10-24-2008, 02:39 PM
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Also, if you can get your hands on some beneficial bacteria from another tank, that would be great. If someone you know has an extra filter on one of their tanks that they could move to yours, that would help. You could also get filter media from another fish tank and put it in your filter. If you don't know anyone else that keeps fish, the fish store might be able to give you some of their filter media that's been in their filters. You could also get some gravel from an established tank, put it into something like a pantyhose, and put that in your tank. Plants, decorations, rocks, driftwood - anything like this that's been in an established tank will be home to beneficial bacteria that will help cycle your tank.
Since your tank is going to be cycling with fish in it, you need to be absolutely on top of your water quality, especially since you don't exactly have the most hardy fish in the world in your tank. You need to get a good liquid test kit, like the API Freshwater Master Test Kit, and monitor your water parameters at least daily until the tank cycles. You will need to do water changes whenever the ammonia or nitrite become high enough to cause a problem, which with the fish you have in the tank, is pretty much whenever either of these parameters is detectable.