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Thread: I have two questions

  1. #1
    Loves VFT's! Trapper7's Avatar
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    Smile I have two questions

    My first question is:

    There is a film of something ontop of the water. It has a rainbow color to it, like when you see oil you put in your car, in water, that rainbow color. What is this? Right now I only have one light bulb working and I can only see the rainbow film on the side that the bulb is working. Will whatever this is, harm my fish?

    Second question is about live plants:

    I would like to get some! Do I have to take any special precautions when dealing with live plants? Will it increase/decrease the level of anything in my tank? This may be a stupid question, but do I have to quarantine the plants before I put them in my tank? I don't want to bring home a sick plant and put it in my tank and have my fish die.

    Thank you!
    Great Googly Moogly!

    Beware of the yellow snow!

  2. #2
    scottychaos's Avatar
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    The rainbow oil film cound be anything..
    just having some hand lotion on your hands when you touch the tank water can transfer a bit to the water, where it will float and make a thin oil film.

    I would just do a water change, wash your hands first! and see if it eventually goes away..
    I wouldnt worry about it..

    As for live plants, be aware that they are a HUGE undertaking!
    live plants is a whole seperate aspect of the hobby..and live plants are MUCH harder to take care of than the fish!

    my favorite quote is:

    You need to think of it this way..you dont want to get a few plants for your fish tank..
    you want to get a few fish for your plant tank!

    a planted tank is really a complete mind-shift..
    you will create a plant tank with a few fish..
    not a fish tank with a few plants.

    For live plants to work, you need to STUFF the tank full of plants!
    because..
    live plants need a ton of light..
    algae also loves tons of light..
    if you have one or two spindly live plants, plus enough light to support them,
    algae will explode and take over..the one or two live plants wont be able to compete with the algae for nutrients, and algae will win the war..

    But if you have a ton of live plants, and enough light to support them, algae will put up a good fight, but the mass of plants will be able to out-compete the algae for nutrients, and eventually thrive while the algae stays small and under control...it will take a year or so for this to all balance out and "win the war" against algae..but it will eventually happen if you have enough plants and enough light.

    (it is impossible to wipe out algae 100%..it cant be done..the trick to have your live plants healthy and numerous enough to out-compete the algae so that the algae is always in a "semi starved" state and just barely hanging on..)

    So! live plants is a major undertaking!
    it can be done, and done well..
    but it cant be done on a small scale..
    its a major commitment!

    I wouldnt try it on anything smaller than a 29 gallon tank..

    Scot

  3. #3
    Loves VFT's! Trapper7's Avatar
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    Scot, thanks so much for the great advice I think I'll stay away from the live plants, lol. About the film, I've done a water change twice already and I definetly didn't have anything on my hands and it still comes back. Maybe there was something in the container I was using to fill it up with? I always wash the container well before I use it though. I just don't want it hurting my fish.
    Great Googly Moogly!

    Beware of the yellow snow!

  4. #4
    Tropical Fish Enthusiast jimscott's Avatar
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    For the film, I would try sopping it up with a paper towel, one without dyes. As to live plants, they often come in with snails and/or eggs. You may have to deal with that.

  5. #5
    Loves VFT's! Trapper7's Avatar
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    Thanks Jim, I'll try the paper towel trick I thought about snails coming with the plants, but now I don't have to worry because I won't be getting real plants, lol.
    Great Googly Moogly!

    Beware of the yellow snow!

  6. #6
    scottychaos's Avatar
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    Live plants can be rewarding!
    I wasnt trying to "talk you out of it"..
    just letting you know what is involved..

    My planted tank has been running for 11 years now..
    but it took 2 years before it became "low maintance"
    now I just do a water change every 2 weeks, and scrape ther algae off the glass
    2 or 3 times a year..
    but it took awhile to get to this point..

    as for the "container"..just to go home depot and buy a new 5-gallon bucket!
    (actually two)
    mark them "aquarium water only" with a sharpie and make sure they are never used for anything else..
    then you wont have to worry about any contamination from any "questionable" containers..

    When I do water changes, I use the two 5-gallon buckets.
    (plus an old towel, and the gravel siphon/vaccum thing)
    Fill one bucket half-way with tap water.
    Fill the other full.

    Let both buckets sit out for 24 hours..to dispell chlorine and to allow them to reach room-temp.
    Lay the towel on the ground under the tank.
    Use the "half full" bucket to "top off" the tank and fill it up to the top,
    to replace any water that had evaporated over the last few weeks.

    Then you have a full tank and one empty bucket.
    sit the now-empty bucket on the towel.
    Siphon out water from the tank, while also vaccuming the gravel..
    (I have a 28 gallon tank, so 5-gallons is about a 20% water change)
    Fill the bucket with 5-gallons of dirty old tank water, plus gunk from the gravel..
    Take the filter media, sponge/floss etc, and squeeze it out in the dirty water in the bucket.
    this removes all the "solid" gunk on the filter media, cleaning it up nicely, but doesnt harm
    or remove all of your bio-filter bacteria, which you need to keep.

    then this waste water is great for flower gardens! great fertilizer!
    I dump it out on my wife's flower beds..

    Then use the "full bucket" and dump in 5 gallons of new fresh water..
    use the towel to dry off water that has spilled on the outside of the tank and around the stand.
    water change done!
    takes about 10 minutes..

    I then store the two buckets in the basement, with the siphon in one,
    towel draped across the top of the buckets to dry out..

    I do this twice a month..


    (I know you didnt ask for a water change demo!
    but since I suggested getting two new buckets, to solve your possible contamination/oil slick issue,
    I just went ahead and explained what I do with two buckets!

    Scot

  7. #7
    Loves VFT's! Trapper7's Avatar
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    Very nice explanation Scot Thank you! I know you didn't want to talk me out of it, but I only have a 10 gallon tank, and I don't want it to get infested with algae. I did get a Dwarf Pleco last weekend, so I thought he could eat all the algae, but I'm not sure I'm ready for live plants anyway. I'm not good at keeping fish tanks and I don't want to mess it up, lol.
    Great Googly Moogly!

    Beware of the yellow snow!

  8. #8
    Got Drosera? Indiana Gardener's Avatar
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    Good replies already about the surface film.

    As to the plants on precise species, I would stick with easy ones. I don't use any ferts., but do use trace elements.

    Plants that have done well for me with low light (compact florescents 100 watt output) are:
    Anubias
    Crypt wendtii
    java fern
    val.
    and so far crinum, but only had it a few weeks, where as the others a yr or two.

    The anubias especially get algae on their leaves. A few Malaysian trumpet snails keep it in check for the most part.

    >I did get a Dwarf Pleco last weekend, so I thought he could eat all the algae>

    Pleco's can leave disc marks on plants if they run out of algae. I like Otto's, but everyone has their prefs.

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