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Adding Ottos/shrimp right away

Morgan Gerk wrote:

>It is my understanding that the addition of certain fish and
>invertebrates (namely, algae-consuming critters) immediately after the
>filling of a new, heavily planted aquarium is good practice to avoid an
>outbreak of algae. I too agree with this argument, but I'm wondering how
>much of a negative effect, if any, this may have on the health of those
>critters introduced. After all, the chemistry and biology of a new tank
>is going to be in flux for the initial few days until the beneficial
>microorganisms establish themselves and do their jobs.

Actually, if the tank is heavily planted, you have already imported a
working colony of nitrifying bacteria from day one.  I would wait 24 hours
if you fill the tank directly from the tap, particularly in the winter.
The reason for this is that tap water, particularly in the winter is high
in various dissolved gasses. (you see them collect as bubbles on the inside
of the tank glass as you fill the tank) These can be very hard on the fish.
 Otherwise, as long as chlorine/chloramine have been appropriatley dealt
with, there is no reason not to add your algae eating fish.  As long as you
don't feed them, they will not tax the biological capacity of the tank.

>My question is this: If one were to introduce Ottos and Yamato shrimp
>immediately upon completion of the new tank (literally right after
>filling), are these critters subjected to stressful biogeochemical
>situations, or are they considered hardy enough to persevere? 

If the tank is set up properly, you will probably not even be able to track
the nitrogen cycle in the tank.  Plants do an amazing job.

>Also, at
>what point would it be safe to add fish such as characins? As soon as
>the tank stabilizes?

It is safest to wait a full month to start stocking your tank with other
fish.  If you really can't wait that long, please wait at least two weeks.
The more patient you are, the less likely it is that you will run into
algae problems and uprooted plants.

> I'm aware that the plants will quickly balance the
>chemistry of the tank once they strike root and pearl, given optimum
>conditions, but at what point will the role of the new filter's bacteria
>come into play? 

It depends on your plant density and growth, and on the stocking level of
fish in your tank.  The bacterial filter in my tanks plays almost no role
ever... I have to add nitrate regularly.