2 week old tank, what next?!
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Old 06-25-2013, 04:46 PM   #1
Amiller
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2 week old tank, what next?!


I am quickly becoming aware that most of the info provided by our fish person is while well advised, is not necessarily suitable for someone as interested in the hobby as myself.

My husband and I wanted very much to have a tank well established before our new addition arrives, and so, being recently given a 24 gl Hagen Crystal Glass tank and glo lamp decided to finish off the investment and set up. So we have currently the marineland bio filter (we wanted mostly self sufficient and minimal chemicals). Because we live in reasonably northern canada we were advised for winter to get a fairly heavy duty heater, we purchased an eheim for 50 gl and set up our tank, in 24 hours we had returned to the store and added 7 harlequin rasboras.

We were told initially that we could pick out fish from the shoppe, as they have labels as to what are community fish and what are not. Our final goal is to have one large and glorious Angel fish and so have calculated the "inches of fish per gallon of water". We went through and picked out a few species, which are listed in my tank profile as "planned additions". And were informed that after adding the Rasboras, we need to ensure we wait 4 weeks to make sure our bio balls in the bio filter have enough good bacteria growing. The filter is SO efficient that our water is crystal clear, even after 2 weeks with 7 little guys in there, which are rapidly growing and maturing into their gorgeous solid colours.

What I'm wondering is, do we HAVE to wait 2 more weeks to add 4 mollys to the tank? We are expecting to receive our java moss and horn wort soon, but likely not before next week. We were never told about testing water or the nitrogen cycle (which i have been reading about and do not fully understand yet) . I certainly want to add more fish, and very soon, but I absolutely do not want to risk crashing my eco system!! I know our aquarium shoppe here is very reputable and they do quarantine and guarantee the fish for you as well prior to purchase.

I welcome any suggestions! Thanks!
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Old 06-25-2013, 05:09 PM   #2
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I would recommend getting a test kit and/or taking some water in to you'r local fish store and having them test it for Ammonia/Nitrites/Nitrates. If you have no Ammonia no Nitrites and low Nitrates (less than say 20ppm) then you should be ok for more fish.
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Old 06-25-2013, 05:15 PM   #3
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great thanks! We have noticed that there is a lot of water evaporating from the tank, and we're not sure (since its tropical fish) what an appropriate rate of adding water would be, we use "prime" water cleaner on tap water as was advised by our local store. Suggestions on this?

I think that i have better ideas on the nitrogen cycle i found a great article online for it. I am a little perturbed that the woman we originally spoke with told us such an extreme timeline and did not suggest to even get a test kit at all, even when i asked about it directly she said "oh you wont need that with this filter system"
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Old 06-25-2013, 05:55 PM   #4
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You added 7 harlequin rasboras within 24 hours of setting up the tank, and it's been 2 weeks with no fish deaths? I have to say that's pretty amazing, since I don't think there's any way the beneficial bacteria could have possibly been set up in your tank in that short amount of time - are you doing daily water changes to keep the water fresh, or put a bottle of nitrifying bacteria or some other activity that keeps the fish from succumbing to ammonia or nitrite burn? If not, again, that's pretty amazing!

Definitely get something like the API Master Freshwater Test Kit, and a bottle of Seachem Prime, and keep an eye on your ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels, and change the water with Prime as needed. I wouldn't add any other fish until you are at zero ammonia, zero nitrite, and show positive for nitrate.
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Old 06-25-2013, 06:17 PM   #5
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yes to all of that, we literally added 2 litres of water recently to accomodate the evaporation but the temperature is so picky for the Rasboras we have in there. We have not done any other water additions or changes since we set up and we still have our 7 little guys and no deaths. Some are growing faster or better than others certainly but I guess thats normal? We will definitely be picking up a tester kit this weekend before we add anymore fish.

My plants came today, from a private grower. He had snails in his grow tank and we DID NOT WANT SNAILS!! so I've vinegar bathed the plants and I'm putting them into a 5 gal bucket to see if anything else comes out of them. I received java moss and horn wort today. I'm SUPER excited to put them in the tank but not really wanting snails... Anything else I should do with them? How long should I leave them in the bucket for?
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Old 06-25-2013, 06:30 PM   #6
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If you've only done one top off after two weeks with no water changes on an uncycled tank with 7 fish, that really might end up in disaster! Those must be superfish!

http://freshaquarium.about.com/cs/bi...rogencycle.htm

Here's a basic guide. You might get some false ammonia readings right after a water change with prime since prime converts the ammonia into harmless ammonium, but nitrite never lies - if it's there, do another water change right away!

as far as snails go, i'm with you if it's a pond snail, i'm not a big fan, i just pluck 'em when i see 'em.

but the other types like the ramshorn and the malaysian trumpet snail (MTS) are beneficial and shouldn't take over your tank unless you overfeed - those, I welcome and some folks even buy them for their tanks to keep algae and detrius under control, and even to aerate their substrate.

i've never hesitated to put plants into tanks just because of snails though - but if you see algae on there anywhere, definitely don't introduce that if you can avoid it.
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Old 06-25-2013, 06:41 PM   #7
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I can't express to you how confused I am right now! The fish we have in there are Harlequin Rasboras, we were told that they are pretty difficult to kill... But I feel as though now I don't know anything about anything anymore, like all of the information I had was wrong!

We were told that with the biofilter we purchased that we would likely not have to do any water changes and just top off once in awhile, ( we wanted low maintenance ) I'm slowly realizing our ignorance and take full responsibility for this. Can I add the plants without having to test the water? I don't have a kit now and have to wait till the weekend to obtain one. The fish are lively and have always been, they stay in the active current of the filter though, (they are river fish) so I suppose this is normal, they have never behaved as though gasping for air.

Am I now in limbo with the plants until I can get a tester? I have no issues with waiting to test prior to adding more fish...
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Old 06-25-2013, 06:47 PM   #8
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Yes, the plants aren't affected by the nitrate cycle - in fact, they might like it since they eat nitrates, and your fish would die way before your plants would in terms of a deadly ammonia dose. You can just put those in, as long as they are definitely aquatic plants and not some terrestrial plant that may not belong in there?

your filter has a biomedia area that the beneficial bacteria will grow on, but the bacteria also grows on the filter sponges themselves, the substrates, and yes the plants that you'll be planting in there too. in other words, the bacteria needs time to grow everywhere in your tank. while it's doing that though, the ammonia may get to toxic levels before it's eaten, and after that the nitrite levels, and after that, the nitrate levels. when you see those spikes, that means the bacteria can't catch up at the moment, so that's when you do a water change. with a new tank, a new filter can't eliminate these spikes.
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Old 06-25-2013, 06:52 PM   #9
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I did read the article about the nitrogen cycle, I think I understand most of it. The plants are coming from a mature grow tank, we received Java moss and Hornwort. Would the vinegar bath have killed any of the beneficial bacteria that could be in them??

I feel like I'm playing with fire and gasoline here! Although slightly more assured that things could be going reasonably since my fish are still alive..

We have a large very porous rock in the tank as well, I am told that bacteria can live in these as well? Should I be doing a water change without the test kit? I can plant the plants right? I can't find anything about how to properly plant java moss or horn wort. a video on utube told me I could just wrap the hornwort root around a hole in my big rock and that it would be ok?

sorry for the million and one questions!! Thanks so much everyone for your help!
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Old 06-25-2013, 07:01 PM   #10
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all i'd do with the vinegared plants right now is just make sure all of it is off the plants before putting it in the tank - if there is any beneficial bacteria left on them, great, but it's a bit moot at this point. java moss and hornwort are fine aquatic plants. hornwort is a floating plant, so don't try to plant/root it, it will pretty much want to drift free, which is fine. you might like to use a bit of superglue gel to put the moss on your rock if that fits your aesthetic - not too much since the gel turns white in water.

what kind of rock is it? traditional lava rock is fine for the tank, just make certain that it's the kind of rock that is safe for fish in terms of water parameters - some minerals can change things like pH.

and yes, the beneficial bacteria will get in and on your rock as well. as long as it stays wet, the bacteria on the surface of these things won't die - well, as long as it has things to feed on, like ammonia and nitrite and all that.
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Old 06-25-2013, 07:08 PM   #11
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I have the plants soaking in about 3 gl of sea chem primed water in a large bucket. after rinsing them VERY well after the vinegar bath. I will wait until my husband gets home to put the plants in, (i can't lift the lid and light off the aquarium to work in there without him) so the plants will have some time to sit in the bucket (about 5 hours) the rock is a lava rock, from the aquarium store, and we did rinse it and soak it in primed water before putting it into the tank.

I guess in the mean time I will just wait it out. I appreciate all the advice. I certainly do not want to lose any livestock! I adore my little harlequins!
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Old 06-25-2013, 07:43 PM   #12
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sounds good as far as the rock and plants then - might be a good time to do a 50 percent water change as well!
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Old 06-25-2013, 07:54 PM   #13
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is it safe to do a change like that without a tester??
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Old 06-25-2013, 07:58 PM   #14
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it's safer to do a water change without a tester than it is to not do a water change without a tester. i know it's gross, but think of it like a septic tank. dumping out the old water and putting in fresh water can only improve the water quality. don't do a huge water change though, under 50% is fine. you may need to do those once every few days until your parameters settle down though, at worst. once your cycle is set, something like 30% weekly water changes ensures good water quality - and that's with a fully loaded mature biofilter.

and with a heavily planted tank, you get a lot of natural filtration going on, and some folks can go weeks without water changes, and some even longer (see "walstad" at http://www.theaquariumwiki.com/Walstad_method ). but in a new tank, none of that is set up yet.
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Old 06-25-2013, 08:01 PM   #15
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My Rasboras are sensitive to temperature change we already have them at a lower temperature than they would normally live in. I am worried about adding to much water of a cooler temperature, how do I do this with only one tank, heater and a bucket....

It would be the perfect time to do this since I am wanting to fiddle around in the tank with the plants...
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