I would greatly appreciate any concerns or suggestions.
Two days ago I purchased a 5 gallon (hexagonal) aquarium. The filter is incorporated into the hood of the tank, pumping water over a blue mesh filter laced with charcoal, then that water rolls a bio-wheel.
The tank has been running for 48 hours and I have a heater rated for 2 to 5 gallon tanks. The temperature has held steady at about 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
I would like to begin cycling the tank with 5 to 7 Neon Tetras. I figure I'll start out with 5 until the tank is properly cycled. Since this is a heavy load to introduce to an uncycled aquarium, I intend on doing a 15 - 20% water change every day or every other day depending on ammonia levels.
I have approx. 3 inches of tan gravel at the bottom of the tank. I strained the gravel beforehand to prevent any extra dust and particles.
The tank has many (also cleaned) artificial silk plants to provide ample cover.
Charcoal laced filter - Will this eliminate too much ammonia to allow beneficial bacteria to grow? I'm also worried that it will leach toxins back into my tank once it has reached capacity.
Fish Load - The end goal of this tank is to have only Neon Tetras (7). Are these fish appropriate for cycling a tank, if not would Guppies be a good substitute?
Water Change - From what I've read and past experience, during the cycling phase frequent water changes should be performed. Is a 15 - 20% water change every other day too much or too little?
Temperature: I have also read that Neon Tetras prefer a slightly cooler temperature, between 72 - 78 degrees Fahrenheit. As previously stated, the tank is currently 80F. Should I turn off the heater or will they adapt to this slightly higher then recommended temperature?
Thank you to anyone who can help me with this!