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Brand New 50g Tank - Setup & More

This is a discussion on Brand New 50g Tank - Setup & More within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> Byron, I have been out of town. Back to the tank. Getting some plants today. I have placed the outflow bar as you suggest. ...

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Brand New 50g Tank - Setup & More
Old 10-07-2009, 09:09 AM   #11
 
Byron, I have been out of town.

Back to the tank. Getting some plants today. I have placed the outflow bar as you suggest. Wow. Lots of current. Now, the tank is half full, so it is exaggerated. I will see how this goes after I get the plants in. I will start stocking fish next week. Thanks for the links above. Greatly appreciated. I have picked my opening list of plants from your links.

I am going to get a few of these today to start:

Egeria najas
Cryptocoryne wendtii
Echinodorus sp red

Maybe one or two more depending on what catches my eye.
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Old 10-07-2009, 12:00 PM   #12
 
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Originally Posted by Big Fish View Post
Byron, I have been out of town.

Back to the tank. Getting some plants today. I have placed the outflow bar as you suggest. Wow. Lots of current. Now, the tank is half full, so it is exaggerated. I will see how this goes after I get the plants in. I will start stocking fish next week. Thanks for the links above. Greatly appreciated. I have picked my opening list of plants from your links.

I am going to get a few of these today to start:

Egeria najas
Cryptocoryne wendtii
Echinodorus sp red

Maybe one or two more depending on what catches my eye.
I would also get a few green swords, they are heavy feeders and thus good water purifiers. They are not particularly sensitive especially in newer tanks (your crypts may melt, if so just leave them, new leaves will eventually emerge from the roots).

The Eheim filter probably has an adjuster for the flow; keep it low in a planted tank. Or direct the flow against and slightly down the glass to diminish its strength. Excessive water movement is detrimental in a planted aquarium. Diana Walstad cites scientific studies on this in her marvellous book Ecology of the Planted Aquarium and shows that nutrient uptake by many plants is severely restricted in excessive water flows--and excessive is not very much for some of them. Also the CO2 issue.

Byron.
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Old 10-07-2009, 12:13 PM   #13
 
Byron,

I have returned from the lfs with..... NADA.

I spoke to a knowledgable chap there and we started talking about acqua-scaping. In my minds eye, I have an idea of what I want to look at. I saw a variety or rocks, driftwood etc. and my brain overloaded.

I currently have blue substrate in my 10g. I like the look of it but in the 50g, I prefer a more natural substrate look. This opened a whole new window of options (not to mention the hole in my wallet it is going to create). There is a gravel he showed me that was more beneficial from a nutrient perspective. $29 per bag. He also suggested some filler sand to build up the bottom before pouring on the more expensive stuff.

I like a look of some stone and driftwood in the tank and hope to have some plants growing off the driftwood. So, I thought this was going to be simple. Obviously, it is not going to be as simple as I thought and now I am going to have to draw out a look and then go back and buy the stuff.

I will post a drawing of a look I like and then we can discuss it. I don't like tanks that look crammed with plants. I like a more artistic look, but I want it functional.

This also opens up a whole new slew of questions. I live near the Lake (Ontario). There are tons of rocks and driftwood lying around. How do you insure this stuff is not contaminated? Some sites say BOIL rocks, this site warns against it as they explode.

The price of driftwood is about $4 a lb. Rocks are about $3 a lb. I think landscaping the 50g could run $200. Is it worth taking advantage of this natural stuff near the shoreline of the lake to avoid some of this expense?
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Old 10-07-2009, 12:47 PM   #14
 
Regarding the water filter, I asked at the lfs if I could adjust the water flow and the answer was... NO.

I currently have the tubs facing 45 degrees against the glass and there is a definite "current" created by this. I guess I have to turn it more into the glass. Not sure how I am going to win this battle. You can't drop the water in from the top and you have to watch the current! LOL OY VAY!!!

I may raise LIZARDS instead......
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Old 10-07-2009, 12:53 PM   #15
 
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Byron,

I have returned from the lfs with..... NADA.

I spoke to a knowledgable chap there and we started talking about acqua-scaping. In my minds eye, I have an idea of what I want to look at. I saw a variety or rocks, driftwood etc. and my brain overloaded.

I currently have blue substrate in my 10g. I like the look of it but in the 50g, I prefer a more natural substrate look. This opened a whole new window of options (not to mention the hole in my wallet it is going to create). There is a gravel he showed me that was more beneficial from a nutrient perspective. $29 per bag. He also suggested some filler sand to build up the bottom before pouring on the more expensive stuff.

I like a look of some stone and driftwood in the tank and hope to have some plants growing off the driftwood. So, I thought this was going to be simple. Obviously, it is not going to be as simple as I thought and now I am going to have to draw out a look and then go back and buy the stuff.

I will post a drawing of a look I like and then we can discuss it. I don't like tanks that look crammed with plants. I like a more artistic look, but I want it functional.

This also opens up a whole new slew of questions. I live near the Lake (Ontario). There are tons of rocks and driftwood lying around. How do you insure this stuff is not contaminated? Some sites say BOIL rocks, this site warns against it as they explode.

The price of driftwood is about $4 a lb. Rocks are about $3 a lb. I think landscaping the 50g could run $200. Is it worth taking advantage of this natural stuff near the shoreline of the lake to avoid some of this expense?
Lots of stuff here, so let's go, starting with the last item.

Rocks from the natural world I would be more willing to try, especially if underwater. The only issue is, are they calcareous. Limestone, marble, lava rock...these will release mineral (calcium) into the water slowly but consistently and raise the hardness and pH above what comes out of the tap. This is fine with rift lake cichlids, and usually livebearers; but not in a planted tank. The acid test should determine if the rock is calcareous. Some use vinegar, but it is too weak an acid (after all, it is intended for human consumption); a better option is the Bottle #1 of the API nitrate test kit, which is an acid [think I have this right...]. If a drop or two fizzes or bubbles, the rock is calcareous.

Wood from the wild is more risky, as wood can absorb any number of contaminants and toxins. Boiling will deal with insects, parasites, etc., but not toxins that may have been absorbed over time. Wood for an aquarium must be hardwood (soft woods quickly rot and are toxic fast). Expensive they may be, but the hardwoods sold by aquarium stores are usually safer. If you want a "natural" look, make sure the rock or wood all matches.

The gravel is up to you, it is your tank. Personally, I would avoid any colours and go with natural and dark. This will create the "natural" look you are aiming for. Darker is always better, both for the fish (they come from dark waters) and to show off the colours of plants and fsh. Buying natural gravel in bulk will be much less expensive than bags of special this or that. Some landscaping and stone places have small-grain gravel; certainly cheaper. Just make sure it is inert.

The nutrient-enriched substrates are fine, but (a) much mor expensive, (b) not necessary. Plant root fertilizer tabs and sticks are available, I use the sticks next to my largest swords, and they are cheaper and easy to remove should I want to. No way to remove an enriched substrate except tear the tank apart. There is another thread here, I have commented and so have others, about not using enriched substrates. No real harm, just unnecessary expense.

I would recommend smallest-grain gravel, 1-3mm grain size; recognized plant gurus like Karen Randall, Diana Walstad, Peter Hiscock...all recommend this. They also suggest an underlying layer of the nutrients or soil; as I said above, I do not go this far, as the fertilizer sticks work well.

Good idea to plan out beforehand. Have a look at aquascapes in the photos here, online or in books and fish magazines. There are biotope tanks that (exactly) replicate a specific stream from SA or SE Asia; very restrictive although interesting. I like the geographic aquascape, where all the plants and fish come from the same geographic area; this is what i have with my three tanks. There is an advantage to this--the water parameters for the fish and plants will more likely be similar, and that means fewer issues over compatibility and more success with the health of the inhabitants. But it is also possible to stretch this further across continents, provided one stays with similar requirements respecting water parameters.

Byron.
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Old 10-07-2009, 07:52 PM   #16
 
Byron,

How do you feel about sand as a filler? Is it a good idea?

Or, is the small grain gravel you mention the better choice. And, will the gravel people understand "inert".
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Old 10-07-2009, 08:18 PM   #17
 
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Byron,

How do you feel about sand as a filler? Is it a good idea?

Or, is the small grain gravel you mention the better choice. And, will the gravel people understand "inert".
I have never bothered with sand as a substrate. I know many here do, and like it, and have no problems or so they say. There are issues with sand that one has to deal wth, not impossible, just different. Read a thread earlier today about sand getting drawn into the filters, which can break the impellers and burn them out... I prefer gravel.

And I have still not found one plant authority who recommends sand over small-grain gravel. I can't help but think there must be a reason.

If you go to the landscape/stone place for gravel, they probably won't unless they can tell you what rock it is crushed from. Common gravel is limestone, very bad, but that is the common gravel you use in making patios and such. Granite rock is fine, or quartz, and I believe these are more likely to be used for the small gravels. Last week i got a pail of what they called "birdseye" gravel from a landscape place, I'm thinking of using it when i set up my amphibian or mudskipper tanks. Not an issue in these tanks, but it seems to be good gravel though not as small grain as i would want in my aquaria.

The "acid" test would work; drop a few drops of a good acid on some of the gravel and if it fizzes or foams it is calcareous. Vinegar is often suggested, but it is a weak acid; elsewhere i read that the Nitrate test kit contains an acid regeant, I think in Bottle #1 of the API kit, but I'm going from memory.

Byron.
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Old 10-07-2009, 11:46 PM   #18
 
Here is a sketch of what I am thinking about. I have numbered the 5 plants I would like to place as 1 through 5.

1. Best recommendation for a tall leafy plant
2. I would like a small, broad, redish plant
3. Short grassy looking plant
4. tall thin grassy looking plant
5. Broad, bushy, leafy plant

The brown piles you see are larger stones, maybe granite and slate.

I hope to find either a nice piece of driftwood or a large shapely rock for the center piece and I hope to get some moss growing on it or some plant that can hang from it.

What do you think?
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Old 10-08-2009, 08:56 AM   #19
 
Raw 50g Tank

Here is a picture of my 50g tank. Note, I started with Blue gravel but I am going to remove it.

The tank is half full so I can work in it.

Note, the Water IN tube on the left and the Water OUT on the right. The heater is obscured by the wet glass, it is right next to the Water OUT tube.

I am hoping the plants can hide, to some degree, the tubing behind the tank and the filter tubes and heater in the tank.

Question, can I shorten the tubes in the tank? If I build up the gravel in the corners, it will be higher than what the filter system currently is configured as. Is there a science to how deep the water OUT is or does it really matter?

Also, can I put a nylon panty hose filter over the intake valve to stop crude, snails etc from being sucked in?
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Last edited by Big Fish; 10-08-2009 at 09:02 AM.. Reason: Missed the Picture
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Old 10-08-2009, 06:03 PM   #20
 
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Originally Posted by Big Fish View Post
Here is a picture of my 50g tank. Note, I started with Blue gravel but I am going to remove it.

The tank is half full so I can work in it.

Note, the Water IN tube on the left and the Water OUT on the right. The heater is obscured by the wet glass, it is right next to the Water OUT tube.

I am hoping the plants can hide, to some degree, the tubing behind the tank and the filter tubes and heater in the tank.

Question, can I shorten the tubes in the tank? If I build up the gravel in the corners, it will be higher than what the filter system currently is configured as. Is there a science to how deep the water OUT is or does it really matter?

Also, can I put a nylon panty hose filter over the intake valve to stop crude, snails etc from being sucked in?
I would not block the filter intake (from the tank to the filter). It is intended to remove crud and particulate matter. I know snails are a pest, they get in my filters, I don't care and they do no harm.

With canister filters the loweswt point of the intake to the filter should be approximately 4 inches above the substrate at that point. The outflow from the filter is best near the top of the tank, just below the water surface, at the opposite end as you have it.

Plants, wood (set as "standing tree trtunks" for instance) and rock can be used to "hide' equipment in the tank. A background on the outside of the rear wall is good to not only hide external stuff but add focus by directing your view into the tank and not behind it, and I believe the fish feel more comfortable with something 'solid" behind; they feel less vulnerable. Plain black works wonders to accent the colour of plants and fish. I have visual "scenes" on my largest tanks but they are very pale, not bright things, and actually disappear. One of them is just a wall of stone, and it is not surprising that some of the fish act as if they'd like to get into the crevices.

On the previous post, wow...you're qute the artist. I've never managed such detail, I just get chunks of wood/rock, plants, and away I go. This is going to be a nice aquarium. Sometimes it is easier to aquascape without water; wood and rocks, building up terraces, etc. Some even suggest planting without water, but I like to have water in when I put plants in so they have support.

Byron.
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