Sorry, I miss spoke, it is okay to use the ammonia binding products, it turns the ammonia into ammonium that can still be used by the bacteria to cycle...after I typed that I realized my mistake...so your okay in doing the fishless cycle with amquel
Stocking in a 10g-I would go with a proper school of dwarf cory cats-the regular cory cats can get too big for a 10g and both do best in schools of 6 or more-not that they will drop dead if you have less, but they thrive best when with their own kind and you see more of their natural behaviors and they are less stressed.....stressed fish can be sick fish and sick fish can make everyone in the tank sick
A school of Neon tetra 6 or more-may or may not work in a 10g-more because the space and the Betta can get to them easier, but some bettas may not bother them and other chase until they are dead and one minute they are fine and the next they may not....never know about the Betta....lol......
In a closed system it is different than in open waters when it comes to what a species its up against, same with the bigger the tank-the smaller fish can get away from the more aggressive Betta
Thanks for your feedback. Ok, dwarf cories it is. I know that Cories can get 3" and figured that 2 would be ok. I didn't specifically see "dwarf" at the stores, but I'll check again. Or maybe no other tank mates at all. However, with all the silk plants I have, plus a couple "fake" stumps with holes in them for hiding or resting, I figured it was heavily "planted", therefore the Tetras could hang out in them. But for now, I just need to concentrate on getting my tank cycled properly.
One other question in regards to "steeping" peat moss or oak leaves, how dark of water do you like? Do you test it for softness or anything? How much do you use in water changes? All of it or a percentage? How do you heat the new water?
Also, should I add the Blackwater now, or wait until it is cycled?
I don't think it really matters one way or the other with the blackwater extract to add pre or post cycling
However, I don't cycle fishless, I only cycle with fish and this can be safely done with proper water changes during the cycling process.
I make 50% weekly water changes on tanks 10g and larger with moderate stocking along with substrate vacuuming in all areas that can be reached without moving anything or disruption of plant roots...this is what I did when I had regular type tanks with gravel or sand substrate and a few live plants.
(Now that I keep the NPT (natural planted tank) with soil substrate, sand cap 90-95% plants-I do water changes different.)
The nitrifying bacteria needed to cycle are sticky and adhere to everything in the tank-like the walls, decorations, plants both real and fake, in the top layer of the substrate and in the filter media-very little is in the water column itself-so water only changes will not disrupt the cycle-however-over cleaning, over vacuuming and change of filter media can cause mini-cycles and/or slow the cycling tank process down.
Filter needs to be running 24/7-if off for more than 6 hours the good bacteria can die.
Filter media needs a rinse/swish in old tank water with a water change or in dechlorinated water 1-2 times a month and when the water flow slows to get the big pieces of gunk off and to keep a good water flow to provide the good bacteria the needed oxygenation to thrive and colonize.
I use small amount of Canadian peat moss mixed with my soil in some of my tanks and I use dried oak leaf to tan the water amber in color-depending on what I am using it for-I tan from a weak tea color to so dark you can barely see in the tank....amount vary and it is to taste as well-I like the tanned water but some don't and want the clear look and both are fine IMO...just a personal choice....lol.....
I do test on occasion the pH, GH, KH-but I mostly go by color and how the fish act and when making water changes I do 50% and replace with the steeped water-sometimes diluted and sometimes not...again, depending on what I am doing...lol....sorry, I know that is not much help.....
To heat in the summer-the buckets are outside and usually will keep a 80-100'sF water temp depending if it is in the sun and for how long
In the winter-I bring the buckets in and sit them on the heater vent or in front of the fireplace to get them to temp
You can also use the microwave or heat up by placing small amount in hot water or the stove and a pot......I don't like to get my oak leaf or peat too hot because it can kill the good bacteria
Not sure the effects the cold have on the good bacteria-but I have never had any problems with the steeped water after it has frozen and then used-I would think that any extreme temp would kill it
The good bacteria I am referring to in this is the beneficial bacteria for antibacterial/fungal effects that naturally come from the leaf properties-like in the Indian almond leaf (IAL) most common used with this species found in their native habitat. And IAL is used (I think) as the base in the blackwater extracts sold...but not 100% sure on that-never bought any......but lots of folks on this forum use it with good results
Wow, good info! Thanks alot! Of course with more info, comes more questions, but I think I'll save them for later. Oh, I can't stand it, I still have to ask one more, then I'll leave it be for now... :) Once the filter becomes clogged up, and you get the big chunks of gunk off, at what point do you change the filter media? I'm assuming there's a way to introduce a new filter or never? Putting in new filter could start a new cycling process, yes? (I wouldn't care if I never had to buy another $5 filter)
Ok, I'll leave the rest of my questions for later and won't bug you anymore... for today at least! LOL!
Ask all the questions you need...that is what a forum is for....lol....
This depends on if you plan/want to use charcoal/carbon or not....personally I don't use it, mainly because IMO/E you really don't need it when a water change will do the same thing for most issues that carbon will take care of....like-medications, odors, color, tannins and DOC's (dissolved organics)-the one thing that carbon can do that water change can't is remove some heavy metals, but if they are not a problem.....(you know you have a heavy metal source water problem when you have a fish that seems to be itchy and nothing else seem to be wrong with them-asymptomatic to parasites/pathgens)
Activated carbon/charcoal that is in most filter media is of low quality and most need to be changed every 2-4 weeks, once used up..its gone and not doing anything good or bad-some speculate that once used up and left long term that it can cause problems by putting all the bad stuff back in the tank that it removed...I don't agree and have yet to find any scientific research supporting that.
When I used store bought filter media-I would cut a slit in it and dump the carbon out and save it for later..those "just in case I need it" example-I had pesticide get in one of my tanks and the charcoal saved the fish...lost some shrimp but didn't have a total crash
I changed out these filter media with removed carbon maybe 1-2 times a year at most and only when they were falling apart-just a rinse in old tank water and I was good to go
Now I use pollyfill that I get in the craft dept at wallyworld and a bag will last..so far going on 5+ years and still have over half the bag left and I use this on 10 different filter sections...rubber bands come in handy...lol.....
Since you are wanting tanned water-carbon will remove this too by the way
To change the filter media without mini-cycle-cut the sponge part off the old filter media and rubber band or attach the old to the new filter media for a week or two so that the new media can get seeded-but still monitor the water and watch the fish for signs of distress, ammonia spikes.
Personally, I like to keep my money in my pocket and I try to find different ways to do some things and this is not always the best method for others and when you only have 1-2 tanks to deal with it can be easier to buy ready made products...I have a lot of aquariums so I looks for other methods...laffs......
Yep, I definitely am into providing the most natural environment I can for the fish living in the closed system of an aquarium. I want it to be efficient. Your knowledge and experience is priceless. Thanks for all the info. Eventually, I would like to have some breeding and show Bettas. One little step at a time for now... :)
By the way, is the picture of the Betta for your avatar one of your fish? That is an awesome guy!
Ooooo, real soil and sand and plants.... Yes, I'm going to aim in that direction for sure! Ok, another question... what kind and where do you get the soil? Surely not from your backyard, eh? (Don't worry, I'm not going there.... yet... just for future reference.)
Sometimes I think too much... This is in regards to cycling with the raw shrimp.... we all know that anything dead will decompose faster in heat... so I wonder if I crank up my heater to 84-86 degrees if I can get the shrimp to decompose faster, thereby getting the cycle boosted and cycle a bit faster? Or will the heat kill off the beneficial bacteria that I'm attempting to get to take over the tank in the next couple weeks?
Of course once it takes over, I'll turn it down to 80 again so I don't cook my next fish!