Retirement and forum shutdown (17 Jan 2022)


John Howell who has managed the forum for years is getting on and wishes to retire from the role of managing it.
Over the years, he has managed the forum through good days and bad days and he has always been fair.
He has managed to bring his passion for fish keeping to the forum and keep it going for so long.

I wish to thank John for his hard work in keeping the forum going.

With John wishing to "retire" from the role of managing the forum and the forum receiving very little traffic, I think we must agree that forum has come to a natural conclusion and it's time to put it to rest.

I am proposing that the forum be made read-only from March 2022 onwards and that no new users or content be created. The website is still registered for several more years, so the content will still be accessible but no new topics or replies will be allowed.

If there is interest from the ITFS or other fish keeping clubs, we may redirect traffic to them or to a Facebook group but will not actively manage it.

I'd like to thank everyone over the years who helped with forum, posted a reply, started a new topic, ask a question and helped a newbie in fish keeping. And thank you to the sponsors who helped us along the away. Hopefully it made the hobby stronger.

I'd especially like to thank John Howell and Valerie Rousseau for all of their contributions, without them the forum would have never been has successful.

Thank you
Darragh Sherwin

Introduction and wanting advice on organic aqua

15 Aug 2018 21:45 #1 by bh86 (Brian Healy)
Hi there.

I'm Brian from Dublin. I've some basic knowledge of fish keeping and I've kept small tanks in the past.

I recently bought a roma fluval 90 litre and I decided to go down the organic aqua route. After following the instructions I added in 8 harlequin rasbona and within 24 hours, 7 of them have died.

I decided to go down the organic aqua route to save me from doing the standard cycle method that I've done in the past.

I'm hoping I've recognised my error as I think it's because I didn't use an air pump in that first critical 24 hours and I've read a lot today that an air pump is essential when using organic aqua.

As of now. I've drained the tank fully and will be starting again tomorrow.

I will be using organic aqua again. Has anyone any advice or tips to ensure disaster doesn't strike twice?

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17 Aug 2018 17:10 #2 by davet (Dave Treacy)
I ran Organic Aqua for about 7-8 years on mine, have gone away with it in the past year back to the old normal cycled tank. What you've done sounds fine to me as you can add fish immediately after starting the tank with the Starter Pack. Air pump is always a help but I don't think the lack of it killed your fish.

Have you any test kits to test the parameters of the water out of yor tap. You might have a really high PH that was too much of a shock for the fish compared to the fish shop you bought them from. Once the OA kits are in testing for Ammonia is pointless as they are always zero.

Have you added a declorinator to the water you add into the tank like JBL Biotopool? You're in Dublin so Darren in Seahorse uses OA himself and is a big expert on it.

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18 Aug 2018 06:50 #3 by gunnered72 (Eddy Gunnered)
It is absolutely essential to have tonnes of extra oxygen and surface water movement when using Organic Aqua...The gases that the bacteria produce into the water column need to be expelled at the surface otherwise it doesnt work....

To be honest even though it works to me its a lazy aquarists way to do things...

Dont expect plants etc to thrive in an Organic Aqua tank either...

Organic Aqua in my opinion is for Goldfish tanks etc and also if you maybe needed to set up a tank in a hurry in an emergency but otherwise I think its useless for the more avid aquarist whos into aquascaping and more delicate species etc...

For me large weekly water changes are actually a must for freshwater fish and general tank health....The Organic Aqua method to me means the fish are just swimming around constantly in a soup of their own pee and poop...Not exactly good in my opinion...

Fresh Water fish love fresh water thats my motto...

There are other modern ways to instantly cycle an aquarium but you need to stock slowly and steadily in the beginning....You also need to feed very little for the first couple of weeks...Some seeded media taken from the filter in another healthy tank squashed into your own filter and a dose of a good bottled bacteria like Tetra SafeStart or Fluval Cycle or Seachem Stability will work perfectly for you as an instant cycle...You just have to stock the tank very lightly initially and feed very little until your 100% sure after 2 weeks that Ammonia is zero, NitrItes are zero and you are starting to read rising NitrAtes....

I suggest you buy an API Liquid Master test kit if your going to go this route so you can test daily just in case...But honestly if you ares sensible with low stocking and very little feeding for the initial period I can almost guarantee you that you will never see Ammonia or NitrIte....Then after 2 weeks when you see you NitrAtes climbing you are into large weekly water change territory for overall fish plant and tank health and algae management........

Just my 10 cents worth

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19 Aug 2018 00:45 #4 by robert (robert carter)
Hi Brian , i have used organic aqua in the past . I used it on a 420 litre coldwater tank with a sump when i brought in some 4 inch koi from the north , it worked fine for me ,i didnt as they wash any sponges or media out in tap water , they say todo this purly to kill off any biological bacteria so you will keep using there product . I let my tank mature with just 50% water changes every week and after 3 months stopped using it as my filters had matured up . I believe the cost of the product has risen a lot since i used it . Yes as Eddie said very important to keep oxygen levels in the tank . To me its an expensive way to run a tank much better to cycle a tank and let nature do the same job for free . Robert

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19 Aug 2018 11:37 #5 by bh86 (Brian Healy)
Thank you for the replies and advice guys.

Ive always enjoyed the weekly water change and day to day care of fish keeping. Although the organic aqua route recommends only a monthly water change it wasn't the reason I decided to give it a go.

After a bit of research i was encouraged by the results users were getting over the long term so I decided to give it a go.

Interesting about live plants though. I didn't think they struggle in an organic aqua tank. Will they die off completely or just not flourish as much as they do in a more traditional route?

For now. I will give it a chance but I can always wean off it if I'm not happy.

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21 Aug 2018 17:25 #6 by bh86 (Brian Healy)
Hi Davet

The only testing kit I don't have at home is PH (ran out of it) so I brought a sample over to the shop and they said it was fine.

I'm happy to write since I restarted the tank on Thursday I have had no casualties and the fish are done very well.

I was surprised, but happy with the shops recommendation of how many fish to stock straight away.

My 90 litre tank is as follows
8 x Black Mollies
8 x Cardinal Tetra
2 x German Blue Rams

They are the fish I bought on Thursday and I also have 1 harlequin rasbora that survived my fist batch and 2 very small Norman Lampeye that were in a smaller tank I had.

Id have thought that amount of fish is way over stocking a 90 litre tank, but maybe organic aqua allows you to have a few more fish than the tradiontial way

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21 Aug 2018 20:57 #7 by robert (robert carter)
Hi Brian, just another point i will mention to you while using organic aqua is that test kits will give you very random and unreliable results so best just togo on your fishes behaviour. Robert

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22 Aug 2018 13:02 #8 by bh86 (Brian Healy)
Yeah I read about that mate.

I will kind of miss not using my kits!

Other than observing my fish behaviour is there any other tests Ican carry out or has the organic aqua ruled everything else out?

It feels a bit weird not having to do much maintenance?

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22 Aug 2018 16:14 #9 by davet (Dave Treacy)
Just observation of your fish Brian really.

One tip I was given is that if you have a hooded tank is to open up the lid at night time. As you've heard with OA there is gas build up so surface agitation and using the air stone is key. This is an extra help/boost as it allows for more exposure to moving air currents and helps clears any of the gases better as they can still hang around under the hood and above water surface.


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22 Aug 2018 16:53 #10 by bh86 (Brian Healy)
Yeah mate.

It's a hooded tank and I do leave one of the lids open 24/7 as well as having an air pump.

My only gripe with the above is its a little noisey due to the airpump creating the bubbles and with the lid open the noise is easier to hear.

Would it be okay turning the pump off for a couple of hours per evening or is it vital to have that running 24/7?

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22 Aug 2018 18:14 #11 by davet (Dave Treacy)
Always been told its needed 24x7. You could close the lids during the day if it muffles the sound enough.

Another good choice might be the Aquael PatMini filter. Very cheap excellent filter which comes with an air intake that you can run just to add air into water. I run them on my shrimp tanks. May find them quieter than the pump and airstone

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23 Aug 2018 13:28 #12 by bh86 (Brian Healy)
Ill look into that product. nice one!

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26 Aug 2018 11:08 #13 by Pat (Pat Coogan)
Hi Brian
Just on your stock of fish. What shop recommended black Molly and Rams for the same tank. Mollys need a teaspoon of salt per gallon in the aquarium and rams would not do well in those conditions.
Maybe I am wrong on this and someone will tear me a new one but thats what the books I have read recommend.

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