New Aquarium - Am I On The Right Track? (long & In Depth)

BirdMom
  • #1
I am setting up a new tank just started the cycling process today...7ml APT water conditioner adding & a bottle of tetra safe start (only does 20 gallons) will be added in the morning...I am waiting on my Amazon order which includes seachem stability & prime as well as Dr.Tim's ammonia (do I really need this?)

I also got a freshwater Master test kit.

I plan for the aquarium to have...
1 male Betta,
3-4 mystery snails,
2-3 African dwarf frogs
& 9-12 Silver tip tetras

Am I going to be overstocked?

It is a 29 gallon aquarium but I keep it around 25 gallons as to give the snails room to lay their eggs. It has a HOB filter that can do up to 40 gallons & a sponge filter as well & the take will be planted internally with anubias Nana, moss ball & frogbit (& I am not sure what else yet but I am sure I'll add more) as well as have a pothos in the HOB (barring my cat trying to eat it)

The heater is 100w Aqueon pro heater. Which will be here day after tomorrow & will get up to temp. (78F) before I add the seachem stability.

I wanted to cycle the tank with seachem stability & not the tetra safe start but I couldn't find stability locally so I decided to start with the safe start & add stability in after. As I've been told stability apparently has stronger bacteria??

Should I add the prime in as well as soon as I get it or just start on my first water change. ***unfortunately my water does contain a small amount of lead***

I also am adding oh Wonder shell to help my calcium magnesium levels as well as flourish root tabs since we ended up going with the gravel substrate of about 2"

In the future can I use a reptoguard instead of having to order the Wonder shell? I know I could have used a cuttlebone in place of either but didn't.

I should also note that my tank is second hand & was empty to less than a week ago & was only cleaned with water so it should still have residual bacteria I would think the HOB filter is also second hand it was previously a goldfish tank with healthy stock they upgraded the size of their tank.

I really like duckweed but not sure if I sure get some since I already am going to have the frogbit & have surface breathers. Thoughts?

Are there any other incredibly simple to grow aquarium plants? the light is a fluorescent but it does seem to be fairly bright.

Is there anything on missing?
Any constructive feedback is welcome I really don't want to accidentally hurt them.
 
Lunnietic
  • #2
I will try my best to awnser as many of your questions as I can.

Betas can actually be quite aggressive fish. Not trying to pull you away from them, but I would have a back up plan just in case she cannot get along with thr other tank mates. Ive found people have more success with female betas in community settings verse males. Do note that this won't be true for all betas. They come in a WIDE variety of personalities and temperments. I would not recommend a betta community tank to a beginner fish keeper. A lot could go wrong.

I would avoid using prime and stability back to back together. Its usually best to wait 24 hours before adding stability after prime. (Same goes for Tetra Safe Start) This is because prime can make it so the bacteria does not have food for 24 hours and could potentially die off. I believe if you are using Tetra Safe Start it says on the bottle not to do a water change for 2 weeks after adding it to the tank, giving the bacteria time to settle and grow colonies. Bacteria also dies when it is taken out of water. Most of it lives in the filter. (Never clean your filter with untreated tap water. And in the event yoj have to move the aquarium make sure you keep your filter media wet).

Hornwort, most mosses, and swords come to my mind for easy plants. You actually do not need root tabs for any of the plants you are planning on. I wouldn't start adding things like the copper until your plants arrive. (You can cycle fine with plants) This is because copper can illy affect your snails and cause them to die.
 
sloughdog
  • #3
I think Lunnietic summed it up pretty well. Couple additional points...
Unless the tank remained damp and un-umptied very long, it’s doubtful any bacteria survived.

The frogs and betta are bad tankmates. I’ve read and others on this forum have had experiences where the frogs inadvertently nip at the betta fins mistaking the fins for food. These frogs have very poor eyesight and are also easily outcompeted for food. Ideally these frogs should be kept in species only tanks.
For a 29 gallon tank, you have many many choices of fish to choose from.
Overall you are doing great and asking the right questions. Happy to see you invested in the API test kit instead of relying on your local store.
 
Eric360
  • #4
Wait! Don't put the TSS in until you get your fish. It needs the ammonia source, so you need to add the fish and TSS within 2 hours of each other. I usually just dump the TSS in with my fish.
Also wait 24 hours after using Prime to add TSS and after TSS, wait 2 weeks before using Prime or doing a water change.
TSS won't do anything unless fish are in there, the bacteria will just die.
If it's a 29 gallon, I would put two 20 gallon doses of TSS with the fish just to be 100% sure. Better to overkill TSS than underkill.
Seachem stability is almost the same thing as TSS, it just seems you have to use it more frequently TSS is more of a one and done, but they do the same thing so you probably don't need stability. I've never used stability.
If tank was empty for more than an hour it wouldn't have any bacteria still alive. Same for the filter, and if the filter didn't have water moving through it for a week, it won't have any bacteria either.

I would personally recommend just setting the tank up, use water conditioner, let sit 24hrs+, add fish and enough TSS to overdose your tank size. That should be all you need to do and everything should be fine.
In a 29gal the HOB filter probably doesn't have space to house any bio media for bacteria to grow on, so all your bacteria will be in your mechanical filtration (floss pad). When you change that out, you'll be removing all of your bacteria.
I'd recommend making a bottle filter like this with your air pump and some Seachem Matrix, so you never have to worry about replacing the mechanical media in the HOB.
 

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CanadianJoeh
  • #5
Wait! Don't put the TSS in until you get your fish. It needs the ammonia source, so you need to add the fish and TSS within 2 hours of each other. I usually just dump the TSS in with my fish.
Also wait 24 hours after using Prime to add TSS and after TSS, wait 2 weeks before using Prime or doing a water change.
TSS won't do anything unless fish are in there, the bacteria will just die.
If it's a 29 gallon, I would put two 20 gallon doses of TSS with the fish just to be 100% sure. Better to overkill TSS than underkill.
Seachem stability is almost the same thing as TSS, it just seems you have to use it more frequently TSS is more of a one and done, but they do the same thing so you probably don't need stability. I've never used stability.
This is a fish-in cycle which is rather cruel and unhealthy for your fish.

Use the TSS now, just make sure you add a source of ammonia, like a piece of frozen shrimp, to your tank until you get your fish, which should be when your ammonia is 0, nitrites 0 and nitrates >5
 
Eric360
  • #6
This is a fish-in cycle which is rather cruel and unhealthy for your fish.

Use the TSS now, just make sure you add a source of ammonia, like a piece of frozen shrimp, to your tank until you get your fish, which should be when your ammonia is 0, nitrites 0 and nitrates >5
It isn't one bit cruel or unhealthy. TSS is bottled beneficial bacteria...

Anyway, if you're doing a fishless cycle, just don't use either one (TSS or Stability). They're made specifically FOR fish in cycles. Save your money and just use the ammonia every day until you have 0 ammonia and nitrites...
Otherwise, wait until you add your fish and overdose with TSS and your fish will be perfectly fine and healthy.

From the post it wasn't really clear if she's doing a fishless cycle as she was going to add TSS without an ammonia source.
TSS and Stability descriptions below...
Weird they both say safe and harmless to add fish in right away...
 

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Wraithen
  • #7
Ok. The OP is planning a fishless cycle. The safe start and stability are proven to rapidly speed up the cycling process. Fish in, done correctly with tss+ or stability, is perfectly safe.

OP, I believe the bottle of stability actually says when to do water changes and when to prime. The tss doesn't. I don't believe that the stability is stronger bb, or better. They do seem to have a lower ratio of dud bottles though.
 
bitseriously
  • #8
It isn't one bit cruel or unhealthy.
Recommend you preface this with "in my opinion" on this forum. Lots of folks here, good members all, will be turned off reading blanket statements like this, and this one in particular. Friendly comment, that's all.

Weird they both say safe and harmless to add fish in right away...
Yeah, weird. It's almost like they're trying to sell a product or something...
 
Eric360
  • #9
Recommend you preface this with "in my opinion" on this forum. Lots of folks here, good members all, will be turned off reading blanket statements like this, and this one in particular. Friendly comment, that's all.


Yeah, weird. It's almost like they're trying to sell a product or something...
Almost like if they made a false claim to sell a product they could be sued for it if it wasn't true and was, in fact harmful for fish to be in a fresh tank with TSS? lol They could be sued if it were found to be harmful and they're claiming it isn't "just to sell a product". I can't claim tomatoes cure cancer "just to sell tomatoes" if they don't really cure cancer. If someone can prove that it is harmful to put fish in a new tank with TSS, you could make a lot of money buy suing them for false advertisement.
It's all friendly comments, until someone calls me out and says I'm cruel and harmful to fish for using TSS to do an in fish cycle (proven safe and harmless - NOT proven to be cruel and harmful).
I didn't say in my opinion, because it isn't in my opinion. It's information from the manufacturer (who employs scientists to research this stuff). If anyone has any scientific research showing TSS or Stability in fish cycle is harmful to fish, let's see it. I can't tell you a car has an airbag in it, to sell more cars, when the car doesn't have an airbag in it...lawsuit.
If you just think Seachem is out to make money, better watch out for all the Prime fanatics. All of their products work because they have scientists researching and creating them. If they say it's safe, I'll take it as safe until I see some scientific data that says otherwise. I don't need called out by PETA up there for mentioning an in fish cycle with TSS.
 
Albifrons
  • #10
How about we all calm down, since this is all getting a little out of hand. I will admit that if you dose Stability during an in fish cycle your fish will be okay IF you using Prime as well, which neutralizes the affects of ammonia and nitrites. However, in my OPINION it is better to perform a fishless cycle using pure ammonia. Though it is completely possible to cycle with prime and stability with fish and avoid harming them.
 
Kysarkel000
  • #11
Dear OP, if you are doing a fish-less cycle, your beneficial bacteria (BB) needs to have a source of ammonia. You can put pure ammonia in the tank (no additives!) Or you can use fish food or even some vegetables like lettuce or cucumber. Any food you add will break down into ammonia. You can add your tetra safe start to add in bacteria and it'll kickstart your cycle. You can also borrow filter media from a friend's established tank and instantly cycle your tank that way.

If you're doing a fish-in cycle, just realize it *might* be harder on the fish, especially if it's a sensitive fish. You will need to check your water perameters everyday to make sure the ammonia and nitrites don't reach a combined 1ppm, and if so, you'll need to do a partial water change (PWC) regardless of what the bottle(s) say. Nitrates are perfectly safe all the way up to 40ppm, but most aquarists try to keep it at or under 20ppm. If ammonia and/or nitrites reach 1ppm, it will literally burn your fish (hence ammonia burns). Imagine not cleaning a cat box for a week and then smelling it. It'd burn your lungs. (Idk about anyone else, but I consider that harmful and a health risk!).

Generally, fish-less cycles are easier for new aquarists because you don't have to check the water everyday and worry about the ammonia getting too high. You don't have to do all the water changes, and you won't accidently mess up and kill all your beautiful, expensive fish. But neither is right or wrong, just as long as you're doing it responsibly.

Onto the plants! I personally hate duckweed. It's absolutely unmanageable. It gets everywhere, clogs the filters, grows like crazy, and impossible to get rid of it or get it off of things. I use Sylvania (look into it, I think it's illigal in some states and countries) and Amazon frog bit. They're great! I also really like hornwort. It can float or be planted, mine is planted and looks amazing. Another good plant is a banana plant, they're pretty cool looking and pretty easy in my experience. Java ferns and annabus are generic, but easy to grow. They don't like their roots planted, but they do well in gravel substrate and they look really cool growing on decor.

When picking out your betta, put him/her next to other bettas and see if he/she tries to fight them. If he/she is really trying hard to fight, it's not a good option. Do realize, a betta will react to another betta differently than to other fish. Later, when you acclimate him/her in your tank, make sure to float the bag or cup in the tank with the other fish already in there (aka, get the betta last) and observe how he/she reacts to the other fish. If there is no extream will to fight, it *should* be okay. Then when you release him/her, make sure to keep a very close eye on everyone to make sure no one gets killed. I believe a nip or so is normal from either party, but if it goes past that, someone needs to be removed. Every fish is different. Some absolutely hate everything, and others love to school with corydoras lol it just depends. I do suggest you get a betta with smaller fins so the other fish arnt as inclined to nip at them and so the betta has an easier time getting around the tank. Heavy-fined bettas like to be as inactive as possible because it takes so much effort to swim that they get exhausted easily. They wouldn't be a good match for a large tank.

I hoped this helped some! Good luck! And send pictures when you're done!!!
 
BirdMom
  • Thread Starter
  • #12
Thank you everyone for your input so far the cycling process is going well (I think) except my **** accidentally ordered a sponge filter that is ginormous but that's okay I'll just have a really well filter to aquarium especially considering I also have a HOB.

The flow of both filters aren't too bad I adjusted the sponge filter flow. As it stands right now my 29 gallon aquarium which is only filled to 25-27 gallons filters put together claim to be able to filter up to 115 gallons...Oops!

Ammonia levels are going down & nitrite levels are going up, very little to no nitrate yet (color is just a bit off of 0.00ppm but not 0.20 yet by far) Is that good?

What does everyone use to monitor their copper levels?
 
sloughdog
  • #13
Sounds like the cycle is progressing as it should. What are your readings for ammonia and nitrite currently? It may be necessary to add in more ammonia or source of ammonia to keep the bacteria fed.

Personally I don’t test for copper but there are test kits available such as API.
 
BirdMom
  • Thread Starter
  • #14
Today the Ammonia level is 0.50 as is Nitrate & Nitrite is 0.20 which roughly double from yesterday. pH is 7.5

I'm encountering a new problem though my water clarity has become very cloudy...what should I do?

I think it's because I've been phantom feeding. Should I stop or continue?

I added a flourish root tab yesterday since we're going to start planting tomorrow most likely.
 
Lunnietic
  • #15
Cloudy water is most likely a bacteria bloom. This is a very good thing.
 
sloughdog
  • #16
Did the nitrite and/or nitrate ever spike (very high reading)? Have you been testing daily and recording the results as that would be very helpful in how the tank is progressing. Are you using the API test kit?

With the info you provided to this point, I wouldn’t add any more food. The cloudiness is normal and could be just a bacterial bloom, which is good. Let it go at least a day or 2 and see if what happens to the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate.

I have never used TSS or any of the products mentioned to cycle a tank so there are others with better answers and guidance. I suggest, because this thread went sideways for a bit, is to start a new thread with a title like “Fishless Cycling Questions” to pinpoint the conversation.
 
BirdMom
  • Thread Starter
  • #17
I just tested again (6 hours after my last test results) & the reading was...
Ammonia 0.75
Nitrite 0.50
Nitrate 0.20

I haven't noticed any spikes yet. Started adding Stability. Yes I am using API test kit.

I will make a new thread in the morning with my last few tests. Thank you.

There is one thing I'm slightly confused about I started the cycling process a little before I got my test kit but the first to test the ammonia went up and then down and now it's going up again...at the very very beginning is that normal?
 
Wraithen
  • #18
It's normal any time you are using fish food. The decay isn't linear, nor is it predictable.
 

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