Starting out...again...tank advice please!
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Starting out...again...tank advice please!

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Starting out...again...tank advice please!
Old 01-06-2010, 11:20 PM   #1
 
Question Starting out...again...tank advice please!

Hello!
I apologize for this long thread...but I'd really appreciate some advice, and I figure the more information I can give, the better.
Last year I bought a ten gallon tank. I started off with 3 male guppies. About eight months later I purchased a Bristlenose Pleco and 2 Balloon Mollies. Within a month or so, everything except the Pleco died.
I recently moved, and the Pleco is still doing great. After re-setting up and maintaining for two weeks, I purchased two flame tetras (1 M 1 F).
Here are my questions:
1) I currently have gravel, some rocks, 2 plastic plants and a piece of driftwood. Would real plants be better? Are they difficult to maintain? Can I keep them with gravel, or would I need to switch to sand?
2) Can someone please explain how to 'cycle' a tank properly? I'm fairly sure I know how, however checking for ammonia levels, nitrates, nitrites and how often I do that is still fairly confusing to me.
3) There seems to be a great debate about having salt in freshwater tanks - the woman at the Aquarium shop today told me it isn't necessary to have in the tank, but it's good to have on hand for 'repairs' or isolations. Thoughts?

THANK YOU!

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Old 01-07-2010, 01:18 AM   #2
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dancercr View Post
Hello!
I apologize for this long thread...but I'd really appreciate some advice, and I figure the more information I can give, the better.
Last year I bought a ten gallon tank. I started off with 3 male guppies. About eight months later I purchased a Bristlenose Pleco and 2 Balloon Mollies. Within a month or so, everything except the Pleco died.
I recently moved, and the Pleco is still doing great. After re-setting up and maintaining for two weeks, I purchased two flame tetras (1 M 1 F).
Here are my questions:
1) I currently have gravel, some rocks, 2 plastic plants and a piece of driftwood. Would real plants be better? Are they difficult to maintain? Can I keep them with gravel, or would I need to switch to sand?
2) Can someone please explain how to 'cycle' a tank properly? I'm fairly sure I know how, however checking for ammonia levels, nitrates, nitrites and how often I do that is still fairly confusing to me.
3) There seems to be a great debate about having salt in freshwater tanks - the woman at the Aquarium shop today told me it isn't necessary to have in the tank, but it's good to have on hand for 'repairs' or isolations. Thoughts?

THANK YOU!

- Real plants benifit your tank lots gravel will work fine and depending on the type of plants i would stick to ferns and swords if your looking at ease of care and low maint

-when i setup a new tank i check levels about every two or three days and when i see everything cept nitrAtes i test before and after every w/c about 2-3 times a month

-Salt in freshwater is very controversial and up to the individual keeper, some say dont others say do its really up to you and what your beliefs are on it.
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Old 01-07-2010, 02:37 AM   #3
 
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Quote:
1) I currently have gravel, some rocks, 2 plastic plants and a piece of driftwood. Would real plants be better? Are they difficult to maintain? Can I keep them with gravel, or would I need to switch to sand?
Real plants would be "better" as they are more natural looking and help control nitrate levels in your tank, but there are caveats, of course. Different plants have different requirements in terms of lighting, substrate, fertilization, etc. Lighting is probably the most important concern. Unless you've got some really fancy lighting going on (which is doubtful unless you went out of your way to buy it in the first place) then you'll want to stick with low-light plants. Java moss and java fern are two solid choices. They're practically impossible to kill and can live (and even grow!) with even the most dismal of lighting. Check some of the threads in the Aquarium Plants section of this forum for more info.

Quote:
2) Can someone please explain how to 'cycle' a tank properly? I'm fairly sure I know how, however checking for ammonia levels, nitrates, nitrites and how often I do that is still fairly confusing to me.
Here's an article on cycling: Freshwater Cycling Methods

Quote:
3) There seems to be a great debate about having salt in freshwater tanks - the woman at the Aquarium shop today told me it isn't necessary to have in the tank, but it's good to have on hand for 'repairs' or isolations. Thoughts?
Salt is nonsense. Here's why: the substance sold in pet stores as "Aquarium Salt" is nothing more than glorified table salt. This stuff just ain't found in any sort of natural habitat. It's not the same thing as marine salt at all (which is what's used for saltwater and brackish tanks). Some argue that aquarium salt can have a calming effect on fish so, if you're a believer, it might be useful when your fish are sick (especially when it comes to treating ich, although table salt works just as well and is a heck of a lot cheaper). There's pretty much no reason to keep the stuff in the tank on a regular basis.
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Old 01-07-2010, 09:33 AM   #4
 
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Nothing to add to the above, others then go for live plants (Hygrophilia, Swords, Pennywort...these are all more easy ones).
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Old 01-07-2010, 02:22 PM   #5
 
do realize if you eventually get catfish and add salt they will die
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Old 01-07-2010, 04:52 PM   #6
 
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Originally Posted by PRichs87 View Post
do realize if you eventually get catfish and add salt they will die
pretty much any "scaleless" fish will suffer in freshwater "salt" tanks
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Old 01-07-2010, 05:41 PM   #7
 
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Nothing to add here except that if you think that was a long post... you should see some of the other ones we've seen recently!
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