New member & a new tank - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 14 Old 05-31-2012, 05:45 PM Thread Starter
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New member & a new tank

Hello everyone. I've just registered here

I've just bought a new tank which is 250L with an external filter and this evening I've added gravel, plants and water and a few flakes of food to start it cycling.

I don't know how I'm going to be patient enough to wait til it's cycled before adding fish!!

This is my first tropical tank but I do have two coldwater tanks, one of which I've had for a couple of year and the other for 6 months or so.

Please can anyone recommend a good mix of fish for me to start off with?

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post #2 of 14 Old 05-31-2012, 07:00 PM
i like using zebra danios to cycle. they are really hardy fish and i still have the same one i used over 3 years ago.
from the picture though your tank looks like there is either a bacterial bloom or just sediment in the water. if its sediment, then doing a water change should help but if its a bacteria bloom then your tank has already started cycling :) you shouldnt put fish in it at this point. i have read that it is okay to put in fish so long as you have a safe start formula. otherwise, fishless cycling is better.
i used nutrifin cycle. it basically cuts down on cycling time from weeks/months to maybe a week or so. i put a platy in my new 40 gallon to start cycling while there was a bacterial bloom but i threw in a lot of that solution and in two days the water is much clearer. having plants helped as well.
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post #3 of 14 Old 06-01-2012, 07:07 AM
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Hello and welcome to the forum

It's really hard to wait for fish but you'll be so much happier in the long run if you don't add them to your tank now (and so will the fish).

You'll need to figure out your water hardness and ph and then see which fish are suitable for your parameters. If you don't have a good test kit, bring a sample to your local fish store and have them test it for you. While you're there, take a look at the fish you're thinking of stocking the tank with and jot down the names and quantity that you'd like.

You've got plenty of time to research while waiting for your cycle so check out Tropical Fish Profiles at the top of the forum page and see if the fish you've chosen will work for you.

Good luck and keep us posted on your progress.

Animal testing is a terrible idea; they get all nervous and give the wrong answers.

Last edited by Romad; 06-01-2012 at 07:11 AM.
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post #4 of 14 Old 06-02-2012, 11:39 AM
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I concur. Also, the first fish you do eventually add should be fish you actually want, not fish acquired just to help cycle. Some beginning aquarists think certain fish will be better to cycle, then somehow got rid of, or they're stuck with a fish they don't want and one that may cause other problems; not a good idea. When you've sorted out your GH and pH, and give us an idea of the fish you'd like to have in the end, we can probably suggest which ones would be fine first.

And welcome to TFK forum.


Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #5 of 14 Old 06-02-2012, 04:35 PM
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if you've ever gone through the pure torture (on the fish and you) of a fish in cycle, the waits not that bad! actually it gives you time to thoroughly research water, fish, and compatibility.
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post #6 of 14 Old 06-02-2012, 05:45 PM
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Hello and welcome!

You have found the right place here for friendly, and informative advice.

Lovely big tank you have there! I can't really tell, but is that real plants you have in there of fake? If real, then this is a really good start!

I agree with what others have said, and until you know the parameters of your water there is not really a lot we, or yourself can do regarding stocking suggestions.

As far as the cycle is concerned though, I must say that my experience of fish 'in' cycling wasn't painful at all, and I still have my fish that were used. I apparently bypassed the cycle process by adding LOTS of real plants, stuff like Green Cabomba, Anacharis, wisteria etc around 10 plants in a 29g (just to give you an idea) I also used a product called API quick start, which is a bacterial supplement that is supposed to feed your filter with bacteria to kick start the cycle process. (there are many different opinions on these products) but it seemed to work for me, as I never really noticed a noticeable cycle so to speak. I did have a slight spike in nitrite in the second week, but a couple of partial water changes sorted that out. Never had a problem since.

I must say, I chose unwisely though to begin with and now am stuck with fish that I like....but would prefer something different. I chose fish that I wouldn't kill, and would be easy to look after. This first step is definitely a very important one, and does require some consideration. I used Glow light tetra, to start with, then a group of Danios as the next lot of fish in, and I would much rather have more interesting fish, but they must have helped with the cycle, and the more exotic fish will just not tolerate the fluctuations in water parameters during the cycle, so its a catch 22 situation...

If that was my tank..... I would have it heavily planted with real plants, and a couple of large groups of some nice schooling fish 10-15 of each species maybe, maybe a nice centre piece fish (this would depend on water params) and maybe half dozen corys on the substrate. and/or some kind of loaches.

What species of these fish, that all depends on you, and your type of water.
Good luck, and keep us posted on the progress!

Peace always..

If you worry you die, and if you don't worry you still die..... so why worry?
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post #7 of 14 Old 06-03-2012, 06:18 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you for your comments folks

As you can in the photo, the water is now clear. I did water changes to achieve this as the cloudiness was from the gravel which I thought I'd thoroughly washed!!

They are real plants, not plastic and I'm torn between fishless cycle and putting something in there sooner rather than later. At the moment still fishless though.

What I thought I might try is this......

I have two goldfish tanks and I do 30-50% water changes on them weekly so I thought I'd put the goldies tank water into the new tank. I don't know if that's a good idea or not but it seems sensible to me.

Also the water here is very hard but we have a rainwater barrel so I thought I'd replace some of the hard water with rainwater to see what happens to the hardness and PH.

Another idea I've toyed with is to put my goldies in there to help the cycle but I know that if I see them in there I'll probably end up wanting to leave them in there and then I'll have to get another new tank - I don't think I'd be very popular with my partner if I did that!

I'd apreciate feedback on my ideas

Last edited by TheCat; 06-03-2012 at 06:23 AM. Reason: Forgot to add the photo!
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post #8 of 14 Old 06-03-2012, 06:57 AM
rain water is a bad idea.there are safer ways to achieve the type of water you want.there are hard water fish and theres soft water and theres the in between. get the readings first then see what type of fish you wanna keep.we can teach you how to attain the ph and hardness of the water for the fish.after that you have to get the water at the proper range and try to keep it that way before adding the fish in.use the cycle period to tinker with the water params and the different ways to get the kind of water you want this is the safest way.

5x2x2 aro,highfin bat,fei feng,ST,albino tinfoil,c.perch
4x1.5x1.5 planted tetras,harlequins,
otto,WMM,2 types of celebes rainbows,rcs,amano, bamboo,red ramhorns,MTS
3.5x2.5x2 flowerhorn,pleco
3x1.5x1.5 russel's lion,blue cleaner,sixline and leopard wrasse,maroon clown pair,green chromis,scorpion,tiger cowrie,turbo,lyretail anthias,jewel,anemone,star polyp,marbled and giant green mushi,zoa
2x1x1 nano sw shrimps
22 May 2012
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post #9 of 14 Old 06-03-2012, 11:01 AM
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Moving water from one tank to another is always a bad idea, the sole exception being when you have new fish in QT that are ready to go into the display tank and you do a water change on the QT tank using water from the display to acclimate the fish. But aside from this, never. There is stuff in the water that should not be transferred to another tank unless all those same fish are going in that tank.
Same for using the goldfish. Fish release pheromones and allomones which you do not weant transferred, as well as possible pathogens and such.

As you have live plants, go ahead and add a few of the fish you want in this new tank. The plants will easily assimilate the ammonia from a few fish. Tanks with live plants do not need "cycling" as we think of it; the cycle naturally occurs but the plants prevent ammonia from being sufficient to cause trouble, and there is no nitrite as such.

Which brings us to the fish. What fish do you intend? They need to match your water parameters. If the parameters need adjusting, we can discuss safe methods. But first we will need to know the numbers for GH and pH of the tap water, and the intended fish species.


Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #10 of 14 Old 06-03-2012, 12:56 PM Thread Starter
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Well I've just tested the water and I have

GH 180
KH 180
pH 6.5
NO2 0
NO3 20

I'm worried about the hardness of the water. I don't know anything about which tropicals would be able to live in this
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