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Well I finally have my first tank set up. I tried the dry start method for a couple months with dwarf hair grass, S. Repens, and Monte Carlo. Monte Carlo didn't do so well but the other plants seem to be doing great since flooding. I'm cycling with a couple Zebra Danios and a Molly. Looking for a little advice for the first few weeks after flooding. How often should I water change and what water parameters should I look for?
 

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Hi there,

What's the dark substrate - assuming some sort of aqua soil? Are you keeping an eye on ammonia levels? Aqua soils tend to leach ammonia into the water for weeks (or months) and obviously that's not good for the fish! How bad will depend upon the level (are you testing?) and the pH of the water (lower pH makes ammonia less toxic). better not to introduce and livestock until ammonia and nitrite levels are zero and nitrate is under control. Your tank isn't that heavily planted so there won't be much uptake of nutrients from soil, so maybe algae might be an issue in a few weeks time? Perhaps consider adding some floating plants to help suck up the nitrates?

In terms of water parameters to look forward, all depends upon:
1) what livestock you want to keep (mainly plants, or fish or shrimp?)
2) what water you will be using for water changes (RO or tap)

If you're going to use tap water, what's it like in terms of hardness (KH and GH)? Easiest is to see what fish might suit your water, rather than try and keep fighting the water to keep specific fish, unless you have something particular in mind. If you're using RO, then your options are unlimited!

Hope this helps as a starting. Other more knowledgeable types will no doubt be along shortly....

Enjoy your new tank! =)
 

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Do a water change IF:
  • Ammonia levels rise to more than .5 ppm
  • Nitrite levels rise to more than .5 ppm
  • Nitrate levels rise to more than 40 ppm
  • You see fish gasping at the surface (this is different than when mollies cluster at the surface)

In an ideal world, your water parameters should look like this in a planted tank (I've *'d the parts where I'm not well educated in the matter)
Ammonia = 0 ppm
Nitrite = 0 ppm
Nitrate >5 ppm and < 40 ppm

Look up care requirements for dwarf hair grass and S. repens to see what their TDS/GH/KH needs are.
 
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