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Old 09-24-2011, 11:05 AM   #1
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New guy here, starting a 55 gal. tetra tank

Hello everyone. Bought the tank and equipment 2 weeks ago and finally got the stand yesterday. Stayed up late last night washing gravel and sand and filled the tank half way. Finished filling this morning, got the filter running and added some fish food to start cycling. Is it ok to add decorations as I cycle or will that really throw things off? I'm not sure if I should run out today and start hunting for rocks and plants or if I have a little time.

When it does come time to stock I was thinking of cardinal tetras, cherry barbs and oto cats. I would like to add one more species, any suggestions? I was looking at one of the more peaceful puffers. Could this be an option?

Edit- I should add, I filled the tank with well water. It runs through filters in the basement, a UV light and a water softening system. I've had it tested before and it always comes back cleaner than bottled water. Base line test shows pH 7.6 , Ammo 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 5.
Thanks
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Old 09-24-2011, 11:12 AM   #2
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It's okay to add decorations as you cycle. You could practically add anything-lights, plants, rocks, etc-just NOT the fish.

Your stock sounds fine. Personally I would try it with cherry barbs first for the first few months, as they're hardier and less likely to die. Then try it with cardinals, which are sensitive but if you can find tank-bred ones they are easier to keep. Finally after three or four months add the otos, which are super-sensitive so good water quality is a must.
I'd suggest for that tank more tetras like deeper-bodied x-ray, bontesi, or serpae tetras or smaller tetras like rummies, glowlights, black neons and so on. You could also try hatchets or danios. Then you could look to fill something for the bottom of your tank. A school of cories would look nice. Finally a centerpeice fish, the crowning jewel of your tank. I'd say a nice gourami or cichlid or suitable oddball would do good.
No puffer. All are agressive IMO and will kill fish one by one. People have success keeping otos or khuli loaches with freshwater ones but that's about it.
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Old 09-24-2011, 12:22 PM   #3
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Are you using seeded media? Where are the nitrates coming from? You may want to read up on cycling the tank before you get fish if you haven't already (letting the tank run isn't cycling ). There's two links in my signature for you: "new empty tank" and "what is cycling." Good luck!
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Old 09-24-2011, 01:11 PM   #4
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I plan on doing a full "by the book" cycle. I was surprised by the nitrates too. The only answer I can come up with is the house filter in the basement.

Just boiled some rocks from the yard. There seems to be some green growth that scrubs off. It doesnt look like typical moss but more like green fish food flakes. How would this affect the tank?
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Old 09-24-2011, 04:02 PM   #5
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Hi Jay. Welcome to AA. I am fairly new as well. However, you might want to consider how your water gets softened. Are salts added by the softener? I also have well water and it's very hard with high KH & GH as well, but surprisingly no nitrates. Just a thought.
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Old 09-24-2011, 06:59 PM   #6
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The softening system doesn't add salts. Here is a photo of the tests I just ran on the water.

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Old 09-24-2011, 08:16 PM   #7
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Looks like the nitrates are in your water, which is good to know. Since the PH test is on the high end, you might also want to do the high PH test and see where it is.
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Old 09-24-2011, 10:03 PM   #8
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Looks like the nitrates are in your water, which is good to know. Since the PH test is on the high end, you might also want to do the high PH test and see where it is.
I did that too and the color looks to be between the 7.4 and 7.8.

What does this mean for my cycle? I'm not trying to rush it but if things are stable over the next week what should I do to kick start it?
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Old 09-27-2011, 07:50 AM   #9
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Finally, ammo went up to .25 ppm, nitrates have gone up to about 8 ppm, nitrites still at 0.
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