New to forum - new 29 gal tank

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Aquarium Advice Apprentice
May 4, 2005
Arlington, TX
Hello to all. This is my first post so go easy on me. :)

From what I've read so far, all of you seem to know how this works really well.

I just bought a 29 gal kit and stand (last wenesday).
Kit includes the following;
29 gal tank
regent aqua-tech 20-40 power filter
hood w/ light

I added a Rena aeriation pump, 25 lbs of gravel, 3 fake plants, 1 live plant, 3 rocks, and a small Rome collisium for that hooks up to the rena pump.

I filled it, added the water chlorine treatment and a dose of bacteria to get it started. I then waited about 4 days and added 3 small blood hearted tetras. the water has been milky since I added the fish, which i understand is normal and is part of the cycling proccess/bacteria bloom. The fish love their new home and haven't skipped a beat. I got impatient and bought two more fish. I added one red-tail shark and a albino rainbow shark. They are both small and are doing great. I know that's a little quick to get the extra fish in, but I couldn't help it. The addition of the bacteria and the addition of the fish seem to really have sparked the bloom.

I have a test kit; tested Ph, Amonia, Nitrites.. Ph was about 7.4, the rest was 0.

I was just curious if I'm heading in the right direction or setting myself up for dead fish. Comments and critiques welcomed.

First things first. Welcome to AA! Our home away form home. :D

On to the questions. The Bleeding Heart tetra is a good choice. They are hardy fish and great for beginners. Great choice!

When you say you added a dose of bacteria, what product exactly are you talking about? Some of them you need to add fish at the same time for them to be useful.

The water should not be milky if your water is testing out a 0,0, and 0. Sure it could be a bacterial bloom, BUT you're not showing any ammonia. I would think that you would have ammonia present already.

The first mistake of fish keeping is buying too many fish too early. Don't worry, we've all done it. You just have to deal with what you have. Since you are doing a cycle with fish, you need to be ready to do water changes daily or every other day (depending on your water test results). If you haven't already, buy a Freshwater Master Test Kit. Don't use the strips. They aren't as accurate and are VERY expensive in the long run. You'll go through them so fast when you are testing water on a daily basis. Most people recommend an Aquarium Pharmacuticals Master Test Kit. They are VERY accurate and relatively cheap. You can buy them online for $12.99 plus shipping ($19 total). It shoudl last you for at least a year before you have to replace any of the solutions.

You need to have a test kit for Nitrates. It's not as important right now, but it will be down the line. The Aquarium Pharmacutical's Master Test Kit comes with Ammonia, Nitrites, Nitrates, pH, and High Range pH.

The Red Tail and Albino Shark will need a larger tank. They need lots of swimming space.

For the moment, I'd read up on cycling a tank.
Thanks for the thorough response.

The bacteria I'm using is pro aquatics. The test kit I have is the one you recommended.

Once I get the hang of this one, I'll set up a 55gal tank which is being given to me, so I'll add the sharks in there.

I'll do a cycle tonight and I'll read up on the process as well. I bought the Python cleaner/add/subtract water kit, so I'm hoping that should make it a painless ordeal.

What should my levels be at this time, as for amonia at least? I'll check when I get home tonight.

Thanks again fishyfanatic!

Cycling will take several weeks (couple months). It's the process of Ammonia turning into Nitrites and Nitrites turning into Nitrates. Fish produce Ammonia, it breaks down into Nitrites and so on. So it is all fueled by Ammonia which can be found in fish waste, leftover food, or dead fish. During the cycling process, you want your Ammonia to be around 1. Anything less can stall it and anything over 2 will also stall it. 1 is a good steady place to be. It's not as toxic to fish at a level of 1. Ammonia is very toxic to fish, that's why it is very improtant to test levels in the beginning.

Nitrites are also toxic and will start to appear in a couple weeks. Those should be kept pretty low. I don't remember the exact value but nothing over the second shade above the blue coloring on the test chart. When you start to see Nitrites, it means the tank is cycling.

Nitrates doesn't need to be tested until about a week or so after you show Nitrites. You can tell when your cycling is coming to an end when Nitrites start to decline.

Once the cycle is complete, your levels will read Ammonia = 0, Nitrite = 0, and Nitrate = 10-30. Anything over 30 and you need to do a water change.

During the cycling process, be sure not to overfeed the fish. Also, during water changes, do not gravel vac. Don't even touch the gravel. The filters should also not be cleaned at all during the cycling stage. Do not change the cartridges even though the lfs and the manufacturer will tell you to. It's a waste of money and you'll be throwing away bacterial colonies. It will make the cycling process last many many months.

The python is one of the bets inventions in aquaria. But rememer, don't vac the gravel for the next several weeks unless you have a build-up of something on the gravel. Even then, don't do a thorough gravel cleaning.

When you start to set up the 55 gal, use the filter for the 55 gal on the 29 for about a month before setting up the 55. That way the filter is already seeded and you will probably have a small mini-cycle that won't be too bad on the fish. Just watch your fish closely in the 29 gal. Cycling can be hard on fish and can lead to deaths. In the meantime, don't buy any more fish.

Did you wash the gravel before placing it in the tank? Cloudy water could come from that. Also could be bacterial bloom. I'd start doing PWC every other day as previously suggested.
Thanks for everyone's input. Yes, I did wash the gravel, plants, and rocks well before putting them in. I'm hoping it's on the right track. I'll check all the levels tonight and do a water change as well. 20% should be good enough?

Also, when using the python for the water change, is it okay to apply th chlorine solution while adding the water to the tank?

I hate to be the one to tell you this but you will have to get rid of either your Red Tail Black shark or your albino shark

The red tail is EXTREMLY territorial and will not tolerate any other form of shark (even their own kind) and even tho they are small and getting along now, with age the red tailed black shark will become more and more aggressive.

Oh hey! I just noticed ur in Arlington! Im in Denton =o)
lyquidphyre, I'll see what I can do when I get another tank set up. It'll be a while, so I'll just keep an eye on them from now. I just hope they live for now. :)

Denton is cool. I work out in Dalla and live in North Arlington by the ballpark. I'm really excited about my aquarium. My mother allways had about 3 or 4 aquariums set up at all times, so I feel at home again. :)
I think as long as you can separate them at some point and give them lots of hiding places in the mean time, then it should be okay for a while.

I go to school at UNT, I used to live in Euless (near industrial)

I started with the aquarium hobby after keeping bettas for a few years. How easy it is to go from a betta in a bowl to a 75 gal =o)
Also, did you get your kit from wal-mart? If so keep an eye on the heater, you might have to buy a new one soon because the ones in the wal-mart kits don't last.
Yes, I bought it from wal-mart. I was to anxious to wait until the next morning to go to petsmart or petland. :)

I'll keep an eye on the heater. Thanks.

I'm just ready for the tank to cycle so I can start adding some more fish. Then I'd like to get the 55 gal going and get a cichlid tank.
It will be a month or two before fish can be added. In the meantime, research fish that you want to get. Look at all of the possibilities that you can have. Become informed on their needs. This way, when you get them, you will be prepared. :D

Regarding Cichlids, which route do you think you'll be going? South American or African? If you can't tell from my sig, I am in LOVE with Lake Malawi Cichlids.

I'll work on the tank to make sure everything is normal regarding the cycling process and hopefully it won't take more than a month. I'll do my research.

As for cichlids, I don't know which type. I looked through your gallery and did indeed notice you are in love with them. Your fish and tanks are beautiful. Just from what I've seen at fish stores I like their personalities and their colors.

I checked my water before doing a 20% water change and the amonia was at 1 to 1.5. By the way, the python made the water change much easier than I ever imagined. I'll keep an eye on things. Please tell me about your cichlids when you get a chance.

One quick question, when I did my 20% water change using the python no spill system, I just added chlorine solution drops to the water while it was filling the tank. Is that okay? Is there a better way of doing that?

thanks in advance,

Welcome to AA! I just add dechlor to the tank prior to refilling the tank. I calculate the dosage based on the total volume of the tank, which I believe is the way to do it (since the chlorine or chloramine from the fresh water is dispersed through through the total volume of the tank). Just my two cents!
is that a safe way? I just don't want to hurt the fish. I figured just adding the amount of dosage required for the amount I'm putting back in would be enough, but I see your point.
i think most of the dechlorinators out there recommend to treat the whole tank with it if the water changes are done like the ones that u do...but if u have the water ready in buckets the u just add dechlorinator to the volume of water u have in the bucket... :roll: HTH...
Does your "chlorine drops" remove Chlorine, Chloramine, and Heavy Metals or just Chlorine?
Hello Fishyfanatic,

Here's the description I found on It's proaquatics water conditioner...

"Proquatics offers more serious aquatics hobbyists the expertise and high quality products they need for their harder to solve problems. The Water Conditioner replaces the natural protective coating lost during handling, shipping and stress. Removes chlorine and detoxifies heavy metals. Use whenever transporting or handling fish, setting up a new aquarium or changing water. Contains aloe vera to promote healing and regeneration of damaged slime coat or fins."

By the way, after the water change, the tank cleared up and looks just amazingly clear. I checked the amonia and it's around 1 - 1.5. I'll check it again tonight as well as nitrites. The fish seem to be happy and as playful as ever.
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