Re-establishing a second-hand tank setup

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by Bob Ellis, Jul 21, 2014.

  1. Bob EllisValued MemberMember

    I obtained from neighbor a 10 gallon tank and hood complete with an Aqueon QuietFlow 10, a Tetra heater, 10lbs of gravel, 3 artificial plants and a small statue/cave element. I have not had an aquarium since I was a kid.

    I want to know what is the best way to cycle this back into safe condition for fish. The setup was intact and keeping fish alive since March. The filter was newer and installed about a month ago replacing something else and still has the cartridge he used with it the whole time. He washed the plants and statue but only rinsed the gravel. It was running up until yesterday (he is moving back overseas, student life).

    With the gravel only rinsed and the filter intact as it was in the running aquarium yesterday please tell me what to do to cycle this tank for a fresh start. Would it be ready to go soon or need another complete cycle? What would I need to add, if anything? I will be testing the water frequently before adding fish.


  2. hollie1505Well Known MemberMember

    Hi there :)

    Can I first ask if the filter has dried out? If it is still wet recycling shouldn't take long.xx

  3. Bob EllisValued MemberMember

    The filter still had water in it this morning when I picked it up from his place. The cartridge was still submerged and wet.

    He removed the water yesterday from the tank.

    Does the bacteria live on the gravel as well? Would rinsing it have removed it?

    One thing that concerns me is that this filter was new probably four weeks ago. I am worried it is not established.

    Last edited: Jul 21, 2014
  4. hollie1505Well Known MemberMember

  5. Bob EllisValued MemberMember

    So basically 2-3 hardy fish then a bottle of TSS? Then test, wait, test etc?

    Edit: I filled the tank and treated with the appropriate amount of tap water conditioner. The filter is running but nothing else has been added other than the decorations.

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    Last edited: Jul 21, 2014
  6. Marie1Well Known MemberMember

    Basically. I would have it set up with de-chlorinated water now, and the filter running. Did it have fish in it until you took it? The bacteria in filter should be good to go for awhile as long as it stays wet, and was at least running in a tank that had waste in it. Having something like the bottled bacteria won't hurt when you add fish.
  7. Bob EllisValued MemberMember

    It is filled with tap water treated with dechlorinator/treatment and the filter is running. As far as I know there were fish in it within the last few days, and as I said the filter still had water in it when I packed it up to bring home so the cartridge was wet but not the whole bio-area of plastic the Aqueon has running down the front.

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  8. hollie1505Well Known MemberMember

    I suspect the filter will be fine. I would use TSS just to be sure. It will give you that peace of mind.

    Have your water dechlorinated. Wait at least 24 hours! Add fish, add a whole bottle of TSS (the bigger the better), wait two weeks.

    Poeticinjustices has described it very clearly in the above thread.xx
  9. plecostomuchValued MemberMember

    No bud its 1 fish per 10 gallons
  10. Bob EllisValued MemberMember

    Thanks bud but it doesn't say that in those two links. The second takes me to a thread about angelfish, which does appear to be an error.

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  11. hollie1505Well Known MemberMember

    Not necessarily, it depends on the size of the fish, it's bioload etc.

    Bob, What is your end goal in terms of stocking? That may help with the decision on which fish to buy.x
  12. Bob EllisValued MemberMember

    Something like a group of one of the smaller live bearers might be a goal. I enjoy the colorful varieties of platy and guppy available. On the other hand I am really not interested in raising fry.

    I also find Balloon Mollies appealing and have contemplated simply doing a trio of those. Again, not terribly interested in having fry though.

    One reads this and that about bachelor groups of guppies or balloons, so I am not settled on that either.

    I am not as interested in a small group of shocking fish but if it works it works.

    My main reason to start an aquarium is to watch the fish interact with each other and their environment and just generally swim around. Oddly this helps me deal with an anxiety disorder.

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  13. hollie1505Well Known MemberMember

    The first link is a thread about someone using TSS with very clear instructions, The second link should be to a tetra Q & A. Let me try again :) - that should be a thread with a detailed description on how to use it. I am happy to clarify anything you are unsure of. - that should be the Q & A with Tetra about SafeStart. If this still doesn't work click on articles at the top of the page and it's about the third one down the list :)

    Balloon mollies have more waste than guppies and you can get a much wider range of colours of guppy. The mollies give a good block of colour though and their little balloon bellies always make me smile. I keep both balloon mollies and guppies and I like them both! Either way just stick with males if you don't want fry. They are also both hardy enough to withstand a TSS cycle.

    I know where you're coming from with your anxiety disorder. The reason I have fish tanks is because I have OCD and needed something to take my mind of my brain working over time. They have dramatically helped with my anxiety. Something about how peaceful it is, the way the fish glide around the tank, watching the current make ripples in the water. It is so calming and I strongly recommend to anyone with anxiety to consider this hobby. Don't get me wrong, the first few weeks will be tough until you feel everything has settled but don't let this put you off. An API freshwater master test kit will be your best friend (anxiety or not).

    Above all else, take time to enjoy your tanks.
  14. Bob EllisValued MemberMember

    Methinks a balloon molly might be the ticket here. I believe I understand the TSS information in the links sufficiently to begin. The tank has been running since yesterday and the tap water was treated when added so we will be 24 hrs out from then by this afternoon.

    I had read mollies like a little aquarium salt in their water but don' always need it. My initial thought would be to wait on that on case it interacts with the cycling in an way as well as in case I choose to stock fish later that will not like the salt.

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  15. hollie1505Well Known MemberMember

    I keep my mollies in freshwater and have no problems doing so. I don't know if it affects TSS as I've never tried/researched as I haven't needed to.

    If you are only keeping mollies in the tank, I would suggest you keep it brackish as they prefer it, but mine do thrive without :)

    Please post some pictures when they're settled :)
  16. Bob EllisValued MemberMember

    I did not like the look of any Balloon Mollies I found locally, they all seemed sort of washed out and drab. Could've been stress I know but none struck me as my choice.

    So I ended up with three glowlight tetras instead. LFS owner said he found his supply of glowlights quite hardy and three would generate as much waste as I need for the TSS and still be happy in a mini-school until the process is finished.

    I thinking this tank may ultimately end up with a mixed school of these and neon tetras.

    Edit: According to an eventual stocking of 5 glowlights, 5 neon tetras and 5 black skirt tetras puts me right at capacity. That'll be nice.

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    Last edited: Jul 24, 2014
  17. Bob EllisValued MemberMember

    Three straight days of no ammonia or nitrite and less than 5 ppm nitrate tell me the BB were probably still viable in the filter. I'll be increasing the school size of glowlights first and later introduce the black skirt tetras.

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  18. hollie1505Well Known MemberMember

    I agree! Fantastic news :D xx

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