I’m a new member that started all wrong...

AdoraBelle Dearheart

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Very nice, thank you! Right now my ammonia and nitrites are 0, but my nitrates have climbed in the past 2 weeks. I also attribute my algae bloom to the nitrate, so live plants can’t come soon enough. It’s around 30, so I do 40% water changes every 2-3 days, because of my work schedule. Pretty easy in a tank this size. Could I replace the sponge with a nylon (from a knee-high)? Only because of the unsightlyness of the sponge?
I assume you mean the sponge covering the intake? Yes, you can use a nylon cut to size and rubber banded over the intake. Don't double it over too many times though or it'll slow the flow too much and block up quickly. I tried using one of those ankle high nylons to cover the intake once, and it needed cleaning too often and slowed the flow rate down too much. I'd just do a single layer.

Now one of mine is covered with an old fish net. I just cut the netting off an old spare fish net and rubber banded it over, works perfectly :)

Great that ammonia and nitrites are at zero, that's where we want 'em! Nitrates do build up quickly in a small tank I'm afraid, just the nature of dilution. But plants do help a lot. And yes, at least it's easy to do water changes on a small tank! lol
 
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Strmwrng

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I just checked out your filter model, it's one of those with cartridges that they tell you to replace every month, right?
Ignore that! They just want your money, and it's actually more harmful to your tank than helpful, since you end up throwing away the beneficial bacteria that we work so hard to cultivate in our filters, that prevent ammonia spikes and keep the fish safe.

We can teach you how to modify your filter using any old brand filter sponge, which will last for years, only needs replacing once it's falling apart. Will save you a lot of money, not having to buy unnecessary filter cartridges every month, and your tank will be more stable to boot.
Thanks! I’m sure I’ll take you up on that! When I get the live plants in, I’ll take out the charcoal cartridge and not replace it. The filter has a “Bio Tech grid” that is supposed to house the good bacteria. I haven’t yet disturbed that. I’m sure I’ll need some help/info on what to do with the filter cuz the info I read, even on this forum, is kinda overwhelming! When I thought I was just setting up a ‘little tank’,....surprise!!! There’s so much more to it than that!
 
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Strmwrng

Strmwrng

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I assume you mean the sponge covering the intake? Yes, you can use a nylon cut to size and rubber banded over the intake. Don't double it over too many times though or it'll slow the flow too much and block up quickly. I tried using one of those ankle high nylons to cover the intake once, and it needed cleaning too often and slowed the flow rate down too much. I'd just do a single layer.

Now one of mine is covered with an old fish net. I just cut the netting off an old spare fish net and rubber banded it over, works perfectly :)

Great that ammonia and nitrites are at zero, that's where we want 'em! Nitrates do build up quickly in a small tank I'm afraid, just the nature of dilution. But plants do help a lot. And yes, at least it's easy to do water changes on a small tank! lol
A fish net!!! Great idea!!!! (duh, me!) Thanks!
 

AdoraBelle Dearheart

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Thanks! I’m sure I’ll take you up on that! When I get the live plants in, I’ll take out the charcoal cartridge and not replace it. The filter has a “Bio Tech grid” that is supposed to house the good bacteria. I haven’t yet disturbed that. I’m sure I’ll need some help/info on what to do with the filter cuz the info I read, even on this forum, is kinda overwhelming! When I thought I was just setting up a ‘little tank’,....surprise!!! There’s so much more to it than that!
Haha yeah, the learning curve when you first join the hobby is almost vertical! It can get overwhelming at times. Just try not to panic and take it one step at a time. You're doing really well already, your tank is cycled, you have a test kit(?) you're on top of water changes, you're about to add live plants... believe me, you're well ahead of a lot of people when they first set up a tank!

Seems like you did your own research rather than just buying a tank and trusting a fish store employees advice, am I right? ;) Which wouldn't be a crime, it makes sense to ask a fish store how to keep fish, they should know! But a hard lesson a lot of beginners wind up learning the hard way is not to trust fish store advice and do your own research. Uncycled overstocked tanks and lots of fish dying is how a lot of people new to the hobby find themselves here, and that's much harder to help someone fix.

So don't worry. Take it one step at a time. As long as you're on top of water changes, ammonia and nitrites are staying at zero, and fish look good, then that's the main thing, and other details you can learn at your leisure.
 

eatyourpeas

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:hi: Your tank is looking great. It will be fun to add the new plants, but please soak them for a few days (changing the water daily) so that you can be sure they are free of pesticides. I learned this the hard way!

I would suggest leaving the sponge and trying to hide it behind some plants. The sponge can attract algae eating critters like seed shrimp, and they can help with keeping the tank algae-free.
 
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Strmwrng

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Haha yeah, the learning curve when you first join the hobby is almost vertical! It can get overwhelming at times. Just try not to panic and take it one step at a time. You're doing really well already, your tank is cycled, you have a test kit(?) you're on top of water changes, you're about to add live plants... believe me, you're well ahead of a lot of people when they first set up a tank!

Seems like you did your own research rather than just buying a tank and trusting a fish store employees advice, am I right? ;) Which wouldn't be a crime, it makes sense to ask a fish store how to keep fish, they should know! But a hard lesson a lot of beginners wind up learning the hard way is not to trust fish store advice and do your own research. Uncycled overstocked tanks and lots of fish dying is how a lot of people new to the hobby find themselves here, and that's much harder to help someone fix.

So don't worry. Take it one step at a time. As long as you're on top of water changes, ammonia and nitrites are staying at zero, and fish look good, then that's the main thing, and other details you can learn at your
 
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Strmwrng

Strmwrng

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Haha yeah, the learning curve when you first join the hobby is almost vertical! It can get overwhelming at times. Just try not to panic and take it one step at a time. You're doing really well already, your tank is cycled, you have a test kit(?) you're on top of water changes, you're about to add live plants... believe me, you're well ahead of a lot of people when they first set up a tank!

Seems like you did your own research rather than just buying a tank and trusting a fish store employees advice, am I right? ;) Which wouldn't be a crime, it makes sense to ask a fish store how to keep fish, they should know! But a hard lesson a lot of beginners wind up learning the hard way is not to trust fish store advice and do your own research. Uncycled overstocked tanks and lots of fish dying is how a lot of people new to the hobby find themselves here, and that's much harder to help someone fix.

So don't worry. Take it one step at a time. As long as you're on top of water changes, ammonia and nitrites are staying at zero, and fish look good, then that's the main thing, and other details you can learn at your leisure.
Hi! So I have the API test kit and I’ve stalked this forum for a couple of months. So I feel overstocked for my plastic plants, can’t wait for live plants to arrive! Thank you for the uplift
:hi: Your tank is looking great. It will be fun to add the new plants, but please soak them for a few days (changing the water daily) so that you can be sure they are free of pesticides. I learned this the hard way!

I would suggest leaving the sponge and trying to hide it behind some plants. The sponge can attract algae eating critters like seed shrimp, and they can help with keeping the tank algae-free.
A few days?
:hi: Your tank is looking great. It will be fun to add the new plants, but please soak them for a few days (changing the water daily) so that you can be sure they are free of pesticides. I learned this the hard way!

I would suggest leaving the sponge and trying to hide it behind some plants. The sponge can attract algae eating critters like seed shrimp, and they can help with keeping the tank algae-free.
Please, what is ‘a few days’? By the time I recieve them they will have been in transit for a week and I thought my first priority would be to get them in the tank. I MAY BE WRONG! Please add to/guide me? Thank you so much!!!
 

eatyourpeas

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Hi! So I have the API test kit and I’ve stalked this forum for a couple of months. So I feel overstocked for my plastic plants, can’t wait for live plants to arrive! Thank you for the uplift

A few days?

Please, what is ‘a few days’? By the time I recieve them they will have been in transit for a week and I thought my first priority would be to get them in the tank. I MAY BE WRONG! Please add to/guide me? Thank you so much!!!
They will be fine submerged in tap water for 2-3 days. If there are pesticides, they should leach out into the water which is why you want to do daily changes. Unless you are sure they are pesticide-free it will be sad to lose your livestock due to chemical poisoning.

Rinse them well in non-chlorinated water before planting in the tank. Hope it goes well :)
 

madmark285

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Another issue to understand concerning your plants, Immersed vs Submerged plants. Cut&paste time:

What does Emersed and Submsersed Mean?
Emersed is a term that describes plants that are grown partially in and partially out of water. In the case of aquatic plants, the roots and substrate are flooded with water, but there is not standing water above the substrate/roots. The plant stems and leaves grow fully exposed to air.

The opposite scenario for aquarium plants is Submersed or Immersed (the two words are interchangeable in this situation). This is what most of us are going for: aquarium plants that grow completely below the water line and are fully submerged.


Transitioning Aquarium Plants from Emersed to Submersed (Immersed)
 
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Strmwrng

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They will be fine submerged in tap water for 2-3 days. If there are pesticides, they should leach out into the water which is why you want to do daily changes. Unless you are sure they are pesticide-free it will be sad to lose your livestock due to chemical poisoning.

Rinse them well in non-chlorinated water before planting in the tank. Hope it goes well :)
Oh, now I get it and will do that. Thanks for righting my path!
 

ThatFishGirl6231

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Hi all! This is my first forum and not sure how this all works, or to which sections I should be putting my varied questions in.
I’ll start with some info on what I have and would appreciate direction from there.
I initially started a 5 gal tank to serve as ‘cat tv’ to my inside only cat. And she loves it!! I’m gone at work 30 hrs at a time so she’s alone a lot☹
But now that I’ve started this, I’ve become quite attached to it also and am starting to get some of it right, but still have puzzling wrongs.
I have questions about water flow, filter stuff, going from plastic to real plants, and algae to start with...where should I go in the forum to ask these? Also, an aside, I’m not able to have a bigger tank at this time, but definitely a future goal. Thank you already for what I’ve already learned from all of you! I look forward to learning all I can about this!
Real plants are always better. Not that plastic plant or anything, but real plants help oxgenate the water better. Amazon Swords are really easy plants and they grow super fast. If you do get live plants though, you'll need Co2 stuff in you're water.
 

Ch4rlie

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If you do get live plants though, you'll need Co2 stuff in you're water.
Not necessarily true to be honest, if you’re talking of Seachem flourish excel, this contains Co2 but at same time it also contains fairly strong chemicals that may do more harm than good.

Having said that, plants WILL benefit from Co2 but going down the path of Co2 high tech where you need high intense lights, specialised fertilisers and of course Co2 canisters can lead to all sorts of problems, especially for newcomers to the hobby so imho this is best avoided for now.

I would advise for all newcomers to the hobby or to live aquatic plants that it’s best to keep things simple at this stage, liquid fertiliser such as Seachem Flourish (not excel) dosed once a week will add nutrients into the water column in which plants which feeds from leaves and open roots will benefit from this.

And will also advise that root tab fertilisers will be of benefit for those plants that are planted into the sand/gravel substrate, these tend to be root feeders and Seachem Flourish Root Tabs is a good option as these will add nutrients into the substrate and will not leach anything into the water column once pushed under the substrate.

These are what I used for my tanks and had good plant growth with pretty much standard lighting units and with 70% once weekly water changes.
 

AilyNC

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I use half dose of Seachem Flourish Comp twice a week and I've Seachem Flourish Root Tabs. That's it's. No additional CO2. Plants do great but I search for ones with low CO2 requirements & easy care. The Tropica website gives good plant info.

 
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