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Tag Archives: aquarium cycling

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Different Fish For Tank Cycling – Starting With Something Different

Hello everyone! This is Craig. Just the other day I was helping a customer and was showing him some fish that would be hardy enough to cycle his brand new freshwater community aquarium. I went through the normal fish selections of zebra danios, blue danios, and white clouds. He expressed a certain… lack of enthusiasm towards fish that, while being sturdy and inexpensive, did not show as much character as he would have hoped. “Everyone has those fish…” is a common response to the zebra danios. Having thought about this a bit… I decided to put together a short list of fish that are durable, inexpensive, and… well… different than the zebra danio.

Brilliant RasboraFirst on the list would be the brilliant rasbora. Rasbora borapetensis is a beautiful and hardy fish. An elongated fish with gold and black lateral stripes and a red tail, the brilliant rasbora will attain a size of close to 3 inches in length. In larger schools they are quite impressive as they cruise the aquarium in a tight formation. They will not nip at plants or long fins, so brilliant rasboras make a beautiful and active addition to the community aquarium.

Harlequin RasboraStaying with the rasbora group of fishes, the harlequin rasbora ( Rasbora heteromorpha ) is another fish that is beautiful, hardy, and peaceful. The harlequin rasbora is a small schooling fish that is pink with a large black triangle covering the back half of the fish. Barely reaching 1.5 inches, this fish shows very well in schools of 8 or more. As the fish ages, the color intensifies and is really quite spectacular. The harlequin rasbora is a little gem that can be included in almost any small community aquarium.

Another hardy and colorful fish that can be used a “starter fish” is the Serpae tetra. The Serpae tetra ( Hyphessobrycon eques ) is a beautiful tetra that does best in schools of 6 or more. This fish has had a long standing history of being one of the more sturdy tetras and, when kept in a warm aquarium, can show a deep crimson color with a black spot on their sides. When kept in smaller numbers, the Serpae tetra can be somewhat nippy, but that problem is easily solved by adding more individuals to the school.

Serpae TetraThe cherry barb ( Puntius titteya ) is still another colorful and hardy small fish to add to this list. While most barbs have a tendancy to be little nippers, the cherry barb is quite a bit more relaxed and very rarely nips at fins. The males of this species are a nice cherry red, while the females are a burnt orange color. This barb swims toward the lower regions of your aquarium and will do best in groups of 5 or more. Mixing the ratio of males to females will produce the best color and will also produce some interesting courting displays from the males.

Cherry BarbSo, for those of you that want to start your freshwater community with a little more color or variety, there are options! There are actually more options than listed above, but these 4 species of fish are, quite possibly, the top 4 choices for cycling a new tank. Just remember to be patient when beginning your new aquarium, and you should have no troubles at all!

Clearing Cloudy Water – Common Aquarium Questions

One of our most frequently asked questions is answered below.  There tends to be a spike (pun intended) in cloudy aquarium questions after the holiday season has passed and all of the new gift aquariums get set up.  This might help if you’re a newbie!

Tom wrote:

I have a 90 gallon fresh water tank with a Fluval 405 canister filter. The tank is about 4-weeks old. I have been using Cycle to speed things along, but my water for the most part of 4-weeks has a white cloudiness to it. When I do water changes, the water clears up and then a day or 2 later it’s cloudy again. I have well water with a built in water softener and sediment filter.  My main question is, do you recommend the use of resins in conjunction with carbon to battle this problem?

From Marinebio@thatpetplace:

If the cloudiness is caused from particulates in the water, then yes a resin will help. If the cloud is from a bacterial bloom, which is highly likely, then resins will not solve your problem. Have you tested your water? Any ammonia or nitrite present? If either of those are showing levels above 0ppm, small weekly water changes of around 5% will help keep the toxic levels of ammonia and nitrite diluted, while still allowing you to cycle the tank. The trick is to keep the levels low enough to not lose fish, yet high enough to not to disrupt your nitrogen cycle and the beneficial bacteria that are trying to colonize. Large water changes can lengthen the amount of time it takes to finish your cycle, thus lengthening the time your tank stays cloudy. So if you can test the ammonia and nitrite levels, we can see where you are in your cycle.

For additional info on beginner aquarium basics and the nitrogen cycle view the following articles: