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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all!

I recently graduated from university and moved across the country into a permanent home (my first one in 7 years!) Given that I'm finally over the dorm and student housing life, I decided to start up a bigger tank - Fluval Flex 9 gallon. It's also my first time living alone, so I welcome the opportunity to have some companions around the apartment (err... I guess they won't really be "around", but you know what I mean).

I haven't kept any fish in a couple of years, but I'm super excited to be able to go back to it! Eventually I'd love to keep a betta with some tank mates in this aquarium, and thought a fish journal would be a good way to get back into the community. I also welcome any/all advice, as I'm a bit rusty with all this stuff.

A little about the tank:

Specs: Fluval Flex 9gal, stock filter and lighting
Substrate: Topica Soil
Plants: Pogostemon Erect, Rotala Rotundifo, Nymphoides Hydro, Marsilea Hirsuta
I'm not planning to use any CO2 or ferts if I can get away with it... we'll see how this goes, though!

Here is a picture I took today - I find sometimes the thumbnails have poor resolution:
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I've been trying to do a fishless cycle using fish food, but the water parameters I'm testing are really confusing. I can't for the life of me seem to get ammonia up to the 2-3ppm level that it should be to start cycling the tank, according to my research.

I'm on day 8 since setting up the tank, and here's what I've been testing:
Day 1: 0.5ppm ammonia
Day 2: 0.6ppm ammonia
Day 3: 0.5ppm ammonia
Day 6: 0.25ppm ammonia
Day 7: 0.25ppm ammonia
Day 8: 0.15ppm ammonia

Am I doing something wrong, or do you think the plants are sucking up all the excess nutrients?
 

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Good looking tank!


Can't you get pure ammonia? It's easier to control the parameter with it. It's best keep Ammonia 2ppm or lower in a planted tank. Plants can't handle too much ammonia and it can cause algae bloom.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Good looking tank!


Can't you get pure ammonia? It's easier to control the parameter with it. It's best keep Ammonia 2ppm or lower in a planted tank. Plants can't handle too much ammonia and it can cause algae bloom.
I suppose I could get pure ammonia, I was just hoping to save money rather than buying something I'll never need again. I'm going away on Friday for a week and getting someone to feed the tank every day when I'm gone. Maybe if it's not looking better by the time I get back I'll bite the bullet and get some.
 

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When I was doing fishless cycling with a raw shrimp, one of mods who knows well about fish care told me this;


I don't particularly like using shrimp or decayed food as an ammonia source because you end up getting fungi in the tank which can lead to infections of Saprolengia in your fish. But if it's the only thing you have then you just have to work with it is all. There is no guarantee of infection, just more likely is all if fish is stressed out.


This made me run to buy a bottle of pure ammonia.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
When I was doing fishless cycling with a raw shrimp, one of mods who knows well about fish care told me this;


I don't particularly like using shrimp or decayed food as an ammonia source because you end up getting fungi in the tank which can lead to infections of Saprolengia in your fish. But if it's the only thing you have then you just have to work with it is all. There is no guarantee of infection, just more likely is all if fish is stressed out.


This made me run to buy a bottle of pure ammonia.
Hmm, you're right that doesn't sound good.

I decided to do water test again today, and also test nitrate just for fun. I tested around 0ppm for ammonia and 2ppm for nitrate (remember I've never tested positive for any nitrite). Looks like I do have some BB in the tank after just over a week! I did a 20% WC and tried to suck out the decaying fish food flakes.
 

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I love my flex 15. It's a good tank, but it does have a few flaws. In the back on the pump area there has been reports about a pale sludge that covers the area, I've had it. It's doesn't seem to hurt much but clean it up as soon as you see it so it really doesn't do anything. Also the Marsilea Hirsuta, can grow in non-Co2 tanks but it takes forever to grow give it time.

I wish you luck with the tank!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I love my flex 15. It's a good tank, but it does have a few flaws. In the back on the pump area there has been reports about a pale sludge that covers the area, I've had it. It's doesn't seem to hurt much but clean it up as soon as you see it so it really doesn't do anything. Also the Marsilea Hirsuta, can grow in non-Co2 tanks but it takes forever to grow give it time.

I wish you luck with the tank!
Thanks, that's definitely good to know! I just got back from my vacation and I think I'm going to purchase some ammonia today to ensure that the tank be cycled properly.

Got a lot of pretty good growth while I was away!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
So... after doing a bunch of research on planted tanks I realized that I should have run this lights-off while fishless cycling it with ammonia. Lesson learned, although now it's too late to do that without making a huge algae problem I suppose.

Went to the LFS today to look for some ember tetras. They didn't have any, although they did have ruby tetras which the guy said were very similar. Picked up 5 of them to do fish-in cycling (will be very diligent with testing and water changes). Unfortunately when I got home I realized that these guys are a little rarer and more demanding than embers :/ Usually this fish store is very good with their information, so I'm surprised he didn't communicate this to me. When I asked about what they'll need he made them sound very easily.

Hopefully I can give these guys what they need and they won't have to experience too many fluctuating water params. Everything I've read says to give them a stable mature aquarium... oops. Maybe someone else can learn from my mistake when they read this post!

The poor guys are pretty pale and shy, but they only got acclimated and settled in a couple hours ago. I noticed 2 of them poking around a bit more in the last couple minutes.


 

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Never trust pet stores to have any proepr info on fish care, its best to thoroughly research yourself via web before buying. My favorite site for fish info is seriouslyfish
Axelrodia riesei ? Ruby Tetra ? Seriously Fish
If you don't have Seachem Prime get it. its is a dechlroinator but also can bind ammonia and nitrite so it doesn't harm the fish but beneficial bacteria and plants can still consume the ammonia.
Many members on this forum suggest 2 drops per a gall every day (+ your water changes) to bind ammonia to avoid harming the fish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Never trust pet stores to have any proepr info on fish care, its best to thoroughly research yourself via web before buying. My favorite site for fish info is seriouslyfish
Axelrodia riesei ? Ruby Tetra ? Seriously Fish
If you don't have Seachem Prime get it. its is a dechlroinator but also can bind ammonia and nitrite so it doesn't harm the fish but beneficial bacteria and plants can still consume the ammonia.
Many members on this forum suggest 2 drops per a gall every day (+ your water changes) to bind ammonia to avoid harming the fish.
Yes, and I'm so mad at myself because normally I would never trust a pet store's advice. But this place is actually famous in my city for knowing what they're talking about :/ I might ask if I can return them for some harlequin rasbora's or something that I'll be better at taking care of. No idea if that's possible though.
 
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