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Setting Up a Stable Tank


hopeful1
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I agree with the comment above. First decide on the species and amount of fish you want to keep. This will determine the appropriate tank size and decorations, plants etc. 

In a planted tank, plants help a lot of maintaining the balance as they act as natural filter. That is their role in the wild. You can not go overboard with plants (you will just have to keep them trimmed) but different species of plants need different conditions (light levels, place in the tank, nutrients). If you are new to plants start with easier plants to keep (java fern, anubius, mosses, amazon swords etc).

In my experience plants are very important when maintaining a balanced tank, as they take some pressure off you. If the tank is heavily planted the water chemistry will not swing too greatly and its safer to leave the tank unattained for longer periods of time. It creates a self sustaining ecosystem.  

I don't have any experience with non planted tanks so I'm not the best person to give advice. 

I would say the bottom line to a balanced tank is: suitable filtration, correct stocking levels, regular water changes and fish that work well together   

Hope this helps

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Do you mean a stable tank as in few or no water changes? It seems like plants are essential to that situation.
If you’re planning on doing regular weekly water changes I think you’ll want to make sure you have enough biological filtration. You’ll also want to make sure the parameters of the water your adding matches what’s in your tank. 

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Posted (edited)

My goal in learning what is needed for a stable tank is to try and upgrade my 40 gallon tank right away. I have been doing a lot of water changes and maintaining poorly as far as nitrates go. My tank has been up for at least a year.

Do you feel that plants rooting in the substrate are better than plants who get their nutrients from the water itself for the nitrate cycle?

I am tempted to get the bacteria from the store and add it. I know that this is sometimes done in aquariums that are unpopulated tanks, but my tank is populated. Do you have any background with these.

I will be adding a pothos holder to hold more pothos plants, or may be go to lucky bamboo.

Thinking about adding porous bio-rings to my Eihiem canister, and adding sponge filter per Cory  to intake tube. Just added Cory intake sponge filter.

I vacuum every day or every other day.

 

 

 

 

Edited by hopeful1
added Cory's sponge filter.
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On 8/11/2021 at 3:40 PM, hopeful1 said:

Has any one used bio-media balls or rings as a substrate in their aquarium?

I don't think that using filter media as a substrate will be effective. In order for beneficial bacteria to grow in significant numbers, it needs surface area to grow on and a relatively rapid flow. Although beneficial bacteria grows on substrate, rocks, and other things in the tank, the vast majority of beneficial bacteria in most tanks is in the filter, because that is where the flow is.

I had the same idea as you when I put a lava rock substrate (purchased from Bonsai Jack) in my aquarium. I like the way the substrate looks and it may be a little better home for beneficial bacteria than ordinary gravel would be, but I don't think the difference is significant. There is just not enough flow for beneficial bacteria to grow in great numbers in the substrate (unless you have and under-gravel filter).

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Plants can certainly help with keeping the tank stable, but what are your water parameters ammonia, nitrites, ect. What are you having problems keeping stable, more filtration won't help bring your nitrates down it will just help you increase your beneficial to convert ammonia and nitrite and only to a point depending on how much food they have. 

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On 8/11/2021 at 3:22 PM, hopeful1 said:

My goal in learning what is needed for a stable tank is to try and upgrade my 40 gallon tank right away. I have been doing a lot of water changes and maintaining poorly as far as nitrates go. My tank has been up for at least a year.

 

 

 

 

Better or more filtration is always good, but, as Intuos points out, it won't help with nitrates.

Pothos or lucky bamboo will help and plants will help.

Cutting back on feeding will also help. Most people, including me, tend to feed too much

Reducing the number or size of fish will also help.

It sounds as though your tank is cycled, so I don't think adding a bacteria-in-a-bottle product will help. People who use those products believe they help to develop beneficial bacteria to handle ammonia and nitrites. I don't think the manufacturers of these products even claim that the products help with nitrates (although I wouldn't be surprised if some do claim that).

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Nitrate removal require either plants or Anaerobic bacteria.  The bacteria lives in low oxygen places , like a deep sub-straight.  And if your going to have a deep sub-straight you might as well have rooted plants.  You can also get a algae box which helps a lot with Nitrates.  

The worst thing I did when starting my tank as not picking the fish I wanted first!  Everything else is built around the type of fish you choose.

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If your goal is lower Nitrates and less water changes plants are a huge help. The ones that are supposed to be most effective are fast growing stem plants and floating plants. Hornwort, Water Wisteria and Pogostemon Stellatus Octopus are some fast growing stems plants that don’t even need to be planted in the substrate. Dwarf Water Lettuce, Frogbit, Salvinia are some floaters. 
Did you mention what fish you currently have? Stocking levels also have a big impact on Nitrates. 

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40 gallon tank: I currently have 4 black skirt testras, 1 small golden ram fish. 1 2-3 inch pleco (which I shouldn't have bought but okay for now) I have two flying foxes (perhaps not my favorite they bother other fish and eat twice as fast) They say they eat algae but eat everything, including fallen fish).

10 gallon tank: a small breeding pair of angel fish. This tank is bare bones right now because originally the parents were not suppose to stay in the tank with the babies.

 

 

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The best thing that creates a stable tank IMO is seasoned tank time: aka time for your tank to mature...aka get "settled in". The more that you move plants around, add plants-fish-inverts kinda re-starts this time. 
 

The longer a tank is set up and running with minimal additions the better off it'll be. 

Edited by Jeff
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