Diary Of A 55 gallon Build

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Bruce Thompson

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Slow and steady....

Temp: 78.5
pH: 8.0
Ammonia: 0.5 ppm (nice, down from yesterday)
Nitrites: ~0.35 ppm (darker than 0.25, not as dark as 0.50)
Nitrates: ~2.5 ppm (darker than 0, not as dark as 5, though darker than I recall it being yesterday)

I turned off the auto-feeder yesterday and already I can see that the Ammonia numbers are coming down. I'm liking what I'm seeing for the Nitrite numbers too. Looking forward to maybe getting a couple of plants in over the weekend!

I've also realized, or maybe admitted to myself, that a Quarantine Tank is a necessity. With previous tanks I never had a QT, and the more I'm reading and the more I'm planning on going slow in introducing fish, the more I realize I really do need one.

What I think I'll do it get a 2-gallon tank with a small sponge filter, heater, etc. I've got room for the QT beside my main tank, so I can easily keep the filter in the main tank so it's well colonized, then fill the QT from the main tank when it's needed. That way I don't have to worry about cycling the QT.

Only open question is: What filter to get for the QT? I can run a bubble-stone based filter off the main tank's air pump, got capacity to spare there...
 

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Bruce Thompson said:
Slow and steady....

Temp: 78.5
pH: 8.0
Ammonia: 0.5 ppm (nice, down from yesterday)
Nitrites: ~0.35 ppm (darker than 0.25, not as dark as 0.50)
Nitrates: ~2.5 ppm (darker than 0, not as dark as 5, though darker than I recall it being yesterday)

I turned off the auto-feeder yesterday and already I can see that the Ammonia numbers are coming down. I'm liking what I'm seeing for the Nitrite numbers too. Looking forward to maybe getting a couple of plants in over the weekend!

I've also realized, or maybe admitted to myself, that a Quarantine Tank is a necessity. With previous tanks I never had a QT, and the more I'm reading and the more I'm planning on going slow in introducing fish, the more I realize I really do need one.

What I think I'll do it get a 2-gallon tank with a small sponge filter, heater, etc. I've got room for the QT beside my main tank, so I can easily keep the filter in the main tank so it's well colonized, then fill the QT from the main tank when it's needed. That way I don't have to worry about cycling the QT.

Only open question is: What filter to get for the QT? I can run a bubble-stone based filter off the main tank's air pump, got capacity to spare there...
 

Hunter1

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This is one of the ones I use. I have these small, single sponge, double small sponge and large double sponge filters.

This small one would work well in a tiny tank like the one you mentioned.
 

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I've been browsing Amazon, and that looks just like one of the ones I saw that looked about right. Thanks!
 

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Today's numbers:

Temperature: 78.5
pH: 8.0
Ammonia: 0 ppm
Nitrite: 0.5 ppm
Nitrate: 2.5 ppm (maybe)

So looks like the ammonia spike is done and the nitrite spike is in progress! Curious that Nitrates are holding steady or maybe even gone down a little? Still keeping to my plan to get a couple of plants this weekend, but continue to hold off on fish until at least next weekend. I'm astonished how my patience is holding, though my wife just said "We need to get some fish in there!" ;-)
 

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Bruce Thompson said:
Today's numbers:

Temperature: 78.5
pH: 8.0
Ammonia: 0 ppm
Nitrite: 0.5 ppm
Nitrate: 2.5 ppm (maybe)

So looks like the ammonia spike is done and the nitrite spike is in progress! Curious that Nitrates are holding steady or maybe even gone down a little? Still keeping to my plan to get a couple of plants this weekend, but continue to hold off on fish until at least next weekend. I'm astonished how my patience is holding, though my wife just said "We need to get some fish in there!" ;-)
Stay the course.
 
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Staying the course!

Today's numbers, slow but steady:
pH: 8.0
Ammonia: 0 ppm
Nitrite: 0.5 ppm
Nitrate: 5 ppm

Tomorrow I'll dose Ammonia to 2 ppm and see how long it takes to hit 0. It's getting there!
 
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Missed a day, but no worries. Nitrite spike is definitely happening, Nitrates may be a little higher. Temperature is still creeping up.

Temperature: 79.1
pH: 8.0
Ammonia: 0 ppm
Nitrite: 1.0 ppm
Nitrate: 6 or 7 ppm? Slightly dark for 5.0, but not dark enough for 10

Not going to dose Ammonia yet, give the Nitrites a chance to come down. Still pondering getting a few plants tomorrow.
 
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Today's the day! Today I'm going to get my first plants and my first fish!

Here's the numbers:

Temperature: 78.8
pH: 8.0
Ammonia: 0 ppm
Nitrite: 0.25 ppm
Nitrate: 10 ppm

I got a bit lazy/busy so didn't dose Ammonia, nor have I gotten any plants yet, but this looks to me like a tank that's cycled sufficiently for a first school.

Probably going to get 7 or 8 cardinal tetras to start off, and some tall plants for the back, something mossy for the front (plan is to encourage moss to creep up the rocks and driftwood).

Going to do a water change this morning, then head off to an LFS is San Francisco that's been highly recommended.

Pictures to come!
 

TexasGuppy

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Not dosing ammonia can allow those to die back.. you still have nitrites so you really aren't cycled yet. I'd redose ammonia and monitor.
 
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TexasGuppy said:
Not dosing ammonia can allow those to die back.. you still have nitrites so you really aren't cycled yet. I'd redose ammonia and monitor.
Oops, didn't see this until I'd stepped away to do a water change and trip to LFS.

Well, I have a few plants now, and 8 cardinals (starting small and going to slowly work my way up).

The fish looked fine and happy, no obvious signs of distress so I'm crossing my fingers (too dark to see them this morning)

I do have some pics!

The tank:
IMG_0006-la.jpg


Plants:
IMG_0005-la.jpg

IMG_0004-la.jpg

and last but not least, the fish:
IMG_0008-la.jpg


Obviously I'm going to be keeping a very close eye on them over the next few days and not introduce anything new for at least a week or two.

Cheers!
Bruce.
 
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Oops, double post
 

TexasGuppy

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I'd keep some prime handy. Even do a daily dose as a preventative.
Your high pH and temp will cause ammonia (and nitrites) to be toxic at lower levels.

A level of .5ppm ammonia is danger level for your parameters. Plus, Cardinals are a sensitive fish.
 
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Thanks TexasGuppy, I dosed Prime yesterday with the water change (roughly 20%), and dosed StressCoat before I added the cardinals.

I'm really hoping my pH starts to come down without my having to fight it to bring it down, I had a tank years ago that I had a constant battle to keep the pH under control (different location so different source water).

Temperature seems to be stable, though still higher than I'd like. The heater I've got isn't calibrated so time for hit-and-miss (and darnit, I should have done that before while the tank was cycling).

Cheers,
Bruce.
 

TexasGuppy

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What's your tap pH? Maybe one of your rocks is leaching into the water raising pH.
 
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I hadn't thought of testing the pH from the tap.... and I'm not 100% sure I believe what I'm reading right now so I'll test it again later when I run the tank's numbers.... but my read is it's somewhere between 8.4 and 8.8 out of the tap.

Tank light timer hasn't clicked on yet, so can't be certain of my head count, but I've only seen seven so far this morning :-(

Update: All eight are fine, and the school is moving all around the tank.
 
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My little shoal of Cardinals seem to be happy, they're all eating enthusiastically and during daylight, all schooling together. One still seems to like sleeping down behind one of the rocks away from the others. No idea.

I have to say that I really hate heaters with no markings... Yesterday I thought I had turned it down, but this morning I see the temperature at 82! Suffice to say I've adjusted and will be checking through the day to watch that its actually going down and not going down too far. Preferred temp is around 76.

I double checked my tap water pH, and it's noticeably higher than the tank:
Tap Water pH: 8.2-8.4
Tank Water pH: 7.8

The color difference of both tubes side-by-side is striking.

Here's the rest of the numbers:
Ammonia: 1.0 ppm (ouch)
Nitrite: 0.25 ppm
Nitrate: 5 ppm

Not liking that Ammonia number, so I'm dosing Prime and I'll check again tomorrow. If it doesn't move then I'll do a water change, dose Prime again, rinse repeat. Not going to think about adding anything else until we're all settled back down.

Might just do a change today just to be on the safe side. You called it, TexasGuppy, either the cycle broke from being left alone for a couple of days, or it wasn't as complete as I thought it was.

Cheers,
Bruce.
 
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