Originally Posted by Tank2379
Yup it's like smoking 10 packs of cigarette's a day.......... I can't BREATH!!!!!!
Ya beat me to it! I know plenty of people that appeared healthy as an ox, while smoking a pack a day. Later in life, they ain't so healthy.
Welcome to the site Emma... and unfortunately you've found the most frustrating thing about this hobby: everyone has a different answer to the same question! Good advice, for the most part, given already, but I'll add this: do as much research as you can, both here and in published books. I guarantee that you'll find conflicting advice. But as you collect all the advice in your head, you'll start to remember some consistent things that successful folks do. Don't rely on just us, or just the LFS
, or just a friend... take all that info together find some of the common themes and decide for yourself how you want to run your tank, and why you're doing what you're doing. I lurked this site for 3 months before buying a single piece of equipment. Granted... you don't have that opportunity now that you have a tank, but you can still do a lot of research in a short time.
*Stop adding anything to your tank. It doesn't need it yet.
*Don't assume the rock is "live", so add a single cocktail shrimp from the fish counter at your grocery store and watch it dissolve over the next few weeks. Yeah... you can cycle with fish too, but why? You get the same result by using a dead shrimp and don't have to worry about stressing out or killing innocent fish, or trying to get the buggers out of your tank afterward! All you're looking for to cycle a tank is a source of ammonia - and that easily comes from the decomposing flesh of Mr. Cocktail Shrimp.
*Get an ammonia/nitrite/nitrate test kit, read up on the nitrogen cycle, and chart your ammonia/nitrite/nitrate levels over the next 4-6 weeks.
*When your ammonia and nitrites have risen and then dropped to zero, and your nitrate levels are measurable (probably 10-20ppm or so) then your cycle is complete. Do water changes until your nitrates are undetectable, then you're good to add livestock.
*Only add one fish per month, and only after it's been in a separate quarantine tank for at least 4 weeks.
*Get your own test kits and don't rely on your LFS
. Until you understand enough to know when a store is a good one, and when they're just trying to sell you stuff... assume they're just trying to sell you stuff. (Don't get me wrong - there are great LFSs out there. It's just that there are some stinkers, too.)
*Do 10% water changes weekly for the first year. Religiously.
*Keep reading, researching, and learning. Just with any hobby, the minute you think you know everything and get complacent ... something will happen to remind you that you really don't know everything.
*Oh... and keep asking questions. There are no dumb ones. Well... there actually are, but we'll just assume you won't ask those.