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KaitieG

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  1. First, way to go on doing your research and figuring out how to fix some of the issues you've run into! You're in a similar position to how I started my first tank, and there's nothing like wanting to take care of your fish to motivate learning lots of new stuff really fast! I agree that I wouldn't add any more fish for right now--they'll be happier a little lonely than with too many fish in a cycling tank. You're essentially doing a fish-in cycle, so that might be a god thing to just look up and read about. Prime is a great idea, and I've had very good success with it keeping fish healthy during mini-cycles. The other thing you could do is if you have a good local fish store or a friend with a tank, you could see if you could get a cycled sponge filter to add. I believe Michael's Fish Room also sells his online at least sometimes. That can help to jump start your cycle. The live plants are a good idea, but stick with something easy to start with since dying ones can add to your ammonia/nitrite issues. Out of curiosity, do you know about what your PH is? Ammonia is more toxic at higher PHs, so that might just be something to take into account. Also, the tip I really wish someone had told me when I was cycling for the first time: when you test nitrates with the API test kit, you have to bang and shake the bottle like MAD before you put the drops in. The Nitrate solutions form crystals in the bottle, so you have to really smack them around to get them distributed in the bottle and get an accurate test. Otherwise, you'll just keep testing at 0 for nitrates...forever...and ever...😉
  2. I love the different colors of mystery snails and they're one of my favorite things to watch in the aquarium...but their lifespan isn't as long as nerites for me.
  3. I have water that's about exactly like yours in terms of hardness and ph. I've done well with most things--including softer water fish like neons, ember tetras, angelfish (though I specifically looked for a local hard-water breeder and bought from him), corys, loaches, betta. I like the philosophy Cory shared on a video--usually fish can handle 1 or 2 stressors but when you get over that you have trouble. I figure if I have fish that find hard/high ph water stressful, I should work to keep other stressors at bay.
  4. I second the water lettuce and frogbit suggestion--I have a hard time with floaters in my tanks in general,and my frogbit has mostly died out, but water lettuce that I sourced on ebay has been the most successful for me. I like that it's super easy to remove when it overgrows (which it does). Mine looked awful when it arrived and even smelled like dead plant, but I put some of the best pieces (even they were lacking roots) into the tank, and within a week they had roots a couple inches long and were greening up.
  5. I had gardneri killis as well and they ate EVERYTHING. Their mouths are bigger than they look, and they're fairly aggressive at going after anything else you put in the tank. Not sure how australes compare, but I'd use caution with shrimp and killis myself.
  6. I have a male crowntail in a community tank and have had success for a couple years with that setup. He didn't like neons when I had them in there and appeared stressed, but he's done great with ember tetras, corys, kuhlis, and neocardina shrimp. He is always out and about and is quite active, doesn't seem bothered by the HOB filter either. I think it's really a matter of the individual fish, but that's hard to guage before you get home!
  7. I think you're good so long as your diet is varied as others have said. I have embers and they like crushed flakes. They probably wouldn't choose it over frozen foods, but they do fine eating it since it's that or hungry most of the time.
  8. You want to have a fairly established (at least cycled) tank for shrimp, and if you have algae it sounds like you probably do. If you were planning to put shrimp into a tank with a bunch of fish, I'd maybe suggest qt, but personally I probably wouldn't worry about it in this situation. If you add more shrimp later, then you'd want to qt so that they don't pass anything onto your established colony, but for now with just a betta, I'd personally just add the shrimp. The risk is extremely low in my opinion.
  9. I have pothos that I really like on my little 5.5 gallon. Bamboo too but don't like that as much so far. I'd love to try orchids!
  10. KaitieG

    Guppy

    I know you're supposed to use the anal fins to sex them--those all do definitely look female for quite a while, but for me in my own experience (a few hundred guppies so far) the females (pregnant or not) all have gravid spots pretty early on. I hear that's supposed to be unreliable but for me it's easy and accurate.
  11. Gold coin is a lighter green color that can look nice mixed in with other anubias. Nana Petit is super small. Regular Nana is a pretty decent medium size. I also have Frazeri which has a more elongated leaf.
  12. That has been my experience--plus the fact that a couple of my tanks just absolutely refuse to grow any floating plants no matter what I do to flow. That said, I've had the best luck growing things in my largest tank, which has good flow, but it also has a lot of tall val. It seems like the floating plants' roots sort of get stuck on the val and then they very happily multiply on the half of the tank that's away from the HOB filter. I tend to struggle with them in my other tanks--even in the two that only have sponges. Same water. No idea why they're finicky. I can't even grow duckweed in those tanks!
  13. I have habrosus and pandas on gravel and both have done just fine. Habrosus are almost 4 years old and all have their barbells. I stopped with the gravel vac in that tank about a year ago when we added shrimp because I didn't want to suck them up. Haven't had any issues. I also have aneus on sand which I also don't gravel vac (too many plants, too deep of a tank). They've been in there almost a year with no issues. So, not large, long-term data, but that's been my experience.
  14. I think you'll have happier fish if you have a bigger group for the pygmies and Khuli loaches. Maybe something like 12 cardinals, 6 harlequins, 6-8 pygmies, 1 hillstream, 6+ kuhlis, and a betta. Ideallly I think one schooling fish would make your maintenence less but if you cant choose, the bioload for pygmies and kuhlis is very low, and they really like being in groups, so I'd still consider increasing their numbers. One think about is that they're not out a whole lot if they don't have plenty of cover and friends (or at least for mine--a recent water change. That makes them go nuts for some reason in my tank.)
  15. We tried several types of neocardina from our LFS and they all slowly died--yellow was hardier than the other colors for us. We REALLY wanted blue, but struggled with those twice. Then I found someone selling plants locally thru facebook, and he had blue velvet shrimp too. Paid more than I wanted but less than the LFS and tried one more time. From those 10 shrimp we started with, we now have about 100 living in two of our community tanks. I don't know what the difference was other than these being local. If these don't thrive, maybe see if you have any available through a club auction?
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