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Old 04-14-2004, 04:04 AM   #1
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couple questions getting started....

i just finish scrubbing my tank cuz its been in the garage for 4 years
with just tap water and a clean towel... and now its all clean and i filled it up with water and left it in the garage again to see if it will leak or not


1..so now i was wondering what sorta fish should i get for it to cycle or should i do a fishless cycle???

2..what sort of plants are easy to maintain with?

3..do i really need to buy a test kit? cuz they lfs say they do testing for free... and its about a 5-10 min drive......

thanks
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Old 04-14-2004, 07:54 AM   #2
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The choice on cycling is yours SilveRx; I prefer not to subject my fish to ammonia and nitrites, but some fish are pretty hardy and can handle low levels. You also might want to see if a friend with a mature healthy tank would be willing to give you some filter media or gravel to seed yours.

And yes, get test kits. Unless of course, you want to drive to the lfs every day while the tank is cycling. Its best to have test kits available at all times in case something happens; thats the first thing to check when there is problems.
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Old 04-14-2004, 09:20 AM   #3
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I would recommend either going fishless (cheap, but takes a few weeks) or Bio-Spira (expensive, instant gratification). Don't use fish if you don't have to. It ends up being lest costly ($$$ and lives) in the long run.

I'll let somebody with a planted tank answer that second question. I only know a little due to readin their posts.

Definitely buy a test kit. It's well worth the investment. I got the aquarium pharmaceuticals freshwater master test kit. ammonia test (the good 2 reagent one (no false positives)), nitrIte, gh, mid range ph, high range ph. Too bad it doesn't come with a nitrAte test kit though. You'll want one of those as well. I don't know about your lfs, but mine uses cheap litmus paper tests that aren't very accurate.
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Old 04-14-2004, 10:20 AM   #4
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I've always cycled my tanks with a fish, but just one. The last time I cycled my 20 gallon with one female betta. I added some Cycle bacteria to start. The only negative is that I had a bacterial bloom and the water was kind of cloudy for 2-3 weeks. The betta was perfectly happy in the tank the whole time. After everything settled down, I started adding the other guys.
just my two cents on how I do it.
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Old 04-14-2004, 11:58 AM   #5
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You definitely want your own test kits, because emergencies don't happen during business hours
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Old 04-14-2004, 12:05 PM   #6
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aquarium pharmaceuticals freshwater master test kit--- does everyone agree this is the best option? Is this readily available at pet shops? I tried the litmus paper test kits and found they indicated my water was great and then when I took it to an lfs they said I had way too much ammonia. So, I returned that kit and haven't bought another--- I've had my water tested at the lfs before buying any fish. But I guess I should be testing more often than that? My tank is 7 weeks old and I have had a few fish deaths . . . It's a 29-gal tank that currently has 2 angels, 4 zebra danios, 7 neon tetras, 2 orange platies, and 2 dwarf gouramis . . . amz
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Old 04-14-2004, 12:13 PM   #7
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I cycled with my existing fish with terrible consequences. Four fish got severely sick and died. One pregnant guppy managed to have 3 fry before passing though. I had no other choice since my previous tank was occupied by fry. After the deaths, I did a water change and added some cycle. within 2 days my levels were perfect. If I had another chance/choice I would definately go fishless.

Test kits are a must. I thought the same thing about going to my lfs and that became a hassle. If I had my own kit at the time, I would have been able to prevent my loss. I also have the aquarium pharmaceuticals freshwater master test kit but mine includes the nitrAte instead of the gh.

I don't know anything about the plants, I only use artificial "silk" plants for my aquariums.

Good Luck!
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Old 04-14-2004, 04:56 PM   #8
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thanks guys i was thinking about it whole night while sleeping hah
so i probably go fishless then dont wanna see soo many dead fishes already 8O

is there any particular test kit that is good??
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Old 04-14-2004, 05:07 PM   #9
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speaking of fishless cycling, in the articles section, there is one that talks about using shrimp from the grocery store to start a tank cycling w/out fish. the article was written for saltwater, does anyone know if this works in a freshwater tank?
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Old 04-14-2004, 05:44 PM   #10
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Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Freshwater Master Test Kit

The freshwater Master Test Kit is a complete kit for testing tap water and aquarium water. Tests water five different ways to protect tropical fish from dangerous water conditions. Tests include: freshwater pH, high range pH, ammonia, nitrite, GH (general hardness) Kit features 4 test tubes, a holding tray for testing bottles, and test tube rack.

is that what i need??? but it doesnt test for nitrATE do i need that??
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Old 04-14-2004, 07:34 PM   #11
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Good questions folks!

Most people are using the Aquarium Pharmeceuticals kits; they are the liquid/vial types and work fine. As you noticed Silve, the master test kit doesn't come with a nitrate test but has everything else you need. I haven't the vaguest idea why; you DO want that too and will have to buy it separately. Weird, I know, but who knows what was going thru their minds when they put that one together *sigh*

And you can use the shrimp method to cycle a FW tank as well. What you need is an ammonia source, and a rotting shrimp is one. You may find pure ammonia a little easier to deal with tho, as you can easily control how much you use. Just be sure to get the type that doesn't have ANY additives. I bought mine at the supermarket. Excellent article on fishless cycling here: http://www.tomgriffin.com/aquamag/cycle2.html
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