Help with Tank/New fish/Sand

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Discuss all topics related to freshwater and planted tanks.

Posts: 12
Joined: Thu Sep 11, 2008 12:01 am

Help with Tank/New fish/Sand

by Caylyn2187184

I have about a 20 gallon tank with 2 frogs and a rope fish. My husband bought an eel today and 2 more frogs...I was told to take some of the rocks out because i was scared when the rope fish moved the rocks it might squish a frog. So we had this larger rock propped up and i think the eel is under it now and the rope fish doesnt have his hiding spot anymore. The rope fish is my baby and the eel is my husbands lol. Is it safe to put sand in the bottom? Will it mess up the filter? Will the eel and rope fish like sand? What kind of sand do i buy, etc..I love my rope fish and i want him happy and he's not :( So now im worried and sad for him lol. Please help...Plus is there anyway i can find out if he's eating? I never see him eat unless he catches a little shrimp under the rocks or at night when we are asleep. Thanks for al your help!! =)

also...How do u breed the neon african frogs? Do they do it on their own?

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Joined: Thu Jul 10, 2008 2:55 am

by jweb1369

I'm assuming you have an UGF? If so, it is a bit harder adding sand. You can buy play sand which is a lot cheaper than LPS bought sand. If he isn't eating he won't be as active and will start to dwindle away.

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Joined: Thu Sep 11, 2008 12:01 am

by Caylyn2187184

im worried cause i caught one of my frogs eating a shrimp today! :( I hope he is eating hes active though

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Joined: Sat May 26, 2007 5:10 am

by a1k8t31524

ok the thing with africian clawed frogs is they will eat anything that they can shove into their mouth...... and they will try and eat anything even if they cant fit it in their mouth.....which means eventully it will go after your rope fish and eel trust me i know this from experience. I had a clawed frog and rubber eel all in the same tank the frog was about 4in and the eel was 12ish and the frog tried to eat it, mind you he could fit about 3 inches of him in he was still trying to eat him

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Joined: Thu Sep 11, 2008 12:01 am

by Caylyn2187184

lmao! holy crap!! He's a fighter huh? i love the frogs and the rope fish they r to ocute :) my eel died :( i think he had something wrong with him...he was like peeling on the top and was white :(

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Joined: Tue Jun 24, 2008 2:30 am

by dizzcat

Hey Caylyn,
My first word of advice is, do NOT buy anymore fish for at LEAST a month! You said in another post your tank has only been set up for 2 weeks, that means it is still cycling. That is most likely why your fish are dieing off. Read this article and you will understand what is going on.

You should be doing at the very least a 20-30% water change once a week, maybe even twice a week while this is going on (and then 20-30% once a week there after). Because the tank is in the process of cycling (growing the good bacteria) the ammonia and nitrates are probably very high, especially if you have not done a water change since setting it up. Ammonia and Nitrate are like poison to fish and it is always present in new setups. Your shark and eel sound like they died of ammonia poisoning. The tank will not be establish for at least 6 weeks. The fish you have now are very sensitive and are not good for cycling a tank. I give you this advice from experience. I filled my tank and got fish a couple days later. All died but a couple within a week :-( It was because I did not wait and the only ones that lived were the most hearty fish who can handle high ammonia and nitrate levels (zebra danios and platty).

Sand is harder to take care of than gravel. It is prettier, but you can't just vacuum it up like you can gravel. It will suck right down the sink (again from experience LOL). It will also develop toxic places because the water cannot flow thru it and you have to stir it up once in awhile. If you are new to the cleaning part, try gravel first, its so much easier to keep clean. You can always change to sand later. I think all your critters will be more comfortable on a bed of gravel as oppose to the bare glass. It is more natural to them.
Make sure what ever you use, rinse it in plain water REALLY good before adding it or it will cloud your tank for days. When you add it, just remove the decorations from the tank (rocks, plants, etc) and slowly pour the gravel in. You can keep the fish in when you do this. I use a cup and don't pour it in until the cupful is at the bottom, then slowly pour it out. You only need to remove about 30% of the water.

Also, when you clean the tank, leave the fish in. Its more stressful for them to be netted and in a bucket than to swim away from the gravel vacuum. I wouldn't clean the decorations for awhile either, because they are growing your beneficial bacteria right now. If you take them out, put them in a bowl of tank water to keep the bacteria alive. Do not clean the filter either.

Frogs? Well, I have read that they will breed on their own in their own time. They do at the top at the water line and the other inhabitants will eat the eggs. That is if you have a male and female. I have no clue what mine are! I call them Freddy and Hermi. They could be girls for all I know LOL. Just read up on all the fish/critters you have, learn what they eat, what makes them the most comfortable, etc.

Here's a link to a good frog page I found:

Good luck!

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Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2008 8:33 pm

by Tmercier834747

I disagree to some degree with dizz, only on the point that sand is harder to clean.

The part that can be VERY time consuming is if you choose to pre-wash it before putting it in the aquarium, and since your aquarium is already up and running with fish, etc, this would be absolutely necessary.

I used something called play sand from home depot as many others do. It's meant for like sand boxes for kids and such but its inert (meaning it won't alter your water chemically) visually pleasing, and many types of fish and inverts favor at least some areas of sand in the aquarium. A 50lb bag is probably still under $10.

It would be much harder to add sand at this point for you though since your fish and everything are already in the tank.

Even after pre-washing mine for a period of about 3 hours the aquarium remained densely cloudy for 48 hours after adding the sand.

Back to the part of disagreement - since gravel allows so much flow-through a lot of junk can get trapped down inside it and despite thorough and frequent gravel vacuums its impossible to get all of it. With sand most of the stuff that would go down in gravel just sits on top. The only difference in vacuuming lies in that with sand you raise the vacuum roughly 2" off the surface of the sand and allow it to suck up all the junk on the surface and leave the sand where it is.

I've been vacuuming all 4 of my tanks (which are all sand-based substrates) for several months and barely have a tablespoon full worth of sand sitting in the bottom of my vacuum bucket that I accidentally sucked up.

He is however right about stirring. Some micro-decay will seep down in under the surface and bacteria will grow there and feed on it if its left for long periods of time releasing a sulfuric gas that builds up in pockets and if its sent into the water column in the wrong way could possibly kill everything in the tank -- its that toxic. I've had trouble with this in my most recent tank (which is actually flourite sand substrate) but haven't had any casualties and have been stirring the sand more since I noticed it.

For some reason I've never had problems with this in my playsand tanks.

I can give more details on preparation if you do decide to go with sand, but it may be more wise to go with gravel as dizz suggested since its more simple and you're just beginning. Worry more about what you already have in that tank. To reiterate, don't get any more fish/etc until the tank is fully cycled. =P

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Joined: Tue Jun 24, 2008 2:30 am

by dizzcat

Hey Tm :-)

I have the play sand in all 3 of my tanks and I would not switch back to gravel now. It is very easy to take care of if you know what you are doing.

I think if I started with the sand I would have made a mess of things! I was thinking that with gravel you can dig the vacuum right down into it and do a good deep cleaning. Especailly with a new tank.

You are right about it being time consuming to clean. Geez, if you leave any dust in at all your tank will stay cloudy for days, then when you clean you stir the dust up again! I clean mine a couple cups at a time, because I don't have a yard to use a big bucket and hose. It takes me a couple days (I take my time) but well worth the effort.

You have live plants in your tank with sand right? I have noticed since I switched my tank with the plants in it they are having trouble. The new leaves are coming in almost translucent. I use the same ferts and all as always, and just noticed it since switching. Do you think I should add a layer of fluorite under the sand?

The play sand at Home depot is about $2.89 for a 50 pound bag. Wonderfully cheap!

thanks :-)

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Joined: Sat Jul 26, 2008 1:24 pm

by yasherkoach

frogs, red ear turtles, etc should be in a separate tank from fish, snails, shrimps and clams. It is foolish, no offense to mix frogs and turtles (not that you have turtles).

I plan to begin a new tank just for turtles, frogs etc.

dizzcat is right on her info. She took a lot of time to explain it, I hope you apply her advice. I usually explain things in depth, but Cathy did it for me :-)

research before pruchasing live fish and plants. Sometimes it astonishes me that we have this thing called the internet and google and no one uses it for information, to prepare getting into this wonderful hobby. I realize forums like this here helps, but some problems presented in this forum is just plain foolishness.

Fish are no different than a dog and a cat. Some people purchase fish like they are insects or something. Fish are live creatures which deserve as much respect and a good life as do a cat and a dog. Fish require certain things, without certain things they die. There was a poster abouta month ago who didn't even have a filter in his tank. Is this crazy or what?

This is a serious hobby. These are live fish. Think before a purchase. Some fish hobbyists have been in this hobby for decades yet still are learning or expanding their fish worlds. Research then act, so you won't be sorry.

We all make mistakes, I have too in this hobby (thank goodness the mistakes were miniscule) but to rush into the hobby without at least researching the cyling process, how in the world do you expect to enjoy years of the hobby if the first few weeks get screwed up.

Research then act. This is my best advice.

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Joined: Fri Oct 19, 2007 4:00 am

by doomydarkdoom

"Fish are live creatures which deserve as much respect and a good life as do a cat and a dog."

Well-said. I have a gourami that is a mean little butt-head, and I still haven't figured out where to put him (he's in my quarantine tank right now), but I bought him, took responsibility for him, and I couldn't just give him away unless I KNEW it was a good home for him.

I just wish he weren't so MEAN. Even for a gourami.

Help with Tank/New fish/Sand

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