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stillnzcookie

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About stillnzcookie

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  1. What you've done looks really great, but I totally agree with Caryl about hiding the all equipment. The only other suggestion I'd make would be to consider some sort of background, as it's a bit distracting to see right through to the wall behind, and you really want the focus to be just on the tank. What fish are you planning to put in?
  2. Hi, I haven't been on here for a few years (I used to be nzcookie, but had to set up a new profile with my current email address). I haven't bought any fish for about 8 years, so my tank is getting a bit empty now (currently only has one dwarf neon rainbow fish, one ember tetra, one oto and four panda cories), but I'm now in a situation to start restocking the tank, plus I've just got the opportunity to go to Dunedin at the weekend So I was hoping someone could recommend a good place (or places) to visit in Dunedin to buy more fish please? So far I've been able to find Animates, Animal Attraction, Nichol's Pet Warehouse, Pet Doctors/Pet Post, and Pet Planet - which of these are the best places to buy healthy fish, or are there any other places you recommend? Thanks!
  3. Thanks, Adrienne. Yes, our tank has been running for seven years, so we have quite a lot of fish that are about 5-6 years old, and I have thought a couple of other random deaths were probably due to old age. It's hard to find information about how long fish usually live for. Our only other Harlequin that is still alive is about 6 1/2 - it was one of the first fish we got! I'll try feeding a shelled pea and see if it helps at all.
  4. Hi, one of our Harlequin Rasboras has started swimming weirdly, and I don't know what's wrong with it or what I should do. It started by swimming in an odd way - sort of wiggling its whole body - and got very hyperactive. Now it swims on its side..or upside down...or head up...or tail up...any way but the right way up. It is still very active and doing its wiggly swimming action, and I can't see anything visibly wrong with it - no marks or lumps or anything like that. It is about five years old. All the other fish seem fine, and all our water parameters are normal, except for pH, which has gone from 6.6 up to 7, over the last couple of months. Any ideas as to what might be wrong, and what I should do? Thanks
  5. As others have said, you're pretty limited with such a small tank. I think you could keep Ember Tetras in there - ours are not highly active, and they are small fish. If you planted it well, you could probably keep somewhere between 6 and 10 of them, and they are a beautiful colour against the green of a planted tank.
  6. Have you grown plants in your ecostyle tank? If so, how well do they grow? The LEDs seem very bright white so I wondered if they are the right colour to grow plants successfully. Like you, I removed the filter pads that came with it, filled the bottom of the filter with ceramic noodles, then put filter sponge on top. I'm going to get a bit more sponge, but it seems good for now as is. There's a number of features of the Ecostyle that impress me - it seems a really good wee setup overall.
  7. In my experience, fluctuating pH is FAR more harmful to fish than pH which is slightly above or below what's recommended. When I first set up my tank, I knew to test ammonia nitrite and nitrate, and couldn't understand why my fish were all getting sick and dying when the test results were all perfect. Once I figured out the pH was all over the place, I was able to stabilise it, and my fish started to thrive. So stable pH is really important, but I think it's also important to keep fish at a pH that suits them. If the fish you want prefer a pH<6.5, then I'd say 7.2-7.4 is a bit high for them to thrive. As others have said, driftwood is good to lower pH, and mature tanks often seem to have a lower pH than brand new ones too. So you may find that your pH is fine for the rasbora in about 6 months anyway. The one piece of advice I wish I had been given when I set up my first tank is to do it far more slowly than most people recommend. I know how impatient I was to get my tank 'finished' so even waiting a month between adding the first fish and the next ones was a stretch, but I now wish I had taken things more slowly - I lost several fish in the first 6 months, because I wasn't experienced enough to know how to solve problems, and my tank wasn't mature enough to be stable. Driftwood will lower pH but it takes quite a long time. Some people recommend dead oak leaves to soften the water. I haven't tried this but, if it works, it is much more environmentally sustainable than using peat. I would strongly recommend NOT using products to alter pH - we tried several without success, and I think they contributed to several fish deaths.
  8. Personally I'm a fan of real plants, both aesthetically and because they form part of the tank's ecosystem. A planted tank helps keep water parameters stable (in my experience), and gives the fish plenty of places to hide. As it makes the fish feel more secure, they are happier and show more natural behaviour. With a tank that has enough plants, it's also possible that, when the fish lay eggs, some of the eggs and fry will survive, rather than them all being eaten by the other fish. Plants also play an important role in the nitrogen cycle, which makes your tank easier to maintain and also makes it possible to keep more fish (although you obviously still should not overcrowd your tank) The biggest downside to plants is that, when you get an imbalance of light and nutrients, it creates the perfect environment for algae to thrive. Although a tank overrun with algae can look pretty ugly, it's usually harmless for fish, so the good news is that, as long as you can cope with a less-than-pristine tank for a while, you can deal with it by finding the root cause and making changes accordingly. So it can be a gradual process, rather then needing an instant fix. Despite what the pet shops will tell you, you do not need algae-rid products and, in fact, these can turn out to be harmful for your tank, so my recommendation would be to avoid them. For a low-light tank, my number one plant is java fern - I think it looks really nice and, in my experience, it is virtually indestructible! The other plants I have had the most success with are ambulia and anubias. Ambulia grows fast, and you can just chop it in half and replant the trimmings, so you can fill a tank pretty quickly. Anubias grows slowly but, like java fern, it seems very hardy - I even put mine in a vinegar bath once when it was covered in algae (which I don't recommend, btw), and most of it survived!
  9. New tank up and running, and all inhabitants looking happy and healthy, and busy exploring their new home :happy2: pH a bit high (7.2, usually 6.6-6.8 ), but doesn't seem to be bothering the fish - they're all active and have good colour. I'll keep an eye on it. So far I'm pretty impressed with new tank (Ecostyle61) I'll post some pics when I get a chance. Surprise of the day was finding an incy wincy (<5mm) baby panda cory when we were removing all the gravel :love:
  10. On Saturday I'm hoping to finally set up the Ecostyle tank I was given last Christmas, but I have a couple of questions before I do so. 1) I'll be transferring plants, wood and gravel from our old tank - which has a not insignificant amount of BBA. I can boil the gravel and wood and I'll cut off any visible BBA from the plants, but I realise I won't get it all. In the new tank, I'll be dosing with Flourish Excel - am I right in thinking that this will help prevent too much BBA? I'm pretty certain it has taken hold in the old tank in spots where there isn't enough water movement, so I'm hoping the new filter creates fewer dead spots. 2) Is there any point putting the new filter media in the old tank now, or is a day not going to be long enough to get bacteria started? I'll be using the old filter media as well, so I'm not anticipating an ammonia spike, so it's probably not that important? 3) I'm imagining it could be quite a long process to empty one tank, boil gravel and wood, trim plants, shift old and new tanks, aquascape and refill the tank. Will the fish be ok in buckets and, if so, for how long? 4) Is it necessary to check a brand new tank for leaks before setting it up? Thanks in advance for any help you can give. I'm looking forward to setting up a new tank, but the thing I'm most excited about is finally finding out how many panda cories we have - I saw another baby just today!
  11. I think your choice of fish and stocking numbers should be ok, although I definitely agree with SanityChelle that bigger schools are always better, and result in happier fish and more natural behaviour. However, if I were you, I'd keep the platys for now, and get the cories next. Why? Because the cories will be hardier than the neons, and the tank will be quite interesting to watch with just 3 cories and a couple of platys. Let the tank get properly established, and get all the initial "teething troubles" sorted out, then get the rest of the fish later. After a couple of months, you may well find that you rethink what fish you want - I know I did! I initially wanted a colourful tank, but I didn't give much thought to the different personalities of different fish - aside from choosing peaceful species, I pretty much thought they would all be the same. So I was really surprised that our panda cories quickly became my favourites - they're like little puppies, the way they chase all over the tank and then huddle up together to rest! In a small tank, they swim all over the whole tank - they won't just stay on the bottom. And then they started to breed...So our tank now is very different from what we initially planned! I guess what I'm trying to say is that I think you're best to create your tank slowly and, while it's a good idea to have it planned, don't be surprised if you plans change as your tank evolves.
  12. Plenty of people do keep very small schools, and they can often live quite happily, however you'll see more natural behaviour in a bigger group. We had 6 panda cories, and I was really surprised when they started breeding how much more interesting they were to watch in a bigger group - the difference in behaviour between 6 cories and 15-20 is quite striking, in my experience.
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