Starting out, question about cycling
I just got my first 30 gallon tank and I want to keep a single angelfish in it.
I have already spent quite a bit of money on filters, air pumps, etc, so there's only so much farther that I can go - however, I know I need to cycle the tank first before putting the angelfish in it.
I have read up on the ways to do it, some start by either using direct ammonia, fish food, a piece of shrimp, etc, but I do not want anything that will produce a rotting smell. So basically my only options are to use ammonia directly or to use something premade, like Tetra Starter.
I am leaning toward the latter because I do not want to spend a lot of money and weeks on chemical tests and chemicals only to not get it right because, I probably won't :) I have a feeling I will screw up the chemical balance somehow and I heard it's hard to do it right the first time.
So my question is, can I use the Tetra Self Starter and buy like a single cheap guppy to live in it for the first few weeks or so to make sure the settings are right (I will test it regularly) before getting my angelfish? Will this harm the environment for the angelfish in any way? I will have some dwarf sagittaria growing as well.
I do not want to harm the angelfish and would like it to be as comfortable as possible -- so would it be okay to have another fish make sure it's okay first and then bring in the angelfish?
Thanks in advance :)
P.S. I don't know if this makes a difference, but the angelfish I'm getting will be like the size of a quarter.
Safe start plus a guppy would be fine. Some poeple on here have had success with Safe Start. I used a dead shrimp to cycle my tank and have to say it didn't smell. Make sure you have a good liquid test kit to check the progress of the cycle
Angel fish are social fish and therefore best kept in groups of 5 or more. The tank you have is not big enough for 5 angel fish. One option is to try and find a mated pair, which might be ok in your tank. For more info on angels look here: Scalare Angelfish (Pterophyllum scalare) Profile
So would it be okay for me to go to walmart and grab a cleaner with only diluted ammonia to add to my tank to get it started? I'm a Chem major so I think I'd be alright dealing with just the base chemicals of the process. (Of course calling the manufacturer to make sure that there is absolutely nothing in the cleaner but ammonia and water.)
I don't think that's mixed with anything since it says to dilute with water before using it to clean. Of course you probably won't need 64 oz, but that's what came up in the search bar, lol. Good luck! That's good if you can hack it :-)
Also, can you recommend any good liquid tests that you used, preferably something I can buy at wal-mart or a local pet store? I wouldn't mind buying it online either, but I'm anxious to get started and don't want to wait for shipping :)
Cloud9 and nonvolatilelife, welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum.
Now to your issues. I totally agree with sik80, angelfish need a group, they are social fish with interactions, and except for a breeding pair should not be kept alone or in less than a group of 4-5, which means a larger tank. This is not kind to the fish, to deny them what nature has programmed into them. So I would consider other fish options in order to provide the best environment for your fish.
To the cycling, I always use live plants. If you intend plants, which Cloud9 you say you do, they will "cycle" for you. Plant the tank well in water conditioned with a good water conditioner, get everything running (filter, heater, light), then add a fish or two, something you want; we can discuss how many when we know the species. Never buy a fish with the intention of using it for something then discarding it. Only buy fish you want. With live plants, you will not hurt the fish, though there are some sensitive or delicate fish that do better in established tanks. Plants assimilate ammonium (from ammonia) as their preferred source of nitrogen.
Your water parameters are important too, some fish need hard water, some soft, some are adaptable to some extent. We have fish profiles, under the second tab from the left in the blue bar across the top, with most of the commonly-available fish included. Info on tank sizes, minimum numbers for shoaling fish, water parameters, compatibility, etc. is included in each profile.
Awesome info, thanks Byron! I can look into other species, I like a lot of them, what about a pleco?
I don't have the plants yet, I'm actually getting them from someone else's established aquarium, so I hope that will help even more. Right now the tank is empty.
If the plants will do it then I'll just leave it to them, I didn't know they would. Although I would've kept the guppy anyway after the cycling, but I'll leave it to the plants since guppies probably like to be in groups as well.
You know what, I may also upgrade my tank to a 50 gallon. I didn't realize how much cheaper it'd be to buy it already used. I'm currently perusing other fish on the profile page and want more options :p
Pleco come in many sizes. The common pleco attains over a foot, and needs a big tank and also is a veritable waste factory. Smaller species (4-5 inches max) are fine, check out the few in our profiles (under Catfish).
On the plants, if coming from an established aquarium, keep them wet in tank water and plant them in your tank after you have conditioned the water to dechlorinate it. There will be bacteria on the leaves (as there is on wood, rock, decor, anything from a running fish tank) and this will "seed" your tank too.
If you have enough plants, and some are fast growing species, they will handle the ammonia produced by a couple small fish, and you just add fish slowly.
Plan out the basics before starting to get fish. Not all fish are compatible, and compatibility refers to much more than just behaviour. All the fish in an aquarium must have similar needs, in terms of water parameters, water movement (the type of filter), heat, plants (a few eat plants, some need them for security), wood, rock, etc. Then peruse the profiles; some fish are shoaling and need groups, some may not be good with others, and so forth.
If you have the space and can afford it, the largest tank you can manage will always be better. Not only for more fish, but more options, and larger tanks have (or should) more stable water conditions.
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