Setup new tank, think I messed up. Please help!! - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-06-2013, 03:13 AM Thread Starter
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Setup new tank, think I messed up. Please help!!

Hello everyone! Been out of the hobby for a few years and just got back into it and I am not sure what I have done, nor do I know what to do next! Looking for some advice!

So, September 1st, I went out to my LFS and purchased a 20g kit. It included the tank, hanging filter, heater, and hood w/ LED lighting. Seemed like a good deal and adequate for what I was doing! I originally purchased just the kit and a few bags of gravel, as well as some guppies, as the gentleman in the store recommended would be a good fish to start my cycle.

About a week has gone by and I have been non-stop looking at planted aquariums online all over the place. I got anxious and went back to the LFS today, purchased a bunch of live plants, came home, dropped the water level of my tank to about 1/3, planted all of the plants, and also added another 2 bags of gravel because I felt I needed more.

After doing this and refilling the tank, within just a few minutes, all 10 guppies were dead and floating!!! I have no clue what happened and now am not sure what to do next.

My tank is now full of plants, do I wait and leave the tank as is? Or do I need to add fish to supply nutrients for the plants?

Thank you in advance for any suggestions and advice. Your knowledge is greatly appreciated, I'm quite stressed out and ready to get things under control to get my tank on a healthy path!

PS, photo attached is how the tank sits as of about an hour or so ago!
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-06-2013, 03:27 AM
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Did you treat your water with a dechlorinator? i.e. Seachem Prime or API Stress Coat?

I would daresay that the lighting you have is not too intense so you can just leave it as is without fish for a while.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-06-2013, 03:32 AM Thread Starter
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Embarrassed to say, no. I did not treat with dechlorinator. Totally slipped my mind. I will run to my LFS first thing in the AM to grab some. Do you believe that was the cause of the death of the guppies? And will the plants be ok in the untreated water?
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-06-2013, 04:17 AM
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Sounds like it was the chlorine that killed 'em. The plants should be fine in the current water for tonight. The chlorine that is in there is most likely going to kill off any of the beneficial bacteria that have started to accumulate and restart the cycle; at least I believe this to be true, but I could be wrong.

Honestly, if the cycle is going to have to restart I'd probably take everything out of the tank, including water, and add a base layer, about an inch thick, of Miracle Grow Organic potting soil. This will add nutrients for the plants. Pick out as many of the chunks of wood as you can. Moisten it with dechlorinated water. Then cap it with about an inch of the gravel. Add your hardscape (rocks etc..), partially fill the tank with water, add your plants, then fill the tank the rest of the way. An easy way to start your cycle is by adding ammonia; nothing scented or with additives, get the really cheap stuff from a hardware store. This is a great sticky from the forums on starting a tank:

Feel free to pm me if you want to chant about anything privately. I recently got back into the hobby and made TONS of mistakes that ended up costing me me time and money then it should have >.> such as buying plants from a big box pet store that I was told are submersible plants that really aren't; at least in the long run...

btw: I LOVE how you arranged the lava rock!

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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-06-2013, 05:04 PM
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From September 1st to September 6th... very little beneficial bacteria has accumulated.

I would recommend taking this opportunity to do a fishless cycle:

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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-06-2013, 11:23 PM Thread Starter
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Any thoughts on using Nutrafin Cycle? I've also read a little about Bio-Spira but can't find a LFS that carries it :/
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