New 37 gallon tank - questions before start next


New Fish
Sep 10, 2016
Hey guys,

So I've recently got into keeping fish after my father in law gave us his Electric Blue Acara to nurse back to health after it got bullied.

He has had tanks his whole life from thousands of dollars in saltwater tanks to currently having to large freshwater tanks.

His tanks are always crystal clear and has healthy fish for years and years so he obviously knows what he is doing but being an obsessive compulsive hobbiest, I tend to study in depth anything I get into and some of the stuff he is doing seems like corner cutting at the very least.

I set up a tank pretty quickly and stocked it fairly fast not heavily researching like I typically to because I was just asking him questions. Now that I have these fish and I've gotten into it, my obsessive researching habits have kicked in and I'm wishing I would have done things more methodical and patiently.

That said, my tank isn't having any crazy issues at the moment and the fish all seem fine and happy but would like to share my set up and get some advice moving forward.

I attached an image of my equipment.
Aqueon 36 gallon bowfront aquarium
1 Marineland emperor 280 power filter with bio wheel
1 Marine land penguin 200 filter with bio wheel
Double aerator pump
1 odyssea T5 quad light with timer
Python no spill water changer
HT55 200w automatic heater (tank stays around 78 degrees)

I have a total of 13 live plants in my tank, two peices of driftwood.

1 adult Electric Blue Acara
2 clown loaches
1 Gheophagus
1 Angel fish
1 powder blue gourami
8 zebra danios
8 tiger barbs
1 Electric Yellow Lab
2 tinfoil barbs
1 common plecto
1 crawdad
30 ghost miniature ghost shrimp. (I add these for food and stimulation. It seems to give the fish purpose to actively search for elusive food as opposed to just hanging out. They seem happier and I have created an heavily planted environment with caves so the shrimp aren't just placed on a dinner plate. It seems pretty balanced.)

I tried to create different mini environments in each part of the tank to allow more stimulus and for each fish to find its niche.

The angel fish and powder blue gourami love handing out under the hornwort and watching the ghost shrimp in there or picking out some food that gets trapped in there.

The yellow lab and clown loaches loves zooming in and out of driftwood caverns and the little forests I've made. The yellow lab, even though it can only fit the smallest of shrimp in its mouth still loves searching for them.

The crawfish has his cave and open sandy area he patrols.

The acara has a spot under the bonsai tree when he isn't hunting for shrimp.

Tinfoil barbs have ADDHD and never stop moving and swim back n forth


So I haven't had any issues with fish fighting or anything. They all have their different areas they like and different activities that seem to keep them busy.

I ran the tank for 48 hours with bio wheels and an aquarium start up formula that adds bacteria. Then I added the Electric Blue Acara and nursed it back to health for about 2 weeks. He got his color back, his eye healed and he became active and lost his shyness.

I then slowly added the listed fish over the next 3 weeks. I wish I would have known about a fish less cycle because I would have wanted to do it but the injured blue acara was sort of dropped in my lap. We are doing a fishless cycle for my daughters 20 gallon tank so that is why I want to lay everything I did on the table and get any advice I can before we start stocking my daughters next month.

Currently this is my water conditions. I am doing partial water changes twice a week to handle the nitrites while in this midcycle. Still need the bacteria to break down the nitrites into nitrates.

My PH: 7.7
My ammonia: is 0- .25 (hard to to tell what it say)
Nitrites: had a spike to 2.0
Nitrates 0 - 5.0 (hard to tell what it says)

Video of my tank.


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