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AndrewM

My COVID Project

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Just sharing my COVID project.

I decided to setup a new aquarium  - nudging 4 weeks cycling - only a few weeks to go!

  • 6x2x2 (~580 L of water in it)
  • Temp: 24
  • PH: 8.2
  • GH/KH: both at 12 degrees (~215 ppm) 
  • CO2: ~15 ppm (during the day)
  • Ammonia: 0 ppm
  • Nitrite: 2 ppm (poor fish)
  • Nitrate: 5 ppm

Being locked up in a house (working & living) tends to warp the mind a bit, hence the dashboard for tracking water quality. I did do two water changes, mainly to get rid of tannins from the driftwood. Unfortunely thoughtout the cycling period I have lost some feeder fish, but their deaths go to a greater cichlid cause.

My goal is to establish a Lake Malawi cichild tank - mainly Peacocks and Haps (maybe including a yellow lab Mbuna).

I can tell you are laughing at my planted material (Anubus, Vallisneria, Tawian Moss & Milfoil) - we will see how long they last. 

 

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Nice 'scape.  Shame the plants will get destroyed.  I've got 3 of those same tanks, been up for over 2 years now.  They have evolved over that time, let's say.  While I'm really happy with how they look now, especially with the communities of fish I have in each, I do miss the pristine prettiness of the new setup.

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Thanks, yes I have prepared myself for distruction, although I am targeting juvenile cichlides so it might last a few months.

I did have a tigre Oscar in a 4f for a very long time (when I was a teenager) and anything I put in the tank would be ripped up, so it ended up just been gravel, the Oscar and a lonely floating thermometer.

Edited by AndrewM

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For interest, other bits and pieces:

  • 1 x Fluval FX6 (v2) Canister Filter
  • 1 x Aqua One Nautilus 2700 Canister Filter (will replace with another FX6 in the future)
  • 1 x inLine aquarium heater

I estimate that I am turning the tank over at about 6 x /hr, if you average out the losses due to pipes and filtration materials - but I will get a flow meter and test it.

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I have Anubis’s in my tang tanks.  It goes well

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Nice tank set up..  see lockdown is not all bad.. you get an opportunity to do things you like. Looking forward your next update ...

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I think the anubias will be ok, the val might survive if you can keep them from digging it up, the milfoil and taiwan moss are probably short term prospects.

Are you dosing CO2?

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@MattG_Sydney - thank you and yes the lockdown has been an opportunity. Although sourcing fish is proving to be a little more difficult under lockdown, mainly as I do not have any good networks yet.

@Skippy - No I am not dosing with CO2, I did not think I had enough planted material to require it. Once cycliing has finished, if I have enough fish in the tank, do you think they will produce enough CO2?

 

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@AndrewM what part of Melb are you in Andrew ?

consider VCS and EDAS clubs if you want to network they will be itching to get back to meetings

I know we are in Sydney with NSWCS

 

 

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@Link2Hell - Thank you. I am in Camberwell (south east). I will have a look online for some info about the cluds and when the restrictions ease I will attend some meetings. I appeciate the steerage.

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2 hours ago, AndrewM said:

 

@Skippy - No I am not dosing with CO2, I did not think I had enough planted material to require it. Once cycliing has finished, if I have enough fish in the tank, do you think they will produce enough CO2?

Since you were measuring CO2 I thought wondered if you might have been adding it. 

I'm far from a planted tank expert but I don't think any of the plants you have are fast growing enough or demanding to need CO2.  I'm sure I've read in the past that its usually the lack of other nutrients like nitrates that are more limiting on plant growth in the average aquarium. 

Adding CO2 has the potential to mess with your pH and make keeping it stable tricky.

Edited by Skippy

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@Skippy - Actually the CO2 came up when I started to wonder why I could not stabalise KH, until someone mentioned that CO2 can be a contributing factor. It's very early days, but when CO2 drops, KH drops and when CO2 increases KH increases.

I might add the above is purely an observation based on a test kit, that I don't know whether to trust. So I will continue to observe it and see whether that is a correlation or it is simply a coincidence.

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Does anyone use a UV aquarium sterilizer? I am sitting on the fence about buying one, which is not a cost thing, it's more around how much value it adds.

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I used to have UV sterilizers built into the filters - Nautilus 2700 UVC.  However, I wouldn't buy one otherwise.  One filter has been replaced with FX4, and the UV light on a second has gone, I've not replaced it.

It does depend on the fish you keep - I believe with marine tanks they are more important (although I've never kept marine myself).  With the cichlids you're planning to keep, they are very hardy and I doubt the UV would be of much use.  I've heard people with discus are more favourably inclined to UV also.

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UV has a place but …………..

I feel it creates lack of resistance in anti bodies in fish

if you have algae or disease problems then they are benificial

good if you run a multi tank system on a sump

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I purchased a water flow meter (not an expensive one) from Bunnings and tested the flow of water into the tank at the outlets. Results were very surprising!

A few things to consider at this point:

  • This is a new installation, so the flow rate would drop over time
  • Never believe manufacturers brochureware - halve what they state at least
  • Manufacturers test their canister filters with no material/media inside them and at the canister outlet to determine flow rates
  • I have changed the internal filter setup from what the manufacturer recommends, so I will pay for some losses in flow output

A quick summary of canister filter specs (only the ones I care about), based on what I am running:

  • Fluval FX6 (v2)
    • Recommended for aquariums up to 1,500 litres (mine holds ~580L)
    • Claiming to have a flow rate of 3,600 L/h at the canister outlet
    • Filter circulation is claimed to be 2,130 L/h
    •  
  • Aqua One Nautilus 2,700
    • Recommended for aquariums between 400 - 700 litres
    • Claiming to have a flow rate of 2,700 L/h at the canister outlet
    • Filter circulation - not provided (my guess ~ 1,500 L/h)

So here are the numbers for flow rates at the tank outlets:

  • FX6:  1,110 L/h (31% of manufacturers claim at the canister outlet)
  • Nautilus:  768 L/h (28% of manufacturers claim at the canister outlet)

This gives me 1,878 L/h at the tank outlets, which with 580L of water in the tank, means I am turning the tank over ~3 x per hour.

So if you halve the filter circulation claimed by the manufacturer, it is quite close to what you would get at the tank outlets (not that this would be consistent across brands and models).

If I put a second FX6 onto the tank and remove the Nautilus, I can turn over the tank ~4 x per hour - this might be worth it as I am planning to setup some other smaller tanks so I can still use the Nautilus.

These results also make me question the following:

  • Am I packing way too much filtration material/media inside the canister and is it really required (I think so)
  • Have I purchased defective canister filters (unlikely)
  • What is the trade off betweek tuning over tanks per hour vs. extra filtration material/media inside the canister filter
  • When people say you should turn your tanks (Cichlids) over 4-6 x per hour, have they actually tested the flow rates of their own outlets

Basically after this test, I need to determine the balance between filter material/media (mechanical, biological, chemical) and how many tanks per hour are best. To me it demonstrates there is a significant misconception about how many tanks per hour is best, based on understanding the actual flow rates at the tank outlets.

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Interesting results.  Consistent with my own beliefs on the flow rates of the Nautilus 2700 UVC I've run for 2 years, although I didn't get all technical and measure it.  Thought about measuring, but never got around to it.

Rather than follow some rule, I think about what the point of the filter is.  That is, to remove the fish waste in the form of ammonia, and turn it into nitrite and (eventually) nitrate.  And to keep the water looking clear.  As long as these objectives are met, the filtration is adequate.

I've got 3 6-ft tanks - exactly like yours - which have been up for 2 years now, initially running just the 2700 on each tank.  One filter started leaking, so I replaced with an FX4.  Fish populations are African cichlids in one, American cichlids in the other and planted tropical in the third - originally Discus and tetras, but now more rainbows and tetras.  Water parameters on all tanks are ideal, i.e. zero for both ammonia and nitrite.  Nitrates are in the 20-30 range for the two cichlid tanks, and 10-20 for the planted tank.

So even though I agree the Nautilus 2700 does nowhere near 2700 liters per hour, in my view the filtration is adequate.  What, specifically, would adding another filter accomplish, in terms of water parameters?

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@MFF - hmm that is interesting to hear what you are running on your 6 ft tanks. Makes me think I am over thinking it.....🤔

At least when someone tells me to make sure I am turing the tank over between 4-6 times per hour, I can tell them they are using a measure that is completely inaccurate. If I actually had to achieve that, I would need 3 x FX6 filters on a 6ft - that's not going to happy!

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Indeed Andrew, I think that's the key point.  The "rule of thumb" of 4-6 times per hour already includes an allowance for the reduction in flow rates.

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@AndrewM very interesting observations and testing.  Thanks for posting this thought provoking post... I allways worry about my tank filtaration and my filters are full of alsorts of material.  Dont forget substrate such as coral sand, lava rocks etc also works as biological filter material.  

Regardless please keep posting your observations and learnings .. very interested to learn more. 👍👍👍

 

PS - You must have been a bloody good science student at school 😂

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16 hours ago, MFF said:

Interesting results.  Consistent with my own beliefs on the flow rates of the Nautilus 2700 UVC I've run for 2 years, although I didn't get all technical and measure it.  Thought about measuring, but never got around to it.

Rather than follow some rule, I think about what the point of the filter is.  That is, to remove the fish waste in the form of ammonia, and turn it into nitrite and (eventually) nitrate.  And to keep the water looking clear.  As long as these objectives are met, the filtration is adequate.

I've got 3 6-ft tanks - exactly like yours - which have been up for 2 years now, initially running just the 2700 on each tank.  One filter started leaking, so I replaced with an FX4.  Fish populations are African cichlids in one, American cichlids in the other and planted tropical in the third - originally Discus and tetras, but now more rainbows and tetras.  Water parameters on all tanks are ideal, i.e. zero for both ammonia and nitrite.  Nitrates are in the 20-30 range for the two cichlid tanks, and 10-20 for the planted tank.

So even though I agree the Nautilus 2700 does nowhere near 2700 liters per hour, in my view the filtration is adequate.  What, specifically, would adding another filter accomplish, in terms of water parameters?

@MFF Hey mate, how many fish in each cichlid tank ? Also how big are they ? Reason I am asking is I have 2 very well established Cichlid tanks and in the process of finishing off a 3rd. As mentioned earlier, I am probably over doing my filtaration so good to understand your set up.. Thank you.. 👍

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@MattG_Sydney - Thank you, I guess this is driven by trying to validate what I have been told and what I hear people saying. 

 

So today I am going to chat with my old man (he is 80), but spent a large chunk of his career running pump and irrigation businesses. So he knows a lot about pump flow rate, pressure and how to maximise pump output. Depending on what comes out of that conversation, I will make some tweaks and retest the output flow rates.

You never know, maybe I have actually setup something incorrectly, but either way this exercise has at least given me more insight into my setup and its limitations - which will be valuable when I select the stocking numbers.

PS: My wife thinks I am crazy...🧐

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@AndrewM lol.. every wife think the same.. almost all my spare time is spent with my tanks (due to work I have very little time as is).. 😁

let us know what your dads take on the flow rates.. there is nothing better than years of experience from someone who has done it before 👏

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