You have very soft water, so lots of the fish people like (tetras, cories, dwarf cichlids, many barbs, etc) will like it. Rainbowfish and livebearers won't however.
With water that soft cycling your tank may be a bit tricky- the bacteria that ammonia and nitrite need the carbonate to metabolise it, and if they run out they shut down. Low levels of carbonate also mean your pH is susceptible to dropping below pH 5, which also causes the bacteria to shut down. Both will give you potentially fatal ammonia or nitrite spikes. Regular water changes should be enough when your tank is mature (although you can add small quantities of remineralising salts such as sold for Rift Lake Cichlids if you find you get problems).
When cycling the tank people normally don't do water changes at all until they reach the end point, at which time their nitrate levels will be very high. In your case you'll need to do water changes to keep feeding the bacteria the carbonate they need.
With regards to the testing kit buy the liquid ones, as they're much more accurate, and last much longer than the strips. Most of us use the API Freshwater Master Kit, but the Tetra and Nutrafin versions work just as well. They have tests for Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, and pH, and you'll need all of them. Given that you have soft water I'd also buy a GH (General Hardness) and KH (Carbonate Hardness) kit- API do a twin pack where you get both tests, which works out cheaper than buying them individually.
Most tetras don't do well in hard water. There's a couple of exceptions, but the "liquid rock" common in the UK is still a bit much for them. Livebearers, some barb species, and the smaller rainbowfishes would be a better choice.
aquamover wrote: Thank's Mellybob..How does it actually work if at all regards brian
By all means try it, but what you have to bear in mind is that there is no g'tee it will work, so it becomes a waste of money.
No one actually knows why it works, this is because it works for some people and not others. (No really, its true)If it worked for everyone every time they could investigate it, but all agree its something to do with the rotting down.
But I have to ask, why is it that it has only recently been "discovered" considering ponds have been around for thousands of years and so has straw, I can only guess its like putting a magnet on your water pipe.
I think its supposed to have algicidal properties- hence the use of barley straw extracts which are supposed to do the same thing. Of course in an aquarium algae is much easier to control as you can fiddle with the nitrate/co2/lighting to get the balance right and promote plants at the expense of algae. Not something that's easy to do in a pond. Trying to have less than 12 hours of daylight in summer will be awkward to say the least.Quote:
mellybob wrote: i believe it breaks down the algae then it clumps it together some how and you can remove it with a net though i may be getting that confused with something else
I believe you are as you said "getting that confused with something else"
Those that claim it works have never said about removing algae, they just don't get it in the first place. (Which is where the controversy starts)
Oh, and rumour is its going to be banned later this year anyway.
There's supposed to be something else that clumps the single celled algae that cause green water together, but I can't for the life of me remember what its called. It isn't barley straw though.
Personally I find that the best treatment for blanketweed in ponds is elbow grease.
Not really. The native European Weather Loach Misgurnus fossilis is not native to the UK and banned as a potentially invasive species. There are very few non-native fish that you're allowed to keep that would survive the winter. Channel catfish (Ictalurus puctatus) can be bought, but get to about a metre long. I don't think your pond will be big enough. They'll eat anything they can fit in their mouths and have big spines, so I'd think *very* carefully before buying them. Fortunately very few places will sell them. I'm a US native fish nut and I wouldn't keep them.
I've seen Gudgeon for sale (Gobio gobio), and they may be suitable, although they're small (15cm long). Some places are also selling Sticklebacks, although I've never seen them myself. I'd se i you can track down some of them, and have a nice wildlife pond. After my parent's pond got cleaned out by a heron I saw a much wider variety of insects, an I'm sure we had more frogs and newts.
If I got endler's livebearers, how many could I have in my tank? Based on my previous post's calculations, my tank could cope with up to 12 - is that ok? And if so, would I go up to that number gradually or is it ok to introduce them to my tank all at the same time?
I would cycle your tank, get 6-8, and then look at your water parameters and how rapidly your nitrates build up. After a while you could add another 4-6 to bring you up to 12.
For the killi/dwarf - I do like the idea of a self-perpetuating colony. If I was to go down this road, how many should I introduce initially, how many male/female etc?
As many as you can get. As with most livebearers a ratio of 1M:2F is best. I'd start with 6-8.
What would be the maximum number my tank could safely support before I would have to consider rehoming some and how quickly would I get to that limit?
20-30+ I'd say. A big female is 1" long, and the males are about half that, so the bioload per fish is minimal. It'll take a while to get to that levels individual fish aren't terribly long-lived, and they don't produce many babies in one go.Quote:
And what do I do with the fish I can no longer home?
Depending on where you got them the shop you bought them from may be willing to take the excess back. Unlike guppies and platys Least Killies aren't commonly seen, so there's a potential market for them. Local aquarists' clubs would be worth talking to as well.
Also, how readily available are the endler's and dwarfs in LFS? I plan to have a nosey around in my own local shop at the weekend (where I got the tank and the bad advice) to see if they stock them. Do P@H stock them? This would be my last resort after reading the horror stories.
I've not seen them at P@H (but I've only ever been in one once- I live in North London, so I may have a better choice of LFS without having to travel much). The only place I've seen them with any regularity is Wholesale Tropicals in Bethnal Green. Wildwoods up in Enfield and the Aquatic Design Centre off Oxford Street have them occasionally too.
Finally, both species like heavily planted tanks. Does this mean real plants or would artificial ones be ok? I'm interested in live plants, but not sure how successful I'd be at keeping them (and I think I'd have to change my substrate - I went for larger-sized pebbles with my purchase which I don't think is suitable?)
Go for the bunched plants like the typical pondweeds and you'll be fine. Ceratophyllum is very good, and doesn't have roots, so you just need to push it into the gravel to stop it floating about. The fine leaves will provide somewhere for the fry to hide from their parents (least killies aren't particularly cannibalistic, but every little helps. Floating plants like duckweed, Amazon Frogbit, etc are also good for similar reasons. For the Least Killies I use playsand, as its a bit more "biotope correct", and tiny brown and cream fish are much easier to see against it, and look better with the smaller grain size.
I take it I'd need to plant them all before the fish arrive to make them feel most comfortable and give the plants a little time to establish.
I would. It also gives you something to do while you're cycling the tank.
The dwarfs will do better in a tank which warms and cools with the ambient temperature. Their upper limit is the same as for Platys and Endlers, but they won't like it permanently. That will get too cold for Endlers or Platys.
While both Endlers and Platys are very prolific at producing babies, Least Killies don't produce nearly so many offspring at a time- the female will drop one every couple of days or so for a few weeks before taking a break. Endlers will drop lots of fry at the same time, and then start again, so its very easy to get overstocked with them. That won't happen to anything like the same degree with the Least Killies- the best way to keep them is in a self-perpetuating colony.
To be honest your main limitation is the size of your tank. Looking at just the temperate species, there's a good range- in a hillstream set-up Gobies, Zebra Danios, WCMMs, would all be very happy. Odessa Barbs come from water witha pH of 11 in the wild. Although rarer US natives like Darters, Shiners, and American Flag Fish are becoming more common, and there are several shops in London that regularly stock them, and will be very happy in our liquid rock. The problem is, that other than WCMMs I wouldn't recommend any of them for the Korall, as its just too small.
My Korall has a colony of Least Killifish (aka Dwarf Livebearers), and they're lovely fish. Wholesale Tropicals in Bethnal Green usually have them in stock.