Hello all. A few questions for you. I'm a newbie to the aquarium hobby and after quite a bit of research and lurking areound here, decided to start up a new 38gal FW
community tank. I've read up on all the pros & cons of fish vs fishless cycling and decided to go the fish route (I'm one of those impatient ones
My tank setup is as follows: Penguin 300 filter, 1x150W heater and a small pump with airstone, regular gravel, a couple of pieces of driftwood and added a couple of live plants along with a few silk ones. No added chemicals or extra media added to the filters (beyond the std. media).
Set everything up and let it run for a day or two before adding any fish. I've added 2 Dalmation Mollies (1M/1F), 3 Columbian Tetras and 4 small zebra danios. It's been about 2 weeks now and everything is stready and going good. The male molly died after about few days, but I attribute that to getting them from your average pet supply store vs. a decent LFS
(still looking for a good one) and his behavior was never as active as the female. I'm feeding lightly once or twice a day and they are all starting to come to the surface expecting food whenever I open the tank lid for feeding, testing, etc.
I've been testing the water every day. Current conditions as of today:
Ammonia = .25 (steady since about day 3)
Nitrites = .25 (just started yesterday)
= 7.8 (steady)
Temp = 75 (steady)
1.) Over the last few days, I've started to see small balls of fluffy white algae (q-tip size) growing on the driftwood and a bit of white algea on the glass - I'm thinking algea bloom, but from what I've been reading, don't blooms usually consist of green or brown algea and also make the water cloudy? My water is crystal clear.
2.) I'm a bit confused about my stable ammonia levels. Nitrites have not really risen until yesterday, but with the bio-load, shouldn't ammonia levels have been steadily increasing before now? They've been a steady .25 for more than a week now. Do I need more of a bio-load? If not, if I add more fish after a complete cycle, will there be enough of a current bio-load to avoid a mini-cycle once I add more fish?
3.)This is a spin-off question off of #1 and #2 - if I do have algea, is it feasible to add a couple algea eaters at this point? I'd like to add a few otos, but in mid-cycle this isn't a good idea since they are so fragile - also, I don't want a pleco - too ugly for my tastes!
4.)When my cycle completes, I'd like to add a few more danios and tetras each to complete their schools, especially the Columbian Tetras. The pet store I got them from didn't have many left, and I have not seen any more anywhere locally (at this point, I'm reluctant to buy livestock off the internet). Will different sub-species of schooling fish form a school with each other as if they were one big school (i.e. 3 Columians and 3 headlight/tailight Tetras) and therefore be truly happy as one big school of a single species?
5.)Lastly, what do you think of my PH
? it's steady, but is it too high? I'm also a bit worried because it comes out of my tap at something like 8.8 (I'm currently in the process of testing tap water after standing overnight) and I'll be using a python to to my PWCs. Won't the large PH
difference stress the fish?
I know that's quite a bit to digest, but thanks for any and all help in advance.