New tank/stand and stand set up!!! Pplus a couple questions
Yesterday I bought a new stand/tank kit at petsmart for $209. Its a 45 Gal that houses some Cichlids. Here is that tank all set up. I have to go get a bigger back round when I get paid but this one will do for now. The tank in the back you see if a 5.5 gal betta tank
Then I bought a separate stand to hold one of my existing tanks a 38 gallon on sale for $151. So I finally got that all set up. It is home to a bunch of barbs, mollies, a couple platys and some tetras. I had to put something under the back right leg to level it so I cut 2 inch by 2 inch flexible plastic (it doesnt crack or fracture when bent) and stacked it under. Took only two pieces. I made it half an inch bigger then the actual measurements of the leg. The small tank beside this one is a 2.5 gal betta tank. Im planning to upgrade to a 10 gallon for him and ill get a divider so I can get another Betta from the deplorable cups at petsmart.
That leaves me metal stand and a 35 gallon tank I am going to sell because I dont have room for another tank in my house.
Now, a question about the water changes. How often and how much on each tank should be performed? The filter in the 38 gallon tank is meant for 20 gallons so I need to grab a new filter for that tank soon but its doing its job so far. The filter in the 45 gallon is a filter meant for 50 gallons. I will see how that one handles the 45 gallon and might upgrade if I see one on sale.
Judging by the look I'd say you're a fake plant person... so water changes are going to be more important... which is why I didn't chime in. I've got lots of plants, no experience with plantless.
I did the math on water changes and contaminant buildup so, if you are seeing nitrates rise by #ppm per day then you just plain need a particular schedule to keep on top of that gain. It will, over time, reach a certain equilibrium where your changes keep the maximum nitrate level at a certain point. If you want it lower you can increase the frequency and/or increase the % changed.
Once you have the tank cycled, fish added and know the nitrate creep, the rest is just some math.
1 ppm nitrate creep per day
7 day change frequency
45% water change
16 ppm Maximum concentration
10 weeks to maximum concentration and equilibrium
1 ppm nitrate creep per day
1 day change frequency
7% water change
14 ppm Maximum concentration
6 weeks to maximum concentration and equilibrium
Always test prior to the change so you know where it is at and anytime you see the nitrates over your maximum, it's time to check what you are doing as something may have changed in the tank. Call it a yellow flag. You will need to adjust something in your schedule or tank.
Nitrates is only one aspect, and frankly not the most important [unless they are high]. Water changes must be performed weekly to rid the tank of various pollutants, as explained here:
The filter has no direct bearing on this, as the water change removes stuff the filter cannot.
Nitrate is often used as some sort of reason for water changes, and it is true that if nitrates are above 10ppm you need water changes often. But nitrates may be below 10ppm and water changes are still necessary. Plus, if you wait until nitrates rise, you are too late, as the damage is already occurring. This is like waiting until your car runs out of gas before filling the tank; you have to keep gas in the tank.
You also mention cichlids, and these fish are susceptible to nitrates above 20ppm. Always keep nitrates no higher than 10ppm with cichlids. And regular weekly substantial water changes is the only way to easily and successfully deal with this.
In my sample schedules switching to a 10ppm nitrate cap would take 70% weekly or 10% daily or even 40% every four days. Pick your convenience level.
I was considering adding a couple live plants to my tanks in a month or so. I want to get everything else down pat first. Yes, I have cichlids, I was changing their water 25% 1-2 times a week. Is this enough? I right now only have a tester for PH and Ammonia, Monday I was going to grab the other testers I need. My friend came and tested my water for me before I added fish and said I was good to go.
So what do I need? I know I need another Ammonia test kit as I am running low on that. I was just going to grab the API Freshwater Master kit for $35. It does PH, High range PH, Nitrite and Nitrate.
Or I could grab one of these for each tank and buy a Nitrate and Nitrite test separately? Seachem™ Ammonia Alert™ - Marine - Water Care - PetSmart
Don't know about seachem's others here use it I think. API master is mostly what you need, I bought the hardness kit too but I have hard water issues so thought it was necessary, only $7 though.
What did you do for the cycle?
Plants are easy enough that I don't know why many don't put them in right off the start, just start with easy stuff that grows fast.
The only tanks of mine that was not cycled (and its how I learned my lesson) was the 5.5 gallon. That was a PITA to get going but its cycled now.
What plants are easy and how would I go about feeding them without having to change my substrate again and can they be planted in sand?
Yah, changing substrate would do that. Keep an eye on the ammonia and nitrite levels for a while though, just to be certain and keep you initial fish numbers low, at least don't add too many at once.
The bacteria don't reside in the water, they stick themselves to surfaces ONLY. Keeping old water is a waste of time and effort. If you changed substrate and only used old water, your tank will not be cycled... the levels may test fine but that is normal with no fish. If you add small numbers of fish it will cycle, perhaps the fish would be fine. I just don't know plantless cycling as well as planted... lots of research on that topic and now some concrete experience.
Easiest and most bang for the buck for planted would be Dwarf Hygrophila (the name should link to the profile). It's a stem, just stick it into the substrate and let it grow. When it reaches the surface of the water, cut it in half and plant the top. There are some easy floaters, no planting, but I've been unsuccessful in finding them. Wisteria , amazon frogbit , basically, go to the fish profiles and into the plant section. Most of the normal stuff is there.
Oh, here is my post on my planted tank approach
On the other tank I think I have two of them as they are massive and soooo much brighter. Then on the 5 gallon I have I think a 15 watt florescent light.
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