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Want to start all over - how do I start and maintain a freshwater tank?

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Want to start all over - how do I start and maintain a freshwater tank?
Old 07-14-2013, 03:19 PM   #11
 
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Whatever you decide to buy, I'd suggest getting it on Amazon or DrFostersandSmith.com only due to price. PetSmart and Petco's tend to post things at rediculus prices. If you like something at petco or petsmart at least check those 2 websites to see if it's cheaper. I saved $40 on a filter that should have been $70 but it was on sale at one of those sites for $30 and I just had to obtain $20 more worth of stuff for free shipping so I added some water treatment and fish food which I needed anyway.

As for cycling, since you're looking stuff up BEFORE running and buying everything then wondering why your fish aren't doing so well, I commend you. Thanks for asking before hand.

Just google "Fishless Cycle" and have a "API Master Test Kit" (cheap on amazon, like $40 at petsmart/co) so you can check out your Ammonia/Nitrate/Nitrites so you'll know when you're fully cycled then you could add fish.

If Fish In cycle you'll still want that kit and definatly a 5 gallon bucket ($3 at home depot) and a gravel vac and you'll have to do a water change EVERY day till it cycles.

Fish in or Fishless, you're looking at anywhere from 2-6 weeks of cycling. Be prepared for that.
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Old 07-16-2013, 04:00 PM   #12
 
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I agree with all the above advice. I will talk you through cycling.

There are basically 2 ways to cycle. Fish-in and fishless. Most of us here prefer to fishless cycle as the cycling process is dangerous and cruel to fish. However, if that is the route you choose to go, then it can work.

To fish-in cycle you will set your tank up, condition your water, let the pump and heater run for about 24 hours and then get some hardy fish. I used tiger barbs when i fish-in cycled. For 10 gallons you would need about 6. You will also absolutely have to have the api master kit so you can test for ammonia, nitrites and nitrates. Do you understand the cycle?
Everyday you should be testing for ammonia, which fish excrete as waste. Ammonia will spike to usually 1-2. When you see this, keeping testing ammonia and start testing for nitrites. As ammonia drops you should see a nitrite spike. When nitrites spike begin testing for nitrates too. As nitrates rise, ammonia and nitrites will disappear. Your tank is fully cycled when ammonia and nitrites read 0 and nitrates are present. I suggest not doing any big water changes until you are cycled as you will just set the process back, and this is why we dont like to do fish in cycle. The high ammonia and nitrites are harmful to the fish and they may not survive. This whole process will take anywhere from 4-6 weeks.

To fishless cycle you will use an outside source of ammonia. You can use straight ammonia that u buy. You can use fish food and just put a little bit in everyday. As it begins to rot it will produce ammonia. U can put some raw shrimp in a pantyhose and place it in the tank. Any of these work but the raw shrimp i think is the fastest. You can take the shrimp out of the tank once you get 1-2 ammonia and see some nitrites. The process after that is the same as above. Once you have 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, 10 nitrates you are cycle and ready for fish.

I use AqAdvisor - Intelligent Freshwater Tropical Fish Aquarium Stocking Calculator and Aquarium Tank/Filter Advisor to stock my tanks but you have to have an idea of what u want. We need to know the ph of your water and the gh at a minimum so we know what fish r best suited for your water. Hope this help!
Hi,

Thanks for the information.

For a 10 gallon tank, how much food should I "feed" the tank each day to help build up the ammonia?

Also, where can I buy ammonia if I want to start by doing that? Petsmart only seems to sell stuff that removes ammonia.

Thanks!
Juggernaut

Last edited by Juggernaut122; 07-16-2013 at 04:13 PM..
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Old 07-16-2013, 05:02 PM   #13
 
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check hardware stores for janitorial ammonia. It shouldn't bubble when you shake it. Either way you will want a master test kit from amazon.

For fish food you just need a small pinch
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Old 07-30-2013, 08:26 PM   #14
 
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check hardware stores for janitorial ammonia. It shouldn't bubble when you shake it. Either way you will want a master test kit from amazon.

For fish food you just need a small pinch
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Hi,

I got the ammonia level up with the fish food alone.

It was not coming down at all after 2 weeks so I added some of the bacteria that you can buy as a tank starter & the ammonia is now starting to come down.

Once I have 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, 10 nitrates and I am ready for fish, what do I do with all of the food debris that is hanging around in the tank? I presume I need to vacuum it out, but when do I do it - before or after adding the fish? I am a bit confused on this point.

Thanks!
Juggernaut
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Old 07-30-2013, 08:39 PM   #15
 
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I would personally do A gravel vacuum before and do maybe like a 25 percent water change. New fish don't beat right away. Maybe feed them a very small amount of fresh food 6 hours later.
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Last edited by Aurie; 07-30-2013 at 08:47 PM..
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Old 08-01-2013, 06:36 PM   #16
 
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Before adding fish, do a thorough vacuuming and major water change --- >60%. There is little bacteria in the water column, so your cycle will not be effected.

For my information: what brand of bacteria in a bottle did you use? How much? How quickly did it work? What were your readings before adding it? What are your current readings? Thanks in advance for the info.
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Old 08-01-2013, 07:45 PM   #17
 
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Before adding fish, do a thorough vacuuming and major water change --- >60%. There is little bacteria in the water column, so your cycle will not be effected.

For my information: what brand of bacteria in a bottle did you use? How much? How quickly did it work? What were your readings before adding it? What are your current readings? Thanks in advance for the info.
Thanks.

I used this:
Tetra Safe Start&#0174 Aquarium Starter - Fish Care - Fish - PetSmart

I added 3/4 of the small bottle (says can be used for up to 30 gallons).

We started at a level greater than 4 (somewhere between 4-8) - I think we are on day 3 now & the level is down to around 1. I hope the tank does not have too much ammonia, but so far those little guys seem to be eating it away slowly.
I have not checked the nitrite and nitrate levels yet.

Juggernaut
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Old 08-08-2013, 08:26 PM   #18
 
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I would personally do A gravel vacuum before and do maybe like a 25 percent water change. New fish don't beat right away. Maybe feed them a very small amount of fresh food 6 hours later.
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Hi again,

I have the tank set up:
ammonia 0
nitrite 0
nitrate 20

Do I need to just add one fish at the start?

I am concerned that with the gravel vacuum and water change that the bacteria there will not have enough ammonia to feed them. (Can't believe I am worrying about feeding bacteria!!)

So should I still just add one fish to the tank, or should I add more than 1, or does it not matter at this point?
(I think they want to get dalmation mollys or perhaps glow-fish.)

Thanks!
Juggernaut
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Old 08-08-2013, 09:26 PM   #19
 
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thbeneficial bacteria are on the surface of the aquarium gravel and your decorations keep in mind when you grab a vacuum that you're not going to get 100 percent of the litter so they will always be something for them to feed on. when you start adding fish do it slowly so that way the bacteria have time to reproduce they usually do this within 24 to 48 hours so if you add one fish do another fish in a couple of days. if you Add a school of fishjust keep an eye on the ammonia levels and maybe do one or two extrA gravel vacuum the first two weeks
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Old 08-08-2013, 09:27 PM   #20
 
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I use voice to text so if anything is spelled wrong blame it not me lol
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