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Old 02-13-2023, 09:48 PM   #21
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When the tank is cycled, drain it and refill it with dechlorinated water to get rid of any nitrates in it. You will still have 10ppm nitrate from the tap water but that is fine. Then wait a couple of days and then get some fish.

*NB* Before you drain the tank, turn the light, filter and heater off. Wait a few minutes for the heater to cool down, then drain it.

Don't feed the fish on the first day. When you do start feeding them, wait a few hours after the tank lights have come on before offering any food. Only offer a small amount and crumble it up a bit so they can eat it easily. They should eat all the food in about 30 seconds. If there is still food in the tank after a minute, remove it and feed less the next day. You only need to feed the fish once a day unless they are babies or you want to breed them. Then they can be fed more often.


Stress from tank lights coming on when the room is dark can be an issue. Fish don't have eyelids and don't tolerate going from complete dark to bright light (or vice versa) instantly.

In the morning open the curtains or turn the room light on at least 30 minutes (or more) before turning the tank light on. This will reduce the stress on the fish and they won't go from a dark tank to a bright tank instantly.

At night turn the room light on and then turn the tank light off. Wait at least 30 minutes (or more) before turning the room light out. This allows the fish to settle down for the night instead of going from a brightly lit tank to complete darkness instantly.

Try to have the lights on at the same time each day. Use a timer if possible.

If you don't have live plants in the tank, you only need the light on for a few hours in the evening. You might turn them on at 4 or 5pm and off at 9pm.

If you do have live plants in the tank, you can have the lights on for 8-16 hours a day but the fish and plants need 8 hours of darkness to rest. Most people with live plants in their aquarium will have the lights on for 8-12 hours a day.


Most aquarium plants like a bit of light and if you only have the light on for a couple of hours a day, they struggle. If the light doesn't have a high enough wattage they also struggle. Try having the tank lights on for 10-12 hours a day.

If you get lots of green algae then reduce the light by an hour a day and monitor the algae over the next 2 weeks.
If you don't get any green algae on the glass then increase the lighting period by an hour and monitor it.
If you get a small amount of algae then the lighting time is about right.

Some plants will close their leaves up when they have had sufficient light. Ambulia, Hygrophilas and a few others close their top set of leaves first, then the next set and so on down the stem. When you see this happening, wait an hour after the leaves have closed up against the stem and then turn lights off.

Plant lights should have equal amount of red and blue light and a bit less green light.

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Old 02-14-2023, 10:03 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by BlueIn2Red View Post
Zero ammonia and nitrites today, so I think Iím essentially cycled. Nitrates still at 40ppm (maybe a tad less, hard to be sure with the test colours) as expected. I think Iíll not add ammonia today and test again tomorrow just to make sure things are stable, then do a 50% water change tomorrow and test again the following day. If then zero ammonia and nitrites, and low nitrates (10-20ppm), then Iíll add my six Tetras
All good again today, I did an 80% water change in the end, the resulting nitrate level is 10-20ppm (I really struggle to differentiate the oranges on the API test kit!). Fish probably tomorrow then, assuming a clean test result then.

Thanks again to everybody who has offered their help.
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