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This is a discussion on Helping a Beginner... within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> At this point, you very likely do have beneficial bacteria growing in your gravel and it could prolong your cycle to change the gravel. ...

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Helping a Beginner...
Old 05-15-2008, 03:31 PM   #21
 
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At this point, you very likely do have beneficial bacteria growing in your gravel and it could prolong your cycle to change the gravel.

On the other hand, it could be much worse to do a major overhaul and change all of your substrate once the tank is fully established and full of fish. Doing so will absolutely cloud up your water with all sorts of nasty junk (no matter how thorough your weekly gravel vacs are) and would probably put your tank through a mini cycle.

So, if you really want to change the gravel, I'd do it now. Personally, I like the natural look better than some of the brighter colored stuff, anyway.
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Old 05-15-2008, 06:55 PM   #22
 
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When should I expect the cycle to start? What will be the first sign of the cycle? Sorry for all the questions
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Old 05-15-2008, 07:50 PM   #23
 
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The cycle should start in a few days if it hasn't already. You know it has started when you have a presence of ammonia, 0 nitrite, and 0 nitrate. I think the driftwood looks excellent in the tank. I have a word of caution about sand though, based on personal experience. I used sand as the substrate in my 55 gallon, with pea gravel underneath as a base for my plants. I thought then the plants would be fine. I was wrong. I was unable to keep the plants healthy with a sand substrate, because they could not form an adequate root structure. I wouldn't recommend sand if you plan on keeping healthy, live plants.
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Old 05-15-2008, 08:04 PM   #24
 
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The cycle itself started once you had ammonia in the tank.
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Old 05-15-2008, 08:10 PM   #25
 
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Jasey, you are right about the sand. I will just pick up some natural colored gravel soon, because I can't stand this white and blue gravel.

Monday, my readings were:
pH-7.3
Ammonia-0 ppm
Nitrite-0ppm
Nitrate-0ppm

Today, they were:
pH-7.2
Ammonia-.25 ppm
Nitrite-0ppm
Nitrate-0ppm

Does this mean my cycle has started? I sure hope so. *crosses fingers*[/list]
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Old 05-15-2008, 08:18 PM   #26
 
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Yep, that's a starting cycle. Since you've got the fish in the tank, I would do water changes every time either the ammonia or nitrite goes above 0.25 ppm. Serpaes are fairly hardy, but ammonia and nitrite are both toxic to your fish so you don't want them swimming in it if they don't have to.
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Old 05-16-2008, 09:20 PM   #27
 
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So in about 4-6 weeks when my cycle is over, what other community fish could live with a school of 8 Serpae Tetras? Also, what are some good botton feeders?
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Old 05-16-2008, 09:41 PM   #28
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Garrity828
So in about 4-6 weeks when my cycle is over, what other community fish could live with a school of 8 Serpae Tetras? Also, what are some good botton feeders?
Serpaes are vicious fin nippers thus they will limit your stocking options. Try bristlenose pleco, corydoras or hara hara. As for other tankmates, you could mix them with zebra danios or Rasbora boraptensis.
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Old 05-16-2008, 09:46 PM   #29
 
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Corydoras are definitely one of the better bottom feeders. They like to school together along the bottom, so groups are a must. They prefer groups of at least 6, but since you'll already have the 8 serpae tetras, I would recommend going with only 6 pygmy cories and a smaller number, maybe 4 or so, standard-sized cories. Eight serpaes and 6 pygmy cories would be near the top of your stocking limit. You might be able to add something like a single smaller gourami, such as a honey or dwarf gourami. Any schooling fish is going to require large enough groups at that point that you'd really be pushing your stocking limits, if you decide to go with the serpaes and cories.
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Old 05-16-2008, 10:03 PM   #30
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iamntbatman
You might be able to add something like a single smaller gourami, such as a honey or dwarf gourami.
No, you can't. As I said, serpaes are vicious fin nippers therefore any long-finned species is likely to meet its demise as soon as possible.
Quote:
Any schooling fish is going to require large enough groups at that point that you'd really be pushing your stocking limits, if you decide to go with the serpaes and cories.
It's not a question of limiting the stocks where bioload is concerned but a question of compatibility. Tetras don't excrete the amount of wastes as catfishes do and anyway pygmy cories are far too small to make the water conditions deteriorate dangerously.
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