Sand, filter, fish question
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Sand, filter, fish question

This is a discussion on Sand, filter, fish question within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> So we have just got a 50 gallon tank, and we were looking into sand. I am reading crazy things here and there, that ...

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Sand, filter, fish question
Old 04-13-2011, 11:51 AM   #1
 
Sand, filter, fish question

So we have just got a 50 gallon tank, and we were looking into sand.

I am reading crazy things here and there, that you need a stronger filter for more water, but then elsewhere it says that a stronger filter will break with the sand and get clogged. Which is TRUE!?!?!

I also read I have to be careful because my pleco has a soft belly that can be sensitive to the substrate. (we also have 2 mollies)

Any recommendations? Brands? Types? Filter? (we don't have that yet either...) I saw a lot of people like the Caribsea black Tahitian moon sand, but that it takes forever to clean.
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Old 04-13-2011, 12:05 PM   #2
 
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First, as you are a new member, welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum.

Now to your questions.

The filter should be rated for the size of tank, but also be suitable for the type of fish you intend to keep in the tank. Not all fish can live together, and one aspect of this is filtration, or more accurately, water flow which is due to the filter. For a 50g tank, a canister filter is probably the best, and certainly the most versatile. If you decide on sand for the substrate, this is better for that too, as it can be set to a lower flow and thus not disturb the substrate.

On the fish, this should depend mainly on your source water, presumably tap water. The hardness and pH is what you need to know; the water supply folks can tell you this, they may have a website with the water parameters posted.

Are live plants in the picture?

As for substrate, small-grain gravel, pea gravel, sand or a plant enriched substrate are your choices. Some fish have preferences--Corydoras and loaches do not do as well with pea gravel for instance. Sharp edges should always be avoided. And in most cases you want an inert substrate; some gravels and sands can increase hardness and pH which may or may not be suitable depending upon your source water and the intended fish.

I've been very general, but once we know the answers to the above, we can be more specific.

Byron.
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Old 04-13-2011, 01:17 PM   #3
 
Byron,

Thanks for all your support and the welcome!!!

We do NOT have live plants...tried it in our smaller tank and they weren't doing well, even with the plant-food stuff...

We do use tap water, and condition it. I have a super tested kit that I have been using on the small tank that tests ph, ammonia, nitrate and nitrites. I have had our tap water tested, and it is soft. The ph usually runs between 7.6 and 8.0. We were ordering a marine land penguin 350 (for 60 gallons) but after reading you need a stronger filter for sand, we canceled the order. So we have yet to get a filter.

This tank is not yet set up, right now its empty and the fishies are in a 10 gallon.
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Old 04-13-2011, 01:23 PM   #4
 
Sand, filter and fish, ... oh my.

sand/gravel: I'd suggest gravel rather than sand for your substrate. As for gravel, medium to small size and only an inch or two deep. I have two bags in my 60g.

filter: Well, I just recently got the 60g and chose a HOB (hang on back) AquaClear 70 and it's working very well. In a hindsight do over, I might easily choose a canister filter - I quite like the Fluval 305.

I can't speak to fish selection as there are just so many variables as Byron pointed out. I think it's something you really need to invest time in to get up on the learning curve. Some if it is water/environment, personal choice, communitry vs. species specific - many, many things.

(I'm fairly new here to, but Welcome to the forum!)

Last edited by AbbeysDad; 04-13-2011 at 01:27 PM..
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Old 04-13-2011, 01:39 PM   #5
 
whats the pros and cons of the fluval vs. a HOB? this might sound stupid, but and if a fluval does hang on the back....hows that work?

I might be a beginner, but i am getting so obsessed with this new tank, i want to make sure I do it right!!
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Old 04-13-2011, 04:06 PM   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by munkiwingz View Post
whats the pros and cons of the fluval vs. a HOB? this might sound stupid, but and if a fluval does hang on the back....hows that work?

I might be a beginner, but i am getting so obsessed with this new tank, i want to make sure I do it right!!
Both are good filters. As I mentioned previously, you really must know what fish you intend to have in the tank in order to choose the "best" filter for that tank. I guess I need to expand this a bit.

Some fish occur in flowing streams and rivers; the Plecostomus species native to the Rio Xingu in Amazonia are one example. This river is devoid of plants, it has gravel, sand and rock boulders for a substrate, and flows quite fast. The fish are designed by nature for this environment, and when placed in an aquarium they need a current or they can not only be highly stressed out, but succumb to a shortage of oxygen.

By contrast, we have what I term forest fish. Most (but not all) the characins, angelfish, discus, rasbora, etc. These fish live in slow-flowing streams, still-water lagoons in the streams, and for half the year flooded forest. They do not appreciate strong filter currents because they have to continually (day and night) work to fight against them; imagine if you had to be walking up a steep hill even when trying to sleep...that is what the fish are put through, and it wears them out.

Then there are the anabantids, the gourami and Betta, that live in ponds, swamps and ditches. These fish suffer even more with currents.

So with that in mind, select the filter that will do the job but not be counter to the fish. Sometimes one can find the middle road, if the tank is large enough. I have a 5-foot 115g Amazon riverscape setup with a Rena XP3 canister. The filter outflow is at one end, and I removed the spraybar to provide a bit of current, directed toward the end wall so it is noticeable there but quickly dissipates down the tank. I have an assortment of 150 or so fish in that tank. Among these are a group of 20 rummynose tetra and a smaller group of cardinal tetra; these fish are very slow-water fish. They remain, and I mean remain, in the right end of the tank among the plants, they never venture to the left where the current is. I also have a trio of spotted woodcats and a Plecostomus (Hypancistrus furunculus) that like water flow. Both species live in tunnels in wood, and when introduced into the tank they all took up residence in wood at the far left end, where the filter flow is strongest. I also have some 25 Corydoras in this tank, several species mixed (3-5 of each). The C. duplicareus within a couple days took up residence at the left end of the tank, while the C. gossei live about half way down. The latter occur in slow streams, the former in a moderate-flow stream.

My point in all this is that when we provide an environment as close as we can reasonably do for the particular fish, they will appreciate that and thus be less stressed, which means healthier. This just means researching fish species before acquisition; building a community that is truly a community, meaning that the fish all have similar if not identical requirements in water parameters, flow, and environmental needs like wood, plants, rocks, or whatever.

The advantage of a canister filter is variability; I can increase or decrease the flow rate on my Rena, and I can also further do this by using the spray bar. This give me several options, and in a larger tank (4-feet and up) it is possible to accommodate differing fishes for an interesting display.

Byron.
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Old 04-13-2011, 04:27 PM   #7
 
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I use Fluval internal U2 filter, there is U1 - U4 depending on the size and mine works very well. The water clarity is excellant

Last edited by HMlairy; 04-13-2011 at 04:27 PM.. Reason: Typo
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Old 04-13-2011, 07:23 PM   #8
 
@ Byron,

I guess as a newbie, I never thought of the flow/filter from that perspective!!! So I guess I better get researching fast and see what will work before I even create the tank!!!

Couldn't you always have a bubble thingy for more current/oxygen circulation as well?? Also, like your tank, with the filter on one side of my 4 ft long tank, wont it naturally create an environment similar to yours, with the flow on one side, slow on the other??

Thanks for all the help, I couldn't be more grateful!!
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Old 04-14-2011, 10:17 AM   #9
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by munkiwingz View Post
@ Byron,

I guess as a newbie, I never thought of the flow/filter from that perspective!!! So I guess I better get researching fast and see what will work before I even create the tank!!!

Couldn't you always have a bubble thingy for more current/oxygen circulation as well?? Also, like your tank, with the filter on one side of my 4 ft long tank, wont it naturally create an environment similar to yours, with the flow on one side, slow on the other??

Thanks for all the help, I couldn't be more grateful!!
Yes, that was part of my point; your 4-foot also allows for a "compromise" if you select fish that need some current along with those that don't. But it can't bee too much flow needed, or it will carry down the tank.

Fish that require stronger currents need just that; the bubble devices don't fit the bill. There are other factors in the equation.

A canister filter on a 4-foot or larger tank is in my view the best as you have control plus options.
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