I'm on aquarium #4. Considering I had no real idea what I was doing, #'s 1-3 were realtively successful in spite of my ignorance.
#4 is actually the same tank as #3, but we restarted it for my daughter. I used the same gravel (which is probably more properly classified as "pebbles" at .5"-1") and some of the same rocks and a heavy piece of wood. I started the tank last weekend and the LPS
girl (meaning well, I'm sure) said that it would be best to wait 2-3 weeks but we could add fish in a week. The tank was pretty cloudy and green at first from all of the old bio-crap from the old installment (no, I didn't clean/sanitize anything....dumb, I know) but everything cleared up after a 3-4 days of filtration so I figured it would be ok. We took a sample to LPS
and they tested it and said the ammonia levels were about .03 but everything else was ok. They advised it was safe to populate the tank with an additive to eliminate the ammonia, so we got a pair of mollies (marble and dalmatian), a pair of sunset plattys, a pleco and a bamboo shrimp (do these need bamboo?).
At the end of the first day, one of the plattys was not looking good. Next morning, the platty was dead
but the rest of the critters seemed to be doing ok. I didn't know it, but my daughter added some more of the rocks left over from the old tank and the tank clouded up really bad again. I added an air bar thinking the oxygen would be good for the bio process and took a water sample to LPS
to see what was going on. The ammonia and nitrates were good, but nitrites were a little high.
As it turned out, the dalmatian molly we got was preggers and had babies last night! I can't tell how many are in there, but I counted at least 5 swimming around. They hide in the pebbles pretty good, so I hope they'll be safe from the other fish. Saving the babies is that much more motivation for doing this tank right this time. My daughter wanted the tank set up in her room really bad so she's going to be responsible for cleaning it. I made it clear that if she doesn't stay on top of it, it's coming out of her room. I've got a water test kit now and so hopefully with that and PWCs as needed over the next couple weeks, we should be able to cycle the tank with minimal stress on the fishies.
I found this forum today and after reading around here a bit I did a PWC
to try to clear the water. It seems to be working, so I think we're on the right track.
Any advice anyone has to offer is welcome. Thanks for a great forum!