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Old 07-22-2004, 10:38 PM   #1
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New tank, new to fish

OK we got our first 20 gallon tank up and running. We didn't find many websites at first, now we're finding them all. So we probably need help getting on track.

Per recommendation from the LFS we filled the tank with pure distilled water. Now I'm hearing this wasn't a good idea. We put in the dechlorinator all purpose kinda liquid that preps the water for fish.

Then we added gravel and ran the pump for a few days. We then picked up 3 zebra danios and put them in. Tested the pH - 6.4. We have some fake plants and some decorations from LFS. Temp is 76F.

Are we doing things right? When should we start testing ammonia levels? Is a NitrAte test important? We have Nitrite, pH, Ammonia liquid testers so far. How often should we vac the gravel?

Thanks all
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Old 07-23-2004, 12:30 AM   #2
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Welcome to AA!!!

Your on the right track cycling your tank first, but distilled water is a bad idea. It doesn't have all the necessary minerals and stuff that your fish need to survive, Tap water is good for fish in most cases, but it needs to be treated with dechlorinator. But be careful not to switch to tap water too quickly - the change in pH will stress the fish.

I'm off to bed right now, but if nobody has answered your other questions by tomorrow I'll help you out.
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Old 07-23-2004, 12:37 AM   #3
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Well water wise, pure distilled water may be declorinized and all that good stuff, but I've been told it also takes out some of the good nutrients from the water that the fish like to have. I'd use spring water instead, and then just leave it open 24-48 hours before use.

In my experience, my ammonia spike occurred not even 48 hours after having my fish, so probably you'd want to start testing it daily now.

And a Nitrate test is important. You'll need it sooner or later, so might as well get it now. You should always monitor everything especially in the crucial stages of cycle.

Then finally... About vacuuming, I've read lots of people say if they vacuum /too/ much it stirs up too much gunk into the water causing a Nitrate spike. So I'd think once every other week... But not too sure about that. @.@;

and um.. Hi welcome to AA! *is a new too*
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Old 07-23-2004, 12:42 AM   #4
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you should vac the gravel every 1-2 weeks, other than useing the distilled water everythink you have done is fine.
you will need to check the ammonia, nitrites and nitrates fairly often while the tank is cycling, if you need more info on cycling look in the articles section.
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Old 07-23-2004, 12:42 AM   #5
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[center:e1027381f2] Welcome to AA, russrimm!! [/center:e1027381f2]

Quote:
Per recommendation from the LFS we filled the tank with pure distilled water.
8O Endgame is right, start changing out the distilled water with tap--10% daily would be fine. Treat the water with dechlor.
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Then we added gravel and ran the pump for a few days.
This doesn't do a thing unless there is an ammonia source. Now that the fish have been added, ammonia will start building. As the bacteria colonize the filter, they will break down the ammonia to nitrite (harmful to fish). Then the bacteria that break down nitrites will show up and nitrate will be produced. Fish can generally tolerate nitrates up to 40 ppm.
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When should we start testing ammonia levels?
Now. You will want to know if the fish are stressed and do larger water changes accordingly. Of course, doing 10% water changes daily to get rid of the distilled water will also help the fish and you shouldn't see a huge spike in the ammonia. Once ammonia starts going up, start testing for nitrites. Once the tank is cycled, ammonia and nitrites should be kept at undectable levels.
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Is a NitrAte test important?
It is worth having. Once nitrates are on the raise, ammonia and nitrites are 0, the tank is cycled and you have maintenance work ahead of you.
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How often should we vac the gravel?
I gravel vac weekly, but may be doing it too much. I am going to start a poll thread in the general discussion and get other's input on gravel vacuuming.
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Old 07-23-2004, 12:49 AM   #6
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i'd usually let the filter run on its own for about a week or so to let things settle down. As for the tap water, letting it sit for about 2-3 days in the tank with the filter running should be fine. You can pace the process with the decholrinators like novaqua or amquel. I usually let the water sit in bottles and then change water with them with no problem. try to put the temperature to about 79 degrees. Ammonia shouldn't be the problem with only 3 zebra danios as they are hardy fish and produces very little waste. those testers are no that important IMO because i usually know when there's too much fish in the tank, but your fishload seems fine. Vaccum the gravel about once a month should be good.

also, the tank will later get into a stage call "New Tank Syndrome" in which the tank will become cloudy with nutrients flowing all over. But that's no harm to your fish, it'll settle down after a week.
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Old 07-23-2004, 01:02 AM   #7
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Hi russrimm. I answered your post in the newsgroup. Glad you found your way here.
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Old 07-23-2004, 09:16 PM   #8
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Old 07-24-2004, 08:54 AM   #9
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Thank you all for your replies! You all are so helpful.

OK so if I were to fill two 1 gallon jugs with tap water each day and put some of my "PRIME" brand dechlorinator in them and let them sit for 24 hours with their caps off, and then pour them in the tank the next day, that would be a good plan?

Also, that "PRIME" stuff says 1 capful for 50 gallons and 1 thread = 10 gallons. That makes it hard to measure enough for 1 gallon jugs! Eek.

Lastly, how long will 3 zebra danios take to cycle the tank?
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2 Pearl Danios
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1 Opaline Gourami
1 Pearl Gourami
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65 Gal
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Old 07-24-2004, 11:45 AM   #10
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You dechlorinator must be very powerful, the stuff I use is one capful for 5 gallons. The dechlorinator works almost instantly, but I usually let the water sit for half an hour or so untill I add it to the tank. And you should get your self some 5 gallon buckets. They help a lot. And the zebras should finish the cycle in 4-5 weeks, even less if you use some filter media from a cycled tank.
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