29G Tank started 9/23/2014
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Old 10-03-2014, 04:05 PM   #1
Gotta be green
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29G Tank started 9/23/2014




(My questions are in red below)
I'm now looking to add a ground cover in the area pictured above. The area is about 18 " wide x 8" deep and my LFS has something like pymy chain swords, but that's not what it is. I forgot what he called it. It's doing very well in his tanks and has formed a thick mat.

My substrate is 4 parts SeaChem Florite Black to 1 part Carib Sea Eco Complete and it's about 3 inches deep in that area.

My lighting is a 36" Current Satellite Freshwater Full-spectrum LED fixture with 72 White/36 RGB LEDs for a total of 25 watts and the tank also gets natural sunlight for 2-3 hrs which will increase during the winter without leaves on the trees.

I added stem plants on Sept 28 and the big bushy ones have already established roots. He called them 'foxtail' ; but I think they are myriophyllum. I think I also have cabomba - it's a lighter green - very pretty. The myriophyllum is probably better suited as a pond plant, it looks like it is going to need tons of pruning.

My water comes out of the tap at 0.50 ppm Ammonia. We have both chlorine and chloramine added by the city and I use SeaChem Prime. My Ph tests at 7.6 using the low Ph test and 7.4 using the high Ph test.

I don't understand my readings today. Everything was at zero. Shouldn't this tank be starting to cycle by now and how can I get it going?

I put carbon in the filter the other day - would that cause the zero reading on the ammonia and should I take the carbon out? Also does carbon filtration reduce the benefits of added fertilizers like Flourish? I've been using that at half strength twice a week and thought it might show up on the nitrate test.
I'm using the API Freshwater Master Test Kit and it's newly purchased so I'm assuming the chemicals are still good.

I've had 3 little male platies in the tank for the past 5 days. I'm only feeding flake food once a day . Is the bio-load adequate to start the cycling process or am I just being impatient?

Is it too early to add the little chain swords (or whatever they are) in the foreground.?

Sorry for 'thinking outloud' here and rambling. I would really appreciate comments and suggestions.

Thanks so much!!
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Old 10-05-2014, 12:21 AM   #2
Hilde
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Originally Posted by Gotta be green View Post
My water comes out of the tap at 0.50 ppm Ammonia. I don't understand my readings today. Everything was at zero. Shouldn't this tank be starting to cycle by now and how can I get it going?
The plants probably absorbed the ammonia.
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Originally Posted by Gotta be green View Post
I put carbon in the filter the other day - would that cause the zero reading on the ammonia and should I take the carbon out? Also does carbon filtration reduce the benefits of added fertilizers like Flourish?
From what I have read when you have plants the carbon is not necessary. It is mainly for absorbing ammonia which the plants should absorb. Perhaps beneficial in the beginning.
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Originally Posted by Gotta be green View Post
I've had 3 little male platies in the tank for the past 5 days. I'm only feeding flake food once a day . Is the bio-load adequate to start the cycling process or am I just being impatient?
Now that you have fish in the tank you don't want any ammonia or nitrite spikes. What you have ended up doing is called a silent cycle. When I start a tank with old filter etc. I only add 3 fish at a time.

CYCLING, SILENT by Rex Griggs
With lots of fast growing stem plants you can add a medium to large fish load all at once and never see the traditional ammonia or nitrite spikes.

If the algae gets out of control dish the flake food and switch to flake food. Switching to Spectricide pellet food has eliminated my problem with algae. Logically seems because I have city water that I have problems with algae. The flake food added to imbalance of minerals due to treatment of the water by the city.

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Is it too early to add the little chain swords (or whatever they are) in the foreground.?
The more plants you have the better for the fish.
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Old 10-06-2014, 12:42 AM   #3
Gotta be green
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Default Wow!! That's great news.

Thankyou Hilde for responding to my questions. I had no idea that fast growing stem plants could extract ammonia from the water column!! I thought everything had to transition to nitrates before plants could use them.
But it makes sense... I give my lawn a 'wake up call' each spring with a mixture of ammonia, beer and dish detergent and water of course!!! (Jerry Brown, the lawn guru's tip.)

Bump: Yesterday, I found some little Ottos at the local PetSmart. They were literally starving in a bare tank and had been marked down to $1.29. I bought 3 and now wish I had bought them all. The poor little things had concave tummys. Today, they all have round tummys and are busy, little beavers zipping from one plant to another.
I would never have added such delicate fish to a new tank, but I thought, what the heck, they are going to die here anyway so might as well give it a shot. They should be a good barameter of water quality. Hope they continue their return to good health.
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Old 10-07-2014, 10:42 PM   #4
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Added 20 Dwarf sag in the rocky foreground area and 12 Cherry shrimp. Took out the largest male platy and left the two half grown ones. All three otos are doing well. I'm supplementing their algae with blanched zucchini. I'm assuming the shrimp should like that too - although once I released them, I can't find a single one. The tank is very heavily planted now and a lot of it's dense myrophillum. It's beginning to grow on me (no pun intended). I like the way it waves in the current.
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Old 10-08-2014, 02:36 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Gotta be green View Post
Yesterday, I found some little Ottos at the local PetSmart. They were literally starving in a bare tank and had been marked down to $1.29. I bought 3 and now wish I had bought them all. The poor little things had concave tummys. Today, they all have round tummys and are busy, little beavers zipping from one plant to another.
You tank must be cycled for them to survive. They are very sensitive ammonia and nitrites.

How about a full front pic of tank?
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Old 10-08-2014, 02:55 AM   #6
Guck
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Originally Posted by Gotta be green View Post
Thankyou Hilde for responding to my questions. I had no idea that fast growing stem plants could extract ammonia from the water column!! I thought everything had to transition to nitrates before plants could use them.
But it makes sense... I give my lawn a 'wake up call' each spring with a mixture of ammonia, beer and dish detergent and water of course!!! (Jerry Brown, the lawn guru's tip.)

Bump: Yesterday, I found some little Ottos at the local PetSmart. They were literally starving in a bare tank and had been marked down to $1.29. I bought 3 and now wish I had bought them all. The poor little things had concave tummys. Today, they all have round tummys and are busy, little beavers zipping from one plant to another.
I would never have added such delicate fish to a new tank, but I thought, what the heck, they are going to die here anyway so might as well give it a shot. They should be a good barameter of water quality. Hope they continue their return to good health.
Many plants will not wait for the nitrate to appear as they even prefer nitrogen in the form of ammonium. And the uptake of ammonium is done through the leave, not the roots. In her book, Walstad elaborate on uptake of NO3 vs NH4 saying several plants prefer ammonium to nitrate.

When I start a new tank (I do dirt tanks) I plant as much as I can/have available for plants.
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