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nays last won the day on March 8 2019

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  1. nays

    Ammonia in peat

    Brooklands peat has the same properties as Yates Hauraki Gold peat, end pH is the same, ammonia content is the same. It looks identical and so I'm assuming it's the same product in a smaller bag. I double checked my treated tap water for ammonia after dechlorinating, none detected so it's definitely all coming from the peat.
  2. nays

    Ammonia in peat

    Little update - the female of the courting pair is now holding eggs (mouthbrooders). I'm taking that as a sign that they're not at all bothered by the ammonia, which is still well over 2ppm. I haven't done any more water changes, there's no point since the ammonia isn't getting processed. I've added the other three fish to the display tank, so only the breeding pair remain in the quarantine tank. Will buy some Brooklands aquarium peat this weekend and test that for ammonia.
  3. nays

    Ammonia in peat

    Thanks, yes, the test shows the total of ammonia + ammonium. Wellington's water is only treated with chlorine, not chloramine to my knowledge, so I'm fairly sure that the ammonia I'm seeing is from the peat itself rather than chloramines. But I'll test some dechlorinated tap water to confirm.
  4. nays

    Ammonia in peat

    Yes, I'm using Prime at the moment.
  5. nays

    Ammonia in peat

    Yes, both the Yates peat.
  6. I realise this is an old post but just thought I'd add that I've fishless cycled using ammonium sulphate from the garden centre; I just dissolve some in water and add it to the tank until I get to 2ppm, then top up with more solution as needed. If there's any unprocessed ammonia when fish are added, I do a 100% water change immediately before adding them. If ammonia is at 0 there's no need, but I don't let ammonia bottom out while the tank is unstocked for fear of starving the new bacterial colony. No surfactants to worry about, and the sulphate part does no harm - I've read that it could reduce pH, but haven't found that to be the case.
  7. nays

    Ammonia in peat

    I keep chocolate gouramis in a blackwater tank. For water changes I make tannin-stained water with a pH of around 5 using Yates Hauraki Gold peat in a coffee maker (the old school kind that drips hot water through the grounds). A lot of sources say that pH doesn't matter and that soft water is what counts, but I found that the chocolates I had didn't look good or stay healthy for long until I brought the pH way down with peat. My remaining pair is going strong, and a few days ago I got five more to keep them company. The newbies are in a quarantine tank and I have been changing out some of their water for peat water every day to acclimatise them to the conditions of the display tank. The quarantine filter wasn't cycled so I've been feeding light, every second day in addition to doing 50% daily water changes. I have tested pH daily to keep an eye on the drop, but yesterday I tested for ammonia and nitrite too and was startled to find that not only was ammonia already at 1 ppm before I did the water change, it actually increased after the water change. Now, the fish in quarantine have not showed any abnormal behaviour and I even saw courting today. The pH is currently at or below 6 (bottom limit of the API test, will use SERA next time as it covers low range) and at that low pH the ammonia is not toxic to the fish, so I'm not concerned for their immediate welfare. (I will be checking often for nitrite as I understand that it is more toxic in acid conditions.) But I was disturbed, because as the peat doesn't have any added fertilisers, it never occurred to me that it would contain ammonia. So, I made up another batch of peat water today and tested it - it look to be somewhere between 2 and 4 ppm, I couldn't really tell, but high. I tested my display tank, which had a water change the day before yesterday - barest trace of ammonia, no nitrite, nitrate about 5ppm. I've obviously been unknowingly dumping ammonia in there for ages and the filter just clears it over a few days. I'm puzzled. A quick internet search didn't yield much information, a couple of aquarists who have found that their peat contains ammonia, a couple of companies who sell peat praising it for being excellent at absorbing ammonia. Does all peat naturally contain ammonia? Does anyone know? I am on my second bag of peat, I have no idea whether the first bag I used added ammonia though I suppose it did. I do remember when I started using it being concerned about the beneficial bacteria dying off as the pH dropped, and I tested to check. I didn't see any ammonia at the time, but I'm sure I would have tested before a water change, not afterwards. What about peat granules sold for aquarium use, has anyone ever tested them? It seems very odd to me that peat is widely recommended as a natural way to soften water, with no mention of releasing ammonia. And what about water changes going forward? I really want to keep the pH down and the peat is the only way that has worked for me - using distilled water only got me down to high 6's and I was still losing fish. They are now healthy, vibrant and apparently happy in their peat water, so perhaps I should keep just doing what I'm doing and not worry about the ammonia? If anyone here has experience with blackwater tanks and/or using peat, I'd be grateful to hear your thoughts.
  8. nays

    Common hairy crab

    That's the most huggable crab I've ever seen...
  9. nays

    Hi from Auckland

    Hi Dave. Quite an assortment of fish you've had already! I've got cardinals, lemons, and chocolate gouramis too, plus a couple of bettas, kuhli loaches and corys, spread across four tanks.
  10. Sounds fun, will have to pick one up and try it out!
  11. Is that an Aquastyle 850 tank? Looks the same as mine. If so, you can either buy Aqua One or Hagen Power Glo tubes for the two longer tubes, but the shorter one is an odd size and only available from Aqua One. Anywhere that sells the tanks should supply the bulbs, as Shilo said Hollywood Fish Farm sells them online, there's also http://www.aquaone.petmart.co.nz/ which is where I got mine about a year and a half ago. Cheapest price I could find, their service was good and the bulbs were very well packaged in a sturdy cardboard tube. ETA: And the shipping was free!
  12. Snails will eat any slimy algae that is growing on stuff in the tank, but won't help with the green water. Daphnia eat the microalgae that makes the water green, but I'd imagine they would last long around the goldfish. If it's a glass tank, you could paint or cover up the sides to reduce the sunlight entering the tank (I assume the top is shaded by the grow bed). Note that aquatic snails can harbour parasites that can infect humans such as liver flukes and these can be picked up from eating raw watercress; the risk is very small but if you do add snails, don't take wild ones from streams accessible to livestock.
  13. Animates sells them in store and online, they're expensive though.
  14. Anubias nana stays short and is basically foolproof, and fairly slow growing so pruning is rarely needed - it is usually attached to driftwood or rocks. Dwarf sag is a grassy type plant that is fairly short and is supposed to be easy to grow, though I haven't grown it myself. Rotala rotundifolia is a stem plant that is very pretty and not very demanding, it will need regular cutting and replanting though. When the water enters your filter it should first pass through your coarse sponge, then your fine sponge, then your filter floss, then any carbon or other chemical media if used, then finally your ceramic noodles. Your noodles come last to keep them extra clean, to avoid clogging up the pores in the media where the bacteria do their job. It sounds like you have the noodles first in line? I don't know what ceramiscrub is, but the order you want is mechanical > chemical > biological. Those extra plants look really good where you put them at the back, they've filled the tank out nicely :-)
  15. Welcome Lanshark! You could try having the driftwood on a different angle so it's sitting lower on the substrate, at the moment it's very open under there and also it looks kind of unnatural. Other than that just more plants and/or wood. Your java fern will provide plenty of cover when it gets large. I managed to find a little piece of driftwood on the beach which makes a perfect fish cave. I like the yellow water (and I'm sure your rams do too).
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