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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello all, my name is Max and I am new to this forum. I am 22, from Minnesota, and two days ago I purchased a 50 gallon tank to start my new hobby.

Like I said, I bought a 50 gallon tank, put the 50 lbs of gravel in, filled it up with water from my bath, got my heater and canister filter going (Fluval 206), and put the following ingredients (and the proper levels of it according to the back of each bottle) into the tank: API Aquarium Salt, API Stress Coat, and Top Fin Bacteria Supplement.

After doing this, I added 4 minnows to the tank, as suggested by the employee in the fish department at Petsmart, he said that doing that would help with the bacteria cycle in the tank.

This was all yesterday, today I worked all day and when I got off, went to Walmart (only because it is open 24hrs, trust me) and got 8 gold fish and some gold fish pellets. I originally only went there to get a little food to feed to the minnows (I got floating gold fish pellets for them, do minnows even eat those?), and for some odd reason thought that by getting more 12 cent fish it would help my tank..

Anyways it is 1:30am now and I am just curious if I am doing everything right so far.

I haven't done any water changes, and I don't have a water test kit. I can bring water samples into Petsmart and have them test my water, but it would be a pain to have to drive across town over there each time I wanted to test my water, so I will probably buy a test kit tomorrow.

My roommate has a 55 gallon salt water tank, he has some equipment for it such as a gravel vac and a net etc., is it okay for me to use those things as long as I rinse them out first, or no?

Also, I am very interested in having live plants in my aquarium, and I believe because I have fluorescent lights that is something that I will be able to do? When should I get/put the plants in the aquarium? And what kind should I get?

I doubt that it matters right now, but I plan to have a semi-aggressive tank.

Here are some pictures I thought might help.








Any thoughts or comments would be very appreciated, I am new to all of this and not totally sure what I am doing!
 

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welcome to the forum. Awesome setup to begin with.
1 mistake is listening to the guys at petsmart/petco etc. I'd first take your fish back and get a refund for now and look into fishless cycling in an aquarium.

Though the 55 gal is big enough and won't kill those fish immediately, you might want to do a bit more research before getting fish yet.

There are articles on this site that will help you out and make better decisions soon enough. Good luck =) on this hobby it's awesome seeing someone new get into this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
welcome to the forum. Awesome setup to begin with.
1 mistake is listening to the guys at petsmart/petco etc. I'd first take your fish back and get a refund for now and look into fishless cycling in an aquarium.

Though the 55 gal is big enough and won't kill those fish immediately, you might want to do a bit more research before getting fish yet.

There are articles on this site that will help you out and make better decisions soon enough. Good luck =) on this hobby it's awesome seeing someone new get into this.
Not sure if I will try and get a refund for the fish, seeing as it was 48 cents, but I may remove them from the tank!

I have looked at the articles regarding cycling and everything, and I am just a little confused with it all. What exactly does the bacteria supplement I purchased do? It says it:
"Helps to stabilize your aquadic environment"
"Introduced beneficial bacteria"
"Reduces ammonia spikes"
"Aids in Nitrogen cycle to reduce "new tank syndrome"

Have I already begun this important cycle, am I on my way to registering 0 ammonia and nitrite?

I know tomorrow or the next day I will probably have to do a water change. Can I use my roommates gravel vac (which he uses for saltwater, can I rinse it off and use it for freshwater?)?

Also, when can I plant living plants?
 

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Bacteria supplements are generally a hoax IMO. There are good bacteria that grow in your tank and in your filter especially. To 'cycle' your tank means to establish a good bacteria colony. If you have a heater and like the fish you have now, take it out because they are cold water fish. But don't get rid of it because you may change your mind like all aquarists do at some point. The best way to cycle an aquarium is to add a couple of fish, feed lightly for a month, and iff the fish make it great if not, cycling a tank with fish is expected to kill the IMO. Plant greatly reduce the process of cycling a tank by using the fish waste as food.

I would recommend getting a test kit to see the water parameters in the tank and see where you are at.
 

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It is not the best way to cycle a tank with fish in. I would as the fish cost so little, take them all back and do a fishless cycle.

You NEED a test kit, there is absolutely no way to fully gauge what is going on in your tank without one. I would take any information your pet store gives you and discard it.

Profit first - fish health last - they dont offer good advice and are just after your money (with some exceptions).

I would personally get yourself a gravel vac and leave your room mates one alone. It will save you and him any heart ache in case one of you introduces something to each others tank. They are not expensive at all.

With regards to adding gravel to a tank...provided you rinse it well and make sure any free floating debris is out before adding to the main tank...if you are only a bit then use a plastic cup or something that has never been in contact with soap and add it slowly. It probably wont cause much of a storm in the tank.

Good luck and hope it works out for you.
 

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Also ditch the salt. I don't know if any one has said it yet.
 

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Also ditch the salt. I don't know if any one has said it yet.
Keep the salt, one day you'll run into some fish illness that you'll need salt for, so I recommend keeping the salt.

the rest of it take it back,

Here's what I use for my aquarium (90 - sold, 5 gallon office tank - thriving)

Water Conditioner:
SeaChem Prime
or

Kordon Novaqua+
and
Kordon Amquel (not plus)


Bacteria Starter:
SeaChem Stability
EasyLife Easy Start (Best i've used yet -- better results than stability)

For cycling fishless - feed tank the amount of food you will feed your fish once each day for approximately 3-4 weeks. Water change at the end of your cycle (you'll know by testing the water conditions) and then add 1-2 small fish to test the water.
 

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Not an expert here but won't 8 gold fish be too much for a 55 gallon?

Welcome to TFK
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Yes, very quickly. And they will nibble many plants.

Max, welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum, and to the hobby.:wave:

I concur with the previous members for the most part. My suggestion would be to think through the type of aquarium you want; for example, you mentioned plants, so that sort of points you in some directions as far as fish. And the beauty of plants is that you can avoid "cycling" issues if you have enough fast growing plants and very few fish. You might want to browse through our fish profiles for ideas, second tab from the left in the blue bar across the top of the page. A 55g could be a nice aquascape with several groups of smallish fish (some species are shoaling and need to be in groups, all this is mentioned in the profiles).

Lots of members here who will be able to assist you through the process, so don't hesitate to post questions.

Byron.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
It is not the best way to cycle a tank with fish in. I would as the fish cost so little, take them all back and do a fishless cycle.

You NEED a test kit, there is absolutely no way to fully gauge what is going on in your tank without one. I would take any information your pet store gives you and discard it.

Profit first - fish health last - they dont offer good advice and are just after your money (with some exceptions).

I would personally get yourself a gravel vac and leave your room mates one alone. It will save you and him any heart ache in case one of you introduces something to each others tank. They are not expensive at all.

With regards to adding gravel to a tank...provided you rinse it well and make sure any free floating debris is out before adding to the main tank...if you are only a bit then use a plastic cup or something that has never been in contact with soap and add it slowly. It probably wont cause much of a storm in the tank.

Good luck and hope it works out for you.
Got the Master Test kit and got the following results:

Ammonia: .25 ppm
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Nitrate: 0 to 5 ppm
pH: 7.6

How are those results? Was it okay that I got my water samples from the top area of the tank?

I got myself a gravel vac and I am about to clean it right now.

Also got some plants, a random assortment, only one I still have the name for is Amazon Sword.

Everything going okay for me so far?

And also people, I have read all of the articles and guides about a new fresh water aquarium, thank you for responding but they don't need to be posted anymore..
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thank you for your help everyone.

I know that Black Knife Ghost fish are supposed to have 70 gallons, but is there anyway I could make one the centerpiece of this 50 gallon tank?
 

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In my very limited experience with them, im not so sure they would make a good centerpiece fish. They lurk, most times, and spend a fair amount of time hiding too.
 

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Thank you for your help everyone.

I know that Black Knife Ghost fish are supposed to have 70 gallons, but is there anyway I could make one the centerpiece of this 50 gallon tank?
No. This fish if healthy will attain 20 inches, and it has an inflexible body. Thus it needs not only length (minimum 5 feet, but 6 feet would be better) but width, at least 2 feet front to back. Otherwise it cannot turn around.

Habitat issues (very dim lighting, this is a nocturnal fish), lots of hiding places, plus it is predatory--all this means a very specific setup. No disrespect to you, but many experienced aquarists will echo my suggestion that this is not a good fish to begin the hobby with.:)

A well-planted 55g will have more chance of success. The pH of 7.6 is basic, this also would limit the BGK which is very soft acidic water, but more to the point, can you ascertain the hardness? The water supply folks can tell you this, many have a website. We need GH (general hardness) and KH or Alkalinity, the bicarbonate hardness that will tell us how the pH may fluctuate in an aquarium.

Byron.
 

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no. This fish if healthy will attain 20 inches, and it has an inflexible body. Thus it needs not only length (minimum 5 feet, but 6 feet would be better) but width, at least 2 feet front to back. Otherwise it cannot turn around.

Habitat issues (very dim lighting, this is a nocturnal fish), lots of hiding places, plus it is predatory--all this means a very specific setup. No disrespect to you, but many experienced aquarists will echo my suggestion that this is not a good fish to begin the hobby with.:)

a well-planted 55g will have more chance of success. The ph of 7.6 is basic, this also would limit the bgk which is very soft acidic water, but more to the point, can you ascertain the hardness? The water supply folks can tell you this, many have a website. We need gh (general hardness) and kh or alkalinity, the bicarbonate hardness that will tell us how the ph may fluctuate in an aquarium.

Byron.
+10000

In my very limited experience with them, im not so sure they would make a good centerpiece fish. They lurk, most times, and spend a fair amount of time hiding too.
you'll need a tank that's large like byron mentioned, also it'll probably need about 125-180 gals.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thank you, I will scrap the BGK idea.

Are these results okay?
Ammonia: .25 ppm
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Nitrate: 0 to 5 ppm
pH: 7.6

I will try and find out the general hardness of the water, not sure who to call since the apartment company pays for water, but I will figure it out.

I added a few plants last night, can't remember the names except for an Amazon Sword, I also through my lucky bamboo in there that I have been growing outside of the tank for two years.

I want to get some moss or floating plants, also more plants for hiding places, could you folks give me some suggestions?
 

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Thank you, I will scrap the BGK idea.

Are these results okay?
Ammonia: .25 ppm
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Nitrate: 0 to 5 ppm
pH: 7.6

I will try and find out the general hardness of the water, not sure who to call since the apartment company pays for water, but I will figure it out.

I added a few plants last night, can't remember the names except for an Amazon Sword, I also through my lucky bamboo in there that I have been growing outside of the tank for two years.

I want to get some moss or floating plants, also more plants for hiding places, could you folks give me some suggestions?
take the bamboo out -- that will rot inside, people put it in the tank, but it's not really an aquarium plant.
look up some of the plants in the DB, also go to aquaticjungle.com the guy that owns the site does a lot of youtube vids about plants.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Nice nice, yeah I looked at some profiles and actually ordered some plants off of ebay, hopefully that works out. I will make sure to wash them very good before I put them in my tank to prevent any hitch-hikers.
Also got another piece of driftwood and an air pump, so should it should be interesting in the coming weeks!
 

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one more thing to add to what everybody else has said,, if you going with a planted tank, toss the air pump.. will do more harm than good..
 
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