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drag 05-07-2007 04:31 PM

Changing out gravel on new tank
Ok, I've got a stupid question, my tank (5 gallon) has only been set up for about a week and a half.

0 Nitrites, about 15 Nitrates, 25 ppm hardness (very soft), 0 alkalinity, 6.8 ph (that is if my test strips are working, I'm having the pet store test a sample in a day or two just to make sure.) Don't know the ammonia level, stupid 5-in-1 strips don't test for that.

I have a betta and a bunch of plants in it, and I'm planning on getting some kuhli loaches.

Since I just had one die I'm kind of paranoid now and want things to be perfect to give the buggers a chance. My tank has medium sized, rounded gravel in it. Is that too big for the loaches, should I switch to sand?

I also have a castle and cave system for them to hide in besides the plants.

If I switch to sand what will that do to have far my tank has cycled? Am I going to be pushed back a week by it, or does it not make a difference?

Thanks, Drag

Amphitrite 05-07-2007 05:12 PM

Hi Drag. From experience I would say that kuhlies much prefer sand although it isn't totally necessary.

At this stage, I would leave the gravel as it is - it will be holding beneficial bacteria necessary for the cycle. I would also advise that you get a liquid testing kit which tests for ammonia, nitrate and nitrate. The test strips are unreliable, and you should be testing the tankwater daily during the cycling process. Frequent water changes will be required at this stage to prevent the fish suffering from ammonia etc.

You could always add sand, but if I were you I wouldn't consider it at this stage. :)

Falina 05-07-2007 05:18 PM

I agree. The majority of the beneficial bacteria lives in the filter, but also in the substrate, on tank walls, on ornaments etc so if I were you I'd wait until the tank has cycled so that the filter is sull of the good bacteria and then change it so that you only have a mini cycle if anything. I also wouldn't add the kuhlies until it's fully cycled.

drag 05-07-2007 05:33 PM

Great, that will cut down on a lot of work.

I forgot to mention that I'm also using 'cycle' in the tank.

I'm not going to add the loaches until it cycles (hated losing that one, not going to happen again), and since I've set up the tank and been testing it most people have told me that the strips are junk, that's why I'm having the petshop test my water and I'll pick up a liquid test (with a test for ammonia!!!! Imagine that!) while I'm there.

Thanks for the advice.

Here's another question though, since my strips aren't helping me figure out where I'm at in cycling, does green algae growth indicate anything? I have a little (not a whole lot) of algae build up on some of my smaller plants that wasn't there before.

Hmm, I guess I need to add a snail too.

Falina 05-07-2007 05:38 PM

It often suggests a lot of light. Some snails eat plants though - so be careful.

drag 05-07-2007 05:51 PM

You said:

It often suggests a lot of light. Some snails eat plants though - so be careful.


I'm such a crackhead! I knew that, *laugh*, I just didn't connect it to my tank!

Hey, I read somewhere about have often your filter should cycle your tank. Reading the box now it says this filter/flow rate cycles 75 gallons an hour in the 5 gallon tank. Is that on the high end? How would that affect cycling? (I know it won't really do anything for tank load because of the small swimming space) Or would I be able to add a small algae eater? (guy at the aquarium shop actually said that the kuhli loaches eat algae, now I'm a noob, but nothing I've read mentioned that anywhere. I'm liking that place less and less.)

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