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-   -   New set up, new pics...any advise? (http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/freshwater-journals/new-set-up-new-pics-any-11745/)

Holly 02-10-2008 04:12 PM

New set up, new pics...any advise?
 
So I spent the past few hours rearranging and putting everything in the tank. Check it out and please let me some feedback. It didn't turn out exactly how I pictured it in my head so I'm not so sure just yet. Somethings throwing it off. Maybe cause it's a bit cloudy from playing with the substrate.

http://www.fishforum.com/userpix/124...ank_Pics_1.jpg
http://www.fishforum.com/userpix/1248_New_Tank2_1.jpg
http://www.fishforum.com/userpix/1248_New_Tank_3_1.jpg

blueblue48 02-10-2008 04:21 PM

it looks pretty natural, a bit cloudy though. id advise more water in that tank, btw what size is it?

Holly 02-10-2008 04:24 PM

55g. I got so excited it was done I haven't put the water back in it from the water change! :oops:

blueblue48 02-10-2008 04:53 PM

its ok. do you have a fish/plants list?

crazy4fish 02-10-2008 05:52 PM

i think it looks really good. :wink:

comando489 02-10-2008 07:18 PM

i would move more of the plants to the left and right side and add a large peice of driftwood in the middle. it looks nice!

bettababy 02-10-2008 09:55 PM

Holly,
It looks awesome for what you're planning it for! There is 1 thing I would add yet... notice how the top 1/3 of the tank is completely bare and open? Remember what we've discussed with territories and what qualifies as a territory? (a space between 2 objects is a territory, a cave is a territory) With the top 1/3 of it all one territory, guess how many fish are going to be allowed up there to feed? 1 pair if you're lucky. That will be claimed as territory right away, and the winner will be allowed the others will be chased away by any means possible. This is the aggression level we're trying to prevent. Even dwarf cichlids can be quite nasty if they are feeling invaded.


Some easy and inexpensive options for you:
If you want to keep all of the plants live, get some more anacharis and let it float up top, or a bunch of hornwort. Keep them trimmed so your swords have enough light, but hornwort is about the best thing for the upper level of a tank such as you're doing. If you don't mind plastic, you can take plastic plants and pop the bottom piece off of them, so instead of planting them just let them float. Remember that your swords if they grow well in there, will grow quick and help take up some of that space, so plastic would simply be until there is enough natural growth progress to take their place. If you want super easy and pretty at the same time, try adding some tall, full silk plants into the mix. They look like the real thing, they're easy to clean, and they have a weighted bottom to prevent them from floating. I have silk mixed with my live plants in my 90 gallon (I'll post a pic for you as an example once I find it, lol), and most people who've seen the tank can't tell the difference unless they get up close and study it. In my 29 I've done the same thing, and my cherry shrimp actually prefer hanging out on the silk leaves much more than they do the live ones. (they eat the algae) Your fish won't care what they're made of, to do a lot for helping water quality you'd have to have at least double the amount in there that you have now, so anyway you choose to do it is up to you.... but add something to fill in all of that empty space up top and you should be great!

Can I ask why you went through the trouble of the fluorite? When Rob and I first moved in together he turned me loose to take over his fish room at home. I walked through and stopped in front of his 55 gallon tank with a few tetras in it, and all I could do was stare. It looked like a muddy swamp, and even though everything was healthy, it looked a mess. I told him right then and there, I don't do fish this way. When I chose to break it down, move the fish to a community tank and start that one over, let me tell you... never ever ever again will I have fluorite in my house. Rob, like many, was convinced he needed it for his live plants, nothing else would work. After I restarted that tank, I planted it up full, every level, and guess what? Within 3 months I was having to trim out my plants because they were overgrowing the tank. No fluorite, no fertilizers, no anything but fish and their foods. That tank had 3 swordtails, ghost shrimp, and 5 coral platys for a population, and it got a water change once/wk, about 30%. The nitrate level never went over 10, the fish were healthy, and it thrived for 3 yrs until I broke it down to move it out. I will also post another pic of my current running 60 gallon, also fully planted and needing trimming at least twice/month... no additives and very few fish. When you do your gravel vacs, I have a feeling you're going to be kicking yourself later... if you want to consider removing it, now is the time to do it.... sorry, didn't mean to make more work for you, but it is something to consider.

Other than that I think those fish are going to find Heaven when you bring them home!

Holly 02-10-2008 10:22 PM

I was thinking that about the Flourite also. I used Flora Base in my old tank and had no complaints with it at all. My plants never grew well before I added it to the tank and once added it was a whole new world. I couldn't kill a plant if I wanted to! LOL I thought Flourite was just about the same thing so I cut a corner instead of waiting for my Dr Fosters order to be delivered and bought Flourite. Dumb dumb me! I'd like a differant sand in there also so maybe I'll do that now before everything has a chance to get rooted again. I hate moving all the plants once they have roots established.

Dawn, what's the best way to change the substrate when you already have fish? I have a 2 gallon I can get cycled so my cories and pleco, I got a new one who will stay smaller!, have a place to go for a little while or would they be ok in the bucket while I change out the substrate? I'd like to get more of the slate in the tank also so that would be a good chance to get it all done.

I'm going to think about the top 1/3 of the tank. I think I might want to take my time and let the plants that are in there now grow in a bit. It's going to be a few months before I can afford the Apistos so maybe I'll just let what's in there fill in and look at it again in 2 months. I'm sure the swords and anacharis to take off nicely. I can see how much bigger the ancharis got since I bought it Thursday and I'm amazed it grows that fast!! That's why I didn't want to get too many more plants becasue I know it's going to fill in quite a bit. I do need some low growing plants. Any suggestions???

Falina 02-10-2008 10:38 PM

I think it looks really good. When your plants grow you will have something to fill the upper parts of the tank but until then, like Dawn says, some floating plants would be nice. :)

bettababy 02-11-2008 01:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Holly
I was thinking that about the Flourite also. I used Flora Base in my old tank and had no complaints with it at all. My plants never grew well before I added it to the tank and once added it was a whole new world. I couldn't kill a plant if I wanted to! LOL I thought Flourite was just about the same thing so I cut a corner instead of waiting for my Dr Fosters order to be delivered and bought Flourite. Dumb dumb me! I'd like a differant sand in there also so maybe I'll do that now before everything has a chance to get rooted again. I hate moving all the plants once they have roots established.

Dawn, what's the best way to change the substrate when you already have fish? I have a 2 gallon I can get cycled so my cories and pleco, I got a new one who will stay smaller!, have a place to go for a little while or would they be ok in the bucket while I change out the substrate? I'd like to get more of the slate in the tank also so that would be a good chance to get it all done.
A pleco in a 2 gallon? Yes, there are some species that stay smaller, but not that small. Is he planned to join the apistos in the 55? For changing your substrate in such a small tank, the easiest way to do it is with a bucket and larger siphon hose. Start your siphon, leave fish in tank, and get it down into the substrate to suck it all into the bucket. When your water level is at 1/2, stop, pour the water from the bucket back into hte tank, and then start again. Repeat until finished. When done you'll notice there has been some water loss (minimal) and also displaced without a new substrate yet. Leave this water level alone, add your new substrate (slowly so it doesn't fall on the fish... you may have to do it with your hand, one handful at a time laid on the bottom). Once the new substrate is in place, check your water level. If its not quite down to 15% then take a bit more out... then replace it with clean water and call it a water change. Do not mess with filter media during this time, and watch your water quality for the first 1 - 2 wks until your bacteria culture has had a chance to set up in the new substrate.

I'm going to think about the top 1/3 of the tank. I think I might want to take my time and let the plants that are in there now grow in a bit. It's going to be a few months before I can afford the Apistos so maybe I'll just let what's in there fill in and look at it again in 2 months. I'm sure the swords and anacharis to take off nicely. I can see how much bigger the ancharis got since I bought it Thursday and I'm amazed it grows that fast!! That's why I didn't want to get too many more plants becasue I know it's going to fill in quite a bit. I do need some low growing plants. Any suggestions???
As long as you're not getting fish right away, then yes, it's fine as it is. For low growing plants you could try microsword, but it can be messy... or java moss wedged between a couple of rocks or tied to your driftwood... those are probably the 2 most commonly found low growing plants that are semi easy. I'm not sure how well most of these plants would grow with a sand substrate, as sand is usually too dense for the rooted plants to grow properly. They don't get the nutrients to penetrate. With a fluorite/sand mix, I'm really not sure what to expect there. That will depend a lot on each specific plant and how strong it is.

If this were mine, I'd be working with a fine grade gravel, even extra fine... but still larger than sand and without the fluorite. I have always had great luck with my plants in fine and extra fine gravels, and that would open up your options a lot! Let me know how it progresses and I'll make suggestions as you decide what changes you wish to make at this point.

I must say, I am so happy to see you taking your time and enjoying it for all its worth. This is the part that too many people rush through or forget all together, and it makes all the difference in the world when it comes to having a healthy tank or not. I repeate.... Apisto Heaven when you're through! Congrats on a job very well done!!! You are a great example for others on how to properly begin setting up a new aquarium. Planning, patience, and fun.... please tell everyone how much fun this can be, I think too many people miss out on that experience!


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