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Old 12-29-2021, 11:29 AM   #1
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Merry Fishmas to me!

Hello all gave myself. Fishmas Gift. Always wanted a tank.

I have a 36 gallon bowfront with stand.
Fluval 307
200w heater
Net
Bucket
Magnetic glass cleaner
Some decor (I like more matur tanks but gotta please the 2 year old also she helped me make the case to Mommy for tank lol)

Washed all equipment in warm tap.
Filled and dechlorinated water with aquasafe plus.
Got a few seachem tags and a master test kit.
Tank has been going for 4 days it was super clear for 2 or 3 then I think I have the algae bloom going. I have seachem prime coming today, Dr. Tims, my water changing/gravel filter and an inkbird 306a because my 3 dollar imagination thermometer is definitely garbage doesn't work.

I'm looking to do a fish in cycle. I think I'm a responsible enough person to make this work.

All tests are reading pretty much 0 except ph which is about 7.4.

Was thinking about adding a platy to start if I can find gold twin bars. Should I have more plants? Worried about plant hitchhikers Don't know any local fishkeepers or I would try the filter media jump start.
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Old 12-29-2021, 08:32 PM   #2
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Awesome. Nothing to be scared of with doing a fish in cycle as long as you are aware of the nitrogen cycle and how to control the water parameters!

I assume you’ve done your research in the nitrogen cycle as it sounds like you’ve done some research?

As a complete newbie I’ve done 2 fish in cycles and one of them being just plain dumb (a majorly overstocked 29g tank that is growing out my pond comets). Even with jumping in with 2 feet with the water over my head, everything worked out pretty good once i knew what I was doing.

Keep the fish count (bioload) low until you start seeing nitrates. Keep a close eye on water parameters and control levels with water changes, try not to use chemical ammonia reducers like ammolock as they seem to skew the ammonia test results, then you really have no idea where the tank levels are!

Once the cycle starts to progress. Start adding more fish, a few at a time If practical and keep an eye on the water parameters to make sure the cycle is keeping up and that nitrates aren’t building up faster than you want (if you don’t care about doing mandatory water changes every week or less, by all means stock it as you please. Just remember that lighter stocking is going to increase the time between mandatory water changes!)

Personally I like to see a lot of plants, but that’s up to you. At the end of the day you have to have a realllyyyy heavily planted tank to make a notable impact on nitrate levels. At that point you’re also spending more time trimming plants and keeping it looking nice as well as reducing swimming space for fish. So pick your poison I guess!
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Old 12-29-2021, 08:40 PM   #3
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I would totally like to have real plants so any suggestions would be great. I feel like I have a ton of vertical open space and would look better with some taller plants. I would feel more comfortable if I had a better source for plants besides Petco/PetSmart in my area.I've searched for LFS places but no luck within an hr. I have done quite a fair amount of research but real world vs read online world I'm sure will vary. I'm pretty prepared and dedicated so hopefully it does well.
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Old 12-29-2021, 10:29 PM   #4
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Iím by no means a plant expert as Iím pretty new to the hobby and our selection is limited at the not so local fish store lol

With my first tank I bought some red ludwigia as it was the only thing available. Iíd highly recommend them. Theyíre super easy to care for, fast growers and easily propagate. The red ludwigia in my 75 is trimmings from my 29g tank. They were at most 6Ē tall when planted in the 75 3 weeks ago and thereís already a few stretched out to the top!

Being a red leaf plant they do like iron to get the reds to come out. I use flourish tabs and the liquid iron supplement in the 75. They grow just as good in the 29g with the crappy original light, just didnít get the red colours


I got lucky with the ludwigia and didnít have any riders. When I got the 75 set up I did a Hail Mary and threw in some scarlet temple and moneywort straight from the store. I did end up with 2 bladder snails but they are small and really not an issue so far. They actually do a wicked job cleaning algae
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Old 01-05-2022, 07:21 PM   #5
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Think I'm seeing Ammonia but unsure

Could any API test kit master weigh in. So followed the 5ml water and associated equally sized drops. Does this look like around .25 Ammonia trying to establish color reading for the untrained is difficult so I also fall back on sea chem tags does anyone have experience with them being reliable?
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Old 01-05-2022, 07:40 PM   #6
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0ppm ammonia can often look like 0.25ppm.

Try testing some bottled water and compare it with the colour you are getting from your tank. Bottled water will be 0ppm. If there is difference you may have trace ammonia.

Many people with established tanks can show ammonia tests that will never show 0ppm. They can be dosing 2.0ppm ammonia for a fishless cycle, 24 hours later all but 0.25ppm ammonia is cycled out. Another 24 hours later that 0.25ppm ammonia is still there, so it must be innaccuracy of the test.

You have a home test kit. Its not laboratory testing and isnt all that accurate. Its good enough for what you are using it for.

In reality even if the 0.25ppm reading is correct, its basically zero. Unless you have stupidly high pH and water temperature, ammonia at such low concentrations is of no risk to fish health. The API ammonia test is for total ammonia nitrogen (TAN), not free ammonia. Its only the free ammonia you have to be concerned about and at typical aquarium pH and temperature you need much higher TAN for there to be enough free ammonia to be worried about. Your seachem ammonia alert is reading free ammonia so you cant compare them.
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Old 01-05-2022, 08:18 PM   #7
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Yea. It’s a home test kit not a lab test. I’d call that reading a 0 or negligible amount. Though the chemical tests are generally going to be more accurate than strips or tags.

But the tags are definitely not a bad thing to have. It’s a quick visual alert and lets you know you may have an issue which can be quickly verified with the api kit. A lot of people become complacent and don’t test water once the tank has cycled, some people get lucky and others end up losing their fish!
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Old 01-05-2022, 09:09 PM   #8
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I guess it brings me back to organic chem days and have to remember it's just water testing. That water bottle method is very scientific though lol it's a control color comparison. Thank you though appreciate you! I'll be keeping an eye out for the next stage of the cycle. Do you recommend the API liquid kit also for hardness testing. I'm pretty sure my water isn't very hard and I'm around 78 farenheight. It's good to have a baseline and test every so often I guess.

The tags are for quick visual check sanity and the lady since she works from home she can check if it spikes so I know what I'm in for.
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Old 01-05-2022, 09:38 PM   #9
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I use the api hardness kit also. Again same thing, gives you an idea of where you’re at. A good idea to have one and check from time to time as kh/gh can drop over time especially with a planted tank. If that drops enough because your regular nitrate control water changes aren’t replenishing enough water, you can end up killing beneficial bacteria (kill the cycle) and in no time you’ll have an ammonia spike and we all know how that goes!
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Old 01-06-2022, 02:35 AM   #10
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Because the seachem alert tag is a measure of free ammonia its a much more accurate measure of whether you have an issue than a liquid test for TAN.

Regarding the hardness tests. Be aware that despite what it says the test is for, the API test for carbonate hardness isnt actually a test for carbonate hardness. Its a test for alkalinity which is different. While alkalinity is generally mostly made up of carbonate hardness, other things also contribute to it so your actual KH will be lower than what the test tells you and you really have no idea how much lower.
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Old 01-06-2022, 09:57 PM   #11
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Nothings super accurate with any of these tests, and since the kh generally follows with the gh, you at least have a ballpark idea where the water quality is at
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Old 01-11-2022, 12:58 AM   #12
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Is it too late to add plants and real driftwood when you are fish in cycling? I feel like it could be stressful but I'm regretting not putting in real plants for vertical height and help balance the cycle or is best to wait now until cycled.
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Old 01-11-2022, 03:58 AM   #13
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You can do whatever aquascaping you want. Its more difficult to plant into substrate while the tank is full of water but certainly doable. If you go with rhyzome plants like java fern of anubias then just attach them to your driftwood, or a piece of rock, or a plantweight and place them in the tank.
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Old 01-13-2022, 12:04 AM   #14
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Question about water changes during the fish in cycle..I've seen up to maybe .50 ppm ammonia and got nervous and did a water change and I shooting myself in the foot without seeing nitrites yet I can't fathom how far I should let it go I know it's not nice for the fish so I'm trying to be as careful as possible. I know your instructions said if no nitrites let it be but there has to be an unhealthy point right?
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Old 01-13-2022, 12:33 AM   #15
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Oh yes there’s definitely a limit! That limit will vary with water temperature, ph and the particular fish.

While cycling you want to keep some measurable amount of ammonia or you risk never cycling or it taking wayyyy longer than it needs to. There’s some charts floating around here showing the ammonia toxicity for the various conditions. 1ppm ammonia is typically considered the max safe limit for most water conditions. The higher the ph and the higher the temperature, the more toxic the ammonia is

Personally I think you’re doing it just fine. I’d let it get up into that .5 range or a little more and do a small (~20%) water change. If you do end up seeing a test that’s closer to 1ppm don’t get too excited and do a major water change, so 50% and retest later or the next day and perform another water change if necessary (just in case you get a false 1ppm reading, you don’t want to do an excessive water change and stress the fish, only to find out a 50% water change took it down to untestable levels!)
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Old 01-13-2022, 07:39 AM   #16
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Perfect and I keep my cannisters going as well just so I don't lose any BB that's building up in there right.
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Old 01-13-2022, 12:24 PM   #17
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Yes, but don’t be cleaning the filters unless absolutely necessary (they become clogged for some reason).
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Old 01-14-2022, 10:38 AM   #18
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Yep no cleaning....although I'm curious what it looks like in there.

So getting into this hobby and being a technology person I started looking up all the 3D printed things I could make for the tank and had a question around heaters.

My heater is fully submersible but ugly... Greyish silver, grey rubber, red adjuster. I know you shouldn't block heater flow for obvious reasons however why couldn't you create a heater hideaway in a corner or along the back panel of the tank horizontally if it has cutouts that would allow for water flow cut out patterns? I am probably going to try and hide it with plants so it's not extremely visible with bacopa or Ludwiga's but I have a black background and was thinking a black hideaway with cutouts should blend in and be sufficient if you have water flow right?

I mean I could test it also and see how wildly the temp fluctuates but it definitely won't melt any of the plastics used in 3D printing.
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Old 01-14-2022, 11:47 AM   #19
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A lot of tanks have all the gear hidden behind the scenes at the back kind of in a sump. What you are suggesting making is something similar. My concerns would be that whatever you built wouldnt get enough flow through it if you had no way of mechanically pulling water through it. I dont think just relying on water flow in the tank would be enough to pull enough water through some cutaways.

If you could locate your filter input behind this hideaway too, with the cutaways at the top, input in the bottom it would ensure water is pulled through the hideaway for the heater to function.

Kind of like an overflow box but without it functioning as an overflow.
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Old 01-14-2022, 02:25 PM   #20
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Yes I’d have to assume the same thing. It would probably have enough convection and tank flow to function, just not very efficiently.

I would try to do like Aiken said. Have the filter inlet “pull” water across the heater. Or alternatively use the outlet water flow as a type of Venturi to pull water through the heater hider. (I’m going to trademark that name lol)

I think the suction side of the filter would be best. In which case the filter would be in basically a tube with one end ‘closed’ having the filter suction attached to it and the other end is up to you how you want to do the water inlet. I would personally have the bottom ‘closed’ but perforated as well as the lower inch or 2 of the tube.
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