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Discussion Starter #1
Hello! Im new to the site, I joined for a simple reason and that is to learn more about this hobby. I made a noob mistake a couple of days ago, long story short I cleaned the entire tank and filled it with water and the next morning the (2) fish were dead. My son was sad, i did not understand why the fish died (knowing Iv cleaned my tank once a moth like this for an entire year) I checked online to see what happen and of course I found out I was cleaning and maintaining my tank the wrong way.

So I vowed to lean more info about these chemicals and start up a new tank. I went out and bought a water test kit along with other start up bottles. I found a cheap oceanic bio cube 29 gallon size tank with stand for $100. I picked it up yesterday and the fellow who sold it to me was using it to grow saltwater Reefs. He suggested I give the tank a good cleaning with ammonia to get the sulfur and hard stains out.

I wanna add live plants and other fish besides goldfish for this tank but before I do I need to learn as much as I can to learn about cycles and how to keep this tank up and running in good shape. Thanks in advance to those who reply. :)


First series of questions are;

Is there a better way to cleaning the tank besides ammonia>?

The back of the tank as seen in the pic has hard crust build up, Im thinking about using my dremel tool and a sand piece to get it off.

These tanks have a built in filter system built in the back of the tank. Is it safe to use the OEM filters for a freshwater setup? they contain Charcoal, It helps removes odors and discoloration in water.

Also I noticed this thank does not have an oxygen pump, do i use one with this tank or no?

What else should I stock up on before I decide to go out and buy plants and fish.

the bottom of the tank just has the small brown build up in the corner.

 

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I do believe that crusty stuff is coraline algae, I wouldn't recommend a dremel.
Try filling the tank with a white vinegar solution, that should help with any calcareous buildup.
I'd also invest in some razor blades and just scrape the heck out of the inside (careful of the silicone of course)
 

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I wouldn't use a dremel, I'd go the route of dousing it in white vinegar and using clean, new razors to scrape it off. It may take awhile, I agree that it does look like some form of coral.

Take the charcoal out of the filter, if you can. It's not really needed in a planted tank. I'm not sure what kind of filter it is, but I THINK it should work fine. Just give it a thorough cleaning with white vinegar, and it probably wouldn't be a bad idea to get all new media. (filter floss, sponges, biomedia, etc).

No, you don't need an oxygen pump if you're planning on doing a planted tank.

Before you get plants and fish, let's do an inventory check. What kind of testing kit do you have? Do you have a heater? Do you have plant fertilizer (I recommend Flourish Comprehensive Plant Supplement)? What substrate are you using?

I'd also see if the lights are replaceable. The lights on there are probably best for growing corals, which aren't the best lights for freshwater. You'll need lights that are around 6,500k.

Do you know your water parameters, in regards to how hard or soft it is? We'll need specific numbers for gh, kh, and ph.

Glad to see you taking such an interest in the hobby and willing to try again! :D Always wonderful to welcome new members into the hobby, it's truly a rewarding experience.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I have the tank running with a full bottle of white vinegar, so far its doing a good job, lots of coral have started to fall off. Im gonna let it simmer one more day and ill get to scraping the rest off on Thursday.

The test kit I have is just the strips, i believe they are the 6 in 1 testing strips. I do not have a water heater at the moment, will I need one? There are local freshwater plant growers who sell plants, so on the substrate ill have to ask them whats best when i decide what type of plants ill be putting in my tank.

Iv searched online and there are replacement lamps but the only one i could find were 10k for the day and blue lights for the night time.

10,000ºK Daylight - High-intensity purified super daylight
The 10,000K compact fluorescent lamp is a purified super daylight lamp that simulates the high-intensity lumen output of the midday tropical sun. It contains rare-earth color enhancing phosphors to emit sparkling, blue-white rays.

Actinic 03 Blue - 100% blue actinic 03 phosphor that peaks at 420 nanometers
The Actinic 03 Blue provides light in the 420 nanometer range that reflects color pigments in organisms such as corals, fish and invertebrates causing them to fluoresce glowing colors. Its spectrum resembles that of the absorption peak of chlorophyll-a, which is the most important pigment found in plant cells.

I do not know the about the ph kh and gh levels, I noticed those stripped test kits also but i did not bother to pick up a set not knowing what they were for.
 

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hello and welcome. :)
looks better already.
 

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There is controversy over whether those test strips are truly accurate, and they also do cost quite a bit. You may be better off with the API Liquid Master test kit, it's what most of the members here use. It's about $20 on Amazon, and will last you years.

As for kh/gh, if you're on city water you can usually find that on your cities water supplier website. Or you can buy the liquid test kit for it.

Depending on where you live/the warmth of your house, you may. I live in Florida, so i don't bother with a heater. But if you live in a colder area, you'll have to invest in one to keep the fish at a comfortable temperature (they can't regulate their own body heat).

There are lots of substrate options, I personally prefer sand as it gives you more fish options, but it's all up to you!

As for the lights...hrm. Those lights are best for corals, but aren't really the best for freshwater plants. Is it possible to use a different fixture if there are no suitable replacement bulbs for that one?
 

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+1^

This is the test kit jentralala recommends.
Amazon.com: API Freshwater Master Test Kit: Pet Supplies
The price has gone down. You can get GH/KH testkits there, also. But I'd just call my water provider, or look them up online. I'm thinking the water in the Dallas vicinity is kind of hard.

An adjustable heater (by Eheim, Hydor, Aqueon or Hagen) is highly recommended. A 200W heater is about right for a 30g tank. Weather gets cold in TX. Get a cheap floating thermometer to keep your heater honest.

Take your lightbulb and/or hood to your best-equipped fishstore and see if you can get a 6500K bulb that fits.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I live in central california, I will buy a heater for the winter time, it does not get too cold over here, right now the temp outside is a nice sunny 69 deg. I will purchase a heater thow for the winter time.

On the substrate i do like the look of sand better than the gravel, plus iv been looking at a bunch of youtube videos and most say its easier to clean and maintain than gravel. ON the lights, there are other light fixtures that can be be used with the bio cube, I see a lot of LED lights to be more popular than conventional tube lights.

Thanks for the link on the water testing kit, that same one sells at the stores for 30$ so to find it for about half off is a steal. I went out to a local mom/pops store and purchased some filter rings and some media pads, I plan on doing a fish-less water cycle in the future but for now im just stocking up on supplies.
 

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Well, you know what they say about assuming. (I saw the Cowboys logo on your personal page.)

Are you in the delta region? The water there is kind of funny---high pH, low GH, if I remember coreectly. Check with your water co. and let us know what they say about ammonia, nitrate and hardness (GH and KH).

That tank is ~46" deep. I don't know if affordable LED's can be had that would light the bottom enough to grow plants. You can ask on the "planted tank" section of the forum. A 60W to 90W curly CFL (6500K) in a hanging reflector or desklamp fixture would be enough to grow most anything. I've seen this application and it looks pretty good to my eye.

Any reason you're going with a fishless cycle?
 

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Well, you know what they say about assuming. (I saw the Cowboys logo on your personal page.)

Are you in the delta region? The water there is kind of funny---high pH, low GH, if I remember coreectly. Check with your water co. and let us know what they say about ammonia, nitrate and hardness (GH and KH).

That tank is ~46" deep. I don't know if affordable LED's can be had that would light the bottom enough to grow plants. You can ask on the "planted tank" section of the forum. A 60W to 90W curly CFL (6500K) in a hanging reflector or desklamp fixture would be enough to grow most anything. I've seen this application and it looks pretty good to my eye.

Any reason you're going with a fishless cycle?
Ok with my master freshwater test kit I tested our drinking water. yes it does look like you were correct, the Ph levels were 7.6 and the high range Ph were 7.4. The ammonia came in clear along with the nitrate levels. I will have to buy a gh and kh test kit later on this week to find out about the hardness of the water, ill post my findings.

I wanna try to keep the same top to the fish tank, there are LED sets that are sold to replace the light bulbs for the top. Im still looking for a decent none expensive set.

I have kids so i do not want them to get attached to whatever fish i decide to keep in the tank in the beginning of the cycle, maybe ill start with one fish and then add as the cycle progresses.
 

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That's how it's done. The idea of "sacrificial fish" is old-school and out of step with modern attitudes toward fishkeeping. Turns out low-ammonia-input cycles are just as easy as forced, high-ammonia cycles, and don't take that much longer, in my experience.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Went out today and grabbed a KG & KH Test kit. Got home and started to finish testing my tap water. After reading the instructions each test tube took 9 drops before the color of the water changed, indicating my tap water ppm of about 161.1.

The sheet that came with the test kit indicates to adjust the GH and PH levels between (50-100 ppm) to keep a community aquarium of tropical fish.

If I want to keep a planted tank with small fish with frequent water changes my tank should be oK? or am I going to need to add water softer to my water to keep the water at a ppm range of 50-100 to keep live plants and most fish.
 

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Your water is a little hard. Not as hard as mine and many others who keep tropicals. Your pH is also fine. There are only a few fish that won't thrive in your water just the way it is.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Iv gotten most everything I need to compete this setup. heater, rocks, light, are already added and ready to go. I have a 20 pound bag of eco complete coming in today. I poured boiling water on all rocks, i have a couple more getting a bath.



Once i get the eco complete, I want to start this tank.



My question is, can i add any of these into the tank to jump start the cycle? then maybe a week later add fish?
 

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No, when using cycling products you need to have a source of ammonia. If you want to do a fishless cycle, go get a bottle of pure ammonia. Make sure when you shake the bottle it does not foam up. You can add the cycling product then keep your ammonia at a level of 3-4ppm.

Ammonia is created by the fish, or in this case, pure ammonia. A second bacteria called nitrites then forms. Now that the tank is teaming with incredibly toxic ammonia and nitrites, a third bacteria colony forms that eats the first two colonies and they produce a final colony called nitrates. Nitrates aren't as bad for your fish in small levels, but once they reach 20ppm, you do a water change to bring them down.
 

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Jimmy, it looks like your big piece of rock is Texas Holey Rock.
Be aware that this is a type of limestone and will raise the hardness in your tank.
You can verify that it is calcareous by putting a couple drops of vinegar on it, if it fizzes or if you can wipe off some sediment afterwards it is most likely limestone and will affect your chemistry.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
it is texas holey rock, iv read and seen videos about this rock. Mostly read about how these rocks help keep the ph high, if i decide to keep it that would mean have to keep fish that are tolerable to high ph levels? I want to make this tank more of a tropical fish tank than anything else.
 

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Good catch, Ogre. Most tropicals prefer a pH <7.4, although many will tolerate >8.0pH. Most tropical keepers wish they had lower pH. Your pH is perfect, Jimmy. Don't mess with it.

Nutrafin cycle is an older product meant to keep ammonia down when (over)-stocking a new tank like they used to do, and battling "new tank syndrome." Nobody does it that way anymore, so it's mostly useless for modern cycling techniques. Microbe-Lift Special Blend is the same type of product, meant to break up sludge, chelate and sink particulates (for clarifying water) and to keep ammonia down.

The product you want is Microbe-Lift Nite Out II. It contains the actual live nitrifying bacteria (nitrosomonas and nitrospira) that oxidizes ammonia (which produces nitrite), then oxidizes nitrite (which produces nitrate). These bacteria need to be fed ammonia, either by adding pure ammonia (fishless cycle) or by using livestock to provide the ammonia.

Tetra Safestart, API Quickstart, ATM Colony, Dr Tim's One-and-Only all contain the same batceria. All live bacteria products, including Nite Out II, need to be used fresh (check the sell-by date) and never have been frozen or overheated.
 

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The pet smart clerk who works at the fish department told me the special blend bottle is what I needed. He said dump this in first then add your fish, Turns out those aren't even the correct start up bacteria I need to begin my cycle. (thanks for pointing it out you guys) Its a good thing i posted and you guys responded or else i would have made a big mistake.

The other red rock is called lacy agates, will this also raise the ph levels?
 
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