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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; --> Well I finished my sand rinsing, filled it with water, installed my equipment and put my decorations in. The only frustration is that the ...

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New 55 Gallon Freshwater Tank / First Timer
Old 06-24-2008, 08:41 PM   #41
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Well I finished my sand rinsing, filled it with water, installed my equipment and put my decorations in.

The only frustration is that the water is still cloudy.

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Old 06-25-2008, 01:11 PM   #42
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i like that a lot,
well done on your hard work,the cloudy will settle in time honest. :)
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Old 06-25-2008, 01:27 PM   #43
Looks nice. As willow said, it will become clear now that you have a filter going. And, I know what it feels like to have a cloudy tank. My reef had sand all over the place when I first set it up! And, with only 1 powerhead on, it cleared up within 24 hours.
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Old 06-25-2008, 01:44 PM   #44
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Here's hoping. I don't think you can avoid it no matter how much you rinse the sand, at least not with finer stuff like play sand. I'm pondering setting up the power filter just to see how it does, I've got filter cartridges for it but they contain carbon and are over two years old. Will the carbon have deactivated by now?

I'm planning on adding three or four more tall plants, most on the right end. I think it'll give the fish good cover as well as frame out the center of the tank.

I'm going to fiddle with my heaters and see if I can't get the temperature to hold at 79 degrees. Right now its hovering at 78.4 to 78.6 so just a tiny bump up should hit 79 and stay on the money.
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Old 06-25-2008, 03:12 PM   #45
I am like you starting up a tank that I want to keep soft water/low Ph species (some of the same as yours) in, though it isnt my first tank. Also, like you, my tap water comes out at around 8 Ph. I found this article on cheap ways to condition the water useful:

It explains that the biggest reason for high Ph is dissolved bicarbonates, in my case, and maybe yours too, the water comes from an area of heavy limestone. The bicarbonates buffer acid in the water and raise the Ph. It says the easiest way to get soft, acidic water is collecting rainwater, which might be too soft/acidic, maybe find a ratio of rainwater to tapwater that hits your target, and that you can somewhat reduce those bicarbonates by boiling the water. A very good article, this afternoon I will boil some of my water and let it settle then get it out the way the author describes in order to test it, I'll post the results as far as both Kh and Ph.
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Old 06-27-2008, 07:41 AM   #46
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Florida's aquifer is trapped in limestone so all the water in this state is hard unless you have your own shallow well. I'm not going to worry about monkeying with the pH, I doubt the fish stores around here are softening the water they keep their fish in so any fish I buy are most likely used to it.

I do have a question about temperature control, what's a good range to keep the temp in? Right now my temperature seems to vary from 78.0 to 78.9, should I be trying to keep it even steadier or is this fine? How big a temp swing in a day is acceptable before it starts to get dangerous for a fish, two degrees, three?
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Old 06-27-2008, 04:39 PM   #47
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That's a very good temperature. I would worry about more than a 1 degree swing in less than an hour (in general). Sounds like you've got it all set.
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Old 07-01-2008, 01:10 PM   #48
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My temperature is becoming an issue. In the mornings I'm seeing temperatures about 79.5, which I didn't think was that big a problem because until yesterday the hottest it got in the tank was about 80.8, a bit over a degree at the most extreme swing. Yesterday when I got home from work the tank was 81.9, almost two and a half degrees from the hottest to the coldest.

I have a Coralife digital thermometer and I've heard some people complain about their accuracy and wandering readings even when things are stable. I tested it last night in ice water and it read 32.3 so it would seem the thing might be decently calibrated. I haven't messed with the heaters for almost a week so I'm at a loss to explain why my temperature would suddenly be rising. I guess this rambling question is about temperature ranges, how closely should I be trying to maintain the temperature. Is a two degree swing from early morning to mid afternoon acceptable? Should be trying to maintain a tighter range?

As a review I have a 55 gallon tank with a penguin 300 filter. My heaters are a 50W Visi-therm Deluxe and a 100W Visi-therm Stealth. I realize this is at the bare bottom of the 3-5W/gallon rule of thumb but my room temperature is about 75 and ideally I'd like to keep the tank at 79. I'll be replacing the 50W with a 150W or even 200W stealth later this year before winter. Here is how my tank is set up:

As another question, feeding my fish. My platy and sole surviving neon tetra decimate the food when I put some in. I'm concerned that my bottom dwelling cories might not be getting enough to eat. Should I buy some sinking pellets for them?
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Old 07-01-2008, 04:45 PM   #49
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Two and a half degrees over an entire day should be just fine. Think about it this way: even when you go swimming you can feel there are hot spots and cold spots. Also, fish swim from shallows into more depth and the water temperature changes. They are definitely built to handle some variation in water temperature. Now this isn't a solid rule, as some fish come from very stable temperatures, but your fish should be fine, and hopefully the perspective will make you less worried. Plus, you're staying within the range of healthy temperature for your fish.
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Old 07-01-2008, 07:33 PM   #50
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I agree with Okie on the temp.

Also, regarding the cories, definitely get them some sinking pellets or wafers.
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