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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So, with some poking from the wonderful Chesh, I have started a "journal" thread about my newest tank: a 36"X12"X20" 35 gallon tank. It was a hand-me-down, starting with River Crossing - an environmental charter school I attended years ago - which then passed on to a close friend, and now on to me. I knew from the start I wanted it to be a frog tank, and set up as an NPT. Only problem was, how to start?

Originally I wanted it to be a soil substrate with a sand cap, but after doing a lot of reading, that didn't seem to be the ideal direction for a relatively new fish keeper (1 year isn't a whole lot of time!) so I went and bought myself a 20lb bag of the black sand from Petco, as it was my only good, dark, sand available. I threw it, and a few rocks, in and started planting... So far, there's only about 8" of water in it, but it will do for now since the only inhabitants are my frogs. I will be getting more plants come Thursday/Friday, and will also be adding a fair number of fish to this tank. I also have some AMAZING driftwood coming in the mail. Can't wait to add it!

At the moment, I'm using a spare light from one of my decommissioned tanks. The tank itself didn't come with a hood, just a light, so I had to improvise. I got the 40 breeder hood from Petco, since it was the only one big enough, but it was too wide. So... it hangs over a bit. The light is actually still with the friend who gave me the tank, so it may never return to the tank. Once I know exactly what kind of light to get for the tank, I will be tracking the right one down and using that instead.

Work in Progress stocking list to follow. I don't know much about a lot of these species, so this tank is very much an experiment, but I'm excited!

Fishes/Animals
1 (or 2??) bristlenose Plecos
3 ADF
5 (or 6) Amano Shrimp
20 Cherry Shrimp
?? Julii cories
?? Neon/Cardinal Tetras

Plants
Watersprite
Willow Hygro w/ roots
Temple Plant
Rotala Inclinata stems
Needle Leaf Elodea stems
Alt. Reinekii stems
Amazon Sword
Crypt, various kinds
Water Lily (the kind grown from bulbs purchased at Petco)
Wysteria
Azolla
Duckweed
Salvinia
Asian Water Grass
Anubias, various kinds
(will probably be adding: more crypt, Kleiner bar Sword, and Ludwigia)

*wishing I had Chesh's photo skillz*
 

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Discussion Starter #2
It seems only fitting that "Welcome to the Jungle" is actually on the radio right now XD

I caved and went to Petco to pick up all my critteres and plants. Got 8 Juli cories, 1 hybrid (I think. Spotted X Juli? Looks like a Juli, but there's a vertical black "V" shape on its face), 2 BN plecos, and 15 small neon tetras. With all the plants in there right now, the tank is relatively heavily planted, as compared to what I'm used to. I should be getting two shipments of plants in over the next 2-3 days, as well as my sponge filter. For now, I'm doing daily water changes of about 15%. I'll do more if my tests come out poorly.

Not quite done setting everything up just yet. Will post photos when it's done (may be tomorrow!)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Finished adding all the (current) plants and fish! Hoping to have some more plants in tomorrow from dave56. Should also have a bunch of floating plants coming in within a day or two from djembekah. Then, once I get the driftwood in (looking like Friday, or early next week), my tank will be complete! Huzzah!
 

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Wow! Watts! You move FAST!!! I thought you were still in the researching and planning phase, didn't realize you had already gotten everything up and running - including stock!

Glad to hear that you found Dave and Bek to help you out - nothing makes me happier than tank sharing, and you'll always get a better deal when you buy from a forum friend. ALSO can't wait to see that driftwood! I'm jealous. . .

So how are things going - the tank looks nice, the Cories are super cute, and I already love your frogums - but is it cycling in there? I might have missed something about seeding the tank, so sorry if I'm making you repeat yourself. . .

Lol, it's only been two days, but you're going so fast with this project, I have a feeling that enough has changed already that I should be demanding an update! *demands*
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I'm technically silently cycling the tank - I've read that having a well planted tank essentially cycles it, and that the plants actually grow better with fewer bacteria. No idea how accurate that is, but I'm going with it. At the moment I am doing daily water changes to keep things in check while I wait for everything to arrive

The tank is fine, but plant shipments are not so fine. My package from Dave either got lost (wrong address) or stolen from the lobby of my apartment building. Either way, it is MIA and I'm trying to get the situation sorted out.
 

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OHHH NO! Watty, I'm sorry to hear that you're having trouble! I hope you DO get it figured out soon, and back on track. *hugs* You must be so frustrated!

Hmmmm, "silent cycling" a tank is something I've read a lot about, and experimented with to some extent too. . . I'm going to be contrary now, so please don't take offense - I understand that this is a method that is accepted and has been done personally by many people. It isn't my preferred method - that doesn't make it wrong, but hear me out?

I don't have much experience in YEARS, but I have started more than my fair share of tanks in a short time - and I started on the wrong foot with a full-on fish-in cycle - I just didn't know any better. In order to 'fix' the mess I had made of my tank back then, I dumped in sooooo many plants! And it helped, I could see the ammonia levels dropping - but they didn't fall back quickly enough to save all of the animals I had under my care *cries* As many people as I've seen use this method successfully, I've seen an equal number who ended up with a cycle in spite of all the plants, my view is better safe than sorry when there are lives on the line. . .

There are several reasons why I don't prefer cycling in this way. . .
You need to have the right plants. You need fast-growing stem and floating plants that can fully absorb the ammonia BEFORE it becomes a problem for the animals. But there is no formula that can tell you how many of X plant will be able to uptake the toxins made by X fish/frog/snail. So much of it is guesswork, and I don't like to guess - I get way too nervous! Also, SO much of it depends on the health of the plant itself, and how long it's been in your tank. In my experience, plants go through a bit of a dormant stage after being brought into my tanks. As they acclimate to new conditions, they aren't growing very much, and so aren't taking in as many nutrients as they can be. . . so unless you have a tank in which the plants have been growing and thriving for some time, it's kind of risky. Just my personal opinion. I also always wonder what happens overnight? Maybe you've read the answer to this somewhere. My understanding is that plants only take in nutrients/ammonia during photosynthesis - while the lights are on. At night, they rest - so do the ammonia levels rise throughout the night when the lights are out? Maybe you can test this for me, because I've always wondered. . .

I'm NOT saying that plants aren't an amazing benefit to a tank, or that they don't/cant keep the water clean. You've seen my tank, lol, you know I love my greeeeeens! I prefer to think of them as a safety net in a new setup, though. I add as much cycled media as I can, and then use plants like duckweed just in case that isn't enough. I haven't seen ammonia in a new setup for well over a year, which makes me very happy - and my animals happy, too!

Sorry for the speech!!! I just want to see you succeed, and I know you'd be devastated if anything happened to those little froglets of yours. *hugs* I hope you don't take this in the wrong way. If you or anyone you know has an established tank, I'd suggest asking for a bit of anything you can get that's seeded. I PROMISE, your plants won't mind. :)

I REALLY hope those plants show up soon, though! Where could they be? :( GAAH! Frustrating! Have you gotten your driftwood yet?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I totally understand everything you are saying. I have two cycled tanks (at least they were last I checked) so I can seed it from those tanks. Just in case.

No idea where plants are. Post office called me this morning saying it was dropped off in the right location, which leads me to believe it might have been stolen. I'll be calling my building manager and the post office today if its still not there. I have a pack of floating plants that are supposed to be in today. I'll be livid if those go missing too. Driftwood and shrimp probably won't be in until next week, sadly
 

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*hugs* I'm so glad! I was worried you'd take that the wrong way. :) I know your other tanks *nods* just in case seeding is a FANTASTIC idea, and what I would do if I were in your shoes.

I can not believe someone stole your box of plants!!! That's just SAD! And if so, I'm sure they were disappointed - can you imagine opening a stolen package only to find aquarium plants? Can't sell those on the street :/ I really hope they didn't get stolen, and that they show up soon with no harm done *crosses fingers*
 

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I agree with Chesh on the "silent cycle". It's more like a quietish cycle IMO. Glad you are doing the water changed daily because the ADFs and the corys can't really handle going through a fish in cycle too well. (BTW very cute Julii corys you have..I just added 5 of those to my cory tank). And as Chesh said grab some seeded media and get that cycle over with. Hope you get figure out what happened to your missing package!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
The plant package were indeed stolen. I filed a police report, and changed my USPS service to have in person pickups from now on if something doesn't fit into the mailbox. I'll be out that $19 used to buy the plants, but at least now it won't happen again.

As for seeding, I'm going to be doing it right now. I would have to guess the Petco tanks are cycled (how could they not be?) and some of their gravel ended up in my tank, so hopefully there's the start of something going on right now. Hopefully will have better updates in the future. Also hoping to pick up my plants and fancy (ha!) sponge filter tomorrow. I notified USPS to have all my packages held at the post office, and the one that's en route right now with the floating plants will be taken back to the building (hopefully) since it hasn't arrived yet.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Received my floating plants and shrimp today. So, at least they arrived safely. I'll probably look around a little bit, see if I can't find some plants of the same quality as the stolen package. I'd love to get some like Dave offered me, but sooner than they'd be available from him again.
 

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Well sounds like things are taking a positive turn - glad that you got your floaters! It was LOVELY of Dave to offer to replace them when his grow out. . .but I'm sure you'll find something quickly. Just a shame it got stolen in the first place (though I'd still love to have seen the look on that person's nasty little face when they opened the package - to tankers, that'd be GOLD. Anyone else would be confused and disappointed.) Just a tiny setback - the tank has FLOWN together. I can't get over how quickly you pulled it together!

How are your test results looking, btw? Fingers crossed that all is happy! :) Looking forward to the next update!
 

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If that's a 35 gallon, then you're off on the height by a couple inches I think. 35 gallon talls are 30 X 12 X 22. You have the footprint of a 29 gallon, but with four extra inches of height. That has a chance to be a big possible problem for you. Some of the plants (like Rotala rotundifolia, which is what I think you meant when you said R. inclinata) could work in a 29 gallon with a single T8 bulb and correct placement. With the four extra inches of light, I'm not sure any stems will grow for you, especially not with the amount of floaters you need in your situation to even attempt a silent cycle.

Throw in the fact that the bulb you have in the meantime is too short and you have zero shot at silent cycling with all of those fish. That means you're going to be doing fish-in cycle. Seeded material will help, but it's doubtful at this point you'll be able to skip a cycle. If you take some media from say a betta tank, well that entire tank only has the bacteria needed to handle the bioload of one better. You have much more than that here. Not only is there not enough bacteria, but you're not taking all of it.

You're going to need to test daily and be ready to do water changes that often. Really not any other options until you're cycled. After that you can add slowly. Please don't rely on the plants to do the work, especially when you don't know yet whether they will grow for you.

One other thing, just random because it makes no difference in the care. Corydoras julii is rarely offered for sle. Normally it's. C. triliineatus being sold under that name. They look alike, but typically the julii has a spotted head while the trilineatus has a reticulated one. Couldn't really see well enough in the pictures to say for certain. Either way you have some pretty fish. Now you just have to make sure they stay safe. The shrimp too. Shrimp are super sensitive to new tanks.
 

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One other thing, just random because it makes no difference in the care. Corydoras julii is rarely offered for sle. Normally it's. C. triliineatus being sold under that name. They look alike, but typically the julii has a spotted head while the trilineatus has a reticulated one. Couldn't really see well enough in the pictures to say for certain. Either way you have some pretty fish. Now you just have to make sure they stay safe. The shrimp too. Shrimp are super sensitive to new tanks.
They are out there at the moment. I double and triple checked mine before I bought them. Plus my fish store is super technical and keep the common name and the scientific name on each tank. I bought my Julii's maybe 2 weeks ago. And from the pics here looks like LittleWaty lucked out and got them too. Hope they make it through the cycle.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
If that's a 35 gallon, then you're off on the height by a couple inches I think. 35 gallon talls are 30 X 12 X 22.
It is indeed a 35 gallon tank. It is an older tank, and as such has measurements that are not sold anymore. I've measured the tank 3 or 4 times. It is 36"X12"X20 - I just measured it again to make sure. Technically, it's 37.36 gallons, not 35.

Throw in the fact that the bulb you have in the meantime is too short
Some of the plants (like Rotala rotundifolia, which is what I think you meant when you said R. inclinata) could work in a 29 gallon with a single T8 bulb and correct placement.
Read more: http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/aquarium-photography/welcome-jungle-tank-upgrade-231897/page2/#ixzz2aAzIQBVZ

Right now I have two T5 bulbs in a T5 fixture. They're specifically plant lights, and are rated at 6500K. I think they'll be fine. On top of that, half of the plants in my list in the first post did not arrive because the package was stolen.

If you take some media from say a betta tank, well that entire tank only has the bacteria needed to handle the bioload of one better. You have much more than that here.
It did come from a betta tank, but my bettas are not alone. And they are in much larger tanks than most people keep bettas in. The tank I took my bacteria from is a tank with 1 king betta (ammonia output of a goldfish), 5 zebra danios, and 5 otocinclus catfish.

You're going to need to test daily and be ready to do water changes that often. Really not any other options until you're cycled. After that you can add slowly. Please don't rely on the plants to do the work, especially when you don't know yet whether they will grow for you.
I'm already doing this, as has been stated. I have been doing daily water changes of at least 50%, and have been keeping up with testing. This is not my first rodeo.

One other thing, just random because it makes no difference in the care. Corydoras julii is rarely offered for sle. Normally it's. C. triliineatus being sold under that name. They look alike, but typically the julii has a spotted head while the trilineatus has a reticulated one.
They may be hybrids, but they're definitely not C. triliineatus. Just sayin.
 

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All we want is to do our best to keep those babies safe, and see a beautiful and thriving tank grow - only the best of intentions were behind any input originally shared. . . please keep it sweet!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks Chesh!

As for an update on the tank itself... it's really settling in! Added a bunch of extra java moss this morning to make it feel more lived in. All my fish seem to be be actually eating (some of my new fish before have decided to completely forego food for a few days before settling in), and my froggies are nice and fat XD Even Skinny put on some weight. Gargoyle now outweighs Tubby though!

Still looking around to see if I can't add more plants, as I'd like to fill out the tank more and replace the ones that were stolen. Checked Petco today, but they didn't have anything different from their last shipment.
 

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Everything is going fantastic so far! I've been keeping up with water changes, and keeping nitrogen levels as low as I can without totally getting rid of them, so that the cycle can continue to work through. I think my duckweed exploded - it seems like I have twice as much as I did when I got them a week ago XD My wisteria and ludwigia are definitely growing, but my swords are taking it nice and slow.

The person I ordered my shrimp from got my order wrong, and only sent me 10 cherries instead of 20. I was told I would get a refund, but I haven't heard from them or seen any signs of that refund since it was brought up. I told them I would prefer to just have the other 10 shrimp instead of a refund, even if I have to pay shipping again. Still haven't seen any sign of that either. So... no idea what's going on there. If I don't get my shrimp early next week, I'll be contacting them again.

I also want to introduce you all to a cory that I've affectionately named Nemo. I bought him like this, and after further inspection, his problems seem more like a birth defect than nipping or water quality related. He's also the most active cory I have! He has a reduced anal fin and a reduced lower lobe of his caudal fin, as well as reduced barbels. It makes him swim a little funny, but he still gets around and finds food perfectly fine. It's a blast watching him buzz around the tank without a care in the world.
 

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The tank look really good - love that Manzanita! Glad to hear you're keeping up on those water changes and seeing good growth out of your new plants, lol, floaters will do that - especially duckweed. Does a great job at helping to keep that water clean, though - I put duckweed in all my new setups. . . :D Poor little Nemo, I'm glad he doesn't seem to be bothered by his little fins . . . and the missing shrimpies! You've had a difficult time with shipping :/ Hopefully you get that all resolved soon.
 
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