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Old 08-06-2009, 01:34 PM   #1
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Smile Back into Aquariums - 28 Gallon Bow

Hello everyone,

Just recently got back into aquariums after my girlfriend took up a rather large interest in it herself. I remembered having fish when I was younger and always intended to get back into it just never got to the point.

I just bought a 28G Bowfront setup from Petco and I remembered a few things from when I worked at the local pet store (ie types of fish, food, maintaining water, etc)

I know you need to cycle, but I figured the tank is large enough where I could get away with a couple of small fish. So I started with 10 Black Phantom Tetras, a pleco, a snail, and a betta my girlfriend gave me to watch over while she goes back to school. I had an ADF but he is already MIA and I suspect the cat got to him because I left the hood open one night by accident.

Everyone looks healthy, everyone is eating but my concern lies with the pleco. I know they are called "algae eaters" for a reason but my tank doesnt have any growth of algae yet. Someone told me romaine letuce so I threw two small leaves in the tank. They just kinda float there and I don't really see him going after the lettuce. The betta and the tetras actually pick at it. What should I feed the pleco in the meantime or is he just eating it and I am not seeing it.

The other problem I am noticing is the tank has ever so slightly turned cloudy (white hue). Someone said it is probably a water hardness problem. I dont think so because I test the water every day to keep an eye on the ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, hardness, chlorine and the stick indicates soft when I do the reading. Any ideas there? Just a new tank still cycling. It has been fully up and running with fish for a week so far so I wouldnt be suprised if it is just cycling.

I just remember the first night it was very clear and since then just has a cloudy hue.

How about the snail? Just a tank cleaner upper or does he need his own food too?

Thanks for reading guys and hopefully I can share some experiences along the way and help others out too!
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Old 08-06-2009, 01:39 PM   #2
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Welcome to AA! You got WAY to many fish, WAY to fast. The water clouding up is the beginning of your cycle. Be prepared to do water changes every day or every other day. What are you using to test? If you are using test strips, toss them as they are notoriously inaccurate and go buy yourself a liquid test kit like an API freshwater master test kit. Try sticking in some algae wafers or sinking algae pellets or something along those lines.
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Old 08-06-2009, 01:49 PM   #3
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I figured I was pushing the limits with that many fish but I figured they are all small and hardy. What percentage of water change should I be doing? 10%? 25%? 50%? / per day?

Also, is it a good idea to put tablespoon of aquarium salt/5 gallons in the tank. Thats what I have done so far, and the fish appear to be more livlier, I also know it will help ward off any illness since all the fish are newer.

Cloudiness is the begining of the cycle? The filter on the tank is a bio-wheel with charcoal prefilter. Came with the tank. I also have a heater in the water keeping the tank at about 77 F too hot? Too cold?

pH is around 7.4 and holding.

0 ammonia, 0 nitrate, 0 chlorine, 0 nitrite.

That sucks about the sticks, I guess I got some bad information in that department. What kit would you reccomend to test the water? Where can I get it? Petco near me seems to have a limited range of products.

Also, what is the general opinion on using something like stresszyme in my situation. Something to help this tank through the process. I am kind of beyond going to less fish in the tank. The reason I had to go with ten is because I originally only had six and the betta was being a little punk. Since I added four more the betta and the tetras seem to play nice now.
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Old 08-06-2009, 02:16 PM   #4
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Welcome to AA! First thing is buy a API master freshwater test kit and really find out what your water parameters are. Then post and we can help. Like LT1 said, some big water changes are in your future. But you need to test the water and find out what is going on in there first.
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Old 08-06-2009, 02:42 PM   #5
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hello and welcome to AA.
nothing like jumping in the deep end instead of just getting your feet wet lol.
the amount of water to change really depends on how high the toxins get. with that many fish you will have to do a higher percentage to keep the toxins down to acceptable levels.
the cloudiness is usually a bacterial bloom i think which is what happens during the beginning of the cycle.

i've never used salt and dont think it is at all necessary. they might be more lively but put salt in a cut and that makes you more lively too. it doesn't mean better. clean water and routine maintenance is what keeps fish healthy.
i also would suggest as previously mentioned to get a liquid freshwater master test kit and find API adequate.
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Old 08-06-2009, 02:57 PM   #6
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Welcome to AA, patience patience!
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Old 08-06-2009, 03:20 PM   #7
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Old 08-07-2009, 09:36 AM   #8
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So I took another look at the tank last night and it seems to be holding at the same level of "cloudiness". I'm stuck with the strips for now because I don't have much cash to just toss away the strips and go buy new stuff. Here are my readings..

0 Nitrite
0 Nitrate
0 Chlorine
7.4 pH
25 Hardness (GH? KH? IDK.)

0 Ammonia

This is good I would say.

The 10 tetras are still doing very well but it appeared that the betta was getting picked on by the tetras. I didn't forsee that happening so I moved the betta to a fishbowl until I can figure out what is going on. The snail seems to be in a different place in the tank everytime I check on it but he has this whitish-greenish stuff growing on his shell. Algae? I don't know. ADF is still missing.

Other than that nothing new. 2 questions.

How long should I keep only this many fish for? How long would I expect for this to take to cycle?

I am trying to keep my eyes peeled for a jump in NH4/NH3+.... when will that happen? Then from my understanding the NO2- will go up and when that goes down the NO3- will go up.

The only other issue I want to address is the temperature is up to around 80 to 82.

The tank is in my bedroom and unfortunately I don't have A/C. I do keep the fan going and the shades down but the weather in connecticut has just been so hot and humid lately it is rather hard to keep the tank cooler short of putting ice in the tank (DONT WORRY I DIDNT AND WILL NOT DO THAT).

Advice? Answers? Thanks guys.

P.S. What does FOWLR mean?
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Old 08-07-2009, 10:47 AM   #9
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I WOULD fill a water bottle up with water and freeze it. Then put in the tank an let it bing the temp down to a desireable level. FOWLR is a saltwater term meaning Fish Only With Live Rock.
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Old 08-07-2009, 02:02 PM   #10
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You might want to use Bio Spira to make sure you don't harm the fish to much while cycling. I used it when setting up my saltwater tank and it seemed to have helped. Granted I cycled the tank with live rock for 5 weeks and then added one fish and that might as well be why I did not get any spikes, but you won't lose anything by trying.
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