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Discussion Starter #1
My current stocking: (crowded with the frogs but their tank should be ready in 2 weeks)
1 Betta
6 Axelrod Cories
2 Amano Shrimp
2 ADF (Temporary while their tank gets ready)
1 Assassin Snail (Gets tossed from tank to tank as snails appear)

Feeding schedules:
I feed the Betta 4 NLS pellets twice a day. The others get fed a sprinkling of a 50/50 plant/animal protein flake in the center of the tank that the cories and shrimp clean up in about 10-15 minutes. The frogs while being housed with this community get hand fed frozen shrimp/flake food. The snail he kind of does his own thing occasionally will show up to the sprinkling and grab a flake.

Plants:
I have a good bit of horn wort and anacharis growing along the edges and pretty much covering the sides of the tank where the filters aren't taking space and the front. I have java moss through the center of the tank. It's not the most heavily planted setup but the plants have really took off since being added the hornwort is growing like a weed. The anacharis I've had to cut and replant stalks weekly to keep them from out growing the water column. I feed them sparingly about 5ml of actual plant food a week.

My filtration:
1 Tetra 2-10i whisper filter (bought at walmart)
1 Hydro 1 Sponge filter air powered/lee's discard a stone

Water testing:
I have these guys in a 10 gallon set up for about 3 weeks now. Everyone seems to be doing great in the tank. For the first two weeks the tank was cycling normally showing nitrates and getting the water changed. I also had major visible waste problems from my amano shrimp which have a rep for being poop machines. That hasn't been a problem lately either right now I actually can't find any waste. Now this week I'm showing just a hint of Nitrates and I had to take the sample from the bottom of the tank with a syringe to get that. The top water shows nothing. The tank shows no ammonia, no nitrites, and no nitrates from samples took on the surface of the water. Is my plants starving the cycle? Also what should my water change schedule be? Should I be worried?
 

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I think your plants are more helping the cycle.
Since you did complete it, and you have all those heavy draining plants (ammonia, nitrate eaters). Your plants are probably eating all your nitrates, which is good since bacteria doesn't.
 

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I'd say 30-40% every week, I'm no expert however.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Well turns out that after your nitrate kit hits a month old you have to beat the crap out of it to get it to test right. I shaked and shaked that bottle yesterday and it wouldn't test right. Tonight I tested a tank that is close to finishing it's cycle and I got nothing. I had to throw the bottle up against the wall to free the crystals that had settled on the bottom of the bottle. I had only been doing 25% changes because the test was showing everything "safe". I've had to do three water changes (80%, 50%, and 25%) to get the reading down to 5.0 as it was off the chart. Sometimes I feel like such an idiot I wish the instructions would have been more explicit about shake well. It should say beat the... out of the bottle.
 

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Well it does say shake well for 30 seconds, this is vital to the results in bold ;) ;)
Haha, I kid, I have trouble with that thing too.
 

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Those things annoy me also. For your cycle you shouldn't get any nitrates that early, usually it is around 4 weeks or even longer. I would do about 35-45% a week. Never had amano shrimp, I have cherries but the tank they are in kind of sucks so I am thinking of upgrading to a 10 gallon. I think about 40% is fine though.
 

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I've got a tank that runs with no nitrates. It's one of my oldest setups and is packed full of fast-growing live plants. It happens. Every once in a while I double check my nitrites and ammonia just to make sure.

Oh ya. You really have to abuse the second nitrate test bottle. It's because one of the components has a tendency to solidify. If you haven't used it in a week or so, make sure you give it a few good taps and shake for around a minute. When I get more money I'm going to look into scientific equipment to test water parameters instead of relying on the drip tests (even though they are better than strips).
 

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While we're on the subject, is it only my test tubes that squirt out drops of liquid during the shaking progress? I put them on as tight as I can :s
 
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