The Planted Tank Forum banner
1 - 20 of 27 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am setting up a 75g tank, South American themed. I intend on stocking it with two largish (16+ fish) groups of 1 inch schooling fish (tetras?!) and one or two groups of (5 or so) dwarf cichlids ...

I have a fluval 303 and an aquaclear 200 for filtering now, and am in the process of putting together a DIY wet/dry that will replace the Aquaclear 200.

so, i am looking for opionions on:

Does this sound like overstocking?

I was going to cycle it with white clouds, but would rather use fish that will ultimately inhabit the tank ... any thoughts on whether i should use the apistos, rams, or tetras to cycle or just go with the white clouds ... and how many of these would you suggest ...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,254 Posts
That doesn't seem too overstocked to me. Will this be planted?
I would def use the tetras to cycle first. You may lose a few, but it is better than losing a bunch of rams or cichlids that are very sensitive to water parms.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,254 Posts
I wouldn't do that....Plant it heavily and put the fishies in there.
Read rex's guide if you haven't It goes in depth about not doing a fishless cycle...adding plants from the start. I did it this way and it worked like a charm.

Rex's Guide to Planted Tanks
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,609 Posts
Here's an old post I made some time ago about cycling and this for all tanks, not just planted tanks:
The context is that someone asked about adding sugar as a carbon source to help bacteria in a new tank:


"Someone nagged me to come and say something.
I have two issues I'll address, both will be issues for some of you, but think about them and the points I make prior to responding.
I attack the idea, not the person.

In a new tank, I'm talking a new tank, did I say a new tank?
Okay, there is not much carbon, I'm not talking CO2(this is inorganic carbon, I'll refer to it as DIC), I'm talking reduced carbon(Organic carbon, the kind we eat), Fructose, glucose, carbohydrates, the types of carbon we need.

Bacteria that cleave organic N to form NH4 and by products as well as the bacteria oxidize the NH4 waste into NO2 and NO3 require not just NH4, they require a carbon source as well.

New tanks ain't got much of that.
So a little dab of sugar is not a bad idea.
It'll relieve any Organic carbon limitation that are slowing the bacterial growth rates down.

1/2 teaspoon per 50 gallons ought to do.

That being said, I am strongly and diametrically opposed to the Fishless cycling baloney. I worked in a Fish store for many years as kid.
We used the mulm from an existing tank to seed the new tank(Mulm is also a great source of reduced organic carbon, as well as loaded with tons of bacteria and fungi).
Sponge, floss, dirty gravel etc, any of that muck that is from an old tank should be added to a new tank. This adds precisely what is missing from a new tank vs an old established tanks.

There you go, immediate instant cycle.
Do not have any friends or a LFS or another tank within a few miles etc?

Buy zeolite. Only someone who had not thought things through would suggest adding NH4 to the tank.

Zeolite does not require any testing, nor any wait and after the zeolite is "spent", generally about 1 month, the tank is cycled and the media becomes colonized with bacteria, you may add activated carbon as well if you want. Unlike the FC method, you do not have to do as many water changes since the NH4 is bound and not oxidized into NO3 which needs exported via water change(more on water changes in a bit)

Zeolite is very cheap, no need to wait, no testing, no extra added labor.

A water change..........

If there was ever a single piece of advice I ever gave new folks and hobbyists, it's to do weekly water changes, good sized ones.
Especially during start up and when there are more issues.

If folks did weekly 50% water changes, they'd seldom ever have diseases or fish issues. This also applies reef tanks, but salt cost a fair amount, so there's a trade off there, smaller tanks are more likely to use that approach than a 400 gallon reef.

That held true 30 + years ago, it still does today.
If you remove the waste in the start up phase, there's no danger to begin with. The bacteria will colonize and adjust to the load over time, more water changes = less loading, thus more O2 for the fish and less NH4 over all.

More O2= faster and better NH4 conversion for what little is there by the aerobic bacteria.

Another thing about FC, the idea you add it to the tank...........
Why? Take a bucket, add the NH4 to that! Not the tank, run the filter in the bucket at high levels for 2-3 weeks, then add that cycled filter to the tank. With a bucket method, a 1 gallon bucket dumped is very easy compare that to...........

No need to coat everything in the tank with NH4 which later turns to NO3, now you have a tank full of NO3, which means what? Water change........

Which brings me right back to the beginning piece of advice: do water changes.

How many folks like to test water?
How many calibrate their test kits?

Zeolite does not require any of that if you cannot find any mulm from a tank that's established.

Why would a LFS horde their dirty mulm?
Most would be more than willing and understanding about it.
If not, you should likely shop elsewhere anyway.

Zeolite also means no waiting, you add fish, do a few water changes for the 1st 2 months, say 50% weekly and slowly add fish.

A python water changer is a much better device than any test kit.
So the smart LFS will sell them that, a tool that's useful and really saves the fish and the labor.

This hobby is successful if the new folks are successful coming into it.
If not, they quit.

Even if you assume there is something wrong based on a test kit reading, you still have to do some labor to rectify the issue if you assume there is one.

Now if you take this a step further and go into planted tanks, then we really are without any need or use for FC.
I must see about 5-10 post each month where someone added NH4 to their new planted tank and have green water algae. They overload the tank and the plants cannot take up all of and it induces various species of algae.

Plants remove the NH4 directly at lower levels and you'd be hard pressed top ever measure NH4 in a new planted tanks (or an established one).
No NO2 or NO3, no nothing. A well run non CO2 planted tanks never gets any water changes for months, sometimes years and looks a lot better than the cheesy day glow plastic plants many keep, I suggest some plastic fish to match Then you don't have to ever do any water changes or dose the fish food ever. You can sell plants, try selling old left over test kits, or bacteria or those faster growing plastic plants sometime:)

And the plants(well, the real ones) add O2, whereas bacteria processing NH4, use up a lot of O2 to oxidize the NH4 into NO3 which you still have to get rid and export somehow.

Happy plants = happy fish.
Water changes = good.

But the bottom line is that sugar is not a bad item to add to a brand new tank, it will speed the process up and remove the bacteria's carbon limitation.

But plants make a better solution, they add some organic carbon, they leach photosynthate(reduced Carbon) into the water column, come already pre loaded with bacteria attached to them as well as fungi etc, and they remove the NH4 directly and add O2.

Have plant eaters? Add water sprite etc to refugium or a plant filter/sump etc and add some light and you are ready to go.

If you add any or all of these: mulm, zeolite, and plants, then there's really no need for Ammonia and test kits.

Never was, but many have been hooked into the smooth talk without thinking it through to the end.

I'm not sure why really, other than bandwagon effects or maybe I'm just old school. I have the tanks, test and health to prove my results.
the idea is not bad, but the application in lieu of some very good habits that work, simpler, need to be done to some degree anyhow and make more sense seem like a much better approach.

Mulm is free, cost nothing, test kits cost $$. Zeolite is about the same as a test kit, but the zeolite will be used from then on. Test kit? Most likely not.

Good habits like water changes? That will save you for the rest of your life, test kit? Who knows, most stop using them unless there's a problem, but it is hardly preventative maintenance. The aquarist needs to do a water change anyway, so why burden them with more test kits? Think about the test, is it really something aquarist really need to do? The other thing is that these suggestions are simple and easy to understand and work more consistently. "


Regards,
Tom Barr
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
yes, I guess a 50% weekly water change would be effective at maintaining a healthy tank.

However, the logistics of that would keep me from doing it regularly. Do you have a 40 gallon tank circulating water all week?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,254 Posts
I have a 90 gal....I do 50% changes weekly....and I don't even own an Ammonia test kit. never had need for one.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,205 Posts
I don't change water as often as I should, so I do large water changes. I just empty out half the tank, fill it up from tap (temperature matched), and add dechlor as it fills. Some folks add enough dechlor for the entire tank, some just add enough for the new water.

Some delicate fish don't care for the large water changes, though. I prefer to change about 30% but I am a bit of a slacker and don't do it often enough.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
279 Posts
so, what do you do, just empty out half the water, fill it up from the tap, and then poor in a dechlorinator? or do you have a trash can of water standing by?
That is what I do with my 75 gallon. I add the dechlorinator when I start filling the tank (with a python).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
562 Posts
pretty sure he's talking about initially... like, the first couple weeks or so.

Personally, I'm really bad and just watch how things are going in the tank and take measures from there... though I use the old substrate/filter material method. I like my tanks cheap and simple... Although I DO own a test kit in case someone gets sick and then I can ask better advice from fishy experts.

I really prefer not having to do water changes very often or hardly at all... though I have a tremendous amount of evaporation in my "big" tank... that's ALMOST like doing a water change!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,254 Posts
so, what do you do, just empty out half the water, fill it up from the tap, and then poor in a dechlorinator? or do you have a trash can of water standing by?
Hey, I live in Manhattan. If I can do 50% water changes weekly, ANYONE can.
I have a python that I run from the bathroom to my tank. You can get one from any LFS or big al's or drsfostersandsmith. I put Prime in before I reverse the flow. All told, it takes 15 minutes....<longer if I am rescaping and pruning...>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,254 Posts
pretty sure he's talking about initially... like, the first couple weeks or so.

Personally, I'm really bad and just watch how things are going in the tank and take measures from there... though I use the old substrate/filter material method. I like my tanks cheap and simple... Although I DO own a test kit in case someone gets sick and then I can ask better advice from fishy experts.

I really prefer not having to do water changes very often or hardly at all... though I have a tremendous amount of evaporation in my "big" tank... that's ALMOST like doing a water change!
no he is not talking about initially. he keeps planted tanks, like many of us on here. If you are dosing ferts, it is a way of improving water quality and resetting the nutrient base in the tank to start dosing again. This way there is no need for test kits. As for evaporation, that has nothing to do with waterchanging...

I have yet to see a fish that is too sensitive for a 50% water change weekly in a planted tank, BTW.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
562 Posts
nah, I'm just too lazy for 50% weekly. probably because it involves a lot of tripping over cats to and from the bathroom... I'm more of a 50% monthly kind of gal.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,609 Posts
yes, I guess a 50% weekly water change would be effective at maintaining a healthy tank.

However, the logistics of that would keep me from doing it regularly. Do you have a 40 gallon tank circulating water all week?
A python or a simple hose and powerhead are not a problem?
Even if you do RO mixes etc, the [pump can add water anywhere and hose is not hard to pull out and hang on the tank to fill or drain, larger hoses can drain a 90 gallon tank in 5 minutes or less if you use 1-1.5" ID tubing.
Refill takes about 10 minutes with most bathrooms or with a strong pump.

I like to change the cat litter more than once a month, I flush daily, and brush the teeth 2x a day, not sure why taking good care of fish are any different.

I've heard every excuse to avoid a water change, most are rationizations for a lack of motivation really. Be honest:)

Going with a non CO2 approach and balanced tank should be the goal if that is the case, thus you still have no need to cycle a tank.

So either way, you still never need to "cycle" with NH4.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,609 Posts
I don't change water as often as I should, so I do large water changes. I just empty out half the tank, fill it up from tap (temperature matched), and add dechlor as it fills. Some folks add enough dechlor for the entire tank, some just add enough for the new water.

Some delicate fish don't care for the large water changes, though. I prefer to change about 30% but I am a bit of a slacker and don't do it often enough.
Please name one fish that does.........Discus and Altums, which by mostr standards are sensitive wild caughts, get 50-80% 2x a week or more.
Mine bred(the Discus).

Must like it.
Plants and every species I've ever kept for over 30 years have never had any issues with large frequent water changes, and I sure have grown more species(500-600) and plants(300?), as well as bred(40?) a lot more fish than most........
They do seem to look better, the tank looks better and I never have so called cycling issues, even after 30+ years of keeping fish.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
A python or a simple hose and powerhead are not a problem?
Even if you do RO mixes etc, the [pump can add water anywhere and hose is not hard to pull out and hang on the tank to fill or drain, larger hoses can drain a 90 gallon tank in 5 minutes or less if you use 1-1.5" ID tubing.
Refill takes about 10 minutes with most bathrooms or with a strong pump.

I've heard every excuse to avoid a water change, most are rationizations for a lack of motivation really. Be honest:)

Going with a non CO2 approach and balanced tank should be the goal if that is the case, thus you still have no need to cycle a tank.

So either way, you still never need to "cycle" with NH4.

Regards,
Tom Barr
emptying my tank is not the issue, i siphon right into my sump pump and out into the yard it goes. grass always grows very well there.

i guess your right about the motivation ... it is hard to be motivated to make a dozen trips up and down the basement stairs carrying 5 gallon buckets of water, while avoiding cats, dogs, and kid. tanks are in basement, no sink in basement or sink, so aside from running a garden hose (cold only) through the basement window, i am a bucket carrying fool.

my issue is that i never thought it was a great idea to go straight from faucet to tank without dechlorinating, as the chlorine was bad for the bacteria. thus i added dechlorinator as i was filling each bucket.

it seems to me that your assertion is that cycling isn't an issue if you just change water constantly, which seems completely plausible to me.

p.s. putting together a hose from my kitchen sink to basement is on my list of things to do ...
 
1 - 20 of 27 Posts
Top