Hello, newbie here.

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WeeFishies

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Oct 19, 2018
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Hi folks,
I'm a novice aquarium keeper, I have a Top Fin 3.5 gallon desktop tank that has been fishless cycling for three weeks. It is the second tank I've ever kept. My last tank was over five years ago and was a 6 gallon Marineland with a BioWheel, I liked that tank a lot and it was a beautiful aquarium for years. My current tank came with its own filter and carbon filter cartridges I am supposed to purchase. I found Fluval/AquaClear BioMax Filter Inserts on a clearance sale, as well as SeaChem Purigen. I'm unsure what to do with each of them yet.

For my current tank I added gravel to the tank and treated the water with SeaChem Prime. I added in Dr. Tim's ammonia, then I added Stability several times along with an airstone/pump and a heater set to 85 degrees F. I purchased an Aqueon 50w heater but I'd like one a little more reliable so I ordered a Cobalt Neo Therm 75w and am awaiting its arrival. I saw a video that stated the beneficial bacteria grew quicker with aeration and at a warm temperature.

I have the API freshwater test kit, and I was excited several days ago when I saw the ammonia drop a little, then drop to zero the next day. The nitrites currently test at over 5ppm. I guess I'm just waiting now. I test nitrites daily because I am impatient, Dr. Tim's video states that I shouldn't add any more ammonia until the nitrites reach zero.

I have all my decor ready...a lot of silk-like artificial plants because I like the look of a heavily planted aquarium, and I think it is more humane to offer security to the fish. I've also purchased slate-type rocks that I'd like to use for landscaping but I think the rock may be too large for what I have in mind regardless that they are only a few inches in size. I also would like to add one real plant because I understand they are good for water quality. I have purchased potassium permanganate as a plant dip for a snail-free aquarium. I have not yet decided what type of plant I want, I suppose I will see what looks robust and healthy on the day I decide to purchase it. I have purchased SeaChem Flourish Tabs for the plant.

I originally purchased the tank for a single Betta, but the tank I had in the past housed male Guppies and male Endler's Livebearers. I really like how small and cute and fun Guppies and Endler's are so I think they may be my choice again. Unfortunately it is increasingly difficult to find Endler's, and the shops that claim to have them actually carry Guppy/Endler's hybrids. I have no room to breed, so it isn't cost effective for me to order true Endler's online. I have purchased Zoo Meds Betta Dial-a-Treat...a container with freeze dried mysis, daphnia, and bloodworms. I have also purchased Cobalt Guppy Nano Pellets and Fluval Bug Bites for small tropicals. I used New Life Spectrum in the past but thought I might try a pellet that is breed specific.

I'm so excited to have my tank on its way to cycling, I'll keep everyone posted when the big day happens. As well, if anyone has any advice or think I can improve something, please let me know as I don't personally know anyone with an aquarium and I'm doing my best with information available on the internet.

Nice to meet you all!
WeeFishies :)
 

FreshyFresh

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Welcome and it sounds like a nice setup you've got going. Great to hear you have a water parameter test kit and basic understanding of establishing a nitrogen cycle. 75watts worth of heater sounds way over sized to me for ~3.5g, unless the ambient temp of the room the tank is in gets quite cold.

As you know, that size is going to limit your stock choices.
 
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DefJ123

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Jun 24, 2018
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Welcome :)

Nice to see someone did research and learned about the nitrogen cycle before buying fish! Good job. :)

As Freshy said, I think your heater is oversized uness the room the tank will be in is incredibly cold. I have a 50w on my 10g for reference.

3.5g is a very small amount of water. Im not sure I would keep endlers or guppies in it. If I did, definitely only 2-3 males. Seems like a good tank for a colony of red cherry shrimp or other neocaridina shrimp. In my personal opinion, its also a wee bit small for a betta fish. I kept mine in a 5.5g for a few weeks before moving him to a 10g where he has since begun to flourish. The difference over a few days after the move was huge.
 

WeeFishies

Registered Member
Oct 19, 2018
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Hi Freshy Buckwheat! :)

Thanks for your reply. I purchased the 75w only because it was the same physical dimensions as the 50w, and only a few dollars more in price. I thought regardless of the size/high wattage it should still keep a small tank at 78 degrees, right? I was thinking just because it's 75w doesn't necessarily mean I have to utilize all 75 watts, correct?

I don't really have a desire to have a big tank, a ten gallon seemed too big for me as well. I have no desire to breed, and I really like small fish...I considered a small neon tetra school or a few harlequin rasboras, but I'm unsure if I can adequately determine their gender to choose all males. I like rummynose tetras too, but my aquarium will not be big enough for any more than one. When I get a desire to change my tank, I typically do not add fish, I add a different plant or a piece of decor to keep it interesting. I really like the appearance of tanks at fish stores that are used for live plant sales...they are heavily planted and have just a few fish in them. I suppose I like how the fish have hidden routes and are kind of secretive and mysterious. I know that's weird! :)

Any suggestions on how to lower my nitrites...or do I just have to be patient and watch paint dry? They are still testing at 5ppm.

WeeFishies :)
 

authmal

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Aug 4, 2011
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Since it seems that no one has addressed it yet, the Biomax is a ceramic media designed to house beneficial bacteria. All the little pores in the ceramic links? Homes for the beneficial bacteria. If you got it prepackaged in a media bag, you can feel free to drop it into your filter, if there's room. If it's loose, you need some kind of media bag. Purigen is designed to help clarify your water in lieu of carbon, essentially. It helps remove odors, colors, that kind of thing. It's very small, and you need a very fine mesh bag if it's not one of the 100ml purigen pillows that's prepackaged.

I'm not going to get into the stocking ideas, because everyone already has had a say, and it's all pretty good advice.
 

tanker

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Welcome to AC. Looks like you , at least, did your research. But as all have said, your tank size is limiting.
 

fishorama

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Oh, I should have said 5ppm nitrate is fine. Keep up with weekly water changes & don't let it get to 20ppm.

Really, very light stocking without overfeeding & you should be ok.
 

FreshyFresh

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... I purchased the 75w only because it was the same physical dimensions as the 50w, and only a few dollars more in price. I thought regardless of the size/high wattage it should still keep a small tank at 78 degrees, right? I was thinking just because it's 75w doesn't necessarily mean I have to utilize all 75 watts, correct?
The way the thermostats work on these heaters is basically like a toggle switch. They're either full on or full off. Any time it's on, it's going to draw what ever it's spec'd at. In your case, around 75 watts.

The problem is, if it ever stuck on or got out of adjustment, that much wattage in ~3.5gal of water could probably raise the water temp 30degF above ambient or more.

In terms of your stocking ideas, I wouldn't go with any of them. Tetras, etc. require too large a group to behave naturally. You could do some celetial pearl danios in there, but even that is pushing it.

I have a ~3g bowl, but I just keep red cherry shrimp in it and it gets one ~80-90% weekly water change.
 
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Arthur11

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Welcome. If you are setting up a new tank, aside from the basics (filters, lights, etc.), you also think about the decorations. There are so many different kinds of rocks and stones that you can use in your aquarium setup that you might fill up your tank too much if you are not careful. Therefore, a tank that is too small can be a limitation. :)
 
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