Change of plans
So after a lot of thought, I've decided that a 55 gallon won't really be big enough for what I really want to do. I'm going to try for at least a 65, or if I am lucky a 75 gallon.
I've decided I want to do an Amazonian/South American theme. My new wish list is as follows...
12 Ember Tetra (Hyphessobrycon amandae)
12 Green Fire Tetra (Aphyocharax rathbuni)
12 Blue Tetra (Boehlkea fredcochui)
8 Emerald Green Catfish (Brochis splendens)
8 Julii Cories (Corydoras julii)
6 or 8 Otocinclus (Otocinclus macrospilus)
I've found all of these available at Aquarium Pond Plants Freshwater Aquarium Plants Aquarium Accessories
I'm going to see if my local pet store OR the nice pet store in my home town (2 hours away) either carries or can order any of them before I decide to order them from a website.
I would also like to add a few snails and/or shrimp, but not sure what kind would match the theme (if any even do).
I currently have a Hagen Aquaclear filter on my 10 gallon and really like it, so I was planing on running an Aquaclear 70 and a 50 (is that too much? not enough? okay?) Or is there something better? I really like the idea of being able to choose the different filter media.
Also would like some suggestions on what kind of plants would match/ go well with this theme. I'm planning on using either play sand, pool filter sand, or splurging for Caribsea Instant Aquarium in Sunset Gold.
And one last question/dilemma: my water is kind of hard/alkaline (about 8 dKH and 7.4 pH), I was wondering if there was a good safe way of at least lowering the hardness. I've been reading about using peat either under the substrate or in the filter media, or using a Blackwater Extract. Or will those parameters be okay for what I am planning without trying to change them.
Again, I am only in the planning/brainstorming phase. My first step is to acquire the aquarium first, then build the stand for it. Then filter(s), substrate and plants....
I think my brain may explode with all the ideas I have... :lol:
Just discovered azgardens is not a good place to order from... So will definitely be finding another option if my two stores can't get some of these.
I've been researching canister filters after studying Byron's tanks (you've been a lot of inspiration to me :D). I don't think I will be able to afford one of the Eheim Pro right off, but I was looking at their classic canister 2215. Would that be an ok one to start out with? Or are there any better ones for around the same price? The 2215 is $119 on DrsFosterandSmith.
I've not used the Classic series [another member here mentioned this filter recently, sorry I can't remember who it was), but Eheim in my view are the best filters available so it will do the job and be reliable. But as I say I don't know its features, so the Pro series may be better.
As a less expensive alternative to the Pro, there is the Rena Filstar XP2, or i believe now the API XP-M. I bought the XP3 for my 115g three yars ago and it does the job, but of course it does not have the reliable track record of Eheim (not been around as long) so it may not save money long-term. My Eheim Pro's have been running non-stop for 15 years now with never an issue. One downside to the Rena is the hose size of five feet; this makes it awkward to connect on longer tanks than 4 feet, and Rena do not make longer hoses like Eheim.
If you shop around online you might find the Eheim for less. The new line of Pro filters look very impressive, though one can always question if all the bells and whistles are in fact that much more of an improvement over the older basic model.:-)
I responded on the filter question in my prior post, so moving to the water. The GH is fine, near ideal in fact, as too low a GH means having to add hard minerals for the plants (and perhaps some fish, depending what species). The pH might lower, depending upon the KH (Alkalinity). I have water that could flow from the Amazon directly out of my taps, being near-zero GH and KH, but my plants need some calcium and magnesium beyond what the commercial fertilizers provide so I'm using Equilibrium to raise the GH to 5 or 6 dGH. A tap GH of 8 dGH is near perfect. Amazonian aquascapes need lots of wood, so this will tend to lower the GH and pH a tad.
For plants, check the profiles, the origin is given for each species. Obviously the Echinodorus genus is suitable, esp with larger tanks, and there are several in the profiles.
On the fish mentioned, you might want to reconsider Aphyocharax rathbuni. All species in this genus are a bit feisty at best, and some are downright vicious for such small fish. I would avoid them in community tanks.
If the otos are intended for their algae-eating, I would limit them to 5, or perhaps consider alternatives that will provide more interest (unless of course you particularly like and want otos, no problem with that). I have Farlowella vittata in my 70g, and some of their fry now in a couple other tanks. Very efficient at browsing every surface.
I've looked at the Quikrete brand play sand and am probably going to go with it, especially because of the cost. (and yes I know... wash, wash, wash, wash, and wash some more LOL).
I do want lots of driftwood, but is there somewhere reputable to sell it that doesn't charge an arm and a leg. The selection at my LPS is pretty good, but their prices seem ridiculous.
As far as plants, my list includes several different Swords (Amazon, Melon, Chain, Red Rubin), Vals, and Cabomba. Should I have a floater? I've been looking at both Water Sprite and Brazilian Pennywort, but not sure if either of those would be good, or if there is something better.
The only one of the tetra I really have my heart set on are the Embers. What if I did just a large school of them (25-30... more? since they are so tiny.) instead of three different groups? I'm really attached to the smaller tetra (except not a huge fan of neons).
My dream is to have a pair (at least) of Discus. Would this be a tank I could possibly add them to in the future?
Would a single Farlowella vittata be okay as far as algae control? I do like Otos, but I've read they can be very sensitive to water parameter changes, so I am open to other options. I really just want to be able to care for healthy fish.
Sorry if it seems like a lot of questions. I just want to make sure I have as much information as I can before I start out on this venture as it is a big step up from my little 10 gallon. Thanks again :D
Thank you for that information. That makes me feel a lot better about not being able to afford the top of the line canister right now. But there is no telling how long it will be before I actually get to put this tank together, so I may very well be able to afford a Pro by then.
I was half a sleep when I wrote that last post LoL sorry! They still all pretty much filter the same and use the same media maybe in different orders like I said before but they do have different hook ups for the line and how they flow. The classic the intake is at the bottom and the output is at the top where the motor is. Now the Ecco Pro and the Pro series both hook ups are at the top so not sure how those flow though the media? I would still assume they still have to go through the various stages of media and pads just like the classic just don't sure how this is done with these types. That plus the bells and whistles maybe the difference in prices. To me not enough to pay the extra $40 for the Ecco Pro or the extra $200-300 more. I paid $90 for my Classic 2213 and wouldn't trade it! Of coarse this is just my opinion and what ever filter you decide on is your choice just trying to let you know the difference the best I can.
I tend to see the ability to drain the canister at the bottom to be a perk though - much of the physical debris that is trapped can be drained out this way and is a good way to do a "quick rinse" of the filter.
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