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A little try to explain myself...
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Joined: 26 Jul 2006
Location: San Antonio, TX

PostPosted: 2008.02.26(Tue)15:40    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is an interesting topic, I'll try to explain why I keep my fish the way I keep them.

-) Filtration: My african cichlid tank is very overfiltered (XP3 canister and emperor 400 on a 55 gallon). I overfilter this tank because I have overstocked to disperse aggression and to thrive the cichlids need very clean water. My other tanks have filtration rated at least double for the tank size.

-) Cleanliness: All of my tanks have clear water. I do have some algae growing on the rocks of my cichlid tank but it does not bother me. The filtration keeps the tanks crystal clear, I guess I'm not sure what you mean when you say your water is not clear.

-) Gravel vacuuming: I don't vacuum the gravel in my planted tank...the poop acts as fertilizer for my plants. In my non-planted tanks (fake plants)I do stir up the substrate (sand/crushed coral) to release any gas pockets that may have formed and vacuum up any poop I see.

-) Air stones: When I first started in the hobby I thought I needed an airstone. As I learned more I did away with the airstones.

-) Water parameters: People are "obsessed" with ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate over here since these chemicals lead to many problems new fishkeepers have. You have to start educating people somewhere in proper fishkeeping and these three are the easiest to address and control. People can see the negative effects of these chemicals when their fish die. A stable tank pH, GH, and KH is more important in my opinion than a "perfect" pH. pH swings can happen rapidly, with deadly consequences. In an ideal world we could educate all new fishkeepers on all proper water parameters but for now if we can prevent fish death from New Tank Syndrome or Old Tank Syndrome it's a start. Ideally as people get more experienced they learn more about these other parameters and will be able to care for a more sensitive species of fish. I also do not test my tanks all the time since they have become established. I will test if I have a problem or if I make changes. I do test my cichlid tank for pH and hardness since I do add salts to harden the water and increase pH.

-) Driftwood boiling: I boiled my driftwood just incase something nasty was living on it. I wanted to kill any bacteria that may have been on it before adding it to my tank. I also baked my rocks before adding them to the fish tank.

-) Tank size: The average tank size for new hobbyists here in the US is likely a 10 gallon (just opinion on what I've seen sold, I don't have statistics). There are many 10 gallon starter kits and it's a convenient size to get for a kid, not too much of an investment.

-) Stocking: Stocking has many variables. I think one of the largest variables is the amount of filtration you have and how vigilent you are about maintainence. My tanks are overfiltered and I do weekly large water changes. I have also changed my stocking plans over time so have shifted what I keep.

-) Snails and algae: In my planted tank I have MTS. I love them because I only see them if I surprize them in the early morning but they keep the tank quite clean. I don't have snails in my other tanks but I just manually remove algae if I have a problem.

-) Plants: Live plants require care just like fish do. Special lighting is needed as is special substrate. The lighting that somes with a tank is not enough, at least not on any of the tanks I have. For my planted tank I went with power compact lights. I also have fluorite for substrate, much pricier than regular aquarium gravel. I've actually been neglicting my plants, some are getting holes in them and browning out. I need to get the nutrients back in balance for my plants sake.

Fake plants are easy to deal with and don't require anything special. I have them in my 20 gallon and in my cichlid tank. They are also much cheaper than live plants.

Those are just my views on fishkeeping. I've done research before setting up any of my tanks and I'd like to think my tanks are pretty successful. My fish are happy and healthy and I really haven't had many issues. Ideally, I'd make all of my tanks planted but realistically it's not going to happen.
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Joined: 20 Nov 2007

PostPosted: 2008.02.26(Tue)15:40    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like planted tank, but not everyone wants to deal with having one.
It's not an opinion, it's a fact.
Just like I like wearing briefs, but not everyone is comfortable in them.

And because high light plants are too expensive... it's better to go without at all?

Yeah if you don't want plants or if your fish would uproot/destroy them... It comes down to personal choice. I don't understand what there is to argue about this point... Not everyone wants to be you and have your type of tank Razz
A Quarter Fathom Journal
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Joined: 14 Jan 2008
Location: Oulu, Finland

PostPosted: 2008.02.26(Tue)15:48    Post subject: Reply with quote

ambell1616 wrote:
The lighting that somes with a tank is not enough, at least not on any of the tanks I have.

Ah, that might be the major point here! Because any kind of light that comes with an aquarium here will be sufficient for (let's say) the 20 most common plant species.
And so are all the substrates!

Mabye we are getting there now. Wink

An slimy: Once again it's not about what I want, but what MY FISH want. Smile And most tetras (for example) definitely want plants.

Sorry for short answer now, I have to go to bed now. Midnight calling. Sad
I believe this heart of mine when it tells my eyes that this is beauty.
I believe this heart of mine when it tells my mind that this is reason.
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Joined: 13 Feb 2006
Location: Denmark

PostPosted: 2008.02.26(Tue)16:01    Post subject: Reply with quote

EDIT; This reply of mine was written after broadbean replied (I was watching Oscar nominees on the TV, so didn't have time to finish it then, my apologies)

broadbean wrote:
It would be like going according to what the guy at the lfs says.

Take it easy there, I am the guy from the LFS Wink
I know many shops have very badly educated sales assistants but what can we do.
The law should have strict rules about folk working in a Zoo Shop.
I personally educate my working colleges in the LFS I work at, and I can proudly say that none of my customers, in the last year, have algae problems.
Still, over stocking is a big problem with customers I deal with, and many have Fancy Goldfish in a 20 liters tall tank Shocked

One thing is sure Theresa, we can't start a revolution about such things you mentioned above.
Also, you are mentioning Europe and US members of this board, like the others don't matter.

This is NOT a US forum! It is an International English speaking forum!
We have members from all over the world, not just Europe and United States. So I have to ask you kindly to stop prioritising those two countries since members from other countries/continents might feel slightly pushed a side.

Corys in Australia, Amerika, Asia, Afrika, etc need the same/similar conditions to thrive.
Corys have the need to swim to the surface (in a split second) same as Otos do, to gulp air, which they pass through their intestines. That is the way they get more O2. It is not uncommon, to see Corys releasing excess air through their anus (blup Laughing )

But it's sometimes frustrating to keep hearing it "can't be".

That is the whole purpose of public forums. Folk have the rights to deny your theory, and you have the right to prove your self with facts, images, theories, tests, etc.

I have a feeling (might be wrong) that you are irritated with members not immediately going for your advice. No one is denying you fish-keeping experience.
But I always say to customers, what is working well for me might not necessarily work well for you.

You claim that plants need only water and lights (plus substrate mulm that comes later with fish waste) to grow properly without algae issues and deficiency problems.
And I claim that plants need all Macro and Micro nutrition's to be able to grow healthy.
I am in Europe you are in Europe, what now Wink

I have tested once with an aquarium (low light) that doesn't get any extra nutrients.
Simply water and light and fish waste.
60% planted with different plants like H. polysperma, H. Rosanervig, Water Sprite, A. reineckii, Bacopa australis, Anubias sp. (many fast growers)

I was performing weekly 25% water changes. Plants have been growing great for 3 month. The bio mass increased. Suddenly all plants started showing deficiency symptoms (holes in leaves, curling leaves, deformed leaves, etc)... the system was exhausted.

Malmo water is very low in PO4 and NO3, but GH is fine (for Mg and Ca)
My tank was understocked, 180 liters.
After I started dosing NPK and other traces (no CO2) things started to look much better.

When you wrote about plants;
After all the only things you need is water and light

I agree about the light, but water is H2O, right.
Are you stating that plants need only Hydrogen and Oxygen + lights to be able to grow healthy.

This kind of statement can provoke members to reply to you in the manner they already did (f.ex. number6).

Without testing your tap waters' nutrient levels, you aren't in the position to state such things like "plants don't need extra nutrients like NPK".
You maybe don't dose commercially available nutrients, but you sure do dose something with your weekly water changes.
Also, folk over in US buy tanks with medium or HI lights.
Plants nutrient uptake changes in these conditions, in comparison with one 15 watt T-8 that's been used in most 54 liters European tanks.

You maintain Low light tanks and plants nutrien uptake is much slower.
I also run such set-up (11 gallons) and it works very well, no algae, 50% wc every two month, lots of Red Cherry Shrimps (100), 14 Boraras maculatus, one Betta male, lots of Trumpet snails, and one Neritina Zebra snail.
Low CO2 levels, low light, very slow nutrient uptake, good water circulation (8x the tank volume per hour), lots of macro nutrients coming from food and fish/shrimp/snail waste.
Even though I am not dosing nutrients regularly I can't state that plants need only water and light to grow healthy Smile
But, I do dose every two month a bit of KH2PO4 if I notice a bit of Green Spot algae.

Even in Germany, not all tap waters are the same. Some have more nutrients other less. It is the same in Sweden. Malmo has 7 dGH and Lomma just 15 minutes by car has 3 dGH. Lomma water has instead of NO3 in tap water NO2 0,001 ppm.

Also I don't think I have ever seen plastic plants in a pet shop in Europe.

This statement is making me think you are a spoiled kid, sorry, but this makes me laugh Laughing
I work in a Zoo Shop and I stock my shop with plastic plants as do other shops.
Have you checked ALL shops in Slovenia, Austria, Germany, Belgium, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Sweden, Denmark, Finland....uh too many country to name.??
No comment here.

In Europe we stress much more on

Please do not talk in my stead or any other European, please.
You can't possibly know what I stress about.
Most of my European customers had serious algae problems in low light tanks. I have sold them good plant fertilisers (Tropica AquaCare+N&P and Easy Carbo) and now they return happy, saying they never had such beautiful and healthy planted tanks before. Let me remind you; They are Europeans, so please be careful when making such statements, thanks.

There is also one thing I don't like on either side of the Atlantic: The fact that Corydoras are sold as pairs, as trios, whatever... In my opinion they have a much bigger need for companions than tetras do and nobody at the lfs seem to pay attention to that. Further, I have never understood why in this case lfs don't want to make some extra money and don't sell 10 at a time.

As stated above I work in an European LFS and I also sell one, two or three Corys to customers. WHY?
The one that pays decides, and that is the customer. Corys cost more than other fish at least here in Sweden.
And there fore I have a package prise for 3 Corys (better 3 than 1).
I did try with one Cory (C. trilineatus) package prise for 6, but no one was interested and I have changed it back to 3 after a few month.

I also do inform the customer about this fish and that they thrive much better when in larger numbers, but most of the customers are ignorant.
Fish are toys, something we/they buy to make our private life more interesting, RIGHT?

And also it would be nice if maybe we could learn specific things from each other.

That is the whole purpose of this forum Smile and always was.

And please remember there is no such things as European planted tanks, American planted tanks, etc but instead low light, medium light, HI light planted tanks.
Also no EU Corys, US Corys, Asia Corys, etc there is an optimal environment for Corys. If you need more specific Catfish info, I can suggest for a good read.

You have good pints, but some folk like number6 or my self (and others) appreciate more specific details (about the thread where you advised a member with algae problems to add MORE fast growing plants into an already nutrient exhausted system).

Kind regards, Dusko.
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Joined: 11 May 2007
Location: St. Louis, MO, USA

PostPosted: 2008.02.26(Tue)18:48    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I haven't read this thread in detail, but I can say this.

Discussing the different fish-keeping (not having) practices or philosophies is much like discussing religion or politics. We may all think our way of doing or seeing things is the absolute truth, but who are we to make that decision for another person?

Food for thought.
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Joined: 23 Apr 2006
Location: USA

PostPosted: 2008.02.26(Tue)22:26    Post subject: Reply with quote

@MCHRKiller: Actually your big tanks fall into the category of "requires being plantless". I know that it is almost impossible to keep any plant than very hardy Vallisneria alive in brackish water. And I also know how impossible it is with the large catfish you have. I am not referring to special tanks like that. Also it is clear that they require higher filtration, as they also house bigger poopers. (sorry )
I just don't understand how anybody would want a tank with - say - Cories and Tetras and doesn't put a single plant in there. huh?
And I am not saying anyone should alter water parameters! If you have soft tap water, get catfish, tetras, barbs and labyrinth fish. If you have hard tap water, get live bearers, rainbow fish, east african cichlids and gobies. That's quite easy I guess....
Also IF you change water parameters you shouldn't do it with chemicals anyway. Use reverse osmosis or peat as you said.
And don't worry, I don't understand how YOUR filtration works either.

I guess most people around here like crazy fake ornaments and neon plastic plants...thats pretty much what I see anyway. I would probably keep those fish in a tank with a lot of peat filtration and sand substrate with a lot of driftwood and rock. a lot of the areas these fish come with have very sparse plant life so I would think the absence of a few plants wouldnt bother them. I do have a planted houses only a mass of java moss tho. lol, whatever works I always say Smile Yours works obviously well for you and mine works well for me. Its good to hear diffrent opinions and so on in the hobby tho...and it suprising how things even so diffrent still work.
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Joined: 20 Nov 2007

PostPosted: 2008.02.26(Tue)23:09    Post subject: Reply with quote

And most tetras (for example) definitely want plants.

Another sweeping statement based on what?
Have you seen biotopes for tetras?
Here's an example:

To quote from that page:
Aquatic Plants

I observed very few aquatic plants in the rainforest stream -- especially in shaded areas where very little light penetrate the dense canopy. In a unshaded pool section an Amazon sword plant (Echinodorus sp.) was present along with a grassy Vallisneria-like plant. There were plants growing with roots submerged but leaves emersed in some sections of the stream.

Scroll down a bit for pictures at the bottom of the page.
A Quarter Fathom Journal
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Joined: 14 Jan 2008
Location: Oulu, Finland

PostPosted: 2008.02.27(Wed)6:19    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes I have seen tetra biotopes and I want to apologize I was talking about the whole family, that mistake shouldn't happen to me.
I have seen tetra biotopes on tape (South America is too far and too expensive unfortunately) and they were very green. I could even find the youtube videos again.

But that is not the point... My only point in this post was to explain my practice. I hope that was made clear now.

If you need scientific proof for EVERYTHING then take out my remark about fivebanded barbs in the gallery which I added in order to help fill up explanation of missing fish. I don't have scientific proof for my experience, I have only kept the same group of 14 individuals successfully over a few years now.
I believe this heart of mine when it tells my eyes that this is beauty.
I believe this heart of mine when it tells my mind that this is reason.
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Joined: 05 Jun 2007
Location: Berkshire, England

PostPosted: 2008.02.27(Wed)6:46    Post subject: Reply with quote

Theresa, I might be wrong, but some things you seem to take personally... When people ask for more details, it's nothing personal saying they don't believe you, but they want to try to understand for themselves exactly how something worked. As Dusko said, the water chemistry can change a lot depending on where you are, and so some things might work better for you than others.

I like seeing your input, but I do get a bit "scared" sometimes when it looks like you're reacting badly to criticism (I might be taking it the wrong way, so let me know if this is the case). I have to admit, that even when I'm nowhere near them, I get scared of angry or upset people Embarassed

I think we do understand a bit more where you're coming from, and were just trying to explain to you our practices and why we react a certain way. I also know everyone can make mistakes sometimes, so don't feel bad about any of it Smile

Also, just remember, when people question you, they're not attacking you or your practices, just trying to understand why it works for you Smile
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Jason L

Joined: 18 Feb 2007
Location: Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: 2008.02.29(Fri)7:53    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you feel as if your methods are superior to what the generally accepted methods are on this side of the pond, write a book. If your methods work for well for you, thats great. It not your methods that bother me, I understand how they work, even though I choose a different way; it's how you make blanket statements, backing them up with little more than "...thats how we do things in Europe." If you want people to believe you, you can't get confrontational and expect them to just believe.

I would also appreciate it if you stop "speaking" for all of Europe, as much as I would appreciate it if you stopped calling everyone over here Americans. I am Canadian, which is like grouping Swedes and Finns together. Ahh... National pride....

You bring a lot of positive things to this board. You help us analyze our methods by questioning everything we do constantly, and create some interesting topics. I am just having a hard time with the high horse you are always riding around on.

Not an attack, just some constructive conversation,


Last edited by Jason L on 2008.02.29(Fri)10:51; edited 1 time in total
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