View Full Version : Thrakuariums 38 gal S.A. cichlid tank

06-01-2009, 08:07 PM
After the delusions of grandeur over a 55 gallon tank subsided, I had a discussion with my budget and my tape measure and decided on a 38 gal kit and stand that had just gone on sale where I work. After my employee discount I got the whole thing for just under 175 dollars, which was less than a 55 gallon kit without the stand from walmart. Space was as big an issue as budget too, so giving up 17 extra gallons was the right thing.

I really wanted to fishless cycle but after 2 days of looking for ammonia without any extra ingredients (stupid surfectant) ,I am going to fish cycle again. At least I have prior experience to fall back on this time. I moved 3 adult sunburst wag platies and 2 juvie wags into the tank. I have the aqueon filter it came with plus the whisper 30 I booted off the 29 gallon both running. I added stability to the water as well as one of the 2 biomax bags my ac-70 had going in the 29 gallon tank in order to provide a nice colony of bacteria. The whisper has the biomax bag in it.

I also am stepping into live plant territory for the first time with 5 wisteria,4 umbrella and 3 white ribbon plants. I also found a nice driftwood piece I am currently waterlogging so it will sink in the aquarium. I hope I can keep it in one piece because it is awesome looking. Once it's in there I think it will be perfect for the rams and the angel I plan to add thumbs2:

06-02-2009, 01:26 PM
Well it looks like the city chose now to treat their water. After testing my tank, the water the driftwood was in and finally the decholinated water in my bucket I always keep on hand, I found ammonia readings between .5 and 1 in all 3. Tested my 29 to make sure my kit was good ... 0... kit is fine. Broke out the amquel to reduce the ammonia for the platys I am cycling with. No turning back now since I'm sure there wont be ammonia in the tap water as long as I need it to fishless cycle. Checked the tank this morning, and the ammonia was around .25 which should be managable with the bacteria base from the biomax bag I got from the 29 and the Stability Im dosing with. Anyway Im tossin up a few pics. Imagine a nice piece of driftwood in the center.... thats why I didn't throw any plants there.

06-02-2009, 02:03 PM
Thats a nice tank!:22:
The driftwood I imagined will look amazing!thumbs2:

06-02-2009, 02:08 PM
Very nice setup, looks good.

Are those real plants? If so the swords with the white edging on the leaves are not aquatic.

06-02-2009, 02:25 PM
Ya they are real..... and thats what I was afraid of ... even though the tube they were in said otherwise:scry: Ill yank em as soon as they show any signs of dyin. Until then, as sparce as the tank is, the platys can use them for cover.

06-02-2009, 09:01 PM
I wouldn't buy any "aquatic" plants in those tubes. I did a quick survey when I looked last at my LFS and saw only one true aquatic plant, java fern. Every other plant they had in those tubes will eventually die under water.

06-02-2009, 09:06 PM
Wow that looks great!!!!! WTG!!!!!!!!!!

06-03-2009, 12:44 PM
Once a bully always a bully. The male sunburst wag bought a ticket back in to Buddy's betta tank after I caught him stressing out the juvie wags. Extra stress is the last thing I need in a cycling tank.

I really didn't need fry in the tank either but one of the girls apparently had other thoughts :ssuprised: :ssuprised: :ssuprised: I saw one as I was feeding a few flakes this morning, and if there is one, there are probably more.

I dosed the stability again and then checked the ammonia reading. It looks like the bacteria and the amquel dose had an effect. I would say yesterday it was a solid .25 after treatment and today I would guess it at .15-.20 as it is an obvious shade lighter.

06-04-2009, 04:31 AM
I checked the ammonia level on my tank again when I got home. Its just barely off shade so it's very close to zero.... maybe .05 or so. Wow.. what is this, some kind of hyper cycle ??? I have nitrites registering as well. Looks like .5 to me. My biomax bag must be very nicely colonized. :18: The plants are probably helping too.

OoooOOOOoooohhhhhhhh..... icing on the cake, Houston we have nitrates! :hmm3grin2orange: Looks like 10 ppm. I hope it doesn't break over 20 until the city water loses the ammonia they added. I guess I could switch to prime instead of novaqua if I needed to.

If all this nice bacterial conversion is due to the biomax colonization, then major kudos to the aquaclear guys for great stuff.

06-04-2009, 01:35 PM
Biomax balls are by far the best things to transfer bacterial colonies. Just a handful of them provides more bacteria than even the entire sponge of a filter. I transferred a handful from one canister to another, added 7 tiger barbs and the ammonia never registered. Nitrites took about a week to drop to 0. The nitrite stage took that long for me since I've read the nitrite bacteria are the slowest growing so it just took them awhile to catch up. However, you are probably almost done.thumbs2:

06-04-2009, 03:51 PM
Approximately 12 hours since my last test.
Ammonia: 0 thumbs2:
Nitrite: .5 looks like its keeping up, no change from 12 hours ago :19:
Nitrate: 10 go plants go :rockon:

Gotta give props again to the guys at hagen. This biomax rules. Of course I also take into consideration that even though the bag came from a 29 gallon tank, the filter on the 29 is an AC-70. So the bag has 70 gallons worth of colonization space. Definately helpful for this kind of thing.

The city water still shows ammonia but it is dropping, just under .5 instead of between .5 and 1.0, so maybe by the time im ready for a W/C it will be gone. If not, I guess im buyin some prime. Might get some anyway.

06-05-2009, 01:43 PM
Today my ammonia is still at 0, but my trites hit 1.0 and my trates are at a steady 10. The trites bother me but I am going to wait a day to see if the bacteria catch up before I resort to a chemical solution.I dosed with stability again today and will for at least 2 more days. The city water situation has me a bit hamstrung. If I water change I add ammonia, even if I treat with prime, which I got a bottle of last night, it's still ammonia. I also still have my hammer available - nitrazorb. I won't use it unless my trites fly through the roof though.

Overall the readings are what I was expecting, just not this quickly. All this in just 4 days.

Almost forgot to mention, I added the driftwood. Its sitting higher because I fastened it to a deco rock cave to weigh it down. Its big to begin with but now I have about a 1/2 inch above the waterline. lol

I think I have settled on bloodfin tetra for my schoolers over the brilliant rasbora for one simple reason. Location, I am doing a S.A. tank and the rasbora are from asia.

06-05-2009, 04:13 PM
Here's a few pics of the driftwood. Eventually I will get it lower in the tank. Hopefully it will fully waterlog itself so I can completely remove the decorock its tied to. If not I will find a thinner item to weigh it down. As fast as this tank is cycling I wanted to get it in so I could skim off any crud it might generate before putting the permanent residents in.

06-06-2009, 04:40 AM
Took another trite reading and still had 1.0, so I dosed the tank with prime. The city water still has ammonia. Wish I had a clue on how long that will last. I'll see how the prime handles the trites. If I don't see an improvement then I will slap the nitra-zorb bag in on top of the bio-max in the whisper 30 and let it hold the trites and trates down until the secondary bacteria catches up.

06-06-2009, 02:26 PM
Prime will neutralize ammonia to its NH4+ form. In this form it is safer for fish, however, the tests cannot distinguish the two forms. So even though you are using prime, the tests will not show a difference. So go ahead and do water changes with prime but dont panic if your tests still show an ammonia spike.

And I have suggested this to other members with bad tap water is that you can set up a water resevoir in the form of either a tank or rubbermaid container. Get a simple HOB and pack it with ammo chips. Then take water from the resevoir for your water changes and dump tap water into the resevoir. After a few hours the ammochips will give you ammonia free water for water changes.

06-06-2009, 02:45 PM
Thanks for the suggestions. The ammonia isn't a problem for this tank. It's at zero. It's the nitrite I am dosing prime for. I think the secondary bacteria is lagging behind a bit. I am dosing my reserve bucket of water with prime as well just to be safe. My other tanks are established so they can handle a w/c with the altered ammonia. I was aware of the "false" reading that prime. amquel, etc. , will produce but I do appreciate the input.

I went ahead and put my nitra-zorb pad into the whisper 30. It will hold the nitrites and nitrates in check while the secondary bacteria catch up. It may slow my cycle a bit, but the fish come first :ssmile:

06-09-2009, 04:23 AM
Took a tap water reading for ammonia. It's finally back to zero. The funny part is I brought ammo-chips home today :hmm3grin2orange: Ah well, one more item in my arsenal I guess.

I got my trites under control with the prime and the nitra-zorb a few days ago. Did a 25% water change tonight now that the tap water is right. I added 8 bloodfin tetra to the tank for my schoolers Sunday and removed the platies back to the 29 gallon at the same time. The bioload should be about the same. Unfortunately there must have been a fish fight while I was at work. One of the bloodfins had no mouth left and I could see a couple who looked like they might have been involved but nothing that looked serious on them. I had no option but to euth that one bloodfin.

06-11-2009, 01:33 PM
I'm still using prime to lock down the trites. The remaining 7 bloodfins (lost one to a fish fight) seem to be doing fine. Im not so hot at sexing them but by size I think I have 2 males and 5 females. I know they mention a hook on the anal fin of the male, but darned if I see it:ssuprised:

The trites are coming down now, which is encouraging. I have a .5 reading again after dealing with 1.0 for the past few days. I finished the seven day Stability dosing, but I am adding a few pinches of biozyme each day anyway. I don't think its as good as Stability, but I still have 1/2 a container left and it can't hurt.

My plants seem to be doing well. I pulled the white ribbon are finding out they aren't true aquatic plants, but the umbrella plants have kicked out a few new leaves already. I pinched a few dead leaves off them, but the growth is there. I havent seen a lot from the wisteria in growth, but they are standing taller so I look at that as a good sign.

06-12-2009, 01:49 PM
Got a .25 reading on the trites, so they are definately coming down. The end of my cycle is in sight. I'm surprised how quick it has been. I know with used media it is faster , but I never expected a 2 week time frame. I figure 2 more days and I should be cycled thumbs2:

06-12-2009, 02:26 PM
I wouldn't buy any "aquatic" plants in those tubes. I did a quick survey when I looked last at my LFS and saw only one true aquatic plant, java fern. Every other plant they had in those tubes will eventually die under water.
i agree. my LFS has "java fern" in the tubes but its not Microsorum pteropus its ....i cant remember the fist part of the name but the last part is like javacium or something. bought it thinking "hey ive been looking for that forever!" got home and researched it, go figure it will die within a few weeks usually of being planted because its not aquatic.

my rule of thumb is unless i can identify it myself and have done research AND! its in one of those pool tanks then i will consider it.

06-12-2009, 02:35 PM
The white ribbon was the only one that wasn't true aquatic and I yanked it. I won't buy from pool tanks. I don't need the snails. The other 2 plant types are doing great tho.

06-12-2009, 02:49 PM
haha yea alot of people dont like snails. i personally dont mind them (seeing as ive 3 mystery snails and am expecting that number to be up in a few months) but ive never gotten them from plants (luckily i guess).

my only reasoning behind it is piece of mind for me. research says aquatic, and i see them growing aquatic so i guess it helps me get over the fear of being sold something falsely labeled again.

06-12-2009, 02:58 PM
lol big snails on purpose is fine too. Since those aren't asexual you dont get the explosion like the little pest snails are good at. I knew going into plants for the first time I was gonna mess up. Of course if the amazon swords hadn't looked like trash I wouldn't have gotten the ribbons in the first place. Next time I'll print hobb's list instead of tryin to recall the names :hmm3grin2orange:

06-12-2009, 03:13 PM
haha i think its rare for someone to not mess up going into something new. best of luck finding plants for you. if you looking for something that grows fast and is real easy to split and replant i use hygrophillia to make a "back wall lining" in my tank and it looks great. trim it down enough and instead of being tall and stems it will grow out and turn into a bush like thing.

06-13-2009, 05:10 AM
Well it only took 12 days to cycle this bad boy thanks to my oversized biomax media form my 29 gallon. Another positive point in using an AC-70 on my 29 gallon. ammonia-0, trites-0, and trates-5... I got some hungry plants :hmm3grin2orange:

Now I can start planning my next move. I probably won't add any fish til tuesday, my next day off. None of the fish I'm wanting are available at my store. Normally I would add mid-swimmers before bottom swimmers, but when the mids are GBR and an angel, adding the corys next is probably the better move. I'm figuring 8-10 of either adolphi, panda, or juli corys.

06-16-2009, 09:53 PM
I settled on bronze corys. They look very healthy and aren't near the price of the adolphi ( over 6 bucks apiece), plus they were the only ones I could hit my number on. Other than albino I couldn't get 10 of any other cory from the 4 places I went to.

06-18-2009, 04:10 AM
Got some faint ammonia and nitrite readings tonite. I expected as much since the bioload has to rebalance. Got about .25 ammonia and just a shade above 0 on the nitrite ( .10 if I had to guess). Nitrates are still very acceptable at 10. I dosed with stability to give the bacteria a kick in the pants and dosed prime to keep the fish safe. A slight cloudiness is what tipped me off. The fish themselves are acting normal. The corys are playing in the water flow when they arent scavenging for food.
I know putting 10 corys in the tank at once seems like a lot at first glance, but with the large bacteria colony I used from my 29 I knew if I didn't bring the bioload up to a respectable level I would starve out my bacteria. I plan to keep a close eye on the ammonia/nitrites and even with the prime in use if it gets anywhere near problematic I will kick in a good sized water change. I don't think I will need to though.

06-18-2009, 04:29 PM
corys have very light bioiloads but 10 should be enough to keep the bacterial colony going. even though corys are scavengers to keep them happy make sure you have some kind of algae waffer or pellet for them to eat. also mine absolutely love the hikari freeze dried tubifex worms. they dont sink so i tank a lead plant wrap and put a piece of paper clip through them and crimp the lead plant wrap on to. when the corys find it they will go absolutely crazy!

06-19-2009, 04:35 AM
Sounds like a nice treat. I have shrimp pellets and algae tabs that I use for the corys in addition to the flake they find. Once the tank stabilizes up real nice I may try that. I have soaked some hikari frz dried blood worms for them also. I have albinos in the 29 as well so i may try that trick on them as well thumbs2:

06-19-2009, 03:08 PM
Ammonia .25
nitrites 0
nitrates around 7 (not quite dark enough for a 10)

So it took 2 days for the nitrites to get handled. I expect the ammonia will be zeroed within 2 more days. Everybody seems active and happy. I will just let tha tank mature for a bit now before adding the rams and the angel. My female ram is quite happy in the 29 so I don't feel any rush to move her too early. thumbs2:

06-19-2009, 03:21 PM
sounds like your right on the way! congrats!
i wish there was some place local i could get rams at because i think they are really nice looking fish

07-08-2009, 12:51 PM
The 38 continues to mature. The plants are growing nicely and I added a rock cave structure and another piece of driftwood. Unfortunately I lost my female ram (and my gourami) to an illness that so far hasn't affected any other fish in the 29. I still plan on 2pr of rams and an angel for this tank though. All the fish currently in here are doing just fine.