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Old 10-03-2006, 09:41 AM   #1
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Beginner 10gal cycle questions

Hey everyone. I am new to this forum and I have recently purchased a 10 gallon kit from walmart. I have it all set up with an undergravel filter and two powerheads. I also have to the stock filter (external) running. The tank has been 'settling' for the past two days and I bought a 5 in 1 test kit yesterday.

It seems like my tap water has a 10ppm nitrate level. Does this sound right? No traces of nitrites at the moment, and the pH is right around 6.8-7.0.

I was contemplating a fishless cycle but my girlfriend is impatient and would like fish now. Would two or three Zebra Danio's be good 'disposable' fish for cycling. I know they are pretty cheap at our lfs so money is not an issue. I just want something that will be hardy enough to withstand the cycle.

Right now I think my powerheads are blowing too much air into the tank. There are bubbles everywhere inside the tank that vary in size from little tiny ones to the size of an eraser on a pencil. The sides, powerheads, plants and decor are covered in bubbles also.

I have treated the water with AquaSafe and my friend gave me a bottle of Eco-Start which I have since stopped adding because I think it does absolutely nothing.

Any tips for what I should with my tank, if I overlooked anything and you need more info please feel free to ask! Thanks in advance guys, you have a great resource here with helpful people!

-Steve
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Old 10-03-2006, 10:08 AM   #2
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i would encourage a fishless cycle, but if the future of you relation ship is in trouble, then, yes a few zebras should be ok. though i do not like to think of any fish as "disposable". you could probably skip the cycle all together, if you can get your hands on some used filter media from a friend, or your lfs.

let me make sure i am getting this right, you have an undergravel filter, w/ two powerheads AND a HOB filter? i am someone who believe you can (usually) never have too much filtration, but i think you might prove me wrong. i think you would be perfectly fine, if you took out the powerheads. also I would not use the undergravel filter either, they can be more trouble, and do not do that that good of a job in my experience. the HOB should be enough to filter your 10 gal, as long as it is rated to filter at least a 10 gal. this should get rid of your bubble problem.

i have never used Eco-start so i can not comment on that...

you said you have a 5 in 1 test kit? is it dropper bottles and test tubes or dip strips. if dip strips i suggest you pick up a dropper bottle style test kit, the dip strips are not very precise, and you will want to be more accurate, double so during your cycle

finally, yes your tap water could very well contain 10 ppm nitrate. is it well water or city water? if it is cite water you will need to treat the water with prime every time you do a pwc to remove chlorine.

HTH!
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Old 10-03-2006, 10:20 AM   #3
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Thanks so much for the quick reply! I could wait a month before adding fish but she wants fish now! I know that no fish are disposable, I was merely using it as a term to describe cheap and hardy fish So if, god forbid, one died it would not set me back too much.

I have asked two LFS for any type of used media (filter, cup of gravel, plant) anything! I saw they had the same plant on their shelves as they had in one of the thanks in the store. I offered to pay double if I bought the same plant and took the one in the tank. They laughed at me and said "We can't do that for you." I am trying to think of any friends that have a tank but the only one I can think of only has a betta in a cup.

I have added a tiny pinch of flakes for the past two days to get the ammonia built up, or at least I think. I have to go out and get a ammonia test kit, along with a dropper test kit.

So your recommending that I remove the powerheads all together? I can plug the other air intake on the one and make it blow no bubbles, just water. I think I may try doing that, like I did with the other side and see how that fairs first. These things really do work because you can see the gravel stuck to the inlets.

I think I may have to go the route of the Zebra Danios.. now should I get two or three to start with?

Thanks for all your help!

P.S. it is city water, I treat with AquaSafe
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Old 10-03-2006, 11:01 AM   #4
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If you have a hob filter the ugf is not needed. IMO it is a waste.

If you have been adding flakes to begin the ammonia phase of the cycle you need to completly clean the tank before adding fish. Otherwise the ammonia will cause problems if it is too high at the get go.

Invest in the Aquarium Pharm. Master Test Kit. The strips are not very accurate as JDogg pointed out.

The reading of Nitrate in your tap is not uncommon. Don't worry about it.
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Old 10-03-2006, 11:29 AM   #5
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Anyone else agree that I should ditch the UGF and just use a python? I hope I can return it. Walmart will take anything back so I don't see a problem.

So there is no benefit from having the ugf and hob? It does seem like the powerheads i put on it stir the water up too much. The surface of the water is choppy in the back corners. Front corners are calm as can be.

I hate to rip the UGF out and start over but if that is what I get as a group consensus then I will do that.

EDIT - Could i just remove the HOB filter? Or would be better off to take out the UGF?
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Old 10-03-2006, 12:34 PM   #6
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If you're going to remove one, ditch the UGF. How big/what kind of HOB is it?

I too encourage a fishless cycle. I am just finishing one and I am pleased as punch.
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Old 10-03-2006, 12:36 PM   #7
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UGFs are a pain in the rear. They require more maintenance than HOB filters do. I would take out the UGF if I were you.

I would however like to stress again that a fishless cycle is so much easier to do than a fish cycle. You're going to be doing a LOT of work while the tank cycles if you use fish, whereas if you don't use fish it's pretty much zero effort. If you do use fish, I wouldn't get more than two danios to do it with. The fewer you have, the easier it will be.
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Old 10-03-2006, 12:48 PM   #8
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The HOB filter is the one that comes with the 10 gallon deluxe kit from walmart. I believe it is rated for 5-15 gallon tanks. Takes Ez-Cartridge #1 if that helps any. I can't remember the brand or anything else at the moment.

So basically ditch the UGF and get two danios? Thanks again everyone for your help with this. I hope doing everything right at first makes this an enjoyable experience!
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Old 10-03-2006, 12:52 PM   #9
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I would also remove the UGF. It's easier to do it now, before you have fish. At some point in the future, if you would want to do live plants, the UGF would be detrimental to them. I don't think powerheads are necessary in a 10 gallon tank. Your HOB will be more than enough to provide water circulation/aeration.

I too would encourage a fishless cycle. Like JRagg says, if you cycle with fish, you'll be doing a lot of work - water changes every day or maybe two a day to keep the ammonia at a "safe" level for fish. There really is no safe level of ammonia - for optimal fish health, the ammonia reading must be 0. Prolonged levels of even .25 or .5 will stress the fish. The fishkeeping hobby is all about patience
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Old 10-03-2006, 12:55 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by An t-iasg
The fishkeeping hobby is all about patience
Could you tell that to my girlfriend? Haha!

She is currently off a quarter for school so she can tend to the water changes and things like that with the fish. I work 9-5 so I can do one in the morning and one when I get back.

I think I am going to just completely remove the UGF and start over. If I am using just the HOB do you think I will need a bubble rock to provide or oxygen? I'm thinking that I may need more gravel too if I take the UGF out.

Looks like I'll be waiting a while till everything settles before getting some fishies in it.

Thanks again for all your input, if you see something I'm overlooking please mention it!
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Old 10-03-2006, 01:05 PM   #11
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You shouldn't need a bubble stone or airstone to provide oxygen. The HOB will agitate the water enough. An airstone doesn't really provide the agitation of the water surface that is needed for oxygen exchange - your HOB will do that. But if you want a bubbler for the way it looks, that's fine.

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Old 10-03-2006, 01:08 PM   #12
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I actually found that section earlier today, I am waiting for approval! I'm going to go home today and take the UGF out and see what that looks like. I think we should be all set here in a couple days. I'll kee you guys updated.

Thanks again for all your input, it is greatly appreciated!
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Old 10-04-2006, 09:22 AM   #13
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Well I completely removed the UGF and things are looking better. The water was kind of cloudy after I removed them so I changed the water and used AquaSafe to dechlorinate the water. I woke up this morning and things are clear as can be. I tested the levels, everything at 0 except nitrates at 10 (my tap water tests at 10 as well).

As much as I hate to say it, I won't be doing a fishless cycle. If I had it my way, I can wait a month just so I know things are right. But we don't always get what we want so I will be picking up two zebra danios tonight from petsmart and let it begin!

I'll keep you updated!
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Old 10-04-2006, 10:20 AM   #14
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You've let a woman win. She's going to win for the rest of your life now.
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Old 10-04-2006, 11:25 AM   #15
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You've let a woman win. She's going to win for the rest of your life now.
That was going to be my line...! I dont know quite enough to recommend aquarium actions to people yet, but I would certainly recommend you keep her in her place!! 8O
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Old 10-04-2006, 12:00 PM   #16
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Yeah she won this one. But if I remember correctly, a week ago she wanted a puppy. I wanted a fish tank. I think we all know who won that one... 8)

She may have won the battle, but I won the war!
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