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Need help! Setting up Amazon/Tetra tank!

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Need help! Setting up Amazon/Tetra tank!
Old 12-03-2010, 04:17 PM   #11
small fry's Avatar
Ok, I have the tank now. It is a 55g tank. Here are some pics.

Be warned, this tank needs cleaning...Badly!

Here is the tank,
This is the inside of the tank (it looks like a forest)
The tank has a split hood (standard on 55g tanks). I only have one part of the hood.
This is the lighting, it is pretty dirty. I don't know if I can use it. I will measure the size later. The bulb says that it is a 15W bulb, if that helps.

Is there a way to build a low-tech forest without the use of soil methods that take four months to settle? Will it work with gravel if I use swords and other easy-to-grow plants on the bottom, some floating plants, and the 6500k lighting?

That is all I have for now (I think). Please post where you can.

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Old 12-03-2010, 05:43 PM   #12
Wow, who left that tank sitting in the woods. The lighting MIGHT be salvageable, but IMO you will need better ones either way. Its a standard fixture you have 30 watts total on a 55 gallon, which for me at least is not enough. But if you do save those fixtures they can be used on other tanks. Clean them well, buy one new bulb from menards, and buy a new starter. If that doesn't get them going I would suggest tossing them, unless you like to do DIY.

IDK why Bolivian rams and embers are uncompatable.... I have only kept german blue rams though, so maybe there is a difference I am missing. My GBR never ever bothered the embers.

You can go with whatever substrate you want, some just have better benefits then others. IF it was me I would set it up with a soil substrate. If done properly it should NOT cause any issues. It is however a lot of work, you will need large pails, access to a hose, and some place you can make a big mess. My soil substrate in my 15 gallon tank was made for free. The tank was clear within a day and I added both snails and cherry shrimp within hours of filling the tank. 10 days later I had 4 fish in the tank. The soil was laid less than a month ago and a few days ago I added some ember tetras too it and there are maybe 8 fish total, then the cherry shrimp and snails. Given its growth rate it could be stocked with much more ATM, but I just haven't gotten around to catching and moving fish. Also you don't cycle planted tanks, at least not like nonplanted tanks. The 15 gallon I am playing with was never cycled, I could cycle it instantly if I wanted to, but I don't have a filter in it and don't plan to.

I would use GBRs for center piece fish and to me at least you are very far from fully stocked, but we all stock in our own special ways.
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Old 12-03-2010, 05:46 PM   #13
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oh my goodness that is a dirty tank lol

I have no experience with tetras so I won't talk about the fish.

I just set up a central amercian river biotope for livebearers and used lots of wood/oak leaves/sand substrate/live plants and rocks. The fish really do notice when everything is not "fake" and I have been noticing very different behaviors from the fish... one of my amecas was actually digging in the sand today lol I have never seen that before.

setting things up is the fun part
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Old 12-03-2010, 08:34 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by small fry View Post
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 am sorry! I forgot to add the 6 embers I was going to add!

I LOVE GBRs! AqAdvisor says that GBR are too aggressive to co-exist with glowlights and embers. I don't want to be risky but if others haven't had trouble with there rams and emebrs then I guess it is fine. My own fault if it doesn't work. Do GBR have to be kept in pairs? I haven't read the profile yet, I know there is one because I have seen it before. I will read the profile now...

As far as lighting, I will probably just toss the lights. There is stuff all inside the lighting, so that when you pick it up, it sounds like a marraca. What is Menards? Is that a website, store, term, or something like that? I think I will stop being cheap and buy a light with at least 50W. I have found hoods online that were 48" long. I know 55g tanks are divided, but will that hood work for the tank?

For Substrate...what did you use, Mikaila31? What kind of imbalances are common when substrate is added (e.g. pH, hardness, ammonia)?

This is a new one, what kind of filtration should I use? Will a sponge filter work, or do I need to get a canister? I have never priced a canister, what is a reasonable price range for this type of filter? Is there anything "different" I would need to know before buying a canister? Would I be able to find a Canister Filter at Petsmart or Petco?

Sorry about all the questions! I just want to get this setup as perfectly as possible (that, in no way means that it will be anywhere near perfect...knowing me).

Thanks for all y'alls help!

(BTW, here is the tank after 3 straight hours of cleaning!)
It is certainly a work in progress!
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Old 12-03-2010, 08:53 PM   #15
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As far as the GBR goes..."Care Level: DifficultThis fish may have multiple properties that make a fish moderately difficult to care for and is therefore only recommended to experienced fishkeepers who have had success in dealing with species that may have particular care requirements."...oops..."Temperature should never drop below 80F, and preferably remain at 82F or above." ...uh oh..."...extremely sensitive to fluctuating conditions." ...that leaves me out..."temperature 27-30C/80-86F." it hot or what...?

...Maybe I can save that for another time? I don't think I have the expirience for these sensetive little guys. Maybe Bolivian Rams...?

I think maybe Bolivian Rams will do nicely! Any suggestions on the m/f ratio? I think a pair, according to AqAdvisor, would put me slightly above max stock, but I am ok with slightly.
I don't know if this link will bring up my planned setup or not but here it is anyway, if it works, feel free to play around with it before you make a suggestion (I am ok with the stock being slightly over max). long as that link is....I am sure it will bring up my stocking plan....I have never seen such a long link!

Anyone want to comment on the BR?


Last edited by small fry; 12-03-2010 at 09:06 PM.. Reason: Avoiding double-post
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Old 12-03-2010, 10:48 PM   #16
As far as blue rams I have never had a problem with them and I have less then ideal water. That doesn't mean a lot though, your water may be different and local stock may be different. GBR were actually the 2nd egg laying fish I have ever spawned and the first cichlid. I also wasn't even trying to breed them, tank was actually being neglected since it was finals week. normally 50% water change weekly, but it was sitting at 2 weeks of no water changes and thats when they decided to spawn. pH 7.0-7.4, moderately hard water, nitrate with regular maintenance around 40ppm, temp was around 80. They are pretty peaceful things. I had 4-5 in the tank with embers and rummy tetras. Even when spawning they are not really all that aggressive. They are defensive. They will guard those eggs. But they are not going to chase down and attack fish that stay away. Most even in a community setting quickly give them a bubble. Fish that enter are just chased out, there is no attacking. Even the breeding rams and the non breeding rams got along pretty fine. If you have any local breeders then GBR are probably fine for your tank and water. I have had kinda iffy results with shop GBRs.

Menards is a home inprovement store. And IMO you should aim for at least 80 watts or more, but keep in mind I do seem to like to grow plants faster then most. I suggest looking at your options for light. You have T8's, T5's and power compacts as your most common choices.

For filtration a sponge filter or two would probably work as long as it is not air driven. A canister though would be your best option, but they are on the expensive side. I would order online or have petsmart price match something online.
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Old 12-03-2010, 11:19 PM   #17
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I don't think I have the expertise to care for GBR. I don't want to chance such a sensitive species.

I don't know much about aquarium lighting. Here is all I know. 6500k or more is good. Something about t8 and T5.

Is this something like what I'd need? Will it work with the 6500k bulbs? Perfecto Fluorescent Light Strips - Lighting & Hoods - Fish - PetSmart

Is this something like the bulb I need?
SUN-GLO Fluorescent Bulbs by Hagen - Lighting & Hoods - Fish - PetSmart

I couldn't find something 60W or more that had 6500k+. If anyone finds something, or knows where something is, please leave a link. I couldn't find anything on the manards site. Feel free to recomend lighting. I am hoping to pay less than $125 on lighting if that is possible.

As far as sponge filters, where do I find those? I can't afford a $100 canister filter, so I guess I will go with sponge filters.

I still don't know what to use as substrate.

I think that is all for now. Don't forget to comment on the centerpiece fish (Bolivian Ram).

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Old 12-04-2010, 04:01 AM   #18
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What were they doig with the tank???!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11 Its gunna look really good once stocked with those tetras.
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Old 12-04-2010, 08:00 AM   #19
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I think they were trying to build an aquatic forest and forgot the water. Maybe the were building a squirel house. Actually, it was under an old abondoned garage out in the middle of nowhere, that my friend owned. It was a tiny garage, and the roof had come down on alot of it. I spent 20 minutes pulling shingles out, no joke!

I have an idea! How about one of you experts out there tell me exactly what you have, or what you would recomend for basic Full Spectrum lighting. That way, I wont have to go looking all over the internet for someting I can't find. Links to online sites would be appreciated! I just need to know what kind of hood/lighting strip I need and what kind of bulb I need.

Is driftwood local to Amazon Waters? I have heard that Morpani wood is the same as driftwood, is that true? I want large decor that my fish can swim through.

As far as plant decor, I guess I can just look at Byron's South American tanks and research the plants indiviually. Nothing like good hardy plants. I wonder if Petsmart will have half of them...?

Unresolved Issues:
Lighting (?????), Large Decor (maybe Morpani wood, and good rocks), Centerpiece fish (maybe BR?), filters (maybe sponge)

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Old 12-04-2010, 06:48 PM   #20
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Quick comments on some of the issues/questions.

Bolivian Rams should be fine with Embers but I would suggest getting the Rams when small, which fortunately is what is normally available. This fish will attain 3+ inches and the Embers will be under 3/4 of an inch. I have a pair of Bolivians in my 115g and aside from throwing their weight around when spawning, they are fine. This is a cichlid that does well singly in aquaria; it is not easy identifying sexes in young fish, next to impossible unless you study their behaviours in the tank for a long period of time, and assuming they are "comfortable" enough in the store tank to interact normally. You will easily find the males by their bullying tactics, and females by their submissiveness.

Light. Over a 4-foot 55g I would go with one 48-inch tube (if you decide on new lighting a full-length fixture is preferable). A T8 full spectrum/daylight will work fine. T5 HO with just one tube could work, but it will be very bright. You can buy good T8 tubes in hardware stores for a few dollars. GE, Phillips, Sylvania all make them; a "daylight" (whatever they may call it) with a Kelvin around 6500K is the ticket.

Amazonian streams are littered with sunken wood. I recommend the dark wood as it sinks of its own and releases less staining tannins and lasts overtime. It is what you see in all my tanks.

For filtration I would get a canister rated for a 55g. Eheim, Rena, Fluval make good canisters, and most comparisons rate them 1, 2, 3 as I've named them.
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