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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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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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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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