I recently put together a 5G fresh water planted tank. Pretty small. It can get out of hand quickly. Stay on top of the monitoring.
I used fluorite black(2" worth) As my substrate Nice, may hold some nutrients. 2" may be a bit too deep, though.
Also put in one of those portable fluval co2 kits, the 20G model. I have not had a lot of luck with similar small devices you can check the pH as a means of checking the pH.
25w heater Good size for this tank. Keep a sharp eye on it- 5 gallons of water can overheat if something goes wrong with it.
And a 7500k led strip light. A bit toward the blue, I think. Do you have a color chart showing the wavelengths it produces?
I dose the tank with co2 once in the morning around 6 am before I leave to work and once in the evening, usually around 5 or 6pm. I'm wondering if the co2 being injected changes ph levels and if this a issue to worry about. You are looking for a 1 unit of change in pH between high CO2 and low CO2. Monitor the pH through the day and see how much it changes. Fish and other livestock are just fine with pH changes due to CO2. They need stable mineral levels. Minerals do not change when you are adding CO2.
I did condition the water and added nutrafin cycle So, what are the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels? If this product has the right species of nitrifying bacteria then there may have been just a blip in ammonia or nitrite, then these will be 0ppm, and the nitrate will be rising. If there is ammonia and nitrite in the water do enough water changes to keep the ammonia under .25ppm and the NO2 under 1 ppm. to the system the first day,
also got the ph level to 6.6-6.8. Does this mean you are altering the pH with something you are adding to the water? This is not good.
I'm noticing the levels to be off a lot more with co2. Post an exact list or schedule of what you are adding, and when, then the test results and when you test.
Now, this tank was planted on Saturday and I introduced 3 white cloud minnows the next day to get the new tank cycling for a month before I get a different species. Do not cycle with fish. Do the fishless cycle (posted below) What fish do you really want in this tank?
I was told By whom? This is a concept that is 20-30 years out of date.not to change the water in the tank for a full month so the fish can do their cycle, Repeat: do not cycle with fish. just top up the evaporated amount with new water but make sure I condition it first.
I'm just curious because my tank does have live plants in it and I know I'm supposed to do a 50% water change every week. Who says so, and why?Along with seachem flourish, nitrogen and phosphorous dosing.(not 100% sure on this one, it was recommended by a friend who's tank was doing incredible but I prefer 0 chemicals used if at all possible?) Aquarium plants need nutrients. If there is a nitrogen cycle going on, then you do not dose more nitrogen, the plants are supposed to be part of the bio filter. Fish food supplies N, P, and most traces. I would just dose K, Fe and C while the plants are getting established, if the tank is stocked and you are feeding the fish.
So if I'm supposed to NOT change my water because the new fish are doing their cycle for the first month, are my plants going to be o.k without water changes or the recommended macro/micro nutrients?
Cryptocoryne(undulate 'broad leaves')
I just don't want to kill my plants($85) or the fish($3.99).
I'm just a bit confused as to how I should go about this. For that one month period. Should I bother with chem treatments(would my substrate be suffice for the first month?) for plants still or just give them enough light and co2?
Here is what I would do:
Test the tank water and post the results:
ammonia, NO2, NO3, pH.
Test the tap water and post:
pH right out of the tap, then allow some tap water to sit out in a glass over night and longer. Test pH at 24 and 48 hours.
The nitrogen cycle is complete, ammonia and nitrite will be zero, then the tank is fine. White Cloud Minnows are not good in that small a tank, they are highly active fish. You can go on from here with fertilizers, (add potassium and iron), water changes, and so on.
The nitrogen cycle is not complete, ammonia and nitrite will be more than zero. Return the fish (since it sounds like you do not want them anyway) and do the fishless cycle.
If the nitrogen cycle is not complete, then go buy a bottle of bacteria supplement that includes Nitrospira species of bacteria. This will cycle the tank very quickly. But then you still have the fish you do not want in the tank.
Cycle: To grow the beneficial bacteria that remove ammonia and nitrite from the aquarium.
Fish-In Cycle: To expose fish to toxins while using them as the source of ammonia to grow nitrogen cycle bacteria. Exposure to ammonia burns the gills and other soft tissue, stresses the fish and lowers their immunity. Exposure to nitrite makes the blood unable to carry oxygen. Research methemglobinemia for details.
Fishless Cycle: The safe way to grow more bacteria, faster, in an aquarium, pond or riparium.
The method I give here was developed by 2 scientists who wanted to quickly grow enough bacteria to fully stock a tank all at one time, with no plants helping, and overstock it as is common with Rift Lake Cichlid tanks.
1a) Set up the tank and all the equipment. You can plant if you want. Include the proper dose of dechlorinator with the water.
Optimum water chemistry:
GH and KH above 3 German degrees of hardness. A lot harder is just fine.
pH above 7, and into the mid 8s is just fine.
Temperature in the upper 70s F (mid 20s C) is good. Higher is OK if the water is well aerated.
A trace of other minerals may help. Usually this comes in with the water, but if you have a pinch of KH2PO4, that may be helpful.
High oxygen level. Make sure the filter and power heads are running well. Plenty of water circulation.
No toxins in the tank. If you washed the tank, or any part of the system with any sort of cleanser, soap, detergent, bleach or anything else make sure it is well rinsed. Do not put your hands in the tank when you are wearing any sort of cosmetics, perfume or hand lotion. No fish medicines of any sort.
A trace of salt (sodium chloride) is OK, but not required.
This method of growing bacteria will work in a marine system, too. The species of bacteria are different.
1b) Optional: Add any source of the bacteria that you are growing to seed the tank. Cycled media from a healthy tank is good. Decor or some gravel from a cycled tank is OK. Live plants or plastic are OK. I have even heard of the right bacteria growing in the bio film found on driftwood. (So if you have been soaking some driftwood in preparation to adding it to the tank, go ahead and put it into the tank) Bottled bacteria is great, but only if it contains Nitrospira species of bacteria. Read the label and do not waste your money on anything else.
At the time this was written the right species could be found in:
Dr. Tims One and Only
Tetra Safe Start
Microbe Lift Nite Out II
...and perhaps others.
You do not have to jump start the cycle. The right species of bacteria are all around, and will find the tank pretty fast.
2) Add ammonia until the test reads 5 ppm. This ammonia is the cheapest you can find. No surfactants, no perfumes. Read the fine print. This is often found at discount stores like Dollar Tree, or hardware stores like Ace. You could also use a dead shrimp form the grocery store, or fish food. Protein breaks down to become ammonia. You do not have good control over the ammonia level, though.
Some substrates release ammonia when they are submerged for the first time. Monitor the level and do enough water changes to keep the ammonia at the levels detailed below.
3) Test daily. For the first few days not much will happen, but the bacteria that remove ammonia are getting started. Finally the ammonia starts to drop. Add a little more, once a day, to test 5 ppm.
4) Test for nitrite. A day or so after the ammonia starts to drop the nitrite will show up. When it does allow the ammonia to drop to 3 ppm.
5) Test daily. Add ammonia to 3 ppm once a day. If the nitrite or ammonia go to 5 ppm do a water change to get these lower. The ammonia removing species and the nitrite removing species (Nitrospira) do not do well when the ammonia or nitrite are over 5 ppm.
6) When the ammonia and nitrite both hit zero 24 hours after you have added the ammonia the cycle is done. You can challenge the bacteria by adding a bit more than 3 ppm ammonia, and it should be able to handle that, too, within 24 hours.
7) Now test the nitrate. Probably sky high!
Do as big a water change as needed to lower the nitrate until it is safe for fish. Certainly well under 20, and a lot lower is better. This may call for more than one water change, and up to 100% water change is not a problem. Remember the dechlor!
If you will be stocking right away (within 24 hours) no need to add more ammonia. If stocking will be delayed keep feeding the bacteria by adding ammonia to 3 ppm once a day. You will need to do another water change right before adding the fish.
A) You can run a fishless cycle in a bucket to grow bacteria on almost any filter media like bio balls, sponges, ceramic bio noodles, lava rock or Matala mats. Simply set up any sort of water circulation such as a fountain pump or air bubbler and add the media to the bucket. Follow the directions for the fishless cycle. When the cycle is done add the media to the filter. I have run a canister filter in a bucket and done the fishless cycle.
B) The nitrogen cycle bacteria will live under a wide range of conditions and bounce back from minor set backs. By following the set up suggestions in part 1a) you are setting up optimum conditions for fastest reproduction and growth.
GH and KH can be as low as 1 degree, but watch it! These bacteria use the carbon in carbonates, and if it is all used up (KH = 0) the bacteria may die off.
pH as low as 6.5 is OK, but by 6.0 the bacteria are not going to be doing very well. They are still there, and will recover pretty well when conditions get better.
Temperature almost to freezing is OK, but they must not freeze, and they are not very active at all. They do survive in a pond, but they are slow to warm up and get going in the spring. This is where you might need to grow some in a bucket in a warm place and supplement the pond population. Too warm is not good, either. Tropical or room temperature tank temperatures are best. (68 to 85*F or 20 to 28*C)
Moderate oxygen can be tolerated for a while. However, to remove lots of ammonia and nitrite these bacteria must have oxygen. They turn one into the other by adding oxygen. If you must stop running the filter for an hour or so, no problem. If longer, remove the media and keep it where it will get more oxygen.
Once the bacteria are established they can tolerate some fish medicines. This is because they live in a complex film called Bio film on all the surfaces in the filter and the tank. Medicines do not enter the bio film well.
These bacteria do not need to live under water. They do just fine in a humid location. They live in healthy garden soil, as well as wet locations.
C) Planted tanks may not tolerate 3 ppm or 5 ppm ammonia. It is possible to cycle the tank at lower levels of ammonia so the plants do not get ammonia burn. Add ammonia to only 1 ppm, but test twice a day, and add ammonia as needed to keep it at 1 ppm. The plants are also part of the bio filter, and you may be able to add the fish sooner, if the plants are thriving.