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Re: Feeding

on 1/12/99 1:27 am, krandall at world_std.com at krandall at world_std.com wrote:

> Not really, phosphorus is an essential mineral, both for plants and
> animals.  We simply want to avoid adding more than is needed, and can be
> bound up in the plant and fish mass in the tank.

Thanks for your thoughts Karen, but i was meaning *too much* phosphorus
being added to the tank via feeding. After all we get phosphorus (eventually
phosphate) through all sorts of sources (including water for some
unfortunate ppl) so I reckon we should try to limit it through feeding.

> I guess my question would be why overstock the tank, and then underfeed the
> fish?  The biggest 4' tank I've seen is the 4'x24"x24" 120G tank.  Even for
> that size tank,130 plus fish sounds on the high side to me.

Yes it does sound like that. However, my fish are all (virtually all, except
for one synodontis nigrivensis and botia striata and 4 CAE and SAE) small
tetras. The bulk of fish are the really small Parachereidon Simulans, most
of which are no more than half and inch long.
> now.  Some of the fish in it are not not particularly small, (there is a
> school of giant danios, a Synodontis angelicus and a striped raphael of
> fair size, as well as a number of smaller fish)  and many are hearty
> eaters.  I only feed once a day, (for convenience sake) but I feed heavily
> when I do.  I watch to make sure that at least some is actually reaching
> the bottom for my big catfish.  I _still_ have no algae problems in this
> tank, and just barely detectable PO4 levels.  The tank is brightly lit with
> 6 4' T-8s, and has very strong growth.

That sounds just about right to me, the number of fish you have that is, and
their size. I think what's important to note too is the type of plants being
kept. I assume with 6 4' tubes, you must be keeping a fair number of stem
plants and other high-light loving, fast-metabolising plants? Hehe, I used
to keep these too, until my back gave in cos of the weekly trimmings. I also
had 6 4' tubes. Now my entire tank is mostly java and x'mas moss and crypts
with a large stand of cyperus helferi some microsorium pteropus and one
large A. Rigidofilius. I've since cut down on lighting, running only 4 4'
tubes. I'm glad to hear that you have no algae problems. But running a
slow-growing setup like mine, if I were to feed everyday, I'm sure I'd be
done for. 

> Like you, I am pathetic when it comes to filter maintenance,<g> and I'd
> _like_ to do a 25% water change every couple of weeks, but this often slips
> to a longer time period.  There is no significant difference in nitrate or
> phosphate readings after theses changes anyway, since the plants use all
> that is available.  I regularly supplement with KNO3, or the tank will
> quickly become nitrate limited.

hehe, yes I really hate that part of tank maintenance. However, I am very
strict with the water changes, with a third being changed every week.

> You reckon incorrectly with these small fish.  What you say is true when
> talking about large carnivors.  Small tetras graze almost continually.  A
> better plan would be to keep a low concentration of live food feeding into
> the tank continually from a refugium.  That's how they eat in the wild.

Yes, but in the wild, they have nature as a giant filter :-)
Hehe, but yes, I get your point. I suppose there's quite a bit to graze on
in my tank too, although nowhere as much as in the wild. The idea of live
foo feeding continually from a refugium sounds interesting though. Have you
set up something like this before? How would you ascertain the "right"
amount to be released at any one time?

> Not really.  Do you really think a "tough" cardinal has much of an
> advantage over a less tough one when faced by a fish tha can swallow it in
> one gulp?  What the one that survies has is luck.  Tetras swim in large
> groups simply because the predators can't get them ALL that way.  That's
> how the species survives.  The survival of one individual makes not one
> whit of difference to the species.

I was referring to their ability to forage for food. The runts normally
die-off. Natural selection.

>> In our tanks, even with my spare feeding regime, even the runts survive!
> Survive or thrive?  Top quality specimens with good size and color require
> a good regular feeding regime.  Ask anyone who shows fish.  If all we want
> to do is maintain them without killing them, we can go as far as the
> extreme of keeping a goldfish in a fish bowl.  I know a 10 year old 3"
> goldfish.  Is this a "good" way of keeping him, even if he's still alive
> after 10 years?  personally, I don't think so.

Yes, maybe I should clarify. Thrive should be the word. The hunchback as I
affectionately call him, is one of those which have survived from day one.
Thrive? Well, all my fish grow to the "recommended" size (including the
hunchback). My upside-down catfish is now about 4 or 5 years old and almost
4 inches and I have *never* seen him eat! The cardinals are bright and showy
at almost 2 inches (I bought them as juveniles of less than half inch from a
lfs that knows my preference for juveniles). The simulans are all still
small as they are juveniles, but they're showing good colour and shape.

I don't think that goldfish is in good shape. I know where you're headed
Karen, and I assure you it isn't like that in my tanks :) Hmmmm, maybe its
high time I set up my website.

Mark Pan
Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will
philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you'll fantasize that
when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and
children respected their elders.
Baz Luhrman / Mary Schmich