Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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SinX7 12-16-2012 01:08 AM

Interested in a Community tank.
I'm interested in getting a community tank. So, I have a couple of questions.

What is the recommend size for a beautiful/scenery looking community tank?
How much would it cost to maintain those community tanks?
Easier to maintain compare to Betta's?
How planted should the tank be?

I'm looking for more a a scenery community tank, that have beautiful community fishes.

What type of fishes and quantity do you guys recommend?


redchigh 12-16-2012 01:38 AM

Freshwater tanks usually need a water change every week or two. (replace 20-50% of the water)

As far as planted tanks go, there are two main categories: "high tech" and "low tech".

High tech revolves around optimum conditions for the plants. These tanks have very good and fast plant growth in a wide variety of colors (greens, reds, yellows, even purples). These tanks usually require a lot more maintenance (trimmings, more water changes), much higher lights, and daily fertilisation- Not to mention a relatively expensive co2 system. High tech tanks usually cost 300-500 for just the lights and co2. The fertilisations and co2 price is negligable once set up. (perhaps $3/month + electricity)

"Low tech" tanks focus on the fish, or more accurately a compromise. Lower light levels (Stock lighting usually works with a new bulb, sometimes a new fixtur
e is needed ($30-$50). Low tech tanks often attempt to mimic nature, and use the co2 and fish waste as the primary fertilisers. A good liquid fertiliser is reccomended,
dosed 1-2 times a week.

Either way, I'd reccomend a larger tank (minimum of 20-30 gallons, 40-65 gallon make the easiest and nicest setups imo). Some fish prefer taller or longer tanks, so have a look at some species and let us know what you like. That being said, I have mostly small tanks. (3 10 gallons and a 20 gallon long)

I am a big fan of planted tanks, but the quantity of plants is a personal preference. There are lots of benefits to the fish.

I'd reccomend you stick to fish under 3" in a 30 gallon or less, since it will be easier to keep the tank clean. Larger tanks can have larger fish. Check out the fish profiles.
I like timid calm fish like gourami and rasboras, but my tank of cories and livebearers is pretty lively. With smaller fish you can have a wider variety of animals like shrimp.

Bluewind 12-16-2012 11:34 AM

When it comes to plants, if you want to go easy on cost, get low tec beginner plants put in a good substrate like sand. Replace the bulbs that came with and put in good ones to give them light. Ferts may be recomended, but not 100% needed as the plants will grow and thrive, just not as fast. Good options are Anubias, Water Sprite, and Marimo Balls. Some say duckweed is a good floating plant, but some consider it a weed. Make sure that whatever you get is green as other color choices require more care.
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Byron 12-16-2012 11:39 AM

Just adding to what redchigh mentioned. Your water parameters (tap water) are important, as most fish have definite preferences. Knowing the GH (general hardness), KH (carbonate hardness or Alkalinity) and pH will help point you in the direction of suitable fishes. It is always easier, and safer, to select fishes suited to your water than to select fishes and adjust the water. Adjusting is possible, sometimes easily, often difficult, but it has to be thought out in advance. Water changes can be problematical if you need to pre-condition water each time.

You can ascertain the water data from the municipal water supply people, they likely have a website.


Canadian Fish 12-16-2012 02:15 PM

How large are you thinking of going? A standard 55 gallon tank is 48" long and offers way more options than tanks that are 36" and less., in terms of larger schools of smaller fish, or a small number of slightly larger fish. Also, lots of room for plants and dirftwood, rocks, etc.

Some people find the 55s too narrow, they're 12". If you want an 18" wide tank with 48" length, you'll have to go even bigger.

If you're thinking smaller, I have a 36" which I have managed to fit lots of plants and wood in, but like redchigh said, you're pretty much looking at a max 3" fish in that setup, and smaller schools.

The bigger the tank, the easier it is to maintain water quality, in my opinion. And the more plants, the better, and it gets even easier.

Like red mentioned, expect to do 30% water changes weekly, or maybe 50% every two weeks. I try to do 25% to 33% once a week.

Bluewind 12-16-2012 02:46 PM

As they said, check your pH and hardness. It will make deciding what fish are best for your tank much easier. You can have a community tank as small as a 10 gallon, but it will greatly limit what you can have and how many. The plants will help filtration. Adding a good substrate like sand will help the plants thrive. Don't forget to have your tank at an ideal temp for everything in the tank!

Since you mentioned Bettas, I will talk about them in a community...

Bettas can be in a community tank as long as the tankmates are non-agressive and not known fin nippers. This makes any of the Tetras a bad choice. Bettas also like water without a lot of current, so stay away from fish that do. Cory Cats are great choices.
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SinX7 12-16-2012 06:32 PM

Probably going to go "Low tech" Plants till I get more experience. Max tank size would be around 60-65 Gallon.

SinX7 12-17-2012 12:08 AM

Sorry for double post, but changing the tank size to around 40ish Gallon max. Want to be realistic lol. Prefer smaller fish, but not too small. Don't need a huge fish, yet lol. And I won't be putting my betta in the Community tank.

Here is my water quality from my local water supply.
Anything else is here: Reports

Bluewind 12-17-2012 10:27 AM

Could you go into more detail of what you like? For example...
No smaller than x inches when grown
No bigger than x inches when grown
I like/don't like...
a) Flowing fins (like Bettas)
b) Eel like fish (like Loaches)
c) A specific breed of fish
d) "flat" fish (like Silver Dollars)
e) Long skinny fish (like Neons)
f) "chubby" fish (like puffers or certain Goldfish)
g) zipping/fast fish (like Tetras)
h) lathargic, slow moving fish (spelling?)
i) inverts (like snails and shrimp)
j) Specific color or fish
k) Plant nibblers
l) Fish with a short lifespan (how short?)

Also, what is your pH in tank and your hardness? I can't pull up your file on my phone.
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Byron 12-17-2012 11:18 AM


Originally Posted by SinX7 (Post 1351812)
Sorry for double post, but changing the tank size to around 40ish Gallon max. Want to be realistic lol. Prefer smaller fish, but not too small. Don't need a huge fish, yet lol. And I won't be putting my betta in the Community tank.

Here is my water quality from my local water supply.
Anything else is here: Reports
Water Quality Reports

I don't see numbers for the GH, but in the first linked report they say the water is "very hard." If this is true, then the best fish would be livebearers, rift lake cichlids, and any other fish preferring hard water. The water parameters are given for each species in our profiles.


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