About to set up my first tank (Questions/Help/etc.)!

  • Thread starter

TheBaron

New Member
Messages
16
Reaction score
0
Points
151
G'Day everyone, this is my first post here.

Today I bought a 22 litre tank - pretty much similar to the Jebo styled ones. I guess that translates to roughly about 6 gallons. I am planning on having tropical fish in my tank - I have been recommended to choose from Neon Tetras, Platys, aglae-eating Catfish and I think the other type may have been a Gourami (there were some that were a very light/pale yellow and some that were a very light/pale blue - they had a similar body to a Honey Gourami - not that I am an expert, but just going from pics on the net). The girl also recommended one or two algae-eating snails.

When I was getting all my stuff, the store included two products; one is called "water conditioner" which is basically a bag a fine granulated blue crystals (looks a bit like sugar!) and the other is called "stress coat" which says that it will remove chlorine and chloramines.

On the bag of "water conditioner", it says to add about 5 grams per 10 litres of water, and that a repeat treatment is necessary when water is changed or added (the girl at the store told me to add this stuff to the water separately, prior to putting it in the tank, when doing a change). On the bag, it also says the following: "Water conditioner changes tap water into aquarium water through the addition of essential salts and minerals. Bacteria and fungi inhibitors and incorporated to protect fish. This product is not a chlorine neutraliser. We recommend it be used in conjunction with Water Ager whenever fish are placed in new water and at every water change. May be used in both marine and freshwater tanks."

I would like to know if using these products basically constitutes a "sped up" nitrogren cycle, or should I still be expecting to run a cycle over a few weeks? Likewise, just from what I've described, does everything sound ok or not?
 

Gunnie

Well Known Member
Messages
2,671
Reaction score
2
Points
198
Welcome to FishLore! It's great to have you with us!

You are gonna be very limited with that size tank on what fish you can put in there. A betta with 3 pygmy cories would be about all you could put in there without overstocking your tank. It would be beautiful though with plants and other decorations. Your betta would be in heaven. You might be able to get a dwarf gourami instead of the betta. I'm not sure if the snails would put you over the top or not. I will let someone else answer that one.

None of that stuff you mentions speeds up the nitrogen cycle. When you see water conditioner mentioned here, it usually means a product that removes or neutralizes the chlorines and/or chloramines in your tap water. What you have mentioned is not what we call conditioner. Water ager products are also foreign to me. That could possibly be the product that we call water conditioners. Anyhoo, from your description, these products do not accelerate the cycle. If you haven't already, please click on my link "FishLore Articles for Beginners", to give you more information on the cycling process. Fishless cycling is recommended.
 

Tazmiche

Well Known Member
Messages
1,575
Reaction score
4
Points
198
HI

You have definately come to the right site. I joined about 4 months ago when setting up, these guys are great...LISTEN to them.

I have a 28 ltr tank and a 26 ltr one. In my 28 one i started out with 5 Cherry barbs and plants, have 5 Checker barbs and 4 White cloud minnows. They all school together but i know just from watching them that i am max'd out despite lfs saying oh get this next etc.

The way i see it is start small and learn along the way, i've lost 4 fish so far and it is not nice, one looking bad in Guppy tank right now! Time for Huge tanks and more fish later on.

Good luck and enjoy but take the advise from here, Gunnie and Butterfly to name but 2 have been great
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter

TheBaron

New Member
Messages
16
Reaction score
0
Points
151
Thanks for that info! I've had a look at a few different articles on the main site, etc., as well as a few other places around the net that talk about the nitrogen process.

It's really quite interesting, that considering I have been to 3 pet different stores and just made some "general" inquiries over a couple of months, only 1 of those said that it would take some time to get the water right in the tank for tropical fish! This was the first store I went to, and the two others that I visited since then, basically said this wasn't the case - one guy even said something like "Who told you that?" as if to say that the idea was ridiculous and that the people who told me wouldn't know what they're talking about.

It makes me wonder what these pet stores do in order to keep their fish healthy that they stock in their stores - either they don't follow the process properly, or they don't really want to tell people the correct information because they're worried that it will turn people off of wanting to buy the fish.

The place where I actually got the tank from, there was a young girl (around 20'ish or so - not that I'm too much older mind you!) selling the stuff. I got the impression she was being entirely honest, as she was extremely helpful and tried to find out as much information about what I was wanting as possible. I guess she may have just not been given the correct information by her employer - which would be disappointing, because she told me that she'd recently order a number of fish for her own tank which she had recently started (and she seemed pretty excited about it).

I think I might go back to the first pet store who told me the correct information in the first place, and get them to give me some verbal advice (obviously to complement what I've read here etc.), and help me through the process.

So . . . later today I am planning on setting up my tank. I'm actually a school teacher, and it will be in my classroom (the kids don't come back from holiday for another week or so). What I will do, is prepare the tank with gravel, a few ornaments, plastic and real plants, etc. and the water! I guess I will add this "water conditioner" product along with the API stress coat, and then get the whole thing running through the filter, etc. From what I've read, this all sounds reasonable as being the "first step" in getting started! Am I correct?

If doing a fishless cycle, where should I go next? Do I add a few flakes to boost up the ammonia levels, or just wait for a while? I guess I should get a water test kit and see what some of the readings are prior to adding the fish - although, I guess I will eventually need to boost the ammonia levels so that the process of producing nitrites and then nitrates can eventually occur . . .

Advice?
 

Gunnie

Well Known Member
Messages
2,671
Reaction score
2
Points
198
To start your fishless cycle, try and find pure ammonia. It will be clear with no additives like lemon scent or detergents. Just pure ammonia is what you want. You will need test kits for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. It's usually cheaper to buy a master test kit like the one made by Aquarium Pharmaceuticals. If you are not from the U.S., it may be a little more difficult to find one. Here, the local stores usually sell them for $30.00, but online, they run around $15.00 plus shipping. This master test kit will provide you with all the tests you will need to follow your cycle, and also later on when maintaining the tank. The other tests you see are usually for planted or saltwater tanks. Please don't buy the test strips. They are expensive and inaccurate! When you are ready to start cycling, you will add the ammonia one drop at a time until the tank reads at 4 or 5. Everyday, you will continue to add drops to keep the level at 4 or 5. The ammonia will start to grow and multiply, and then your ammonia levels will drop, and your nitrites will rise. Keep adding the ammonia to get that ammonia level up, until when you add it, your ammonia and nitrites are back down to zero after 24 hours, and you are showing nitrates.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter

TheBaron

New Member
Messages
16
Reaction score
0
Points
151
With regards to fish choice, I am actually really keen on those Neon Tetras, which was actually the aim I originally had in mind (even if they were the only fish in the tank). The girl yesterday recommended having a variety of fish, for one I guess because of interest sake, but also because she said it would assist in the tank being its own eco-system (ie: fish/snails that eat algae, etc.).

The information she gave me about the fish species was accurate when compared to the information on the main site here and others on the net (as I said earlier, I believe she was being honest with me in terms of what she knew - but maybe had not been informed of the nitrogen cycle, etc.).

If I was to just have, say, Neon Tetras, or maybe a combination of Neon/Glowlight/Black Neon Tetras, how many do you think I could fit in a tank? I guess using the "rule" that has been provided, it would seem to me a number of 6-8 would be the maximum. Does this sound like a reasonable idea for a tank?

I guess the Zebra Danios also look pretty spectacular from the pics on the net - although, I am not sure if any were at the stores that I have visited.

Likewise, with some of the other fish that the girl mentioned (Platies, Clown Loach, Sucker Catfish, and what I think was a Gourami), do these sorts of fish need to be in groups, or can they be kept as individuals amongst a variety of fish in a small community tank of my size?
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter

TheBaron

New Member
Messages
16
Reaction score
0
Points
151
Thanks Gunnie - I live in Australia, so it shouldn't be too hard to get the right products.

Thanks for the info - I am sure I will have more questions as I go along - I'm reading stuff on what looking like reputable internet sites as well, but to some extent it is almost an information overload to begin with! I guess once I get started, things will fall into place over time.

 

shollia

Valued Member
Messages
323
Reaction score
0
Points
186
Whatever kind of fish you want, make sure to look it up and see how big it will eventually get.
Such as with clown loaches. When I first read about them, I wanted some so bad (still do)... but then I read more about them and saw how big they can get and that they should be in groups. https://www.fishlore.com/Profiles-ClownLoach.htm
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter

TheBaron

New Member
Messages
16
Reaction score
0
Points
151
Thanks again for the info.

Today I went out and bought an API Master Tester Kit, which I am sure will give me a good idea about cycling the tank. The kit was quite expensive, but they guy also the guy also threw in some API "Stress Zyme" which he thought would be useful (not sure if it is, but anyway!).

I'm a little reluctant to have ammonia around in the classroom (considering I'll also have the tester kit and other stuff as well now) - is it possible to use fish food (flakes) to start the production of ammonia, or anything else?

I suppose this is a dumb question, but any idea on how long it will take to cycle my size tank (22 litre, which I guess is about 6 gallons)? I guess the answer might be "2 weeks to 2 months", but just thought I'd ask in case the size of the tank has anything to do with it.
 

Gunnie

Well Known Member
Messages
2,671
Reaction score
2
Points
198
You can cycle your tank with fish flakes, but it will be hard to be consistent with that way trying to raise the ammonia level not more than 5, and the rotting process of the food will cause you to have very dirty gravel. I don't believe the size of the tank makes any difference in how long the cycle takes. You will be adding enough ammonia/flake food to get it to a specific level in that specific tank. The only difference in a larger tank would be that you are adding more ammonia or flake food to get it to that level.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter

TheBaron

New Member
Messages
16
Reaction score
0
Points
151
Cool! Thanks very much for the help! I feel more confident now in terms of having success from early on, as opposed to having avoidable disappointments. I guess there is still potential for things to go wrong, but it's good to be able to ask experts and have a good idea of what to do, rather than it being more a case of blind trial and error! It'll be good for the kids to see the way to go about things, and consider not only the scientific basics of it, but also the ethics of ensuring for good care of animals.

I guess I'll probably have a few more questions as I go along, and hopefully after getting started, will be able to continue contributing to the forum!

I am still quite surprised that a lot of people at the pet stores I have been to either don't know this info, or don't seem to want to tell people about it!
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter

TheBaron

New Member
Messages
16
Reaction score
0
Points
151
Ok, I set up my tank yesteday at school.

Got tap water, put in some stress coat to neutralise the chlorine, added in water conditioner, and also put in some stress zyme. Made sure I followed all the directions in the manuals as to how to set up the filter (ie: it said to rinse the noodles and the cartridge on top, etc.).

I added in a small amount of fish flakes to hopefully get a bit of a start on the cycle. I didn't add in too many, because I don't want to go overboard or try to rush things. I noticed a few tiny bits of flake made their way up through the filter and were in the wool on the top.

With regards to choosing fish, I know that Bettas were recommended earlier - I do have to admit they are pretty attractive - and possibly the kids in my class would really like it, as I guess they have a distinct character, don't they! However, I would probably prefer to have more than one fish in the tank, and from reading a few comments on here, it would seem that Bettas might not be the best option (although, I guess that depends on if they are with their own, or other species, right?).

My interests probably lie in Neon Tetras (or even Glowlights), Zebra Danios and maybe the Dwarf Gouramis as these all seem to only grow to a size suitable for this size tank. I see that Cherry Barbs are recommended for begginners as well. (Clown Loaches were recommended by someone I spoke to at a store, but I have read they can grow quite large, likewise Platies were recommended, but I guess they can breed quite readily - mind you so it seems can the Zebras - which is not particulalry helpful for me, and whilst those algae-eating catfish were also recommended, I don't want to get something that is going to harrass other fish and I could probably go for something like a snail instead, to graze on any algae in the tank).

I'd probably like to have things that are colourful, vivid and/or provide a bit of swimming activity that I can have a few of in the tank, etc. I guess fish that are hardy would be good as well, as whilst I'm planning on taking good care of things, I don't really want to turn it all into a major and costly exercise.

So, anyone with any further ideas on how I could set up my tank with a group or combination of these fish (and how many, or should it be a species tank, etc.)? I'd really like to hear a few ideas!

Here is a pic of my set up.
 

dazzler

Valued Member
Messages
171
Reaction score
0
Points
176
dearest baron, i hope you live in sydney. there fore the info provided next can help you a whole lot. take a trip to majestic aquariums in taren point road near cronulla. iwas there today and they are very passionate about fish in every sense of the word they have help me a great deal recently and have given me some "matrix stones" for my filter already with good bacteria on them to spped my cycle along. take all your questions with you check their displays. their fish are healthy as can be and they are honest not because they want your dollar but because they want you to be a fish keeper and not a fish haver.

good luck with your tank and keep us posted

regards dazzler
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter

TheBaron

New Member
Messages
16
Reaction score
0
Points
151
G'Day Dazzler - Happy Australia Day, mate!

I live in Melbourne, as it happens - thanks for the advice though.

So does anyone else have any ideas/thoughts/advice regarding my previous question about fish choice, in light of the parameters/preferences that I listed?
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter

TheBaron

New Member
Messages
16
Reaction score
0
Points
151
Gunnie said:
When you are ready to start cycling, you will add the ammonia one drop at a time until the tank reads at 4 or 5.  Everyday, you will continue to add drops to keep the level at 4 or 5. 
Today I bought some cloudy ammonia (could not find any "clear" ammonia), along with an eye-dropper.

With regards to getting the ammonia level to 4 or 5, is it basically just a case of adding one drop at a time, then testing after each drop to see what the level of ammonia has gone to, then adding extra drops as per necessary? Any idea on how many drops might be necessary to begin with?

How long do you have to leave it before you test the water, after adding the drops? I assume you would need to have some time before doing a test, so as to allow the ammonia to circulate.
 

dazzler

Valued Member
Messages
171
Reaction score
0
Points
176
go the fishlore articles for beginners section here it will tell you how many drops to add for how many gallons you have. i add 36 drops every day as i have 67g tank( about 250litres). it is a huge patience game the bigger the tank quite often the bigger the wait (but not neccessarily). i had the cloudy ammonia too but found it didnt work to well. if you can get to bunnings they might have 100%pure ammonia.does your cloudy ammonia say "per 20 gallon/l as nh3 on the label is it no frills or home brand.the general rule of thumb is 1inch of fish at full adult size per gallon. but here at fishlore we like to give them more i have a 67g and will only be putting about 40inches of total fish size in my tank to give them a bit more freedom. going down to your local fish shop(lfs) and checking what they have in stock may also help as you may be restricted by what they have available SOME of the fish they have in america we can not get here in Australia.

happy australia mate, and good luck
regards dazzler
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter

TheBaron

New Member
Messages
16
Reaction score
0
Points
151
dazzler said:
go the fishlore articles for beginners section here it will tell you how many drops to add for how many gallons you have. i add 36 drops every day as i have 67g tank( about 250litres). it is a huge patience game the bigger the tank quite often the bigger the wait (but not neccessarily).
Cool thanks for that - I had a look and found the recommendation here: https://www.fishlore.com/NitrogenCycle.htm


Option 3:
Use 100% pure ammonia.
Using a dropper, add 5 drops of ammonia per 10 gallons of aquarium water. Continue this process daily until you start to get nitrite readings with your test kit. Once you can detect nitrites you should only add 3 drops of ammonia per 10 gallons of aquarium water. Continue this process daily until you get nitrate readings with your test kit. Do a 30% water change and your tank is ready.


That should make it a bit easier with getting the process going.


dazzler said:
i had the cloudy ammonia too but found it didnt work to well. if you can get to bunnings they might have 100%pure ammonia.does your cloudy ammonia say "per 20 gallon/l as nh3 on the label is it no frills or home brand.
Yeah it is 'Home Brand' and it does say 20 gallon/L Ammonia at NH3. Is this a problem? Should I give it a miss and have another look for pure ammonia instead, or do you think I can get away with this stuff?


dazzler said:
the general rule of thumb is 1inch of fish at full adult size per gallon. but here at fishlore we like to give them more i have a 67g and will only be putting about 40inches of total fish size in my tank to give them a bit more freedom.
Do you think the width or "fatness" of the fish affects this ratio? Something like a Neon Tetra for example, is pretty thin, and has less body area, as opposed to something like a Gourami for example.

dazzler said:
going down to your local fish shop(lfs) and checking what they have in stock may also help as you may be restricted by what they have available SOME of the fish they have in america we can not get here in Australia.
Yeah, I have found that generally the pet stores I have been too are more inclined to say things to suggest that it is ok to over-stock (by the standards of what over-stocking would mean here on FL), as well as not really mentioning anything about the nitrogen cycle, and contradicting some of the info on the main FL site regarding fish compatibility, etc.

They do seem to have most of the types of fish I am interested in - I guess I will just have to choose one or two types and give them a go, eh!


dazzler said:
happy australia mate, and good luck
regards   dazzler
Cheers mate!
 

dazzler

Valued Member
Messages
171
Reaction score
0
Points
176
The Baron, i have had mixed results with the "home brand" ammonia. this is not to say that you will... i just got no readings for twelve days everything stayed the same. but this may be due to the larger tank size and my impatience. i have just gone to the lfs to pick up some "matrix" stones for my filter. matrix is the brand. also i brought a small bottle of amtrite down. the stones were from the lfs filter and already seeded with good bacteria. this has helped my cycle and impatience greatly!!! if you have no luck with the home brand ammonia try Bunnings they may have the 100% pure but not sure there either.just give them a call before you go.

with regards to the size and thickness of fish this does play a part somewhat. i do know that some fish are big poopers and some are not. the people here can tell you which ones my knowledge is not vast here just yet how big is your tank in litres and in gallons(u.s) the people here will give you awesome guidelines as to which fish. i believe you have this in a classroom so colour is the key here!!

you will find by not overstocking your tank and giving your fish a wee bit more freedom. they will return the favour by being a little bit more active as a way of saying thanks. certain fish (like tiger barbss) are awesome and highly active fish but tend to be fin nippers of other fish .so to avoid this you will need at least 5-6 of them as they are schooling fish so they spend all day chasing each other around.

there is an awesome compatabilty chart here on this forum i will try to locate it and post on this thread for you

i hope this has helped somewhat
regards Dazzler
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter

TheBaron

New Member
Messages
16
Reaction score
0
Points
151
Thanks again, Dazzler.

I did a search and came up with this compatibility chart:

I guess it gives a guide, but I did notice a few people in some of the threads on here suggest that it may be a little inaccurate in some ways. I guess it gives a good complementary source of information though, to the comments on here, and on the main FL site. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

I'll have to drop by at Bunnings and see if they have the 100% pure ammonia. I guess though, considering it can potentially be used to produce "dangerous products" it may be a little difficult to find, and maybe that's why they put cloudy ammonia more commonly on the market.

Yeah, the kids will like coloured and interesting fish. I guess a male Betta would certainly provide this, and I sort of think I may be moving towards getting one! I would still like to have a couple of other fish in the tank as well, and it would seem that the best tank-mates would be the smaller catfish types and a snail, etc.

I am a fan of Neon Tetras, mind you, and I reckon the Zebra Danios look cool as well! I suppose the Neons really need to have 4 or 5 at the minimum though, and the Zebras probably 2 to 4. If I was to choose one of those types, that probably doesn't leave me much room for anything else - maybe a Dwarf Gourami, which might be a reasonable alternative to the Betta (in terms of a larger, spectacular fish).
 

dazzler

Valued Member
Messages
171
Reaction score
0
Points
176
i am going through exactly the same problem myself i have a 250litre on the cycle now and getting close to finishing. but the problem is what to have in there??? colour is where i will begin also variety. if you check peoples signatures here( just below where they post) this can give you a good starting point. school goes back tomorrow i believe.and it wont be long till you are in business. if you get fustrated waiting go to your lfs and ask for a cycling additve( to speed up cycling) we do have some here in australia( amtrite down is one!). what ever you do dont get "cycle" once you add that you will have to keep adding it to keep everything kosher its just a money making product. i have a full bottle of it $11 and it just sits in my cabinet as a constant reminder to not get "overwelmed" by my lfs salespeople.

regards dazzler
 
Toggle Sidebar

Aquarium Calculator

Follow FishLore!





Top Bottom