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Need New Tank Advice


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Good morning! I am a newbie, setting up a 20 gallon planted community tank. I am testing the water almost every day and, even with fish and plants, the levels for NH3, NO2, NO3 have remained 0 and the water looks clear.  I’m not sure whether to be pleased or paranoid! 🤣I have an HOB, a Finnex Stingray light, heater, 10 green neon tetras and one hitch hiker baby reticulated hill stream loach several plants. Here’s the timeline of adding stuff:

11/2 bacteria and fish flakes to get things going 

11/4 plants and my unexpected little loach, plus food for him

11/5 fed loach

11/6 25% water change, added 10 tetras

I have fed the plants twice (Easy Green) and the fish 2x daily. The levels have stayed 0. The ammonia shows a tiny bit and it turns out it’s the same as my tap water. Is all this ok or what?

Thanks for the advice!



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Sounds good to me. Not having nitrates isn't something to worry about. It will come with time as your tank cycles. Just keep checking that ammonia(plants are good at helping with that). Might take feeding down to one a day(unless you're feeding small amounts twice). Uneaten food could lead to more ammonia as it breaks down. Plus your fish will produce more waste. This could create extra maintenance for you till your tank gets more established.

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I'd just keep and eye on the ammonia level.

If you added bacteria and live plants and only have a few fish, you'll probably be fine. Just give the tank some time, monitor levels in this beginning stage, and if everything looks good in a couple weeks, then you're probably AOk to add a few more fish.

I sometimes find that the API ammonia test shows a faint tinge greenish even with my tap water. I mostly believe it's more a fault of the test than the presence of ammonia.

Edited by tolstoy21
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