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New 38g community Apistograma setup progress

Bsan

New Member
Messages
18
Hi all, so last month I posted my interest in possibly setting up a 38g planted community aquarium with possibly a single Apisto. Here’s my “little” write up of the progress :)
Okay so I already had an established 55g Oranda aquarium with two canister filter. However tired of constant water changes I decide to give them away to a friend as they were outgrowing the aquarium due to rather messy habits. So the idea came to downsize the aquarium, plant it and low bio load keep nano fish with a centre piece to keep it interesting.
So starting off I ordered a rimless clear glass aquarium measuring 80cm length, 45 height, 40 depth.
FAEC759F-66D1-49D7-A410-2EA25D9832E1.jpeg

Not happy with available stands I decided to build one scratch..which was fun, my first time building anything but you could literally jump up and down on it without it moving (I tried ).
Stand built I set up the substrate and hard scape: Colombo nitro base capped with Mano base..with red moor and mountain rock.
Next I loaded the 55g with plants ready to move over, it also has 16 green neons and 12 celestial pearl danios which I kept to keep as future stock and keep my filter cycled.
5AB49C22-CF8A-4F6A-BDFC-B75CBA2C4989.jpeg

I transferred my sicce 500 whale canister filter, purchased a inline hydor 200w external heater, Lilly pipe outflow (to reduce flow) and hyger 24/7 light.
To start the cycle in went some goldfish pellets in a fine mesh bag and wallah 5 days later..ammonia and nitrite spike then this
CF17B204-A23D-44E8-9C86-7D1C2BE7FA70.jpeg


Still not happy there seems a tiny bit of ammonia but I think it’s from the dead leaves when I moved the plants over and possibly a clogged canister filter? Lots of dirt upon initial setup from substrate.
So I haven’t transferred any fish over, I may clear out debris from filter foam..carefully and retest aquarium with some more pellets. There’s also a little bloom? On the red moor.
So here’s the result so far, hopefully I haven’t bored you too much . I’ll test again for ph and hardness in a week and hopefully some suggestions for my apisto.
12C5CB02-6ED9-49EC-B40D-00E4F7D6E72B.jpeg
 

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MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,050
Location
Germany
Unless you are using a filter with established filter media (which is a jump start) a tank is not cycled within 5 days. That's biologically not possible. So do I get this right, the filter is established and hasn't been turned off inbetween tanks?
Biofilms on new wood are normal. There will be more to come. Just leave it, doesn't do any harm.
You might want to triple the amount of plants. You understocked the plant mass. Most people underestimate the amounts needed. That often leads to problems down the line (I'm not talking about algae, but cyanobacteria and general imbalances).
The rocks you picked look like a type of limestone, which raises KH and thus pH. Which is rather the opposite of what you want for dwarf cichlids, even the whitewater species. You might want to replace those with something inert like river pebbles.
I have also no idea what kind of substrate you used. I don't speak brand names.

Care to add a picture just from the front? The structure seems inappropriate for Apistogramma. Except you do the right thing for a display tank this size and only stock one male Apisto (or other dwarf cichlid for that matter) with a gregarious species like tetras.
I have a similar sized tank, display only, stocked with a single male cichlid, a group of tetras and a group of pencilfish. No more than 17 fish total, only the cichlid bigger than 5cm.

Edit: Just realized I gave most of this advise already in another thread of yours.
 

Bsan

New Member
Messages
18
Unless you are using a filter with established filter media (which is a jump start) a tank is not cycled within 5 days. That's biologically not possible. So do I get this right, the filter is established and hasn't been turned off inbetween tanks?
Biofilms on new wood are normal. There will be more to come. Just leave it, doesn't do any harm.
You might want to triple the amount of plants. You understocked the plant mass. Most people underestimate the amounts needed. That often leads to problems down the line (I'm not talking about algae, but cyanobacteria and general imbalances).
The rocks you picked look like a type of limestone, which raises KH and thus pH. Which is rather the opposite of what you want for dwarf cichlids, even the whitewater species. You might want to replace those with something inert like river pebbles.
I have also no idea what kind of substrate you used. I don't speak brand names.

Care to add a picture just from the front? The structure seems inappropriate for Apistogramma. Except you do the right thing for a display tank this size and only stock one male Apisto (or other dwarf cichlid for that matter) with a gregarious species like tetras.
I have a similar sized tank, display only, stocked with a single male cichlid, a group of tetras and a group of pencilfish. No more than 17 fish total, only the cichlid bigger than 5cm.

Edit: Just realized I gave most of this advise already in another thread of yours.
Hi yes this particular filter has been established for over 6 months with the orandas, it was placed in an aquarium that has been established for over 4 years joining another canister filter. The wood rocks and plants were in the 55g for two weeks, the tank and substrate are new along with the hosing for the filter. Here’s a closer picture of the hardscape, floating plants were the next addition.
AB47FAA9-2D5D-4038-B198-1749103069B5.jpeg
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,050
Location
Germany
Allright, so the filter is a jumpstart. Good.
The rocks are indeed limestone. I'd replace them. They will mess up your KH and pH.

And the rest is open area? If so, definitely stick to a single Apisto.

I'd still triple the amounts of plants. Preferrably fast growing stuff that has a good filtration property removing nitrogen compounts. Nymphaea comes to mind for the open area to produce shade, Hydrocotyle leucocephala floating and half emersed, Vallisneria, many stem plants... Knock yourself out. Now or never.

The substrate looks quite rough. Think about capping with fine sand. Apistogramma will appreciate that.
 

Bsan

New Member
Messages
18
Hi yes this particular filter has been established for over 6 months with the orandas, it was placed in an aquarium that has been established for over 4 years joining another canister filter. The wood rocks and plants were in the 55g for two weeks, the tank and substrate are new along with the hosing for the filter. Here’s a closer picture of the hardscape, floating plants were the next addition.
View attachment 12346
Allright, so the filter is a jumpstart. Good.
The rocks are indeed limestone. I'd replace them. They will mess up your KH and pH.

And the rest is open area? If so, definitely stick to a single Apisto.

I'd still triple the amounts of plants. Preferrably fast growing stuff that has a good filtration property removing nitrogen compounts. Nymphaea comes to mind for the open area to produce shade, Hydrocotyle leucocephala floating and half emersed, Vallisneria, many stem plants... Knock yourself out. Now or never.

The substrate looks quite rough. Think about capping with fine sand. Apistogramma will appreciate that.
Oh balls I did like those rocks :) substrates like tiny pebbles it’s really quite soft tbh, right I’ll get off to the lfs and try getting some plants. Thanks
 

Bsan

New Member
Messages
18
Unless you are using a filter with established filter media (which is a jump start) a tank is not cycled within 5 days. That's biologically not possible. So do I get this right, the filter is established and hasn't been turned off inbetween tanks?
Biofilms on new wood are normal. There will be more to come. Just leave it, doesn't do any harm.
You might want to triple the amount of plants. You understocked the plant mass. Most people underestimate the amounts needed. That often leads to problems down the line (I'm not talking about algae, but cyanobacteria and general imbalances).
The rocks you picked look like a type of limestone, which raises KH and thus pH. Which is rather the opposite of what you want for dwarf cichlids, even the whitewater species. You might want to replace those with something inert like river pebbles.
I have also no idea what kind of substrate you used. I don't speak brand names.

Care to add a picture just from the front? The structure seems inappropriate for Apistogramma. Except you do the right thing for a display tank this size and only stock one male Apisto (or other dwarf cichlid for that matter) with a gregarious species like tetras.
I have a similar sized tank, display only, stocked with a single male cichlid, a group of tetras and a group of pencilfish. No more than 17 fish total, only the cichlid bigger than 5cm.

Edit: Just realized I gave most of this advise already in another thread of yours.
Hi yes this particular filter has been established for over 6 months with the orandas, it was placed in an aquarium that has been established for over 4 years joining another canister filter. The wood rocks and plants were in the 55g for two weeks, the tank and substrate are new along with the hosing for the filter. Here’s a closer picture of the hardscape, floating plants were the next addition.
It's about the grain size. I prefer using 0.2 - 1.0mm average.
1-2mm is what they state, it’s clay based, I had a search around which stated that would be the max size I should get for apisto
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,050
Location
Germany
1-2mm is what they state, it’s clay based, I had a search around which stated that would be the max size I should get for apisto
Far from ideal but it will have to do. The bigger the grain size the more you will have to watch it and keep it maintained. Fine sand is extremely easy to maintain in comparison as it's so fine there's basically no buildup of waste in it. Mulm from botanicals and leaf litter is safe though.
 

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