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Old 09-29-2013, 05:08 AM   #1
Voozle
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Questions from a former hobbyist


Hey TPT!

I'm not exactly a former hobbyist, as I still maintain a planted aquarium, but I haven't been actively engaged in fishkeeping in a few years.

Anyway, I'm wrapping up my college education and looking to take apart my 20 gal community tank by the end of the calendar year to move. Some friends of mine would like me to set up their 6 gal hexagon tank, which is convenient timing as I can donate most of my plants. I have almost no experience with smaller tanks, however, and I have a couple of questions about my options in tackling this project.

1) Fauna: the friends I'm setting up the tank for were not thrilled when I suggested a betta. They want at least a few fish. Can I give them some of mine? I have a pair of kribensis and a school of neon tetra, which will be heading back to Petsmart when the tank is disassembled. I know that my friends' tank is too small for my fish, but I can't decide if I like their odds better in a undersized but heavily-planted tank with responsible owners, or at Petsmart. Your thoughts? If donating my kribensis and a small school of neons is completely unacceptable, what are some other easy-to-find livestock options, if any?

2) Refresh my memory on cycling: if I set up their tank using plants, substrate, and water from my existing community tank, any idea how long it will take to do a fishless cycle of the new tank?

3) Lighting: the hex tank has a 15W incandescent fixture. My plants (mostly Anubias and Cryptocoryne) are all sitting pretty in low light, low tech right now. If I buy a new bulb for their fixture, do you think it will cut it?

If you can take a few minutes to give me a brief answer to any of these questions, it would save me a lot of time. My first questions seems, at least to me, like an ethical one, so if you feel strongly one way or the other, please weigh in. I want to do right by my friends and put together a sweet tank, but my priority is doing right by my fish. Thanks so much for your time, glad to see this community is as active and talented at aquascaping than ever.
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Old 09-29-2013, 11:47 AM   #2
Tiptop
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Hi there Voozle!

I just shipped off to school, so I know exactly where your coming from on teardowns and moving! It's rad that you're helping out your buddies get started with their tank.

1) The Kribs are definitely out of the question for the little 6gal, but your school of neons might work out, depending on how many you've got. I'd say <10 neons would be reasonable for a 6gal, without any other fish.
If you're willing to go for something with a bit more attitude than neons, a trio of sparkling gouramis would fit. Your friends can listen to the funny croaking noises they make and they are well suited to small tanks. They're my personal favorite nano fish, not fussy eaters and stunning when the light hits 'em right.

2) Moving over used substrate, plants, etc etc will almost instantly cycle the tank, but erring on the safe side and waiting a few days then checking water params is recommended. You might want to run your friend's filter on your tank for a week to get its bacterial colony jump started. I've done this with most of my new setups and never had a problem. Saves heaps of time!

3) Picking up a 6500K Compact fluorescent bulb from your local hardware store should suit the needs of those plants just fine, I think. As for the crypts, they will probably melt when put into the new tank and will recover best with a nutrient rich substrate or root tabs. Those buggers just hate being moved.

When you get it set up, post some pics!
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