Initial questions for a sorta new 60G.

FishyD

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I will start a journal after I formulate a half a plan. I have a 60G that is not exactly a new tank. It was setup maybe 7 years ago but has had no fish or much care for 2-3 years. No lighting other than some natural. No filtration. Just some plants barely getting by and some snails. I have topped it off every few months and pythoned it a bit to keep plant debris from making it too ugly. Anyway I am not inclined to break it down and start over for several reasons. I am cleaning up the accessories right now and just intend to do some 75% WCs, check my water chemistry and see where I am on a cycle or not. Part of the reason I don't want to break it down is because it is gravel over some planting medium. I don't recall the brand, but it's not potting soil. It will be a nasty dirt storm mess if I try to remove the gravel, and then the plant medium. I suspect I would end up wasting a bunch of money of stuff I already purchased. Does this sound like a reasonable plan? If so I will be on to some water testing soon. I suspect I have a cycled tank and insufficient bio-load until I get some filters going and some normalcy restored. I will have some proposed stocking questions soon. I will get my PIC posting skills back on point so I can share as this proceeds.
 
I have nitrites about 24hrs after tank was brought up to operating temp. The initial 3ppm ammonia dose seems to be less than .50 now so something is happening. Glad I didn't break the tank completely down and start over because in the past a cycle took about a month from sanitized. With any luck I can put a few plants in so I have something more entertaining to look at than swirling water.
 
Hello. You have a great idea going! The soil should have been organic. The fact you have snails living in the tank should be a sign the water doesn't have any toxic chemicals in it. I've used soil in tanks before, but it's very messy. You don't need to cycle the tank. You can fill it with treated tap water and add a bacteria starter. I don't cycle tanks, I simply use treated tap water and a bacteria starter. I add my fish and just remove and replace half the tank water every few days. By adopting an aggressive water change routine, you replenish minerals that the fish and plants use and you remove dissolved toxins well before there's a buildup. A steady, near nitrogen free water chemistry equals healthy fish.

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Hello. You have a great idea going! The soil should have been organic. The fact you have snails living in the tank should be a sign the water doesn't have any toxic chemicals in it. I've used soil in tanks before, but it's very messy. You don't need to cycle the tank. You can fill it with treated tap water and add a bacteria starter. I don't cycle tanks, I simply use treated tap water and a bacteria starter. I add my fish and just remove and replace half the tank water every few days. By adopting an aggressive water change routine, you replenish minerals that the fish and plants use and you remove dissolved toxins well before there's a buildup. A steady water chemistry equals healthy fish.

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No chance I'm playing with a dirt tank in the living room. It has decent storebought substrate capped with gravel. It was over-run with plants and I was selling them when the tank was being paid attention to so that part should be good. Edited for typos.
 
Hello again. You can use whatever bottom material you like, except maybe sand. But, that's just my opinion. Having plants is a good thing, but takes extra work to maintain them. It all depends on how much time you want to devote to the tank. I like to have several tanks, so I keep few plants and decorate with driftwood and rocks. I don't filter my tanks. Filters take time to clean and if you change out enough tank water and often enough, you don't need filters or even aeration. That's what I've found anyway. Here's your chance to be creative and just brainstorm something new. Have fun!

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Hello again. You can use whatever bottom material you like, except maybe sand. But, that's just my opinion. Having plants is a good thing, but takes extra work to maintain them. It all depends on how much time you want to devote to the tank. I like to have several tanks, so I keep few plants and decorate with driftwood and rocks. I don't filter my tanks. Filters take time to clean and if you change out enough tank water and often enough, you don't need filters or even aeration. That's what I've found anyway. Here's your chance to be creative and just brainstorm something new. Have fun!

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I love nuturing plants but went over the top with total tanks and effort involved. When I have time I will do a smaller dirt tank away from eyes. I don't want to deal with dirt storms every time I am removing extra plants. Certain plants I love like Val go crazy and thinning is unavoidable for the appearance I prefer. The planting substrate under my gravel kicks up a little dust too, but not like dirt IME. Don't take any of this as a hit on dirt. Soil is cheap and it works Just not my preference for most of my tanks.
 
I am going to try 20G with peat under sand. We'll see how it goes. My water it extremely hard so we will see if it buffers my water at all. If it works out I will try a few fish in it that might appreciate the habitat.
 
I am so glad I didn't sterilize the neglected 60 G and start over. A lot of equipment cleanup involved but it was pretty much cycled with a 3PPM dose in 72HRs. I will continue to dose it and probably won't have an opportunity to local source fish I truly want for perhaps three weeks. I will add some plants by tomorrow if I can find some. I have to keep the cycle maintained as I don't know if I will be adding 3 or 23 fish when I drop fish on it. Also, I identified the long suffering plant. 98% sure it's Crypto Parva. It's coming back to life now with some light. I should be able to find some plants this weekend to entertain myself. I am cycling a 20G now, and have myself on MTS watch.
 

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