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New 55 Gallon Freshwater Tank / First Timer

This is a discussion on New 55 Gallon Freshwater Tank / First Timer within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> As limiting as the serpaes might be they are also the fish that convinced me to do a tetra set up. Only the RTBS ...

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New 55 Gallon Freshwater Tank / First Timer
Old 06-14-2008, 07:17 PM   #11
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As limiting as the serpaes might be they are also the fish that convinced me to do a tetra set up. Only the RTBS is more firmly entrenched in the set up. If they are going to limit my options with what I can have in the tank well I might just forgo another species and pile on a few more of the serpaes or one of the other tetras. I appreciate the advice, I really do, but the serpaes are going to be part of the line up and will have to be worked around.
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Old 06-15-2008, 01:06 AM   #12
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It's no problem! We aren't trying to sell you on anything. If you like the serpaes you can certainly keep them.

The threadfin rainbows are also very nice, but won't work with the serpaes. Praecox rainbows would probably be ok, though. Another top-dweller you could consider would be hatchet fish. They can move fast and don't have flowing fins, so they wouldn't be targets for the serpaes. They also need to be in a school and need to be well covered as they're known to be excellent jumpers.

However, having larger groups of fish, as you've already suggested, is certainly another option. Schooling fish always look better the more you have, so increasing the numbers on the fish already on your list would work as well.
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Old 06-16-2008, 06:52 AM   #13
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I've been doing more research on the serpaes and I have a question about their nippiness. Most of what I've read seems to indicate that they are nippy with other fish when they don't have enough of their own kind in the tank. Since I'm planning on having at least 8 but probably closer to a dozen of them would this be enough to keep them occupied and leave some gourami's or guppy's alone.

Also, and this probably sounds a bit cold hearted, would the rest of the tank's residents keep the guppy's fries in check?
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Old 06-16-2008, 07:24 AM   #14
I know the "Serpaes are nippy" factoid is one of those tried and true basic fish facts, up there with "Goldfish are dirty" and "Cichlids are always meaner than you think", but do you think Tyyrlym should be really worried about his fish getting harassed? In a 55 gallon tank, with the stocking that he's describing and assuming it is well decorated, there should be a good amount of space and cover for fish to stay out of each other's way, shouldn't there?

Aside from that, I have Rummynoses, Neons, Harlequins and Swartz Cories together in my 30 gal hex tank and they are doing great together (play sand substrate, fake plants).
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Old 06-16-2008, 09:19 AM   #15
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In regards to sand I would simply add that it might be wise to shut off filter while doing maint. the first few times. That way if you stir up the sand with vaccum more than you intended, The sand won"t wind up in your filter gears, motor, bearings etc. I recently went with sand in 29 gal. And found it better to hover a little higher with gravel vac than you would with pebbles.
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Old 06-16-2008, 09:29 AM   #16
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It's true that the larger groups you keep them in, the less of a problem they are, but likelihood is they will still take a bite out every once in a while.

I'd recommend adding the serpaes and seeing how the act around the other fish. If you think they keep to themselves mostly, you can try to add one of those other fish. Just be prepared to rehome them if something goes wrong.

As for the guppy fry, theoretically, yes. However, if you've got a heavily planted/decorated aquarium it may not work out that way. In fact, I had a chinese algae eater in with some guppy fry and even he couldn't take care of the problem! Another alternative is to get only males.

Hatchetfish are another cool top-dweller that wasn't mentioned before. So are halfbeaks. Both of those guys stick up at the top about 99.9% of the time. And they're funky looking!
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Old 06-16-2008, 09:53 AM   #17
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Well I haven't checked my LFS (where I plan to buy all my fish) but I'm pretty sure Petsmart stocks nothing but male guppies, they're all pretty darn flashy so I don't think any are females. I dunno, might be kinda fun to have some little ones swimming around the tank, though I'd have to see if my LFS would accept them since I can't have them over running the tank. I do like the idea of some guppies in my tank, I think I have a thing for small flashy fish. The gouramis look nice too. I'll just have to see what I want to do when the time comes, since these would be the last species added to the tank prior to my RTBS they're probably three or four months from getting bought.

The hatchetfish are an interesting idea. I'll have to inspect the hood when it gets here to see if I could have them.

I'm definitely going with a sand substrate, I'd love to do black sand to give the cories a good home and set off the tetras but paying $50 for enough sand to cover the tank bottom is more than I can swing right now.
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Old 06-16-2008, 01:41 PM   #18
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Another solution to a guppy fry problem: make friends with someone who lives nearby and owns some cichlids. My sister's boyfriend keeps a decent-sized Texas cichlid, so I always have somewhere for my guppies to go (i.e. in the cichlid's stomach) if they get out of control.
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Old 06-18-2008, 06:26 AM   #19
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Well good news, my equipment made it to me. Now the cleaning can begin.

First up is the tank and stand:

It looks good, no leaks, no cracks. The stand is a simple angle iron affair that I know will hold the weight but I'd prefer something a bit more substantial aestheticly.

The bio wheel filter turns out to be a Penguin 300, not an Emperor 400.

I'm a little concerned about the Penguin 300, just because its out of production and finding appropriate parts and such for it. Yes, I have the rest of the uplift tube and the cover I just left them off for the picture.

Also part of the deal were these power filters.

I haven't yet confirmed that they have all their parts but they do look to have most of them. At the very least I should be able to scavenge enough to put one of them back together. That'd be great since I'd have a back up filter if the Penguin ever conks out or just a working filter for my next tank. Oh, and yes the motors and impellers work just fine on all three HOBs.

I also got two light fixtures. A single 48" long affair and two 24" ones.

Unfortunately the long fixture's only markings turned up nothing in google though the bulb is marked T8. I really have no idea if this is a good fixture or not but it is fluorescent. The bulbs work for now which is what counts, in a few months when I've got some more cash I'll likely replace the bulbs with ones I know are gonna be fine.

Since the old tank had yet ANOTHER filter, an undergravel one, it came with a pretty substantial air pump and gang valve. The only use I have for it is to run a pair of air stones for the tank. I'm a little concerned about just the size of the thing and its potential power use. I may hock this thing on e-bay or something and use the proceeds to buy a more appropriately sized air pump.

I also got a gravel vac, a simple siphon not a python, and a heater. The heater is tragically undersized at only 50 watts. Since my office can get cold in the winter I'm planning to eventually have two 100 watt heaters. During my cycle period of the tank I'm going to monitor the temperature of the tank and see if the 50 watt can handle the 3-4 degree temperature raise over ambient (I'm not hopeful) and if it can I might be able to wait on buying another 100 watt heater for a while and save the second for closer to winter.

I also received a lot of slate with this tank which I'm already planning on turning into some caves for my fish.

I also got some quartz gravel, which is useless to me since its jagged as all get out and I'm going to have catfish in my tank. Sand ho.

I do have one question, what would make a good cleaner to clean all this stuff up with. A mild bleach solution? Most of this stuff should come off with a little elbow grease but some of the uplift tubes for the filters and the gravel vac look like they could use a soak in something.
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Old 06-18-2008, 06:38 AM   #20
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I recently received a 75gal. tank from my brother that he had set up as saltwater. I used warm water and vinegar and a new brush and everything cleaned up nicely. It is now home for dwarf cichlids.
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