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Discussion Starter #1
So I've been out of the fish scene for almost 15 years now (boy how things have changed) and with all the beautiful rimless planted tank pics I've been looking at for the past few months, I finally jumped back in.

As I was checking out fish, I decided I REALLY liked the White Cloud Mountain Minnow. After I brought them home and googled everything I could, I quickly earned they're a cool water fish. Since I've got nice central A/C I figure okay, I'll dump the heater and embrace it. I can probably keep the tank from 68-72 (a couple cooler in winter, and a couple warmer in summer).

I'd like to go with about 10 WCMM's, then small numbers of 2 or 3 other species to round it out. Perhaps 1 or 2 Hillstream Loaches, maybe a couple Sparkling Gouramis for color, and maybe some other small scavenger that'd be happy at people temps. It may not be perfect for those fish, but fairly close right?

My BIG concern is that I didn't know going in that I'd be doing cool water and I'm afraid I'll be compromising too much to satisfy me, the fish or the plants - and I need to make a decision before I add more (which won't be until I've cycled). What do you guys think? Could you be satisfied with a cool water setup?

p.s. Here it is. I just received the tank 4 days ago :-D.
 

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Several Barbs, Danios, &, as you've mentioned, Loaches could do well in your tank. I think the Gouramis would be a little below their lower limit when the temp dips below 72. I had a 10 gallon White Cloud tank for 3 years, til I moved from that apartment, & never lost a fish, at room temp.
 

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Welcome to the forum and back to the hobby!

I'm not familiar with the dimensions of a 17 gallon (nice tank btw), so mind filling me in? Do you know you pH and hardness?

The temperature for sparkling gourami won't even be close to what you're thinking the tank will be. Sparkling gourami have a temperature range of 77-82F so I'd forget about them like Keleborn said.

I'm also going to disagree about the hillstream loaches (I'm such a spoil sport). Most loaches need decent current, hillstream loaches even more than most. They needs lots and lots and lots, oh and lots. Usually that is achieved by building a river manifold, but not always. Regardless 16X turnover an hour is the minimum suggested turnover rate for any species of hillstream loach. 20+X an hour is even better. That's an amount that the WCMM and plants you have won't be able to handle.

A better choice, depending on your hardness and pH, might be the mini moth catfish, Hara jerdoni. I might know some others, but I'll wait to hear the parameters.
 

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There are a LOT of "tropical" fish in the trade that don't require a heater. However, I suspect that your tank is not large enough for most of them. If it's as small as I think it is, even WCMMs would be too big. Not that a few would be, but the larger school that they ought to be kept in is. We really need to know how big (dimensions) the tank is before making any suggestions.
 

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I think that's a 17 gallon Mr. Aqua. So if it is then the dimensions are 23.6 x 11.8 x 14.2 Inch.
 

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I've never kept white clouds but I hear that they are pretty active so that (almost the footprint of a 20 high) might be enough for them.

I'm pretty sure that they like a lot of current, and I KNOW that the hill stream loaches like a lot of current so maybe you could so a specialty tank with them.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks everyone!

Blackwaterguy, you're correct about the Mr. Aqua tank. As for PH, it's about 7.6 from the tap and 6.4 in the tank (perhaps the Aqua Soil?). I haven't got a hardness test yet but when I last tested 15 years ago from the other side of town, I suspect the water isn't terribly hard.

Google tends to get you to LiveAquaria.com -- where they say Sparkling Gouramis want 72-78 degrees -- so that's where I got the idea that it might be possible to have a couple.

Any recommendations for a small bottom feeder that would fit in here?
 

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The profile here says a 20 high for WCMM, the one on Seriously Fish says a 10 gallon. When I had them as a kid I had them in a 10 gallon. Doesn't mean it was right or wrong, only what I was told at the time. They did fine though, either way that aquarium should have them covered.

MCMM are from slow streams. I've seen them being kept with hillstream loaches in small tanks like 10 gallons. Don't know how well it worked long term though. A lot of those were videos on Youtube and most those tanks are terrible.

The profile here and on Seriously Fish both state 77-82F. I'd trust both of those profiles more than I would LiveAquaria's.

I've been wanting to try Aquasoil, but just haven't yet. It will lower pH. You're going to have an instant ammonia spike right away from what I understand. I think you might have to do 50% water changes daily for a few weeks if it's new to stop the ammonia from going sky high and actually killing your plants. I know of people using it with established filters and it still reaching 8 ppm ammonia!

lol Still going to suggest Hara jerdoni, but I might be biased since I'd like to own them someday.
 

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By "someday", I assume that means you've been searching for it your whole life, and by "lol", you mean FAT CHANCE amiright? Because that's a pretty cool cat.
lol Nope. Seen them a few places online and even locally. None of my tanks are subtropical and I wasn't sure which temperature range to trust. Hara jerdoni • Sisoridae • Cat-eLog Planet Catfish lists the same low range, but up to 77 F. One day, when I have lots and lots of room.
 

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Hmm... uh... well, no.... it's not been previously used. I am new to modern soils in planted tanks, and there's kind of a limit to the knowledge one can have about these matters when just starting out.

Hey, I've got cooler water, low ph and good aeration. That should count for something! :)
 

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Hmm... uh... well, no.... it's not been previously used. I am new to modern soils in planted tanks, and there's kind of a limit to the knowledge one can have about these matters when just starting out.

Hey, I've got cooler water, low ph and good aeration. That should count for something! :)

No offense, but that's what research is for. Aquasoil leaches ammonia when new, a lot of ammonia. I have no problem with fish-in cycling, but you're going to be doing that with a substrate that some people use as the sole ammonia source for a fishless cycle. Fastest I've ever heard of anyone cycling Aquasoil is a week and that was with established media, a massive amount of plants, and twice daily 100% water changes (not good for fish). Normlly it's month plus. I'm honestly not sure what to tell you to do without any floaters or established media now that you have fish.

I'd suggest testing for ammonia just to see where you are at.
 

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I've read hundreds of posts on the two fish forums I've registered to in the past week alone, so don't get too judgmental -- it's difficult to find problems/solutions to things you didn't even know existed.

I did drain/refill the tank several times while scaping if just to knock down the dust. I've been testing ammonia every day; it was pretty high (1ppm) just before I did my nightly 30% change. Fingers crossed, everyone comes out okay...

Fingers crossed, everyone gets through this okay.
 

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Not judgmental, concerned - we've all made mistakes.

Glad to see you doing your research - you're right, unfortunately. When you don't know the questions to ask yet, finding the right information out there can be difficult. Cycling accidentally with fish-in is pretty high up there on the list of things to go wrong when starting a new tank, but this is a little bit different. With ammonia leaching from the substrate - and without knowing how much or for how long. . . I'm just nervous for the little cat in there - is he the only one in the tank right now?

I'm really glad to see that you're keeping up on water changes and testing. I'd personally be inclined to see about returning the cat(s?) and focusing on planting until the cycle is through. Once things are where you'd like them and growing well, turn back to stocking. Growing a tank slowly - especially a planted tank - is really the way to go, if possible. But if it's too late to take that route, maybe you can 'borrow' some established media from another tank to get the process moving more quickly (you can buy it in a bottle?!), and find floating plants and maybe stems to help.

What's the lighting in this tank, did you say?

Hopefully one of our more experienced members will have better input for you. I hope everything goes well with your tank - it's going to be gorgeous when you get it all together. I'm looking forward to seeing how it turns out!

*fingerscrossed*



Random thought - could you do a belated sand cap on this substrate? Would it help in this situation?
 

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a sand cap wont do much... Aqua soil is tailored for planted tanks and to give plant growth a boost from the very beginning, hence the sky rocketing ammonia...
Therefore a fish in cycle isnt really recommended.
Maybe you can try duck weed ( I know it's hard to get rid of, but meh...) as it is one of the most competent nitrate sponges in the plant department.
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I've read hundreds of posts on the two fish forums I've registered to in the past week alone, so don't get too judgmental -- it's difficult to find problems/solutions to things you didn't even know existed.

I did drain/refill the tank several times while scaping if just to knock down the dust. I've been testing ammonia every day; it was pretty high (1ppm) just before I did my nightly 30% change. Fingers crossed, everyone comes out okay...

Fingers crossed, everyone gets through this okay.
I wasn't trying to be judgmental, believe me when I get that way it becomes blatantly obvious ;) My concern really is for the fish and also trying to keep you from getting discouraged and quitting the hobby again. What I meant was I really was at a loss on how to advise you. You might not want to hear it, but Chesh's suggestion of returning the fish is a good one. Heck even through together a quick bare bones tank would be helpful to you. It wouldn't be cycled either and would require water changes, but you wouldn't have to battle the ammonia from the Aquasoil and fish together in one tank.

The cooler water and lower pH will give you some protection, but only some. Some of that ammonia will be the less toxic ammonium. I say some protection because your water is only cool as opposed to cold and only slightly acidic as opposed to say under 6. The water changes and conditioner will help too, but I would still be worried personally. You are removing roughly a third a day, but it is still continuing to build so it might reach lethal levels. Like last night you did a 30% water changes, that still leaves .7 ppm.

I'd try to get the fish out at all costs first anyway you can. If that can't happen I'd suggest getting all the floating plants you can and for you to beg/borrow/steal any used media you can get your hands on. If it was me I think I'd move the fish, get the floaters, and find used media.

Seriously, no one here is trying to judge you, we're only trying to help.
 

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Help the slow old guy out
….WCMM refers to white cloud mountain minnow ?? and aqua soil is a form of super plant medium that’s rich in ammonia so the idea is to put a sand covering to slow down nitrification to prevent cycling isn’t this backtracken.

Is aqua soil any good do you still have to micro fertilize plants and will it affect ph and carbonate hardness as well as dissolved CO2 saturation? One last thought will total dissolved solids increase with the use of aqua soil?

pop
 

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WCMM is white cloud mountain minnow, I was being lazy. ADA Aquasoil is one of the premier plant substrate and has some really great reviews. I can't really speak for Chesh, but my guess was she suggested a sand cap to slow the ammonia leaching, not to stop the cycle. The initial ammonia spike can be quite drastic. I've heard some types might leach more than others (possibly Amazonia more than Africana), but don't know for sure.

Aquasoil will drop both pH and KH. For water changes if the tapwater is already low in those then great. Otherwise (at least with shrimp keeper) RO water is used instead since it already has a lower pH and won't cause a swing.

I don't think it will affect CO2 saturation, pressurized CO2 is still used with it. Micros are still dosed, in fact full EI dosing is often used after the substrate has cycled. TDS is said to raise slightly. I can't find you a figure on how much since most, if not all, users run high tech and the ferts will also do that.

I've never used the stuff so I might be wrong on some of it. This is all just from my looking into it and reflects others' experience, not my own.
 
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