set up new aquarium

valleyrimgirl(2b)September 6, 2005

I had baby koi in an outdoor water feature (oak barrel with a plastic tub/liner in it)over the summer. There are 3 koi, each being 3" long. Now, I need to bring in the koi for winter because it is getting down to 5C - 10C at night these days. I set up the 20 year old 11"wide x 29"long x 10"(water depth) aquarium this weekend, adding fresh tap water, got the chemical filter running (with well-rinsed activated charcoal in one section and filter "cotton batton" in the other), and added the water lettuce from the pond with a gallon of pond water also. My question to everyone out soon can I add my koi? I did not add cholorine de... stuff to the water and so was wondering how long, with a filter going, does it take to clear the water of cholorine? Also, if I bring in some water from the tub outside with the koi, will that be good for the koi or the water? Should I bring in 1/2 the water from the tub? Also, how much light should I give the water lettuce? I need to buy new bulbs.


Brenda (valleyrimgirl)

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woeisme(z7b NC)

The activated carbon will remove the chlorine eventually by itself. There are too many variables to predict the amount of time. It is reccomended to use a dechlorinator product that will remove the chlorine as well as chloramine and ammonia. These also can be comeing from your tap water.You will need a dechlorinator to do weekly maintaince. You can just leave the water in a bucket for a efew days before water changes, but the dechlorinator is safer and will get rid of ammonia. If you had filtration in the Oak Barrel set up, then use the media from that filter in the inside tanks filter, even if you have to tie it with fishing line to the inatake or return of the inside filter. This will help "seed" the filter with beneficial bacteria used for the nitrogen cycle.If you have fluorescent tubes get a replacement bulb that is rated 6500K to 6700K. If you only have a 1 light ixture you may need to get another fixture or replace the one you have with a double strip (tube) type. I am assumeing the fixture you have is single bulb at 20watts, 24" long. This may be ok if the water lettuce is a floating plant ( sorry I am not familiar with ponds and KOI for that matter, but it is pretty close to tropical I would assume) If you have incadescent fixtures than use the compact fluorescent replacement bulbs also 6500K rated. They are the screw in type that have tube spirals or loops. For tubes, home depot phillips brand marked Daylight" or Daylight Deluxe" are fine. Screw in type. also home depot b ut wal-mart has cheaper ones by "Lights of America" labeled "daylight" they should have 6500K on the base or stamped on the tube or label. One concern, did you use cotton batting? or is it the poly-fiber meant for aquarium use? cotton will rot and release ammonia into the water, use the "filterfloss" instead. I guess you have the corner in tank filters run by an air pump? Another option is to run the ilters in your Barrel for a few weeks to seed the carbon and fiberfill. Hope this helps. P.S. You may want to look into a bigger outdoor set up or the comeing spring. I think KOI can grow up to 8" their 1st year

    Bookmark   September 6, 2005 at 11:52AM
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glen3a(Winnipeg MB 3A)


If you can fill the aquarium with water from the barrel, the more the better. If you were to totally fill the aquarium with pond water, in theory you could just net the fish right away and drop them in the aquarium because the temperature and chemistry of the aquarium water would be the same as the barrel pond. Less stress on the fish.

If you half-fill the aquarium with pond water, when you transfer the fish you may have to put the fish in zip loc bags and float them in the aquarium for a bit, to equalize the temperature (like you do for store bought fish).

I assume you dont have a fish filter in your barrel but if you do, the suggestion to run this in the new aquarium for a few weeks is a good one (at the same time you are running the new aquarium filter).

The pond filter and pond water have beneficial bacteria in it. In a nutshell, fish produce ammonia as waste. This bacteria helps break down the ammonia into less harmful substances. You can search on the net for Ânitrogen cycle or Âaquarium nitrogen cycle or Âaquarium cycling for more detail. The gist is, in a newly set up pond or aquarium this beneficial bacteria doesnÂt exist yet in sufficient amounts to handle the fish waste, so if you add 3 fish the ammonia levels might rise to an unsafe level and do harm to the fish. Transferring the pond water to the aquarium as well as transferring the pond filter to the aquarium temporarily may help transfer this good bacteria to the aquarium.

You should probably buy a water test kit (from a pet store) to test for ammonia and nitrate especially. For the first 4 Â 6 weeks the fish are in the aquarium, check for ammonia and nitrite every two days. If the level is extremely high, do water changes. ItÂs as simple as removing some of the old water (25 to 50%) and refilling with new tap water, at the same temperature and dechlorinated of course. I read that better to be safe than sorry, so I suggest you buy some dechlorinator. Other than that, however, you really donÂt need anything fancy in the world of fish supplies.

I guess part of how much light to give the water lettuce will depend on the maximum wattage bulb your light fixture can handle. DonÂt exceed this. If you find that the water lettuce still yellows and dies donÂt be disappointed. ItÂs very hard to overwinter indoors unless you have a very bright, warm greenhouse. The only hope is that it floats on the water surface, so right under the bulb it might be better light. I was able to overwinter hornwort this way, though it did look scraggly and not great.

Oh, for the first bit donÂt overfeed the fish. You donÂt need them producing excess amounts of waste (ammonia) until the aquarium filter is cycled and can handle the ammonia they produce.

Good luck. My goldfish and koi will be coming inside shortly as well. I have a small inground pond. They can take cold water, even ice on top, just not a pond that freezes solid as mine would eventually do over winter (18" deep ponds freeze solid in our winters.)


    Bookmark   September 6, 2005 at 4:28PM
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glen3a(Winnipeg MB 3A)

I meant to say the test kit should test for ammonia and Nitrite especially, but an nitrate one wouldn't be bad to have on hand as well.


    Bookmark   September 6, 2005 at 4:31PM
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woeisme(z7b NC)

I agree with the test set, a must for fishkeeping (use test tube/reagent type as apposed to multi test strips, in the end more economical and deffinately more accurate). Daily tests until nitrogen cycle is confirmed. Weekly there after. The addition of the pond water (barrel) to the tank is a great idea for acclimateing the fish to pH and Temp., but there isnt much beneficial bacteria that is in the water collumn. If any. Most is in the filter media or if only aerated with a pump of some sort, the pump may have a sponge or screen on the intake. that would be a great place. Also any gravel, stones or other decor in the barrel. The benificial bacteria prefer oxygen, water flow and a little darkness. But back to the acclimateing. This is not my idea but this is the way I introduce a new fish to the tank.These directions are for this scenario 1)Net or scoop the fish into a bucket, about 2 gal should be good, 1/2-3/4 filled with water from the barrel--- 2) In another container remove enough water from the tank to almost fill the bucket.----3) Move a some barrel water back to the aquarium to refil what you used---4) Wait 5 minutes and repeat---5) repeat steps 1-4 about 4-5 more times. At this rate the water should be less of a shock, Oh yeah net the fish or slowly pour the fish bucket into the tank. I use this method with newly bought fish but instead of putting any water from the bag into my tank, I just pour the bag into a net and release the fish.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2005 at 10:21PM
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james_ny(z7 NY)

The cholorine will disapate form the water within 24 hours without a filter if its circulated. Your problem will be the koi get too large for your setup [indoor and outdoor].

    Bookmark   September 6, 2005 at 11:01PM
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woeisme(z7b NC)

I was talking with a customer today that had a beautiful pond/japanese garden. She had quite a large scale pond (more like a lake). Anyway, she had water lettuce and said it did well in shade to sun. I am not to familiar with pond/bog plants ( I pictured a head of iceburg lettuce, lol) , but it was highly reccomended. If the lettuce is doing good, and shows sign of being healthy then you should have no problem establishing that aquarium. In planted setups there is not as much beni. bac. growth as in artificial setups. The plants utilize the ammonia that is produced and manufacture the nutrients similar to the bacteria in you bio-filter. The more plants you have the less bacteria is needed to remove ammonia (kinda). So between any decor/gravel/media you add and the plants doing well in the aquarium you should be fine. But still get minimaly the ammonia, nitrite, and pH tests. I believe the tank you described is a 20L. Very small for the KOI. but it "may" be manageable over this winter. Really depends on fish growth.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2005 at 9:09PM
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james_ny(z7 NY)

You can try the water lettuce but without real sunlight the'll probably slowly waste away. No harm in trying.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2005 at 10:54PM
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I wouldn't even bother trying to save the water lettuce. Unless you can almost duplicate natural daylight it's not going to make it for very long.


    Bookmark   September 9, 2005 at 9:40PM
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