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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Since this is the general forum, I figured I would ask all the general questions.:)

I have a 10 gallon tank that I tried starting around Sept 1.
The setup
-10 gal tank
-Aqua Clear Mini power filter with foam, activated carbon, and bio max inserts
-Rena Air 200 air pump
-4" air stone
-6" air stone
-100W heater
-River looking stones for bottom
-2 plants(fake), a rock, and a weird mushroom hut thing.
-aquarium salt (about 2 Tbsp. to start)

On Sept 6 I had PH at 7.4 and Ammonia and Nitrites at 0. So I went to the pet store and they recommend I start with some feeder gold fish as they are hearty and should be able to fight through the cycle period. Well the power went out for about 30 hours due to a severe wind storm from hurricane Ike on 9/14. On 9/17 a small fish died, the next morning I turned on the light and noticed the fish had white spots on their entire body and clamped fins. I checked that Nitrites and Ammonia jumped (Nitrites around .5 and ammonia about 2-3 ppm) I did an immediate partial water change, added 2 pumps of stress coat per gallon of water and it improved Nitrites but Ammonia stayed at a constant 2-3 ppm. Added some Rid-Ich (about a tsp.) and removed charcoal filter. I had the water temp around 78 deg the whole time.

The Ammonia has kept at 2-3 ppm even with partial water changes, and adding the "Poly Filter" by Poly-Bio-Marine that supposedly works like an ammonia sponge and removes ammonia.

I've not had an aquarium set up for probably 8 years so I'm very rusty and have lots of newbie-like questions.

Well the last fish died tonight and I'm as you probably guessed a little irritated and frustrated.

My questions are:
1: What did I do wrong?
2: What did I do right?
3: What kind of fish should I start with?
4: Should I try live plants, and how do I have plants in my tank?
5: How much plant coverage should I have?
6: How long do I leave the light on for?
 

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1. Will you didn't do anything wrong just got bad info.... Goldfish are not a good fish to cycle with, this is because they create alot of ammonia and have a heavy slime coat. Unless you going to have a goldfish (cold water fish ie carp) tank. That brings us to Q. three, there a two school on how to cycle a tank. the first being using fish to cycle or using pure ammonia (fishless cycle). With a fish cycle most people I know use a 99 cent tropical fish, Danios usually, they are a hardy fish. I prefer Bloodfin Tetra's and been using the same school for my 5th tank, but really the reason I use them is I wanted them in my tank and didn't want to have a fish in the tank I ddin't want to end up with, So basically you want to use a hardy easy to care for fish to cycle a tank. Also you can seed the tank with dirty gavels or even better if you can get an old filter floss and place it in the filter box that will seed the tank. They also sell bio-colony in a bottle products but I'm still not sure if they really work but that just IMO. What did you do right, I don't see any thing you really did wrong other than the power going out for 30 hours and the goldfish, I feel you were doing everything you could and did your best, next time just don't let the levels get above 2ppm.... If your using test strips thow them in the trash and get a liquid freshwater test kits... the dip stick are effected by the humity in the air and ARE know to give false readings. To talk about plants in a tank it could take hours to really get in to it, it not hard or difficult just a lot of info to type. So I going to give a short rply to them..... Plants in a tank are good they are a naturel filter fish love them they look great. I going to assume you have a 15 watt to 18 watt flor. light that came with the tank. you have between 1.5 to 1.8 watts per gal. So that in this tank means you can have mid light requirement plants. The sub should be around 3 to 4 inchies and 3mm or you can purchase sub that is for planted tanks. Also if you want health fast growth you may want to look into ferts. if you add CO2 you can use I yeast system for a small thank. Running them between 10 to 12 hours. Also some fish you will ant to include would Otto Cats as they really get those hard to reach places on the plnats and tank. The addition of plants will help filter the water and and in the production of a bio-colony as the root systems has them in there and kind of like seeding. Some easy plant would be a Java Ferns, Water Sprite Penny Wort etc. Also you need to think about the fish your going to house some fish don't do will inplanted tanks. they like to dig or up root them and some fish will eat your plants, so tkat the time to research your fish.

I hope you find something you can use out of this
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the info. It's all useful! And yeah I have a 15W bulb and use liquid testing stuff. I have just picked up a book with freshwater tropical fish that I'll be looking through and finding what kind/amount of each fish I want. I'm looking for no more than 6-8 fish approx.

Would NOW be the time to drain my tank a good ways so I can set up live plants? I really LOVE the way java ferns flow in the water.

Again, thanks for the input. It helped a lot knowing that I did do just about everything right. Would you have recommend me doing more frequent water changes to remove the ammonia? What do people use when doing water changes and how? I sit at the tub with the water on till it gets to the right temperature, use an old cleaned out 1 gal milk jug and just run back and forth filling it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
One other plant question. Do plants adapt to their surroundings? My aquarium is only 12" tall and I always see java ferns that are about 20" tall, but are in larger tanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Update:

Added 3 big fin zebra danios to my tank last week along with a small java fern plant. The ammonia is down to 0 ppm and ph is hanging where it's been at 7.6 BUT my nitrites still are at around 2... Anyone have any ideas? I've only been feeding them what they are able to eat within about 2 minutes (these guys are SMART, as soon as I open the hood they are up there saying hi to me and waiting to dine) once a day.

I also have been using aged water. I get it out of the faucet into old plastic milk jugs and let it sit for about a week+ with the cap off.

The fish are VERY active and appear healthy (fins spread, no spots, etc).
 

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Your question about the plants, in some plants they will adapt, some are just going to grow right out of the tank or hit the top and keep going. You could always trim the java fern, even though ive never gotten one that tall.
 
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