For real though, this is the biggest thing that can make or break the hobby for anyone.
It doesn’t matter if you want a betta, a goldfish, a few shrimp or even a tank full of nothing but plants. Get a proper filter and cycle your god damn tank. Fishless most preferably…
How and why to do this:
It doesn’t matter what you keep, all living things produce waste. In a lot of cases Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate are in your tap water already. It doesn’t hurt us, but it will kill your fish… and in the case of a fully panted tank… I hope you love algae…cause you’re going to get it. Planted tanks another time though. You don’t want your fish to die, cycle.
So how do you do this?
Step one: Set up your tank. It needs to be at minimum a 2.5 gallon but I always recommend bigger. If you’re new and planning to keep anything but shrimp or a betta I insist you go bigger anyways because they will thrive. Have this tank filtered with an appropriate filter. I highly recommend a filter that doesn’t use a cartridge, it cycles much easier and you won’t really ever need to replace your media and it keeps the cycle. Best filters for 20 gallons and under are usually sponge filters. But get a filter with removable media or a sponge.
Step 2: Get a liquid test kit. I say liquid because it’s more accurate (light damages the strips and readings), cheaper in the long run, lasts longer, and just overall easier. The test kit needs to check PH, Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate. Once you have this go ahead and test your tap water, write that down.
If your PH is lower than 6 or really close to you’re going to have to find someway to get it above stably (DO NOT USE PH UP OR DOWN FOR THIS) I have very hard alkaline water so I normally have to bring it down. Crushed coral in the filter can help bring it up though!
If you have ammonia in your water be glad that you’re doing this and not throwing your fish in… cause if you do congrats you just burned their gills. My water has 1ppm ammonia in it already so I don’t have to add as much while cycling.
Nitrite is the same as ammonia in terms of yay that’s one less step!
Nitrate, it can be frustrating to have. Learn how much you have though and adjust accordingly. You may need a remover, or some plants until the right bacteria form.
Step 3: Declorinate whenever adding new water(I like prime but use what you want). And get things running. Now the fun process of waiting begins. You need 3 things to happen:
Ammonia to form. This is produced by anything living including plants. You want a source though and for it to be between 2-4ppm. Sources can be fish food, a raw piece of shrimp, or carpenters liquid or powder pure ammonia/ammonium. I like using the pure ammonia because it’s less of a mess and easier to control. Remember this is to simulate a fish though and I pray you didn’t put one in yet. Either way dose it up (test your water to know what you’re at) and write it down. You want to keep track of things, temp, ph, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate…
Now you wait, check daily, or every second day. Wait until it hits 0 and dose it again. Basically what’s happening is bacteria is forming in your filter to convert the ammonia (which is deadly) to Nitrite (which is also deadly). Start checking your Nitrites after the first big ammonia drop. You’ll see one of two things, a huge spike possibly off the charts in Nitrite, or never see them but have nitrates in your water that weren’t there before. This can be the longest or shortest point in the cycle.
Wait for your nitrites to drop. If they get too high to read cut back on dosing ammonia or do a large pwc to help bring them down so you can read them. Once Nitrites hit 0 dose again. If within 24 hours or less there are no ammonia readings or nitrite and some nitrates, congrats you are cycled. Do a large partial water change and add a few fish! I recommend no more than 10% of your stock a week.
Things that can speed up this process (Normally can take 2 weeks - 3 months depending on a number of factors)
-Seed your tank. This is the best, if you have a friend with a healthy tank ask to borrow some decorations, gravel, or a chunk of filter media. Note bacteria is not in the water, don’t take that but transfer what you do take in it.
-Turn your temperature way up! Bacteria multiplies better in hot water, so turn the heater up.
-Add oxygen. Bacteria is alive and needs to breath.
-Plants they help buffer the water and if from a cycled tank can bring some bacteria with them.
-Bacteria in a bottle. Now be very careful with this… most don’t work and are a waste of your money and actually harm your cycle. Ones that have proven to be effective though. Dr. Tims one and only, safe start, bio-sphere, stability seachem. All others are the wrong type of bacteria and will die in your tank and starve the right type of bacteria.
I know this probably wasn’t super comprehensive, but if you have questions ask. I’m happy to help!
“It comes from a very ancient democracy, you see…“ "You mean, it comes from a world of lizards?” “No,” said Ford, who by this time was a little more rational and coherent than he had been, having finally had the coffee forced down him, “nothing so simple. Nothing anything like so straightforward. On its world, the people are people. The leaders are lizards. The people hate the lizards and the lizards rule the people.” “Odd,” said Arthur, “I thought you said it was a democracy.” “I did,” said Ford. “It is.” “So,” said Arthur, hoping he wasn’t sounding ridiculously obtuse, “why don’t people get rid of the lizards?” “It honestly doesn’t occur to them,” said Ford. “They’ve all got the vote, so they all pretty much assume that the government they’ve voted in more or less approximates to the government they want.” “You mean they actually vote for the lizards?” “Oh yes,” said Ford with a shrug, “of course.” “But,” said Arthur, going for the big one again, “why?” “Because if they didn’t vote for a lizard,” said Ford, “the wrong lizard might get in. Got any gin?”
Douglas Adams, So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish
marry me a little- showtunes about good marriages, bad marriages, and proposals
fancy dress - the drowsy chaperone // if momma was married - gypsy // i’ve decided to marry you - a gentleman’s guide to love and murder // the little things you do together - company // the story of lucy and jessie - follies // it takes two - into the woods // marriage - cabaret // daffodils - big fish // the next ten minutes - the last five years // this day/walking by a wedding - if/then // turning into beautiful - murder ballad // sugartime baby - here lies love // days and days - fun home // hemming & hawing - 35mm: a musical exhibition // fable - the light in the piazza // marry me a little - company //
Sand is a popular substrate in the aquarium setting, it’s easy to clean, looks appealing, helps with the cycle, provides breeding grounds for many live fish foods, and is necessary for a large number of fish that risk harming themselves or eating gravel.
The big problem, is it can be frustrating when you start. You got your tank, poured in you sand and was left with a murky muddy mess that never seemed to subside. Frustrated you scrapped everything.
Step one in dealing with the mess:
Pick the right sand. Now pretty much all sand is safe in the aquarium with the exception of calcium sand and some construction sand. Play-sand, pool filter sand, terrarium sand, or designated fish tank sand is all safe and effective. The sand you choose is based on what you require from it. If you need a sand with a buffer for African species you’re going to want argonite sand, for something that risks eating it you want the finest sand you can find. The finer the sand though, the more mess you’ll have.
Step two Preparing you sand:
Regardless of what sand you chose you should do this. Depending on your living situation the easiest thing to do is to go into the back yard with a 5 gallon bucket or tote and start rinsing using your garden hose. You want to run it for some time until the water coming out of the bucket is clear, then you want to stir everything up and do it again. This is key in reducing the mess as 90% of the mess is dirt and dust (Which is absolutely harmless). When I first did this it took 2 hours and the water was still cloudy when I added it.
Step three adding it to your aquarium:
Have a bare aquarium and scoop it in while it’s still wet covering the bottom however you wish. For non planted you only need an inch or less, for planted 3-5 inches.
Step four scaping your tank:
I highly recommend doing this before you fill the tank. Do all your planting and add your decor. Doing this before it’s fill will mean less reaching in and fussing which only stirs up the sand and makes a mess. It’s also much easier to make sure all your hardscape is secure and your roots are deep. Sometimes adding water to just a little above the top of the sand makes this easier.
Step five fill your tank:
Add a dish, bowl, bag or something else over where you want to pour the water in. I like using the plastic breeding boxes or plant holders. Pour slowly and try not to disturb anything. The water will probably still look murky, this is fine.continue until it’s full and then get your dechlorination in and start up your electrics.
Step six wait:
If you’re starting a new tank and cycling this will be a fine process, just continue doing the regular cycle and everything will settle. You may have to do a few extra water changes.
If you changed substrates and already have the fish the murkiness won’t harm them. Water changes and time will clear it up in a few days. Some people have gotten clarity by seachem to work in clearing things faster. Waiting is the best thing you can do though.
Step seven maintenance:
Sand doesn’t need deep cleans unless you have a large grain sand. If you have live plants it really doesn’t. Hover your siphon about half an inch above the sand and pick up all the waste. If you don’t have live plants you can stir the sand abut gently with the end of a brush or your finger. Trumpet snails are great at doing this for you in a planted tank.
And that’s all I can think of, enjoy your new sandy bottom and if you have questions ask!
While not seen as much of a staple of fish communities as others, the cherry barb is hardly a fish that should be overlooked. One of the easiest and most peaceful barb varieties out there, these cherries would be a wonderful addition to many mid-size to large community setups.
Beautiful invertebrate, and one of the most recognized saltwater animals. Moon Jellyfish have gained popularity over the years for the new and old hobbyist. Like betta they’re marketed as a great cheep beginner for those who want to get into saltwater and have a staple animal.
I have personally cared for them, and made a lot of mistakes which I have learned are very common. I’ve since done loads of research, and if given the money and space would do it again! This will be a care sheet based on the research I’ve done, paired with experience.
Minimum tank size: 6 gallons for one, they are colony animals though so you want 3+ For a group of 3-5 I would use an appropriate shaped 15 gallon. More is always better though! Lifespan: 2+ years, it varies greatly but 2 years is the average. Size: Disk size can reach between 5″ and 8″ but usually hits 3″ in the home aquarium. Temperature: 65-77′f Must stay consistent, they cannot tolerate temperature swings! Using a heater to keep it at 75 can prevent this. PH: 8.0-8.3 (Soft reef sand can be used to lower ph slightly if needed) Salinity:
1.023 Water type: RO/DI or distilled is highly recommended as the metal content in most tap water shortens their lifespan. Ease of care: Easy Ease of Setup: Advanced
Jellyfish have specific requirements for tank setups and this is the biggest entry for caring for them as it can be expensive if you’re not careful.
Appropriate tank shapes include:
Modified rectangle columns (using acrylic you need to block off corners turning it into a hexagon tank of sorts)
You don’t want to use standard tanks, square/cube tanks, bow-fronts (there are a few rounded ones) or other tanks with sharp cornered sides. You’ll usually have to do a lot of diy editing with acrylic and by then you might as well build your own tank.
Substrate wise soft reef sand is the only appropriate option. Gravel is too sharp and they get stuck in it. It also collects too much crap and lowers water quality. Bare bottom is best and perfectly fine.
Decor is a big no for these guys. You can grow algae but that’s about it.
Lights are not necessary, but this is usually the best time for colored led options to brighten up your jellies. I don’t recommend regular lights unless growing algae. Jellyfish cannot see, light is never for them.
There are two decent options for this, it’s also where you have to be the most careful and often creative.
Modified sponge filter. Probably my favorite and can be done in several different ways. You can make your own out of wide tubing or pvc and a bio sponge/ biopad. Have the tube about half an inch below the top of the water reaching the bottom. Plug the side that is meant to be at the bottom and drill holes up it starting from the bottom as far up as you plan to cover in sponge or bellow your panel. Insert an airstone and the tubing to the very bottom of the tube and connect it to an air pump. Make sure that you can control the air flow and play around until you have a good current in the tank. You can toss a chunk of moss in to see how the current moves.
The other option is a trickle sump. These aren’t my favorites due to turnover rate, but they do reduce clutter in the tank. Basically you want to make a small sump using airline tubing. I’ll let you be creative though.
You don’t want bubbles going under your jelly or water to push down on them.
Jellyfish are micro predators. Small frozen food, live plankton, baby brine shrimp or a powder diet accepted by seahorse are all options. You’ll need to keep the food suspended for them to eat which can be accomplished by a turkey baster. Clean up all uneaten food. Feed once or twice a day. They will change size depending on how much they eat.
Water maintenance and quality:
Jellyfish are hardy and can tolerate high nitrates, but shouldn’t have to. A cycled filter will ensure your jellyfish’s health as well as a weekly maintenance schedule. You’re going to want to do 10-25% weekly water changes. Never change more than 50% as they’re very easily shocked. Water should be mixed and be out for 24 hours before adding it to the tank. Testing water is very important.
Small snails are fine to collect uneaten food and algae matter. No other tankmates are safe.
Jellyfish are prone to injury but heal very well most of the time. If their bell is inverted check the ph, ammonia, and nitrite, and metal content, if it’s high in any of those levels that will cause this and should be corrected right away as exposure can create permanent damage. No medications are safe. Not prone to disease.
Stuff the tank cannot have:
Decor of any sort
An overflow or out tank wider than a pen.
In smaller than 75 gallons power heads/wave makers are not advised and then only the smallest ones and cased in mesh
Tankmates besides snails
The majority of kits present are overpriced and far too small. Jellyfish arts and similar companies have tanks under 5 gallons for 3, even at a small size this isn’t appropriate for 1 jellyfish let alone the 3 they sell you. Life expectancy is 6 months in those tanks, it’s equivalent to the betta bowl in many instances. You can take inspiration from the design and speak to your local saltwater store about getting similar shaped and built tanks, but on a larger scale. Many saltwater specialty stores custom build, discuss with them your plans and goals.