Update: 25 March 2009, 11:30 PM
We just got home from work after a very late night teaching, and we decided to test the aquarium water nitrites. Can it really be true? Have they really dropped to .25 ppm? Tomorrow morning we will do the battery of tests just to make sure. If the news is true, we will be picking up those gorgeous Angelfish this week. On another note, there is a problem with the plants. At first we thought that the leaves were turning brown, but it appears to be brown algae covering the leaves. We are wondering if the aquarium needed to cycle first before the plants start to thrive. The plants are actually not doing badly except for this brown algae film.
Here is what we found on the Tropical Tank Website: “”Brown algae” (diatoms)
This is often the first algae to appear in a newly set-up tank, where conditions have yet to stabilise. It will often appear around the 2-12 week period, and may disappear as quickly as it arrived when the conditions stabilise after a couple of months. It is essential to minimise nutrient levels to ensure the algae disappears – avoid overfeeding and carry out the appropriate water changes, gravel and filter cleaning, etc. Limiting the light will not deter this algae, as it can grow at low lighting levels and will normally out-compete green algae under these conditions.
If brown algae appears in an established tank, check nitrate and phosphate levels. Increased water changes or more thorough substrate cleaning may be necessary. Using a phosphate-adsorbing resin will also remove silicates, which are important to the growth of this algae. However, as noted above, it is essentially impossible to totally eliminate algae with this strategy alone. Due to its ability to grow at low light levels, this algae may also appear in dimly lit tanks, where old fluorescent bulbs have lost much of their output. If a problem does occur, otocinclus catfish are known to clear this algae quickly, although you may need several for larger tanks, and they can be difficult to acclimatise initially.
There are some very plausible theories as to why this algae often appears in newly set up tanks and then later disappears. If the silicate (Si) to phosphate (P) ratio is high, then diatoms are likely to have a growth advantage over true algae types and Cyanobacteria. Some of the silicate may come from the tapwater, but it will also be leached from the glass of new aquaria, and potentially from silica sand/gravel substrates to some extent. Later, when this leaching has slowed, and phosphate is accumulating in the maturing tank, the Si:P ratio will change in favour of phosphate, which is likely to favour the growth of green algae instead. “
Update: 26 March 2009, 6:30 AM
Well, we tested the water at the crack of dawn and found all was well. The nitrites had in fact dropped to .25 ppm. Here are results:
Nitrites: .25 ppm
Nitrates: 5.0 ppm
Ammonia: 0 ppm
So, we are being bad tomorrow and going into work late just so we can get the Angelfish.
Update: 27 March 2009, 8:42 AM
Our nitrites have dropped to 0 ppm.
Update: Sunday 29 March 2009: 5:50 AM
Friday morning we brought home our four beautiful Angelfish. Seems there was a pecking order established in the small tank at Pasadena Tropical Fish where our beauties shared a tank with various gold and marbled angels. One of our fish has stubs for pectoral fins. The smallest of our four Angelfish is an aggressor, and is now nipping the fins on the other fish. We added some Stress Coat+ with Aloe Vera to the water to help with the relocation and to help promote fin regrowth. Other than the situation with the pectoral fins, our new Angelfish have adapted well to their planted home. We have also seen the tetras going for the fins of the Angelfish, but we hope the community we are establishing will get along well. Our Angelfish have the typical wild stripe pattern, but the scales look like crumpled tin foil. We are quite certain we don’t have wild caught fish, and we don’t know the name of this variety. We may have to join some cichlid forum to get information. Yesterday evening, we returned to Tropical Imports and bought two Corydoras Catfish. Dean called them Panda Cats. We need to find out the scientific name. They are so playful. We will probably return today and get two more. We are contemplating getting a small Hypostomus plecostomus to eat algae. The rams we had our eye on when we originally bought the aquarium have been sold, but Dean said a new shipment will be coming in on Monday. Right now, we are thinking the tank may be getting a bit crowded. 40 is not that large in the scheme of things.
Update: 31 March 2009: 7:19 PM
We returned to Tropical Imports Sunday morning and bought three more Panda Corydoras Catfish. They are so cute when they school together. We continue to be concerned about our injured Angelfish. The other Angelfish continue to nip its already stumpy pectoral fins. It seems all the Angelfish are acting aggressively toward one another.
The injured fish has locked lips with the most aggressive of its companions as if to say “Don’t push me around,” yet it generally hangs out near the surface, trying to avoid the other Angelfish. The other three, though they fight, seem to spend time together. Another Emperor Tetra casualty today. Perhaps they were just not meant for this tank. Of the remaining seven, six school together and one hangs out alone at the bottom of the tank near the rocks.
Fish Count is as follows.
Glowlight Tetras 7
Blue Emperor Tetras 7
Cardinal Tetras 8
Black Phantom Tetras 4
Angelfish 4 (though I am considering asking Dean if I can board the injured fish at Tropical Imports to see if its fins grow back)
Panda Cats 5
I haven’t checked if the Rams arrived yesterday. Dean suggested I wait a few days to see how they are doing before I buy any.
Water is still doing fine. There is no detectable nitrite nor ammonia and the pH is still 7. I bought worms for the fish on Saturday, and they love them. The injured Angelfish has a good appetite at least. I also bought a timer so the lights can go on automatically at 3 PM while it is still daylight. The room is dark, but there is some indirect daylight that reaches the aquarium. The lights are set to go off at 11 PM. I may change that to 11:30 to accommodate my late return on Wednesday nights.
I shot some photos of my Angelfish to include in this post. There was a slow shutter speed, so there is movement when the fish are sparring.