Stocking 123L Tank

GingerGandalf

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Hi there,

Tank - Fluval Flex 123L

H x 39cm
W x 82cm
D x 40cm

I am new to the fish keeping world, I currently doing a fishless cycle. All is going well so far, ammonia is dropping and I am feeding the hungry little bits of bacteria. My tank isn't planted (yet) as I didn't want to jump in and get it straight away, wanted to take my time and learn slowly. But I will get there in the end. Also my water hardness is moderately hard.

I had my heart set on green tiger barbs but the more people tell me it seems as if I cannot have them. So this is where I am, looking for inspiration from everyone else. Any idea is welcome. I love fish and am extremely excited to get into the hobby. Go easy on me!
 

seangee

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Can you tell us the actual hardness in numbers and units? You should be able to find this on your water suppliers website. Unfortunately "moderately hard" means different things to fish keepers and water companies and is even inconsistent between these :)
 

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It is good that you are researching and not just jumping in and buying fish. Patience is a rare trait in fish keeping. As @seangee said it is important to know your hardness of your water. Contact your water provider and ask for GH and PH measurements.
 
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GingerGandalf

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Can you tell us the actual hardness in numbers and units? You should be able to find this on your water suppliers website. Unfortunately "moderately hard" means different things to fish keepers and water companies and is even inconsistent between these :)

My apologies! I was in a rush at the beginning of my break to get as much information down as possible.

64 Ca mg/l
160 CaCO3mg/l
11.2 Clarke
16 French
8.96 German
 
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GingerGandalf

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I also have this information
Screenshot_20200615_172929.jpg
 

Byron

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Welcome to TFF.

GH of 9 dGH is on the border of soft/hard but more "soft" than "hard" when it comes to selecting fish. Avoid all livebearers and other species which need a bit more mineral (higher GH than 9 dGH). But this leaves you a vast array of options in the "soft water" species.

You mentioned green Tiger Barbs in post #1, that is a possible choice here, but it would have to be a group of just this species, say 12-15, and no other upper level fish. You could have a group of substrate fish like cories with them, but the barbs would be the only upper water fish. You just happen to have the minimum sized tank for this species.

You also mentioned plants...I would suggest you plant the tank now, and do not continue adding any ammonia to cycle it. Once the tank has plants (including some faster growing species, and floating are ideal for this) that are showing signs of growth, you are out of the "cycling" issue which makes things much simpler. You could add fish then. I can explain this more if asked.
 
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GingerGandalf

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Welcome to TFF.

GH of 9 dGH is on the border of soft/hard but more "soft" than "hard" when it comes to selecting fish. Avoid all livebearers and other species which need a bit more mineral (higher GH than 9 dGH). But this leaves you a vast array of options in the "soft water" species.

You mentioned green Tiger Barbs in post #1, that is a possible choice here, but it would have to be a group of just this species, say 12-15, and no other upper level fish. You could have a group of substrate fish like cories with them, but the barbs would be the only upper water fish. You just happen to have the minimum sized tank for this species.

You also mentioned plants...I would suggest you plant the tank now, and do not continue adding any ammonia to cycle it. Once the tank has plants (including some faster growing species, and floating are ideal for this) that are showing signs of growth, you are out of the "cycling" issue which makes things much simpler. You could add fish then. I can explain this more if asked.

I was told to add ammonia when it drops to 0, should I not be doing this then? I'm producing nitrites at 5.0ppm, ammonia was between 0.25ppm and 0.5ppm this morning. I'm using the api master test kit.
 

seangee

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I agree on the plants. Your source nitrate is relatively high. We usually suggest not letting it get to 20ppm and yours comes out of the tap that way. One way to stop this getting out of hand is to have plenty of fast growing plants. The other is regular substantial water changes and ensuring your substrate and filters are kept clean. Plants use ammonia without turning it into nitrate - so the more plants you have the better.

No need to panic - I lived in Maidenbower long before I knew any of this stuff and my fish were fine ;)
 

Retired Viking

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With plants especially fast growing floating plants they will absorb your tanks ammonia. This is called a planted or silent cycle. I did it with all 3 of my tropical fish tanks. Anacharis, water sprite, hornwort and moneywort are good fast growing plants that you can plant or let float. Another good floating plant is frog bite. The plants will take care of the ammonia instead of relying on bacteria.
 
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GingerGandalf

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I agree on the plants. Your source nitrate is relatively high. We usually suggest not letting it get to 20ppm and yours comes out of the tap that way. One way to stop this getting out of hand is to have plenty of fast growing plants. The other is regular substantial water changes and ensuring your substrate and filters are kept clean. Plants use ammonia without turning it into nitrate - so the more plants you have the better.

No need to panic - I lived in Maidenbower long before I knew any of this stuff and my fish were fine ;)

Haha! Well at least I know someone can keep fish alive in Crawley
 

Essjay

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I was told to add ammonia when it drops to 0, should I not be doing this then?
A plant/silent cycle is the way to go, but I need to clear up one thing for anyone reading this and cycling a tank without plants.

Adding ammonia every time it drops to zero is the old way of doing it, and it made so much nitrite that the cycle stalled. Since out nitrite testers only go up to 5 ppm, yours could be 5 or anything over 5. The method in the sticky section of the Cycling forum is the best way to do a fishless cycle.
 
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GingerGandalf

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A plant/silent cycle is the way to go, but I need to clear up one thing for anyone reading this and cycling a tank without plants.

Adding ammonia every time it drops to zero is the old way of doing it, and it made so much nitrite that the cycle stalled. Since out nitrite testers only go up to 5 ppm, yours could be 5 or anything over 5. The method in the sticky section of the Cycling forum is the best way to do a fishless cycle.

So what would you recommend I do now to rectify my situation? Any advice is greatly appreciated
 

Essjay

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You can do one of two things.

1. Continue doing a fishless cycle following this method https://www.fishforums.net/threads/cycling-your-new-fresh-water-tank-read-this-first.421488/
You will notice in that thread that only 3 ppm ammonia is used as this will grow more bacteria than are needed by a sensibly stocked tank; and that ammonia is only added when certain targets have been reached. If too much ammonia is added it is turned into so much nitrite that the cycle stalls, and this method was written to prevent this.
Once the cycle is finished, do a big water change to remove all the nitrate that has been made, put plants in the tank and go fish shopping.

2. Buy some plants, especially fast growing plants such as floating plants. Put them in the tank and wait until you are sure they are actively growing and not about to die. You will need to add fertiliser straight away. Then once the plants are growing well, add fish. As you want tiger barbs you will need to get them all at the same time. Monitor ammonia and nitrite every day after adding fish to make sure the plants are taking up all the ammonia they make.
If there is currently a lot of ammonia in the tank, I would do a water change before putting plants in as a lot of ammonia in the water can harm plants.


Choose whichever you find easiest and/or whichever you feel more comfortable doing.

I am not very good with plants, having slow growing plants in my tanks, but other members will be able to help you with plants if you decide on a plant cycle.
 
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GingerGandalf

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You can do one of two things.

1. Continue doing a fishless cycle following this method https://www.fishforums.net/threads/cycling-your-new-fresh-water-tank-read-this-first.421488/
You will notice in that thread that only 3 ppm ammonia is used as this will grow more bacteria than are needed by a sensibly stocked tank; and that ammonia is only added when certain targets have been reached. If too much ammonia is added it is turned into so much nitrite that the cycle stalls, and this method was written to prevent this.
Once the cycle is finished, do a big water change to remove all the nitrate that has been made, put plants in the tank and go fish shopping.

2. Buy some plants, especially fast growing plants such as floating plants. Put them in the tank and wait until you are sure they are actively growing and not about to die. You will need to add fertiliser straight away. Then once the plants are growing well, add fish. As you want tiger barbs you will need to get them all at the same time. Monitor ammonia and nitrite every day after adding fish to make sure the plants are taking up all the ammonia they make.
If there is currently a lot of ammonia in the tank, I would do a water change before putting plants in as a lot of ammonia in the water can harm plants.


Choose whichever you find easiest and/or whichever you feel more comfortable doing.

I am not very good with plants, having slow growing plants in my tanks, but other members will be able to help you with plants if you decide on a plant cycle.

There is barely any ammonia in the tank, I was following the instructions had a few days with 0 so topped it back up to between 2 and 3 I'm more concerned with my nitrites but I know this can take double the amount of time to drop than ammonia. I'm starting a log (which I wish I'd done in the beginning) to try and keep track of it.
 

Byron

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The primary reason I always counsel against any form of "cycling" when live plants are intended is because you are really wasting your time and efforts. Once you have plants and including some fairly fast-growers like stem plants or even better floating plants, they will out-compete the AOB (ammonia oxidizing bacteria) that you are now spending time trying to establish, and they (the AOB) will go dormant because the plants are taking up nearly all of the ammonia produced by fish and decomposition.

As you said you want plants and intend them, get them now and plant them. Once they are growing, fish can be safely added.
 

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