What all do I need for a 7 gallon freshwater tank?

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JCKey618

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tl:dr I have a Imagitarium Semi-Hexagonal Aquarium Kit, 6.7 GAL | Petco tank and want to get all the supplies needed to set it up, cycle it, and be ready for freshwater fish.

Longer version: I am a long-time tank enthusiast. Had tanks as a kid and had a 55 gallon tank in early adulthood that I did the whole set up for, with cycling using ammonia for a couple weeks, testing daily, with canister filter, heater, the whole nine. I moved 8 years ago and am waiting until I'm in a house to get another tank.

My mother recently bought a ~7 gallon tank (specifically Imagitarium Semi-Hexagonal 6.7 gallon tank from Petco) for my kids as a present. She said that she had a tank at home with glowfish and that she just filled it up and threw them in and they were fine. Well, she did the same for us and that didn't happen. Fish died of new tank shock within a few hours. So I'm trying to start over and do it right.

It's been a while since I cycled a tank and I'm also not sure where to start with this small one. It came with a small filter ( Imagitarium Semi-Hexagonal Aquarium Kit, 6.7 GAL | Petco for details) and a light.

Basically, I'm wondering what I would need to get and how I should go about cycling it? I'm fine doing the hard work. Is adding ammonia and testing everyday until you see the tank convert the ammonia in a reasonable time still the way to go? Do any of the 'bacteria in a bottle' things work? Heater? Do I need another filter? Also would like to have live plants if possible.
 

NoodleCats

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tl:dr I have a Imagitarium Semi-Hexagonal Aquarium Kit, 6.7 GAL | Petco tank and want to get all the supplies needed to set it up, cycle it, and be ready for freshwater fish.

Longer version: I am a long-time tank enthusiast. Had tanks as a kid and had a 55 gallon tank in early adulthood that I did the whole set up for, with cycling using ammonia for a couple weeks, testing daily, with canister filter, heater, the whole nine. I moved 8 years ago and am waiting until I'm in a house to get another tank.

My mother recently bought a ~7 gallon tank (specifically Imagitarium Semi-Hexagonal 6.7 gallon tank from Petco) for my kids as a present. She said that she had a tank at home with glowfish and that she just filled it up and threw them in and they were fine. Well, she did the same for us and that didn't happen. Fish died of new tank shock within a few hours. So I'm trying to start over and do it right.

It's been a while since I cycled a tank and I'm also not sure where to start with this small one. It came with a small filter ( Imagitarium Semi-Hexagonal Aquarium Kit, 6.7 GAL | Petco for details) and a light.

Basically, I'm wondering what I would need to get and how I should go about cycling it? I'm fine doing the hard work. Is adding ammonia and testing everyday until you see the tank convert the ammonia in a reasonable time still the way to go? Do any of the 'bacteria in a bottle' things work? Heater? Do I need another filter? Also would like to have live plants if possible.
With the tank size and shape, you will find you will need to choose the right fish for it. A betta is suitable, and if glofish are a thing you like or your kids like, they now have globettas.

One note though, the blue light for the glofish isn't very good for live plants, so that's something to factor in if you want the true glowing effect that glofish have.

Theres a couple other options for the tank size, but definitely don't suggest any of the schooling glofish because they all need a 20 gallon long or larger due to size and activity needs. The glotetras can reach 2.5-3" and need groups of 6+ or they get really aggressive (they're skirt tetras).

Bottled bacteria helps speed the process along, but it doesn't truly instant cycle unfortunately. Despite their labels.

If live plants are the way you want to go, you could do a silent cycle. Which is doing the plants first, dose your ammonia, test the tank and see how fast the ammonia and such disappears. If in 1 day your ammonia reads 0 and the plants are growing, you can start stocking fish. This is allowing the plants to handle the bioload instead of the filter. I highly recommend fast growing plants for this method though. Things like hornwort, anacharis/elodea, water sprite, limnophila sessiliflora... all of these are fast growers and will absorb ammonia fast once they get going. Also are beginner friendly plants that don't require expensive lighting or much crazy care. Perhaps some liquid ferts down the line, but thats about it.


For a tank that size, I'd actually recommend a sponge filter, especially if you choose to go betta. And a heater too as bettas do best between 76-82F


Some other fish options:

A sparkling gourami pair
A scarlet badis (this fish needs live food, very difficult to feed flakes or pellets)
Cherry shrimp (neocaridina species)
Ghost shrimp
Amano shrimp
A small group of chili rasboras, as long as the length is 15"+, they need room to swim, 6 is the minimum group size.
 
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JCKey618

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Thank you! Do you think the lighting that comes with the tank is sufficient for the plants you cite or would I need to get an extra light?

Also, do I need special sand/gravel or would the generic, colored rocks I got work for plants? If I go with plants, could i: 1) clean the tank 2) fill it with water 3) dechlorinate 4) get the filter started 5) test for ammonia conversion daily or are there more steps/more things I'd need?
 

NoodleCats

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Thank you! Do you think the lighting that comes with the tank is sufficient for the plants you cite or would I need to get an extra light?

Also, do I need special sand/gravel or would the generic, colored rocks I got work for plants? If I go with plants, could i: 1) clean the tank 2) fill it with water 3) dechlorinate 4) get the filter started 5) test for ammonia conversion daily or are there more steps/more things I'd need?
You might want to swap out the lighting for something a little better, most kit lights aren't the best. Can look at some of the cheaper end Nicrew lights online, or Hygger. They're decent for the price and work well.

Basically... steps:

1) rinse your substrate and place it into the tank. For plants you want it to be 2" deep. But deeper can pose problems too, so try to stay at 2".

2) add your hardscape (rocks, driftwood, decor, etc) and filter/heater (don't turn on heater without water).

3) fill with water and dechlorinate it (chlorine could damage some delicate plants, so best safe than sorry, plus good to get into the habit of keeping the water safe).

4) plant your plants. Be sure to research any plants or ask about them, some might need to be planted a special way to prevent problems (rhizome plants like anubias or java ferns, etc)

5) dose your ammonia source (some use fish food, some use pure ammonia, etc.) Dose for 2ppm ammonia to start. Ideally you let the plants sit, see if they use up the ammonia within 24 hours. Test for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrates. If you go the "silent cycle", you might not get much for nitrites or nitrates, as plants will take in the ammonia instead. Same time, some filter cycling may still process the ammonia too, so test for all 3 daily.

6) once your tank reads 0 ammonia and 0 nitrites after 24 hours, do a water change and you can start stocking fish. This can possibly take a couple weeks to over a month. Given the tank size, you will not be able to house a community, you will be limited to a single species option as it's too small for a community unless you do a single species of fish and a colony of shrimp, provided the fish don't eat the shrimp.




As for substrate, plants do okay in gravel too, if that's what you prefer. Many people in the hobby prefer a natural look and aim to use substrates that resemble what's in the wild, but at the end of the day it's your tank so if you like the bright coloured gravel, and it won't physically harm anything you plan to keep it with, by all means go for it.


When researching plants, it's best to search them and look for reputable sources like Tropica or Aquasabi. Both of these I have found give a good general idea of a plant profile that can help you decide if it's a plant that works for your water parameters and your tank size/lighting, etc. Some plants are more complicated and they will state so. Look for plants that are low-medium light and no CO2, these will be the easiest to start with.
 
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Ch4rlie

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Lots of good advice given already, not going to repeat anything Noodlecats has already mentioned.

Just going to add a little one more option regarding the lighting option as I agree that most standard light kits that comes with most aquariums are not the greatest and usually well worth upgrading for a bit better plant growth. I have used some light from Aquael Leddy Tube, would go for sunny one as better for plants imo, and they come in different sizes so you could get one that fits your lid canopy of your tank, available from Amazon for example, a little DIY may be required to fit it but usually simple to do though.

Think this tank will make for a nice betta only or shrimps only set up with would be nice. I have had small nano tank set ups just for shrimps and the beauty of a small tank like this is that its easy enough to make a nice tank set up that appeals to both you AND the livestock whichever options you choose.
 
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