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New Tank And New Fish, And A Born Again Fish Keeper ;)

Author Topic: New Tank and New Fish, and a born again Fish Keeper ;)  (Read 2537 times)

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Offline Meezey

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New Tank and New Fish, and a born again Fish Keeper ;)
« on: January 06, 2014, 05:26:18 PM »
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 Hi all and Happy New Year.

So a few questions if I may :)

I have never had my own tank, but my Dad used to keep and bred tropical fish and then moved on to just Discus which he also kept and bred very successfully I was his side kick for the tanks.

So flash forward a few decades and I've decided to start keeping tropical fish myself and see if I can manage it, and if I can then I'd like in time to keep discus.

So now on to the questions.

I have set up the tank 60L, and we did have a few issues with the heater but as of yesterday I have it up and running, I am doing a fishless cycle. So now on to the questions.

I have planted the aquarium,  I've set the lights on timer for 8 hours the temp is set at 28C, and also is this going to cause me problems with the cycling?

I've added 3ppm ammonia to the tank, when could I expect to see this drop and start seeing Nitrite? Then the Nitrates?

Also I have a childhood thing about having a Males Siamese Fighter ( Betta) in the tank, would this work with the planned fish? Can anyone see any issues with the fish I've chosen, and would the numbers be okay for the tank?

5 x Threadfin Rainbowfish ( male)
2 x Platy ( Male not sure which kind of Platy yet so advise would be great)
6 X Endler's Livebearer ( males)
1 x Siamese Fighter

Thank you in advance, I have no doubt I will be back crying about my fishless cycle going boobs up :)



Fish Community Creator Tanks - Assess Tankmate Suitability Tool
Siamese Fighting Fish (male) (1) - Otocinclus (5) - Japonica Shrimp (4) - Threadfin Rainbowfish (5) - Endler's Livebearer (12) - Japonica Shrimp (10) -
Note: The user may not necessarily own these fish, these are tanks that they may be building or researching for stocking purposes


Offline Sue

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Re: New Tank and New Fish, and a born again Fish Keeper ;)
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2014, 07:00:19 PM »
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Hi,

The time it takes for the ammonia to drop is very variable. It depends on so many factors - the temperature, the pH, the hardness, and how many bacteria manage to survive being poisoned by the water company -  they add chlorine or chloramine to disinfect tap water and it also kills our filter bacteria. When I did a fishless cycle last year, I counted the day I added the first dose of ammonia as day 1, and I saw a drop on day 13. Yours could be quicker than that or slower, but that timing seems reasonably typical. And it was day 32 before I saw a drop in nitrite.
But I was using a modified version of the old fishless cycle method, starting with just 1ppm ammonia, then adding the same dose every time ammonia dropped to zero. The current thinking is that it is not necessary to add more ammonia as soon as it drops to zero. If I'd known about that method when I did a cycle, I would have tried that instead.

Contrary to what I used to believe, it seems that having plants in during cycling is not a thing to avoid. The only 'problem' you might encounter is more algae than if you didn't have live plants, simply because without plants you can leave the lights off.


Siamese fighting fish vary quite a lot in temperament. Some are very laid back and easily bullied; some will attack anything that moves. And everything in between. Endlers are reputed to be OK with fighters (no long flowing fins, and they tend to keep any nippiness among themselves). Platies - maybe. They are quite brightly coloured and if you have a particularly aggressive fighter he could mistake a platy for another fighter. The one I'd be concerned about is the rainbows. Males have quite long threadlike fins, which could trigger a fighter's attack instincts.
What I'd do is get the fighter last so he'll be going into an environment that already has fish. If you get him first, he'll see any later additions as invaders of his territory.
And have a back-up plan just in case. A short term measure, should things go wrong, is one of those fry nets that clip on the side of the tank for the fighter, though as fighters can jump you would need a cover. This would give you breathing space to decide what to do. If your fighter does get picked on or won't tolerate tank mates, long term you would have to rehome him or get another tank just for him. 20 to 25 litres is fine for just one fighting fish - this is how multiple tank syndrome starts  ;D


Multiple tank syndrome - an incurable condition that affects fish keepers, characterised by the desire to have more and more tanks.

Offline Meezey

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Re: New Tank and New Fish, and a born again Fish Keeper ;)
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2014, 07:17:28 PM »
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Thank you so much for your reply Sue :) Tbh I haven't even stocked this tank and I'm looking for a larger one, and also priced up for one for the pretty boy if he doesn't do well in a community tank..   :-\

I did wonder about the Platies so was looking at ones with more subdued colours black and white to be fair :)

I didn't even consider the rainbow fish as an issue as I though with them being smaller and not so colorful he wouldn't mind... Just as well I asked..

I am seriously thinking just getting another tank for the Siamese Fighter would be the safer way to go....

Thanks for you help :)   

Fish Community Creator Tanks - Assess Tankmate Suitability Tool
Siamese Fighting Fish (male) (1) - Otocinclus (5) - Japonica Shrimp (4) - Threadfin Rainbowfish (5) - Endler's Livebearer (12) - Japonica Shrimp (10) -
Note: The user may not necessarily own these fish, these are tanks that they may be building or researching for stocking purposes


Offline SteveS

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Re: New Tank and New Fish, and a born again Fish Keeper ;)
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2014, 11:10:14 PM »
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Contrary to what I used to believe, it seems that having plants in during cycling is not a thing to avoid. The only 'problem' you might encounter is more algae than if you didn't have live plants, simply because without plants you can leave the lights off.

Could you clarify what has changed your mind. I have always been of the opinion that having plants is a bad idea for the following reasons:
  • Increased exposure to algae as noted above.
  • Plants compete with filter bacteria for ammonia; This hinders the cycle.
  • Plants consumption of ammonia confuses the testing of ammonia levels.
  • Plants consumption of nitrates confuses the testing of nitrate levels.

Fish Community Creator Tanks - Assess Tankmate Suitability Tool
Angelfish (1) - Panda Cory (10) - Harlequin Rasbora (10) - Otocinclus (10) - Japonica Shrimp (10) - Honey Gourami (10) - Galaxy Rasbora (10) -
Note: The user may not necessarily own these fish, these are tanks that they may be building or researching for stocking purposes


Offline Sue

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Re: New Tank and New Fish, and a born again Fish Keeper ;)
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2014, 09:57:55 AM »
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My understanding comes from a debate on 'the other forum'. I got a bit lost in this debate as I'm not a plant person, I'm afraid.
 
In this debate there are two main protagonists.
One argues that a tank should be planted before starting a fishless cycle; that if planted after the cycle is complete, the tank owner must then wait another 10 days or so before getting fish to allow the plants to 'settle in'; that bacteria use the non-charged ammonia molecule (NH3) while plants use ammonium, the charged particle (NH4+) so they are not in direct competition; that once the ammonia level falls between 0.5 it is too low for plants to access and the bacteria deal with everything at this concentration; that the roots of plants will have some filter bacteria on them which can help seed the cycle.
The other argues that plants can confuse the interpretation of test results as the plant uptake of ammonia won't be constant; that some plants can't cope with cycling levels of ammonia and die; that the plants will become clogged with algae - in other words, all the things I have said in other threads.

But these arguments, on both sides, are about heavily planted tanks. Very few newcomers to the hobby plant their tanks heavily. At the low planting levels typical of a newcomer there will be little effect on the ammonia test results.
In this thread, Meezey has already planted his tank. As a newcomer, he is unlikely to have planted his tank very heavily, though I do stand to be corrected on this point.

Yes, there will be some algae and this is the main reason I would still advise someone who has not yet planted to wait until after the cycle had finished (and I have just added a comment to the fishless cycling threads to this effect as I forgot to include it when I posted them on the 'new' forum).
But for someone who has already planted before posting, it won't be the disaster I used to think.


On the subject of plants confusing the nitrate test result - this is the most inaccurate test and variations in the readings can occur just because of the limitations of the tester. Nitrate tests can only be used to monitor a trend (is the level increasing, staying the same or going down) rather than to show a constant smooth change in nitrate level. Having a few plants in the tank won't confuse the readings very much simply because of the nature of the nitrate tester.


However, for a fish-in cycle, planting at the beginning is advisable. Anything that could help to keep the ammonia level lower is worth doing.

Offline Sue

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Re: New Tank and New Fish, and a born again Fish Keeper ;)
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2014, 10:00:15 AM »
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Just as a side note, the comments I've added to the how to fishless cycle threads are in a new post at the bottom of the threads. I was unable to edit the main method as they both already exceed the new limit of 10,000 characters per post!

Offline SteveS

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Re: New Tank and New Fish, and a born again Fish Keeper ;)
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2014, 02:16:14 AM »
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One argues that a tank should be planted before starting a fishless cycle; that if planted after the cycle is complete, the tank owner must then wait another 10 days or so before getting fish to allow the plants to 'settle in'
I don't see why!

that bacteria use the non-charged ammonia molecule (NH3) while plants use ammonium, the charged particle (NH4+) so they are not in direct competition
This is errant nonsense. Ammonia and Ammonium are in balance. Any reduction in one will cause a re-adjustment in the other.

that the roots of plants will have some filter bacteria on them which can help seed the cycle.
Hmm. The plants may not be grown in  an environment that contains any filter bacteria; And even if they are, the numbers will be extremely low.

But these arguments, on both sides, are about heavily planted tanks. Very few newcomers to the hobby plant their tanks heavily. At the low planting levels typical of a newcomer there will be little effect on the ammonia test results.
I seem to recall that when I cycled with a planted tank, I found the whole thing extremely confusing; Ammonia levels were affected. I just feel it's simpler to leave them out; beginners have enough things to confound them with out adding plant biology problems.

In this thread, Meezey has already planted his tank. As a newcomer, he is unlikely to have planted his tank very heavily, though I do stand to be corrected on this point.

Yes, there will be some algae and this is the main reason I would still advise someone who has not yet planted to wait until after the cycle had finished (and I have just added a comment to the fishless cycling threads to this effect as I forgot to include it when I posted them on the 'new' forum).
But for someone who has already planted before posting, it won't be the disaster I used to think.
I don't think it's a disaster, just that it increases the complexity of building the nitrogen cycle. Beginners often have problems with this anyway; I know I did.

However, for a fish-in cycle, planting at the beginning is advisable. Anything that could help to keep the ammonia level lower is worth doing.
Absolutely!

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Note: The user may not necessarily own these fish, these are tanks that they may be building or researching for stocking purposes


Offline Sue

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Re: New Tank and New Fish, and a born again Fish Keeper ;)
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2014, 10:48:36 AM »
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Steve, I agree totally with your comments. I would have made some comments myself only I'm in the middle of decorating and have to post quickly!

I think this chap is arguing that plants need to become established before getting fish. I suppose, in theory, if you plant the tank then get fish straight away the plants could suddenly all die creating ammonia. In my experience with plants though they don't all die at once, they die slowly, bit by bit over more than 10 days. Maybe that's just the way I kill plants  :-\

The ammonia and ammonium are indeed in equilibrium. As one is removed, the other will lose or gain a H+ to maintain the equilibrium.

Plants -  I do have the suspicion that this chap, who has many heavily planted tanks, is talking from the viewpoint of someone who can take plants from established tanks when setting up a new one; he forgets that most newcomers will go to the shop for their plants and quite possibly end up with dracenas and spider plants!

I cycled my betta's tank without plants, without even any decor or substrate. I too did not want plants (in my case a bit of java fern) affecting my readings. I would advise anyone who has not already planted before starting their fishless cycle to wait till afterwards. I do wish I'd remembered to include this in the how to threads  :-[  Having it in another post at the end is not the best place for it.



Offline SteveS

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Re: New Tank and New Fish, and a born again Fish Keeper ;)
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2014, 10:45:54 PM »
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I do wish I'd remembered to include this in the how to threads  :-[  Having it in another post at the end is not the best place for it.
A couple of suggestions. Firstly, can you edit the posts and make them shorter. They do say that brevity is the soul of wit! Secondly, you could split it into chapters and get Peter to pin it perhaps.

PS. I have just wasted a couple of hours wading through that post you mentioned on "the other forum" and I can only say that I am glad, really glad, that ThinkFish returned when it did!

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Angelfish (1) - Panda Cory (10) - Harlequin Rasbora (10) - Otocinclus (10) - Japonica Shrimp (10) - Honey Gourami (10) - Galaxy Rasbora (10) -
Note: The user may not necessarily own these fish, these are tanks that they may be building or researching for stocking purposes


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