New Guy Starting a Tank, need help!
So I have been using the search function for as much information as I can and can say there's a lot of information as well as opinions on certain things. I have been posting on and off for a while now and just wanted to get an overall info picture of what I have going on. PLEASE try not to admonish me for amateur mistakes, I have been trying to do this right and love it but we shall see how I have done.
10 gallon tank
Marineland Penguin 100 Filter
Water Heat - 78 Degrees
14" Bubble Wall
7 Neon Tetras
3 Sunburst Platys
3 Red Wag Platys
3 Peppered Cory Catfish
Tank was set up on 4/5/2010 and upon information from Petsmart "fish expert" (I know not the best source of information here) Did an initial fish in take cycling with a fresh tank with the 7 Neons. I did take my water in regularly to get tested to make sure everything was well and added the Platys 4/11 and the cory catfish today. I was told that this would not overpopulate my tank, however I should not add anything else, and trust me, I have no intention of doing that.
With the aide of the Jungle complete quick dip water quality test kit I am at a stage where my ammonia levels between a 0 and a 0.5 from the looks as best I could tell.
Nitrate - Between 0 to 20, safe
Nitrite - 0, safe
Total Hardness - Between 150 and 300, Hard and Very Hard
Total Chlorine - 0 Safe
Total Alkalinity - 300 High
ph - Between 7.2 and 7.8 Neutral/Alkaline
I am reading for the ammonia to do water changes, however I have been using conditioned tap water which I gather accounts for the hardness being hard and very hard. As far as the pH goes, I gather I need to get something to lower it which will also bring down alkalinity?
The water is also some what of a white cloudy and the biowheel has yet to develop substantial amounts of anything in it. As far as the fish look, none of them are sluggish or slow, all of them are very active in the tank if that means anything.
i have read varying opinions on chemicals to use through the cycling process, especially the initial. I have ready most popular so it seems to just let the tank cycle over the course of a few weeks with some 20% water changes to keep ammonia down, but as far as everything else goes, I'm not too terribly sure what to do.
I am trying to do this right and have been doing a lot of research online, I am sure after reading this some of you are thinking...well that's not the right way to do it at all.....I hope you can provide some insight into what I can do next. I just want to do this right!
I don't know what you used but you could be in trouble soon with so many fish and a new tank. Purchase Seachem Stability and use it following the directions exactly; the stuff works and is the best of the "cycling" products out there. There are many "experts" on this product and will talk as if they actually know what they are talking about when putting this product down. Almost no one knows what's in the bottle, but with those who have used it and followed the instructions, amazingly enough, it works. I didn't believe it myself but I am now at the end of day 8 with no ammonia, nitrites and 5 on the nitrate scale.
The product is cheap and will help your tank cycle very quickly.
At the recommendation of friends about the in fish cycle, I see that wasn't the way to go, but I am stuck doing water changer to keep the ammonium down.
I will defiantly get this product tomorrow and start using it.
What can I do about hard water and ph? Are chemicals the only way to work that?
I recently got started. Let me tell you what I did:
5 gallon tank.
Cheap, no name hang on filter for 10-20gal tanks.
I put one tall leaf Anubias plant in (looks like tall grass).
I put one short, flat leaf Anubias plant in.
5 gallons of tap water
1 capful of Amquel orange (for chlorine)
1 capful of Amquel blue (for fish slime)
15 feeder gold fish.
After three days, I took the goldfish out and returned them to the lps.
Added a half-moon tailed male betta
Added three neon tetras
Added one african dwarf frog
Added five fantailed guppies
The tank has been fantastic. One of the neons developed ICK. It spread to all of the fish in the tank. I treated with 1tbps/5gal and 50% water changes daily for a week. Everything's back to normal. Three weeks now and everything's fantastic.
No airstone, no heater, no test kit, etc.
This is my first time using live plants, and my return to the hobby after a fifteen year hiatus. With no offense intended, I think a lot of people here try to make it sound more complicated than it actually is.
From what I've learned on Google, the live plants absorb ammonia without converting it to nitrite. That's a huge sink which will eliminate the need for water changes, and during daylight hours, the plants provide all of the oxygen your fish will use.
Check out the Seachem line of products, I'll give you a good link to a chap who professionally has maintained tanks, thousands of them, and you can get a feel for what he does. He sells items and Stability is one of the items he carries. But to get to the point, scroll to more towards the end of the article and you will see Seachem products he has available. I'm not suggesting your purchase it from him but this link will give you a good feel for products that will assist you.
Here is the link for the Seachem he carries:
And here is a good link to his bit on the new aquarium:
Here is a link to a forum Seachem hosts, you can ask your questions directly to them, but do start your tank on stability right away:
You are in a fish in (cycle) and the 10 gal tank is well stocked. This will require in my view daily to every other day water changes of 40 to 50 percent using a dechlorinator such asPRIME or AMQUEL+ that detoxifies Chlorine,chloramines,and AMMONIA. If tank was mature,(cycled) you could use perhaps any water conditioner but the tank is cycling and there is little to no bacteria yet to process the ammonia that is part of Chloramines . CHLORAMINE is.. CHLORINE and AMMONIA. Many water conditioners state that they remove or detoxify chlorine and chloramines but they only remove the chlorine from chloramines and leave the ammonia for the biological filter (good bacteria) to process. In a new tank, there is not the good bacteria developed yet in sufficient numbers to process the ammonia from the chloramines. If your water contains only chlorine from the tap .then most conditioners will do.
Feeding the fish sparingly once each day and a TINY amount will also help keep ammonia levels more manageable. I might feed them half a dime size amount of food each day or every other day until the tank has cycled. The more you feed,the more waste fish will create(poop). Fish food and fish waste = ammonia.
A good liquid test kit such as the API freshwater master kit is a handy tool to help you keep an eye on how your tank is progressing.
As for (cycle in a bottle) products,, Some report that they work well and some believe them to be little more than snake oil. I prefer to keep it simple, I use only water conditioner and water in my tanks and have had no problems. I suspect if bacterial supplements worked well for everyone,, then word would spread like widfire and everyone would be using these products.
The filter of your tank is where the majority of the bacteria needed will be developing for your tank to mature,or (cycle). I would not remove or replace this material for the next month and if you don't overfeed,,, the material should not need cleaning as often as it might otherwise.
Should your filter material ever need cleaning,, best to clean it in dechlorinated water or old aquarium water you draw out during water changes.
My personal opinion, for what it is worth... I don't dump anything in my tanks that is not necessary and it has served me well.Opinions Vary.
Sounds like good information.
I stil do have a question about the hard water, do I even worry about that? Or just let it go.
I have read distilled water mixed with tap would help lower the hardness of the water, however also push the pH levels out as well. Any thoughts on that? I will continue to change the water daily until it cycles well I guess. Might go to the store and look at Stability as well.
There are no live plants mentioned, so we are dealing here with a standard new tank cycling, and as 1077 mentioned you have it well stocked for the start. But there are ways of lessening the stress on the fish.
Daily water changes of up to 50% may be required if ammonia levels rise above .25 and then if nitrite levels rise as they will. If you haven't read it yet, here is a link to a good article by iamntbatman on cycling that is stickied at the head of this section of the forum: http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/f...m-cycle-38617/
I am one of those who believe in Stability. I have used it, and know many others who have, and it has established the nitrification bacteria faster and prevented fish losses. I would strongly recommend you buy a small bottle and use it. It contains live bacteria. It has prevented ammonia and nitrite spikes in my experience.
As for the hard water, don't use chemicals; these will not work long-term. Water hardness is due to the amount of mineral (calcium and magnesium basically) present in your tap water. The carbonate hardness acts as a buffer for pH to avoid swings. Selecting fish that are suited to your tap water is far better than trying to adjust the tap water for different fish, at least at this stage. There are safe methods for doing this, and this avenue can be explored later. For the moment, the fish you have, with the possible exception of the neons, will manage fine in your harder basic (pH above 7 is basic) water; and until we know the exact hardness, the neons may be fine as well..
There is quite a difference between 150 and 300 ppm in terms of water hardness. I would suggest you have it tested more reliably so you know exactly what you have. There are liquid test kits like one from API that you can buy, but at this point I would recommend you either call your water supplier (they will usually have the hardness numbers) or take a sample to your fish store. Fish stores will usually do water tests. You want the exact numbers, for GH (general hardness) and KH (carbonate hardness). Once you have those, we will have a better idea of your water chemistry. In the meantime, please do not add stuff to soften it or lower the pH.
Last general comment, I fully concur with 1077 on not adding anything to an aquarium containing fish unless it is essential, absolutely essential. Water conditioner we need to deal with chlorine, chloramine, etc. I do in your case recommend Stability. That is all. The less stuff that goes into the water, the more stable the chemistry will be and the natural bacteria will develop and maintain a biological balance which is the key to success.
I think the Cory's are a great idea; they will help a ton with keeping the tank clean. I don't know about the platy's though; they are more for slightly brackish (semi-salty) water, or at least that's what I heard. Your water temperature also might be a little to warm... I am Canadian so I use Celsius, but in Fahrenheit you might want to keep your water temp about 73.5 or thereabouts. A little temperature change is a BIG deal if it is left that way for an extended period.
As for water changes, I like to do a complete water change once a week, which keeps my tank spotless. If you are having difficulty getting clear water into the tank I recommend pre-filling a large container (i.e. an old water-cooler tank) rather than using a hose or small buckets.
If you have excessive algae growth then consider turning your aquarium light off for part of the day, perhaps at night and when you are not present. Light is generally more for viewing purposes than the fish themselves, in my experience.
Also your tank seems somewhat overstocked, for a ten gallon the fish population shouldn't really exceed 12, even for small fish like yours. (Although there has been some speculation among fish experts regarding whether Tetras really count.) If your fish look bright and shiny that generally means they are healthy; dulled fish are probably diseased or weak for one reason or another, unless of course that is their natural appearance. You should always look up pictures of a fish prior to buying so you can tell when you see it whether it is healthy.
A fish's stomach is only about the size of its eye, and for fish the size of yours you really shouldn't need to feed them more than one pellet at a time. (You would really be doing your fish a favor if you used pellets rather than flakes.)
Aside from that, everything looks okay! Good luck!
Thanks for all the information.
Not to disagree with you, but from overwhelming take on things, and at this point, I don't think a complete water change is necessarily in order as that does remove beneficial bacteria from the water. I am not having any issues with algae as well and my light is on a timer so it is consistent and only on when I am awake!
I have been feeding them smaller amounts and since posting this did get the Stability product cycling through the tank. I am doing about a 40% water change daily as close to the same time of day as I can. the tank isn't looking as cloudy as it has been and water test strips show good results. I am going to continue to use the strips, I am a little short on cash at the moment so anything further may need to wait.
Ammonium - Still around 0 to 0.5, not quite as dark as the 0.5 but
Nitrate - Between 0 to 20, safe
Nitrite - 0, safe
Total Hardness - Between 75 and 100, soft and hard down from Very hard
Total Chlorine - 0 Safe
Total Alkalinity - 80 Moderate
ph - Between 7.2 Neutral
I am going to keep as many chemicals out of the water as possible and continue to use Stability and monitor ammonium levels and change as necessary.
In a few months, when the tank should hopefully be established and cycled, I am going to have to go on a 12 hour car ride from college back home. My next question is how much water should stay in the tank, can it make it that long with no filter or aeration? Should I look into buying a power pack for my car so at the least the heater and bubbles work? Any advice on moving a tank from Indiana to DC haha
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