Help With New Aquarium

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by Julianfer5, Apr 16, 2017.

  1. Julianfer5Valued MemberMember

    I have bought a 20lt fishtank 3 days ago and have added some substrate, various plants a filter and an LED light, it has been filled and I have used water conditioner. Everything is fine and I have not had any bacteria blooms. I have not had the opportunity to do any changes since I was out for these last 2 days. I Have bought fish food and Tetra easy balance (I had bought a small container of biodigest bacteria but managed to crack it..) to start the fishless cycle. Im waiting on my test strips to arrive (Not precise but I dont have much money to spend) And the aquarium shop guy got me a bit confused when he told me that I had to add extra bacteria every water change and add more tetra water balance? Is the bacteria not supposed to grow on the filter media and occasionally washed with aquarium water? Should I buy another flask of bacteria or will the fish flakes work?

  2. KinsKicksFishlore VIPMember


    To be honest (and anybody feel free to disagree) I probably wouldn't add the Tetra easy balance. If it is the one that in thinking of/looked up, it has a nitrate remover. While good in an established tank, it can mess up how you read your cycle and it's progress because it's removing the nitrates which (as i said before) is a cycle indicator. It'll probably be more useful after the tank is cycled
    As for the bacteria, if it is the beneficial kind that you want in the the tank, then you can add some extra during your water changes, but I wouldn't go overboard with it (that of course, depends on how many water changes your doing). That's why most recommend it as a starter to get your cultures going. Personally (and again, feel free to disagree anyone) I'd rather have my bacteria figure out how much to grow/reproduce to the level where the balance each other out (slightly favoring nitrite-fixers). I know this sounds ridiculous (and I can explain if anyone want to know my reasoning :p)
    Finally, yes, the bacteria do grow in surfaces (aka, your media). This is what allows people to do very large water changes without affecting their tank. Fish flakes work if you need the ammonia source; the bacteria in the bottles are what 1) eat the ammonia and 2) what eat the ammonia eaters. So no ammonia means no bacterial growth (or very little of it)
    Sorry that was long! Ask for clarifications if I sound confusing!

    Hope this helps and best of luck!

  3. DiscusluvWell Known MemberMember

    Have you used this Tetra Easy Balance yet? It is to control phosphates and nitrates in a cycled tank and is not what you need right now. Actually, you don't need this product at all, change your water once a week and clean gravel with python siphon hose. Products such as these can help breakdown waste, but don't be lured into thinking you can rely on them in instead of water changes- you cant. If you haven't used it, take it back and purchase a product like Seachem's Stability which aids in the buildup of beneficial bacteria when starting the cycling process of a new tank.

  4. Julianfer5Valued MemberMember

    Hey there thanks, I added 5 drops of the balance solution but will take the product back tomorrow since it didnt have a seal. I have added a bit of fish food to help produce the initial ammonia and have noticed that the plants have all grown around 5mm-1cm which seems reassuring. Do I need to do water changes while the cycle is starting? I have not done any since the start. M;y tank also does not have any algae at all for some reason even though the light source is very bright?


  5. DiscusluvWell Known MemberMember

    No, it isn't necessary to do water changes with no fish in there.
  6. KinsKicksFishlore VIPMember

    You can do little water changes weekly, like 10%. Like what Discusluv says, it not really necessary without fish. However, it can help in diluting toxins and replacing trace elements which (arguably) help the process.
  7. Julianfer5Valued MemberMember

    So If I add a bit of fish food every couple of days it will be fine right? no need for any other products. When I receive the test strips I will monitor the amonnia
  8. DiscusluvWell Known MemberMember

    If it was me, I would also add Seachem's Stability to aid the build-up of nitrifying bacteria for cycle. When cycle complete, I would continue to use (I use it frequently with my discus -every other water change-because of my large and frequent water changes) it with weekly water changes. Here is info on product:
  9. Julianfer5Valued MemberMember

    Ok for now I will buy another flask of beneficial bacteria (Biodigest, prodibio) and will do a water change in a couple days. Concerning stocking what sort of fish can I add? Its a 20lt (5.5 gal I believe) and I was thinking of maybe a betta and a shrimp ro some guppies. Just a fish and a cleanup fish of some sort.
  10. DiscusluvWell Known MemberMember

    You know, you have some time to decide what fish you want while the tank is cycling. Even though you are new at this, it does not mean you cant pick out fish you are genuinely drawn to. Setting up a fish tank, choosing the perfect fish for you, is a rewarding process.However, some fish will not be for your set-up. So, when you do your research look for fish that will thrive in your tank size and, if you want a mixed aquarium, fish that are similar in ph range, temp, compatibility of aggression/non-aggression. After you have done your research, found fish you like and those adequate for your set-up by looking online and at fish-stores then come back and ask the experts if your plan is fine in case you have missed something. Online try a search like "freshwater fish for a 20 gallon L." Look these fish up for further info on what you need to know. Look at sites like and look at the info it gives you on the fish they sell that match what you are looking for and love!! Go to the LFS and look at fish in tanks, ask questions of sells-people and follow up by looking online to double check its consistency. Enjoy!
  11. BluMan1914Well Known MemberMember

    I wont comment on cycling...dont want to confuse you anymore than you already may be.
    Since your tank is only 5.5 gallons, I would suggest just a Betta, and/or snails and shrimp. Or maybe just do an all shrimp tank.
  12. DiscusluvWell Known MemberMember

    Oh! 20 l! 5 gallon- not much choice there. I was reading it as a 20 gallon long.
  13. Julianfer5Valued MemberMember

    Probably will go for a beta and a shrimp, luckily I have plants and stuff for the shrimp to hide if the beta is too aggressive. Thanks anyways! Will keep you updated on the situation.
  14. Julianfer5Valued MemberMember

    Hey, the tank has been cycling for about 2 weeks and I took a test strip test (this week and last week)
    Here are the results
    No2 - 0
    kh - 6-10d

    The water seems very hard, is there any way to fix that?
    Im not getting any NO reading so should I add more fish food daily to produce the ammonia? I have had a bit off issues with BB algae , hair algae and small black spots of hair on leaves but i'm manually removing it. I also added an air pump yesterday, The plants are nicely growing but just had the algae issues.
  15. Lindsay83Valued MemberMember

    NO2 is nitrite. NO3 is nitrate. Ammonia is NH3/NH4 (NH3 = toxic, free ammonia. NH4 = ammonium).

    The fish food will be producing ammonia, but you haven't got a test kit/strip for that. ;) You can get separate ammonia test strips, though.
  16. Julianfer5Valued MemberMember

    thanks, I know what the they mean but Im just concerned about no nitrites or nitrates forming after 2 weeks, should I dose more fish food to create more ammonia?
  17. Lindsay83Valued MemberMember

    Without an ammonia test, it's impossible to tell. If you're just adding a pinch a day, it might be worth adding more, but if you're adding more than that, you could be pushing ammonia too high, and there's no way you could know.

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