Welcome to the Jungle - Tank Upgrade
So, with some poking from the wonderful Chesh, I have started a "journal" thread about my newest tank: a 36"X12"X20" 35 gallon tank. It was a hand-me-down, starting with River Crossing - an environmental charter school I attended years ago - which then passed on to a close friend, and now on to me. I knew from the start I wanted it to be a frog tank, and set up as an NPT. Only problem was, how to start?
Originally I wanted it to be a soil substrate with a sand cap, but after doing a lot of reading, that didn't seem to be the ideal direction for a relatively new fish keeper (1 year isn't a whole lot of time!) so I went and bought myself a 20lb bag of the black sand from Petco, as it was my only good, dark, sand available. I threw it, and a few rocks, in and started planting... So far, there's only about 8" of water in it, but it will do for now since the only inhabitants are my frogs. I will be getting more plants come Thursday/Friday, and will also be adding a fair number of fish to this tank. I also have some AMAZING driftwood coming in the mail. Can't wait to add it!
At the moment, I'm using a spare light from one of my decommissioned tanks. The tank itself didn't come with a hood, just a light, so I had to improvise. I got the 40 breeder hood from Petco, since it was the only one big enough, but it was too wide. So... it hangs over a bit. The light is actually still with the friend who gave me the tank, so it may never return to the tank. Once I know exactly what kind of light to get for the tank, I will be tracking the right one down and using that instead.
Work in Progress stocking list to follow. I don't know much about a lot of these species, so this tank is very much an experiment, but I'm excited!
1 (or 2??) bristlenose Plecos
5 (or 6) Amano Shrimp
20 Cherry Shrimp
?? Julii cories
?? Neon/Cardinal Tetras
Willow Hygro w/ roots
Rotala Inclinata stems
Needle Leaf Elodea stems
Alt. Reinekii stems
Crypt, various kinds
Water Lily (the kind grown from bulbs purchased at Petco)
Asian Water Grass
Anubias, various kinds
(will probably be adding: more crypt, Kleiner bar Sword, and Ludwigia)
*wishing I had Chesh's photo skillz*
It seems only fitting that "Welcome to the Jungle" is actually on the radio right now XD
I caved and went to Petco to pick up all my critteres and plants. Got 8 Juli cories, 1 hybrid (I think. Spotted X Juli? Looks like a Juli, but there's a vertical black "V" shape on its face), 2 BN plecos, and 15 small neon tetras. With all the plants in there right now, the tank is relatively heavily planted, as compared to what I'm used to. I should be getting two shipments of plants in over the next 2-3 days, as well as my sponge filter. For now, I'm doing daily water changes of about 15%. I'll do more if my tests come out poorly.
Not quite done setting everything up just yet. Will post photos when it's done (may be tomorrow!)
Finished adding all the (current) plants and fish! Hoping to have some more plants in tomorrow from dave56. Should also have a bunch of floating plants coming in within a day or two from djembekah. Then, once I get the driftwood in (looking like Friday, or early next week), my tank will be complete! Huzzah!
Wow! Watts! You move FAST!!! I thought you were still in the researching and planning phase, didn't realize you had already gotten everything up and running - including stock!
Glad to hear that you found Dave and Bek to help you out - nothing makes me happier than tank sharing, and you'll always get a better deal when you buy from a forum friend. ALSO can't wait to see that driftwood! I'm jealous. . .
So how are things going - the tank looks nice, the Cories are super cute, and I already love your frogums - but is it cycling in there? I might have missed something about seeding the tank, so sorry if I'm making you repeat yourself. . .
Lol, it's only been two days, but you're going so fast with this project, I have a feeling that enough has changed already that I should be demanding an update! *demands*
I'm technically silently cycling the tank - I've read that having a well planted tank essentially cycles it, and that the plants actually grow better with fewer bacteria. No idea how accurate that is, but I'm going with it. At the moment I am doing daily water changes to keep things in check while I wait for everything to arrive
The tank is fine, but plant shipments are not so fine. My package from Dave either got lost (wrong address) or stolen from the lobby of my apartment building. Either way, it is MIA and I'm trying to get the situation sorted out.
OHHH NO! Watty, I'm sorry to hear that you're having trouble! I hope you DO get it figured out soon, and back on track. *hugs* You must be so frustrated!
Hmmmm, "silent cycling" a tank is something I've read a lot about, and experimented with to some extent too. . . I'm going to be contrary now, so please don't take offense - I understand that this is a method that is accepted and has been done personally by many people. It isn't my preferred method - that doesn't make it wrong, but hear me out?
I don't have much experience in YEARS, but I have started more than my fair share of tanks in a short time - and I started on the wrong foot with a full-on fish-in cycle - I just didn't know any better. In order to 'fix' the mess I had made of my tank back then, I dumped in sooooo many plants! And it helped, I could see the ammonia levels dropping - but they didn't fall back quickly enough to save all of the animals I had under my care *cries* As many people as I've seen use this method successfully, I've seen an equal number who ended up with a cycle in spite of all the plants, my view is better safe than sorry when there are lives on the line. . .
There are several reasons why I don't prefer cycling in this way. . .
You need to have the right plants. You need fast-growing stem and floating plants that can fully absorb the ammonia BEFORE it becomes a problem for the animals. But there is no formula that can tell you how many of X plant will be able to uptake the toxins made by X fish/frog/snail. So much of it is guesswork, and I don't like to guess - I get way too nervous! Also, SO much of it depends on the health of the plant itself, and how long it's been in your tank. In my experience, plants go through a bit of a dormant stage after being brought into my tanks. As they acclimate to new conditions, they aren't growing very much, and so aren't taking in as many nutrients as they can be. . . so unless you have a tank in which the plants have been growing and thriving for some time, it's kind of risky. Just my personal opinion. I also always wonder what happens overnight? Maybe you've read the answer to this somewhere. My understanding is that plants only take in nutrients/ammonia during photosynthesis - while the lights are on. At night, they rest - so do the ammonia levels rise throughout the night when the lights are out? Maybe you can test this for me, because I've always wondered. . .
I'm NOT saying that plants aren't an amazing benefit to a tank, or that they don't/cant keep the water clean. You've seen my tank, lol, you know I love my greeeeeens! I prefer to think of them as a safety net in a new setup, though. I add as much cycled media as I can, and then use plants like duckweed just in case that isn't enough. I haven't seen ammonia in a new setup for well over a year, which makes me very happy - and my animals happy, too!
Sorry for the speech!!! I just want to see you succeed, and I know you'd be devastated if anything happened to those little froglets of yours. *hugs* I hope you don't take this in the wrong way. If you or anyone you know has an established tank, I'd suggest asking for a bit of anything you can get that's seeded. I PROMISE, your plants won't mind. :)
I REALLY hope those plants show up soon, though! Where could they be? :( GAAH! Frustrating! Have you gotten your driftwood yet?
I totally understand everything you are saying. I have two cycled tanks (at least they were last I checked) so I can seed it from those tanks. Just in case.
No idea where plants are. Post office called me this morning saying it was dropped off in the right location, which leads me to believe it might have been stolen. I'll be calling my building manager and the post office today if its still not there. I have a pack of floating plants that are supposed to be in today. I'll be livid if those go missing too. Driftwood and shrimp probably won't be in until next week, sadly
*hugs* I'm so glad! I was worried you'd take that the wrong way. :) I know your other tanks *nods* just in case seeding is a FANTASTIC idea, and what I would do if I were in your shoes.
I can not believe someone stole your box of plants!!! That's just SAD! And if so, I'm sure they were disappointed - can you imagine opening a stolen package only to find aquarium plants? Can't sell those on the street :/ I really hope they didn't get stolen, and that they show up soon with no harm done *crosses fingers*
I agree with Chesh on the "silent cycle". It's more like a quietish cycle IMO. Glad you are doing the water changed daily because the ADFs and the corys can't really handle going through a fish in cycle too well. (BTW very cute Julii corys you have..I just added 5 of those to my cory tank). And as Chesh said grab some seeded media and get that cycle over with. Hope you get figure out what happened to your missing package!
The plant package were indeed stolen. I filed a police report, and changed my USPS service to have in person pickups from now on if something doesn't fit into the mailbox. I'll be out that $19 used to buy the plants, but at least now it won't happen again.
As for seeding, I'm going to be doing it right now. I would have to guess the Petco tanks are cycled (how could they not be?) and some of their gravel ended up in my tank, so hopefully there's the start of something going on right now. Hopefully will have better updates in the future. Also hoping to pick up my plants and fancy (ha!) sponge filter tomorrow. I notified USPS to have all my packages held at the post office, and the one that's en route right now with the floating plants will be taken back to the building (hopefully) since it hasn't arrived yet.
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