Thread: New Tank---Seeking Help
11-23-2012, 04:10 PM #11
Cycling with fish does not take a few months. If you have a way of putting media from an established tank into the filter, you will be "seeding" your new media with bacteria which would speed things up.
If you have the time to check your water parameters daily and do water changes as needed, you can get some hardy fish to start off with so your kids have something to look at - as long as you intend to keep them long term.
I hope it wasn't me that gave you the wrong impression time-wise or effort/wise - cycling without fish is faster because you can "spike" ammonia right away to start growing bacteria in the filter. With fish in the tank, you need to maintain a very low level of ammonia (which comes from the fish) to keep them safe - this involves changing the water whenever your test kit shows the ammonia has gotten too high. Ammonia is needed no matter what because that's what grows the bacteria (it is their food).
I also know people who have used certain products to make the ammonia in the water safer for fish - if done the right way, you can have a nice aquarium without stressing the fish too much.
I hope you haven't been scared away!46 gal fw tank with black skirt tetras, neon tetras, spotted corys, green corys, 1 guppy, cherry barbs, otoclinus, snails & 4 amano shrimp - plastic & live plants
5 gal QT with green corys & 2 guppies
11-23-2012, 08:16 PM #12
I did a rare thing...sat down and re-thought this. Much to my husband's massive amount of suffering---I frequently make snap decisions and roll with them. Great for my line of work---not too great for everyday life. My 3 y/o was devastated when I started unplugging stuff-it is in their bedroom. Granted---there is nothing alive in the tank he is in love with the idea of something coming. Although I know it is nothing close to being the same--this all started with a Wendy's kid's meal toy---a small small fish tank with stickers you added for fish. He fell in love with it and defended it from his little brother at all times. Except for the times he dropped it on the floor you would have thought it had real fish in it based on how he was acting. Being as the tank love persisted for weeks (way long time for my kid) we decided to get him a real tank for Christmas. We wanted smaller (than 38 gal) but it seemed like larger is easier to take care of and we got an awesome deal on Craigslist---albeit the equipment was used (but had been sitting) and needed some soaking and cleaning with a toothbrush.
Ok...so here is the revised game plan:
1. change tank water---I have emptied out about 20+ gallons (of the 38) of the distilled water....and replaced it with tap. Didn't want to waste the distilled water---so bottled it back up---left some space for expansion and put outside in back of the house. Will use it gradually over time mixed with tap for refilling the tank. I will probably have to bring it in a few days or more to get it defrosted and back to room temp before adding it to tank---but at least it won't be wasted. I am concerned about one thing ---someone asked was the ammonia coming from my tap water---since I was using distilled water---there should have been 0 ammonia right? The gravel and decorations were washed in tap prior to adding to the tank---would that have been enough to set off the ammonia results? I am using API Freshwater Master test kit.
**side note** Had 3 y/o help me---he filled the gallon containers in the bathtub using the shower head set to massage and water flow low. He really felt sooo proud to be helping to make the "home" for the fish.**
2. Treated the water with API Proper pH 7.0 which says it dechlorinates. Don't want to do it---but thinking going to PetSmart to get something else that dechlorinates the water since you said to stop using this pH stuff---if only it wasn't Black Friday....
3. My daycare provider has a tank...I think it is between 30-40 gallons---only has one or two fish. Her family doesn't do the best job keeping it clean always; it sometimes has an algae build up---it has a sucker fish of some type and I can't recall if and what the other fish is---I could be making that second one up--shows how much I pay attention to her tank. She is on vacation but will be back Tuesday---should I ask her for some gravel? If so how much? Can I just use a fish net to scoop it out? Will using filter media be beneficial? If so what type?..I only have two bio wheels, lava rock, and sorry---can't think of the name of the white stuff that I was told to cut out and place behind the containers holding the lava rock.
4. Will go on Sunday to get something that swims with fins. I can see this is not a good time for Neon Tetras so any suggestions will work. I am not going to get that many---only 5-6. I think I should look at Black Tetras, Black Neon Tetras or Zebra Danio's. All three look beautiful to me and I know my family would like so please let me know if one of these breeds is a good selection and what you think is best. They will be permanent residents!! As you can see--I can't even waste water---do you think there would be such thing as a disposable fish in my book?
5. Already updated work schedule. Added a 45 min meeting to late morning Wed-Fri that will be blocked out for me to test the water and change it if needed. I will also be able to do a second round in the evening. Monday and Tuesdays are my concerns...water changes and testing will not be possible till early evening--but I can always do a test late night Sunday and Monday---and water change if need be---daycare just may have some cranky tired kids in the beginning of the week for a few months. Sat's and Suns are not a concern. We are supposed to go away Christmas---but I may just have to drive home at least once a day then.
6. I am having trouble reading the API test kit. I have tried reading in different lights---different rooms...in direct sunlight---matching the tube to this card is hard. I get no ammonia is good---so I should aim for keeping the water in tube yellow-- 0 ppm. How do I know how much water to remove if I see even a hint of green? I didn't think I wanted to remove too much due to the cycling process---but need to remove enough to get the ammonia down. I don't want to over test and over change the water...so is testing two times a day too frequent?
Ok....sorry for so many questions---I just want to try and do this somewhat right.....I have one more day to understand what I am doing before I bring in a fish. I have to say---honestly...bringing an infant home was much easier!!!