help me spend my money - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 5 Old 12-20-2009, 11:05 AM Thread Starter
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help me spend my money

Considering putting two more tanks up ( LOL-my wife is gonna divorce me before Im done )

I am going to lean on you for knowledge and in return I will do the same after I have gained some usable knowledge.

I want one of them to be a VERY nice tank because it will be in my living room beside my fireplace. With your help I would like to make it a tank worthy of a journal on here. Thanks in advance.

Requirements ;

I have a 36" length limit. Im thinking 30 or 50 gallon. 38,45 and 65 would be too tall.
I can afford most things that are top of the line but I dont have an endless budget-nor do I want to throw away money.
I want it to be a planted tank, so that limits stocking options--I also will have a large Rainbow Shark going into this tank to further limit stocking.
I dont know anything about CO2 and Im kind of intimidated by something that could kill all of my fish at once with no real warning.
I do not have plumbing near the tank location, all water changes would be done via a Python and buckets.
Im not sure how much weight my floor is capable of holding gracefully. I can get under the floor in the crawl space and reinforce it if I need to.
I will be building a custom stand for it to sit on--above it will be a book shelf. The shelf is adjustable so I can move it up or down.
I want the lights to be at tank top level--not elevated.
Canister filter-no room for a HOB filter. Two for a 50 gallon?
I assume I will need a power head or two for a 36" long tank.

So, I need suggestions for equipment purchases so I can try to avoid the pitfalls of buying CRAP that I dont need or will be unhappy with.

Filter(s) ? I have a Fluval 205 in my 29--and I like it so far. No room behind the tank for a HOB--has to be a Canister. Im thinking I want to hide the equipment as much as I can in this tank--so Lilly pipes may be somthing I do to try to get a cleaner look--input on those?

Powerheads? No clue here--I assume I would need one to increase circulation in a tank that size.

Stocking suggestions? ( 7.2-7.6 is my normal pH range in my tanks--normally more to the 7.6---tap water-I will test the GH and KH tonight and report back. I have a test kit, just havent tested it yet. ) I dont want to change the water more than once a week and no more than 50% at that point. I will have 2 29 gallon tanks and a 30 or 50 gallon tank to maintain along with all of my other duties--that will be more than enough to keep me busy. Rainbow Shark will be going into this tank. I dont like Discus and not real fond of Angels-not that either of those would be a good fit in this tank--just saying. I do like almost all Cichlids--but lots of them eat plants and/or require different water than I will provide. I dont want to have to raise food for my fish. Frozen or freeze dried is fine though. I like Corydoras, Nerite snails, Barbs ( thinking about a school of Tiger Barbs, Albino Tiger Barbs and Green Tiger Barbs, brightly colored Tetras, Cichlids, Cherry Red Shrimp, Bamboo Shrimp, Amano Shrimp, Rasboras of almost all sorts etc. I dont want a fish tank full of fry that wont be eaten-but Im alright with some live bearers to feed the other fish.

Lighting? Enough light for healthy plants, but not enough for healthy algae?? Is that possible? LOL. Lights have to be able to sit on top of tank/glass lid.

Substrate? ( I want to do everything I can to have good plant growth and minimal struggles with algae--see a theme here? )

CO2 equipment? If I can have good plant growth without the CO2 I would prefer it. So far Ive seen decent growth in my 29 gallon with standard gravel, one T8 bulb, no CO2 and EI dosing with swords, Anacharis, Crypts, and Wisteria. My swords are short and squatty and my Wisteria is touching the surface--thats a different conversation though.

Heaters? I like the Stealth line of heaters--any other suggestions?

Anything else I am forgetting?

The other tank is going to be a 29 gallon--basic copy of one I have already, just with more filtration and better lights. It will be replacing a 10 gallon tank in my spare bedroom. It will house a male betta and lots of plants and some Corydoras and snails. It will be pretty boring.
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post #2 of 5 Old 12-20-2009, 12:02 PM
jaysee's Avatar
There's also a 40 gallon breeder tank and a 38 gallon to considder. Since you're building your own stand I suppose the depth of the tank doesn't matter, but the 40 and 50 gallon tanks are like 19 inches whereas the more conventions sized tanks are in the order of 12, such as the 30, 38 and 45. The 38 and 50 are the same height, unless 1/8 of an inch is a deal breaker.

I would suggest a xp2 or a fluval 305 would do the job. Maybe a 405 for a 50 gallon. I don't really think the power heads are needed, especially if you will be planting the tank. Powerheads have specific applications most of the time.

I'm can't help you with plant stuff. There are special substrates you can get for a planted tank, like eco-complete (I think), and you can cover the top with sand.

I very much prefer the stealth heaters and have them in almost every tank. I like the fact there is no indicator light, but if that's something you want there is the stealth pro.

125 - BGK, chanchito cichlid, pictus cats, silver dollars, palmas bichir
125 - cichlids (severums, bolivian rams, chocolate), rainbows ( turquoise, red), loaches (angelicus, zebra, kuhli and horseface), plecos (BN, RL and clown), denison barbs, tiretrack eel, pearl gouramis, betta
90 - Congo tetras, african knife, upside down cats, spotted ctenopoma, kribensis, delhezzi bichir
2.5 - betta
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post #3 of 5 Old 12-20-2009, 04:33 PM
Angel079's Avatar
Let's try going through this bit by bit (and hopefully w/out a divorce )

By "very nice" do you mean you wanna go for nicely planted or nice rock scaping, or what did you have in mind there?

For the tank - had you considered a 45g? They're neat size I found and eliminate some of the "limitations" of a 30g. Or maybe (if its within Budget) a bowfront, they're less long but more square due the the way the fronts are built and give you a nice depth impression when set up planted really.
Also you may check to buying a tank used MANY people and their brothers & sisters get rid of good sized tank for super cheap because they went around the hobby the wrong way and quit

Now "beside" the fireplace? How close beside it? Cause that CAN make your water too hot easily when running it in the winter and I doubt you like boiled fish for dinner.

To keep it short, CO2 is unnecessary really!! Instead of copy & pase what I already posted few times today, I'd like you to read Mitch's, Byron and my comments in this post here about CO2 & Lights please, it has all the details you need right there

The way you wanna do your w/c sounds fine by me, no worries there
If you have a normal stick built home with floor joists as it should have and also the metal beams going across underneath you'll be just fine even with bigger tanks then what you wanna get. Now if you live in a mobile home, yes you'll need the extra support.
Easiest way to check: Get Yourself and 3-4 other guys to stand in the corner you wanna consider - That's equivalent to a 75g tank with gravel & all equipment. If you ever had a house full of people party at your house - You know your floor holds more then that

For the stand: Here's the picture-thread of what I built. Me not knowing much about such things and this being my first - I was told afterward its overkill - But hey rather safe then sorry I figured

My best advise for filter if you wanna go canister is Eheim models and then ONE in the size you need (for which ever tank size you decide in the end). All my 55g's that you can see under my aquariums at the left here have the Eheim 2213 model's on them. They're good quality, last forever, almost maintenance free and most important (To me anyway) they're QUIET.
Fluval I personally had one time and tossed it, I can personally not recommended this brand (its just 'crap' compared to Eheim IMO sorry to be this honest)

What makes you think you need a power head??? They're actually not very good if you're trying to go planted tank.

One thing you hadn't mentioned: Heater - Despite you wanting to put it next to your fireplace, you will need a heater for night times. I personally use Cascade (find them at the petsolution link below) and for a 55g I'd rec either 250 or 300watt and then 1 heater alone will be OK.

For shopping help:
Here's where I get my filter online (cheaper then store price) EHEIM Classic External Canister - Filtration & Circulation - Fish - PetSmart
Here's where I get my plants Sweet Aquatics
And here's where I get other equipment/ foods etc Pet Solutions

If you have a fully cycled tank, w/c of 1xweek @ 25-30% should be fully sufficient if the tank is planted and NOT overstocked.

For the Rainbow Shark you know they grow to about 7" and are VERY aggressive fish and are recommended for tanks no LESS then 75g right? So that kinda set's your stocking right there because you'll need large fish that will not be stressed out and killed by the Rainbow.
Cichlids: I had a whole gang of Yellow's in a 55g planted (check the picture under my aquariums).
Being the known Cory lover that I am: Cory's will flat out be killed by your Rainbow, no joke and therefore I can't recommend then at all for you in this new tank. Smae goes for the commonly seen smaller Tetra's with the Rainbow, they're food.

Substrate if you wanna go planted go with fine gravel (try find something like 2-5mm max) that'll do your plants good. Top it off with some comprehensive all in 1 liquid fertilizer 1xweek and you'll be more then happy.

Dang that's a long reply - Sorry for that now I'm just trying to help

~ Life Is Too Short, Break The Rules, Forgive Quickly, Kiss Slowly, Love Truly, Laugh Uncontrollably And Never Regret Anything that Made You Smile.
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post #4 of 5 Old 12-21-2009, 01:55 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reply--now to answer couple of your questions;

As to the location--I have a fireplace with bookshelves on each side. My intentions are to build a cabinet for each side--one for the tank and one for decor or whatever. I can easily put some metallic insulation sheets between the brick chimney surround and the tank, but I rarely use the fireplace-when I do, I use the store bought logs and they dont get THAT hot. I was planning to use some sound deadening material in the stand anyway, I want this tank to be silent because it is going to be beside my recliner.

As to the Rainbow Shark--he is currently in a 29 gallon with 6 Julii Corydoras and some Neon Tetras. He only bothers them at feeding time, otherwise he is a gentle giant. I do have plans for larger fish in the new tank, but I do want to keep some Corys in that tank. Maybe I will move the Shark and the Corys from the 29 into the new tank since they are used to each other already.

The reason I asked about the power heads is because I have never had a tank larger than my 29 and Ive read about people having poor circulation and causing dead spots in larger tanks. I know a 50 isnt a huge tank, but I was afraid I may have issues.

Ive got a Fluval 205 on my 29 and ( knock on wood ) have had no issues with it. What sort of problems did you have that made you have a poor opinion of Fluval canisters?

I am leaning towards some different Anubias and Crypts to go in this tank along with Java Ferns and maybe a moss wall. So, these plants would all be considered low light and would rule out the CO2 from the start . There are other plants I am considering, some of them are going to require more light though and may bump me up to 'moderate' light requirements and possible CO2 needs---I just like the looks of plants with red foliage. I dont think Im willing to go the CO2 route to achieve that though.

Ive searched all over the net and cant find anyone with any real experience with a Rainbow Shark and live shrimp in the same tank. I know Tiger Barbs and Odessa Barbs would be OK with him--got to do more research as to water parameters though. Maybe thinking of trying a pair of GBRs as I think they are pretty fish--again, depends on the water. I dont know what I want as a top level swimmer--I dont like Hatchets AT ALL--any other similar fish to suggest? If I do a 50 I would like to have a large school of mid level swimmers, the Rainbow Shark and several Corydoras on the bottom and a few top level fish of some sort.
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post #5 of 5 Old 12-21-2009, 04:47 PM
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If you already have bookshelves in the place the tank is going to sit - Just take a thermometer to it when you have the fireplace on next time, anything mid 70's or even for some fish upper 70's will do fine
(Just wanna spare you the extra hassle with the metal)

I take it from your experience then the Rainbow is still a kid and not adult? If it works right now - Do it, but as I said prior be prepared when they get older they get very aggressive and you may then need to come up with a solution about the Rainbow vs Cory (and possibly other fish).
Also I think what would help your Cory feel better, and its possible wit the new larger tank, see if you may consider stocking them up to a larger group, given your tank size, maybe something like 10-12 Cory?

Well from running a 80g with appropriate canister filtration, I can tell you it has worked just fine w/out power head. Often people run into these kinda problem when they initially buy a insufficient Canister in comparison to the tank size and/ or wayyyy overstock the tank (which IMO I'm not worried YOU pers. will run into either problem )

Well for one in comparision to the Eheim I found the Fluval noisy and I really didn't like that in the Study the tank was sitting in (much like you I wanted it for relaxation). I also found the same supposedly gph pumping the Eheim did a better job for the tank with the same gph rating. The better "job" may have to do simply how the Eheim is constructed on the inside with the media "basket" that allows you to take all out w/out hurting the beneficial bacteria and clean hoses etc if need be. maybe the way this "basket" was set up with its 3-4 stage filtration made it cleaner...I donno I'm not techy enough for that lol
Heck if you're happy with them, more power to you, buy one, just my personal opinion that's all

If you like "red" plant, what about plants such as Ludwigia Natans with the nice red-green mix? Or Nymphea Lotus Red (see picture below) You can see these in a overall set up under my aquariums to the left here as well. I pers LOVE the Red Lotus and been growing them for yrs now with regular Daylight (@6500K) and no CO2
Also if you already like Crypts...look for "Wendtii red" they grow into this nice dark red coloration under proper light (again Daylight) and offer a neat contrast IMO between lighter green colored plants as well as a nice offset to the more vivid red Tiger Lotus.

Bottom line of this: Look at my tanks, look at the plants in any given tank you see there: All these are grown with regular Daylight bulbs, no O2 and no fert's - So do I think you need CO2...NOP

Barbs would be a nice company in the tank (the way its planned so far) I'd pers stay away from another school of small fish (like Tetra) since you're already seeing that in your 29g (I pers love to set up each tank with different groups).
Top level not Hatchets...lemme go think abou tthis one while I run off to cook dinner now, will be back with you later
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~ Life Is Too Short, Break The Rules, Forgive Quickly, Kiss Slowly, Love Truly, Laugh Uncontrollably And Never Regret Anything that Made You Smile.
Life May Not Be The Party We Hoped For, But While We're Here, We Should Dance. ~
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