New guy here!
Hello everyone, I am new to the hobby and this is my first tank. I have wanted one for some time and as I recently graduated college and am living in a "real person" apartment it was finally feasible. I currently have a cat and had kept reptiles for some years before with much success. I am a law student living in Philadelphia.
A little about my setup
My girlfriend bought the setup for me as a birthday present so I didn't have too much say over my equipment.
The tank is a combo pack which came with the tank, hood, light, filter, thermometer, and heater. The tank is a tropical freshwater community tank. The plants are artificial.
Tank: 29 Gal
Filter: Aqueon (not sure if 20 or 30, all I know is that it was "rated" for the tank that I have)
Heater: Not sure the exact specification but as I live in Philadelphia our temperature doesn't fluctuate unreasonably and our apartment is always between 68-73 so the heater I have does the job.
Thermometer: Regent Sticky
Testing Kit: Tetra Easy Strips
Food: Aqueon Tropical Flakes
I also have a 29 Gal tank stand that I keep it on.
Currently I have 5 Green Cobra Guppies.
Plans for future stocking
I plan on getting a decent sized school of either Harlequin Rasboras or Silver Hatchetfish.
I also would like to have a few inverts. Shrimp and Snails. I'd prefer to under stock rather than be over/at capacity.
Here is where things get dicey. I did limited research on cycling (I know, I should have done all of my homework before rushing in to a major decision like this) I knew that I had to cycle my tank, but I didn't know what it was or much about it, so before I found this site, I did some research and learned about the cycle of ammonia and bacteria.
Armed with information I went to my LFS to ask for help/suggestions. I planned on fishless cycling. While I was there I asked for pure ammonia so I could begin to cycle my tank.The employee at the store told me that was unnecessary and directed me to a product called "Tetra Safestart" she told me that it would cycle the tank in days and make it compatible for fish. Too good to be true I thought, especially after reading that the process could take anywhere from a few weeks to a month or more. After reading some encouraging reviews about "Safestart" I decided to give it a shot. I followed the directions and after three days my Nitrate was within a safe level, my nitrites were 0 and my ammonia was around 0 (I thought it was 0 but I misread the testing strip. More on that in a minute) I was recommended by my LFS that 5 Green Cobra Guppies were a good hardy fish to start with so I went home and got them acclimated to the tank. After re-reading the strip I realized that the color was closer to .5 ammonia rather than 0.
So far the fish all seem to be happy and healthy. I have been feeding them sparingly and testing the water every day. I do not like the strips I have and I find them difficult to read, I might be slightly colorblind I have found out. I ordered today an API master test kit, and a glass thermometer because the Regent is wildly inaccurate in my opinion.
I am aware that if my Ammonia levels or nitrites start to rise, than I need to do a 25% or possibly larger water change. I am committed to do what I have to in order to keep my little Guppy buddies alive. Hopefully the cycling process won't be too hard on them.
After cycling is complete I plan on upgrading my filter to an Aquaclear 70 HOB filter.
I am open to any criticisms, questions, and most importantly suggestions and advice. I look forward to becoming an active member of the community. I hope this was not too long or in depth. Sorry for the poor quality of the photos, they are cell phone pics.
Seems you are doing things right although Fish in cycle does take longer. The strips are rubbish so you will be able to get a much more accurate reading with the API kit. Keep up the good work and dont be afraid to ask any questions
1) 140 gallon with 70 gallon sump. 1 German Rams, 50 neons , 16 Schwarzi cory, 10 harlequin rasbora, 6 Hengals Rasbora, 2 Bulldog Plecs, 4x dwarf Gouramis, 12 golden barbs, 12 cherry barbs,8 Yellow Boesemani Rainbows and loads of assasin snails. Sump has central heating pump. water flows through a 4 layer foam and 1- 2kg of bio, also has a 18"x 18" algae scrubber that works well. fluval U2 to transfer to my QT when needed
25 Gal - Tropical
Custom made Wet/Dry/Sump Filter System, AquaClear 20 Powerhead, RenaCal Excel 300 Heater, artificial plants
- 6 Blackskirt Tetras, 4 Red Wag Platy's, 2 Silver Hatchet's, German Blue Ram, Bulldog Pleco, 2 assassin snails.
"Plans go wrong for lack of advice; many advisers bring success." King Solomon.
Pictures of my 10 Gal Sump Filtration project
Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.
Once you learn to quit, it becomes a habit. -Vince Lombardi
“Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.” ― John Wooden
Sandy Hook Elementary......Lest We Forget
It looks like you've read up a bit before jumping in - which is better than most. Good job.
I've had some success with beneficial bacteria products as well, but I do believe it's always better to be safe than sorry.
One thing to keep in mind with hatchets is that they WILL jump out if they get the chance. You will want to make sure the hood is extremely secure (no spaces) and may want to get floating plants so they will be more comfortable. A piece of wire or fishing line near the surface can hold whatever plants you choose out of the way of the filter flow.
I also agree with scotch, a testing kit would be much better.
The tank looks very nice. Congrats and good luck with the new setup!
Shrimp and snail junkie... What can I say, I like the little things in life.