New Tank. Ideas and Advice Wanted.
I've recently come into possession of a 75 gallon tank (or will shortly anyway). It was supposed to be a Cichlid tank, but I've convinced my wife to keep it just to the smaller fish (Molly, Platy, Cory, ext.).
I plan on cleaning it next week and then begin the cycling process (after I purchase a few things). I'm trying to decide what to do with it. Sand or gravel? What theme? What colors? The whole 9.
I would love some advice and ideas. After all my years of fish keeping, I've never use live plants (other than a few here and there). I'm a fast learner and a careful keeper, so plants don't scare me.
Here is what I'm thinking so far. A Roman/Greek-type theme. Plenty of columns, ruins, and statues. Perhaps a Poseidon and/or Neptune deal. Foreground plants such as Dawrf Hairgrass and Baby Tears. I would love to have the "carpet" look with the grass and contrast it with the baby tears. I don't want to go nuts and plant too much, but I'm aiming for that "Garden of Eden" feel to go with all my columns, ruins and statues. I'll have fake plants in there as well (the ones I have now are often confused by others as being real).
The other theme I was thinking was an Asian theme (as I currently have). Pagodas, temples, dragon statue, bamboo (likely the fake ones) and a bridge with gravel to look like a stream. I'm a bit tired of that theme, but I can do more on a larger scale. Add to that a few live plants (the grass and baby tears).
I plan on no more than 30 fish (again, the smaller non-aggressive kind). I will be transplanting 14 current fish from my 29g tank to the new tank. I will slowly add more after that. My current fish are 7 Platy, 4 Molly and 3 Cory.
Here is my first question, will the Cory Cats do well in a grass carpet bottom? If not they will remain in my 29g (which I plan on making a home for smaller fish, such as Guppies).
What fish would you recommend I add to the 75g (communal, non-aggressive, 4 inch max fish)? I will absolutely add some Kuhli Loach (4 or 5 of them).
What kind of sand would you recommend? It will be a gravel/sand mix in some fashion.
Ideas on live plants? Advice is wanted.
Which of my themes do you like best. Any ideas on another kind of theme (I'm not married to the ones I've stated)?
I'm looking for open, honest and interesting ideas and thoughts. All will be greatly appreciated. Creativity is more than welcomed.
My only suggestion re the themes is, make sure you don't forget the fish. All fish have requirements respecting their environment (the physical space around them, as well as the water parameters) and those must be met if the fish are to have good health. Some of these can be supplied with natural decor or with non-natural, that doesn't matter, so long as the basic need is met.
Along the same lines, the substrate should be decided after you know the fish intended. Kuhli loach for instance will need sand to burrow into. Plants will grow in coarse sand (play sand works well) or fine gravel, so let the fish make this decision for you.
On plants, they too have requirements respecting light intensity which may differ from some fish, so the plants must not make life more difficult for the fish.
Byron.... always the voice of reason!
Personally I would keep the fish you got in the 29g unless they do not have the room in there.
Go obscure on the next one, obviously depending on the condition of your local water. Fish that will do well in either soft or hard water whichever you have. A cichlid tank would be awesome. I have a 29g full of standard tetra and danios and platys and although I love them, I wish I would have had more patience and experience and gone with something more interesting.
In a 75g I would plant the hell out of it and add LOTS of driftwood, but I am a plant junkie.... forget the fake ones, go real. I get just as much enjoyment out of planting my tank than I do from adding fish.
(check out Geomancer's thread on his new tank, the kind of thing I am talking about, although I would have more plants!)
Truth be told, I would probably get into high tech planted tanks if...
1) I wasn't married
2) had the money
3) had the space
As far as I am aware, and experts please correct me if I am wrong but the likes of carpeted hair grass requires the addition of added CO2 and heavy duty lighting to get the required effect, which probably would not suit most fish.. looks super cool though.
Not big on plastic ornaments, like the buildings and columns you mention... for me it would be a nice big interesting piece of driftwood, or thin rooty pieces. the standard java fern/anubias attached. maybe some moss. big tall amazon swords, etc etc. take a look at some of Byrons tanks in his profile, river biotopes do it for me.
Anyhoo, this is just MY opinion, all I know is that everything I have learned from making mistakes with my first tank (the 29g) I would definitely not do had I the opportunity to start afresh with a much larger tank.
Good luck, and keep us posted!
I'm still having fun looking at decorations, live plants, fish, filters, substrate, ext. The only real development is that I finally have the tank in my possession. I cleaned it out today after work (just used aquarium wipes and tap water) and left it to bake in the evening sun before moving into the sun room.
I'm having no luck in finding the plants I want locally. I will likely have to order them (hate doing that). We have all but decided on a Greek/Roman/Atlantis-type theme. Tomorrow I will buy my still undecided substrate. Likely white sand (of some brand) over top of white/cream-colored gravel.
Next week I will add the substrate and being the process of adding my live plants and decor. If I can retrieve my digital camera from my sister-in-law, then I'll document the progression.
Oh, and looks like it may turn back into my wife's preferred choice of a cichlid tank. God help me. If she wins our little fishy tug-o-war, then the theme will just be river rocks and plants. Who knows?
While I'm a big fan of the natural look of live plants, a few well-placed ornaments like columns and statues could give it a real mystique. I'm eager to see how you do that.
As to the substrate, it's not a good idea to mix sizes as the largest will always settle on the bottom. If you plan to get cories or kuhli loaches (a personal favorite), then you really should get sand, but not the bright white sand as this is a very unnatural color for fish and can even cause some to freak out. Light is only supposed to come from the top of the tank in their minds. The "floor" shining is rather unsettling to them. Kinda like if you were walking along in a dark forest and then spotlights came from the leaves. :lol:
Simon has a good idea about keeping what is in the 29 gal there unless it needs a bigger tank. That way you won't be constrained by the needs of a certain species.
The best way we can suggest a stocking plan for you is if you can get us your local water parameters like pH and hardness. Some people can find them online while others need to make a call to the local water treatment plant.
I would appreciate some opinions on this. My wife and I are trying to decide which to get. A Black Ghost Knife or an Elephantnose. We can't have both, but we absolutely want one or the other. I know with the BGK that they will hid out most of the time, but it's worth it when they do come out. The Elephantnose seems to be a much more active fish and the look is unique. We love both, but can't decide which to get.
Any thoughts? Which would you get if in my shoes? Any ideas on tank mates? We are told certain Rainbow fish go well with both.
Lay it on me. Opinions? Thoughts? Advice?
I would actually steer clear of the elephant nose fish, too. They are notoriously hard to keep alive. They will need a specialized setup, and it is best that you build one around them rather than try to bend them to fit your tank.
More reading on the elephant nose fish:
Definitive guide to elephantnoses | Features | Practical Fishkeeping
Ten fish that the trade might be better without? | Blog | Practical Fishkeeping
Gnathonemus petersii (Elephantnose Fish) - Seriously Fish
Thanks fellas. You may have helped me convince my wife away from bigger fish. I've never really wanted to keep the bigger boys, but my wife is in love with them. Me personally? I'd rather stay with the non aggressive little guys. I have a strong affection for smaller fish.
I hope to at least convince her to keep cichlids and not the other "specialty fish" big fish.
If it were up to me, I'd just fill the tank (not overstock of course) with cory cats, molly, swordtails, platy, guppy, kuhli's and the like. I want to make the tank more about the pretty little fish and the live plants/decor than bigger swimmers.
Maybe if you found some videos of a setup you like with tons of little fish on youtube, that would help convince her more. I know a lot of people like the big oddballs like the BGK (which is the reason stores can continue to stock them), but there is a very calming charm in watching a tank full of schools of tetra and corydoras (and those adorable little kuhlies).
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