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Old 08-04-2005, 12:10 AM   #1
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Starting a new 20gal.

i recently got a brand new 20 gal tank, and I'm still kind of new to this aquarium stuff, and I'm really excited about it. And I am wondering what is the best way to cycle the tank?

I've read a few articles on the subject (both here and elsewhere), but i was hoping to get a little more advice.

I was thinking about getting a few zebra danios to cycle, but I was wondering if it would be alright to use a Betta or a few rummy nosed tetra to cycle the tank?

And what exactly does StressZyme do, if anything for freshwater tanks? Is it worth it, some people say it works great, but I don't know I'm kind of skeptical.

How much gravel should optimally be in the bottom of the 20 gal tank? I've heard 1 lbs for every gallon.

Also, I was wondering when cleaning the tank with a syphon vacuum, how careful should I be with the gravel bed, as to not disrupt the bacteria bed?

Last, but not least, should I need to get an air pump/bubble maker for this 20 gal tank. I know that most of the oxygen exchange happens at the surface. Would it do anything to help the fish, or would it just look neat? And is it possible to have TOO much oxygen in the tank.

Sorry about all the questions, and thanks in advance.

I'm still learning all this stuff.
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Old 08-04-2005, 12:26 AM   #2
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Quote:
And I am wondering what is the best way to cycle the tank?
Fishless, look in the articles section on this site and read about it.

Quote:
I was thinking about getting a few zebra danios to cycle, but I was wondering if it would be alright to use a Betta or a few rummy nosed tetra to cycle the tank?
Fishless cycling is much better than cycling with fish.

Quote:
And what exactly does StressZyme do, if anything for freshwater tanks? Is it worth it, some people say it works great, but I don't know I'm kind of skeptical.
I have never used it and from what I've heard about it its a waste of money.

Quote:
How much gravel should optimally be in the bottom of the 20 gal tank? I've heard 1 lbs for every gallon.
There is a calculator on this site, but how much gravel you want to add is up to you. You do not need gravel, barebottom is better IMO. Its basically for cosmetic purposes.

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Also, I was wondering when cleaning the tank with a syphon vacuum, how careful should I be with the gravel bed, as to not disrupt the bacteria bed?
You don't have to be careful, there is not that much bacteria in gravel anyway. Alot of it lives in your filter media.

Quote:
Last, but not least, should I need to get an air pump/bubble maker for this 20 gal tank. I know that most of the oxygen exchange happens at the surface. Would it do anything to help the fish, or would it just look neat? And is it possible to have TOO much oxygen in the tank.
You do not need one, but what type of filtration do are you going to use? It isn't possible to have too much oxygen in the tank.

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Sorry about all the questions, and thanks in advance.
No problem, I'm glad to help.
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Old 08-04-2005, 12:35 AM   #3
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Blaze answered this perfectly.

When using gravel, the standard rule of thumb is 1 lb per gal of water. But that also depends on how deep you want. I like having a substrate because of the asthetics of it. If you carefully plan your substrate around your fish, it can really make your fish stand out. Ie: If you have alot of black fish, a nice white substrate would look very nice.

The bubble wand is also for asthetics. If your filter doesn't provide surface aggitation, I would toss in an air stone. My fish love to play in the air bubbles, so I wouldn't dare take it out. Also, it's nice to keep one onhand in case your fish get ich.
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Old 08-04-2005, 01:10 AM   #4
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how does a bubble stone help with the treatmet of ich?
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Old 08-04-2005, 11:02 AM   #5
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When I treat ich, I use the heat method. Which basically you increase the temp of the tank to 87 degrees. There are no chemicals involved so it's cheaper and you don't have to worry about damaging the bacterial colonies in the tank. When you increase the temp of the water, you have to increase the oxygen in the tank. You can lower the water level so the water from the filter splashing on the surface, or you can just add an airstone. I just add an airstone because I like my tanks to be full, I hate water lines.
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Old 08-04-2005, 01:55 PM   #6
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i have been looking into articles on fishless cycling, and it seems like the best way to go, so I guess I'll be giving that a try.

right now i have a Tetra Whisper PF-20 with the tank. I was also thinking about adding an under-gravel filter as well.

Thanks for the info.
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Old 08-04-2005, 02:22 PM   #7
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UGFs are nitrate factories and are hard to clean. The filter you have now will be good enough. Do you know what fish you want to keep? I always go to fishbase as a reference. http://www.fishbase.org/search.php?lang=English

A good rule is to keep the amount of fish you want under or equal to 20" and try not to purchase any fish over 5". HTH
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Old 08-04-2005, 05:00 PM   #8
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I agree about the undergravel filter. You won't need one with the Whisper you picked out, and IMO your tank will be better off without it. A fishless cycle is a great choice, just be sure you buy pure ammonia (with no surfactants or perfumes or anything). I have no experience with this method so I can't advise you on it. Do you have another tank, or know someone with a healthy established tank? If so, another option for you would be to put some old filter media in your Whisper to get the bacteria colony going. I've started 4 tanks this way and found that it works great, and the last time I did it I cycled a 55 gallon in 3 days.

About the gravel vac- don't vac the gravel OR clean your filter at all while the tank is cycling. This will disturb the bacteria colony you are trying to grow. When the tank has cycled, you can vac half the tank at a time with no problems. I vac my tanks with every pwc, but I'm not sure if others do this. If you like the look of sand better than gravel, pool filter sand works great and is very cheap. I have some tanks with gravel and some with sand, and it is really just a matter of preference.

About the rummy nose tetras- these are very sensitive fish and will not survive a cycle. I know you said that you want to fishless cycle, but if you are interested in these fish IMO you should wait a while to add them even after the tank is cycled. They fare much better in an established tank.

Oh, and WELCOME to AA!!!!
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Old 08-05-2005, 11:23 PM   #9
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I really want to get a Dwarf Gourami. Can Gourami's be by themselves, or do they need a few of their own kind to be comfortable?

Also, I already have a betta, named Domingo, that is in a 10 gal tank, and I might think about moving him over to the 20 gal, once its cycled. He's not overly agressive right now, but he doesn't have much to threaten him, only some snails and some pygmy cory cats.

Would Domingo be alright with a Dwarf Gourami?
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Old 08-05-2005, 11:26 PM   #10
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male gouramis will fight. It is hard to find a female. You can get some tetras to go with him.
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Old 08-05-2005, 11:28 PM   #11
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Do not mix bettas with gouramis they will fight.
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Old 08-09-2005, 02:21 AM   #12
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I would pick up some stress coat. It worked miracles for my tank. One of my damsels was chasing around my other damsel and tore up it's fins. I put some stress coat in and in about a day and a half his fins were perfect. Just my 2 cents
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