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Old 02-10-2015, 03:39 AM   #1
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Greeting all, looking forward to reading up, getting advice from all of you and reviving my old aquarium hobby skills. it's been 20 years since I owned a fish tank! I now have a 3&5 year old and I figure it's time to get their mental fins wet by introducing them to the many wonders of fish and plant keeping!! it all started a few months ago when I saw a beautiful pair of oscars in a tank at Petco while I was buying dog food, they were having a tank sale so I started thinking about it getting back into it. I realized pretty quick that what the kids needed was a community tank with plants for now, not a carnivorous tank. I'd been doing quite a bit of home improvement work and had quite a few odds and ends from insulation to some tiger wood 4X4's laying around. I bought a 55 gallon tank and began making what I thought would be a simple stand... months later and untold hours of work I now have a two tank stand, insulated to R20, capable of being nearly hermetically sealed with the tanks sharing atmosphere. as a child I had a fascination with building and creating aquatic ecosystems, particularly biotopes or groupings of species and plants. I made a few sealed up systems but never had the lighting that is now available, it was all just too expensive and hot back then, requiring chillers and constant bulb replacements. these new LED lights really have got me excited, wow, they are affordable to buy and run and last a long time! So now I've managed to put together a terrarium with tropical plants and a Brazilian Rainbow Boa, which happens to prefer 77F, which is what the fish we are getting like. the biotope I'm putting together is mainly around the theme of things that like high humidity and heat created by the aquarium and it's lights. I expect to barely have to heat either enclosure but instead use a fan and thermostat to circulate the "waste" heat from the lights, like a heat pump between the enclosures or to a "radiator" outside the tank when it's too warm, perhaps to a heat sink under the tank to make a passive heat source for the night. I ran out of room for the snake's tank so I'm in the process of installing an inclosure directly into the stand using various plastics, resins and a glass front that I've had a lot of "fun" figuring out how to turn it into a vertical door (that doesn't leak!). As for the fish, I'm about 9 days into cycling the fish tank, It's about half plants right now. I have a good bit of wood, which was probably responsible for the mild ammonia levels before even any fish were added. the green fuzz is growing, the snail population is burgeoning with the spike in algae to eat and the ammonia has stayed essentially in the .5 range throughout. I have gotten rocks and water from two fellow enthusiasts with established tanks. I'm running two aqua clear/Fluval filters with roughly 500 GPH. it's hard to tell where I am in the nitrogen cycle. it appears that some nitrates are showing up with no spike in nitrites. I suspect that with the plants and gravel and water from other tanks that I may have succeeded in speeding up the process, making it a somewhat "silent cycle". today the kids became so eager to get fish that we went and got 6 Diamond Tetras and a few snails, thinking that possibly the good bacteria were already needing an ammonia soucre, I didn't want the bacteria to crash without food. anyway, that's enough about me for now. see you on the boards!
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Old 02-10-2015, 04:00 AM   #2
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Wow! Welcome to the forum!


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Old 02-10-2015, 07:52 AM   #3
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Welcome that's awesome that you built a stand like that REALLY COOL!.

If your tank indeed was not done cycling yet, do regular water changes for your fish. Anything above 0ppm for Ammonia and Nitrite harms the fish but is essential to growing the bacteria during cycling.

Since you said it's been a while, I'd also recommend a liquid test Kit. Very accurate and you can get a good one by API at about any LFS for $30.


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~10g tiger barbs
~45g ick is fixed!
~75g new community tank.
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Old 02-10-2015, 11:45 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ImACoolguy View Post
If your tank indeed was not done cycling yet, do regular water changes for your fish.

Well, you do need to do regular water changes anyways, not just when you are cycling. But it is especially important during cycling.


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Old 02-10-2015, 12:11 PM   #5
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this morning we tested water again. still at about .5 PPM ammonia. the interesting thing is that there is still zero nitrite. the nitrate began showing up yesterday very lightly, so light I questioned if it was just a difference in the chem pads between nitrite and nitrate. today the nitrate is about 10ppm (not dark enough on the strip to be 20 but definitely not white). it does sound like it's time for a water change. I didn't mention that the tank is full of rainwater and I plan to be doing changes from our cistern to bypass all the treatment byproducts. I do have to watch the chemistry of the cisterns, so far the issue is softer than ideal water with lowish PH. I've got a bag of corral in one of the filters to help with that and it seems to do doing a nice job. so far, no apparent sign of stress for the fish, but I hear you Imacoolguy, a water change will commence shortly!
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