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New Community Tank


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Hi all :P

I have just set up my new 22L tank with a small community in mind. I have the tank, light, heater, filter, plant and an ornament. Oh and gravel of course.

So I'm letting the tank run overnight before even thinking about fish. I've heard to wait 48 hours, 3 days, a week, 6 weeks. All these conflicting stories, and then I've read that it dosen't matter after 24 hours as it's the fish you put in that will kick off the natural ammonia and nitrates cycle anyway!

So first off the bat, can someone very wise and savy here please confirm that to be the general conseus before I go adding anything :D

Secondly, I am wondering what to put in there. Obviously not alot. I was thinking of a small group of tetras (6) and maybe 2 mollies and something else if it would fit?

What do you think would be good for a small freshwater tropical community tank? :scared:

And I also read that I should put the tetras in first so they can establish their shoal and make the tank the territory before putting in any fish bigger than them, is this correct?

Any advice would be muchly appreciated!

I'm so excited :goodo: the tank is my birthday present!

OH! I went and forgot the most important question. I keep reading conflicting reports about what the Ph of the tank should be for these type of fish, can anyone state a general answer?

Edited by Tropical_Newbie
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I am far from an expert but can answer some of your questions:

The length of time for a tank to cycle depends a lot on the size of the tank. Because yours is quite small I'd suggest at least a week(?) someone may correct me here. There are two ways you can start the cycling, either by adding a small number (1-2) of fish or using a commercial product.

I haven't heard about adding tetras first, I didn't think they were very territorial but I might be wrong. Nice fish to go with the tetras are also swordfish or guppies. You could also look at putting a couple of bottom dwellers in such as bristlenose, corrys or a small loach (clowns get too big)

So my suggestion would be to leave it day to let temperature and gravel settle etc and then add a mollie or guppy or whatever you are thinking then in a weeks time you can slowly start to add more fish. Just be careful not to add too many at once.

There are lots of good articles on the internet about the nitrogen cycle here is a good one

hope this helps!

Edited by chaddy
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Overnight is definitely not long enough, and it won't matter how long you wait, if you go ahead and dump a bunch of fish into a new tank, it is almost certain they will die from ammonia poisoning. What you need to do is go find a couple (1 or 2) hardy fish, such as the larger Tetra species (Red Eyes are good for this), and introduce them to your tank (make sure you acclimate them first). As soon as they hit the water, they begin to produce ammonia. You need to watch (READ: Test) for this daily, also watching for signs of discomfort in your fish (clamped fins, erratic breathing etc...). Do daily water changes (20-25% should do), and also any time you notice ammonia is present. Your fish will need to get thru this dangerous period, it is up to you to make sure they experience as little discomfort as possible. Don't worry if you have fatalities, just keep trying. After a few weeks, you should have "grown" enough bacteria (the type that feed on ammonia) in your system for a couple more fish to be added. Go slow, do not add too many at once. After 8 weeks (ish), you should have a well settled system and be ready to stock with your favourite fish.

Now, there are a few people that think cycling a tank this way is animal cruelty. I must say, I do agree on this point. The choice is up to you. However, there is an option, known as Fishless Cycling, that involves adding pure ammonia to an empty tank for a few weeks to grow the neccessary bacteria. There are many articles on both of the above methods. Google away.

One hint I always live by, regardless of which method you use, is to use water or a handful of gravel from an already established tank. If there is not one at hand (say this tank you mention is the only one you have), go to a trusted petstore and ask them to squeeze the foam in one of their filters into a bag for you. Add this to your tank, it will cycle in no time at all. I say trusted, because you can run the risk of introducing diseases to your tank by doing this, so make sure you are certain the store is "clean", with no tanks full of dead or diseased looking fish...


Edited by Ghengis
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I have a snail (lol random i know) sitting in a small plastic goldfish bowl that I have.

I had a betta for nearly 2 years and the snail was in with him. He died and I got this new tank, would the snail be enough to kick the cycle off?

I'm weary of doing the ammonia cycle myself purely because it's a small tank and I'm a newbie. I have enough time and I am home enough to watch say a guppy by himself and let him start the cycle without (i hope) killing him.

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