The Planted Tank Forum banner
1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone,
Just wanted to pop in and say hello. I have just set up a new 55 gallon tank. It has been up and running (empty) for a few days and is almost ready for some new inhabitants. In the past, I have used Giant Danios to cycle the tank. They did an excellent job too, but they also lived a really long time. They are not what I am wanting to put in this tank... I was thinking about getting a few mollies to do the job. do you think they are hardy enough?

I'll also be getting a few plants at the same time as the cycling fish. nothing too fancy to start with, Some anubias nana, Java fern or something similar. Just something that is pretty hardy to help get the tank cycled.

After cycling I'm going to try and make the tank look well balanced with fish, I want top dwellers like maybe some live bearers, guppies generally stay near the top of the tank. For the middle, I was thinking a small school of Cardinal tetras, or Rummynose tetras. and for the bottom a little school of 5 or 6 corys.

I was wondering what other fish people use to fill their tanks from top to bottom.

Here is my tank, I know it's a bad picture, but meh.. It's what I got...

I have some driftwood soaking in a tub outside. it should look pretty darn good in the tank when I get it nice and waterlogged.

The substrate that I am using is for planted tanks. hopefully it will do well.


That's about all I have for now, I just wanted to pop in and introduce myself, and let you guys know what I had planned for my new tank. I always welcome advice and or criticism.
-Mac
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I have had fish tanks off and on for many years, it has however been about 10 years since I had one. I know things change and get improved but I'm doing this from my past experiences. If anyone has any suggestions or if any of my techniques are antiquated, please don't hesitate to let me know about it. =)
The hardware I'm using is fairly cheap. I have a Marineland 350 Bio-wheel power filter. I had a bio-wheel filter before, and I loved it, hopefully this one will do as well as my previous one.

I have an Aquatop 250W heater, and the lighting consists of 2 T-8 florescent tubes. (possible upgrade at a later date)
I do not have a CO2 tank or anything, but in my last planted tank (many years ago) I made a little DIY CO2 setup, and may do the same here. I also like to cook, so does my wife. There is nothing like a fresh baked sourdough bread =) and in order to make said bread, you need a starter for it. The starter for sourdough gives off CO2. so What I did in the past was to take a 2 liter bottle, drill a hole in the cap and attach some airline tubing, with an airstone at the end. put your sourdough starter in the bottle and you have a little CO2 generator. There are a few dangers to this method though. You need to make you some bread about twice a week, and keep the starter fed. Also, when you are replenishing the mash, you need to make sure that the airline tubing does not start to siphon from the tank, that can be very bad. hehe
This is not a very accurate or steady method of injecting CO2 into the tank, but it is cheap and delicious. My plants from the past loved it, and I'm sure that my future ones will as well.

-Mac
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
178 Posts
Hey,

Good to have you on the forum! Looks like you have some great thoughts for this new aquarium, and I am excited to see it with the driftwood in it. One suggestion I would make is, please do not use fish to cycle your tank. A much safer, easier, less expensive, and faster way to do is buy some ammonia from ACE. That janitorial kind with no scents. Slowly add it to raise your ammonia levels, and then allow the beneficial bacteria to break it down into nitrites, and then let it breakdown into nitrates. Then you can do the big water changes to control that.

Your stock sounds perfect, personally I think there are cooler top dwellers that truly stay in the upper strata. I have heard good and bad things about ecocomplete, but it looks great!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
452 Posts
Hey Mac,

Welcome to the forum. As far as cycling goes, there are fishless cycles, and fish-in cycles. Fishless cycles are what Docock described above. Fish-in cycles are what you have done in the past. To me, either way is acceptable as long as you are monitoring ammonia levels with an accurate test kit if you do fish-in cycle. I have had success using Tetra Safestart; that will help reduce cycling time. I did a fish-in cycle with TSS within 2 weeks. If you use TSS, do not test the water as it will throw off the results. Just put it in, add your fish, let it sit for 2 weeks, do a water change, then test your water. Also, not sure if you posted a picture, but I couldn't see anything.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
How is adding ammonia to the tank safer than using a few hardy fish? I'm not interested in getting everything cycled fast, I just want it safe and healthy. When I cycled my old tanks, I have always used fish to do the job, a couple of danios or a net full of feeder guppies or goldfish. You may lose a fish or two, or they all may thrive (this is usually the case for me) Adding ammonia sounds scary to me... =/

The Driftwood I collected from the Arkansas river down the road from me. It is too large to fit in a stock pot, so I put it in a big plastic tub and poured boiling water (or somewhere close) over it until it was submerged. That took a while. lol. I let it sit for 24 hours then dumped the water and replaced it with hot tap water (~110 degrees) It has been soaking in that for 2 days, I'll probably change it again today.

What would you suggest for top dwellers? I don't really like hatchet fish.. and I can't think of any others for the upper part of the tank.

-Mac
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
So today I raided my wifes sewing box and got some black thread to tie some Java Ferns to a piece of lava rock.
I found the easiest way to do this was to make a slip knot in the middle of a long(ish) piece of thread. Secure the fern in the loop and then take the long pieces around the rock in opposite directions and tie them together. I think it looks fine =)


Next project is planting some Dwarf hairgrass (Eleocharis parvula) for a carpet. I'll post pics of that later.
-Mac
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
802 Posts
Cycling with fish is bad for the fish. A good alternative to adding ammonia is buying bottled bacteria (available at most, if not all, places, including the big box retailers). The bottled bacteria method is easier because you just dump in the proper amount once and let your tank cycle while testing for ammonia. Good luck.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I got a few white cloud minnows to cycle the tank, they were 14 cents each, and I don't have to go put strong chemicals in my tank. To each his own I suppose, but I prefer to use a couple of cheap fish. If one dies, it can rot on the bottom for a few days, that also helps cycle the tank. It's been 3 days since I added the minnows, and they are all fine and happy. If I lose any, well, I'm out a whopping 14 cents.
You are welcome to add ammonia to your tank, but I'll stick to the ways that I know, and trust.
If all 7 of them survive, they are welcome to live out their days in the tank.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13 Posts
I don't think anyone is concerned over the cost, just the livelihood of the fish. Although, fish in cycling used to be popular, we now have a much much better way to establish a cycle and the concern over ammonia...it is the same ammonia that you are using fish to create.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,011 Posts
Ammonia is fish waste. I've used janitorial strength ammonia in a few of my tanks and I do like it as far as cycling goes. It builds a large bacteria colony that you can control. Your hand full of fish produce 'X' amount of waste and that cannot be changed. The bacteria will consume that waste and produce a colony big enough to consume the waste only. So when you add another handful of fish, your tank will start to cycle again. It will be much faster since the bacteria is already established, but you will go through a 'mini-cycle'. That happens every time you add fish. When adding ammonia, you can dose the ammonia to extreme levels that would be toxic to fish. Do note that plants love the high ammonia atmosphere and prosper quite well. The bacteria colony that grows from this huge waste source will be large enough to fully stock your tank immediately without going through another cycle. That is a major draw to the 'fishless' cycle.

I did some calculations on one of my journals, but I dose 6 ml of my ammonia per 55g. I forget what the concentration is, <10% though. It is simple, easy, and precise. Fish in cycling is 'old school' and more or less a thing of the past as far as this forum is concerned. It is quite unpopular here. I really don't mind nor do I care. If I did, I'd be sitting at petsmart correcting every associate there selling bala sharks as 'great beginner fish' that can 'definitely fit in a 10g tank'.

Let me climb down from the pedestal and off the stage.

Dwarf hair grass will require CO2. Your DIY CO2 may work but the general idea is that a tank this size requires pressurized CO2. It isn't cost efficient. The math is somewhere, but a pressurized system pays for itself relatively quickly.

I had a bunch of bad luck with java fern also. I noticed you laced it to some rock. I couldn't get mine to attach to lava rock, so I imagine you will have a tough time with the less porous rock. It works well in drift wood from what I've seen, but others have had more success with it than I have over all too.

Your substrate should be fine. I prefer inert sand, but many like eco complete.

I agree with the previous statement that there are better top dwelling fish. Upside down cats and hatchet fish (I know you mentioned you don't care for them) are truly top of the tank fish. I found that my cherry barbs would swim all levels of the tank and I suggest AGAINST neon tetras. They aren't very active fish and just sort of mope around the tank in my experience. I had a school of about 10 at one time. Half a dozen corys is a great idea and they are very active fish! They love sand.

What kind of lighting do you have on the tank? That's going to dictate a lot of things. You seem to have kept plants in the past, so you likely know that some require more intense lighting. The ones you've listed are not on that list though. Your plant choices are pretty low light.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,557 Posts
I don't see a problem with slow cycling the tank with feeder WCCM as long as they stay healthy. Not all feeder White Clouds are in good condition to start with though. But they are fair foragers, and they'll pester areas of algae as they get bigger. They might spawn and have baby fish appear in the tank if they're the predominate species. I'd feed them lightly as the tank matures. Remember to not skimp on fast growing plants for this tank.

Bump:
....and I suggest AGAINST neon tetras. They aren't very active fish and just sort of mope around the tank in my experience. I had a school of about 10 at one time.
I just picked up a group of 10 young ones and I can't agree, in fact I kinda wish I could find their rheostat, which seems to be pegged to11. :surprise:
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,129 Posts
I got a few white cloud minnows to cycle the tank, they were 14 cents each, and I don't have to go put strong chemicals in my tank. To each his own I suppose, but I prefer to use a couple of cheap fish. If one dies, it can rot on the bottom for a few days, that also helps cycle the tank. It's been 3 days since I added the minnows, and they are all fine and happy. If I lose any, well, I'm out a whopping 14 cents.
You are welcome to add ammonia to your tank, but I'll stick to the ways that I know, and trust.
If all 7 of them survive, they are welcome to live out their days in the tank.

Many folks here are quite fond of fish. Elevated ammonia levels can burn the gills of fish. Survivors are welcome to live out their days, with damaged gills that no longer function properly to give them the amount of oxygen they need to thrive. Even though they are a lower life form many folks consider life sacred and don't want to inflict damage or injury on living things.
If you add ammonia manually you have total control over how much.
I don't think the ammonia that comes out of a bottle is any more of a "chemical" issue than the ammonia that comes out of a fish. You will also never introduce ich or other devastating diseases into your tanks by adding ammonia

I'm not trying to be argumentative or talk you into a different method. I personally don't feel that fish feel pain. I'm just pointing out that many others here feel far different and will consider your attitude towards these "pets" as callous at best
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top