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Newly cycled 45 gallon aquarium - live plants?

Discussion in 'New to the Hobby Questions and Answers' started by steelo, Feb 8, 2019.

  1. steelo

    steelo Fish Fanatic

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    Hi everyone, I have a 45 gallon aquarium that is finally finished with its fishless cycle. I plan on introducing maybe 4-6 fish this evening and see how they do. My question is, would it be a bad idea to add some live plants? I've read that plants do help keep the nitrates in check and the water 'healthier' I do know I'll still have to do weekly water changes but they should in theory slow down how quickly the nitrates multiply. Right now, I'm just using gravel for substrate and would probably have to get some plant food/fertilizer.

    Would this possibly disturb the bacteria that I waited for so long to establish? My fear is that although the fishless cycling is complete, the bacteria colonies may be 'weak' and easily thrown out of balance.
     
    #1 steelo, Feb 8, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2019
  2. essjay

    essjay Moderator
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    Live plants are always a good idea. Yes, they do slow down nitrate increase by using the ammonia from the fish faster than the bacteria can take it up, and plants do not turn ammonia into nitrite to be further converted into nitrate. But water changes still need to be done to remove all the things in the water excreted and secreted by the fish that we can't measure.

    A lot of fish do not like bright lights and live floating plants not only use ammonia very fast, they screen the fish from bright light. I have water sprite floating on my tank. I also have low light plants under the water sprite which are all grown attached to decor, which in my case is wood. Plants like Java fern, bolbitis, anubias and bucephalandra. This does have one advantage over plants rooted in the substrate - it is very easy to re-organise the layout of the tank :)
    Floating plants and those attached to decor have to get their food from the water. I use Seachem Flourish, comprehensive supplement for the planted tank - there are several Flourishes but this is the one to use.

    Low-tech plants like mine do not need added CO2, there is enough provided by the fish and the breakdown of organics in the substrate.



    Don't forget that you have just grown enough bacteria to deal with the ammonia, and nitrite from it, made by a fully stocked tank of fish. If you wait several weeks to fully stock, those bacteria will become dormant. The idea behind fishless cycling is that you can get all your fish at once, though if you want certain delicate fish they are better being left for a few months for the tank to mature - that is, to grow a whole host of other micro-organisms in addition to the filter bacteria.
    Plants will help in this too. If by any chance you hadn't grown quite enough bacteria, plants would take up the ammonia that would otherwise build up in the water.
     
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  3. steelo

    steelo Fish Fanatic

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    Thanks again!

    I plan on getting a pair of scissortail raspboras (I know now that they can grow quite large), 6 neon/maybe black neon tetras and 4 sunburst platys tonight to start. After I monitor for a few days, I'll pick up some more fish. I hope they will do well and produce enough ammonia to keep the cycle going =)
     
    #3 steelo, Feb 8, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2019
  4. Byron

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    As I just posted in the other thread, this tank is not sufficient space for a group of scissortail rasbora (this is a shoaling fish and needs six or more). And your water we determined is soft and livebearers (platy) need harder water to be healthy and live.
     
  5. steelo

    steelo Fish Fanatic

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    Okay, so I guess scissortail rasbora's and platys are out of the question. Maybe I'll just pick out a group of 6 or so neons to start since I'm fairly certain they do well in soft water. Thanks!
     
  6. essjay

    essjay Moderator
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    There are so many soft water fish to choose from, don't settle for a fish you won't be happy with long term.

    Go to your local shop(s) and look at the fish they stock. Make a note of the ones that catch your eye, then post them on here. Don't let yourself be talked into buying anything till you've run it past the forum because shop workers will tell you any rubbish to make a sale! You have a couple of weeks to decide; any longer than that and just add a 1ppm dose of ammonia every couple of days.


    Virtually all tetras need soft water; a lot of barbs; harlequin rasboras; many south American cichlids (though your gravel could be a problem), gouramis etc etc.
    Looking at the list in your other thread, these fish you give there would be fine - glowlight tetra, black neon tetra, bloodfin tetra (though these could be nippy if you get any long finned fish).

    Your tank is just about the same size as my main tank. I have just 2 shoals of shoaling fish with a dozen of each one, and a non-shoaling fish - 4 of them. Plus countless shrimps (and a few remains of old shoals) Personally I prefer lots of fish of just a few species rather than the minimum number of lots of species.
     
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  7. steelo

    steelo Fish Fanatic

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    Thanks, I completely agree with you...I'd rather have larger groups of maybe two or three species than a mishmash of 8 different groups of fish that don't look like they belong together.

    For some reason I've always loved neon tetras, even though they are very common fish. Unfortunately, I've had extremely bad luck in the past keeping them healthy as they seem to be a very delicate fish. I've done a little research and tetras seem to be a top choice for those with soft water. In my case, I think a nice schoal of maybe 10 glowlight tetras should 'pop' nicely with the blue gravel my wife chose - Yes, I blame her! LOL

    I'm also considering getting a schoal of 10 neon tetras to mix with the glowlights, 4 or 5 rasbora heteromorphas and an pleco, but that's further down the road. I'm curious though, would the neons schoal with the glowlights?
     
    #7 steelo, Feb 8, 2019
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  8. Byron

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    I'll explain shoaling, but first, the heteromorpha rasbora are shoaling fish so you need at least six, and a couple more would be better. This species tends to swim mid-level in the tank, whereas the neons and glowlights will remain in the lower half. So that is a good mix from the perspective aspect.

    Shoaling fish, sometimes referred to as schooling though technically that is a different thing, live in large groups. There is safety in numbers which applies to all of these. Some species have other traits/behaviours connected to this shoaling nature such as forming hierarchies and this aspect can be stronger with some species than others. But the fish of a shoaling species need several of their own species or they will be stressed, meaning a weakened immune system, poor health, and a premature death.

    Six is usually deemed the minimum, and scientific studies have now proven that with fewer the fish will be more aggressive so clearly this is a significant issue for the fish. In most cases, having more than the minimum will be better for the fish, so as essjay mentioned it is always better to have fewer species with more of them than more species with fewer.

    Some species need more than six; rasbora are like this, as are cories, hatchetfish, some of the pencilfish, and some tetras; the rummynose is one that really must have 9 or more.

    As the above shows, it is numbers of the same species. Beyond that, some will swim together as a fairly close group (rummynose are like this, as are most of the rasbora species) whereas others may spread out more. But in all cases it is having the group in the tank that is critical to the health of the fish. But the fish in each species may or may not swim around as a group.
     
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  9. steelo

    steelo Fish Fanatic

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    Thank you for that helpful information!

    Do you believe I would be okay with 10 neons, 10 glowlight, 8 rasboras and a pleco?
     
    #9 steelo, Feb 8, 2019
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  10. Byron

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    Yes, provided the pleco was one of the small species like the Bristlenose that attains 3-4 inches. There are many that will get to a foot and longer--the common pleco is widely available in stores but few realize how huge this fish becomes.

    Alternative to plecos but still in the loricariid family is the common whiptail, Rineloricaria parva. It attains 5-6 inches but it is so thin this is irrelevant, and it does not produce waste anything like the plecos. You could have one, two or three common whiptails. I'm very fond of this species because it is so "prehistoric" looking, extremely peaceful, and safe with other fish and plants. There is also a "red" variety (second photo below) that is identical in all respects except colouration. These (like all pleco and loricariids) both need a chunk or two of wood.
     

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  11. steelo

    steelo Fish Fanatic

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    Thank you for clarifying the difference between 'schooling' and 'shoaling' that makes a lot more sense now. So, shoaling refers to a the dependency on other like fish in order to feel comfortable. However, it does not necessarily mean that the fish are going to swim together.

    Anyways, that is one cool looking fish! I've had plecos before in a 20 gallon and yes, I know it's quite deceiving when you pick up a baby and don't realize that this cute little fish will be enormous in 6 months!
     
    #11 steelo, Feb 8, 2019
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  12. Byron

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    Correct. I didn't mention it previously, but schooling technically means the fish hunt/feed in a tight group as well as remaining together all the time. Marine schooling fish are better examples of this.
     
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  13. steelo

    steelo Fish Fanatic

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    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1kLrshKg7PMAIgiBAhXZCsqrD8oG0hPZz/view?usp=drivesdk

    I stocked the tank last night, in the picture it has 6 neons and 8 tetra minors. I lost 2 neons within a few hours but I think they were sick. The remaining fish look very happy. The neons are funny because they follow the minors around like they are their big brother. I just picked up 2 more neons to replace the 2 I lost and 6 rasboras from a really nice mom and pop pet store I discovered today. Right now I'm in the process of acclimating them to the tank water. After its all said and done (and if I don't lose any) I'll have 8 neons, 6 rasboras and 8 tetra minors. Future plans include a pleco that will remain small and some live plants.

    The pet shop owner told me I'm not nearly fully stocked yet. He also told me how he sometimes keep 3-400 tetras in a 10 gallon tank. Right now, I have 22 fish that will grow to 1 maybe 2"
     
    #13 steelo, Feb 9, 2019
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  14. Byron

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    I don't understand the last paragraph about the 3-400 tetras in a 10g ???
     
  15. essjay

    essjay Moderator
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    Pet/fish shop owners are just about the worst people for advice, never believe anything they say. If he kept all those fish in such a small tank they would not have been healthy but very stressed tetras
     
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