freshwater setup
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freshwater setup

This is a discussion on freshwater setup within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> Hi - glad I found this website - seems like a lot of informed people here! I just purchased a used 45gallon (I think) ...

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Old 12-16-2010, 02:43 PM   #1
 
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freshwater setup

Hi - glad I found this website - seems like a lot of informed people here! I just purchased a used 45gallon (I think) tank. It has a lid and 1 flourescent bulb that can handle a 40watt bulb. My kids and I would like to set up a community tank/peaceful tank with freshwater tropicals. At some point we'd like to have live plants but maybe not right away. The questions I have are: (and I know there's lots of good info out there on the net so much so it's overwhelming and I'm more confused than informed right now...)
- suggestions for 3 different breeds that would go well together - we want fish that will stay small and I definitely want to keep it "low occupancy"
- would like to have a shrimp of some sort and crabs - is they're available for fresh water
- will need substate - what would be the best given the above parameters?
- plants/decorations/hiding places?
- what organisms are best to help control algae and eat the stuff that accumulates on the bottom -be part of the above scenario?
- do I really need to do water changes every week with only small/few fish and how much at a time if low load?
- will a regular ballast (I think that's what I have) be able to run a coralife 50/50 and is this a good thing - or what other setup would be preferable given the light fixture (it only takes one bulb 40watt)?

I think this will get me going with set up - I've cleaned the hood and tank with vinegar and rinsed very well. Now all I need to do... is decide what to put in there as per above query... simple? right!

P.S. I don't really have much in the way of a lfs - it's a small town and I'd have to order most things in like from J&L aquatics in Vancouver or Big Al's?

Thanks so much everyone!!! Really appreciate any and all info!!
Pierce in Nelson BC Canada
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Old 12-16-2010, 03:24 PM   #2
 
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I can answer a few questions.

- As far as stocking goes, you will have test the hardness and ph of your tap water and post the results before getting stocking questions answered.

-If you would like to have a planted tank you will probably need to buy a new hood. You need about 2-3watts of light per gallon for most plants to grow. This is difficult to accomplish without a multi tube hood.

-you will probably need to decide whether you want plants early, as that will help you decide what substrate to use.

-Depending on the type of filter you use and the fish in the tank you can go 10-14 days without a water change, but once again without know what will be in the tank it's hard to give you an exact answer.

The starting point for you should probably be ordering an API master test kit and testing your water. Then Im sure the members here will have plenty of suggestions for you.
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Old 12-16-2010, 04:23 PM   #3
 
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Hello and welcome.

- suggestions for 3 different breeds that would go well together - we want fish that will stay small and I definitely want to keep it "low occupancy"

There are tons of options out there and everyone preference is different. I would suggest you take a look at the fish profiles on this site, as well as Freshwater Fish, Aquarium Fish, Freshwater Tropical Profiles and Tropical Fish Profiles, covering the care and upkeep of many aquarium tropical freshwater fish to get a general idea of what you like. I think part of the fun is creating a balance in your tank and I am all for helping get the list of stock for a desired tank work better but I don't really like telling people "you should get X Y and Z fish. Does that make sense?

- would like to have a shrimp of some sort and crabs - is they're available for fresh water


There are quite a few shrimp species, snails, crayfish and lobsters. The possibility of these will depend on the fish that you want, because if a fish is omnivorous and the shrimp can fit in it's mouth it will most likely try to eat it. I would highly recommend some Java Moss if you want to have shrimp(it is easy to grow and provides a great area for shrimp to hide and feed).

- will need substrate - what would be the best given the above parameters?

I like a medium/fine gravel, it hides debris and is fine enough for plants grab on to. There are some nutrient rich substrates but if you decide to wait on plants you can always get fertilizer supplements that you bury in the gravel for plants that feed from the root heavily. Sand is another option but I personally have never used it, it can show debris more but looks pretty amazing in tanks. I would also recommend something natural colored(dark, tan, black) over the bright decorative stuff, the fish definitely appreciate the more natural environment.


- plants/decorations/hiding places?


completely up you you. I am a big fan of driftwood and rocks like lace rock, slate, ect. All the natural stuff is cool. Artificial stuff is fun too especially if you have kids, what kid doesn't love a sunken pirate ship :)

Plants that are really easy to start with and will be fine under your light at the standard low-light plants: Java Fern, Java Moss, and anubias. There are a few bunch plants and floating plants that work well in low-light. I really recommend live plants, they are fun to watch grow and are really beneficial to the aquariums ecosystem(unless of course you want some fish that like to eat plants)

- what organisms are best to help control algae and eat the stuff that accumulates on the bottom -be part of the above scenario?

Corydora catfish are just about the most wonderful fish ever(of course personal opinion here). They eat all the fallen fish food from the top, they are extremely playful and personable, and they are very peaceful. For algae I would not be quick to buy anything, a lot of folks think they need them but algae is not a problem, if it is a problem the standards are oto catfish and bristlenose plecos.

- do I really need to do water changes every week with only small/few fish and how much at a time if low load?

Do you need to? probably not, every other week might be fine, but once you get used to it the process takes only about 15 minutes. 10-15% is good for every week, around 25% for every other week, but it is going to depend on just how many and what fish are in there. I strongly recommend a liquid test kit to monitor the ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels in a tank(ph tests are good every once in a while as well) the API Freshwater Master kit has all of those.


- will a regular ballast (I think that's what I have) be able to run a coralife 50/50 and is this a good thing - or what other setup would be preferable given the light fixture (it only takes one bulb 40watt)?

It depends on the bulb you are talking about and what kind of fixture(standard florescent, power compact, t5 florescent, ect) you have. The 50/50 bulbs are intended for marine(saltwater) aquariums. The bulbs that you are going to want no matter what the fixture are full spectrum bulbs with a kelvin rating for 6000 to 8000 with 6,500 being preferable, in a planted tank.

The basic approach to planted aquariums explains it better stickied to the top of this page:

http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/aquarium-plants/

part 4 explains lighting.


To be honest I am not sure what bulbs you want to have in a non-planted tank, but full spectrum is supposed to be like the afternoon sun so I would go with that but someone else might have a better answer there.


I have ordered from big al's, shipping was decent and prices were good. I have never heard of the other but I am in the states.


Have you read about the ammonia/nitrite/nitrate cycle yet and how to "cycle" an aquarium? It is an important step to understand and get your tank ready so you don't have fish die off.

Hope I could be of some help to you, some things may change depending on the actual fish you are going to want.
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Old 12-16-2010, 07:28 PM   #4
 
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thanks to both of you!

Here are a couple of parameters: pH - 6.5 (as per the "freshwater" schedule)
hardness - I did the "soap test" and it would seem that I am "marginally hard" a little above 1.0
Hope this helps.
As a side note - my LFS is "against" cannister filters and thinks the world of under the gravel type. Any comments? He suggested that the folks that make the type of filters that require media have a vested interest in having us purchase them...
Thanks again for your help.
Pierce

Quote:
Originally Posted by lorax84 View Post
I can answer a few questions.

- As far as stocking goes, you will have test the hardness and ph of your tap water and post the results before getting stocking questions answered.

-If you would like to have a planted tank you will probably need to buy a new hood. You need about 2-3watts of light per gallon for most plants to grow. This is difficult to accomplish without a multi tube hood.

-you will probably need to decide whether you want plants early, as that will help you decide what substrate to use.

-Depending on the type of filter you use and the fish in the tank you can go 10-14 days without a water change, but once again without know what will be in the tank it's hard to give you an exact answer.

The starting point for you should probably be ordering an API master test kit and testing your water. Then Im sure the members here will have plenty of suggestions for you.
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Old 12-16-2010, 08:25 PM   #5
 
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I have never used an under gravel filter and don't know anyone who got into the hobby after 1995 who does. I personally would doubt the knowledge of anyone who against Canister filters, if for no other reason than people I trust, on this board and IRL, swear by them.I would buy a canister for every tank I have if it was economically feasible. I do know that many of the planted tank gurus on this board say UGFs are a bad idea with plants.

I am unfamiliar with the soap test, but it sounds like you have relatively soft, slightly acidic water. Really you can go with almost anything because it is relatively easy to harden your water and not so easy to soften it. There are way to many fish to just say "here these are good for you" but you may want to look into a group of Cory Cats (i personally like Sterbai Corys), A group of tetras (neon, green neon, black, cardinal etc.) and then maybe a pair of dwarf ciclids, or a group of red cherry shrimp. Like I said, with a little work you can probably keep almost anything. I usually go to a website, or a LFS and see what they have, then look up the needs of the fish on the fish profiles here. Then go from there.
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Old 12-18-2010, 11:19 AM   #6
 
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Hello Pierce, and welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum.

I see you are in Nelson, I'm in Vancouver, so if you want I can provide names/emails of some stores/fish importers here that will ship to Nelson.

I agree with most of what has been posted in this thread. A single tube light is best, you will have algae issues with more. Just get a good tube, a 6500K daylight (full spectrum) from the hardware store (Is there a Home Depot in Nelson? They sell Phillips, I use them) for a few dollars. Measure the existing tube end to end (minus the prongs), that is the size in T8 you want.

On the water, is there a website for your local water board? It will have hardness and pH probably, or you can call them; good to know the numbers.

Feel free to ask questions, everyone here is very helpful.

Byron.
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Old 12-19-2010, 04:55 PM   #7
 
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sounds good Byron - thanks! please either forward that info or point me in the right direction. We've decided that we really want a cherry shrimp or two, neon tetras, dwarf gouramis (powder blue dwarf gouramis) and probably a couple of corys. Think that'll make for a nice community/peaceful tank?
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Old 12-21-2010, 11:49 AM   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sharelove View Post
sounds good Byron - thanks! please either forward that info or point me in the right direction. We've decided that we really want a cherry shrimp or two, neon tetras, dwarf gouramis (powder blue dwarf gouramis) and probably a couple of corys. Think that'll make for a nice community/peaceful tank?
The dwarf gourami will likely eat the shrimp. And the neons too if they are small. Also, dwarf gourami have health issues, serious ones. More on this in our profile--click on shaded names in posts or use the second tab from the left in the blue bar across the top to go to the profile section.

I've PM'd the suppier info.

Byron.
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