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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a UNS 45S (6 gallons, 23 liters, 45x28x18cm) that I speed-cycled by seeding the tank with goop from an established filter. I added a few ppm of Ammonia about a week ago. Yesterday I tested the water and I got NH3 1-2 ppm, NO2 2 ppm, and NO3 10-20 ppm. I did a 50% water change. Today I retested and I got NH3 0 ppm, NO2 1 ppm, and NO3 40 ppm.
I'm going to do a 50-75% water change later today.

Does it seem like I'm ready to stock the tank?

There's a few things I need to consider when stocking
  1. The tank is smaller than I thought it would be due to the 2 inches of soil in the tank. There is very little vertical height to the tank.
  2. The tank is very young (<2 weeks old). Not much of a biofilm, there hasn't been much plant growth apart from the Cardinal Plant and the Dwarf Sag.
  3. The tank doesn't have a cover and it's filled to about 1 inch from the top.
For stocking, I was originally thinking of getting a single Pea Puffer, but I'm worried the volume of the tank is too small. The tank does have a lot of floor space. Another option would be Dario dario, but I don't want to have to feed live food all the time, and I'm not sure how Dario dario would do in such a young tank. A lot of other species would be jump risks in this tank. I could stock shrimp if I don't get a Pea Puffer, but I think I need to wait for some biofilm to build up before I add shrimp.

I want to stock something because I don't want to lose the cycle. What should I do?

I have photos of the tank (the hardscape is incomplete, I'm still waiting for some wood to sink).
Building Interior design Rectangle Flooring Floor
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Does it seem like I'm ready to stock the tank?
Unfortunately no.

I want to stock something because I don't want to lose the cycle. What should I do?
Your tank isn't ready to house livestock until it can process the ammonia you add (2-3PPM should do the trick) in less than a day with no detectable nitrite.

Once your tank is actually cycled, you can keep the bacteria alive by adding the same amount of ammonia each day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Unfortunately no.



Your tank isn't ready to house livestock until it can process the ammonia you add (2-3PPM should do the trick) in less than a day with no detectable nitrite.

Once your tank is actually cycled, you can keep the bacteria alive by adding the same amount of ammonia each day.
True, I was just thinking that the filter did manage to process ~1 ppm of NH3 and ~1 ppm of NO2 in 24hrs, and I was thinking that was probably good enough. 2-3 ppm of NH3 seems like a lot? Is this really an expected daily ammonia load for a normally stocked tank? I did a water change and added some more ammonia, but not quite that much, more like 1-2 ppm. I'll test again tomorrow and see.

Why so much sand?? It's already a shallow tank. I'd suck the front down to 1" and have it raise towards the back. Look up aquascaping guides
Yes, I've thought about doing this. I originally wanted a flat scape or at least a scape that's designed to be observed from the top down, something like a pondstyle, but without a lot of emersed growth (I live in a dry area). I don't want a flat front to back gradient, it doesn't make sense with this shape of tank IMO. I have thought about having a hill in one of the back corners. The scape is missing a large piece of wood that I'm still trying to get to sink.

I was under the impression that plants need ~2in of soil to do best. Is this not true?

Your comment has inspired me to do better with the scape. I've had the tank a long time, over a year, and I never actually filled it even though I did try a 3-4 different aquascapes in the past. In this last iteration, I was at my most lazy, but for some reason actually managed to set it up. I think I'll try a proper pondstyle with a hill in the back right corner. I need to think about the plantings though...
 

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If plants need 2" of soil it means 'nutrient soil' and not inert sand.

I would get rid of all of it and maybe just have a very thin top layer if you want the white sand look at the top. You could also push the soil away from the front glass and drop sand in there... so it looks like ALL sand yet you have aquasoil at the bottom layer
 

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2-3 ppm of NH3 seems like a lot? Is this really an expected daily ammonia load for a normally stocked tank?
Yep, normal amount. I usually suggest 4-5PPM for larger tanks (think 40-50gal+) but 2-3 is usually ideal for smaller tanks like this. It's what I aim for in shrimp tanks and for anything that's going to house 2-3 tiny fish like Dario dario.

Speaking of Dario dario, I don't think your tank has to be that old to support them. Just run the tank with ammonia you're adding for an additional 2-3 weeks after you're sure it's ready. Same for shrimp if you want things to be more ideal for them. It'll be fine. I'd suggest you go an extra couple months if you weren't clearly putting in the effort to get things right but you obviously are.

They're really not complicated when it comes to feeding and they can be easily converted to dry foods if you don't want to feed live all the time. I've kept them in the past and have had good luck doing that. But microworm and vinegar eel cultures are really easy to maintain. Almost no effort, no weird odors. A pair of those little goobers would do well in a tank like that with a bit more plant mass - maybe some moss, more Anubias, Crypts (all easy to keep) - and less substrate, as suggested by others. Edit: My Dario dario also did well on various frozen foods right from the start, no real effort required to convert them.

A Pea Puffer would also be okay in a tank like that but you'd go through a metric ton of live food compared to any other small fish.

Another tiny fish that would thrive in your tank: Heterandria formosa. I shill for them a lot on the forum but this really is the perfect tank for them. Once things grow in a bit more and you maybe add a couple things? Ideal habitat. Check out some videos of them and see how others keep them in their tank journals. You'll see what I mean about their appeal after poking around a few minutes. They're probably the only fish I'd ever consider keeping in a tank smaller than 5 gallons. I've currently got 14 or 15 in a Fluval Spec III and it's just about perfect. Definitely check them out.

Note: H. formosa don't reproduce as quickly as most people think. So don't let that scare you away from considering them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
If plants need 2" of soil it means 'nutrient soil' and not inert sand.

I would get rid of all of it and maybe just have a very thin top layer if you want the white sand look at the top. You could also push the soil away from the front glass and drop sand in there... so it looks like ALL sand yet you have aquasoil at the bottom layer
I was under the impression that aquarium plants liked to have room to grow roots wether the soil was rich or not. I was thinking that too little soil could lead to rootbound plants and inhibited growth.

Yep, normal amount. I usually suggest 4-5PPM for larger tanks (think 40-50gal+) but 2-3 is usually ideal for smaller tanks like this. It's what I aim for in shrimp tanks and for anything that's going to house 2-3 tiny fish like Dario dario.

Speaking of Dario dario, I don't think your tank has to be that old to support them. Just run the tank with ammonia you're adding for an additional 2-3 weeks after you're sure it's ready. Same for shrimp if you want things to be more ideal for them. It'll be fine. I'd suggest you go an extra couple months if you weren't clearly putting in the effort to get things right but you obviously are.

They're really not complicated when it comes to feeding and they can be easily converted to dry foods if you don't want to feed live all the time. I've kept them in the past and have had good luck doing that. But microworm and vinegar eel cultures are really easy to maintain. Almost no effort, no weird odors. A pair of those little goobers would do well in a tank like that with a bit more plant mass - maybe some moss, more Anubias, Crypts (all easy to keep) - and less substrate, as suggested by others. Edit: My Dario dario also did well on various frozen foods right from the start, no real effort required to convert them.

A Pea Puffer would also be okay in a tank like that but you'd go through a metric ton of live food compared to any other small fish.

Another tiny fish that would thrive in your tank: Heterandria formosa. I shill for them a lot on the forum but this really is the perfect tank for them. Once things grow in a bit more and you maybe add a couple things? Ideal habitat. Check out some videos of them and see how others keep them in their tank journals. You'll see what I mean about their appeal after poking around a few minutes. They're probably the only fish I'd ever consider keeping in a tank smaller than 5 gallons. I've currently got 14 or 15 in a Fluval Spec III and it's just about perfect. Definitely check them out.

Note: H. formosa don't reproduce as quickly as most people think. So don't let that scare you away from considering them.
Ok, I'll dose 2 ppm today and test again tomorrow.

Thanks for the suggestions. Dario dario is sounding really appealing. Heterandria formosa is an interesting suggestion. I'll consider it. I do like killifish.

You could do 10+ chili rasboras or other micro rasboras.
Thanks for the suggestion. I'm a little leery of chili rasboras and other micro rasboras. Like a lot of other small shoaling fish I'm worried their behavior will be too bland.
 

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You are correct but with your nano tank and shallow tank you will need to choose between a more shallow soil (stunting growth of plants potentially) which will give you more room for fish.... Or give your plants rooting space at the expense of fish capacity
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
You are correct but with your nano tank and shallow tank you will need to choose between a more shallow soil (stunting growth of plants potentially) which will give you more room for fish.... Or give your plants rooting space at the expense of fish capacity
Yeah, maybe I should just avoid planting the front of the tank and only plant where the substrate is deep enough.

Something like this or this are what I'm thinking. It's perfect because both those scape are in the tank I have.
 

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The plants you have should be fine with shallow substrate. It's not like you'll have crazy livestock that will constantly uproot everything. And it's not like you're going to try growing anything that gets a foot tall (larger roots.) You should be fine in that tank with less substrate depth than you'd have in a large tank.

I haven't had substrate deeper than an inch in at least a decade and haven't had issues with anything that has crazy roots. Crypts, Swords, grasses, S. repens, Bacopa, you name it. All fine.

Heterandria formosa is an interesting suggestion. I'll consider it. I do like killifish.
Best part is they're not really killifish because they're livebearers. They're just super-tiny and don't reproduce like other livebearers. They don't have huge clutches that get overwhelming, don't usually need a heater, no need for live food. But it's fun to watch them hunt daphnia and chase frozen brine shrimp floating around.
 

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I kind of like your tank. It’s a different flavor of tanks but kind of makes me think of those times where you would fill a jar with different layers of colored sand in school and give it to your parents. Agreed on the fact that it’s going to be a pain to maintain and lowers your total cubic volume of water but still I kind of like it.

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