Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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dethnode 09-30-2012 06:45 PM

new to aquariums... help me
So I have read through some of the threads and found a lot of useful information, on that note thanks to all of you. I did not find this thread until it was too late, my friendly petco sales person gave me ill advice and I messed up. I just purchased 5 days ago, a 20 gallon long tank, took it home, filled it and put some water conditioner in it. 24 hours later per the advice of said salesman, I purchased 9 fish, 5 mollies and 4 platys... Within 2 days I was down to only 3 platys and 1 molly left. Then I found this forum, so I have now purchased a testing kit, and I think I understand the amonia, nitrite, nitrate cycle... However, I was wondering, given the situation, how long will it be before I should start to see some nitrite, and nitrate in my water, because as of today, my amonia has droped from .5 ppm to .25 ppm from yesterday to today, which I took as a good sign, but my nitrite and nitrate are both still testing at 0.

Also, is there anything that I should be doing other than waiting until the bacteria begin to grow? And lastly, how long should I be leaving the light on each day?

The tank is a 20 gallon long tank and has only artificial decor in it.

Also, When I can finally add fish back to my tank, would 2 angelfish, and a few neon tetras, and the fish I already have be okay in this tank or is that too much.

Again, I am new to all of this, I have never owned any fish in my life except the goldfish from carnivals back in the day, so please do not comment just to tell me I am stupid or something, I know that if I were a fish genius, I wouldn't need to be asking the questions on a forum now would I?

Tigris 09-30-2012 08:13 PM

I would not do angelfish because of how large they get and also because they like to school, unless you have a mated pair.

Can you give the readings on your tap water? Ph, KH, GH so we can better suggest fish.

You could look at rasboras, peaceful barbs like the cherry barb, other option can include some dwarf cichlids, gouramis, and a betta.
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dethnode 10-01-2012 07:50 AM

i have no idea how to test for kh or gh, or what they even are, but i will test my tap water ph today... the ph in my tank read high, 7.6 on the regular ph test, i did not perform the high range ph test, should i?

Tigris 10-01-2012 08:08 AM

Local stores like petsmart and petco can test your water. KH is carbonic hardness, GH is general hardness.
What's the upper level on the ph test you have bc 7.6 isn't high.
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dethnode 10-01-2012 09:34 AM

We have a ph test, and a high range ph test, on the regular ph test it tested at the highest reading of 7.6, I didn't do the high range ph test, I will tonight...

Romad 10-01-2012 10:05 AM

Hello and welcome to the forum :wave:

Ph of 7.6 isn't all that high (neutral is 7.0) Your water is slightly alkaline and a pretty good range of fish will be ok with that.

Agree on skipping the angels in a 20 gallon long. And I wouldn't add any more fish until your tank is cycled.

The tricky part you have now is to keep the cycle from stalling while keeping your fish alive and healthy. If it were me, I'd do small and frequent water changes and I'd add some Nutrafin cycle with each water change.
Using a really good conditioner like Seachem Prime will help with your fish during the cycle.

Good luck and ask any questions you need to along the way.

dethnode 10-01-2012 10:31 AM

Yeah, going to keep testing water every day until I start to get consecutive 0 reading on ammonia and nitrite, when I start to see some nitrate in the tank is that a good indicator of the cycle being complete? And how long each day should I leave the light on?

Romad 10-01-2012 10:56 AM

Cycle isn't complete until nitrAtes are present and ammonia and nitrIte both read zero. It typically takes weeks if not a month or more to get there.

As for lights, with no live plants you don't need them on for long at all. 8-10 hours a day max. is a pretty good rule of thumb. I like to enjoy the tanks at night so I have the lights on timers. 1 hour of light in the morning so I can feed them before work, ambient sunlight through windows (indirect) and then lights on again from 03:00 pm to 10:00 pm.

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