Yet Another Beginner with Questions......Stocking a 10 gallon

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brenster

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Hello Everyone:

I am in the process of starting up a 10 gallon tropical tank for my kids this Christmas. I have a filter, heater, a mix of live and silk plants, a couple small rock formations..I think that's it. I have done a lot of research on the subject of cycling and decided to go the "fishless" route. It is working beautifully. I am at the point where my ammonia levels disappear overnight after adding a whole bunch...and my nitrites and nitrates are nice and high right now. I am waiting for the nitrites to fall to zero and then I can add my fish.....after a water change of course.

Now the question is.....what fish to add? When I initiated this project I was kind of going into it blindly..and I regret not getting a larger tank. However, a 10 gallon is what we have for now and I want to make sure I stock it correctly. I did not go through the process of fishless cycling only to kill my fish from overstocking...

So my kids want something colorful...and my son loves frogs. I was thinking a couple guppies and a couple ADF's? And maybe a small Cory Cat or two? Is that too many? I am not thrilled with having a tank full of baby fish...and watching them get eaten..so would two males be ok? Or would they be unhappy or fight? I know they live to reproduce.

Ideally I would like fish that occupy the top, middle, and bottom of the tank, to take advantage of the space I do have...but that may be unrealistic.

I have asked our local pet store for advice...and have received so much conflicting advice that I gave up...until I found this site. Please help.

And last of all, I apologize if this information is already posted in the forum...I don't have a lot of time to read everything...And there's so much!!

Thank you all.
 

nmwierman1977

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If you are going to get guppies I suggest you get males if you don't want babies. Guppies are breeding fish. My brother-in-law has 2 female guppies and a male guppy. One of the females had 50 fry. So now he has a tank full of guppies. The rule of thumb for keeping a community fish tank is 1 inch per gallon of water. In other words if you have (and this is only an example) a Betta and he's 2 inches long then he would need to be in anywhere between 3-5 gallon tank in order to thrive and be happy and healthy unless of course you have other fish with him then you would need either a 5 gallon or 10 gallon to start since he is already 2 inches. Do you understand what I'm saying? Or did I confuse you more? You have to pay attention to the size they get.
Natalie
P.S. Also make sure that they are compatible with each other. You don' t want fighters on your hand.
 
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brenster

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Thank you for the reply...

No, you didn't confuse me at all.  I am familiar with the "one inch per gallon" rule, and my other concern is compatibility.  After some further research I think maybe guppies are out.  Unless you think two males could co-exist happily.

would cherry barbs work, along with the cory cats and adf?

2 cherry barbs ( one male, one female)
2 cory cats
1 adf
something else (maybe Harlequin Rasboras, 2 male guppies?)

See...this is where I am having touble.   

Thanks.
 

Isabella

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Welcome to Fish Lore Brenster

Yes, Cherry Barbs would be great for your tank As would harlequin rasboras. Cherry barbs swim all over the place I think but whenever I see them at my fish store, they often swim on the bottom level of the tank. Harlequin Rasboras, on the other hand, like to stay in the middle level, though they will venture "here and there" as well.

Because both Cherry Barbs and Harlequin Rasboras are schooling/shoaling fish, it's best to keep them in groups of at least 6. This would be best for them. It is, of course, up to you what you will do. But if you'd be content with one species only, get 6 harlequins or 6 cherry barbs. Cherry barb males turn the most beautiful red color I have seen among tropical fish, especially when they're adult. They're so beautiful I am getting a large school of them for my next tank. I am also getting a large school of harlequins as they're equally beautiful. Cherry barb males and females are very easy to distinguish - while males are a stunning red, females are brownish-orange.

I don't know much about cories, but if they grow to something like 2 - 2.5", you could have 1 or 2 of them with the school of 6 harlequins or cherry barbs. Once again, it's up to you what you'll get, but if I were in your position, I'd get cherry barbs.

Just remember, that even though your tank is cycled, doesn't mean you can add all the fish at once. This is because if you add too many fish at once, you may have an ammonia and/or nitrite spike. So stock gradually, getting - say - 2 cherry barbs every week or so, until you have 6 of them or so.

P.S. If cories don't like to be alone and if it would be better to have 2, and if they're around 2.5", maybe it's better to cut down a little on the school of cherry barbs from 6 to 5. Although, again, they'd do better in a larger group than that. If I were you, I'd wait for Gunnie's, Butterfly's, or Chickadee's opinion on the cories and on the overall issue. You know, just to make sure you're on the right track
 

Butterfly

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Six Cherry Barbs and two Corys would be great. what the one inch per gallon rule doesn't take into consideration is the mass of a fish. Cherry Barbs don't have much mass so six would be great. I believe Harlequin Rasboras have more body size(body mass) so you could have fewer of them. CB's and Corys love plants so thy will love what you have. Sounds like you've done your homework!! good luck and we would love pictures when you get it all together
Carol
 
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brenster

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Thanks again for the responses!  Yes..I think I will go with 5 -6 Cherry Barbs and one or two Cories...not all at once of course.  I think our pet store got some kind of dwarf cory in...so it's smaller than a regular cory and maybe I could up the number of cherry barbs by one or two.  I'll have to see.

When we get things settled I would be happy to post pictures...One thing I noticed is that my live plants (ludwigia and a tall grassy-looking plant) aren't looking so great.  Leaves are falling off the ludwigia, but I see roots sprouting off what's left.  And parts of the grass are turning yellow.  I have had the tank cycling for about two weeks...should I replace the plants or give them some more time?

It could be from dumping all that ammonia in early on....

Thanks for all your help.
 

Butterfly

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Give them a bit to see if they revive
If you get dwarf corys you could get three
Carol
 
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brenster

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Ok..I went to plantgeek.com and found out which plants I currently have. 1 ludwigia, 1 water wisteria, 1 hornwort, and 2 spiralis. I also have fake bamboo, and a couple silk plants w/ colorful flowers...Not crazy about the bamboo but my son likes it.

Anyhow..like I said, they are all looking stressed except for the hornwort, which just has some slimy algae on it...I need to get fish in there. Does anyone know how long the "second stage" of cycling usually takes, when the nitrogen eating bacteria bloom? I currently have really high levels of nitrates and nitrites (off the charts) so I am hoping to see a decline soon.

Well, you may be able to tell that I am getting antsy for fish. But I will wait as long as it takes.
 

Tazmiche

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Hi, five and a half weeks ago i started my first 28 litre tank ( around 7/8 us gallons) Like you i researched and found this site. My first fish were Cherry Barbs and they are so beautiful!!!! I thought they may be dull but no way! Males are deeper red but girls are a more yellow colour and look like they are wearing lipstick and rouge! Girls are so pretty. DEF get some as they are adorable to watch! i am going to get a few more! I also have white cloud minnows now, fab but my Cherry B's have my far too soft heart! :not too sure if i will add more as small tank, have found my next BIG one!!!! one step at a time hey???!!! last word CHERRY B'S are beautiful!!!!!
 

Isabella

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brenster said:
One thing I noticed is that my live plants (ludwigia and a tall grassy-looking plant) aren't looking so great.  Leaves are falling off the ludwigia, but I see roots sprouting off what's left.  And parts of the grass are turning yellow.
brenster said:
Ok..I went to plantgeek.com and found out which plants I currently have. 1 ludwigia, 1 water wisteria, 1 hornwort, and 2 spiralis.
Plants that are classified as medium-to-high light will usually not grow under standard fluorescent lighting (standard lighting is the regular one you get with your tank). Low-light plants, and maybe some medium-light plants, will grow under regular lighting. Ludwigia is mostly a high-light plant (depending on its variety) and some of its varieties are medium-light. This plant is generally considered difficult to grow. So if you have standard lighting, this is probably why it's not doing well. High-to-moderate light plants that require better lighting, will also require nutrient-rich substrate and/or fertilizers, and many high-light plants will even require CO2 injections for proper growth. That is why it's better to have either a low-tech and low-light tank or a better-lighting and nutrient-rich substrate tank (and possibly with CO2 if the plants require it). Not good to mix low-light plants with high-light plants in a low-light tank, because high-light plants will usually die in such a tank. Water wisteria and Hornwort are easier to grow and are not as demanding as Ludwigia is, so you may be able to grow them (but I am not guaranteeing you this if you have regular light). Though hornwort should grow even under regular light, I believe. As for the last plant, I think you're talking about Vallisneria Spiralis (the tall grassy plant). It is generally a medium-light plant, but perhaps you'll have luck with it.

The best low-light plants for a regular-light tank (meaning low-light tank) are plants such as Anubias, Java Moss, Java Ferns, and possibly Water Sprite. And perhaps Hornwort that you already have.
 
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brenster

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Regarding the plants Isabella, you seemed to have hit the nail on the head....I did a bit of rearranging in my tank and when I picked up the ludwigia, it pretty much disentegrated in my hands. No roots were forming below the gravel and most of the leaves fell off. I am bummed because it was so nice looking to begin with. So I got rid of that one. My hornwort and wisteria are rooting like crazy, and the grass is holding up fairly well. I am going to look into some java fern to replace the ludwigia.

Now my problem is that I have all this dead plant debris in my tank and it's chemistry now seems out of wack. Did I somehow disrupt the cycling process? Right now, I still have very high nitrates and nitrites, but my ammonia levels are staying high and my ph has gone as low as it can go.

Should I vaccum or try to get out all the dead, decaying plant matter..or leave it alone? Should a do a partial water change? Or just continue to sit tight and let nature take its course?

Thanks for you input.
 

chickadee

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Don't want to interupt here but just to say that decaying biological matter of any kind will change your readings. You may have to vacuum the tank and remove as much of the debris as possible but I do not know about a water change unless you already have fish I would let nature take its course. It seems for me anyway every time I do a water change during a cycle, I set it back by a couple of weeks. The ammonia, nitrites and nitrates will take care of themselves and you can do the water change at the end of the cycle.

Rose
 

Isabella

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Brenster, I agree with Rose. Any decaying matter such as fish wastes AND even dead plant matter may cause nitrite and ammonia spikes during the cycle. And when the tank is cycled, nitrate is likely to be very high in such a situation. If nitrate goes out of control, you can get nitrite or ammonia readings even in a cycled tank. Your pH is low because your nitrate is high (the higher the nitrate the lower the pH, and the lower the nitrate the higher the pH). This would indicate to me that the dead and decaying plant matter in your tank has caused the pH to go down. If you don't have fish in the tank, you don't need to worry about anything, but you should still - in my opinion - siphon out all the decayed matter out of the tank. It's not good to keep anything rotting in a tank. Do it with a good water change. Then, after you have removed the decaying matter, proceed normally with the cycle. (I presume you have no fish in your tank.)
 
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brenster

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Rose and Isabella, thank you for your responses. I do NOT have fish in the tank yet. I spent this weekend siphoning out all the decaying stuff I could and did 3 partial water changes to get the ammonia back down to reasonable levels (between .25-.5) My nitrates are lower, but still high, and my nitrites are off the charts still. My ph went up a bit but it's still on the low side.

I found a great little fish store near my town (that I didn't even know about until someone at PETCO told me about it) and went there and asked all kinds of questions. They gave me a sponge from one of their tanks to stick on my filter intake which will hopefully help in establishing a good bacteria colony.

So I am going to wait a few days and see what happens. As of this morning, ammonia is still .25-.5, nitrite very high off charts, nitrate very high but much lower than in was. Ph is at 6.8 and my alk is low. Sorry I don't have the exact numbers, I forgot my notebook. But the numbers are better than they were and hopefully the sponge will get things going.

My tank looks great now without all the dead stuff floating in it. I added a couple silk plants to replace the ludwigia and most of the wisteria. After I get it cycled I may add some java or anubias...

Thanks again and I will keep you posted. I hope to have a couple cherry barbs by Christmas...but I won't rush it if it's not ready.

Happy Holidays Everyone.
 
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