First of all, just want to say thank you for yet another extremely informative thread!
I'm currently doing a fish-in cycle on two tanks (and a fishless in a third, but anyway)... I was just wondering if you had any recommendations for stem plants to help with water quality for a 3.9 gallon tank that has low lighting (with the intention of upgrading lighting eventually)?
I currently have water sprite and duckweed floating - just added the duckweed but the water sprite has grown considerably since I first got it - but am interested in stem plants too, as I don't want to block off all light to the rest of the plants with floaters. My substrate is only gravel, so would stem plants even grow in that environment? I do dose Flourish with water changes if that changes how they'll grow.
Most stem plant will do fine in gravel...Lower light stem plants that are big feeders and fast grower -naja grass, most of the hygrophilias like westeria, but if you don't have the right color temp light they may drop leaves and/or not do too well, however, a bit of indirect sunlight can help until you get the proper lights.
I would love to get some advice too. :) I am trying for a fish in cycle. Here is my info.
5 gallon filtered tank w/ heater at about 78 degrees
I have 2 elodia plants, a java fern and one other plant I'm not sure what it is.
I did put some ATM Colony in the tank to help jump start my cycle. Water prams on day one, testing with API master test kit:
What I would like help with is figuring out how often/how much for water changes since I do have live plants in a filtered 5 gallon tank. Also, when i do a water change would it be helpful for me to add more of the Colony to the water? Thank you for your advice!
How many days has the tank been running-what kind of filter, other additives used, how are the plants doing so far, what kind of lights do you have-age of bulbs, kelvin, watts and photoperiod-To understand-the only livestock is a single Betta...correct...
What are the base line results on your source water-Ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH- both with and without additives. What is the source water-well water, city tap water and do you have a water softener unit hooked up to the house and if so, can you bypass it if it is the type that uses salt.
We have had the tank for about 3 weeks but the last fish we had died so we just emptied this one and cleaned it out really well a couple days ago. I use Stresscoat for my water conditioner. So far the plants are very healthy, but they are new. The lighting is a 15w incandescent light bulb in the light hood. The bulb is only 3 weeks old, but hasn't been used much until now.
Water: Source is city tap water. The water baseline info is ph 7.0 ammonia .25, nitrite 0, nitrate 0. It is the same baseline with the stresscoat in it. Afert adding the atm colony to the water the ph was 7.4, ammonia was 0 or close to it, nitrite 0, nitrate 0. We don't have a water softener for our house.
Its not uncommon to see pH changes as the water naturally gasses off-Its a gradual change and usually will not cause any problems for Betta.
Do you know the color temp on the bulb-or kelvin-the color temp is what is important for plant growth.
Since you have ammonia in the source water to start-you might need to look into a dechlorinator that has an ammonia neutralizer in it-like Prime-Once the beneficial bacteria get established it should take care of the ammonia in the source water-as well as the active plant growth, however, a few plants usually will not help that much-but they will help some-especially once they get established and start actively growing.
Right now-I would get some Prime or product like it and make weekly water changes of 50% with vacuum in all places you can reach without moving anything or disruption of plant roots-Its hard to advise on a second water only due to the ammonia in the source water to start-otherwise I would recommend a second one based on water pram results until you see nitrate. I would base the need of a second water only change on the fish behavior.
Personally, I feel the cycle starter products are a waste of time and money, however, I don't think they hurt anything either.