New 29 Gallon Tank Evaluation
I have a 29 gallon freshwater tank. I have a LFS I go to for plants, a LFS I go to for supplies, and a 3rd LFS I go to for fish. It has been cycling for 3 weeks now. My info:
My tap water is hard and basic (roughly 7.6 & 170)
I have a black gravel substrate
3 pieces of Malaysian Driftwood (2 medium-to-large & one small)
1 medium piece of Mopani
My water is tan from the tannins leeched into it
9 live plants (4 swords, 2 vallisneria, 1 brazilian pennywort,1 anubias, 1 java fern - last two are pinned to wood to allow their roots to attach, anchor, and have open water exposure) - plants were added 3 at a time, weekly
The live plants, wood, and mixing some distilled water and bottled mineral water with my tap water (I monitored amounts & know proportions needed for water changes) has allowed my water to settle with the following parameters:
I have tested every other day for the past two week to ensure stability, and I have tested both with API test strips and API Freshwater Master Test Kit (the liquid bottles & test tubes).
Prime Water Conditioner
API Aquarium Salt (at water addition startup)
API Leaf Zone (weekly)
API Stress Coat [with water addition(s)]
API Stress Zyme (weekly)
I believe I am ready to now add fish. My fish are smaller fish, but I'd like to pick out the smaller ones available at my LFS because I find it more fun to watch them grow a bit. The fish I would like to add, in order are:
7 Glowlight Tetras
7 Neon Tetras
3 Pepper Corys
What are peoples' thoughts, evaluations, & suggestions? I developed the tank & worked to get the water parameters and setup specifically for these fish, so I'm not interested in someone suggesting a cardinal over the neon, but am looking for more advanced feedback. My roommate and I also have a 125 gallon tank with a fire eel and shovelnose tiger catfish (a gorgeous individual fish by the way), so I'm not really a rookie, but obviously my group of fish wouldn't last 3 days in the big tank with those guys.
I wouldn't mind doing 9-9-5 from a personal stand point, but I am trying to avoid overstocking, but being heavily planted may help. Also, if I did 9, maybe try getting 5 and then 4 in attempts to slow stock?
Almost forgot: I have a 100 watt, adjustable temperature Aqueon heater, an AquaTech 40, 3 stage biofilter, thermometers at each end of the tank (one high, one low), I have a carbon & white diamond-ammonia reducer bag in my filter, and a 24" 50/50 light that is on 12-14 hours a day
Another little tidbit of information: There are no fish in the tank presently, but after the parameters had stabilized, but I was still adding plants, there was a crayfish in there for about 5 days. We had originally got him as part of a group of feeders for the catfish in the big tank, but didn't realize just how big this particular one was, and we had to remove him because he was too big for the catfish to eat, and the crayfish had large pinchers and was nipping at the eel. The crayfish has since been found a new home.
I would do 6 pepper cory. Also why use aquarium salt?
As you have live plants, and some reasonably fast-growing species, you can remove the ammonia thing, it is competing with the plants and is un-necessary. Plants need nitrogen, lots of it, and they grab ammonia/ammonium about as fast as it appears as their preferred source of nitrogen. Also remove the carbon; it adsorbs stuff from the water, all stuff the plants will more easily take up anyway, plus the carbon will remove plant nutrients.
Fish sound fine, but I agree with ladayen to increase the corys. If you just want the one species, five (or a couple more) is fine; if you decide on two or three species, three of each minimum works well. Corys are very social shoaling fish and live in groups of hundreds and will be severely stressed as one or two. Same species is best, but in my 20 years with dozens of species i have found they like to mingle too, it is just having many "corys" that makes them happy. But 3 of each species is good as they will interact and perhaps spawn.
Numbers for the characins are fine, in a 29g I would stay around 7-9 of each. If you don't plan on other species, 9 of each. You could add some others, perhaps hatchetfish (Carnegiella marthae or Carnegiella strigata are the best two species for your setup) for interest at the surface. You noticed the names shaded, meaning these species are in our profiles, click the name for the profile.
Now to the "additives." Do not use salt with characins or corys, ever. Water changes will remove it, before adding the fish. You can read what it does to the fish here:
Prime is fine as a water conditioner, though I wouldn't use it unless you have ammonia, nitrite or nitrate in your source (tap) water. The plants will handle these better without interference, although this is not critical since Prime detoxifies ammonia by changing it to ammonium (which also occurs automatically in acidic water) and the plants will grab it before the bacteria anyway.
API StressCoat is a water conditioner basically the same as Prime except StressCoat does not touch nitrite or nitrate. Here again, it does detoxify ammonia, so same comments as for Prime. You do not need to be adding both with each water change, this is just wasting one of them and adding more chemicals than necessary and unnecessary chemicals have no place in fish tanks.;-)
API StressZyme i would not use. This messes with the natural bacteria in the substrate (different from nitrifying bacteria) and the aquarium will be healthier if nature handles this on its own. You can read more background on bacteria here:
API Leaf Zone is not a complete plant nutrient fertilizer, it only contains potassium and iron, which are two of 17 nutrients required. I recommend Seachem's Flourish Comprehensive Supplement or Brightwell Aquatics' MultiFlorin. I use Flourish myself, but both are fine. And it takes very little, a 1/2 teaspoon once a week in your 29g is it. You can see the results in the photos of my tanks under "Aquariums" below my name on the loft.
Hope this is of some help. Last comment, but not least, is welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum.:-D
Thanks for the input. I was kind of focusing on listing everything and neglected the sequence. Prime, Stress Zyme, and salt were all added at the initial start up with nothing but tap water and gravel. I then decided to create a more specific environment, so with water changes I was then using Stress Coat and Stress Zyme.
I will discontinue the Stress Zyme and use the Stress Coat as my tap water conditioner if necessary. I appreciate the recommendation on the plant nutrient supplement, and I plan to pick up some Seachem's Flourish on my next trip to the store.
I think I may go for 9 glowlights, 9 neons, & 5 Corys. 9 seems like a lot to be adding all at once for a tank this size, but they are smaller fish. Think I should get 5 to start or just dive into 9 for a more unified school?
Good. That's exactly what I was hoping for with the live plants, and I am happy to hear reassurance, and I know to stagger the additions of each species. I have all of the plants & wood arranged to provide plenty of swimming space but also plenty of places to hide, so my fish should love their new home.
With Flourish just make sure that it is Comprehensive you are getting, there are other flourish products that wont do what you need.
might need to change lighting, 50/50 usually means compact fluorescent with half 10000K and half actinic or 420nm/460 nm - both intended for marine applications
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