Can I Stock Twice? If So, How?

Hawklady

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Hi all, I've done months of research and prep. I know exactly what I want to do. I just don't know how to do it.

Here's my stock (40 Gallon breeder with EHEIM 2215 filter):

20 Cardinal Tetras
10 Emerald Green Coryadoras
6 African Dwarf Frogs
6 Mystery Snails
20 Cherry Red Shrimp

I am 85% stocked with 124% filter capacity according to aqadvisor.

Okay, that out of the way, here's my problem:

The fish and frogs are coming from liveaquaria and for obvious reasons I want to do one shipment to save on costs. So, do a fishless cycle and add them. No issue, right?

The problem is all my plants, snails, and shrimp are coming from aquatic arts.

I would basically like to be able to plant it out, let my shrimp get well established and then add the fish.

Problem is the tank would no longer be properly cycled to handle 30 fish and 6 frogs being add in, well after the original cycle.

The other thing is money.

Both orders are around $200. It would be nice to split them up and have time to save while enjoying more than water in my tank...

So, I could get all the fish/frogs and wait on plants, snails, and shrimp, you say?

Well, I see two potential problems.

1. Not planting out the tank won't be nice for the fish and could really hurt the frogs who, I understand, need plants to help them get air.

2. Not letting the shrimp get established first and then adding them later may make them more likely to become fish food.

The fish will be more likely to be chill with the shrimp if they are raised with them. Or so I have read.

What say you all?

Is it possible to do a sort of second cycle without killing anything? Just put in fish food and add a little more over a long period and let the filter catch up? How would I know how much food would equal the ammonia?

I'm guessing the straight ammonia route is a no go with plants, shrimp, and snails in there.

Am I stuck waiting until I have the $400 and doing it all within a few days of each other?

Thanks in advance for people's time and advice!
 

maggie thecat

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I hate to be the one to bust your bubble, but I see potential issues.

Shrimp need mature tanks to thrive in. They need a healthy growth of biofilm and water that isn't going through the gyrations that new tanks do.

Second problem. With all those cory and snails, that is going to be a competitive bottom which frogs will find less than ideal.

My suggestion is that you plant your tank while it is cycling.

Add your fish.

Then add the inverts.

In all seriousness, if you want frogs, give them their own tank.

Oh, on the cycling. Once the tank is cycled the bacteria have the capacity to adjust to a heavier bioload. Occassionally they lag a bit, and that is called a mini cycle. A few extra water changes and extra doses of Prime sort it out.
 
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Hawklady

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No, this is good. I want to get this right.

I'm afraid I have follow up questions for you. I hope you're willing to give me some more wisdom!

First to the shrimp, I was on the fence about this too. I thought, should I really be putting shrimp in a new tank?

There were two things that made me think I could pull it off.

1. The fact that I plan to purchase glasgarten bacter ae micro power from aquatic arts to quickly create biofilm.

2. The fact that some people do shrimp only tanks.

However, I want to do what's best. If you think that it will still be too hard on them despite now knowing I have a plan to address the biofilm issue then I will definitely listen.

Secondly, I am very curious that you say to plant the tank during cycling. I had read it could likely kill plants but much of my knowledge comes from reading forum questions and responses.

I intend to plant: red lewdwiga, camboba, banana plants, four leaf clover, Christmas moss, marimo moss ball, and theia green buce.

Lastly, about the stocking issue. I know that the Cory cats like 6-8 but prefer 10. The snails I just think are really cool but could only put in one or two and go 8 Cory cats.

So, I am interested to see what you think about stocking less and having frogs.

Please know, I understand that it's preferable to do a frog only tank. I don't want them to be unhappy but if I can make a suitable environment by stocking less on the bottom and get to enjoy them then I'd be happy to do that as I don't have space to do another set up.

Thanks!
 

maggie thecat

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People can do shrimp only tanks because they have such a low bioload that they have very little impact on water quality.

Fish on the other hand, accelerate bacterial blooms and cause mini cycles while the tank is getting established. (Go read some of the Arrgh! Why is my tank cloudy? threads on the Water subforum for examples.)

I don't know the biofilm accelerant you're referencing. This is the first I've heard of it. But you can seed most things, so why not biofilm? Even if you are, it needs time to establish. The product may speed up the process, but the question is how much?

Planting tanks as part of the set up process is a long established practice. Plants encourage rapid cycling and more stable water parameters by their power of oxygenation. I suppose it would be possible to damage a plant by really pouring on the ammonia during a fishless cycle. Many plants do have tender roots and leaves, after all.

But if you follow best practices, instead of haphazard ones, there should be little issue.

As for the frogs.

Frogs are great. I have frogs. I have experimented with frog/fish tanks and frog only tanks.

Frogs really seem to thrive and put on their best displays of froggy behaviors when they are the stars of the tank.

A few colorful fish that mostly midswim to keep the tank visually interesting when the frogs are sleeping are fine. I have done that with harlequin rasbora, and liked the effect. (And the frogs ignored them.)

If you really, really, have your heart set on frogs in this tank I would ditch the cory completely . And cut the snails to one or two. (Snails can create a lot of waste.) Keep on with the Cardinals.

One other thing about frogs, if you decide you want 8 or 10 instead of six, get them all at once and pretreat them against chytrid, and then close the tank to additional frogs. There are too many sad tales of people who added more frogs to their existing herd , only to lose all of them.
 
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Hawklady

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Okay, so, wait on the shrimp for sure.

I have Dr. Tim's ammonia. The directions say 4 drops for every gallon. A part of me would LOVE to get the tank planted before I'm done cycling. I just am really afraid of a hundred or more dollars worth of plants dying on me because I was impatient.

I did buy a substrate with live bacteria and I got a bottle of the Tetra safe start.

Then I guess I have a choice to make.

I know both Cory cats and frogs are super entertaining. I worry a little that the frogs could just hide a lot in a well planted tank.

I will look into treating the frogs as you suggested and will take your advice to heart about not adding any more after I make my choice. If I go the frog route and forget the Cory cats then I will likely do more frogs although I am a bit nervous of that much hand feeding. I hope it is easier than it sounds

Thank you so much! Your advice has really helped me to know what is best and give my aquatic critters the best home I can provide.
 

maggie thecat

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Frogs can be trained to target feed. Pick a clear patch of ground and put a ceramic dish there. When you feed, drop food in the general vicinity of the dish. Accuracy is nice, but no one is going to give you demerits for poor presentation if some drifts.

The frogs, having sharp noses, will find the food.
 

ValerieAdams

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Hawklady said:
Okay, so, wait on the shrimp for sure.

I have Dr. Tim's ammonia. The directions say 4 drops for every gallon. A part of me would LOVE to get the tank planted before I'm done cycling. I just am really afraid of a hundred or more dollars worth of plants dying on me because I was impatient.

I did buy a substrate with live bacteria and I got a bottle of the Tetra safe start.

Then I guess I have a choice to make.

I know both Cory cats and frogs are super entertaining. I worry a little that the frogs could just hide a lot in a well planted tank.

I will look into treating the frogs as you suggested and will take your advice to heart about not adding any more after I make my choice. If I go the frog route and forget the Cory cats then I will likely do more frogs although I am a bit nervous of that much hand feeding. I hope it is easier than it sounds

Thank you so much! Your advice has really helped me to know what is best and give my aquatic critters the best home I can provide.
I used Dr. Tim's ammonia & had plants in at the same time. It hasn't affected them yet and its been a little over a week.
 

maggie thecat

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I poked around a bit, since I haven't had to cycle from scratch a tank in donkey's years.

As long as you don't overdose per then instructions and go over 2ppm, there should be no harm done to plantlife. In fact, they will help metabolize the ammonia for the benefit of the tank as a whole.
 
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Hawklady

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Wow, Maggie, thanks so much for the help!

You really went above and beyond to ensure I will be successful and I don't know what to say.

Thanks to you as well, Valarie for easing my worries.
 
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Hawklady

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Oh my! I am hoping you'll check this thread one last time, Maggie.

I'm having trouble trying to figure out the pretreatment for chytrid.

I found this advice on a forum:

"I would use 10 squirts of lamisal AT into 400 ML's of water. Make enough solution for the frog to live in. You will need to change the solution every 3rd day for 3 times."

I read this in an article:

"Give all your frogs a betadine bath for one minute, once every five days as a preventative (a betadine bath is 1 part "povidone 10% iodine" per 150 parts water in a small bowl; sit the frog in the bath but avoid getting the bath into its nostrils and eyes)".
 
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Hawklady

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I don't know how I'd keep it out of their eyes and nose and I equally doubt my ability to figure out exactly how much iodine to water in a 1/150 part ratio (I am not much for maths).

On the other hand the lamisal seems equally vague, "10 squirts"? Plus it would seem with this method I would need to be putting lamisal into my main aquarium or purchase a second small aquarium.

Every time I think I know what I'm doing I find another rabbit hole to fall down but I suppose that is half the fun of this hobby
 

maggie thecat

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What I did when I first started my frog colony was this.

I purchased 2 2.5 gallon tanks plus mesh lids and a couple of pieces of 3 inch pvc pipe Ts for hides.

I cannot remember if I used air stones, but I think not.

I was treating six frogs.

(Oh, and I borrowed digital heaters.)

Then I purchased a Pyrex cup with a drainable lid for giving baths in.

1 can of Lamisil foot spray. (This is why the instructions say 10 squirts.)

The process is this:

Day one put all your new frogs in a bath consisting of 10 squirts of spray and 400 mls dechlorinated water.

They won't like it. Use the lid. Bathe for 5 minutes. When the time is up, drain off the water and decant frogs into tank number 1.

Wash and bleach disinfect treatment cup. Air dry. Set up tank 2.

On day 2 repeat the procedure. Put frogs into Tank number 2.

Then bleach, rinse and dry tank 1 plus the treatment cup.

Day 3 you're back to Tank 1.

Lather, rinse, repeat for 10 days. At which point the frogs can go into their new home.

Feed frogs as you normally would . Some people do a short Pedialyte dip after the fungicide bath, but I would save that for frogs that seem malnourished.

I believe the longer treatment was for frogs with acute cases of chytrid.
 
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Hawklady

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Thanks for painting such a clear picture of what I need to do and what I need to accomplish it!

You did such an amazing job that I only have one follow up question. It may seem obvious but I don't want any mistakes.

You make no mention of filtering or cycling these tanks.

I'm unclear on if it's a given that this should be done or if it's a given that it shouldn't since you mentioned the air stones as not necessarily needed.
 

maggie thecat

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Everyday you do a 100% water change, so there is little point in cycling or extra filtration.

If you wanted to provide aeration, and as we move into summer, that is understandable, get a couple packs of those cheap airstones and some extra tubing.

Every time you set up the Q-tank use a fresh stone and piece of tubing.

The idea behind all this fussing is if the frogs are carrying spores, you want to make sure they don't get reinfected when they are returned to their temporary housing.

Given that a "proper" quarentine period for frogs of all sorts is 3 months, this is a somewhat aggressive, but streamlined protocol .
 
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Hawklady

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Okay, I'm perfectly clear on this now.

I certainly hope someday I feel confident enough in my aquarium education to pay forward the time you have taken with me over the last few days.

You are much appreciated!
 

maggie thecat

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I'm glad I could help. I know this all seems daunting. It's like doing one of those jigsaw puzzles with too much blue in it.

But you'll get there.

You'll probably even end up with more than one tank!
 
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Hawklady

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Ha ha! I had two tank ideas to start. I came here and made a poll. The "colorful" tank won.

I would still love to do the second "oddball" tank which was primarily Indian Glass Fish and Upside-down catfish.

I may have to invest in a gadget to hang my TV up high so I have a place for a second tank

At least I know I can keep the two 2.5 gal on my counter top for a few weeks.

Was also considering putting a ten gallon in the corner of the living room and just housing some pretty guppies in there. That way if I need a sick/quarantine tank I could put my guppies in my main tank and move whatever critters need care into the 10. I just feel a bit bad for them as they won't get as much attention being off in a corner.

I have book marked this post because it has taught me so much AND because I want to revisit and share pictures of my tank with you someday as a small thank you for your help.
 

maggie thecat

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Hey, those 2.5s have come in handy more times than I can count.

Surprise fry. Impulse betta. Tadpoles turning into tree frogs, and then baby tree frog nursery.

The occassionally hospital application.

Plus they take up very little shelf space.
 
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