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I haven't had an aquarium for a few years, but got the urge again.. Wanted to set up a reef aquarium, but seeing as I had many fresh but no salts before I thought I would start with a freshwater and then next year add a salt.. Not to mention, fresh being a bit cheaper.

Just bought and set up a 26gal bow front. Decided on larger gravel, with both under-gravel and a power filter. Had this setup years ago and had real good luck with my fish, and didn't seem to have to clean as often.

I have not put any fish in yet, but did plant a few bulbs. Never had live plants before as always had fish that ate them. I don't plan to put fish in for a couple weeks. But wondered if I should use the conditioner now, would it help the plants or not.
 

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Hi and welcome back to the hobby.

I would go ahead and add conditioner to the tank now. Are you feeding the tank for ammonia so the new bacteria will have something to grow on?
+1

may i ask what lighting u are using? what plants u have bulbs u have right now? what conditioner u are using? and what fish u plan on keeping? and welcome to the site!
 
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I have never heard of "Are you feeding the tank for ammonia" not sure what you mean..

As far as the lighting and conditioner. It was an Aqueon aquarium kit, with what ever lighting that came with it, (not at home right now, so can't look) it came with a sample pack of Aqueon tap water conditioner, and an Aqueon 30 power filter,, I added an under gravel filter (with no power head) as I like them, but just don't trust them as the only filter, even when they have a power head.

As far as plants, I bought a small pack or assorted water plant bulbs. I figured what grows, grows, what doesn't, doesn't.

As far as creatures, I plan to start with a couple of African Dwarf Frogs. Then add a Gold Dojo loach, and a Clown Plecostomus, and maybe some Ghost Shrimp. Although as the frogs grow, they may eat the shrimp.

At sometime I suppose I will try to add a couple fish that actually hang out in the upper part of the tank, not sure what yet that will be compatible. I think both Mollys and Platys would be compatible but they really don't strike my fancy. Or maybe a Red Tail or Rainbow Shark. I use to always keep Angles, but of course they would eat the plants.
 

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I have never heard of "Are you feeding the tank for ammonia" not sure what you mean..

Basically when you have fish in the tank there is ammonia produced by the fish waste which in turn feeds the bacteria in the filter. If there is no bacteria and no fish you must add an ammonia source to start and feed the bacteria and help it to build up to sufficient quantities so you can have a healthy tank. You can use pure ammonia with no perfumes or other additives, a piece of raw shrimp, fish food and what ever.
 

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Don't do the fish-food method! it can cause unacceptable levels of phosphate! also-
never just go out and by a fish OR plant without research.
 
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There are several ways of doing the cycle and the quickest and safest is still to just purchase the replacement for Bio-spira and add it and all the fish at one time, but if you cannot afford to do that or use any of the substitutes for it, the next best is to get a bottle of pure ammonia and put 7 drops per 10 gallons of ammonia in the tank every night before you go to bed and test for ammonia every morning for a week, when a week is over you start to test for nitrites in the morning as well and continue to put the ammonia in at night.

When you start to show a spike in the nitrites, you continue for another week and then in the morning you start to test for the big 3 (ammonia, nitrites, AND nitrates). Continue with the ammonia drops at night.

When you get up in the morning and your readings are:

Ammonia 0
Nitrites 0
and you have some Nitrates present

Do a 40 to 50 percent water change to get the Nitrates below 10 and you can add a couple small fish. To add more with this method will overload your cycle and kill it off.
In a week you can add a couple more fish and again in a week a couple more. After about 4 weeks of doing this if you still have room for more fish, you can finish populating your tank. If you OVERpopulate your tank your cycle will partially die off and you will have a mini-cycle to contend with and may lose some of your fish depending on how delicate they are.

This method ONLY works if there are NO fish or other wildlife in your tank (frogs, snails, crabs, etc.) Plants should be okay.

Rose
 
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