55 Gallon Help. Ammonia just will NOT go away - Page 2 - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #11 of 11 Old 02-05-2013, 09:31 AM
I think it may be time to begin again. As the others have said, deal with the fish selection mistakes. Each to his own, but I would lose the UGF. I've used them back in the day and although they can be an effective bio-filter, I've come to understand that they can be more trouble than they're worth. In some cases, they become a nitrate factory as way too much detritus and uneaten food are sucked down under. Without significant routine gravel siphoning, they will eventually become a problem.

I've also become a fan of sand over gravel as materials settle on the surface and either slowly decompose or can be easily siphoned off during the weekly water change (much easier than gravel siphon maintenance.

As to cycling. I believe that bottled bacteria supplements have come of age and give us a huge advantage over cycling the old fashioned 'hard way'...and much easier on the fish (just as using filter material or substrate from an established, healthy tank). There are several good products on the market these days that will kick start the cycling process.

Also as mentioned, PLANTS (even just floating) over huge advantages not only in processing ammonia, but otherwise helping to purify the water. Don't be afraid of plants as they add another dimension to both the appearance and the water quality. Some plants will only do well with more advanced lighting, but there are many that will do well with 6500k bulbs in existing fixtures... and always be sure to use timers for lights to provide plenty for plants, but not so much as to encourage algae growth.

I hope some of these thoughts are of some benefit. Welcome to TFK and keep us posted!
-AD

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