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First Community Tank

This is a discussion on First Community Tank within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> Hello Everyone! Let me start off by apologizing. I know there are a million threads on here with beginners asking what to fill there ...

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Old 10-20-2010, 04:02 AM   #1
 
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Red face First Community Tank

Hello Everyone!
Let me start off by apologizing. I know there are a million threads on here with beginners asking what to fill there tanks with. I have browsed through many of them, and used many of the handy links that are posted on them, and they have helped me get a better idea of what I want, but I guess, in the end, nothing beats some good, old-fashioned, person-to-person communication :).

The Mission: I do not have a tank yet. I am starting from scratch. Ultimately, I would like a fully planted tank in the 29-38 gallon range. I plan on using an H.O.T. Magnum Canister Filter, which will probably be a little overkill, but I figured more *should* be better than less. It's also the smallest canister filter I could find on fosterandsmith.com. Again, I haven't purchased it yet if anyone has another recommendation. The plants I intend for the tank will be low-light plants and anubis, and probably a few marimo moss balls, because they're so dang cute. My tap water naturally runs high, in excess of 7.6 on the pH scale. I have successfully brought it down in the past. I haven't chosen a specific substrate yet, but gravel in the 1-2mm range is the plan. I intend to do a fishless cycle once the tank is planted, instructions for this still need to be looked up, but I know they're around. I am not intending to use a co2 system at this time, though I'll probably use flourish in the water. I will have an adjustable heater and rock hidie caves. I dont' plan on additional aeration with the plants in the tank. There will be a glass canopy w/ strip light. I am prepared to do weekly water changes, and I have stress coat+ to condition the water. I can get another brand if absolutely neccessary, but I'd prefer to use this up first.

For fish, I would like 3-4 healthy bunches of schooling fish and some corys. Neon tetras and zebra danios or similar come to mind, but I am flexible. I need some good, hardy, beginner fish.

My only experience with fish is a male betta in a filtered 10 gallon tank. He is happy on his own, and if I have my way, he will remain so.

Which tank size in the 29-38 gallon range would work best for small schooling fish? Which schooling fish do you reccommend together and as good beginner fish? How many fish of each species is ideal? There are a million cory subspecies, are there any I should avoid? How do you feed fish that eat different things? How do you keep little fish from getting sucked into your gravel vaccuum? How many different kinds of fish should I add at a time? Is it a bad idea to add 4-5 kinds at the same time into a cycled tank?

In general terms, I want a healthy, moderately sized tank with a diverse and active fish community that are good for a beginner. Despite everything I said earlier, if there is an idea that accomplishes this that doesn't fit with my ideas, please suggest it anyway. Sorry for the numerous questions!

Thank you in advance,
Hannah
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Old 10-20-2010, 05:38 AM   #2
 
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Hi Hannah.

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Originally Posted by Caliban View Post
Which tank size in the 29-38 gallon range would work best for small schooling fish?
Get the biggest you can afford and which will fit in your house where you want to put it. You have more options in a bigger tank and the more room your fish have to swim, the better.

Quote:
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Which schooling fish do you reccommend together and as good beginner fish?
I like pristella tetras. I've got them and have been happy with them. They can take a higher pH than some of the other tetras. Do you know what your water hardness is? You need to pick fish that will like both your pH and hardness, so if you can find out the hardness, that will help you decide what to get

Quote:
Originally Posted by Caliban View Post
How many fish of each species is ideal?
It really depends on which fish you decide on. Start with looking for fish that suit your water parameters and take it from there.
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There are a million cory subspecies, are there any I should avoid?
My sterbai haven't done as well as my pandas and trilineatus. I don't know if that means anything or I was just unlucky.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Caliban View Post
How do you feed fish that eat different things?
My cories get sinking wafers or pellets, but the other fish also like to eat them. I just put quite a lot in so that the cories will get their share even if the others eat some as well. You can use a turkey baster or pipette to place food low in the tank if you've got bottom fish.

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How do you keep little fish from getting sucked into your gravel vaccuum?
I keep an eye on it and keep it low to the gravel, but the fish generally keep out of the way. It isn't going to suck anything up that isn't in its direct path, the suction isn't that high, so if there are any fish around you can just "shoo" them away.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Caliban View Post
How many different kinds of fish should I add at a time? Is it a bad idea to add 4-5 kinds at the same time into a cycled tank?
Even after your tank is cycled, add your fish gradually to allow your filter to adjust to the higher waste load.
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Old 10-20-2010, 06:00 AM   #3
 
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Excellent! I haven't checked my water's hardness, I need to get that test, but the guy at the aquarium store advised me that my town's water runs hard. In fact, he advised me that my town's water was some of the worst for fish in the area. My nitrite and nitrate test kits should be in the mail. I have pH and ammonia test kits. I use pH down at the moment. I know! It's bad! In my defense I add it a week beforehand in a bucket of water so that it has time to settle on what pH it's going to be before I add it to the tank.
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Old 10-20-2010, 06:08 AM   #4
 
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I think platies like hard water, you might want to consider them.
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Old 10-20-2010, 06:17 AM   #5
 
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Platies do look like hardy, little colorful fish who might like my tap water :) Thank you. There are just so many fish, and when you're starting with a lot of options, how the devil are you suppose to narrow them all down? lol But this is a beginning, now I just have to find out what makes good friends with Platies.
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Old 10-20-2010, 06:28 AM   #6
 
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I initially thought that I had hard water and decided accordingly. Down the track I found out that it wasn't that hard after all...

I started by seeing what was available in the shops. There was no point deciding on something that I couldn't get locally. Then I looked up the fish profiles to see what water they liked and picked out the options that liked hard water. Then I read up on compatibility. I found this site, which gives some info about compatibility http://www.tropicalfishandaquariums.com/Compatibility/MatchResults.php

I ended up with platies, pristella tetras, an apple snail and corydoras trilineatus in my 75-litre (approx 20 gallon) tank. They get on well, and did very well. They've now been moved to a bigger tank and are still doing well.
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Old 10-20-2010, 06:39 AM   #7
 
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Quote:
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I started by seeing what was available in the shops. There was no point deciding on something that I couldn't get locally.
This makes a lot of sense. I need to go and see what size tanks they have and find out if they're able to get other sizes as well. Plus it's an excuse to look at fish :).
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Old 10-20-2010, 08:19 AM   #8
 
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Hi welcome to TFK....my best advise dont buy on impulse...you end up working around it.....you seem like your doing your research..wish I had been a little smarter in the begining......where in Mass are you shopping ? you can PM that info
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Old 10-20-2010, 05:28 PM   #9
 
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UPDATE: I have visited 2 pet stores, and I was unable to get a liquid gh test. However! After seeing the tanks, I am now seriously considering a 0 or 55 gallon tank. I have also seen some platies, and I definitely approve. So, my thought now is to cycle the tank and add maybe... 6 platies and 5 cories to start. Do these numbers seem good to start out a 55 gallon with? An alternative would be to do something around upside down catfish, because those were dang cute, but I'm pretty sure they aren't compatible with platies... need to check.
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Old 10-20-2010, 05:46 PM   #10
 
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On another thread, I found a page that allowed you to choose tank size, filter type, and then listed fish that would fit, and you could add them, and it told you your tank and filter capacity and whether the fish you've added are compatible. Anyone else know this link? I can't find it now, and I was too dumb to write it down.
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