Brand New 50g Tank - Setup & More
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Brand New 50g Tank - Setup & More

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Brand New 50g Tank - Setup & More
Old 09-26-2009, 03:30 PM   #1
 
Smile Brand New 50g Tank - Setup & More

Oceanic 50g Tank
Florescent light
Neim Professional II Filter System
Jaeger Heater
Stand
(Photo to come)

Not yet stocked.

I am going to cycle this tank first before I add fish.

Please feel free to offer advise.

I have just washed my gravel. There are millions of particles of little tiny blue micro pebbles that have sifted through my strainer. Should these go in the tank or the garbage?

Big Fish
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Old 09-26-2009, 11:58 PM   #2
 
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Put them in the garbage, the little micro gravel that is. what wattage and kelven is your light? how many watts is the heater? and im assuming you know how to do a fishless cycle?
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Old 09-27-2009, 09:04 AM   #3
 
Micro Gravel in the Garbage: Check

How many Watts for the heater: 150W good for 40-60g tank- hopefully the correct purchase - Check
- the lfs guy recommended it as the correct size

The Florescent Tude: " Replace with 55W 2G11 Lamp" that is all it says. This is a stock lamp that came with tank

I googled the info above, here is what I got:
4100 Kelvin 55 Watt 4 Pin 2G11 Base Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs

Life Hours: 12,000
Warranty: 15 month
Color Rendering: 81

Fishless Cycle: Haven't got a clue! That is why I am here, on this wonderful forum! :)

Stage One of Setup:

What I have accomplished so far (note, I am in no rush here, I want to get this right):

a) Setup the aquarium in the desired spot
b) wiped the dust off the tank, outside with Windex, inside with just plain water
c) setup the filter, rinsed out the media etc., assembled all tubes and connections and set them up in the tank
d) installed the heater
e) washed the gravel I have and put it in the bottom of the tank. I am short and will by more this week.
f) RAN HERE to the forum to get guidance.... :) LOL

Last edited by Big Fish; 09-27-2009 at 09:22 AM..
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Old 09-27-2009, 11:16 AM   #4
 
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Are you intending to have live plants? If yes, planting the tank first will allow you to put fish in and not bother with any cycling. I personally never do fishless cycling because it is bothersome and wastes time (2 to 8 weeks to establish the bacteria and mature the tank). I also plant the tank first, then add the fish a few at a time. Seeding the tank with bacteria either from an established tank or a biological supplement helps. The plants handle the ammonia and nitrite, along wth the bacteria added, and there is no "new tank syndrome" to worry about and the fish are fine. Can explain further if this is your decision.

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Old 09-27-2009, 07:56 PM   #5
 
OH YES. I most certainly plan to use live plants. I like the look. Since this is a huge tank, I think it needs live plants. It is part of a natural eco-system look I like.

I was told that the Professional II filter I have also allows you to start adding first in 7 days. My strategy is:

a) Move plants from my 10g aquarium to the new 50g tank.
b) Move gravel from the bottom from the 10g to the 50g until eventually, I am running one tank with all the stuff in it from the 10g.
c) Add different and new plants to the mix to "mix it up".

I also like bubbles, so I plan on running some tubes under the gravel so I can add a "bubble toy" or two in the mix.
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Old 09-27-2009, 08:27 PM   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Fish View Post
OH YES. I most certainly plan to use live plants. I like the look. Since this is a huge tank, I think it needs live plants. It is part of a natural eco-system look I like.

I was told that the Professional II filter I have also allows you to start adding first in 7 days. My strategy is:

a) Move plants from my 10g aquarium to the new 50g tank.
b) Move gravel from the bottom from the 10g to the 50g until eventually, I am running one tank with all the stuff in it from the 10g.
c) Add different and new plants to the mix to "mix it up".

I also like bubbles, so I plan on running some tubes under the gravel so I can add a "bubble toy" or two in the mix.
Forget the bubbles in a planted tank. Plants need CO2 which they will get from the fish and certain biological actions (minimal), and the last thing you want is to be driving off the CO2 which is what any bubbling device or surface agitation does.

If everything in the 10g is going into the 50g, my advice is to buy the additional plants you want first. Set up the 50g with the new gravel, new plants, and the filter and heater working; I usually let this run overnight to ensure everything's OK, and no leaks. Then move the gravel [if you want to gently rinse it to remove some of the detrius, do it in tank water as tap water will kill the bacteria] and plants, then add the fish. If the tank is reasonably heavily planted, the plants will use the ammonia produced by the fish from the start. The bacteria from the old gravel and plant leaves is a secondary cycling tool. The tank will by immediately "cycled" and that's it.

Eheim Professionel II filters are good filters; I have one on my 70g and one on my 90g, have had them for 12 years, no problems.

Byron.
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Old 09-27-2009, 09:52 PM   #7
 
Filter:

Yes, that is what I have heard, the EPII is suppose to be great. He sold me on it as I got a great price and the specs on it were top drawer. 50g is a lot of tank. I wanted something that was dependable and required little maintenance.

Plants:

OK, what do you suggest? I am happy to start buying plants this week. I need more gravel so a trip to the lfs is in the works.

And, speaking of plants, what is the right depth of gravel to adequately support plant roots? Is there a rule of thumb? I want some dense plants that the fish can't get into. I notice the fry in my 10g are desperately hiding in the plants to survive. I would like to give them a fighting chance.

Tiny Bubbles, in the Water...:

Damn, bubbles are OUT! :( What do you mean by surface agitation. The EPII has a waterfall effect when it squirts the water back into the tank. Is this considered surface agitation as well? It sits close to the tank surface and lies horizontal to the water. From the diagram in the instruction book, it looks like the water slighty fountains out onto the water surface. I can adust this effect to point it down. Is there an optimum or does it really matter?
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Old 09-28-2009, 12:25 PM   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Fish View Post
Filter:

Yes, that is what I have heard, the EPII is suppose to be great. He sold me on it as I got a great price and the specs on it were top drawer. 50g is a lot of tank. I wanted something that was dependable and required little maintenance.

Plants:

OK, what do you suggest? I am happy to start buying plants this week. I need more gravel so a trip to the lfs is in the works.

And, speaking of plants, what is the right depth of gravel to adequately support plant roots? Is there a rule of thumb? I want some dense plants that the fish can't get into. I notice the fry in my 10g are desperately hiding in the plants to survive. I would like to give them a fighting chance.

Tiny Bubbles, in the Water...:

Damn, bubbles are OUT! :( What do you mean by surface agitation. The EPII has a waterfall effect when it squirts the water back into the tank. Is this considered surface agitation as well? It sits close to the tank surface and lies horizontal to the water. From the diagram in the instruction book, it looks like the water slighty fountains out onto the water surface. I can adust this effect to point it down. Is there an optimum or does it really matter?
First the filter, assuming it is similar to my Eheim filters (but not so old) it should have a spray bar, a tube with small holes along one side. This tube should be along the end wall of the tank, just below the water surface, and at the opposite end of the outlet tube to the filter. The idea is to create a flow throughout the tank from the top at one end to the opposite end near the bottom (the outflow to the filter should be 4-5 inches above the substrate at that point). Direct the line of holes on the spraybar down along the end wall, not across the surface nor towards the centre of the tank. There will be a minimal amount of rippling at the surface.

The reason for this is because in a planted tank, the less surface disturbance the better because disturbance of the surface speeds up the natural gas exchange occurring there; CO2 is expelled and oxygen is brought into the tank. Because plants need CO2 (and produce oxygen themselves, far more than otherwise occurs) you want to minimize any loss. Second reason for low water flow throughout the tank is due to the plants uptake of nutrients. Rooted plants do this mainly through the root systems in the substrate, but aquatic plants can also take in nutrients through the leaves; and plants with minimal root systems do this more. If the current is too much, the water carrying the nutrients gets past the leaves too fast. The current should never be sufficient to make the plants "sway" (except for those very close to the spraybar). Many of the rooted aquarium plants either come from marshes and quiet streams or are bog plants in nature, spending half the year emersed (when they flower) and half the year submersed during the flood season; there is very minimal water movement. This also suits many of the usual fish that we keep in planted aquaria.

The reason for the instruction to have the spraybar above the water is that in non-planted tanks people generally have larger fish, and without plants oxygen is only going to come into the water from the air. The method they describe is the most efficient for that purpose. But as the plants provide most of the oxygen in a planted aquarium, and the fish are smaller, surface exchange of gases isn't critical from the perspective of getting oxygen, but it is for the loss of CO2 that can occur.

As for the depth of the substrate, it should be sufficient to allow the plants to root and carry out their biological activity. Rooted plants, by which I mean those with obvious extensive root systems from which stems and leaves arise, need room in the substrate not only to spread out to anchor the plant but to allow for adequate exchange of nutrients and gases. Plants expel oxygen through their roots, and this oxygen feeds the aerobic bacteria that work on the detrius brought down into the substrate by the natural flow of water and convert it to nutrients that the plants can use. There is also anaerobic bacteria in the substrate, producing nitrogen that the plant roots need. You want a good "bed" for all this activity. Also, some plants have very extensive root systems, plants like the swords (Echinodorus) and crypts (Cryptocoryne). These plants are super workers in the aquarium with respect to stable water quality.

The best substrate is small-grain gravel that is a dark or natural colour, black/gray/buff sort of thing; the colour just looks more natural and shows off the plants better, and the grain size is imortant for the roots and bacteria actions explained above. I aim for 3-4 inches of substrate, less in the front and more towards the back. Most of the larger plants with more extensive root systems will be placed along the back and sides, so the gravel should be deepest there. Along the front, the smaller "groundcover" type plants have much smaller root systems, so 2 inches can suffice, but I usually have closer to 3 inches. If you have bottom feeders like loaches and corys, some open areas of gravel can be feeding areas and allows better observation of these fish's feeding. You can slope the gravel towards the back, or use rocks to create terraces, a nice effect; wood can also be used for this. Just don't have anything dead centre--it immediately looks artificial; offset any wood, rocks, terraces, and large plants.

The type of plants is up to you depending upon the look you're after; what do you have in the 10g now? As a general guide, I would suggest rooted plants being the basic plants, because they tend to stay as you plant them; they will grow larger, but require very little maintenance and it is easier to aquascape the look you want. Stem plants grow faster, therefore requiring more light and nutrients, and regular pruning and trimming to prevent them covering the surface and blocking out light from the other plants. Some stem plants are nice in corners or along the sides; you can see this effect from the Brazilian Pennywort growing in the corners and along the rear wall of my current 115g Amazonian riverscape tank. Stem plants can work well to fill in these "gaps" betwen the larger rooted swords, and as they are fast growing the effect is not static but changes and by trimming and pruning you can keep it interesting.

Byron.
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Old 09-28-2009, 10:16 PM   #9
 
Wonderful! I saw this 10 minutes AFTER you posted and I cut the plastic strip and put the filter valves in... the WRONG SPOT!!!
ROTFL

Figures!!!

OK, I will move the IN (water returning to the tank) tube to the other side. Right now, it is in the middle and horizontal to the water. I have one more elbow so I will have to configure it differently, as you suggest. This really is some honking-Filter!

Is there any way to adjust the water flow? This puppy CRANKS water!! I have the tank half full right now to get it started, to fill the bottom and to plant. I will finish filling the tank when I get closer to finishing the look I want. No doubt, this will be the wrong approach as well!

My Tank measures 30L x 18W x 20H". I like your suggestion about filling the sides and leaving the center less sparse! I agree completely. Is there a site where I can look at plants, that you know of? I would like a variety of types to go in that compliment each other and are the most "productive" for the bio-system.
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Old 09-29-2009, 11:59 AM   #10
 
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The other nice thing about have the flow from one side to the other along the length is that with shoaling fish like tetras, rasbora, whatever, they will often face into the flow and this keps them sideways to the front, better viewing and more natural appearance, as if swimming along the "stream." I don't have flow control on my old Eheims, but I believe the new models out now do, or so someone said. Might have been Twistersmom who has Eheims...you could PM her. If there isn't, what I do is experiment with the spraybar by directing the holes towards the glass, and turning it very slightly and observing the flow. It is possible to get it to the point where the glass is breaking the flow sufficient to cause less current. If you have too much the fish will be constantly swimming against it, and to me that looks weird. Besides it is unnatural for the fish which mainly come from quiet streams and lagoons, flooded forest, etc.

Nice thing about Eheim is that you can buy tubing for the filter if you need longer/more. Can't do that with my new Rena.

Here's a link to the plant species info and photos index page from Aquatic Plant Centre:
Plant Finder - Encyclopedia of Aquarium Plants

There's also info on species here:
Natural Aquariums - Guide to Planted Aquariums, Aquatic Plants, & Freshwater Invertebrates

And of course the Aquatic Gardners site:
Aquatic Gardeners Association

And Aqua Botanic has good information on planted tanks:
Aqua Botanic Aquarium Plants Sales and Library

Most of these will also have articles and photos on layouts for suggestions. With plants as with fish, one has more success selecting plants that share preferences for water parameters and especially light intensity. Depending upon the look you want, going mainly with rooted plants will result in an aquascape that basically remains as you plant it; plants obviously grow and fill in, but there is not the constant trimming and pruing and replanting that you have with faster-growing stem plants.

Byron.
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