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  1. #11

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    3 Not allowed!
    You have received great advice already, i want to add my vote for cycling without fish. Takes some patience because you have to wait to add fish, but it's less stressful (for you and the fish) and there is no risk of losing your first fish, which can be frustrating, particularly for your son. It's also great learning opportunity for your son :-)

    In terms of "clean up crew", the only "cleaning" fish (or snails, shrimp, etc) will do is eat algae. I don't think there is any fish that will eat poop from other fish. So, you do need to vacuum regularly with a siphon, every time you do a water change. You can vacuum just above the gravel, and suck up all the debris. No need to disturb the gravel itself. As Triton said, you are the clean up crew :-)

    Watch out for those snails. Some snails can reproduce extremely fast. If you don't want lots of snails in your tank, I'd remove the ones you found. Most people don't mind, though, and leave the snails -- they do eat algae, after all, but every now and then you may have to cull the population a bit if it grows to be too much. This is another advantage of a fishless cycle -- since there is no source of food in the tank, snails won't reproduce as quickly, and it gives you a chance to find and get rid of any snails that may have hitchhiked into your tank.

    By the way, it has already been mentioned, but I want to stress that zero ammonia does not yet mean your tank is cycled. Ammonia will indeed reach zero in a week or so. But when ammonia reaches zero, it only means it was converted to nitrites, which are also toxic to fish. The second step is for those nitrites to also reach zero as they turn to nitrates, and this second part takes longer.

    Be patient and keep doing your research, and you will soon have a thriving tank.

  2. #12

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    2 Not allowed!
    I just looked at your filter -- it is rated for 20 gallons, which is probably too small for your tank. I know you said you have a 20 gallon, but in general you should have a filter rated for twice your tank's capacity. So, if using that filter, you should be somewhat conservative with your stocking plan.

    Your filter is also "supposed" to be used with cartridges. If amazon reviews are to be believed, the cartridges fall apart and need to replaced about once a month. I'd forego the cartridges entirely. Instead, buy a package of biomedia (such as fluval's ceramic rings) that you never have to replace, just clean in tank water once a month. The rings will house the bacteria you need for your biological filter (to remove ammonia and nitrites from the water). You can combine this with some sponges to remove debris from the water before it flows into the ceramic rings so your rings don't accumulate as much "gunk" -- again, just clean them in tank water once a month. Some people here use no sponges and just use biomedia like the ceramic rings), others like the sponges.

  3. #13

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    2 Not allowed!
    I agree with the previous posts - excellent advice. If you cycle your tank without fish, when it's cycled you can add all your fish at once (or not). This is the best way to prepare your tank for the fish.

    BTW, I love your decor, except maybe for the white anemone item. The downed plane looks great.
    75 gal - Smudge Spot Cories, Silvertip & Pristella Tetras, Scissortail & Red Tail Rasboras, Pearl Gourami, Black Kuhli Loaches, Whiptail Cats, Wild Caught BNP
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  4. #14

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    0 Not allowed!
    Thanks so much guys! You've given me a lot to look over and think about. I'm doing some shopping around for a new filter, but I think this one will do for now if I get some of those rings for the bacteria to grow in so that I can transfer them over to a new filter. I'm not sure if I'm going to be able to find one rated for a 40g tank that isn't going to break the bank at this point.
    I'm not too worried about the snails. If they get to be too much I'll offer them a piece of lettuce and take them out. I think that the loaches might eat them too.
    Thanks, gronlaura! The kiddo picked everything out himself. I was doubtful of the brown gravel, but it looks really good with the décor that he picked out. (The cannon "fires" bubbles).

  5. #15

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    0 Not allowed!
    These are the two filters that I found on amazon that we could afford to get right now

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...A2US1IENPV2T7N

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...A14IZ8JAGKKH3G

  6. #16

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    2 Not allowed!
    try a dyi sponge filter. If you pull up UTube and search dyi sponge filters, you'll get several videos showing how to make one for next to nothing.
    30 g FW planted:corys, female ABNP, blue angel, harleys, zebra danios, rummies,
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  7. #17

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    0 Not allowed!
    That looks really easy to make! I do have an extra, battery powered air pump so I would just need a tube for it, the sponge, and pipe. That might fit nicely behind the cannon and hornwort if I move them up a bit and move or take out the anemone. Then I could maybe get some more hornwort to put on the other side to hide it.

    20 bucks isn't bad to get a new filter though, and then there wouldn't be any in-tank space taken up. After those the only good looking (to my unexperienced eyes anyway) filter was $45, and that is a bit much for now at least. I was particularly eyeing the Penn Plex one. It is listed on that aqadvisor website and with the fish we are looking at that filter would be "satisfactory" at 167%. I still need to check out our local store too. Sometimes they have prices better than amazon, and I know that they carry Fluval which a lot of ppl here seem to like (based on some of the posts I've read). Before I buy a filter I really want to crack it open and see if there is space for those ceramic rings. That's hard to do online =/

  8. #18

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    1 Not allowed!
    Also Wgoldfarb mentioned cleaning the filter media in tank water once a month,but keep it safe and do this every 3 months after the cycle and again only clean it in tank water
    When everything goes without a hitch its only then do you realize something is wrong

  9. #19

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    4 Not allowed!
    I know this is a little more than you want to spend, but if you keep your existing filter and just add a second one, you could get the Aquaclear 20. You would then have 2 filters, each rated for 20 gallons. With the Aquaclear (AC20), you can have either sponges and ceramic rings or ceramic media alone. If you wanted only one filter, the AC50 would be the best bet.

    http://www.drsfostersmith.com/produc...pid=PPC-B-4134

  10. #20

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    3 Not allowed!
    Quote Originally Posted by SueD View Post
    I know this is a little more than you want to spend, but if you keep your existing filter and just add a second one, you could get the Aquaclear 20. You would then have 2 filters, each rated for 20 gallons. With the Aquaclear (AC20), you can have either sponges and ceramic rings or ceramic media alone. If you wanted only one filter, the AC50 would be the best bet.

    http://www.drsfostersmith.com/produc...pid=PPC-B-4134
    This is what I would do, have 2 filters rated 20G each...that way, you can alternate the cleaning/maintenance on them, while always having a filter running.

    The AquaClears are great little filters for beginners
    10 Gallon Beginner Tank... Journal
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