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Cycling, lots of pH crashes, will that happen too when I get fish?

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amaranth13

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I;'m going to plant the plants in pots, except the floating ones of course. That way I can take care of them more easily and move them around if I want. I've read up on it. The problem with not dosing ammonia would mean I can't be sure I'm cycled, on the other hand the plants will help. I would like to see what they do with the nitrite that stays in the water (measured this morning, still 0.25 ppm in both tanks). I'm thinking of having the plants in the tank for a while with the 0..25 ppm of nitrites, then continue cycling while I have them in a bucket for a few days.

Is that a bad plan? Also should I create a new thread for the nitrite problem?

THanks so very very much for your help!
 

Byron

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I;'m going to plant the plants in pots, except the floating ones of course. That way I can take care of them more easily and move them around if I want. I've read up on it. The problem with not dosing ammonia would mean I can't be sure I'm cycled, on the other hand the plants will help. I would like to see what they do with the nitrite that stays in the water (measured this morning, still 0.25 ppm in both tanks). I'm thinking of having the plants in the tank for a while with the 0..25 ppm of nitrites, then continue cycling while I have them in a bucket for a few days.

Is that a bad plan? Also should I create a new thread for the nitrite problem?

THanks so very very much for your help!
Once the plants are growing, and here some fast growers like floating plants will ensure this, you will not have "cycling" issues. I do agree to see what the nitrite does...I've never had nitrites in all my new tank/re-set tanks due to the plants. There is always the possibility of a faulty test. And another member has mentioned a nitrite/nitrate connection, Colin I think, he may have something to suggest.

You can leave the plants in the plastic pots they come in (floating won't obviously) and just stick the pot into the substrate. That is good with all new potted plants as you can make sure you have them where you want them, then un-pot and plant the roots in the substrate.

I would definitely not go putting them in a bucket and messing about with "cycling." This is not going to help anything. The more you interfere with the system the more likely of problems. Once you have live plants, do a major water change to remove most of any ammonia, use a conditioner to dechlorinate, then go forward. Test ammonia and nitrite...hopefully these will remain zero.
 
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amaranth13

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All right I will get them from my LFS tonight and put them in the tanks in the pots for now and report on what the nitrite (and the nitrates, which are very high) did tomorrow evening. Based on that we can look further. After that I'll do a huge water change. Makes sense?
 

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Be aware that plants that you buy will take a few weeks to settle into their new environment before they start actively growing. So it may be a few weeks before you see any measureable effect.
 

Byron

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All right I will get them from my LFS tonight and put them in the tanks in the pots for now and report on what the nitrite (and the nitrates, which are very high) did tomorrow evening. Based on that we can look further. After that I'll do a huge water change. Makes sense?
Yes. And I concur with seangee's comment. Which reminds me, you may need a plant additive. This is soft water, which is fine for soft water fish, but it does mean that there are fewer minerals in it for plants. Trace elements may be missing too, at least until you start feeding fish down the road. There are two additives I recommend, Seachem's Flourish Comprehensive Supplement for the Planted Aquarium, and Brightwell Aquatics' FlorinMulti. They are basically the same thing, a complete nutrient supplement with the nutrients in specific proportion to each other which is important. You will use very little, so a small bottle will last you months. I have been using the Seachem product for over ten years. Their Flourish Tabs are beneficial for larger substrate-rooted plants, but floating plants obviously need nutrients in the water column. Whichever, make sure it is exactly the one I mention, as there are several products in these lines and only these two are needed or sufficient.
 
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amaranth13

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All right, I will get the Flourish and remember that it might take a while to have the plants settle in. Once I've been to the LFS I'll tell you what I ended up with, I have a list of beginner plants.
 

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All right, I will get the Flourish and remember that it might take a while to have the plants settle in. Once I've been to the LFS I'll tell you what I ended up with, I have a list of beginner plants.
the floaters are you most important and will without question eliminate any cycling issues. Water Sprite is probably the best, but Frogbit and Water Lettuce are similar. Some stem plants will do well left to float.
 
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amaranth13

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It was too late yesterday to post about the plants I got, so I'm doing it now. I got a lot of duckweed, that should help. I tried to get hornwort but they didn't have it. I got a floating plant with tiny leaves that look like scales that form four bigger leaves. the big leaves break off easily. I looked through a lot of pictures but I can't find it, though it might be some sort of Salvinia, I will take a picture during my break (I'm working from home).

I also got Java fern, Anubias, Water Wisteria, Anacharis and some micro swords. Finally I got Java Moss because it was on the list of easy plants but I'm not sure what to do with it, let it float? tie it to something? Let it stay in it's little ball?

I got potting soil, Seachem Flourish, root tabs, and some gravel to put on top of the potting soil (all bought at the fish store, the potting soil is not for normal plants). Tonight I get my pots in and will plant the non-floating ones. I know the Anubias need the rhyzome (or something) to not be all in the dirt, can I plant it half sticking out of the soil?

The nitrites are still 0.25 but I only got the plants yesterday evening, should I keep it at that level and keep an eye on it?

Thank you so much for all your help and advise!
 

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Plants are fine. Give them time to settle and see which ones work and which may not. Not all plants will thrive (or sometimes even survive) in every tank with other plants, or depending upon lighting/nutrients, etc. Those that thrive, keep, those that die, get rid of.

Java Moss should be attached to wood or rock, or other decor. Usually you can do this by gently wrapping several bunched strands around the object, in a crevice in the wood. If that doesn't work, black cotton thread or fishing line can be used, minimally. Once established it will grow long strands that eventually can be trimmed according to the effect you want.

Anubias and Java Fern must have the rhizome (the thick "stem" from which the leaves and roots grow out) above the substrate. They are usually tied to wood or rock. The true roots can grow into the substrate, but keep the rhizome above it.

The soil I would be very careful of. In pots this is not so bad, but do not use this in the substrate. Soil can cause ammonia issues depending upon the organics level. And the plants really do not need it. To be honest, I would not use it, as once you have plants rooted in this in pots, moving them to the substrate will not be as easy. And plant roots growing throughout the substrate is very beneficial.

What fish are intended for this tank?
 
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amaranth13

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Thanks for your explanation about the Java Moss and the Anubias and Java Fern. I understand that pots is not so often done. The thing is the fish I had really, really set my heart on in the tank was 5 corydoras habrosus and 6 ember tetra. I was worried the cories would burrow up the plants, and I also don't have a super thick layer of sand,, I have 0.5 to 1 inch, so it is easier for me to take care of. Not deep enough to plant plants in. And the little pots would help me take better care of the plants when I have to pull out dead leaves and such, and I could rearrange things now and then. I chose acrylic so you could see the natural material through them.

Problem is that one of the experienced people on here said that as a beginner I should really not mix fish but go with a one-species tank. But I have the problem that I won't be able to have another tank, all the space is used up with this one, even if it's just a 10 gallon. And I'm really interested in both these fish and they need much the same water parameters. Ideal for the soft water. It sounds like a lot of fish but they're tiny, total inches when adult would be 8.25 out of 10 (if that rule is any use) and aqadvisor says I'd be at 76 percent. Cories need to have nitrates under 20 ppm so live plants should really help with that, I understand otherwise their barbells get infected. And I started with a sand substrate specifically because I wanted the cories.

So should I be using sand in the pots instead of the Seachem Onyx Sand I got? (they didn't have any substrate for plants that wasn't black). I read online that I should put a layer of gravel on top to keep it from clouding the water.

Oh, also I made a picture of the strange floating plant but I'll have to send it from my tablet.
 
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amaranth13

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THe two big leaves stayed together, it had four leaves originally, the third leaf broke loose in the bag.
 

Byron

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Problem is that one of the experienced people on here said that as a beginner I should really not mix fish but go with a one-species tank. But I have the problem that I won't be able to have another tank, all the space is used up with this one, even if it's just a 10 gallon. And I'm really interested in both these fish and they need much the same water parameters. Ideal for the soft water. It sounds like a lot of fish but they're tiny, total inches when adult would be 8.25 out of 10 (if that rule is any use) and aqadvisor says I'd be at 76 percent. Cories need to have nitrates under 20 ppm so live plants should really help with that, I understand otherwise their barbells get infected. And I started with a sand substrate specifically because I wanted the cories.
I think I can understand the thinking behind a species tank given the size, but I do not agree it is your only option. In my fish room of 8 or so tanks I have a 10g, and for several years it housed a group of 9-10 pygmy cories, 11-12 Boraras brigittae (chili rasboras), and plants and snails. It had no filter. Sand substrate. Ember Tetra are the same impact biologically as the dwarf rasbora, so I see no issue at all.

Forget any calculation of fish size/number/volume. While it may prevent beginners from overstocking, the calculation quickly breaks apart because it does not consider what really matters. And that is
1. the fish species being in sufficient numbers to avoid stress which causes additional impact on the biology;
2. the appropriate aquascape for the species so they have what they "expect" because this is programmed into their DNA and without it they will be stressed,
3. the appropriate water parameters (GH, pH, temperature) because this will allow them to function as they are designed and that means less stress and less biological impact,
4. free of stress from other sources than those listed above, such as inappropriate tankmates that could harass them and keep them stressed.

EDIT. Wanted to suggest you get more of both species, at least 8-9 habrosus cory, and same for the Embers. More is always better for the fish, and it lessens stress which means less biological impact.

Thanks for your explanation about the Java Moss and the Anubias and Java Fern. I understand that pots is not so often done. The thing is the fish I had really, really set my heart on in the tank was 5 corydoras habrosus and 6 ember tetra. I was worried the cories would burrow up the plants, and I also don't have a super thick layer of sand,, I have 0.5 to 1 inch, so it is easier for me to take care of. Not deep enough to plant plants in. And the little pots would help me take better care of the plants when I have to pull out dead leaves and such, and I could rearrange things now and then. I chose acrylic so you could see the natural material through them.
Pygmy or habrosus cories will not uproot plants once they are established. The 10g I mentioned above has pygmy chain swords spreading all over the place, with just 1 inch of play sand. Plants in the sand are important for the health of the substrate, and the substrate is the single most important aspect of an aquarium because that is where the majority of biological activty occurs--not in the filter which as in my case didn't even exist.

So should I be using sand in the pots instead of the Seachem Onyx Sand I got? (they didn't have any substrate for plants that wasn't black). I read online that I should put a layer of gravel on top to keep it from clouding the water.
I really wouldn't go the pot/soil route. A tank this small really will benefit from nature, plants in the sand, or just floating plants.
 
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amaranth13

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How do you clean the sand in a sand tank with plants? I had watched a video to learn how to deal with sand and they swished the sand with their hand until it was all up in the water, then you wait until it has come down and the dirt is in the water column right above it and can be easily vacuumed up with a gravel vacuuum. How do you do it?
 

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How do you clean the sand in a sand tank with plants? I had watched a video to learn how to deal with sand and they swished the sand with their hand until it was all up in the water, then you wait until it has come down and the dirt is in the water column right above it and can be easily vacuumed up with a gravel vacuuum. How do you do it?
I tend to leave the sand substrate alone, generally. If I do want to pick up uneaten food (I sometimes see this in my tank with the pygmy cories because they can not finish one of the disks, or half disks, and sometimes food is left overnight and I prefer getting that out) I use the Python connected to the faucet because this is a much weaker suction (than the manual water changer) and rarely sucks up the play sand but it will get the other stuff if I sort of wiggle it just over the sand. If I do this, it is only over open areas out front, never around plants or under wood/rock or at the back.

You don't want to do too deep a clean because the substrate is your primary bacteria bed and the breakdown of organics provides nutrients, especially CO2, for plants. Having the small snails helps too; they eat all organic matter (including the fish excrement) which breaks it down faster for the bacteria to deal with. Malaysian Livebearing Snails will burrow everywhere throughout the substrate which in itself keeps it fresh.
 
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