5 Gallon Tank Just Got Started.

TheFishmonger

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Hello everyone,

I have just started running a 5.5 gallon tank. I for the past year I have been "itching" to keep fish again, so I kept looking into forums and websites about different kinds of fish, and the hobby in general. In the past I kept a 29 gallon tank with six-eight goldfish.. without a filer.. Yes, I didn't know much about the hobby ten years ago, and I changed the water every three months.. !!!!!.. The fish survived for a good five to six years, one even lived to nine years, a black moor.. My very first fish (to survive, because I killed one once before when I was thirteen by forgetting to feed it for a month). Anyhow, this little background information about me, because I have matured since (I hope) and I want to keep fish again more seriously this time. So this time I read all the "noob" advice I could find, including on this forum.. but I just can't help myself, about a year and hundreds of dollars later and a planted fish tank.. But I want to add some fish and shrimp, even though I began cycling a week ago. Now I ran down my check lists, got me a 20 gallon filter for a 5.5 gallon, and just to the left of me I have an empty 20 gallon tank in case things go wrong. I see the water became cloudy, so I did a water change because I wanted to add the plants (it's still cloudy), water is at 80 degrees, so I guess the cycle has started. I am waiting for a test kit to start the water parameters measurements, but I do have a couple of questions.

1) I have black sand imagitarium aquatic substrate, I'm pretty sure it's devoid of nutrients but I didn't want to add soil with gravel on top to create CO2 and I actually couldn't find anything on a good nutrient substrate. Any ideas for the 20 gallon?

2) Which brings me to.. Is Rotala Wallichii good for this substrate? I want full Hornwort on this tank except for some moss balls and a Corkscrew Vallisneria. I am guessing the Hornwort and moss balls are okay.

3) I am planning on adding 5-6 Celestial Pearl Danios in the tank while I cycle and do daily water changes.. I hear danios are hardy fish, not sure about these Celestial ones. But anyways, I always wanted to get them, they are a shoaling fish so the 5.5 gallon is good. If not remember I have a 20 gallon at my disposal and a bottle of beneficial bacteria to add in the tank.

4) Should I add red cherry shrimp also? I need a cleaning crew for the algae when it appears, I know they like established tanks.. but.. Like I said nearly a year and hundreds of dollars later, I am real itchy.

5) What is the point of attempting to cycle a tank, when your water conditioner claims to also remove ammonia? Does that not defeat the purpose?

Those are the five questions I have for now. I hope all the best for you all, and thank you for the replies.
 

Crispii

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1. You can use root tabs and/or liquid fertilizers if you're wanting to keep plants in sand.

2. I'm pretty sure you can grow Rotala wallichii in that substrate, just make sure you give it some fertilizer.

3. A 5.5 gallon is a decent size aquarium for CPDs, though a larger size aquarium is better.

4. Cherry shrimps should do fine.

5. The purpose of cycling an aquarium is to cultivate beneficial bacteria. The purpose of BB is to convert dangerous chemicals such as NH3 and NO2- into a less deadly chemical, NO3-. Water conditioners doesn't remove ammonia, it only removes chlorine and chloramine. Certain water conditioners such as Seachem Prime will detoxify NH3, NO2-, and NO3- into a safe level for fish, which will last 24-48 hours.

Lastly, welcome to Fishlore, and I wish you the best of luck in your fishkeeping journey!
 

CheshireKat

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Can't answer all, but here's my input:
1) I have black sand imagitarium aquatic substrate, I'm pretty sure it's devoid of nutrients but I didn't want to add soil with gravel on top to create CO2 and I actually couldn't find anything on a good nutrient substrate. Any ideas for the 20 gallon?
You can use root tabs. They're just something you stick under the substrate that will feed roots, no special substrate needed. Also, I recommend a liquid fertilizer for your stem plants. I use Easy Green (I recommend checking out Aquarium Co-Op's YouTube channel if you haven't already).
There are many plant substrates but they're not absolutely necessary. I have natural, non-clumping, unscented clay cat litter in my 7 gallon and 25 gallon. It's more important to make sure you don't get a substrate that is too dense like some sands can be, or too course; you don't want your roots choked out or have no "grip". I guess this answers your second question, too.

) I am planning on adding 5-6 Celestial Pearl Danios in the tank while I cycle and do daily water changes.. I hear danios are hardy fish, not sure about these Celestial ones. But anyways, I always wanted to get them, they are a shoaling fish so the 5.5 gallon is good.
I don't know, I've never had CPDs although they're on my list... I'm just not sure if 5.5 gallons is good for them. Someone else will have to answer this. I've only had zebra danios and they're busy fish.

4) Should I add red cherry shrimp also? I need a cleaning crew for the algae when it appears
I wouldn't assume you'll have algae. If you get algae, you typically have a light or fertilizer/nutrient imbalance. It's better to prevent it, unless you actually want algae.

5) What is the point of attempting to cycle a tank, when your water conditioner claims to also remove ammonia? Does that not defeat the purpose?
Not at all! A cycled tank is a properly functioning tank. It means you have all the beneficial bacteria required for the nitrogen cycle. It means that you don't have to dump in water conditioner every time there's ammonia. It means the tank is taking care of itself, naturally. Think about it this way: in nature, is someone dumping in conditioner? No! Bacteria naturally takes care of ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates, even in standing water like ponds or lakes that don't have fresh water constantly added and the pond/lake cleaned. Same thing with your aquarium. Gotta have a naturally functioning aquarium and do those water changes.
 
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TheFishmonger

TheFishmonger

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1. You can use root tabs and/or liquid fertilizers if you're wanting to keep plants in sand.

2. I'm pretty sure you can grow Rotala wallichii in that substrate, just make sure you give it some fertilizer.

3. A 5.5 gallon is a decent size aquarium for CPDs, though a larger size aquarium is better.

4. Cherry shrimps should do fine.

5. The purpose of cycling an aquarium is to cultivate beneficial bacteria. The purpose of BB is to convert dangerous chemicals such as NH3 and NO2- into a less deadly chemical, NO3-. Water conditioners doesn't remove ammonia, it only removes chlorine and chloramine. Certain water conditioners such as Seachem Prime will detoxify NH3, NO2-, and NO3- into a safe level for fish, which will last 24-48 hours.

Lastly, welcome to Fishlore, and I wish you the best of luck in your fishkeeping journey!
Thank you for your advice and welcome. I will look into the plant fertilizers. I am thinking to convert the 20 gallons into a CPD tank and keep the 5.5 gallons for shrimp. It seems there are more options when it comes to tank mates then say..Tiger barbs.

Can't answer all, but here's my input:

You can use root tabs. They're just something you stick under the substrate that will feed roots, no special substrate needed. Also, I recommend a liquid fertilizer for your stem plants. I use Easy Green (I recommend checking out Aquarium Co-Op's YouTube channel if you haven't already).
There are many plant substrates but they're not absolutely necessary. I have natural, non-clumping, unscented clay cat litter in my 7 gallon and 25 gallon. It's more important to make sure you don't get a substrate that is too dense like some sands can be, or too course; you don't want your roots choked out or have no "grip". I guess this answers your second question, too.


I don't know, I've never had CPDs although they're on my list... I'm just not sure if 5.5 gallons is good for them. Someone else will have to answer this. I've only had zebra danios and they're busy fish.


I wouldn't assume you'll have algae. If you get algae, you typically have a light or fertilizer/nutrient imbalance. It's better to prevent it, unless you actually want algae.


Not at all! A cycled tank is a properly functioning tank. It means you have all the beneficial bacteria required for the nitrogen cycle. It means that you don't have to dump in water conditioner every time there's ammonia. It means the tank is taking care of itself, naturally. Think about it this way: in nature, is someone dumping in conditioner? No! Bacteria naturally takes care of ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates, even in standing water like ponds or lakes that don't have fresh water constantly added and the pond/lake cleaned. Same thing with your aquarium. Gotta have a naturally functioning aquarium and do those water changes.
Thank you for the advice. I am thinking of setting up the 20 gallons to transfer them over. I know they require a minimum of 10 gallons, but I have heard they can be kept in the 5.5. Even though Aq Advisor tells me otherwise if they grow 3/4 inch the 5.5, in theory, should be fine.
 

RunsOnCoffee

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First of all, welcome!
Since most of your questions have been answered, I can give a little bit of advice on the Celestial Pearl Danios. It's a good idea to move them to the 20 gallon as you intend to do. I keep a group of them in my heavily planted 10 gallon. And while they do okay in there, I wish I had gone with a bigger tank because they have ended up being way more active fish than expected, and while they are pretty small, would appreciate the swimming space your 20 gallon would provide.
In my short experience with these little guys, they tend to be shy, so a bigger number of them is better, as well as providing lots and lots of cover. They are far less timid when provided with enough plants to hide in and you'll get to see them come out a lot more. =)
 
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TheFishmonger

TheFishmonger

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First of all, welcome!
Since most of your questions have been answered, I can give a little bit of advice on the Celestial Pearl Danios. It's a good idea to move them to the 20 gallon as you intend to do. I keep a group of them in my heavily planted 10 gallon. And while they do okay in there, I wish I had gone with a bigger tank because they have ended up being way more active fish than expected, and while they are pretty small, would appreciate the swimming space your 20 gallon would provide.
In my short experience with these little guys, they tend to be shy, so a bigger number of them is better, as well as providing lots and lots of cover. They are far less timid when provided with enough plants to hide in and you'll get to see them come out a lot more. =)
Thank you for the welcome and the advice. The 5.5 I set up is heavily planted. I will set up the 20 gallons for the CPD's as it is more cost-effective when making big orders from aquatic stores (plants and fish together). Any suggestions for tank mates in the 20 gallons? Also, what fish are good for the 5.5 gallons? I have not ordered any fish as of yet.
 

CheshireKat

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Betta is a nice idea. Would betta get along with shrimp? I read they should be kept separate even from nerite snails.
Some bettas get along with shrimp, but it's a little risky. As for nerites, I disagree. They have small antennas and in my experience bettas don't even notice the nerites. I have had a betta attack the thicker, larger antennas of a mystery snail, though, as it looks like a worm or something to them. I have bettas with bladder snails and two have tried to eat them, but are unable to (one I think was bored or something, the other was a baby just from the store and thought the baby bladder snails were food... But they're a little too crunchy to eat).
 
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