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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello The Planted Tank Community!
I would first like to say that before setting up my first tank, I was impressed by the level of professionalism and helpfulness in responses to others that I read through on this forum. Now that I have my first tank cycling, I'm excited to be a part.

I set up my first tank, a 5G Fluval Chi on new years eve (before going out, of course) and now that it's been 5 days I have some questions. I have attached a photo taken after about 20 hours of setting it up. I will take another when the lights are on again in the morning.

1. Two plants - a java fern and ceratopteris - are actually taller than the height of the LED lights (but still submerged). Is this okay, or should I be trimming them?
2. I have read conflicting posts online as to when to add the fish. Some say 2 days, others 2 weeks. I was planning on adding a few shrimp and 1-2 otos, danios or tetras (still deciding). From your experience, when should I add them?
3. If I did anything incorrectly please let me know!

My setup:
5G Fluval Chi tank
Hydor 15W 5-10G mini-heater
Fluval plant stratum
1 each of java fern, hygrophila corymbosa, ceratopteris, crypt and anubias (store didn't specify species names for some)
a Dymax LED lamp on a timer for when I'm away on weekends

What I've done so far:
After planting the tank, it took about 18 hours for the water to mostly clear up. I initially added the appropriate amount of Nutrafin Cycle, Nutrafin AquaPlus and Flourish Excel for the size of my tank.
Days 2-4 I was unfortunately away and so I had my LED lamp set on a timer for 10 hours per day.
On day 5, the leaves of all the plants seem to have a thin brown film (which could be the settled sediment from the stratum?), I added another dose of Excel and I did a water test that showed a pH of 6.8, 0.25 ppm ammonia and 0 ppm of both nitrite and nitrate.

I appreciate any comments I can get!
 

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No comments? Don't despair!
You know when to add fish when the cycling process is complete, and ammonia with nitrite is undetectable.
The brown film may be some diatom algae, so you should reconsider your photo period.
Finally, you should take off the foam and weight off the crypts I see in the front as well as on any other plants.
 

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If your planing on keeping those plants alive, you will need to remove the gimmicky filter/light combo and go with a real light. Im running a very cheap Walmart light on mine, and an internal Penplax filter, just a suggestion...
I disagree. OP has a lot of low-light plants that will do just fine. I still have the same OEM filter and light that came with my Chi and my anubias, java ferns, and water sprite thrived. I currently have all but the water sprite now and they're also thriving. There are a few other members here on TPT with Chi set-ups using OEM equipment with low-light plants who are also getting positive results :)
 

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I disagree. OP has a lot of low-light plants that will do just fine. I still have the same OEM filter and light that came with my Chi and my anubias, java ferns, and water sprite thrived. I currently have all but the water sprite now and they're also thriving. There are a few other members here on TPT with Chi set-ups using OEM equipment with low-light plants who are also getting positive results :)
Mine must have been defective then. The LEDS shine straight down and have almost no spread. My java fern started to yellow right away and it was right bellow it. Hopefully he has success with it, but to me the thing is crap and I have grown plants with very, very cheap and dim lights before ( actually I still do :icon_roll). Trust me , upgrade...
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you for the comments/suggestions.

I've since added an oto, 2 black and white diamond shrimp and 3 other shrimp. I had asked for red cherries at the store but when I got home discovered something different!
I have reduced my light time to 8 hours, and after 2 days of adding the livestock about 90% of the brown algae is gone.

I'm wondering if anyone can answer my question about the tall plants, should I trim them down?

Updated photos:
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Why did you add fish? Did you have any indication your cycle was complete? I am not a believer in nutrafin..
The water parameters that my kit tested for were safe, and 6 days had passed so I just followed what I read others online had done. I was also a little eager to at least get the oto as the algae was spreading. The Nutrafin came with the tank, and even questioning the product, I assumed that the plants would have definitely introduced some bacteria? I'm quite new to this so I would appreciate if you could elaborate what I should have done?

Did you pick up some algae wafers for your oto? I'm not sure if there is going to be enough food for him at this point since it's a new tank.
I read several times online that otos don't actually eat algae wafers but that seemed to be quite a debate. I've added some lightly blanched lettuce in with a plant weight, other than that I'm torn what to do based on the opposing opinions I've read. It seemed people on both sides had success.


Other than the oto and shrimp, would it be a good idea to eventually get other small fish? Tetra wouldn't work because I've read I need a minimum of 6, and my tank is too small for 6. I was reading that white clouds could be a compatible addition, anything else?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Celestial Pearl Danio's. I'd take a picture of the 6 that I have but they're too damn fast and they have lots of hidings spots.

Nice tank btw
Thanks for the compliment! I read that Celestial Pearl Danios require slightly alkaline water, which would not work for my slightly acidic tank? I also read up more on the white clouds and they're apparently jumpers so I wouldn't want to risk them jumping out of this tank. I've read similar incompatibilities for coral platies and endlers. Any thoughts?
 

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Lots and lots and lots of least killifish. Sorry, I'm out forums official least killifish advocate hah.

They don't school, the loosely shoal. Live bearers, but very, very neat little fish
 

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Least Killies are cool little fish, but you'll need somewhere for all the babies.
Endlers will do fine for you as well, but once again, you'll need somewhere for all the babies. Unless you get all males (the females are the plain looking ones).

Those shrimp are referred to as Amano or Japonica. They will grow to 2-2.5".
 

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Otos are constant foragers and their bellies should be nice and fat at all times :p Some otos will eat wafers while others will just ignore them. I think you'll need to experiment and figure out what your oto likes but it wouldn't hurt to grab some. Your fish will eat them as well!


The water parameters that my kit tested for were safe, and 6 days had passed so I just followed what I read others online had done. I was also a little eager to at least get the oto as the algae was spreading. The Nutrafin came with the tank, and even questioning the product, I assumed that the plants would have definitely introduced some bacteria? I'm quite new to this so I would appreciate if you could elaborate what I should have done?



I read several times online that otos don't actually eat algae wafers but that seemed to be quite a debate. I've added some lightly blanched lettuce in with a plant weight, other than that I'm torn what to do based on the opposing opinions I've read. It seemed people on both sides had success.


Other than the oto and shrimp, would it be a good idea to eventually get other small fish? Tetra wouldn't work because I've read I need a minimum of 6, and my tank is too small for 6. I was reading that white clouds could be a compatible addition, anything else?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
Update:
I was worried that I hadn't seen all of the shrimp at once since the day I introduced them, so I removed the driftwood in attempt to find them. One amano and one diamond shrimp were both gone - I searched thoroughly and have no idea what could have become of them. In addition, the larger remaining amano shrimp has a whitish tail, could this be a parasite? This one had just molted overnight, so is this colour difference normal? I have attached a photo, sorry its not great but I don't have anything better than my phone to take a picture with at the moment.

I went to a couple of LFSs and I can't find any Least Killifish. I did however find some dwarf ricefish which I am considering adding in a few weeks. Anyone have experience with these in a tank with shrimp? Also, can celestial danios be kept in a tank with 6.6 pH?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
To those who said I didn't wait for my tank to fully cycle... you were 100% correct. I had a short-lived small ammonia spike (up to 0.5 ppm, now almost 0), and now I've been having a nasty nitrite spike over the last few days (it looks between 1, 2 and 5 ppm on the colour chart but I really can't tell, I have a small colour impairment when it comes to purple). I have been doing 20% water changes every second day since I noticed the problem and after work today I plan to get some API Stress Zyme. I'm worried about the oto and the shrimp but I don't have another tank or a friend to take them until cycling is complete.

An update on the amano with the white tail, it went away after a few days.

Also, most of my hygrophila died. I'm not sure if its because of the uncycled tank, lighting, CO2, etc. I've been dosing 3-4 drops Excel every second day, and the anubias seems to be thriving. Ceratopteris and java fern don't look any different then when I bought them.

Would anyone recommend I get the Fluval shrimp mineral supplement, or is it just a scam?
 

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I second those who say to upgrade the light. I tried growing plants with the original light and only low-light plants directly beneath the light would grow.. slowly. I added a AC20 and an Exoxotic Ecopico light and my tank has been thriving ever since.

IME the original filter/light combo is ok for a simple tank but to get good plant growth and filtration, you need to upgrade that stuff. This is what my tank looks like now (it's also got an HOB refugium these days)
 

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