Re: Throwing in the Towel

> > Last Night while doing my weekly 25% water change all 3 of my black mollies
> > died within 12 hours.
> This last comment implies that you are not treating your water before
> adding it to your tank.  Do you like living dangerously?

I wouldn't put it that way. ;-)

> [snip] it is a fact that all municipal water has chlorine in it (EPA
> requires this). The exact concentration depends on lots of factors and
> can be highly variable over the course of the year.

True. However, frequently the concentration is not high enough to be
concerned. Some water conditioners will remove trace mineral nutrients
from water even after the conditioned water has been in the tank and
you have added costly supplements. If you can smell chlorine or if a test
kit indicates excessive amounts it is advisable to treat it. You can
always boil the water (cooling afterward ;-) or leave it overnight to
drive off chlorine.

Fish die for a number of reasons in new tanks: the shock of coming home,
the shock of being shipped in poor conditions to the aquarium store
just before you purchased them, high levels of ammonia during the first
weeks causing stress and lowering the animal's resistance to disease in
combination with possibly temperature shock, chlorine and improper water
conditions for Mollies. I think George is correct, these fish were just
not in the best shape at that time.

Does anyone know if sodium thiosulphate precipitates Fe, Mg, Cu or other
trace plant nutrients?

> From: Patrick Farley
> I have a 30L freshwater tank with about 80watts of Triton Light.  I use a
> DIY CO2 injector.  The tank has 2 goldfish, 7 mollies, and an angel fish.
> The substrate is composed of a about 3 inches of sand/quartz. I have algae
> What I'm interested in is a good substrate composition?  What is laterite
> and should I use it?  How about peat?  Gravel?  Children's sandbox sand?

I suspect 30 liters is too small for the amount of fish and light you have.
Why not try a 30 gallon tank? Even that gets pretty small after you start
collecting plants.

You need to strike a balance between the nutrients from the fish and what
the plants can metabolize. This might account for the algae problems. For
this size tank, you could have a coryadorus, some algae eaters, and neons,
guppies or platies. Goldfish & angel fish tend to get pretty big.

Substrate: there are several alternatives here. An excellent book to read
is the Dupla "The Optimum Aquarium". It describes the heating coil and
laterite method nicely. Alternatively you can try the Jim Kelly, vermiculite
and potting soil method. I used this successfully. I would strongly
recommend not using any conventional potting soils as these all contain
large amounts of undecomposed organic material. Better to use plain
garden soil or pond mud. I used a form of humus that I purchased from a
garden supply store. It is earthworm castings.

More suggestions:
Use only about 10% water soaked vermiculite & 10% or less soil mixed with
the bottom layer of your substrate. It is good to have a 2" layer of plain
gravel on top. Be careful when uprooting or planting as it is easy to
make cloudy water and the vermiculite flakes tend to blow around in the
water current until they eventually settle.

I used a diatom Magnum filter to clarify the water after I set up the tank.

There is lots of information on substrates available from Jim Kelly. 
Perhaps we could itemize it and where to obtain it.

 - Steve