Guidance on choices - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 5 Old 07-31-2010, 04:19 PM Thread Starter
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Guidance on choices

Hello, (First post)

I'm starting a tank, and could use some help. I'm pretty experienced with fish-only tanks, even though I haven't had one running for several years, but I'm new to planting. I've done quite a bit of research on plants and fish, but I'd love some feedback and guidance. I'll put my questions in blue.

Here's what I have: There are two different setups

37gal Hex tank - this one i'll set up first, I think.
Secondnature whisper filter - sufficient?
18 inch single bulb light fixture -sufficient? If so, what type of bulb should I use?
supplies for water testing

46gal bowfront
Rena XP4 filter - sufficient?
36 inch single bulb light fixture -sufficient? If so, what type of bulb should I use?
supplies for water testing.

Here's what I want to put in the first tank:
- Plants
Java moss
Java fern
Anubias - not sure which. Should I be looking for a specific type ?
Amazon and Oriental Swords - I had these on my list, but crossed them off, and I can't remember why. Any reason not to use these?
I would also like a couple floating plants, but could use some help picking them out.
Any guidance on how to plant these? I was thinking driftwood and terra cotta to attach the moss to, but lost on the rest
I need suggestions on substrate. (Something low maintenance.)

I'm planning to choose one of the stocking schemes from Boruchowitz' Simple Guide to Freshwater Aquariums, so my most like choices are:
- 6-16 White clouds for cycling - do I NEED to cycle with fish if I plan on planting first and leaving it for a couple weeks?
- 6-8 gold barbs
- 8-15 rasboras
- 1-2 PAIR dwarf gouramis
Thoughts about that combination of plants and fish in the 37 gallon hex?
Would I be better of using the 46 gallon bowfront for that?
( I was think of using that for a couple stingrays, but one thing at a time )
Last question about the fish part. I would like to add some shrimp to my stocking scheme, but I'm not sure which ones, or even if they are suitable for the setup. Are they? If so, what kind?

I've read around the forums and stickies before registering, but I didn't find anything that addresses my specific questions. Any help or guidance is appreciated.

Last note - I've been looking to buy new tanks for a while now, and I got three in the last 3 days. Now i just need to get starting putting things in them!
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post #2 of 5 Old 07-31-2010, 07:32 PM
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Well, I won't be able to answer all of your questions, but I should be able to answer some.

Amazon Sword Plants should be VERY hardy, and unless you have some extreme conditions (or a alkaline cichlid tank, but you apparently won't have that). Not sure about Oriental Swords, haven't tried them out yet. Java Ferns are also very hardy, but Java moss (in my experiences) propagate VERY quickly, and can easily take over your tank if you take a one-month vacation. For a floating plant, I've had very good experiences with Hornwort. Even though people say it's a coldwater plant, I have seen MANY thrive in a tropical aquarium.

The Java Fern should be able to grow on some wood. Just tie the roots to the wood with some twine, and after the Java Fern has taken root in the wood, you can cut off the twine (You don't have to).

For substrate, some small river pebbles (from your LFS) should be fine. It's the MOST low maintenance substrate that will allow for plant growth.

Finally, all of the tanks I have have been cycled without fish (Fishless Cycle). Just add some old food into the tank periodically. After there is no Ammonia or Nitrite, you can start introducing fish.

Hope this helps

I LOVE FISH!! (Or at least tiger barbs, platies, catfish/plecos, and some discus)
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post #3 of 5 Old 07-31-2010, 09:14 PM
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Read Byron's 4 part sticky at the top of this forum.It will really help get you started and answer many of the questions you'll have.

Your's truly,
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post #4 of 5 Old 08-04-2010, 04:07 PM
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SweetAquatics has cheap plant prices and a biotope designing service, could help you stock them.

If you're going to have shrimp in a tank with fish, I would only use ghost shrimp. (They're sold as feeders, so if they get eaten oh well. They're between $0.10 - $0.50, compared to $1-$2 for a RCS, which the 2nd cheapest freshwater shrimp.

If you haven't set them up yet, I like soil substrates.
You need no filter, and give it about 1-2 watts of light per gallon (put the tank close to a window so it gets sunlight) and no ferts either. Just change the water every 6 months or so.

Originally Posted by Christople View Post
^^ genius

Soil Substrates Guide:
Part 1
--------- Part 2

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post #5 of 5 Old 08-04-2010, 07:07 PM
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Hello, and welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum.

A previous member suggested you read the "stickies" at the head of this section [entitled "A Basic Approach to the Natural Planted Aquarium"]. Several of your questions are covered in those, and I don't want to bore others repeating. There are a couple issues looming (filtration especially) in what you are planning, but I won't comment further as the info is in the articles. If you do read those and have additional questions, fee free to ask.


Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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