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Re: newbie questions

Just wanted to mention while my first tank was cycling, a LFS owner tried to 
do me a favor and gave me some vacuumed stuff from one of his tanks to help 
establish my tank. He had an undergravel filter, and siphoned out from the 
bottom of the tank. Although, I'd finally gotten my tank to controllable 
ammonia levels, something in the range of .5, it zoomed off the scale (higher 
than 8) after adding his water. I think adding fish waste, didn't help 
matters. Also, I'd just as soon stay away from water from the fish 
stores--you never know what you'll bring in. A local aquarist would be a 
better bet.

Better than this, I've found *bio pads* from an established tank which are 
mainly all cultured bacteria, and no waste products help greatly. I recently 
had a quarantine tank set up, and though the sponge filter had been running 
with a fish in the tank, I was trying to accommodate several new fish. After 
measurable ammonia levels, I squeezed a biopad (a sponge from a Whisper power 
filter) out thoroughly in some water and put in the tank. Within an hour, the 
ammonia was at 0. 


<< I've been reading all the faqs and archives but 
 >a few things still confuse me. First of all, my aquarium is 30gal, set up a 
 >month ago with one bunch of anacharis, one A. ulvaceous, and two 
 >microswords... not very interesting I know but I wanted to learn more 
 >I bought a lot of plants. There are also 5 zebra danios. Everyone looks 
 >healthy, but when I had my water tested yeaterday the ammonia, nitrite and 
 >nitrate were all above safe levels. Any ideas how this could happen? 
 Possible from old decaying plants(?) plus your tank hasn't cycled yet. Add
 old dirty vacummed tank water from someone's tank to help get this process
 going. Do a water change. Generally adding  lots of plants is what you want
 to do to stop any algae from taking over. Are these plants growing? Add some
 fast growing stem plants at first to help get rid of waste too.