Starting Two Tanks

badaza

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Hi,

I'm new to aquariums and fish.

So, my husband bought a 10 gallons tank on a whim, put water, conditioner, and Aquafin Cycle (which is what you get pretty much everywhere here in Montreal, Quebec). He let it run empty for a week and went back for fishes. And then the kid dumped a whole bunch of food, which basically killed all the fish in 2-3 weeks.

Now that we're wiser, we're trying to do it right. Husband and kid are aware that we'll need a full cycle before buying fish, so at least a few weeks. No more goldfish, I want cuter. Well check the stock threads to make our choice.

Got the API softwater master kit. Water, just after conditioner and within 20 Minutes of adding Cycle has the following characteristics:
pH: 8.0
Ammonia: 0
Nitrites: 0.1 (or 0.01, the first color after 0, anyway)
Nitrates: about the same (we washed the gravel in a colander but some crud remained)
Water Hardness: city says that the hardness is 116 mg/l (so 11.6?).

I started cycling fish less with a few flakes of food last night and a few more this morning.

We're planning on buying a used 30 gallons tank on Kijiji today.


Questions:
- Is a pinch of flakes twice a day enough to start a cycle in a 10g or should I be more aggressive? Assume I don't have access to pure ammonia. Alternative suggestions are welcome.

- The 30g will come with filter, gravel, etc. (It's pretty much full equipped.) Assuming everything is dry, are the bacteria still in there and giving us a quasi-instant cycle? How long do bacteria survive out of water?

- If the new tank has lost all beneficial bacteria, what's the quickest way to getting both tanks up and running? Both tanks at once, or one after another (in which case, which tank first)?
 

PatrickShrimp

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Benificial bacteria lives in filter media. So which ever you cycle first, move some extra media to an uncycle tank and bam, instant cycle. No, the bacteria cant survive when dry. It's not the food, it's the food converting to ammonia. You could get pure ammonia at a Home Depot. Just do research online. For cute fish, dwarf gourami is a great option.
 

max h

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If the 30 gallon tank that you are getting hasn't been in use for a while it will have to be cycled again. The bacteria doesn't survive very long without water, an ammonia source, or water flow. As far as using just fish food to cycle the tank there are some stickies in the forums for guidance. I have never cycled a tank with fish food and bottled bacteria.
 
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badaza

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Thanks for all the advice! I'll stop by Home Depot to get ammonia and few odds and ends that'll be aquarium-exclusive.

So, which size is easier to cycle? Or it's pretty similar?
 

PatrickShrimp

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Make sure to research about which type of ammonia, just to be safe. The size of the tank does not change the cycle time, just how much ammonia.
 
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badaza

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Seeing as ammonia is highly toxic and that I have a 5-year old, I think I'll stick to fish food for now.
 

Neptune334

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I am not very good at giving cycling advice, but maybe I can give some stocking recommendations.
10 gallon:
You could go with a single betta and some shrimp or snails, though that may be a bit boring. Some African Dwarf Frogs would be cute and unusual. You could have from 6-8 Endlers, 3-6 Guppies, or up to 3 platies in a tank that size. If you do go with with any of the above livebearers, be sure to get all of the same gender or have a place to get rid of the babies too. That is all I have time for right now, but I'll be back later!
 
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badaza

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Thanks. The guys decided to start right away with two guppies in the 10g, with the goal of adding more next week if the cycle is stable.

For the 30g, I'm still looking. I'm wondering how much additional work having a heater will require. Our apartment is around 21C in winter, 23-25C in summer and around 18-19C right now (the temperature outside makes heating overkill, but it's still a bit chilly).

What I've seen of cooler temperature fish doesn't inspire me, especially for a centrepiece fish. I like color and flash. Neon tetras are a perfect example of that for me. How far away from their temperature range can a fish live without undue stress?
 

PatrickShrimp

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Not a huge amount. Depends, cause if you get a self regulating heater, then it'll cost less but if it gets stuck in the on position, them you're fish, plants and bacteria will die. You could get it one the keeps heating up, then have a controller outside the tank which minimizes the chance of it heating the tank too much. Issue is, it can cost you a pretty penny, or multiple.
 
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badaza

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Yeah, I read that when I searched "heaters" on the forums. So if we go heated, I'd want a pair of self regulating (that's the cheapest kind, right?) for now, instead of a single one. That way a failing or overheating heater can be partially compensated by the other one that would turn off because the target temperature would be reached.
 

PatrickShrimp

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Well, I'd say when you notice that one is heating too much because it is broken,you can switch to the other. Actually this is more expensive than the other heater, but the other one needs a outside controller which is the spendy part.
 

AllieSten

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I have an Aqueon 150W heater in my 29 gallon. Albeit I've only had mine up and running for 2 weeks, but it keeps the temp perfect. I have another Aqueon (50W) in my 10g that I have had for over a year without any issues.

I, personally, would get started first on a filter for the 30gallon. It will take some time to find and gather the stuff for it. I have a fancy filter, but I love it. It's a Seachem Tidal 55. With a gph of 250. My goal is 290, so I added a sponge filter just to bump it up.

I have a couple of favorite videos I can share if you want to watch them to learn about filter media etc. I recommend not using filter cartridges it comes with. They only last a few weeks, and then you end up losing your cycle. DIY is the way to go.

I also use Seachem Prime and Stability to cycle my tanks. Plus I will add a second bacteria about once a week for an added boost. Last tank took 14 days to cycle (fish-in) doing that.
 

vikingkirken

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Heaters aren't complicated, don't overthink them. Get something like an Aqueon Pro or Eheim Jager, both are very reliable. And you can adjust them to whatever temp you need. Mount them horizontally, low in the tank, and you don't even have to unplug them during water changes. The Eheim (which I have and love) also has an auto-shutoff feature if it gets dry while still plugged in; the Aqueon might as well.
 
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badaza

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[...]
I have a couple of favorite videos I can share if you want to watch them to learn about filter media etc. I recommend not using filter cartridges it comes with. They only last a few weeks, and then you end up losing your cycle. DIY is the way to go.
I'd totally be interested! The filters that cams with the tank (bought used from a person) have more than one filter medium, so you don't have to change them all at the same time.

Heaters aren't complicated, don't overthink them.
Ha! My husband is the one that thinks I'm getting in too deep by wanting to use the heaters that came with the tank. He suggested getting fish that would work for the current temperature and change in a year when we're know more and know how to care for a tankful of fish. Which is not the way I want to go about it.
 

AllieSten

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Keeps erroring. Gonna try responding in a different post.

I'd totally be interested! The filters that cams with the tank (bought used from a person) have more than one filter medium, so you don't have to change them all at the same time.
Here you go. You can search YouTube for your exact filter brand/model and you can find modification instructions too. It's pretty nice.




Ha! My husband is the one that thinks I'm getting in too deep by wanting to use the heaters that came with the tank. He suggested getting fish that would work for the current temperature and change in a year when we're know more and know how to care for a tankful of fish. Which is not the way I want to go about it.
Unless you live in a tropical climate you will need a heater. Most Freshwater fish are tropical and will need water temps of 75 or so. If your house is warmer than that in the summer, you can just turn the heater off.

I use an Aqueon 150W in my 29 gallon. It was $40 at PetCo. Keeps the temp at 75 exactly without too much fuss.

Edit: also look into this app: AquaPlanner Pro. It will help keep track of your equipment, budget, water tests, cleaning, fish, everything. I use it everyday.
 

BottomDweller

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What I've seen of cooler temperature fish doesn't inspire me, especially for a centrepiece fish. I like color and flash. Neon tetras are a perfect example of that for me. How far away from their temperature range can a fish live without undue stress?
I consider neons a cooler water fish. They like 20-24c.

How about this cooler water stocking
3 Variatus platies
3 Guppies
8-10 Neon tetras
1 Bolvian ram
2 Peacock gobies
8 Peppered cories or 10 panda cories

Temperature would be around 22c

I would still recommend a heater to keep water at a stable temperature
 
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