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Gday from Sydney


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Hi,

My name is J and I call Sydney, Australia home.

I am currently about 5 weeks into cycling my first ever planted tank, a 20L, 45cm shallow tank. Trying my best to be patient. 🙂

Have about a decade of experience on the marine side of things, but wanted a small system in my home office and decided to pursue something different. Looking forward to being part of this community and learning more about this amazing side of the hobby.

Pic is from a day or two ago. Tried my hand at a rock only hardscape after finding the cool looking rock (I believe dark seiryu stone) on the right. Dark start method for the first few weeks. Then LFS had a sale on plants and so added my first plants a bit earlier than planned, about 2 weeks ago - Monte carlo carpet (eventually), staurogyne repens for green accent plants, alternanthera reineckii mini for some red accents toward the back of the tank. Then a local seller had some floating plants for sale a week ago and I grabbed a few of them too.

J

20240606_171347.jpg

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Hi J! Welcome to the forum, this is a great place to share experience and learn new things withouth harsh judgements! Nice to have more people from the other side of the world! Lovely start to that tank! What do you plan to put in it?

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Posted (edited)

Thanks @xXInkedPhoenixX and @Whitecloud09 for the very warm welcome.

Current stocking of the tank includes only a few small snails and two copepods (that came with the floating plants), plus two pieces of sweet potato lol (trying to boost biofolm in anticipation of inhabitants).

With a caveat that I have already learned a heap and changed my mind a few dozen times about almost every element of the tank over the months of research and pondering, the following list is far from set in stone and open to change > my current idea for stocking is:

* neocardina shrimp

* 2 otos

* then a few weeks later, assuming the tank is going well, a small group of some sort of schooling fish that will be happy with only 20L and 45cm to live in and add some more movement to the tank

Welcome advice on stocking from anyone with more experience than me (basically everyone). Is the above a good/bad idea? Suggestions for changes or what type of fish, if any, would be suitable.
 

Edited by j_rider
Fix member name links
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Well, speaking as someone with experience with both shrimp and Otos especially...I think you need to start with your schoolers first. Both of those species have a better chance of survival with a more established tank. I'd say that's pretty much the way I'd go with any tank I'd set up. Schoolers first, bottom dwellers last. Any tank I've tried to start putting shrimp in I completely failed at UNTIL I had a very established tank. Otos are sensitive and hard to get onto commercial foods (which I highly recommend you also give them as an option just don't depend on what's in the tank) and they usually make short work of what is in the tank when it's new. If both are put in before it's time you may lose everyone. Using schoolers to help season the tank will give you better results in my experience. 

That being said, I would in that 5 gallon go with a 5 or six Ember tetras, they are small and pretty, easily kept in that size of tank. 

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On 6/11/2024 at 10:45 AM, xXInkedPhoenixX said:

Well, speaking as someone with experience with both shrimp and Otos especially...I think you need to start with your schoolers first. Both of those species have a better chance of survival with a more established tank. I'd say that's pretty much the way I'd go with any tank I'd set up. Schoolers first, bottom dwellers last. Any tank I've tried to start putting shrimp in I completely failed at UNTIL I had a very established tank. Otos are sensitive and hard to get onto commercial foods (which I highly recommend you also give them as an option just don't depend on what's in the tank) and they usually make short work of what is in the tank when it's new. If both are put in before it's time you may lose everyone. Using schoolers to help season the tank will give you better results in my experience. 

That being said, I would in that 5 gallon go with a 5 or six Ember tetras, they are small and pretty, easily kept in that size of tank. 

Thanks @xXInkedPhoenixX for the recommendations and experience shared. So next steps look to be a test kit*** 🙂 and then once parameters confirm my tank has cycled I will get some schoolers (those ember tetras you suggested look cool).

Holding off on the shrimp/otos, I am guessing that means I should:

- remove the sweet potato as I don't need to extra biofilm atm

- also get some cleanup crew snails to help look after things until the tank is matured enough for the other bottom dwellers?

 

*** ran out of funds for this project and couldn't get the test kit earlier on, plus decided that I would just be patient with the cycling, so no need to do lots of testing and/or stress the results.

Best two things I think I ever did with my marine tank were to be patient (4 months before adding inhabitants or corals) and stock super light (5 fish for approx 300L).

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On 6/10/2024 at 10:30 PM, j_rider said:

 

- also get some cleanup crew snails to help look after things until the tank is matured enough for the other bottom  dwellers?

That would be good. Nerite or mystery snail crew would be great.

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Thanks @Whitecloud09 for the cleanup crew suggestions. I had a quick look here in Sydney and there is a huge price difference between these two snail types!

Looks like mystery snails can be had for about $5-10, depending on size. Little bit concerned with forum posts about how fast they can grow though, given the small size of my tank.

Nerite snails, on the other hand, are $15-32 each! I have read they have a much smaller max size though, which may account for the popularity, price and generally being out of stock in a lot of places! 🙂

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Based on the experience shared above, me being a freshwater newbie and something I remembered about my tank last night, I am rethinking having otos in this tank.

Remembered last night that my 20L tank is actually probably closer to 12-13L of water once I take into account hardscape, substrate, water not filling all the way to the top etc. Hoping for a relatively light maintenance burden for this tank, so a lower bioload has its appeal, ie. maybe no otos after all

Current thinking now - a small school of fish to start, plus a small clean up crew of snails. Then make a decision about shrimp in a month or few, once the tank matures.

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Nerite is the only snail I'd recommend for you if you get one. That is a small tank and Mystery Snails are high polluters and get rather large. Also they are not great cleaning crew and need to be fed to stay healthy. Nerites are hands down better for cleaning, are small and don't eat commercial foods typically. 

Shrimp are great cleaners. In the end not a bad idea to skip an Oto or 2 as they actually might be outcompeted by the shrimp anyway!

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On 6/11/2024 at 7:52 PM, j_rider said:

Thanks @Whitecloud09 for the cleanup crew suggestions. I had a quick look here in Sydney and there is a huge price difference between these two snail types!

Looks like mystery snails can be had for about $5-10, depending on size. Little bit concerned with forum posts about how fast they can grow though, given the small size of my tank.

Nerite snails, on the other hand, are $15-32 each! I have read they have a much smaller max size though, which may account for the popularity, price and generally being out of stock in a lot of places! 🙂

Yes out of the two, nerite snail would be much better, as of in size, and actually cleaning up some algae and all. Not saying mystery snails are bad, but i love my nerite, he has cleaned up a ton of algae!

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