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How soon after setting up a NPT do you usually add fish?

In my two 5 gallon NPTs I've set up, I added the fish after a couple of days. In the second tank I regretted that, as the tank went on to have an ammonia and nitrite spike. I am still not sure why that happened.

I've just converted my 10 gallon to a NPT (yay). I've replanted the existing plants and added some, it's not exactly dense with foliage yet, though. I haven't turned the filter off yet - the plan is to gradually remove the biological filteration media and then maybe turn the powerhead off, taking maybe a month to make that transition.

After testing that the water has 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite, I've put the shrimp and the white clouds back in straight away. The white clouds because I reckon they are tough enough to handle something going slightly wrong, and the shrimp because I reckon they are better off in the planted tank than in the base holding tank with my other fish, where they would most likely get eaten for lack of enough hiding spaces.

I have the cardinal tetras and corydoras in a temporary tank at the moment, but as that's sitting on my desk going trickle trickle trickle at me (annoying!), I would prefer that they go back into their home as soon as is safely possible.

So, how quickly do you add fish to a newly set up NPT? Especially sensitive fish like cardinal tetras? Have you ever experienced a significant ammonia or nitrite spike as the NPT got established?
 

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I've set up 3 NPT tanks. From my experience, once an ammonia and nitrite spike is over, it won't occur again (unless you put in 20 plus fish at the same time, and overfeed etc...) If your tests shows that ammonia and nitrite are 0, then you can add fish, but I would add a few at a time. :) I've never had cardinals, but I did have some neons die.
 
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