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    Board Member 10,000 posts, I am legend! Neon Shrimp's Avatar
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    Exclamation Collection of tips from our Members.

    These are posts from a recent contest from fellow member Dean ( dtsuyuki):
    Quote Originally Posted by dtsuyuki View Post
    Write a one paragraph "tip" for a beginner on something you consider to be worth knowing. This should sound tutorial-like. If you're a beginner, write a paragraph that explains an issue you're dealing with / or just dealt with. Be creative. There are plenty of threads on Algae, btw, so maybe something different... And think of something small (not like, how to design an aquascape - that's more like book-length).
    We hope to add more contributions from SCAPE members in the future




    Quote Originally Posted by drunksmokingjurk View Post
    Duckweed does wonders in a low-tech tank. They take in co2 from the atmosphere allowing them to grow faster than any other plant inside a non co2 tank. Because of this fast growth, they will take in a lot of nitrates so that you will not have to do as much water changes and you can simply remove most of the nitrates from the water just by scooping the duckweed out. They also are useful as a form of fresh veggies to many species of fish such as goldfish or rainbow fish who will make a treat out of them. Some may suggest dwarf water lettuce or some other floaters that look better but in my experience none ever grows as fast as duckweed. Yes, duckweed does look ugly but to me, it's worth it due to the reduced amount of water changes. If you have a light fixture that's too bright, it's not a problem just let the duckweed cover up more of the top. They also work as a foam filter inlet cover if there are small fish or shrimp that may get sucked up. Here's an example

    ** Warning ** probably not good for filter.

    Attachment 12609
    ^^^ actually my picture.



    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy Yucca View Post
    So you want to make a moss treeÖ Step #1 Find a piece of drift wood for a trunk. I used Manzanita wood because it has a nice color, is dense, and it has nice curves to it. Step #2 Add additional branches to the wood so it has branches all 360 degrees around the trunk. The number of branches around the wood depends on how big you want the tree to be and the position of the tree in your layout. I used hot glue but I think silicone or Automotive GOOP would be better choices. Step #3 Tie Java moss on the branches with dark green or brown sewing thread. Christmas moss can also be used since it grows denser. Step #4 Keep the moss moist with a water spray bottle and tie quickly or the moss will turn brown. Step #5 The moss turned brown because you were too slow or you forgot to mist it often and now your friends make fun of your moss tree. Step #6 Tell them "Trust me on this one... Wait a few weeks for it to grow in". Step #7 Position the moss tree in the tank where it is most appealing to the eye and hold it in place using rocks around the trunk. A large rock with a screw glued to it facing up is another option. This can be screwed to the bottom of the trunk. Step #8 Once the moss starts growing in and starts looking shaggy, give it the Afro Thunder haircut. Done!!! Now all you have to do is maintain it by trimming it and feeding it. Note: As the moss grows, the inner layers die due to not getting enough light so it is important to trim often so you wonít have visible brown patches from waiting too long to trim. By following these simple steps you can now have a Filipe Oliveira style moss tree in your aquarium.
    Attachment 12610 (My picture also.)



    Quote Originally Posted by Epex View Post
    Dean,

    Can I enter my DIY to this RAOK? :P

    DIY Plant or moss Stones



    Quote Originally Posted by pikachux3 View Post
    I am new to planted tanks! Is there an easy way to plant OR why do my plants keep floating up when I try to plant them?

    First of all, make sure your substrate isnít typical aquarium gravel as it is difficult to plant in (still doable). Research different types of substrates and choose a nutritious substrate with grains that are pea sized or smaller. Use sand if you are planning on using root tabs or capping soil. Now that your substrate is more manageable, it is probably a good idea to get a decent pincette to help plant if you donít have one already. If pincettes are out your budget, use bamboo chopsticks or your hands as a last resort. If you havenít filled your tank, I personally find it easier to plant with water filled right below the substrate. With the pincette/chopstick in your main hand and plant in your other hand, gently grip the base of the plant and push it 2-3 inches deep into the substrate. If you have an established tank or filled tank, it may get a little tricky. Using the same method as before, you may have noticed that the substrate gets displaced around the plant. When this happens, the plant can easily float up because nothing is holding it down. A solution to this would be using your middle finger, ring finger, and pinkie (while gripping the forcep/chopstick) OR your free hand to fill in the substrate that you just displaced.

    MS Paint image of displaced substrate



    Quote Originally Posted by octanejunkie View Post
    Drip acclimation, a beginners overview

    Thanks for the RAOK contest, Dean!

    Introducing livestock into a new environment can be stressful but it can be done successfully and easily. When buying fish from your local LFS, local fish store, the clerk will often tell customers to "float the baggie on top of your tank's water for 20 minutes, then release the [fish] into your tank" which seems easy enough, this however only accounts for temperature equalization and overlooks other important aspects of the adjustment required, notably to your water parameters; specifically pH. Personally, I prefer to drip-acclimate livestock when purchasing new, acquiring from other hobbyists or when transferring between tanks of different conditions. Slow dripping livestock allows the livestock to slowly acclimate to the new water conditions and reduces shock and stress. The drip process can be very easy, and done with a section of airline and a clean, plastic or non-reactive bucket; I prefer a clean plastic 3Gallon bucket, personally. There are commercial drip-line kits available for a few dollars ($3 at drfostersmith.com) which include a rigid "U" that hangs over the rim of your tank into the water and airline with a valve to control the flow or drip rate; this makes the process safe and easy (more on the mechanics and equipment in my next article.) Some livestock are hardy and can be drip acclimated over an hour or less, which seems like a long time to the uninitiated, while other species are dripped, or acclimated slowly, over several hours or even days (yes, days). Rapid condition changes can be very stressful to a fish or invertebrate and it's best to allow a longer adaptation period when the condition change is dramatic, like a change in pH 1.0 or more. Aside from the risk of overflowing your drip bucket or emptying your tank inadvertently when drip acclimating, there is also the temperature differential between your tank and the drip bucket. If your tank is heated, the water you drip out will adjust to the ambient room temperature and in the case of a tropical fish we would also want to maintain temperature, either during the drip, or secondarily before introduction into the tank. Once we have acclimated our new livestock to our water conditions we can once again bag-float on top of the tank water for 15-20 minutes to allow temperatures of the water to equalize. If staging livestock over a longer acclimation period you can use a small heater in your drip bucket, a 10-15W fixed temperature heater is a good investment. When introducing livestock into your tank, use a net to catch and transfer, don't dump the dripped-staging water into your tank, it will contain fish waste as well as remnants from the LFS water which is "foreign" and contains who knows what. If you are acclimating over a longer period of time, you may want to consider a quarantine tank, a topic covered in a separate article, but worthwhile investment to own and maintain for the more-than-casual hobbyist. While there are many articles on acclimation methods, drip acclimating is a safe and responsible way to introduce or transfer livestock into your tank(s) and if you are patient and creative, the possibilities for methods and equipment are endless. Happy dripping!


    NOTE: This paragraph (actually 3 ppgs together) is part of a series of articles I am writing for another forum that have yet to be published, I will keep post the same series here once complete and will requests comments from the membership.




    Quote Originally Posted by Tenor1 View Post
    There are three types of aquarium filtration: biological, mechanical and chemical, and it is helpful to know their differences. Biological and mechanical filtration are the everyday methods while chemical should be used only as needed.

    Biological filtration is the natural process of living bacteria consuming organic waste in the water column. This is what gives the water column the crystal clear look we all try to achieve in our aquarium. The bacteria naturally forms on hard porous media in our canister filters. The media can vary from bio-balls to sintered glass such as Ehfimech made by Eheim. Companies have various claims explaining why their hard media is better than another. It's hard to know which is best, but know that all of them are good. The flow of water through the canister puts the bacteria in constant contact with the water column. Even though the hard surfaces inside the aquarium have bacteria on their surfaces they do not have the constant flow of water over them in the same way it occurs in the canister filter. The bacteria consumes the microscopic waste in the water but we still need something for larger particles that we can actually see.

    Mechanical filtration traps larger particles in the canister. We use various media to trap and contain these particles inside the canister waiting for us to remove them. I like to use foam sponges, which can be rinsed and reused several times. Larger organic particles, such as a plant leaf, will eventually decompose and the bacteria in the filter will eventually consume it. But this is a lengthy process and the more efficient method is to clean the canister. Canister filters are designed to combine both biological and mechanical filtering methods, but there is an alternative that I like even better.

    My alternative is to use two canister filters for one aquarium. Put only hard media in one canister and use only foam sponges in the other. This dramatically increases the surface area for the bacteria and you will only rarely have to service the canister. My second canister contains only foam sponges and I clean it when I notice the water return starts to slow down. Using two systems allows the tank to have two return spray bars. I position on in the traditional way, horizontal at the top of the tank, But the second one I place vertically in one corner of the tank. This really helps create a gentle water flow that really helps in planted tanks. Of course your tank needs to be large enough, say 40-gallons or more, to consider using two canisters. I strongly recommend this alternative for the appropriate size tank.

    Chemical filtration is the third and least used method of filtration. The most common media used for chemical filtration is charcoal and Seachem Purigen. Charcoal has a very limited effectiveness, lasting about two weeks. It is used to remove medications from the water column used when treating specific diseases. There is no need to use charcoal for any daily filtration. Many hobbyists use Purigen claiming it can polish the water, plus you can recharge the media and use it almost indefinitely. I personally do not use it and feel if you have good filtration and do adequate water changes it is not needed.

    But remember there are several ways to maintain a clean healthy tank. This just happens to be the method I use.
    Last edited by Neon Shrimp; 02-01-2014 at 12:00 PM.
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