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.