New Planted tank

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Aquarium Advice Newbie
Jun 26, 2017
Hey everyone, I've been getting a new 46 gallon planted tank set up over the past week and am just looking for some advice to ensure I'm on the right track. I had a smaller 12 gallon freshwater tank for a few months and very quickly wanted to upgrade. Here's the set up so far:

-46 gallon tank
-(2) marine land penguin 200B filters, one with a purigen bag in it
-Flourite substrate (7 bags of course mixed with one bag of sand)
-15w LED with about 100 white LEDs and 20 blue (I think it was advertised at 6500k)
-misc bunches of grass, moss, leafy plants... to be honest I'm not sure what type (pictures of tank attached)
-heater maintaining 77 degrees

When I set up the tank last week, I gave the water a few days to clear up the merkiness from the flourite and then added plants. A couple days after that I added some fish and over the past week have built up to the community listed below, to which I don't plan on making any additions to.

-1 sailfin molly male
-1 Dalmatian Molly female
-1 balloon Molly female
-7 male guppies
-1 clown loach - 3"
-1 common pleco - 3"
-6 albino bristlenose pleco - all about 1-1/2"
-4 various small corys
-2 aquatic frogs
-1 sunburst platy
-1 whiptail catfish - 3"

pH: 7.0
Ammonia: 0.25 ppm
Nitrites: 5.0 ppm
Nitrates: 10 ppm

The couple questions I have so far:

1. Do I need to worry about the current nitrite and nitrate levels? The API book says that in a new aquarium it is typical for the nitrate levels to rise to 5 and then drop, but it doesn't say how long it should take to drop down to 0. I've done 25% water changes each day for the past 3 days and am not seeing an impact on nitrites or nitrates. Ive seen some products that are supposed to drop nitrites and nitrates, but is that just temporary?

2. The mollies and guppies occasionally rub against the rocks or leaves, is this due to the NO2 and NO3 levels?

3. A few of the guppies have chunks missing from their tail fins, I had 2 (very small) pea puffers in the tank hoping they would be too small to pick on anything else in the tank. Any ways I was keeping a close eye and saw one take a nip at one of the guppies this morning so I'm taking the puffers back. That being said, is it possible the guppies are doing that to each other or was it most likely the puffers? One of the guppy tails is shredded pretty severely I can't imagine the tiny little pea puffer was capable of doing that, but what do I know. Thoughts?

4. I have a co2 kit on the way. Is my tank ready for me to make that addition? The one I got is an Ista CO2 Aluminum Cylinder Set with a pressure regulator.

Thanks in advance!


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Welcome to the forum! Yes unfortunately you put way too many fish in this uncyled tank. You really need to be doing 50% WC daily. Your water can never be too clean, especially with ammonia that will only keep going up for the next few weeks. Any ammonia level is toxic to fish. Also use Prime.

Your stocking is out of whack as well. Loaches and cories need to be in groups of a minimum of 6 fish of the same species. You also have too many bottom dwellers and could cause fighting with not enough space. Your common pleco will get way to big for that tank. Those get huge.

Watch your guppies for fungi and bacterial infections due to stress of the ammonia, getting picked on, and missing body parts.

I would read up on the link in my signature of how to do planted tanks. Mine is a high tech set up, like you are trying to do. You will also need fertilizer. I also hope you washed the Flourite gravel before sticking it in your tank.
Welcome to AA!

Itstroy.. Yes the puffers are fin nippers, need to basically be in stank all their own. Small but mighty.

Here are some articles on getting started with your aquarium, pay close attention to the nitrogen cycle and cycling with fish in the tank. Take some time to read these, they will give you a better idea what is going on with your tank and what you need to do. Then ask more questions, we're here to help.
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