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marcus.raw 02-06-2013 05:37 AM

hello! new here, few questions!
Hi guys, hows it going?!

im new to planted tanks in general and had a few questions. I inherited a project my my family could not handle. They started off with new 55 gallon tank, bought 4 cichlids, 1 sucker fish 1 tire track eel. They range in size from 4-6 inches, the eel bing about 8 inches in length. One problem, they didn’t cycle the tank. In an effort to cycle it, my cousin purchased many over the counter cycle products and started converting to plants. When I began to inquire about the setup they were looking to sell the setup and I offered to pick it up. There is about 6 plants total in the tank, half of them are ferns, I have yet to identify the rest.
the fish are:
a 6” common pleco
8” tire track eel
6 inch green terror
6 inch jack Dempsey
4 inch ceverom
4 inch Cuban cichlid

the more I research this tank, the more of a headache im discovering I have.
I accepted the tank on the 3rd week of the cycle. A liquid api test shows the following:
ammonia 4ppm
Ph 7.8ppm
Nitrite 0ppm
Nitrate 20ppm

Plants have only been in about 4 days. I heard lighting is important, the light is a dual t5 6700k setup. I

1 there is a circulation pump, I think the model was 950 gallon, that doesn’t sound right though as this is a 55 gallon tank.? If so, would it hurt the plants?

2 there is an airpump with airstone strips, is this needed for a planted tank with fish and the circulation pump?

3. ive read that ammonia = bad. Well I have been doing 50% water changes for the last 3 days, it is not improving, why is this? I don’t believe I am over feeding, as I am feedin 2 cubes of blood worms, morning and night, and they consume it within 30 seconds, I have read on different forums that I was to feed within 3 minutes.

4. there are ammo chips in the 3 stage filter that over hangs the tank. The filter is rated for 110 gallons. Does the ammo chips and carbon filter hurt the plants?

as you can see, I have tried to do as much research as I can before posting. I would like to continue the goals of the original owner and convert this to a low tech planted tank, but it seems I am off to a bad start. Is there anyway I can turn this tank to a successful investment? Thank you all for your help. And by the way, this forum has he nicest collection of aquariums I have ever seen!! i would like to be part of the community :biggrin:

steven p 02-06-2013 07:01 AM

The bacteria are still building up. Normally, stay away from ammonia absorbing products, that's bacteria and plant food. You have fish in the cycling tank, so keep the good work there.

Air features are give and take.

Mahlady 02-06-2013 02:27 PM

Cut back on feeding the fish for a few days while you are cycling, feeding them every other day. Don't do 50% every day just do 25-50% every 3 days, you need to give the bacteria a chance to grow.

The goal would be to get wc's down to 1 a week around 40-50%.

Deal with the fish/water cycling before you worry about the plants.

I would stop all "water changing chemicals" or products and give the tank a chance to work through it's natural cycle. The water changes should do enough. Make sure you are always using a dechlorinator aka stress coat, when adding new water.

Check ammonia levels daily, when you get it down to 1 or less you can go to weekly water changes.

Then start watching your Nitrites/Nitrates.
Always remember, better to underfeed than overfeed, especially on a new tank.

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