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Contemplating a New Tank...

This is a discussion on Contemplating a New Tank... within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> I didn't mean to throw it all at you once, was just giving some food for thought. 48 gallon is a good starting point, ...

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Contemplating a New Tank...
Old 12-12-2006, 12:56 AM   #11
 
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I didn't mean to throw it all at you once, was just giving some food for thought.

48 gallon is a good starting point, will be large nough for lots of options and not too huge that it takes up all day to maintain.

The fluval canister filter would still be first choice but a smaller one, rated for a 55 would be plenty.

As for easy plants: Anubias, Christmas moss, Java Fern, most crypt species but I like both Crypt Red Wendtii and Crypt Lucens. To start wth all you will need is a micro fertilizer for the plants, like Seachems Flourish is a good one as many swear by it.

For cycling, if doing a fishless and using ammonia you want to make sure you get pure ammonia with nothing added to it. No detergents, no scents, nothing. The method is basic but requires a fair amount of testing. I will find the dosing amounts and regiment so I can get you the right information if someone else doesn't beat me to it.

As for fish, BN pleco would be fine, My large male is only 5 inches and only chases the female around once in a while. Others will be better suited for the other fish except I also love cories and I think that 4-5 would make for a good bottom dweller population.

Plants don't help cycle the tank but they do take the nitrates like Blue said. This helps to kkeep levels down and allows you to monitor the ammonia and Nitrites more closely.

You decide what you want to do as far as plants. It will take a little while for plants to really get going in a new tank but once they do, even in plain aquarium gravel, they will create a beautiful tank and you will be pleased with what ever amount of planting you want to do. If you are getting a deal from the LFS and they carry a product called Flourish Excel, throw it in for the discount. With it, you can grow some really nice plants and fairly quickly with lower light and it is also used as a spot treatment for algae and as a plant dip for the same thing.

I also want to say I am very glad you came here before diving into this. Is nice to see someone come for the best advice they can find and do things right. Remember to do what you want to do and we will make sure that you are on the right track. Ask all the questions you need to and if we can't answer them we will find the answers.

Just one last recomendation, a picture says a thousand words and even more so in planted aquaria. Look at the picture we have on the forum and if you find a scheme you like we can help you get it. With or without going high tech.
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Old 12-12-2006, 07:00 AM   #12
 
Well, you could try a school of neon tetras, they are hardy fish with some color. I have always liked them.
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Old 12-12-2006, 07:49 AM   #13
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by usmcwife
Well, you could try a school of neon tetras, they are hardy fish with some color. I have always liked them.
No. They are not hardy these days. Heaven knows the oldies here even said that the neons used to be hardy and they get astonished whenever they hear neons dying easily.
Inbreeding is to be blame for low-quality neons these days.
If you want to keep them, let your tank mature by at least 6 months.
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Old 12-12-2006, 07:56 AM   #14
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue
Quote:
Originally Posted by usmcwife
Well, you could try a school of neon tetras, they are hardy fish with some color. I have always liked them.
No. They are not hardy these days. Heaven knows the oldies here even said that the neons used to be hardy and they get astonished whenever they hear neons dying easily.
Inbreeding is to be blame for low-quality neons these days.
If you want to keep them, let your tank mature by at least 6 months.
sorry blue, i figured they were still hardy fish. i didnt know about the inbreeding part. well at least i know that now.
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Old 12-12-2006, 08:01 AM   #15
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by usmcwife
sorry blue, i figured they were still hardy fish. i didnt know about the inbreeding part. well at least i know that now.
That's ok, Mel. I had those myself and they died earlier than the rummies when I had disasters last July. At least, this gave me a warning. Would love cardinals but they're so expensive. Will consider rummies as subsitute though.
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Old 12-12-2006, 11:19 AM   #16
 
Regarding fish, everyone has their favorites. The best thing to do is visit several LFS (Local Fish Stores) and LPS (Local Pet Stores) and look at the fishes. See what fishes interests you and your husband, then make a list of them. Go home and research the fishes or post them here, to find out their compability, care, etc.

As far plants, certain plants have specific requirements. There are low wattage lights, easy maintenance plants that can use the typical off the shelf lights (used in regular tanks) and require no CO2. This type of setup would be called a low tech tank. Or plants requireing high wattage lights, CO2, and additional fertilizers. These tanks would be considered as either medium or high tech tanks.

I like the low tech approach, since it's easy and cheap to maintain. Unfortunately, most plants grow very slowly in low tech tanks, which is fine for me, becuase I do not have to worry about clipping/trimming the plants often. Again, easy to maintain. :)
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Old 12-12-2006, 08:54 PM   #17
 
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Crystal, I think you must've been talking about the Loach Motel in your first post. That's mine. (Thanks :blush:) It's a bottom layer of play sand with two small flowerpots sawn in half with a backsaw and buried under gravel and pebbles. It's a 50 gallon breeder. I went with that size because I was planning for loaches which are semi-territorial bottom dwellers. A 50 breeder,wth a 36x18 footprint, actually has an extra half square foot of floor space as compared to a 55 (48x12).

You may want to consider cycling the tank with Bio-Spira - that will obviate the long cycle time (if it works as advertized, and, if shipped and stored properly, there's no reason why it shouldn't).

Failing that, I've been cycling my tanks with feeder guppies. I have a 75 gallon turtle tank that has a self sustaining feeder guppy population. When I set up a new tank, I just dip a dozen of them out and into the new tank. When it's time to put the fish that actually live in the tank in there, out come the guppies, and back to the turtle tank.

Now, then, most cories get 2 1/2 to 3 inches long. They also like to be in a group, and they prefer a soft substrate. I'd go with either fine gravel or eco-complete (or fine gravel over a layer of eco-complete). You could start with a group of 5-8 regular sized cories .Three lined, Bronze/albino, Peppered, or Schwartzes are all excellent. A mix of bronze and albino would probably shoal together. Alternately, if you can find them, pygmy cories are adorable. They like to be in larger shoals, only grow about an inch long, and tend to swim higher in the tank too. If you go that route, in a 50 gallon, you could easily get a dozen or 15 or 20.

For Algae eating duties, Ottos are nice, but they sometimes just won't eat. If I were to get ottos again, I would wait until I had a real algae problem before I put them in. Then I'd go with 1 per 10 gallons. To deal with thread algae, red cherry shrimp (expensive) or amano shrimp (less expensive, but less attractive) are nifty. Maybe half a dozen.

For the rest, two schools of contrasting tetras. I've got one tank with black neons and glowlights that look nice together. Neons and Lemon Tetras are a good pairing. Maybe bloodfins and diamonds or black skirts would be nice.

Alternately, Cherry barbs are really nice. You can have as few as one - they don't stress out when they don't have a school, but they look really nice in a group. If you have more than one male, make sure you plant and landscape in such a way as to break up lines of sight, or they will run each other ragged. I suspect you could have as many as one male per 10 gallons of tank, but, on the other hand, I have 2 in the 55, and they have claimed opposite ends (with the 6 females hanging out all over).

I've heard good things about pentazona barbs and black ruby barbs too. In a 50 gallon, you could probably have a school of tigre barbs, but that's all you get in the mid water. Anything else they'll harass.

For plants, if you have low lighting, start with java moss. You can lay it thread by thread between plastic needlework grids, stitch together (all over) with 2# test fishing line, and use aquarium sealant coated niobium magnets to hold it to the back wall (you'd need another magnet on the outside. be careful it doesn't rocket out of your hand and crack the glass) for a really nice low tech moss wall. You can do the same thing with by laying a sheet of needlework grid over in on the gravel and just wiegghting it down with assorted rocks. Or you can use a hairnet to get the moss all over a rock. Java fern can be stitched to rocks or driftwood with light fishing line or nylon thread. I drilled the rims of those flowerpots with a half dozen little holes and titched java moss onto them. Lesson learned the hard way: Cotton thread will dissolve faster than the moss/fern will root.

Anubias Barteri is another good low-light plant. Comes in many varieties (Nana and Coffeefolia are two I have). Nearly indestructible, very slow growing, and tends to be expensive.

Under medium to low light, I have had OK luck with Cabomba carolinia, Brazillian Pennywort, and amazon swords. THe various types of Crypt Wendetii (green, red, brow, Mi Oya, Tropica) have all done well for me. In fact, they seem to have a smaller, neater growth when shaded. I've also had OK luck with Wisteria, but a lot of people will tell you that, if you keep it with less than 3 watts per gallon, it will crawl out of the tank at night and kick your dog. (That's humor, there. In theory, it's a high light plant. A little fertilizer, a good substrate, maybe some CO2, and it'll do in medium to low light)

If you feel like a little roulette, get a pack of betta bulbs and follow the instructions - you could get some neat plants that way.

Well will you look at me go on there. There are a whol elot of other things you could do with your tank that would be every bit as good as any of that - livebearers, gouramis, rainbowfish, loaches, Rams. Just do your homework - reasearch, ask questions. Google is your friend. I try and read at least a couple, and preferable a half dozen different proflies on any fish I want to keep.
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Old 12-13-2006, 12:33 AM   #18
 
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wow you guys are fast....
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