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Suggestions for stocking 55g tank?

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Suggestions for stocking 55g tank?
Old 09-30-2009, 11:46 PM   #31
Ay Yi Yi... I went to day and swapped the 280 out for the 400.. should I swap them yet again for a better filter? i was thinking about a rena external filter. would the 400 work assuming i did what twistersmom said with the batting? I got my test kit from the gf's house today, im going to test out my water now, but im going to have two peices of mopani wood in the aquarium, a medium and small peice. how much will that effect the pH of my water. also will i need to add any drops of the water treatment or anything? i saw a CO2 machiine at petco, it was 34 bucks, should i need to buy that? ill let ya'll know about the water in a few minutes.

My Readings:
pH - 7.6
NH3/NH4+ (Ammonia) - 0.50
NO2- (Nitrite) - 0 ppm (mgL)
NO3- (Nitrate) - 0ppm (mgL)

These results were all done from the API Freshwater Master Test Kit. I used my regular tap water from the kitchen sink. This testing kit is fun, its like being back in hs lol. Now that I have posted that ya'll will probably be able to better diagnose my situation as far as what fish would be best for my water, what plants, and ect. Thanks, I really appreciate you guys helping out a newb to the hobby.

EDIT: One more question!! The new aquarium I bought was previously used as a saltwater aquarium, it has some white build-up on the sides ( hardwater i'd assume??) whats the best way to remove that? I've tried CLR with a small kitchen scrub brush and it did work to a point. I did that on my 29g tank, But there was still a slightly visible "stain" so I'm not sure as to how I'd remove it completely, I've though about CLR and a scotch brite pad? maybe one of those metal sponge type things would do a better job, then finish it off with the scotch pad. Ideas anyone?

Last edited by andrewr2488; 09-30-2009 at 11:52 PM..
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Old 10-01-2009, 04:50 AM   #32
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I would recommend keeping neon tetras rather than cardinal tetras considering the pH you posted from tapwater? I would also recommend a full function water conditioner such as PRIME to be added to new water that you add to the aquarium whenever water changes are performed. In my view, the effects of driftwood at lowering the ph are slow to negligible due to water changes that will need to be performed on regular basis to ensure the health of the fish. Over time.(months) the natural chemistry in aquariums will tend to lower alkalinity and ph level may become closer to neutral than what you have now. Driftwood will help ,but in my view the results are negligible in that regard ,for any appreciable lowering of the pH in most tanks with alkaline water as opposed to soft water.
Until recently ,I ran an Emperor 280 on a 29 gal tank with sand substrate and live plants such as crypt,java fern,and anubia without issues. I kept the water level just above the plastic trim around the top of the tank so that the water 's surface was disturbed as little as possible considering the filter I had. I also utilized root tabs monthly.
Byron is much more expierienced with planted tanks and judging from photos of his tanks, I would follow his advice closely with regards to filtration if plants are your main focus. Once the plants are established,,then we can further discuss fish for your particular tank.
Too many people in my view want the planted tank and fish nearly overnight and in my expierience,,they often become frustrated when one or the other doesn't quite go the way they think it should.Were it me.(and it ain't) I would train all my efforts on getting the plants established while also researching the fish that I was interested in . The plants,once eastablished,, will make stocking the tank much less stressful for both you and the fish. opinions vary.
P.S. After you have srubbed the white residue as best you can, fill the tank with water and see if the slight remaining stain from residue is visible. Often times it isn't. I would not use any metal srubbing material on the tanks glass.

Last edited by 1077; 10-01-2009 at 04:54 AM..
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Old 10-01-2009, 11:52 AM   #33
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I fully agree with what 1077 has advised and suggested.

On your question of CO2 machines, this again depends upon your goal for the planted tank in the end. I have never used CO2 and have no intention of every trying it, simply because I have the look I want without it; I have healthy, thriving plants, and there are a few species I kow I cannot grow so I don't try. Adding CO2 does also mean adding much more light and nutrients to balance. All of this costs money, to set up and to run. Four times the light power over the course of a year is significant. But of course, there are other considerations besides money in the end, I only mention it because I see no need to spend more than what is necessary.

Several types of filters will work; I only suggested canister because that is in my view the best for a planted tank, reasons for which I explained previously. In a healthy planted tank you do not need mega-filtration. There are planted tank authorities who suggest no filtration. I like some water movement--this will occur in any aquarium with heated water and fish, filter or no filter, but a filter does increase it and stabilize it--but that plus mechanical filtration (trapping particulate matter in the water) is the sole purpose of my filter.

The test results on your tap water indicate ammonia is present (common in many areas) so 1077's suggestion to go with Prime as your water conditioner is good. As for the pH, this is slightly basic (alkaline) and I would suspect your hardness is moderate; pH is often connected to hardness (though not always, as in my own tap water) and the amount of carbonate hardness acts as a buffer for the pH. This means that it will not be easy to adjust your pH down, should you think of trying; do not under any circumstance use the chemical mixes designed to adjust pH. The buffer in the water will act contrary and the pH will fluctuate up and down which is far worse than stable pH. Choose your fish to match your water. We can discuss this more later.

Many of the available plants will do fine in basic water. The light is the single most important thing, I explained about that previously, but if you have any specific questions before buying a fixture or tubes I'll do what I can to advise. My recommendation is to get the equipment working (light, filter, heater) and decide what "look" you want, both from the plants and the probable fish you'll keep. Once that is planned out, realizing there will likely be some changes later, get the plants and plant them, along with the wood you have. Lastly, begin adding the fish, a few at a time; plants will do the cycling if they are sufficient in number and healthy.

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Old 10-01-2009, 08:59 PM   #34
Ok guys more updates, and I took pictures of everything in my setup (tank, stand, 400 filter, test kit, ect.) First some more questions as always.. what plants, and how many of each would be good for starting out? i plan on starting the aquascaping in about a week. also i believe byron, you said i could just use natural colored gravel, how many inches of gravel should be on the bottom? 2-3 inches fine or do the plants need more than that for complete rooting? how would it be if i got 6-7 neon tetras, 3 ram cichlids, and would black neon tetras do well in my water? i'm going to start researching, but i am going to take ya'lls advice and just go planted only for 2-3 weeks then slowly add fish. I Measured the top of the aquarium from left to right and it came out to 47 1/2 inches, 12 3/4 inches from front to back. i need help with my hood. Now onto my pictures :D



Test Kit

Emperor 400

Other Misc
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Old 10-01-2009, 11:00 PM   #35
How would the Apistogrammas or Peocilocharax weitzmani do in my water/tank? I'm looking to add some color to the aquarium besides just having the neon tetras.. I'm still adding boiling water to my 2 peices of mopani wood. the way I'm doing that is by putting each peice of wood into a container, until just now i had the medium wood in a 5g bucket, and the small wood in a very small ice chest and would just pour boiling hot water over them, but now they both are in one 5g bucket and im still just pouring the water over them until completely submerged.

Last edited by andrewr2488; 10-01-2009 at 11:14 PM..
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Old 10-02-2009, 05:31 AM   #36
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Apistogramma Cacatuoides or (cockatoo) Could work with the ph you posted and the Bolivian ram is another option.Not sure about how they would get along. Tetras could work as well, neons,black.
Probably not the german blue or gold rams ,or the Peocilocharax Weitzman. They need soft acidic water.
As Byron has suggested ,and I agree, Three to four inches of substrate with perhaps deeper substrate in the back for taller rooted plants , and no less than two inches towards the front. Keep in mind,,.plant substrates contain minerals that plants can use while plain gravel will often times require root tabs and regular dosing of nutrients at least until such time as the waste from fish can contribute to that which the plan'ts utilize. Were it me,, I would start with a plant substrate but I only say that cause my previous attempts at palnted tanks require me to give the plant's the best chance from the outset. It sometimes takes a while for gravel to become rich enough with nutrients to support less hardy plants. I am near certain that my aggressive gravel vaccuming wasn't helping my efforts .
I am thinking that the filter you have may require glass tops on the tank as opposed to a hood and many hoods don't allow for much in the way of upgrading the lights but some do.
Again ,I would heed Byron's suggestions and advice on nearly all aspects and if you have PATIENCE,things will be far more enjoyable. To rush things,only invites problems that seem to have snowball effect.
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Old 10-02-2009, 11:30 AM   #37
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I'm expanding a bit on what 1077 has mentioned. A glass cover with a light fixture works best in my view. The measurements indicate this is a standard 55g tank, 4 feet length, so glass covers are available to fit and a light fixture 48-inches long will work. The glass cover sits inside the frame on that little lip that runs around, there will be two panes for each side, the front pane will slide back for feeding. As you have that good brace in the centre (my 4-foot tanks do not) the glass covers will be two sets, one for each opening, so measure those when you go to buy the covers. The light fixture then sits across the whole thing on the top of the main tank frame; I like to have the fixture just back of centre, so I can open the glass panes fully at the front. The light seems to be good from that position.

This arrangement allows you the option of a single or dual-tube fixture. Whichever, you'll want it full length, and the tubes are standard 48-inch tubes (actually 47 inches, but called 48). If you looked at my Aquariums photos, you can achieve that sort of plant growth and appearance with either a single T5 HO tube fixture or a double-tube regular fluorescent fixture. The T5 tubes are considerably more intense (bright) so one is sufficient. The benefit of two tubes is being able to have two different types of tubes. For example, on my larger tanks I have one full spectrum Life-Glo 2 tube 6700K and one tube that is slightly stronger in the blue (the light plants most need). My 115g and 90g are a bit deeper than the 55g so this is also better from that aspect. It's really up to you. Whichever, the Life-Glo 2 tubes are in my view the best.

When I had a 55g I also used hang-on filters (before I understood canisters) and placed it at one end on the back. This creates a flow from end to end which simulates a natural stream, and for the fish and plants you'll have is more natural and effective.

I use regular aquarium gravel wth root fertilizer sticks next to the largest swords because they are heavy feeders. You can put a layer of enriched material under the gravel; I did once, but saw no difference so I've never bothered again as it is additional expense and the root sticks work fine; you also have to be careful stirring up enriched substrates. Mulm does build up in the gravel, that is what you want, as there is a complex biological process with all sorts of bacteria working in the substrate in connection with the plant roots. Choose a natural dark colour gravel; most of the fish we maintain in such setups come from flooded forest, quiet streams and ponds that have very dark substrates (mud, leaf litter, sometimes dark or buff sand) so the natural darker shades look better and set off the colours of the fish and plants. The smallest grain size gravel works best, both for the plant roots and maintenance. As 1077 said, 2-4 inches of gravel, less in front where the plants have shallow roots (groundcover plants) or open space, and deeper towards the sides and back for the larger plants with more extensive root systems. As I mentioned, there is a lot of biological activity occurring in the substrate, and some plants, especially swords and crypts, have extensive root systems. The roots of some of the larger swords in my 115g and 90g tanks reach out for 10-12 inches.

A comment on Poecilocharax weitzmani. I have a group of these in my 90g, and have had them previously. They are not easy fish. First, live food is almost mandatory, although they will learn to accept frozen bloodworms. I've had my present shoal since early March this year, and only 2 or 3 of the 7 will even look at flakes and seem to spit out more than they consume when they do; all eat frozen bloodworms, but I made sure they would (in the store) before I bought them. UInless you want to get into raising live food, or have a nearby store that carries live food like worms and brine shrimp, I would wait before venturing into this beautiful fish. When I had these fish back in 1997/8 I bought live worms every week, and after some months managed to get the fish to accept frozen bloodworms. But they are very fussy eaters. And, they must have very soft, acidic water. Hardness at 0 to 1 dGH and pH no higher than 6. Simiolar to cardinal tetras, and in fact P. weitzmani is sometimes caught with cardinals as they share some of the same habitat. The pH of the native water is never above 5.5 and frequently around 4.5, and the main reason aquarists can't seem to keep cardinals alive for more than a couple years is the water; provided with water like their habitat, cardinals will live more than 10 years. But I digress. The common ram (Mikrogeophagus ramirezi) is very similar in requirements, and again, as others have frequently mentioned, not longlived when not provided with what they require in the way of water parameters. Some of the SA dwarf cichlids occur in slightly basic (alkaline) water, and you can research which ones or I can provide some suggestions later. 1077 mentioned a couple. The males of all species establish territories and arranging wood and lants to provide these helps in "keeping the peace" between them; a 4-foot tank give you opportunity for 2 or 3 such pairs.

Mopani wood takes a while to leech out the tannins, but these ar not harmful (quite the opposite as they are natural to acidic water fish) so even in the aquarium the tinted water will not hurt the fish or plants, and will clear in time. But you are wise to soak/boil it to get out as much as you can.


Last edited by Byron; 10-02-2009 at 11:33 AM..
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Old 10-02-2009, 09:30 PM   #38
Yeah I got suckered into buying ANOTHER piece of Mopani, just because I'm planning to have quite a few schooling fish. Would any other tetra work with my water besides neon? I was thinking of glo-lite tetra, or black neon tetras? I went to petco today and I was looking for that "PRIME" stuff and failed to find it. would they carry it or do I need to look at an aquarium store for that? Oh, and it sucks I found an awesome deal on TWO rena xp3 canister filters, brand new on craigslist... 150 for both of them!! its so tempting! I love aquariums, its alot of fun planning them and then getting to relax and look at what you've created. I plan on having only this aquarium for about a year, and then I'm going to do another aquarium in my extra bedroom but it will be a marine aquarium. My Fiance and I are expecting right now and the marine aquarium I'm planning would be something similar to the nemo aquarium. I know its kinda corny in a way, but my nephew LOVES that movie and I'm sure my son/ daughter (We are not sure if its a boy or girl yet) will love it too. back to my amazon aquarium, can you show me what type of substrate your talking about (color, size) i have some in the bag thats kinda got mixed colors, like a tannish brown, with a darker brown, and a medium brown. each pebble is about the size of a thumbtack.
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Old 10-02-2009, 11:48 PM   #39
For an aquarium top, Is this what ya'll were referring to? Of the two pictures I like the one on the right which I assume is the acrylic one? It seems alot easier with just the finger hole and being that I can just cut it to my needs

I measured the lip part where the top would rest and its 46.75"x11.25". Should I just buy the one thats 48x12?

Last edited by andrewr2488; 10-02-2009 at 11:52 PM..
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Old 10-03-2009, 12:27 AM   #40
I've been browsing the net and found this for a lighting fixture, what do ya'll think

Double-Tube Lighting Fixture
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