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Re: [APD] Value of Snails (newbies)

At 10:53 AM 12/25/2003, you wrote:
Maybe I'm lazy, but adding chemicals to a tank, then doing 50% weekly water
changes to remove the chemicals seems like an enormous amount of work.

You said you were lazy not me. I see this a lot. I call it behavior shopping. Let's take aquariums in general as an example. Once the initial newness wears off many people start looking for shortcuts to aquarium maintenance. One example is the Eco-Aqualizer. Anything that claims to reduce water changes is going to sell. And people will search all over Hell's creation for a justification for their laziness. Once they find one crackpot (I'm not specifically calling anyone a crackpot here) web site that justifies their behavior they latch onto it like a pitbull on a strip of bacon.

I strongly disagree with many of the statements that Robert Hudson wrote as do many other more experienced people on this list. In fact I doubt that many people would agree with those statements unless they were behavior shopping. Water changes do not affect the buildup of mulm in the gravel. I have never found that doing 50% water changes on a weekly basis stresses the fish. In fact I have found that if for some reason I skip a water change it seems to stress the fish. And this is not just on planted tanks but all my tanks. I'm not even that careful matching the temperature of the new water to the tank water. I have run the new water in as much as 10-12º F cooler. My Otos and Corys love the cooler water as do all the rest of the fish. The only time my Corys breed is after a massive water change with water that is much cooler than the tank water. Since almost all the fish I keep are from rivers the influx of cooler water mimics the natural effects of rainfall. About the only tank I take more care on is my Lamprologus ocellatus tank as they are a lake fish and a bit more sensitive to temperature fluctuations. And since my tap water normally has a pH in the 6.4-7.0 range with no hardness and my tanks are running around 6.8-6.8 pH with around 4/4 of kH and gH I have to adjust the hardness after the water change. Again the fish don't seem to mind one bit.

I believe in what Robert Hudson wrote below. I also believe that the
quickest and simplest way of "maturing" tanks is by having lots of apple
snails (Pomacea bridgesi). For ID check out: http://www.applesnail.net/

Few water changes, Flourite substrate, CO2, medium light, overfeed twice a
day, let the army of snails take care of the rest. No additions to the water
column at all. Simple. I get a little spot algae, but so what. Maybe here in
the Madison, WI we are blessed with magic water, but that is all that I do.

Medium light calls for less fertilizers. Overfeeding supplies those fertilizers. I find that bulk fertilizers are much cheaper than fish food though.

Apple snails lay their eggs above the water line, so you can always control
their populations by manually removing the eggs. I never do. I've got tons
of them. They are fun to watch.

One legitimate complaint about apple snails is that you can't really breed
hordes of fish with them around. However, I successfully breed rosy barbs
all the time. So... even with my ton of snails, some manage to make it. It's
a balanced tank, which I feel should be the goal.
Augustine Rodriguez
McFarland, WI USA

> I
> am much more interested in allowing my tanks to mature and develop their own
> mulm the natural way, over time. Another reason I would not do large water
> changes on a weekly basis.
> Allow the tank to mature without disruption. Large water changes DO put
> stress on fish. It can even trigger ICH, particularly if a newbie is not
> carefull with the temp change It could also trigger Cryp melt. You would be
> changing water chemistry, hardness, pH... frequent large water changes can
> interfere with spawning.

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