ED and others

#1
I've been looking for a large tetra but I guess the penguin is too big. What of these choices for a good school?...Buenos Aires, Black Phantom...black skirted phantom (2 1/2") or Head and tail light...

All are smaller but in the 2" or a bit mor range...all discribed as peaceful, none are really skinny like the cardinals...I really don't want a pink fish like the rosy if I can help it...like the buenos aires...give an opinion, I orderl...Ken

re: ED and others

#7
Have you heard of the Trial and Error method?

Looks like not too many people here know much about those substrates...

Get yourself a sample bag and test it. Rinse it, place a good amount in a 10G and circulate it a few days and then, measure your pH and hardness.

I started to recommend CaribSea after thoroughly testing it... now I use a very much less expensive granite silica from HD that sells for around 8 bucks per 100 lbs. It's not Caribsea quality, but very decent and does not alter my pH and minimally alters hardness but in the good way, it buffers a bit.

But sorry, its off white.

Best luck with that black sand... make sure it's not too fine. Anxious to see pics of your tank when ready.

Ed
God listens. He may not always give you everything you want, when you want it; but he always gives you what you really need, when you need it most!
E.R.

re: ED and others

#8
Ed, have you ever done black sand before? if not be advised that any crap that falls onto black sand stands from across a room. I used it in a temporary summer tank about 5 or 6 years ago. At the end of the summer the black sand went back into its container and has been there ever since.

Don't get me wrong, the tank looked absolutely amazing until the first fish pooped.

I also wonder about this. I assume you will or do have wild caught Altums. they have never lived over a black bottom. I wonder if they might react to it and if so how. I would guess the answer would have to come from somebody who has tried it. I am opting for the Torpedo Beach sand suggested by Ed. I have it in the Altum Q tank now and used it last year too. But I liked it so much I now have it in a couple of pleco tanks now as well.
What makes the common man uncommon is common sense.

re: ED and others

#9
The last time I used black substrate Hey Jude was heading the Billboards!
What was it, 68/69... a little 10 galloner with cardinals my grandmother gave me. My very first tank.

As to the poo standing out... I guess cardinal crap is too little...

But what if the poo is dark? That's what I warned Ken about... that you would not see it and that would be even worse than seeing it! healthwise.

Ed
God listens. He may not always give you everything you want, when you want it; but he always gives you what you really need, when you need it most!
E.R.

re: ED and others

#10
Chris, don't misinterpret me. Ken likes black and though his tank will not look like the natural Orinoco habitat, I think the fish will not really mind it too much. Though our wildcaught altums come from a white sandy bottom, actually the water is really dark, clear but dark, to the point that the amount of light reflected off of the sand is surely below 50% at average altum swimming depth (+/- 3 to 4 ft). They can go a lot deeper, you can see them at 10-12 feet, and there, you can hardly see the sand, if at all, at noon, despite the water being so clear (virtually no turbidity) but at the same time, very heavy in tannin acids.

At some places, there will be heavy leaf litter over the white sand, which makes the bottom look dark. But in general, they are in places where the substrate is generally white sand and a medium to dark tea colored water... Atabapo water is a virtual Espresso seen from above.

Right now I have 70 Atabapos in a 280 system with only white sand, no wood or anything, to give them the swimming space they need. I will be separating them into another two smaller tanks this week, all with only white sand and no wood.

The reason for the no wood is the swimming space, they are growing too fast and they were shredding their fins among themselves and I took out the wood to give them more space.
God listens. He may not always give you everything you want, when you want it; but he always gives you what you really need, when you need it most!
E.R.
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