carbohydrates for the bacteria to feed on.

So if we focus on having as many plants as possible right from the start, and if we keep the discipline to change the water and to keep the tank clean, we will find that both plants and animals will be healthy and there will never be a need to use a test kit. If we wait the prescribed period before adding fauna to the tank we will assure ourselves that the tank will be in a much better position to accept and assimilate the new inhabitants.

Test kits do not help you to do this, they only provide an illusion that they do. These are the key points to a successful startup, and this is the discipline that will help to keep the fish alive.

Cheers,
 

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