Tank Cleaning...
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Tank Cleaning...

This is a discussion on Tank Cleaning... within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> So I was given a 55 gal tank and under gravel filter. I've wanted to start a freshwater tank for some time now, but ...

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Old 09-27-2010, 02:24 PM   #1
 
Tank Cleaning...

So I was given a 55 gal tank and under gravel filter. I've wanted to start a freshwater tank for some time now, but haven't just because I keep hearing how much time a tank is going to take. My question is, what are my best options to keep a clean tank with the least amount of work? Also what types of fish and plants are the best?

I have done a lot of research on this through this forum and other sites on the web, and I haven't really found too much "good" info about the matter. I know alot of you guys have tanks that are set up so that they are low maintenance. I'm just curious how much time I should expect to spend cleaning and working on it.

Aaron
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Old 09-27-2010, 02:45 PM   #2
 
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Hello and welcome!

I have kept a 20 gallon tank for 3 years now and it is very low maintenance. I do not do water changes very often and do not need to clean the sides. Now this is a very established tank so it got to this point very slowly. For the lowest maintenance tank go planted...heavily. I have alot of plants and they grow really fast but also take care of the water. Now you might not hear the same from others this is not very common I have heard because I do not get many problems! I was/am very lucky. My fish are great(only have 9) which is not a huge bioload for my tank and only 3 types of plants that grew very fast. Sword plant(amazon I think and I believe it split into two now) vallisnerias and java moss. All common all very nice plants. But you will need a nice lighting system and maybe a CO2 thingy(I don't) but the rest of the members will help you out more but really the key thing here is to have a huge amount of patience. Keeping a system can be easy... or it can be a nightmare but most likely easy if you follow a few guidelines.

1. and most important. WAIT FOR THE CYCLE. The most common mistake in beginners is you don't wait. You will want to wait for the cycle to happen first(Plants will help) if you do not know how to look for a cycle. The main thing you need is an ammonia test kit. Test for ammonia every few days until it spikes up then do a water change. You will also need a pH test kit and maybe a few others. Go with API test kits for this.

2. After the cycle don't go crazy buying fish this will cause your system to get too much of a bio-load at once and might become a nightmare. Start off with 1-3 fish depending on what you are getting.

3. Weekly water changes after the spike will help keep most of the parameters in check. Do ~10% every week or ~20% every two.

4. Be prepared for what you are getting. Don't buy a fish you don't know anything about. If you are making a community tank then look for the community fish section at your LFS or ask a worker.
If it is going to be a cichlid tank wait for others to help you because I do not know much.
If you follow those you are in good shape for a tank. Don't be discouraged it is alot of fun having a tank and very pleasing. Water changes do not take much time neither does testing 30min max every time for me at least.

Good luck. And if I forgot something or I have been misinformed myself then please someone correct me or add on.
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Old 09-27-2010, 09:41 PM   #3
 
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Yes, plants can help process the fish wastes. I suggest you consider getting a canister filter instead of using the undergravel filter. Then you can use plants in your gravel.

The fish and plants that are best are ones that are suited to your water parameters and the size of your tank, and which are compatible with each other. Don't buy soft-water fish if the water where you live is hard. Don't try to shove some enormous monster-fish in your tank. Don't choose a fish that isn't for beginners that will require you to test your tank more often than usual to guard against changes in water chemistry. Don't overfeed your fish - excess food will mess up your tank.

As far as I'm concerned, the least amount of work is to do it weekly, without fail. Pick a day to do your tank, and do it. I haven't timed how long it takes to do my tanks, but it isn't long - maybe half an hour or so, an hour at most (I don't rush, I like doing it - the most time is waiting for the water to drain out, and fill up the tank). It can be enjoyable, not just a chore. There's a sense of satisfaction afterwards, when you know your fish are swimming around in lovely clean water.

If you really aren't keen on maintaining your tank, there are businesses you can hire to come and do it for you. If you really, really aren't interested in spending a bit of time on a tank, maybe fish-keeping isn't the hobby for you.

ETA: In addition to the regular water changes, you will also need to clean your filter out periodically which will be additional time you'll need to spend. Maintenance will depend on the type of filter you have.

Last edited by tanker; 09-27-2010 at 09:46 PM..
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