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Suggestions for my water parameters

This is a discussion on Suggestions for my water parameters within the Freshwater and Tropical Fish forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> Originally Posted by JDM If plants and budget are not in sync, perhaps adding plants as you can to get them built up would ...

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Suggestions for my water parameters
Old 05-02-2013, 10:18 PM   #41
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Originally Posted by JDM View Post
If plants and budget are not in sync, perhaps adding plants as you can to get them built up would be appropriate. Depending on how out of budget they are, you might find that the timeline is similar to adding the ammonia and bumping the cycle into a higher gear and safer for fish in the long run.

Jeff.
The ammonia method is 100% fish safe, well provided you do all the PWCs to lower nitrates before introduction. There will be plenty of nitrates. I simply can't speak for plant safety. I have heard various things, but without having done it with hard water I can't say which is correct. At no point were any of my fish in any danger.
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Old 05-03-2013, 07:11 AM   #42
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The ammonia method is 100% fish safe, well provided you do all the PWCs to lower nitrates before introduction. There will be plenty of nitrates. I simply can't speak for plant safety. I have heard various things, but without having done it with hard water I can't say which is correct. At no point were any of my fish in any danger.
Adding a lot of fish at once no matter how the cycle is setup is asking for spiking problems. Plants act as an ammonia sink all the time which avoids many problems with the nitrogen cycle whether at fish introduction of down the road.

Either way can be safe, with the proper care and attention. The water needs to be monitored for a while after fish to be sure that everything is stable. Setting up plants to handle the ammonia is easier, faster and, I would still argue, safer, or at least less prone to what people call "new tank syndrome".

I have hard water, 23dGh... If you are referring to the higher pH with harder water and the resulting higher ammonia/ammonium ratio, I didn't have any trouble with it and I didn't treat the water in any way. So far I haven't seen anyone with harder water than mine posting, at least since December. I'm sure there are some though.

Jeff.
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Old 05-03-2013, 10:39 AM   #43
 
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I would certainly plant this tank first, and then start adding fish. I have set up dozens of new tanks by planting, and fish go in on day 1 with no issues. But for someone new to this, I do caution care, by adding a few fish to start. It becomes easier to guage as one gains experience. Forget adding any form of ammonia.

The Emerald Dwarf Rasbora would be good, but this is a very small fish; I have a group in my 33g, and they are almost lost; in a 55g they would be. Those rainbows were nice, just too many. A group (5-6) of the Red would be a start. Bear in mind that they are largish fish (at 5 inches) and will eat small fish.

Byron.
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zombiefish610 (05-03-2013)
Old 05-03-2013, 01:43 PM   #44
 
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I think I will add plants first. Not decided on the fish anyway. I'll just get it planted and keep adding food I guess. Can anyone tell me when I should do my firdt water change?
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Old 05-03-2013, 02:31 PM   #45
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If you are using food, you really only need to do one before the fish go in as you don't have a nitrite spike to deal with and your nitrates aren't likely to skyrocket if you are going ahead with the plants. Even then I'm not sure that it is needed so much as just a prudent cleaning house measure just to suck any crap off the bottom.

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zombiefish610 (05-03-2013)
Old 05-03-2013, 02:49 PM   #46
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Adding a lot of fish at once no matter how the cycle is setup is asking for spiking problems. Plants act as an ammonia sink all the time which avoids many problems with the nitrogen cycle whether at fish introduction of down the road.

Either way can be safe, with the proper care and attention. The water needs to be monitored for a while after fish to be sure that everything is stable. Setting up plants to handle the ammonia is easier, faster and, I would still argue, safer, or at least less prone to what people call "new tank syndrome".

I have hard water, 23dGh... If you are referring to the higher pH with harder water and the resulting higher ammonia/ammonium ratio, I didn't have any trouble with it and I didn't treat the water in any way. So far I haven't seen anyone with harder water than mine posting, at least since December. I'm sure there are some though.

Jeff.
I would argue that the ammonia is actually safer for the fish as there are fewer variables to take into account. With plants you need to make sure they are growing, have species that are good at dealing with ammonia/nitrates, and stock slowly to avoid a spike.

A fishless cycle with ammonia will not cause a spike. With ammonia you dose to 4 ppm and when the tank can cycle that much all the way through to nitrates in a day you are cycled. Do you have any idea how many fish you would need to add to be at a level greater than 4 ppm a day and hence cause a spike?

So yes the planted cycle is fast in the initial introduction of fish, but not in complete stocking. Both ways are perhaps equally easy. Fishless being safer in my opinion. Zombiefish has already fishless cycled with fish food so I'm confused why you tell him to continue doing that but are so against using ammonia, which you've never tried. The point of using that method if fish are going to be order online is to be able to stock at once and combine shipping. That could save a lot of money whether the fish in question are the rasboras or rainbows.

Both methods work. If fish are local then a planted cycle is a good idea. I'm simply trying to present all the options since in this case one has an advantage lacked by the other.

My reference to hard water was that when I fishless cycled my PH plummeted due to my having low KH. That and my attempting to raise the PH is what caused my frogbit to die. Zombiefish has a much higher KH than I do, so plants might be fine.
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Old 05-04-2013, 11:45 AM   #47
 
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I think it is one thing to add a natural product like fish food and have ammonia being naturally produced, but quite another to be dumping pure ammonia in the tank, something I personally would never do.

The ability of plants to take up the ammonia is considerable. Floating plants are the easiest way to handle this. I have set up tanks with plants and fully stocked them the same day with no issues. I admit that the plants were healthy, coming from my former/other tank, and probably carried over bacteria as well (as would the chunks of wood and rock). If one is really timid using this method, it is always possible to seed the tank with a bacterial suplement as well. I used to do this, but don't bother now as I have become more confident of the plants method.

Byron.
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Old 05-04-2013, 11:45 AM   #48
 
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This tank is going to be so gorgeous when it's all set up and running! I can't wait!!!

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I might suggest dropping the moss balls. Jeff.
NOOOOO!!! Mossballs are brilliant! Don't drop them. . .
I've always regarded my Mossies more like animals than plants. They're fuzzy and they end up moving or being moved all around, either by the current, the keeper, or even the fish. I have them in every one of my tanks, and they all have names, because they're SO SUPER CUTE!!! *giggle* Mossballs are the greatest!

Love your sand! It looks like you have the PetCo brand version of the Tahitian Moon Sand that I have in most of my tanks. I just love the stuff! If it is what I suspect, you'll find that it's really easy to deal with, and ideal for a beginner. It tends to be a bit heavier/larger grained than other types of sand, including the play and pool filter sands that I've experimented with, and far less likely to be disturbed during maintenance, which could lead to ruined filters and such. You'll have to let me know how you like it!

Kudos to you for choosing to cycle your tank BEFORE adding fish - it's always nice to see people taking the time out to do things the right way for the safety of their fish! All of these methods, fish food, ammonia, loads of live plants - are valid in their own right, and initial stocking should be influenced by which method you have chosen. It all comes down to your experience and comfort level, really.

From what I have read and experienced, using fish food will work to cycle a tank, but unless you are adding a LOT of food, a large bacterial colony won't be needed to keep up with the relatively low amount of waste/ammonia being created - most especially in a larger tank the size of yours. This method seems to work much better in a smaller setup. . . The end goal of getting bacteria into the tank will be accomplished, which gives you a lovely head start, as it will then grow more quickly to accommodate the waste of the fish added than if you had started stocking with a clean setup. Using the ammonia method will have the same desired result, only in reverse. When dosing a tank to 4ppm of ammonia, you're ensuring that you have far MORE bacteria than will ultimately be necessary for most stocking scenarios, and the 'extra' will die off when the tank is stocked, and there is not enough ammonia created by the fish wastes to support it. Using ammonia will allow you to safely stock more animals initially without as much worry over parameters, using fish food will require that you pay VERY close attention, as you will have to give the bacteria a chance to 'catch up' with the increased waste produced by a fish - who also gets food.

Since the end visible result of the nitrogen cycle is nitrate, the wisest course of action would be to base your initial stocking on the nitrate level that you end up with once it stabilizes - regardless of the cycling method used OR plants in the system. All of these methods are valid, cycling with fish food will force you to stock slowly, pure ammonia will allow you to stock more quickly. . .if stocking quickly is necessary due to online purchases. In my experience, growing a tank slowly is the best way to go, but it isn't always possible, depending on availability - especially with those fish that require shoals. I tend to prefer to play things safer than sorry, and try to have more bacteria than I need in any new tank before stocking. I view plants as a 'cushion' that allow me a bit of wiggle room - in case my estimations are off.

It can be difficult, especially for a beginner, to try to guess at what you can stock based on bacteria that can't be seen and counted! I would suggest that the best way to go about this is to take a good look at your stocking list, and local availability, and proceed from there once your cycle is complete. Get your plants into the tank, and give them time to settle in before adding stock, that way you know they'll be working to keep the water clean if any issues occur. The next time you have to do this, it will be MUCH easier for you, as you will be able to seed the tank from the established colonies already present in this one. Also as you become more familiar with the effects of various fish on your parameters, and how different types of plant-life do in your system, you'll find that much of this will become intuitive. For now, go slow and be careful!

One thing I haven't seen mentioned here (sorry if I missed it) is if you have, or are planning to start, a QT tank? After the initial batch of fish goes in, it is always a good idea to QT the next group before adding them. . .

I can't wait to see what your final stock list looks like, and to see this gorgeous set up start coming to life! Keep us posted!
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Old 05-04-2013, 01:40 PM   #49
 
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Yes it is Petco sand and so far I love it. Glad I finally found black sand somewhere local! Thanks so much for the great comments! I don't have a QT tank. Not sure if I will. I know it's a good idea but the smallest tank i have is a 29g and I have no room anywhete to put it. I do plan on acclimating the fish very slowly with a drip method. Since I brought it up, what is the best way to acclimate? I am in no rush.
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Old 05-04-2013, 01:57 PM   #50
 
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Originally Posted by zombiefish610 View Post
Yes it is Petco sand and so far I love it. Glad I finally found black sand somewhere local! Thanks so much for the great comments! I don't have a QT tank. Not sure if I will. I know it's a good idea but the smallest tank i have is a 29g and I have no room anywhete to put it. I do plan on acclimating the fish very slowly with a drip method. Since I brought it up, what is the best way to acclimate? I am in no rush.
I start by removing some of the water from the bag, if the store has put a lot in as some do. Then float the bag in the aquarium for 10-15 minutes; this equalizes the temperature in the bag water to the tank. Then add some of the tank water to the bag [the reason for lowering the bag water initially is here]. I use a cup. Wait 10-20 minutes, then repeat with another sup of tank water, and wait. Depending upon the fish species, I may do this once, twice, three or more times. Then net the fish out of the bag and into the tank. Never tip the bag and let any of the bag water get in the tank [it contains stuff you do not want, whether simply ammonia and pheromones/allomones from the fish, or pathogens from the store tanks/fish].

Some use a drip method. Pour the fish and bag water carefully into a small pail. Then use a piece of plastic tubing (air line) to drip water from the main tank slowly into the pail. After the water in the pail has doubled, net the fish into the tank.

These methods apply whether in a quarantine or the display. But when moving the fish from the QT to the display, I don't usually do all this; depends upon the fish and the water parameters.

Byron.
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