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Old 03-19-2023, 11:52 AM   #1
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8 gallon tank to get stocked

Hi everyone, Iím new in the fish community and decided to get an 8 gallon tank to start off and get use to the practice before buying a larger tank.

I love fish but would want to better understand them and the care needed for then before fully investing.

I read in a post that 2 pigmy gouramis and micro rasborras could work, any other advice on stocking my tank?

All replies are much appreciated!

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Old 03-19-2023, 12:38 PM   #2
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An 8g tank is a tricky one to stock. Too small for a group of schooling fish or a larger single/ pair of fish. It is a little on the small size for a group of small rasboras. You would probably get away with it, but they would be better in a bigger tank. 8g is a good size tank for a pair of pygmy gourami.

A single betta would work, if you wanted to keep it with something else consider a snail. 6 to 8 Guppies will work in 8g with a snail or some shrimp. 8g would make a great shrimp tank.

As an FYI, learning on a small tank with a view to getting a bigger tank once you get experience is the wrong way around. Bigger tanks are much easier to learn with than smaller. Keeping fish is mostly about managing water quality, and the more water you have, any mistakes get diluted out. Its much easier to manage water quality with more water than it is with smaller volumes.
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Old 03-19-2023, 01:32 PM   #3
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An 8g tank is a tricky one to stock. Too small for a group of schooling fish or a larger single/ pair of fish. It is a little on the small size for a group of small rasboras. You would probably get away with it, but they would be better in a bigger tank. 8g is a good size tank for a pair of pygmy gourami.

A single betta would work, if you wanted to keep it with something else consider a snail. 6 to 8 Guppies will work in 8g with a snail or some shrimp. 8g would make a great shrimp tank.

As an FYI, learning on a small tank with a view to getting a bigger tank once you get experience is the wrong way around. Bigger tanks are much easier to learn with than smaller. Keeping fish is mostly about managing water quality, and the more water you have, any mistakes get diluted out. Its much easier to manage water quality with more water than it is with smaller volumes.
Thanks for the reply Aiken Drum!

It more of a budget friendly learning curve if i could put it like that, i was planning in getting a custom 100 gallon tank and it word work out more than 10 fold the price compared to the 8 gallon tank. I would really like to try the above mentioned fish.

If i do not succeed id go for some shrimp and guppies, or tetras and shrimp. It is also for incase i might loose interest without spending too much.

I have much to learn and might even consider a betta as well. Is there any tips or links you would recommend me having a look at regarding the fish or the water management? I have read up on what decorations and how to setups there “environment”.

Again thank you for replying I sincerely appreciate it!!!
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Old 03-19-2023, 01:40 PM   #4
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i also forgot to ask, how many micro rasborras would be enough? Between 2-6 how many would you recommend?
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Old 03-19-2023, 01:59 PM   #5
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If you wanted to go with the micro rasbora, i would get 6. They are social fish and do better in groups. I would say 2 pygmy gourami and 6 micro rasbora would be pretty much full for 8g.

I would learn the rudiments of the nitrogen cycle and how to cycle a tank. I will post something about this. 2 basic methods of cycling a tank, pros and cons of each.
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Old 03-19-2023, 02:02 PM   #6
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The nitrogen cycle is the natural processes that go on in your tank that convert ammonia into less harmful substances.

Ammonia gets into your tank through various pathways. Fish waste, decaying uneaten food, and dead, decaying plants are common ammonia sources in an aquarium. Its also possible your tap water is an ammonia source. Chloramine is a common water treatment and when treated with most water conditioners the bond in the chloramine breaks and releases ammonia into the water.

Ammonia can be toxic to fish, depending on how much there is, and what the pH and temperature of your tank water is.

The first stage of the nitrogen cycle is the removal of ammonia. If you have real plants in your tank some of this ammonia will be absorbed as part of their natural growth. Generally though ammonia is consumed by denitrifying bacteria that lives mostly on your filter media. These bacteria consume the ammonia and produce nitrite. Unfortunately nitrite is pretty much as toxic to fish as ammonia.

The second stage of the nitrogen cycle is the removal of nitrite. A different denitrifying bacteria will consume the nitrite and produce nitrate. Nitrate is much less harmful than ammonia and nitrite, and for most aquariums the nitrogen cycle ends there. Excess nitrate is removed through your regular water changes.

A further stage of the nitrogen cycle can also happen, but its difficult to remove all the nitrate from a typical freshwater aquarium. Plants will absorb some nitrate in a similar manner to how it absorbs ammonia to grow. There are also nitrifying bacteria that consumes nitrate and gives off nitrogen gas which will simply offgas from your aquarium. This nitrifying bacteria is difficult to grow in freshwater aquarium.

“Cycling” a tank is the process you go through to grow denitrifying bacteria in your aquarium to consume ammonia and nitrite. You are said to be “cycled” when you have enough bacteria to consume all the ammonia and nitrite that your tank produces and turns all of it into nitrate. If you test the water of a cycled tank you should see 0 ammonia and nitrite and some nitrate.
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Old 03-19-2023, 02:04 PM   #7
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To cycle a tank you need to grow denitrifying bacteria to consume ammonia and nitrite that your tank produces. The bacteria needs an ammonia source to grow colonies sufficient in size to consume all the ammonia and resultant nitrite and turn it into nitrate which typically you remove through your regular water changes.

Two commonly used methods to cycle a tank are called a “fish in” cycle and a “fishless” cycle.

A fish in cycle uses fish waste as an ammonia source and regular water changes are undertaken to ensure that water parameters are maintained at relatively non toxic levels. This has been the go to method to cycle a tank for many years, and it commonly is the way new fish keepers cycle a tank when they have bought fish with no knowledge that a tank needs cycling and how to go about it.

.

• You get to keep “some” fish pretty much on day 1 of setting up your tank.

• More consistently gets you through your cycle.

• Only real choice if you already have fish.

• If done simply, eg stock lightly, add fish slowly, you can fishless cycle safely without testing. Although testing your water while cycling is still a good idea.

Cons.

• Lots of water changes, especially if you are doing a fish in cycle with a fully stocked tank.

• Although you should be doing plenty of water changes to maintain relatively safe water, your fish will be living in waste which isn’t ideal.

• Can take a long time (several months) to go from an empty tank to fully stocked if done safely.

A fishless cycle uses an ammonia source to replicate the fish waste that a tank of fish would produce. This ammonia source can be pure ammonia, an aquarium specific ammonium chloride product like Dr Tims Ammonium Chloride, a cocktail shrimp or fish food.

Pros.

• You cycle the tank before adding fish, therefore they shouldn’t be exposed to their own waste.

• No need for regular water changes while your tank cycles.

• Can be quicker to go from an empty tank to fully stocked.

Cons.

• Needs patience, you will be looking at an empty tank for several weeks.

• More technical approach requiring dosing ammonia and will need to be done alongside regular testing.

• Less consistently successful than fish in cycles, especially with new fish keepers who don’t understand the process and expect it to run to a timetable.
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Old 03-19-2023, 02:05 PM   #8
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Have a think about which method you prefer for cycling and i can give more detail.
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Old 03-19-2023, 11:02 PM   #9
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Hi and welcome to the forum

What's a pygmy gourami, do you have a scientific name for it?

As Aiken mentioned, bigger tanks are easier to maintain. If finances are an issue, perhaps look at a 20 gallon long tank, they don't cost much more but hold a lot more water and have a much bigger surface area for any fish you get. An 8 gallon tank is an issue because aquariums don't hold the amount of water they are sold as.
(eg: an 8 gallon tank might only hold 6 gallons when it has gravel and ornaments in and is filled to a couple of inches below the top).
Perhaps look around for a tank that holds a bit more water but still falls into the budget.

What are the tank dimensions (length x width x height) that you are looking at?
Aquariums that are long and wide are better for the fish than tall narrow tanks. The surface area (length x width) allows fish to swim left and right, rather than being forced to swim up and down in a tall narrow tank. Try to avoid tall narrow tanks.

Don't buy any aquarium, filter or other related equipment until you run it past us first. A lot of shops will sell you stuff that you don't need and this will add to the overall cost and leave you with a heap of unwanted items. The main items you need are the aquarium, polystyrene foam to go under the tank if it's required, coverglass to stop evaporation and fish jumping out, gravel or sand for the bottom, a light unit if you want live plants but you don't need a light if you don't have live plants, a filter (an air operated sponge filter is sufficient for small tanks and can be cheaper than power filters, but power filters are quieter). A heater and thermometer if you go for tropical fish, and a dechlorinator to neutralise chlorine/ chloramine in tap water. A picture on the back of the tank also helps but you can use coloured card or a plastic bin liner to do the same job. A few ornaments/ plants to help the fish feel more secure. Ornaments from pet shops can be expensive and live plants are often cheaper than fake plants.

You will need a couple of new buckets and a gravel cleaner to do water changes on the tank. Try to get buckets that are food safe and use a permanent marker to write "FISH ONLY" on them. Use those buckets for the fish and nothing else.

When you do work on the aquarium, make sure you don't have any perfume, cream, oil, hand sanitiser, perfumed soap residue or anything else on your skin that can wash off into the water. These chemicals can kill everything in the tank very quickly. Wash your hands and arms with warm water before working in the tank. Use warm soapy water after you have finished working in the tank.

--------------------

What is the GH (general hardness), KH (carbonate hardness) and pH of your water supply?
This information can usually be obtained from your water supply company's website (Water Analysis Report) or by telephoning them. If they can't help you, take a glass full of tap water to the local pet shop and get them to test it for you. Write the results down (in numbers) when they do the tests. And ask them what the results are in (eg: ppm, dGH, or something else).

Depending on what the GH of your water is, will determine what fish you should keep.

Angelfish, discus, most tetras, most barbs, Bettas, gouramis, rasbora, Corydoras and small species of suckermouth catfish all occur in soft water (GH below 150ppm) and a pH below 7.0.

Livebearers (guppies, platies, swordtails, mollies), rainbowfish and goldfish occur in medium hard water with a GH around 200-250ppm and a pH above 7.0.

If you have very hard water (GH above 300ppm) then look at African Rift Lake cichlids, or use distilled or reverse osmosis water to reduce the GH and keep fishes from softer water.
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Old 03-20-2023, 02:53 AM   #10
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Have a think about which method you prefer for cycling and i can give more detail.
Hey Aiken Drum, I did decide to do a fishless cycle instead of doing a fish in cycle. I havenít set up the tank yet as I am painting my flat but will probably have it up and running by tomorrow.
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Old 03-20-2023, 03:10 AM   #11
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Hi and welcome to the forum

What's a pygmy gourami, do you have a scientific name for it?

As Aiken mentioned, bigger tanks are easier to maintain. If finances are an issue, perhaps look at a 20 gallon long tank, they don't cost much more but hold a lot more water and have a much bigger surface area for any fish you get. An 8 gallon tank is an issue because aquariums don't hold the amount of water they are sold as.
(eg: an 8 gallon tank might only hold 6 gallons when it has gravel and ornaments in and is filled to a couple of inches below the top).
Perhaps look around for a tank that holds a bit more water but still falls into the budget.

What are the tank dimensions (length x width x height) that you are looking at?
Aquariums that are long and wide are better for the fish than tall narrow tanks. The surface area (length x width) allows fish to swim left and right, rather than being forced to swim up and down in a tall narrow tank. Try to avoid tall narrow tanks.

Don't buy any aquarium, filter or other related equipment until you run it past us first. A lot of shops will sell you stuff that you don't need and this will add to the overall cost and leave you with a heap of unwanted items. The main items you need are the aquarium, polystyrene foam to go under the tank if it's required, coverglass to stop evaporation and fish jumping out, gravel or sand for the bottom, a light unit if you want live plants but you don't need a light if you don't have live plants, a filter (an air operated sponge filter is sufficient for small tanks and can be cheaper than power filters, but power filters are quieter). A heater and thermometer if you go for tropical fish, and a dechlorinator to neutralise chlorine/ chloramine in tap water. A picture on the back of the tank also helps but you can use coloured card or a plastic bin liner to do the same job. A few ornaments/ plants to help the fish feel more secure. Ornaments from pet shops can be expensive and live plants are often cheaper than fake plants.

You will need a couple of new buckets and a gravel cleaner to do water changes on the tank. Try to get buckets that are food safe and use a permanent marker to write "FISH ONLY" on them. Use those buckets for the fish and nothing else.

When you do work on the aquarium, make sure you don't have any perfume, cream, oil, hand sanitiser, perfumed soap residue or anything else on your skin that can wash off into the water. These chemicals can kill everything in the tank very quickly. Wash your hands and arms with warm water before working in the tank. Use warm soapy water after you have finished working in the tank.

--------------------

What is the GH (general hardness), KH (carbonate hardness) and pH of your water supply?
This information can usually be obtained from your water supply company's website (Water Analysis Report) or by telephoning them. If they can't help you, take a glass full of tap water to the local pet shop and get them to test it for you. Write the results down (in numbers) when they do the tests. And ask them what the results are in (eg: ppm, dGH, or something else).

Depending on what the GH of your water is, will determine what fish you should keep.

Angelfish, discus, most tetras, most barbs, Bettas, gouramis, rasbora, Corydoras and small species of suckermouth catfish all occur in soft water (GH below 150ppm) and a pH below 7.0.

Livebearers (guppies, platies, swordtails, mollies), rainbowfish and goldfish occur in medium hard water with a GH around 200-250ppm and a pH above 7.0.

If you have very hard water (GH above 300ppm) then look at African Rift Lake cichlids, or use distilled or reverse osmosis water to reduce the GH and keep fishes from softer water.
Hi Colin_T, thanks for the welcome!

Pigmy gouramis are sparkling gouramis.

As mentioned before i want to get to know maintenance for aquariums before upping to the 100 gallon tank i wanted to get built.

The dimensions are as follows - 9 inches wide x 18 inches long x 12.5 inches tall, it was a starter kit that i bought.

I haven’t tested my water yet but will do it in the following couple of days and i do research on the fish im planning to hold and see what water parameters they need.

Just one question, could you buy water testing kits at the store instead of taking it to the petshop? Its probably a dumb question but as I mentioned im new to having fish as pets.

Thanks for the heads up on cleaning the tank regarding all the harmful chemicals, I appreciate it and also the knowledge you shared in the post!

I will share all items included in my purchase regarding the filter etc. Upon opening the starter kit and also i will definitely ask on the form before doing any purchases as i see its best to ask before spending money that could be a waste at the end of the day.
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Old 03-20-2023, 03:59 AM   #12
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To cycle a tank you need to grow denitrifying bacteria to consume ammonia and nitrite that your tank produces. The bacteria needs an ammonia source to grow colonies sufficient in size to consume all the ammonia and resultant nitrite and turn it into nitrate which typically you remove through your regular water changes.

A fishless cycle uses an ammonia source to replicate the fish waste that a tank of fish would produce. This ammonia source can be pure ammonia, an aquarium specific ammonium chloride product like Dr Tims Ammonium Chloride, a cocktail shrimp or fish food.

Ill assume we are using an ammonium chloride product.

Set up your tank. Make sure everything is running smoothly. Make sure you have used a water conditioner product with any tap water you have put in your tank. If you have an adjustable heater raise the temperature to 28c/82.5f.

You should have a test kit. Preferably a liquid test kit. It should test for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate.

Dose the ammonia chloride to approx 4ppm and start testing daily for ammonia. Once your ammonia drops below 1ppm redose it back to 2ppm. This may take a couple of weeks.

Start to test daily for ammonia and nitrite. Whenever your ammonia drops below 1ppm redose it back to 2ppm. Nitrite causes false positive nitrate readings, so no point in testing for nitrate until your cycle is complete. False positive results will just confuse matters.

You should start to see nitrite and in your daily tests. Over time your nitrite should start to rise and the amount of ammonia should start to drop further. Your ammonia may start to not be detectable in your daily tests. Keep redosing ammonia daily if you see it below 1ppm. Your nitrite may rise off the testing chart. I prefer to keep nitrite within measurable levels so it shouldn’t hurt to do a water change to keep readings on the chart. Remember to add water conditioner whenever you put tap water in the tank.

Over time your nitrite should level off and begin to fall in a similar manner to what your ammonia tests did. When you are able to dose ammonia to 2ppm and 24 hours later see 0 ammonia and nitrite you are cycled. At this point you have enough denitrifying bacteria to consume all the ammonia and nitrite of a moderately stocked tank. You may want to continue dosing ammonia for a few days to make sure it continues to consume all the ammonia and nitrite and be sure your cycle has properly established before proceeding.

Your nitrate will likely be very high, so now test for nitrate. Do a big water change to get this down. Preferably below 10ppm. Adjust your temperature to the needs of your fish. Get your fish, acclimate and add to your tank. I would advise stocking lightly to start with and slowly adding fish until fully stocked.

A fishless cycle typically takes 6 to 8 weeks.

A good way to speed up this process would be to put a small amount of filter media from an established filter into your filter, or get a sponge from an established filter and squeeze it into your tank water. Perhaps you have a friend who keeps fish who could let you have some? This will seed your filter with the bacteria you are trying to grow and speed up the process.

Another option is bottled bacteria like Dr Tims One + Only or Tetra Safestart. These products wont instantly cycle a tank as they claim but in a similar manner to adding established filter media they can seed your filter with the bacteria you are trying to grow to establish your cycle. These products are hit and miss as to whether they work at all, but are an option if established filter media isnt obtainable and may speed up the process from several months to several weeks.
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Old 03-20-2023, 04:06 AM   #13
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API Freshwater Master Test Kit is a good test kit to get.

The above was something i wrote a while back. As alternatives to the One + Only or Safestart, Fritz Zyme 7 and Fritz Turbostart 700 are getting good reviews. They also make an ammonium chloride product called Fritz Fishless Fuel as an alternative to Dr Tims Ammonium Chloride.
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Old 03-20-2023, 04:21 AM   #14
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To cycle a tank you need to grow denitrifying bacteria to consume ammonia and nitrite that your tank produces. The bacteria needs an ammonia source to grow colonies sufficient in size to consume all the ammonia and resultant nitrite and turn it into nitrate which typically you remove through your regular water changes.

A fishless cycle uses an ammonia source to replicate the fish waste that a tank of fish would produce. This ammonia source can be pure ammonia, an aquarium specific ammonium chloride product like Dr Tims Ammonium Chloride, a cocktail shrimp or fish food.

Ill assume we are using an ammonium chloride product.

Set up your tank. Make sure everything is running smoothly. Make sure you have used a water conditioner product with any tap water you have put in your tank. If you have an adjustable heater raise the temperature to 28c/82.5f.

You should have a test kit. Preferably a liquid test kit. It should test for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate.

Dose the ammonia chloride to approx 4ppm and start testing daily for ammonia. Once your ammonia drops below 1ppm redose it back to 2ppm. This may take a couple of weeks.

Start to test daily for ammonia and nitrite. Whenever your ammonia drops below 1ppm redose it back to 2ppm. Nitrite causes false positive nitrate readings, so no point in testing for nitrate until your cycle is complete. False positive results will just confuse matters.

You should start to see nitrite and in your daily tests. Over time your nitrite should start to rise and the amount of ammonia should start to drop further. Your ammonia may start to not be detectable in your daily tests. Keep redosing ammonia daily if you see it below 1ppm. Your nitrite may rise off the testing chart. I prefer to keep nitrite within measurable levels so it shouldn’t hurt to do a water change to keep readings on the chart. Remember to add water conditioner whenever you put tap water in the tank.

Over time your nitrite should level off and begin to fall in a similar manner to what your ammonia tests did. When you are able to dose ammonia to 2ppm and 24 hours later see 0 ammonia and nitrite you are cycled. At this point you have enough denitrifying bacteria to consume all the ammonia and nitrite of a moderately stocked tank. You may want to continue dosing ammonia for a few days to make sure it continues to consume all the ammonia and nitrite and be sure your cycle has properly established before proceeding.

Your nitrate will likely be very high, so now test for nitrate. Do a big water change to get this down. Preferably below 10ppm. Adjust your temperature to the needs of your fish. Get your fish, acclimate and add to your tank. I would advise stocking lightly to start with and slowly adding fish until fully stocked.

A fishless cycle typically takes 6 to 8 weeks.

A good way to speed up this process would be to put a small amount of filter media from an established filter into your filter, or get a sponge from an established filter and squeeze it into your tank water. Perhaps you have a friend who keeps fish who could let you have some? This will seed your filter with the bacteria you are trying to grow and speed up the process.

Another option is bottled bacteria like Dr Tims One + Only or Tetra Safestart. These products wont instantly cycle a tank as they claim but in a similar manner to adding established filter media they can seed your filter with the bacteria you are trying to grow to establish your cycle. These products are hit and miss as to whether they work at all, but are an option if established filter media isnt obtainable and may speed up the process from several months to several weeks.
Hey Aiken_Drum, i read the above and just wanted to ask out of curiosity, will a fish in cycle work faster?

I am going to do a fishless cycle most likely but also read you said that putting in some fish to help with the bacteria to start growing which get rid of the ammonia.

Again thank you so much for the assistance and advice as well as giving some brand names to look for!!!
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Old 03-20-2023, 07:02 AM   #15
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Hey Aiken_Drum, i read the above and just wanted to ask out of curiosity, will a fish in cycle work faster?

I am going to do a fishless cycle most likely but also read you said that putting in some fish to help with the bacteria to start growing which get rid of the ammonia.

Again thank you so much for the assistance and advice as well as giving some brand names to look for!!!
It wont be faster to get to a fully stocked tank.

The idea with a fishless cycle is to add a small number of fish, let the cycle establish enough to cope with that small bioload. Maybe 2 or 3 weeks. Then add a small number of additional fish, let the cycle catch up to the additional bioload. Then add some more. Gradually increase the number of fish in the tank, giving your cycle chance to catch up before adding more. Over a period of a couple of months maybe before you are fully stocked.

In an 8g tank, you probably want to start with a couple of small fish, after 2 or 3 weeks add 1 more, another 1 or 2 weeks, add another etc etc.

So it wont really establish quicker, it could easily take longer overall, but you get something in the tank to look at on day one.

I will say we get a lot of traffic on the site with new fishkeepers struggling to get tanks cycled. By far more people have issues doing fishless cycles than fish in cycles, and almost without fail switching to fish in sorts out their issues.

Fish in cycles are more common than fishless cycles. Its how it used to be done, if you know nothing about cycling and just throw fish in a tank you will doing a fish in cycle whether you realise it or not, albeit in a not particularly safe manner. Fish in cycles have a bad rep and you might called out for doing it because its perceived by some as cruel. I know of one forum where the members can get quite abusive towards people doing fish in cycles. Its not cruel if done properly.
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Old 03-20-2023, 01:37 PM   #16
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Hi Colin_T, thanks for the welcome!

Pigmy gouramis are sparkling gouramis.

The dimensions are as follows - 9 inches wide x 18 inches long x 12.5 inches tall, it was a starter kit that i bought.

Just one question, could you buy water testing kits at the store instead of taking it to the petshop? Its probably a dumb question but as I mentioned im new to having fish as pets.
The following link is quite good when it comes to providing information on individual species. You don't need to be a member you use it, just type in the name of the fish in the search box and hit enter.
https://www.seriouslyfish.com/

A pair of sparkling gouramis (absolutely lovely fish) will be fine in an 18 inch tank. Have soft slightly acidic water and lots of plants. Get some frozen food for them and maybe culture some live foods too. They will be happy. However, they don't like fast moving fish zipping around them so whatever fish you get to go with them, must be calm and not cause problems.

The following link has information on breeding fish but there is also info on culturing live fish foods and all fish including small gouramis love live foods. Newly hatched brineshrimp, daphnia, microworms and small rotifers are relished by small fish like sparkling gouramis.
https://www.aquariumadvice.com/forum...ml#post3578561

---------------------

Yes you can buy test kits from pet shops or online and use the kits at home. Just check the expiry date before you buy them and make sure the test kits aren't near a window or any heat source. The reagents in the test kits break down faster in bright light or warm or humid conditions. The best place to keep test kits is in a plastic container with a lid and on the bottom shelf of a fridge. If you have an auto defrost fridge, keep the kits away from the door and back of the fridge because that is where most of the heat occurs from the defrost cycle.

When cycling an aquarium, don't bother testing for nitrates until the ammonia and nitrite levels have both gone up and come back down to 0ppm. Then start testing for nitrates. Nitrate test kits read nitrite as nitrate and give you a false reading.
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