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Re: Sterilizing tank

Hi. I think I can take a guess, although no more than that. I would approach the
problem as follows:
a) vacuum the gravel, if it wasn't rinsed before you switched from 2 oscars in a 29.
b) stop fooling with the water. I'd say that was your killer. Either live with it, or
get R.O. Bear in mind you don't need soft water for many apistos, unless you intend to
breed them. Water stability is more important for keeping them alive.
The key is in how you fixed the GH. What method did you use? The timing of the die-off
suggests cause and effect.
I'm blessed (relatively - John Wubbolt, stop laughing so gleefully!) with 140 ppm
water, and I'll take it to 50-60 ppm with rainwater, for blackwater species (uapesi,
iniridae, etc), to 100ppm for macmasteri types and leave it where it is for
cacatuoides, regani, etc.My diehard buffer in the tapwater, whatever it may be, seems
to let me do that without crashes,  but I rarely get below pH6.0, and pH 7.4 is my
usual rebound when I have played with acids, etc.
c) consider stocking as a villain as well. A 29 is high, but I assume only 1 metre/36
inches across the front. I have 1 njisseni and 3 sp Sao Gabriel in a tank that
size(with 5 corydoras and 11 small characins), but it's a jungle of vallisneria and
java moss on the bottom, and has plants to the surface. It feels a bit overstocked to
me. I'd consider it a better size for a pair or trio of apistos, and maybe the same
number of open spawning dwarfs. With a few characins, you'd have an easily managed
apisto tank. Stock lightly and avoid larger fish that like the bottom (weather loaches)
or competitors for territory (gobies). 11-15 fish would be a good final stocking level.

Beware of fooling with the water, using CO2, etc, until you have some stability in your
system.If your solution isn't simple, then there are just more things to go wrong.
Eric Martina wrote:

>         I bought a used 29 gallon tank about two months ago. The person sold me
> everything, tank + accessories, water, fish, everything. I sold the fish
> (Oscars) because I didn't want them. I bought a bunch of rocks and plants
> and tried to set up an Apisto tank. The first problem I had was that the
> plants kept dying. I didn't have enough light so I bought a double strip
> light and put two plant bulbs in it. I had a couple angel fish and a weather
> loach in it for a while and everything was fine. So I bought some Apistos.
> They kept dying on me. I knew they needed soft water but I didn't know there
> was two different types until I bought a test kit. I talked to the people at
> my LFS and they kept telling me that only carbonate hardness (KH) mattered,
> not general hardness (GH). My GH was around 600 ppm, and I mentioned my
> concern to my LFS. They said don't worry. Later I found out (while reading
> an article on the Krib web page) GH is what is meant when fish people talk
> about soft water! I printed up the article and showed it the owner of the
> LFS and he still said it didn't matter. I said screw him and I fixed the GH.
> The fish seemed to be fine.
>         Starting about a week and a half ago a lot of hair algae (I think) has been
> showing up. I have a feeling it is due to a lack of CO2. I was going to buy
> an injector early this week.
>         I can't get my pH down! I tried adding Seachem acid buffer and got my pH
> down to 6. Then in a few days it would go back up to about 7. I fought this
> for about a week, no luck stabilizing it. I then filtered it through
> Canadian sphagnum peat. Didn't change it. My tank has been like this since
> day one.
>         Now within the last 24 hours 4 more fish have died! (a female beta, an
> angel fish, a weather loach, and a violet goby) My water conditions are:
> pH 7.1
> ammonia 0
> nitrite 0
> GH 100 ppm
> KH 54 ppm
> My first question is: what could be buffering my water so that I can't bring
> down the pH?
> I think that maybe there was a disease / parasite in the tanks when I bought
> them. Is this possible? My fish die with no outward looking problem, so it
> has to be internal.
> I want to just strip down the tank and start from square one. What would be
> the best way to do this? I have 11 fish left in the tank. I have a spare 10
> gallon, could I put them in that while clean out the 29, or would that be to
> small? Should I just leave then in buckets? What should I use to sterilize
> the rocks, gravel, tank, and filter?
> I am sorry if this rambled. I am just so frustrated, I don't know what to
> do!!!! Any suggestions on any of my questions will be greatly appreciated!
> Eric
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> Eric Martina
> University of Illinois
> Electrical Engineering
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------
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For instructions on how to subscribe or unsubscribe or get help,
email apisto-request@listbox.com.
Search http://altavista.digital.com for "Apistogramma Mailing List Archives"!