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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have to admit I have only had goldfish before and haven't kept those since I was a kid. I found this 30 gal long (30x12x18) and set it up without knowing anything. At first it was just a bait well with minnows I caught from the river where I live. It stayed green most the time but the bait didn't seem to mind.

One day last week a friend of mine gave me my first "real" fish. A convict about 2" long. not knowing anything about cycling or fish tanks in general I completely cleaned the tank and put the convict in with about 30 minnows of diffrent types. Less thjan a week later the tank was completely green again so I of course did a 100 percent water change and started over all clean and new. About that time it hit me I might be doing something wrong.

I will try to describe my set up and what I have done and "learned" and hopefully you all can help refine my madness.

First thing I should mention is my tank is outdoors in central florida but does not get any direct light. I also dont have any artificial lighting. My filter is a tetra whisper internal rated for 10-30 gal. and I have also added a 4" box filter to the bottom opposite of the canister. I have a 6" bubble stone plus the box filter for aeration with a 100 gal rated air pump. 1 fake plant and 1 real plant (fern tropica) recommended for low light and high ph which I have. Lots of rocks stacked for shelf and a cave plus a skull that have 3-4 openings for fish to swim in and out.

My water comes out at around 8.5 ph and that is all I have test kit for. If it goes up I do 10-15% wc. Other than that is is very hard "treated "well water full of sulfur calcium etc. but so far it doesn't seem to be a problem. I have been told to live with my ph instead of trying to change it as buffers etc will cause huge drops and spikes. I have been using jungle brand "start right with aloe" as a conditioner. Once I figured out about cycling i went and bought "Microbe-lift Special Blend" and am adding it to new water after conditioning and doing 5 gal water changes every 3 days untill I know it has cycled and working. Again I am not checking nitrates etc. just changing water to keep it safe since I did not cycle ahead of adding fish.

My population is 4 brim minnows 1-2" long, 3 silver minnows 1/2" to 1" long, and one fish that as best I can tell is a chinese algea eater though I'm not sure how it got in a river in florida. All of the above are wild caught and disposable as bad as that sounds they started out as bait :)

The fish I was given was a convict about 2-2 1/2" long and what inspired me to figure out what I was doing, hopefully without killing him. Luckly he seems very hardy! After that I bought 2 bristle nose pleco's which I'm told only grow to 4" and 2 should be good for a 29 by my lfs. I also purchase a "red fire" cichlid that is maybe a 1/2 smaller than the convict. They say it was a red fire but to me it looks like a goldfish atm.

There are lots of hiding places but the convict has claimed them all and harrasis the red constantly. I can see marks on the sides and it hides always. I was thinking if I add another the convict will pick on the other one too and then the fire might not get stressed as much but I am worried that may be too much for my tank.

If I left anything out you need to know please tell me. If you have any suggestions, advice, criticism, please tell me. I am learning in reverse and trying to kill as few fish as possible in the process.

Great site! Thanks in advance.[/img]
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Wow not one reply, I must be worse off than I thought.

The aggression has slowed from the convict and I saw them swimming together today. although now I have to go back to petdumb and get the real name of the red because apparently they get huge and are mean. Why they would recomend this to go in a 29 with a convict idk but atleast I know the guy is just as big an idiot as me.
 

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Get a test kit so you can watch your "cycle process" once you see 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite, after that you should see your nitrate`s rise and thats that its cycled.

Thats a hardy convict you have, for now keep with the water changes but try to get a test kit.. API makes a really good master kit. Once you get a kit test your water and post your results, then other peole will be able to help you out and guide you in the right direction.
 

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Im new to tanks myself and i went out and bought my cichlids without cycling my tank first. I didnt know about cycling when i first started it and one day i noticed black spots on my acei. i posted a topic on this site about it and found out it had chemical burn from the ammonia. I didnt use the product your using to help cycle your tank but i used nutrafin cycle and it wasnt doing anything to speed the process up. I then bought this stuff called TETRA Safestart, Its highly concentrated with the bacterias you need Nitrosomonas, Nitrosospira, and Nitrospira. It worked within two days! And I didnt lose any of my fish either. :thumb: It says on the bottle you can use this stuff and add fish immediatly. I was also told to do about 50% water changes each day to keep the ammonia and nitrite down until it was cycled. Killakam is right to get a test kit. I found that the strip kit does not give you accurate readings. Try the API master drop kit it should be about 30 bucks but youll get about 800 tests out of it. [/i]
 

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for new tanks personally. i go out and scour for information. wat will fit, how many will fit, how do i want it to look, etc. once all this is said and done and u have an idea of what you wanna do will u be truly satisfied. first off i suggest finding a local fish store nearby with a bit more knowledge when it comes to cichlids. it may take some searching and a lot of calls but its worth the time invested. personally what i have done with a 29 gallon is either A. go Tang (african cichlids) or B. go with a CA/SA community tank setup. for the tangs i would suggest some nice rocks a sandy substrate and then species wise any of the smaller julidichromis species (transcriptus, ornatus) Pair of course. and then maybe add a species of shell dweller. ocellatus aka gold occie, occie, blue occie, or try multifasciatus aka multi's. you can accomadate both of those very easily and on a tight budget. now as for the SA/CA community. you could do a pair or trio of apistogramma (ur choice on species) a pair of convicts (females r small and colorful males tend to be drab and large in comparison) or a pair of angels. in any case small amount of rockery + natural bogwood and perhaps some live plants (a sword or two, some anubias or javafern tied onto the bogwood, hogwort, java moss tied to the log or rock, or water sprite) all those plants are relatively easy to work with. for filler with the sa/ca you could try some tetras of your choice (stay with those that remain within the 1-2 inch mark as adults) in either case i think you will find it very entertaining to watch. if needed i can provide pics as to both builds that *** done with my own 29g tank. GL to you
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
killakam said:
.. API makes a really good master kit. Once you get a kit test your water and post your results, then other peole will be able to help you out and guide you in the right direction.
Well the Master test kit was not in the budget this week but I did manage to pick up the API Ammonia and Nitrate kits under $20 for both. I did a 30% water change yesterday then waited a couple of hours and tested it. I'm readying Ammonia at either 0 or 0.25 ppm, not use to the kit so hard to say, and my Nitrates where at 10 ppm. I think this means my tank is turning the ammonia to nitrites and those to nitrates but not sure where I am in the process or what a safe level of nitrate is. i know I'm kind of stuck without the Nitrite test but hoped those 2 would get me through it. At least it seems the microbe-lift is doing something.

Anthraxx8500 said:
first off i suggest finding a local fish store nearby with a bit more knowledge when it comes to cichlids. it may take some searching and a lot of calls but its worth the time invested.
Anyone here from NE Orlando area who knows a place? I'm suprised how hard it is to find an actual pet store these days. I hate big box marts!

Anthraxx8500 said:
personally what i have done with a 29 gallon is either A. go Tang (african cichlids) or B. go with a CA/SA community tank setup.
Since I have a convict and it was my inspiration I will stick to making him a nice home and maybe finding him a girlfriend. (I have no Idea if i have a male or female at this point actually)

Anthraxx8500 said:
now as for the SA/CA community. you could do a pair or trio of apistogramma (ur choice on species) a pair of convicts (females r small and colorful males tend to be drab and large in comparison) or a pair of angels. in any case small amount of rockery + natural bogwood and perhaps some live plants (a sword or two, some anubias or javafern tied onto the bogwood, hogwort, java moss tied to the log or rock, or water sprite) all those plants are relatively easy to work with. for filler with the sa/ca you could try some tetras of your choice (stay with those that remain within the 1-2 inch mark as adults) in either case i think you will find it very entertaining to watch. if needed i can provide pics as to both builds that I've done with my own 29g tank. GL to you
Great stuff! I would love to see your 29's. You were pretty specific about the pair but could a trio of convicts work if say I had 1 male and 2 females? What would be a good number of tetra's if I stay on the smaller end?

Also I confirmed the pet store which I will not be going back to sold me a red devil while basicly describing a firemouth. The guy was actually calling it a red fire cichlid. I went back and read the actual tags. I know now not to take people who act like they know what they're talking about on there word. I will try to return him and see how that goes. Maybe they'll let me trade for some tetras.
 
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