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Starting my first 5.5 gal RCS tank


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So I've decided to start a small tank with some neos to get my feet wet in the hobby before moving up. Still waiting on my sponge filter before I start cycling. Hoping to use this thread to document my progress.

List of equipment: (so far)

1) 5.5 gallon standard aqueon tank from Petco.

2) 1x 5lbs black sand, 1x 5lbs white sand

3) api freshwater master test kit

4) digital pH and tds meters (eBay)

5) prodibio quick start bacteria (2 vials)

6) whisper 10 air pump

7) Dr Tims ammonium chloride

8) 25w adjustable water heater (got another one for sale)

9) manzanita branch (got some other pieces left for sale)

10) various rocks picked up from beach (not pictured)

11) double sponge filter (waiting on arrival)

*spent about ~$100.00 so far but I still need to get Christmas moss and shrimps and food and stuff like leaf litter. But I figure that can wait a little while my tank cycles.

Still waiting on my sponge filter to arrive before I get started, but I feel I got most the bases covered.

My tap water comes out fairly hard at around 320, so I plan to do a 50/50 mix with ro water for the time being and see how that works out.

Anyway lmk your guys thoughts and advice, like I said I'm cmpletely new to the hobby.

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Welcome to TSS!

 

Do you have some sort of dechlorinator (i.e. Seachem Prime) for your tap water?

Do you have a sponge or stainless steel mesh cover for your HOB (whisper) intake?

Have you ran tests on your tap to see it's full range of parameters?

What shrimp do you plan on keeping?

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Welcome to TSS!

 

Do you have some sort of dechlorinator (i.e. Seachem Prime) for your tap water?

Do you have a sponge or stainless steel mesh cover for your HOB (whisper) intake?

Have you ran tests on your tap to see it's full range of parameters?

What shrimp do you plan on keeping?

Op did state they are using a sponge filter but I agree with the rest. Check all your tap paremeters not just gh and what shrimp you're keeping with matter for range of permeters.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just a quick update. Started cycling process. 

 

Did a 100% water change with 90% RO/DI water, and 10% tap water; dosed with ammonium chloride to 4ppm.

 

PPM: 105 (total)

PH: 7.2 (w/ digital meter) 7.6 (w/ api FW master test kit) not sure why the difference.

Ammonia: 4 ppm

Nitrite: 0 ppm

Nitrate: 0 ppm

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  • 2 weeks later...

 

Finally got some nitrites showing.

Ammonia: 2ppm

 

nitrites: 0.25ppm

 

nitrates: 10 ppm

 

added a shrimp shelter and superglued, Fissidens Fontanus, all over it.

 

Hoping I'll be able to add some shrimp by next weekend.

 

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edit: small update (3/29/16)

- ammonia levels down to 0.5 ppm, re-dosed to 2 ppm.

(3/30/16)

- Ammonia levels at 1 ppm, Nitrite ~3-5 ppm (hard to tell b/w the darker shades of purple), Nitrates ~20+ ppm

- Water clarity has improved a bit.

- Once nitrites start showing up, how long usually until the cycle is complete?

 

* Cycle really seems to have started taking off now, pretty happy cuz I was starting to get a little worried there.

* Still trying to decide between blue rilis or blue velvets.

* Moss is starting to show signs of new growth (bright green growth at tips).

 

(4/01/16)

* Ammonia: 0.50 ppm, Nitrites: 5.0 ppm, Nitrates: +20.0 ppm

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Came back from spending a weekend camping in big sur.

Still cycling:  

Ammonia: 0.25 ppm

Nitrite: 5.0(+?) ppm

Nitrates: ~30-40 ppm

According to Dr. Tims website, if ammonia or nitrites levels are above 1 ppm i shouldn't add any more ammonia chloride. But it also says if nitrites levels reach over 5 ppm i should do a water change. So should I do a 50% water change and retest? or just leave it be? Thanks.

 

edit: 4/9/16:

- Nitrite levels still really elevated (5+ ppm)

- Bought and added a bottle of "Tetra safestart plus" because it was on sale for 2.99 *Fingers Crossed*

 

edit: 4/10/16

- Tested water levels this morning and... Holy Crap! that bottle went to work fast.

ammonia: 0 ppm

nitrite: 0 ppm (Finally!)

nitrate: 20 ppm

WHOO! I think my tank is finally cycled. Gonna do a 100% water change with salty shrimp gh/kh+ added.

Now then, who's got blue velvets for sale??

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Came back from spending a weekend camping in big sur.

Still cycling:  

Ammonia: 0.25 ppm

Nitrite: 5.0(+?) ppm

Nitrates: ~30-40 ppm

According to Dr. Tims website, if ammonia or nitrites levels are above 1 ppm i shouldn't add any more ammonia chloride. But it also says if nitrites levels reach over 5 ppm i should do a water change. So should I do a 50% water change and retest? or just leave it be? Thanks.

Big Sur? I was camping there a couple weekends ago for a friend's bday! Hello from Santa Cruz.

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On 4/6/2016 at 8:13 PM, Mr. F said:

Big Sur? I was camping there a couple weekends ago for a friend's bday! Hello from Santa Cruz.

Greetings from Los Angeles. Sweet, I was in Big Bear a couple weeks ago. Big Sur, was great, first time there, and the scenery was absolutely beautiful gonna try and go back asap. 

*did a small 15% water change.

*So after a quick google search, found out that Nitrite processing bacteria are inhibited by ammonia so I'm going to lay off the Ammonia Chloride until ammonia's at 0, and hope that helps bacterial growth.

 

edit: 4/12/16

- Tank is fully cycled and processing ~2ppm of ammonia chloride into nitrites and nitrates in 24 hrs.

- Picking up 10 Black Rili's on Thursday.

- Going to do a 100% re-mineralized water change tommorrow.

- Will update with pics when I get the shrimp.

 

edit: 4/13/16

- 100% water change with RODI/Salty shrimp GH/KH+ to 290 ppm

- Picking up shrimp tommorrow.

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Greetings from Los Angeles. Sweet, I was in Big Bear a couple weeks ago. Big Sur, was great, first time there, and the scenery was absolutely beautiful gonna try and go back asap. 

*did a small 15% water change.

*So after a quick google search, found out that Nitrite processing bacteria are inhibited by ammonia so I'm going to lay off the Ammonia Chloride until ammonia's at 0, and hope that helps bacterial growth.

Im originally from LA! And I used to have a cabin in Big Bear! Small world.

That's a good find about the nitrifying bacteria! I hope it works.

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  • 2 weeks later...

So I went to go pickup my shrimp from bobstropicalplants.com today. But I get there and he says he doesn't have Black Rili's but he has some black cherries instead. I just wasted a ton of gas and over an hour in traffic to be baited and switched. He could have easily told me this over the emails we sent, but neglected to mention it at all. Kind of PO'd right now, but luckily I got in on a group sale over at SCAPE. Gonna go walk my dog now and cool off. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

5cf1320eedbba21e250895cb1feb6c0d.jpg 2 of them must have molted last night. They look clean, so taking that as a good sign they didn't have any complications. Grow grow grow

 

4/26/16: found 1 of my shrimp dead this morning. Not sure why, but the others look active.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hey guys kinda need your help. I've had 4 of my 10 shrimp die in past week and a half. Not sure why, the first two died last week a few days after being introduced to the tank. One on tuesday the next the following day. the third on fri and the last one (my favorite) this morning. All of them are next to a molt, but it seems clean and not sticking to the dead shrimp. my water chemistry levels are ok, so I don't know what else is going on. Thanks.

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They're blue rilis right? Do the dead ones have white tissue where it should be clear? If so, it's probably a bacterial infection. I had one with my blue rilis not too long ago. A ton of people see infections this time of year with the warming weather. If you suspect it's bacterial, you will want to look for and isolate shrimp showing symptoms to prevent it spreading. Then you'll wanna start antibiotics. Maracyn 2 or tetracycline are a good to start with, in combination with Melafix.

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not quite sure if white, but I noticed there insides were a bright pink color. and parts of their shell as well.

The pink/orange is normal. It's a release of carotenoids after the shrimp have passed. Sometimes it'll turn the shrimp bright orange. Anytime I had an old blue dream that went or got attacked post molt, it would go fully orange shell and all!

How big were they when you got them? Adult sized by any chance?

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Phew well that's good to know.They were a little under 1/2" when I first got them. I think my TDs might have been too high. Had it around 268, but found out the original breeder was joesaqua on eBay and his carbon rili listing has his tank params as 150-250 TDs, and 75 degrees F. So I removed about a half gallon of water (10%) yesterday and topped up with pure rodi water. TDs is around 220 right now. But I woke up to another death, so I'm down to 5 now.

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