Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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-   -   Initial setup (http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/beginner-freshwater-aquarium/initial-setup-30332/)

bdm 10-09-2009 10:48 PM

Initial setup
 
Being that I have introduced myself in the "meet the community" forum, I would like to start with intial start up questions. I will be as specific as possible with my information, but, being new to this, I beg for your patience with my limited knowledge. I appreciate any future comments.

First, my ten year old daughter and I are starting a ten gallon freshwater tropical aquarium. We are both enthusiastic, and are "giddy" with the idea of sharing this hobby.

Approximately six days ago, we cleaned an old gold fish tank I had when I was a child "ten gallon". We added clean substrate, and artificial foliage.

Then I added water, as well as dechlorinating agent.

Attatched an aqua clear mini filter/pump assembly, with new foam insert only. I have researched the cycle, and want to establish benificial bacteria. I also have the carbon, and ammonia inserts, but have not installed them yet.

I then added stress zyme as we choose to cycle the tank fishless ;-). My water temp has stabilized at approximately 79F.

3 days later, a workmate of mine brought me some substrate from his "established" community. With many exuberant "thank you's" I gladly accepted, and added some of this substrate to the tank.

I purchased a master API testing kit. And have encouraged my daughter to assist me with the testing. She is finding the basic chemistry experiments to be intriguing. I just hope she continues this new found interest in science:-D. Back on topic.............

Our results 6 days into this project:

ph 7.6

ammonia .50ppm

nitrite 0 ppm

nitrate 5.0 ppm.

note, the water is crystal clear.


I have explained to her that we have to wait for the ammonia to peak, and drop. As well as the nitrites. Please base this explanation on my interpretation of the "cycle". Comments here would be helpful.....

I would like to know when to add the other filter inserts if possible.

And when it would be appropriate to add the first fish.

We want to start with 2 male fancy tail guppies.

After the initial two fish, we plan on adding more male fancy tail guppies, one at the time at two week intervals. until we have five. Monitoring the water quality of course to help insure success.

is five an appropriate number? We choose all males to avoid the fry issue.

suggestions of other types of fish as an alternative are welcome as well.

I will be adding the second dose of stress zyme tomorrow.


I apologize for the huge wall of text, but my enthusiasm is only shadowed by my will to succeed in this new venture.

My daughter and I thank you in advance, all constructive comments, and criticisms are welcome. I look forward to your responses.:thankyou:

MoneyMitch 10-10-2009 12:20 AM

Well i welcome your daughter and you to the forum!!!

Sounds like you two are on a EXCELLENT start, from the looks of your test results that you gave us here it seems you are definately starting your cycle with the rise of ammonia and nitrates. the "seeding" was a great idea to jump start things, a little hint about all livebears is that they are usually the hardest to kill fish out there. if i were you i wouldnt hessitate to add two of them now and wait till your cycle balances out. as far as the ammonia insert goes im not familiar with this and untill someone that knows more about that chimes in i would steer away from it. Money

bdm 10-10-2009 12:20 PM

I am certainly encouraged by your response.... so much so, I took your suggestion. We did a little field trip to the local fish shop this morning. Now we have to small male guppies in the tank.

I floated the bag for approximately 20 minutes, slowly adding tank water to the bag to help acclimate them to the conditons of the tank water.

after fishing them out with the net, and putting them into the tank, they seem to be quite calm8). I hope this is a sign of things to come. As a matter of fact, my daughter has been watching them intensly for the last hour and a half.

I have added the carbon insert, washing it in tank water before installation of course. I can only assume at this point that I am supposed to continue testing water quality every couple of days until the cycle is complete.


When should the first partial water change be performed?

As things progress we will take pictures of the tank and its inhabitants. It is not elaborate, but we are excited. I am as giddy as she is at this point!!!!

Twistersmom 10-10-2009 12:20 PM

Hello!
Sound like you have really been doing your homework! That is very good!
I see read you are doing a fishless cycle. Your ammonia is .50 ppm. What is the source of the ammonia? Did you add food or pure ammonia to the tank to bring it up to .5?

I am not a fan of ammonia removing inserts. When the fish are added, the best thing for ammonia removal, is water changes. The ammonia inserts could stall the cycle and they have also been known to leach ammonia back into the tank. I think a better choice would be adding Biomax to the filter or doubling up on sponges.
Both the sponge and Biomax are great areas for the beneficial bacteria to grow. Adding them now, will help with the cycle. Only wash off in removed tank water. Cleaning the sponge or Biomax in chlorinated tap water will kill the needed bacteria. The only time these should be replaced, is when they are completely falling apart and both should never be replaced at the same time.
As for the carbon, it is not needed. The only time I use carbon is to remove meds. If the plant will be planted, carbon is not recommended. I would hold on to the carbon, just in case for some reason you will need it for medication removal. Other than that, I would just stick with the sponge and Biomax for more efficient bacteria growth.

Twistersmom 10-10-2009 12:25 PM

Just read your new post and see you already added fish.
When doing a cycle with fish, I try to keep ammonia and nitrite under .25 ppm. With ammonia being at .5, I would go ahead and do a water change.

MoneyMitch 10-10-2009 04:05 PM

as far as water changes go i would definitely do one to drop your ammonia to .25 or lower and then monitor it about once every day or two days. your also going to want to keep a eye out for high nitrites as you know these are also toxic to your fish. definately stop adding the artificial ammonia at this time and let mother nature do her thing. your water changes should be whenever you ammonia is over .25 and yiu many have to do as much as a 50% change to make things go where you want them.

willow 10-10-2009 05:11 PM

welcome to you and your daughter.
i hope you have fun with your tank.
look forward to the pictures.
:-D

bdm 10-10-2009 09:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Twistersmom (Post 255583)
Just read your new post and see you already added fish.
When doing a cycle with fish, I try to keep ammonia and nitrite under .25 ppm. With ammonia being at .5, I would go ahead and do a water change.


as far as the water change goes, I will perform one in the morning, perhaps 25% to start. I never added ammonia, I started the cycle with stress zyme, and some substrate from a friends tank. I will perform an additional water test in the morning as well, just to keep an eye on the ammonia and nitrite levels. :-?

bdm 10-10-2009 09:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MoneyMitch (Post 255449)
Well i welcome your daughter and you to the forum!!!

Sounds like you two are on a EXCELLENT start, from the looks of your test results that you gave us here it seems you are definately starting your cycle with the rise of ammonia and nitrates. the "seeding" was a great idea to jump start things, a little hint about all livebears is that they are usually the hardest to kill fish out there. if i were you i wouldnt hessitate to add two of them now and wait till your cycle balances out. as far as the ammonia insert goes im not familiar with this and untill someone that knows more about that chimes in i would steer away from it. Money

i guess I was a bit confused on this one. I thought I was supposed to add the fish at this point. If I misread, I apologize for my over exuberance. :shock: I just hope I didn't screw up, and gave these two little guppies their death sentence.......I was wanting to do this correctly:roll: oh man............

Any words of wisdom??

MoneyMitch 10-10-2009 10:37 PM

i was talking about the (stress zyme) ive never used that stuff nor do i know what it does and i assumed that how you worded things that you were using that to start your cycle. i wouldnt use that on the daily anymore just when you add new fish or do w/c's your fish will be fine i promise it.


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