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Starting new 20 gallon freshwater aquarium

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Starting new 20 gallon freshwater aquarium
Old 05-01-2009, 12:25 PM   #11
 
Thanks for all the advice. I had chosen the 50W heater because I read that it is a good idea to get a lower wattage than usually recommended, because then you will have a wider margin of error before it 'cooks' your fish.

As for the fish compatibility, I have decided to focus my tank around guppies. To that end, I would like to have at least 5 guppies, and then some other fish as companions. What types of fish go well with guppies?

Also, what is the best online dealer of aquarium supplies in Canada? I have heard mixed reviews of bigals but it has better selection and prices than any fish store here in St. John's. Thanks.
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Old 05-01-2009, 01:04 PM   #12
 
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Also, I notice that you like to use 2 filters. Is this something I should consider?
If you have the standard 20G Long tank....you do not need two filters. I have a 20G Long right now (well, being disassembled, ignore the pic) and I run one Penguin BioWheel 200....It's "over rated" for my tank, it can filter up to a 50 gallon tank.... but generally that is the goal anyways.

You do not need to run two filters on a 20L, like byron said, it will be too much current. If you want to run two (2) Penguin 100's...it's the same filtration as a Penguin 200....so why not just upgrade to a Marineland Bio Wheel 200 if you feel you need more filtration????

If you are going with guppies prepare for A LOT of fry....they are live bearers, as are you mollies you were talking about earlier.

Check out drsfosterandsmith for supplies, they're very reasonable, but not sure if they ship to Canada...

Last edited by JohnnyD44; 05-01-2009 at 01:06 PM..
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Old 05-01-2009, 01:13 PM   #13
 
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Originally Posted by pillar View Post
Thanks for all the advice. I had chosen the 50W heater because I read that it is a good idea to get a lower wattage than usually recommended, because then you will have a wider margin of error before it 'cooks' your fish.

As for the fish compatibility, I have decided to focus my tank around guppies. To that end, I would like to have at least 5 guppies, and then some other fish as companions. What types of fish go well with guppies?

Also, what is the best online dealer of aquarium supplies in Canada? I have heard mixed reviews of bigals but it has better selection and prices than any fish store here in St. John's. Thanks.
JohnnyD44 has given a suggestion for online, you can email them to see if they ship to Canada, prices would be more of course than their US lists. I've never used online, I have two Big Al's stores here and frankly bought all my equipment through one of them.

Re the guppy tankmates, obviously other livebearers would work, some corys for the bottom level, a small pleco maybe...some limitations with a 20g and remember, as Johnny correctly said, with livebearers you will quickly have hundreds and either have to cull them or let the others eat them... . In a smaller setup maybe look at various non-livebearers? Lots of South American tetras and corys can be housed together, or SE Asian fish like barbs, gouramis, loaches (not all together necessarily, just giving some fish suggestions). Egg layers will often spawn if water conditions are to their liking, but in community setups like mine the other fish eat the eggs the moment they are discharged, which is nutritious food, and it would be rare for any to survive; with livebearers the young fish are there from the start and given some hiding places will manage to survive which only increases your fish load very quickly.

Last edited by Byron; 05-01-2009 at 01:20 PM..
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Old 05-01-2009, 02:46 PM   #14
 
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with a 50 watt heater it will constantly be heating up causing the life of the heater to be drastically shortened.........I have heard of more heaters quit working and your water cooling down than having a heater going wacky and raising your water temp.......With a more powerful heater, it will click on for a few minutes and run and then shut off......with an underpowered heater it will probably run all the time.........i would be more worried about a heater that runs all the time frying your fish
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Old 05-01-2009, 03:13 PM   #15
 
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The reason that I run two filters on all my tanks is because I am constantly needing to have temporary holding tanks that are cycled. With two filters, I can take one off and put it on another tank that I just filled that day and be able to put a fish in right away. I actually have 7 tanks, but the three that are in my profile are the ones in my house. The others are usually used for breeding or quarantine, and I keep them in my garage. They are not pretty, so I don't take pictures of them.

As far as a heater goes, after looking at the Big Als canadian site, the best heater for the money that I could find was this one: http://www.bigalsonline.ca/BigAlsCA/...oplight150watt

You will be able to put it horizontally underneath the filter intake to get best chance at making sure there are no dead spots for heat in your tank. Also I would recommend you get a glass thermometer(not a stick on) because they are more accurate, and you wont be able to trust the numbers on your heater. Something like this: http://www.bigalsonline.ca/BigAlsCA/...withsuctioncup

I also really like Byrons idea of something like a dwarf gourami instead of an angel as a centerpiece fish. It will allow you more room for other fish.
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Old 05-01-2009, 03:20 PM   #16
 
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As far as the rocks go, I always use granite and slate for rocks in all the tanks I have. Usually you can go to landscaping/gravel supply and get a coupe small rocks for practically free. You then get scalding hot water and pour over the rock while you scrub and dirt and grime that they have on them. The ones in my 10 gallon are actually part of some scrap granite that was used on the outside of the newest Microsoft buildings. Whatever you do, don't use limestone. It will keep your pH very high.
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Old 05-01-2009, 09:06 PM   #17
 
So i went out to wal-mart today and the prices were pretty good so I picked up the following:
*Elite 20 Hush filter
*Tetra 100 watt submersible heater
*Air pump
*Thermometer
*gravel

Think this is good? I still have the receipt if not. Also I got a hagen mini test kit.

Thanks for all the tips, I have learned a lot.
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Old 05-01-2009, 09:42 PM   #18
 
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Looks good to me. One more tip- try to place your thermometer in a corner away from your heater and filter, and also move it to a different corner every few weeks or so. The reason for this is to make sure that your tank is being heated evenly and you have water flow there. In a smaller tank like yours, you shouldn't have any problems like that, but it's just a precaution.
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Old 05-01-2009, 10:54 PM   #19
 
Great! I also noticed that there are all sorts of cool varieties of Tetra at the pet store. I still want to have guppies in the tank, because I find them very cool, but to minimize the number of live bearers I will go with a cory and tetras besides, if they are compatible.

The compatibility chart Freshwater Fish Compatibility Chart - Rate My Fish Tank says that guppies are sometime compatible with tetras...could someone please elaborate on this?

Thanks again!
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Old 05-02-2009, 10:07 AM   #20
 
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Great! I also noticed that there are all sorts of cool varieties of Tetra at the pet store. I still want to have guppies in the tank, because I find them very cool, but to minimize the number of live bearers I will go with a cory and tetras besides, if they are compatible.

The compatibility chart Freshwater Fish Compatibility Chart - Rate My Fish Tank says that guppies are sometime compatible with tetras...could someone please elaborate on this?

Thanks again!
I glanced at the linked chart but I would only take that as a very rough guide. There is much more at stake than what any single chart can explain.

One important thing is water parameters, and a second is behaviour. On water, fish with differing water preferences do not make partticularly suitable tank companions. For example, African rift lake cichlids prefer water that is harder and more alkaline than other freshwater fish, pH at 8 or higher is fine. Livebearers are close to this, prefering water that is slightly hard and slightly alkaline, say pH 7-8. Most of the SA characins (tetras, pencilfish, hatchetfish) and most SE Asian fish prefer soft water that is slightly acidic. These are generalities, and some (but not all) fish are a bit adaptable, but not to extremes. There is a good biological reason.

Both salinity and pH affect how hard a fish's body must work to maintain its physiological equilibrium--that is, the complex chain of internal chemical reactions that keep the pH of its blood steady, its tissues fed, and its immune system functioning. When pH and/or salinity stray outside the ideal range for any given species, the fishes' bodies must work harder and use more energy to maintain this equilibrium [cited from an article in TFH Dec 2006]. Making the fish work this hard is stressful, leading to disease vulnerability and even death sometimes. Myself, i would never mix fish from the three categories I have mentioned in the preceding paragraph because their needs are too far apart for their well-being.

Second issue was behaviour. A group of small tetras that spend their day racing around a tank will be stressful to slower fish like angels and discus. Or a fish that constantly nips at other fish fins will be stressful. Behaviour must be considered when deciding what to put in an aquarium. After all, in nature the fish can escape such things but in a close aquarium they are trapped. Imagine how you would feel if you were locked in a room with something that annoyed you constantly, and had no escape. And this analogy is good on the water parameter issue also, as again the fish cannot escape the unsuitable water we provide it. While some fish seem able to adjust, how do you know what it is feeling inside? How many times on this forum do we read something like "my fish suddently got sick and died..." and sometimes it is simply because the fish could not withstand its environment in one way or another.
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