Need help! Setting up Amazon/Tetra tank!
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Need help! Setting up Amazon/Tetra tank!

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Need help! Setting up Amazon/Tetra tank!
Old 12-01-2010, 09:08 PM   #1
 
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Need help! Setting up Amazon/Tetra tank!

Hello! I will get my new tank from my friend tomorrow (Thursday)! I am so excited! I have several questions, though.

Compatability; This will be a South American Amazon Setup. First, I will ask about fish compatability. I am assumeing this tank is a 55g, with this assumption, I continue.

Here is my plan;
11 neon tetras
6 lemon tetras
8 ember tetras
6 red serpae tetras
6 black skirt/widow tetras
6 marbled hatchetfish
3 albino corydoras

How is that? If you notice, I don't have a centerpiece fish. I am open to suggestions. This will be a softwater tank with a pH no higher than 6.5.

Water Chemistry; My tap has a 7.6pH and is hardwater. I have heard that if you dillute this type of water with distilled water, it will make it softer with a lower pH. For a 55g tank what percent do you suggest I start with? I can tweak it a little with water testing, I just want to know where to start.

Plants; I would like a list of SA plants that would do fine with the list of species I have provided. I want it to be fully planted. I will use redchigh's plant method.

Lighting; I will need good lighting for the plants. Problem is, I don't know what kind to use. I am not necesarily asking for a brand, I am asking for a type of light (e.g. 40W flouresent, 20W incandesent). I don't even know what kind of lights, or where to begin!

I think that is all the questions I have for now. Please answer if you can! Setting it up (partially) tomorrow.

Thanks!
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Old 12-01-2010, 09:29 PM   #2
 
Your fish selection is fine for your size tank. In terms of suggesting a centerpiece fish though, can you please enlighten me on what the redchigh planting method is? I have never heard of such a method in 30 years of aquarium keeping and as a North American distributor for the Aqua Design Amano product line, I thought I was pretty well versed on the finer points of a planted tank.
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Old 12-02-2010, 04:13 AM   #3
 
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Originally Posted by small fry View Post
How is that? If you notice, I don't have a centerpiece fish. I am open to suggestions. This will be a softwater tank with a pH no higher than 6.5.
I have a similar setup - (mostly) amazon, planted 47gal. I have a pair of bolivian rams as a centre piece. I like them, though they can be a little rough compared to my other residents.

I'd take a look at byron's amazon tank in his aquarium profile for plant ideas
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Old 12-02-2010, 04:20 AM   #4
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by small fry View Post
Lighting; I will need good lighting for the plants. Problem is, I don't know what kind to use. I am not necesarily asking for a brand, I am asking for a type of light (e.g. 40W flouresent, 20W incandesent). I don't even know what kind of lights, or where to begin!
one very important factor as far as plant growth is concerned is the k rating - ideally this should be around 6500k for optimal plant growth. The k rating should be on the box or bulb itself. Check byron's stickies in the plants section for more info on why this is important
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Old 12-02-2010, 04:21 AM   #5
 
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Originally Posted by jsenske View Post
Your fish selection is fine for your size tank. In terms of suggesting a centerpiece fish though, can you please enlighten me on what the redchigh planting method is? I have never heard of such a method in 30 years of aquarium keeping and as a North American distributor for the Aqua Design Amano product line, I thought I was pretty well versed on the finer points of a planted tank.
redchigh is a user on tropicalfishkeeping.com who has posted up some guides to using a soil substrate!
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Old 12-02-2010, 07:06 AM   #6
 
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Thanks so much for the links sik80! Byrons plant guide was extremely helpful!

As for a centerpiece fish, Bolivian Rams are somewhat peaceful but I am worried how it might interact with other fish. Some of these tetras are only 3/4" long. I love Bolivian Rams but I don't think it would be a good addition to my tiny-species amazon tank (and it doesn't help that it is a cichlid). I know others have small tetras and BR and they are just fine, but this is a HUGE investment for me and I would rather not risk it.

I am thinking something from South America with a primary brown, green, or red coloring, 2-4" long, completely peaceful (that will minimally be attacked by the lemons or serpaes), and something that I can keep by itself (without more of its species).

As for plants, Byron mentioned afew plants in his planted tank guide, but does he have a list of South American plants that is all in one place?

Thanks!
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Old 12-02-2010, 06:04 PM   #7
 
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Lots of issues in this thread, so bear with me smallfry.

First on the fish list. I strongly suggest you omit the Serpae Tetra. If you read the fish profile you will note they frequently have aggressive behaviours and this can be lessened by a larger group, 8 at the absolute minimum. But even so, depending upon the particular fish, they can be trouble. I know some will say they have a group of 5 or 6 or whatever with no trouble; well, they are lucky, because not everyone has such luck with this fish. The profile description explains why.

Other that this, your fish list is fine; except I would increase the hatchetfish and corys. Hatchets do much better in larger groups, you could have 9-12 which would be much better. And Corydoras would be better in a group of five if one species, or if you decide on more than one species, 3-5 of each would do. The more the better for them too.

I trust you realize that this is looking weeks and months down the road, not all at once--if you intend a soil substrate. I won't step into that discussion, just a caution. As some members in that thread have already found out, there are issues to deal with. The experts I know in other plant forums usually recommend waiting 4 months before any fish go in; the soil has to settle and there can be significant water stability issues. Many first-time planted aquarists bite off more than they can chew and give up in despair; I wouldn't want to see this happen to you.

As for South American plants, the plants in my two Amazonian setups are listed in the text for each aquarium. They are mostly sword plants (Echinodorus species) as they are in my view some of the finest of aquarium plants--relative easy, hardy, and distinctive, with very little if any maintenance. Many of the species I have are in our plant profiles [these are with the fish profiles, second tab from the left in the blue bar] with photos.

Bolivian Rams: These are quite peaceful for a cichlid, and one of the best for community tanks. I have a pair in my 115g. They do get a bit feisty when spawning, but not to the same extent as so many of the cichlids. They remain very close to the substrate though, so they are rarely if ever in mid-water and never in the upper level, even to feed; they feed off the substrate, from sinking foods, except for live foods or frozen bloodworms.

Lighting: this depends upon what fixture you have with the tank. If it is fluorescent, a daylight/ full spectrum tube will work fine. If the fixture is incandescent, compact fluorescent screw-in bulbs will work fine. We can go more into these when we know the fixture type.

Last (for now), re the water parameters. Except for the Ember Tetra the fish you have should be OK in a slightly basic pH (low 7's) as most of them will be tank-raised fish. The Embers will likely be wild caught. Your tank pH may lower naturally, depending upon the hardness of your tap water; do you know the GH and KH? Your water supply board can tell you this. Then we can discuss what you might expect. Also ensure there is nothing calcareous in the tank (rock or gravel such as limestone, marble, lava, dolomite, or crushed coral).

Byron.
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Old 12-02-2010, 09:08 PM   #8
 
I have the same water and never had a problem with embers.

I never actually read the soil substrate thread, who knows if I did mine right. I just kinda went with my gut instinct. It Was A LOT of work to setup that substrate. Mine is unfiltered and I had fish in it about a week after setting up. Currently there is around 10 and will be over 20 when I get around to catching the others. I only ever tested it once. But this is also the 6th planted tank I have setup. Its been very stable so far, water seems good and zero algae.
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Old 12-02-2010, 10:54 PM   #9
 
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I am so sorry! There must have been a glitch. I spent 30 minutes writing a post and I was sure it accepted it. Maybe I put it on the wrong thread...

Anyway, I decided earlier today not to do serpaes becasue of their aggressiveness. Here is my new stocking list;

5 x Albino Cory (Corydoras aeneus)
11 x Neon Tetra (Paracheirodon innesi)
9 x Marbled Hatchet (Carnegiella strigata)
6 x Lemon Tetra (Hyphessobrycon pulchripinnis)
3 x Ghost Shrimp (Palaemonetes sp.)
6 x Glowlight Tetra (Hemigrammus erythrozonus)
6 x Black Widow Tetra (Gymnocorymbus ternetzi)
6 x Flame Tetra (Hyphessobrycon flammeus)


I have added 3 different species and removed 2 (pygmy cory and serpae tetra). According to AqAdvisor(.com) this stock would be at 91% of maximum, leaveing just enough room for a small centerpiece fish (no more than 4" please).

According to AqAdvisor, Bolivian Rams and Ember Tetra cannot co-exist. Perhaps they can in a larger tank, but this is a 55g.

Oh, by the way, I got my empty tank from my friend I have been waiting for for SO long! It was, in fact, a 55g tank! I am so happy! I have enough room for all these little guys (I think...)!

I am sorry, perhaps a soil method would work alot better but...I don't think I can wait four months to watch my 2 Lemon Tetras and my single albino corydoras swim lonely in a hardwater stocked 10g tank (the only other fish is my swordtail fry 2-3 months old).

The fixtures were broken. I guess I will have to start from scratch. There were some fitting fixtures (very dirty) that had a Wattage label reading 17W. Not enough for what need, right? Does anyone know a good place to find/order lights?

Thanks!
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Old 12-03-2010, 07:00 AM   #10
 
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Is there another substrate that is fine and wont take more than a month and a half to settle? Fine gravel, play sand, anything? I don't want to give up on the idea of a nicely planted aquarium. Is it possible without a soil method that takes over four months to settle? I hate to sound impatient but I just can't wait four months.

Is the new setup ok (post above)? Tetras, Hatchets, cories, shrimp? No one has commented on the new setup.

Does Petsmart sell Floresent Aquarium light fixtures? Do I need to look for them online? I have to have the lighting before I can start. I found some old floresent hoods that appear to go on the 55g tank. Will they be any use (if they turn on)? I can't find a 55W flouresent light fixture. Is that what it is called? It is so neat I finally have a tank bigger than a 10g!

I still need a centerpiece fish. Please read the thread before suggesting. I think Bolivian Rams are out of the question as far as embers go. I don't want anything more than 3 1/2" (4"max), as my stocking level is at 92%.

After the tank is cycled, I guess I will add my 2 Lemons and add 4 more, then a week or 2 later I can add 4 corydoras? Then I guess I can add a school every 2 weeks? My QT/HT is only a 10g. I might have to duct-tape a few spots when I quarantine the Marbled Hatchetfish. Can I Q 11 neons in a 10g for 2 weeks?

Lighting, Substrate, Centerpiece fish, Updated Stocking List, Adding fish...

Thanks!

Last edited by small fry; 12-03-2010 at 07:08 AM..
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