Been awhile since I've really talked about my new ideas here and like always, I like to get as much advice from as many people as I can. So I'll start out by updating ya'll on the plan and then proceed to my questions. Excuse the wall of text below.
My plan for tank size will either be a 55g or a 100g, this is only because I'm looking at tanks in terms of length, not height or width. The tank just depends on what I can find on Craigslist or if I can find a good deal at a pet store.
A 55g is 48 1/4 x12 3/4 x21 (LxWxH) ~625lbs full
A 100g is 72 7/8 x19 x19 5/8 (LxWxH) ~1180lbs full
Info you all probably know, but just for detail... The reason for length is because of my catfish, which I'll get to later.
Next the fish I have been researching. These fish I've tried to match up as much as possible in terms of water parameters. Now because I have no idea what my tap water hardness will be when I move, I can't pick fish according to the tap, so I won't be surprised if I have to find a way to soften or harden the water when times comes.
Keep in mind that I have no intention of using ALL of these fish, these are just the ones I've found that seem to be compatible from what info I've found. Excuse me if I spelled the scientific names wrong, typing from paper rather than copying and pasting.
THESE ARE THE FISH I LIKE THE MOST: (Pimelodus pictus)Pictus Catfish
---this fish is non-negotiable
---Soft to medium hard (< 12dGH), acidic (pH below 7) water, 22-25C/71-77F
---About 5" in length
(Petitella georgiae)False Rummy Nose
---Reason why a FRN is because it's the largest of the three rummies, and I don't want eaten fish
---Soft to medium hard (< 12dGH), acidic (pH below 7) water, 22-26C/72-79F
---About 2.8" in length (Devaria aequipinnatus)Giant Danio
---Soft to medium hard (5-20dGH), slightly acidic to basic (6-8pH), 22-25C/71-77F
---About 4" in length (Danio albolineatus)Pearl Danio
---Soft to moderately hard (<20dGH), acidic to basic (6-7.6 pH) water, 20-25C/68-77
---About 2.25" in length (Pethia nigrofasciate)Black Ruby Barb
---Soft (<12dGH), acidic (pH below 7) water, 22-26C/72-79F
---About 2.4" in length (Melanotaenia praecox)Dwarf Neon Rainbowfish
---2 females to 1 male ratio
---Soft to medium hard (5-15dGH), acidic to slightly basic (6.5-7.5pH), 24-25C/74-77F
---About 2" in length
THESE ARE THE FISH I HAVE IN CASE OTHERS DON'T WORK OUT (think of as backups): (Gymnocorymbus ternetzi)Black Widow Tetra
---Soft to moderately hard (<30dGH), acidic to basic (pH < 7), 20-26C/68-79F
---About 2.25" in length (Aphyocharax anisitsi)Bloodfin Tetra
---Soft to moderately hard (<30dGH), acidic to basic (6-8pH), 18-28C/64-82F
---About 2.2" in length (Hyphessobrycon columbianus)Colombian Tetra
---Soft to medium hard (<12dGH), acidic (pH < 7) water, 23-27C/73-80F
---About 2.5" in length (Thayeria obliqua)Penguin Tetra
---Soft (<15dGH), acidic (pH below 7) water, 22-28C/72-82F
---About 3.2" in length (Hyphessobrycon bentosi)Roberts Tetra
---Soft (<10dGH), acidic (pH below 7) water, 23-28C/73-82F
---About 2" in length (Puntius semifasciolatus)Golden Barb
---Medium soft to medium hard (5-19dGH), slightly acidic to slightly basic (pH 6-8) water, 18-24C/61-75F
---About 3" in length (Pethia conchonius)Rosy Barb
---Moderately soft to moderately hard (5-20dGH), slightly acidic to basic (pH 6-8) water, 18-23C/64-74F
---About 3" - 6" in length
That's it for the fish I swear, I mainly wanted very active, colorful fish for the tank, but of course with my Pictus in the lot I was pretty much stuck with Barbs and Tetras.
I also want my tank planted and attempted to find plants that enjoy similar water parameters, I also didn't want to spend a bunch of money on lights (but also because a lot of the fish I have picked out enjoy dimmer lights, also want dimmer lights so my catfish will be more active) so I wanted to make sure I only got plants that like low to somewhat medium light and are fairly easy to care for.
Not going into much detail here... just listing off what I found: Tiger Lotus
(I frickin love their leaves...) Anacharis
Now... for the questions, I will try to be as straight forward as I can here: Because I'll be living in an apartment and will be on the bottom floor
(I'll find one) I am curious if a 100g tank will be too heavy, whether the floor has beams or concrete?
If my tap water turns out to be too hard or soft or too high or low in pH, what are ways I can alter it
(Without using chemicals)?
I know certain fish like darker substrate and others like lighter. I plan to use sand
(easier to keep clean)... should I be concerned with what the fish like better?
Or should I just do my best to match the color of their natural environment?
Out of the fish I listed that will go well with the Pictus, what fish would you recommend?
Are there some I listed that I should ignore?
I know some Barbs are nippy fish and shouldn't be kept with fancy finned fish, but I'm concerned about my Pictus' barbels/whiskers. I know they're tempting to ME to play with, not that I ever would. Should I throw out the barbs or will my cats be safe?
Are there fish that I didn't list that would be worth looking into?
As far as plants go, what would you suggest? I'm hesitant on the floaters even though I do like them just because I don't want them to grow out of control and prevent light from reaching the other plants.
Should I remove some of the listed plants from consideration?
I don't plan to buy a fancy lid for my aquarium, but I will use some mesh of sorts to cover the top with if the tank doesn't come with a lid. I plan to use some cheap shop lights and hang them over the tank from the ceiling. Suggestions?
What filters would you suggest? I'd prefer quiet ones.
Should I bother with air stones?
I want a gentle current in my tank, would said-filter be enough of a flow or should I attempt to find a cheap water pump?
I don't want to bother with Co2 injections... I've read though that too many plants = needing Co2. Is there a limit on how many plants I can put into a 55g without needing to worry over Co2? What about a 100g?
I think that's it... don't be surprised if I come up with more haha. I have a lot more to learn. P: If you have any other advice to give, please do so, even if it's not an answer to a question I have up here. If something is unclear, my apologies, you can certainly ask about it and I'll clear it up as best I can.