Do I have everything I need?
My tank is 50 gallons. I have the following plants:
Taiwan Moss (Medium light)
Dwarf Sagittaria (medium light)
Riccia Fluitan (high light) -this is floating at the top of the tank.
Leopard Valisneria: (moderate light)
Seachem Flourish Excel 250ml -I use 1 cap a day
So far for fish I have 6 bristlenose plecos. I want to get a pair of Cockatoo dwarf cichlids but I want to make sure I have what I need for them. My substrate won't bother them will it? I know some have told me the substrate I have is sharp but I think that only effects bottom feeders which is why I chose the plecos I have.
Substrate: CaribSea Eco Complete Black Planted Aquarium Substrate
-I realize this can be sharp so I don't plan on having any bottom feeders.
I also have a Azoo Oxygen Sponge filter #7
Coralife 80412 6700K T-5 High Output Fluorescent Lamp, 31-Watt
Water levels need to be re checked but before I put all the plants in the tank the levels were:
PH is around a 6
Ammonia is present (hard to tell the number, maybe at a 1?)-this may be taken care of now that I have cleaned a lot of the "crap" out of the tank
Nitrate is pretty darn high, between 20 and 80 (hard to tell it's so dark red)
NItrite is zero
My tap water is :
PH for the tap is 6.4
Nitrate for the tap is zero
My GH and KH in the tap is around: 7 and 14 MC (?) per liter.
I will re test my water this week and can update my levels.
The Cockatoo Cichlid seem to like soft water and that's what I have so I think it would be a good fit. Thoughts?
Is there anything I need that I don't have? Will the filter I have be fine? I have nothing else running.
My plants started turning brown right after I put them in the tank. (especially the amazon sword). they are starting to come back around though so I think that's a good sign.
I'm also thinking of getting some tetra's or other fish that would be good "tank mates" with the Cockatoo's.
Am I missing anything? I don't want to spend $70 on a pair of fish then have them die.
I also know they like low light so I have a big piece of driftwood that offers cover. I'm also going to wait till the Ricca gets thicker and provides more low light for them.
I'm not home right now but I can post a picture later.
Any suggestions on a back drop for the tank? Right now it's clear and you can see the wall behind it.
The initial browning of leaves is usually due to the change in environment and provided new growth appears and remains healthy, nothing to worry about. But are you adding any plant fertilizer, aside from Excel (which is just a liquid carbon supplement)? This is likely going to be necessary. And although I am not a fan of Excel or similar carbon supplements, for reasons I won't go into at the moment, this plus the decent light will be wasted if the other necessary nutrients are not being provided.
Six Bristlenose is a lot, the males can be territorial so they need lots of chunks of wood to form individual territories. Keep an eye on them as they settle in. You do realize that with these in the tank, any cichlid eggs/fry will be gone in a matter of hours? Just in case you intend spawning the cichlids.
Water should be fine for the cichlids, but I would decide on "dither" fish first and add them before the cichlids (last in). Almost any smallish peaceful characins in a group will work. Some are fin nippers, so avoid those. Hatchetfish are good, for some top interest too; some of the pencilfish species work. Among the tetra the quieter (non-active) species, of which several are in our profiles.
On the backgdrop, the easiest and least expensive is plain black construction paper that you can buy in sheets at art/craft or stationery stores. The back wall will disappear.
The high nitrates if accurate [if using the API liquid kit, shake Regent #2 for a good 2 minutes before adding the drops, otherwise it may give a false and higher reading] are a concern, as nitrates above 20ppm can be detrimental to any cichlid, not to mention other fish too. More plants should help, and regular (every week) partial water changes of half the tank volume. The pleco may be contributing to this too.
Thank you for your reply. Is any plant fertilizers that you recommend? Would you mind PMing me about the Excel? I'm interested on hearing your thoughts.
I don't plan on spawning the cichlids right away but it would be nice to have the option for sure. Would a couple plecos be safe or are they not good in general for the cichlid eggs?
I'll re check my levels and see where the nitrates are. I think they should be lower by now.
Good news is my plants are getting new growth so that's good.
I don't mind commenting here on Excel, it is much what I have written in other threads; I just didn't want to bog down the previous post.:lol: Came across something I had forgotten, that Excel can cause higher nitrates, so this may be another part of the problem. The following comes from a cichlid site, just to give proper credit.
The Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for Excel lists glutaraldehyde as the active ingredient. Glutaraldehyde is an antimicrobial, bactericide, fungicide, and virucide, commonly used to sterilize medical instruments in hospitals. It is also used as an embalming fluid, as an ingredient in Anti-Freeze, an antibacterial agent in cooling towers, a leather tanning agent, a biocide in water treatment, a sanitary solution for portable toilets, and is used to sterilize ballast tanks in ships moving from one water source to another (to kill off pathogens and critters that may be transferred in the tanks from one water way to another).
From the above, one can see that this is a highly toxic chemical. It will kill some plants outright (Vallisneria usually melts), and if it should be overdosed it will kill plants, fish and bacteria.
There is more natural CO2 in a healthy tank than many realize; aside from the respiration of fish, plants and bacteria, CO2 occurs from the breakdown of organics in the substrate, and the majority is from this source, which is why planted tank aquarists leave the substrate alone in most cases.
I use and recommend Seachem's Flourish Comprehensive Supplement. Another basically identical product is Brightwell Aquatics' FlorinMulti. In either case, make sure it is the specific product, as both manufacturers make several different products in the respective lines.
Dwarf cichlids are usually good parents, fearlessly defending the eggs and fry. But this is during the daylight; at night they sleep. But catfish do not. If you want to raise the fry, never have nocturnal fish in the aquarium. I have several times had corys consume the eggs or fry. And any pleco will do the same.
Is it necessary to have a feeder like a pleco?
I do like them but I would also like to give my other fish the opportunity to reproduce if they want to. Guess I have some thinking to do.
Almost any "catfish" will find eggs/fry. Catfish are almost all nocturnal, which is why they are so thorough at this. The cichlids are basically defenseless during darkness.
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