Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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laurence 06-13-2010 04:44 PM

Fishless cycle testing/lights for plants
Im planning on starting up a 20 gallon tank

Just wondering whats the best method to use to test the water for ammonia etc during the cycle, ive seen test strips but ive heard they're not so accurate.

Another question while im here, i will be planning on stocking the tank with live plants. will the stock 1 x 15 W T8 tube of the tank be enough for plants (i know nothing about lighting requirements). and should i wait until i have finished the fishless cycle to put the plants in (im planning on using the shrimp method).

This is the first aquarium ive ever attempted to run, so all input is very much appreciated (detailed if possible please as i know next to nothing). thanks very much.

zof 06-13-2010 06:36 PM

Get the API master freshwater kit, its great as it has the 4 basic tests (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and ph), if you stock the tank well enough with plants you should be able to skip the cycle according to some people here as the plants will absorb the ammonia, I would just add a few fish every week or so and monitor the water parameters so you know everything is staying in balance, as for lighting I have a 36 gallon tank with a 17w T8 bulb on it and all my low level plants are doing just fine, I'm sure they would grow more and faster with more light but you might want to try it with what you have before going all out. Make sure the light you have is in the 6500k-6700k range as that simulates daylight. Also look into a nutrient supplement for the plants I use flourish comprehensive.

Edit; forgot to mention, go take a look at the guides posted in the planted section of the forum by byron, should answer a few questions you might have and raise a few more :)

Byron 06-13-2010 06:55 PM

Welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum.

Zof said it. Plant the tank with plants and you can add a couple fish the first day, and more periodically. It's my only way of starting new tanks.

The single tube is OK, though we don't know what type of tube may be in it. A full spectrum or daylight tube works best with plants, one with a kelvin rating of around 6500K.


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