Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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LittleWatty 02-22-2013 09:37 AM

55+ Gallon Plans
So, thanks to Chesherca, I have been planning on setting up a 55 gallon (or larger) tank sometime in the future. I do not know when, but I would like to start planning and asking questions now!

Planned Fish:
Corydoras (probably spotted or panda)
Otocinclus catfish (if my current ones live long enough)
Yoyo loach(es?)
Kuhli loaches (possibly)
Zebra Danios (if my current ones live long enough)
ADF (if my current ones live long enough, and I don't set up a species only tank for them)

I'm not sure what else to add. I have a fair number of bottom dwellers listed, so I don't think I'm going add any more of them. What kind of mid/top dwelling fish does everyone like? I'd prefer to avoid known fish with temper problems like cichlids, since I'm tearing out my hair with my bettas right now. I might try hatchets, sharks, or barbs, but those are the only ideas I've got right now. Colorful and active fish are definitely preferred. Also, the city I live in has very hard water, so I can't do any soft water fish. PH is about 7.4-7.6

The tank will most definitely be planted, and I might even go for an NPT. I just love the look of them. I have anubias, amazon sword, dwarf lilies, kleiner bar sword, java moss and fern, marimo moss balls, and some crypt. What other kind of plants would be nice to add? I'm also looking for awesome floating plans like riccia. I've had no luck with wisteria, so I will probably avoid that. Also, suggestions for making an NPT are welcome.

My main concern right now is moving. I'm in my third year of college, and will most likely be moving across the country when I graduate (from Wisconsin to Oregon, most likely). It might be several years before I find a place that might be considered a permanent home, but I would rather not wait that long to set up my dream tank. I moved with fish just a few months ago, and it wasn't too bad, but that's because I didn't have very many. Just a few bettas, two frogs, and some otocinclus. It was just the task of collecting everyone and storing them in my betta cups for transport, and draining the tanks enough so water wouldn't splash everywhere during the drive. I'm fairly certain I wouldn't be able to use that same process if I set up a 55 gallon, or bigger. So... how would you do it, or how have you done it? Or would my absolute best option be to wait until I have my own permanent home?

That's all I can think of right now, but I will most likely ask more questions down the road!

ladayen 02-22-2013 09:07 PM

I would honestly wait until you are done college. It is a huge chore to move a tank long distance and you will likely have to get rid of your fish that become attached to.

MoneyMitch 02-22-2013 10:54 PM


Originally Posted by ladayen (Post 1441137)
I would honestly wait until you are done college. It is a huge chore to move a tank long distance and you will likely have to get rid of your fish that become attached to.

ditto there, i once had a house fire and well long story short the tank was moved 3 times (it made it through the fire with everything intact even fish!) everytime i moved the tank i lost fish. unless you dont mind losing some fish or battleing some disease from stress then go for it but id advise waiting.

LittleWatty 02-23-2013 08:18 AM

Alright, then the plan is to wait. Still, I would like to work out the kinks now while I have the time to do so. So, anyone who can answer/comment on everything else would be greatly appreciated!

ladayen 02-23-2013 11:54 AM

Well, we would need to know the water parameters of the water in your future location.

Chesh 02-24-2013 08:39 PM Whaaaa! My tank is actually an inspiration!?! Neat!

I do have to agree with the PP - moving with a tank this size would NOT be fun, especially not if you had to do it more than once and cross-country to boot! And the water parameters will likely be really different there. . . IF you're moving to a specificish place in Oregon, like to be near family or something, and have a rough idea of the town you're heading for, then you could probably get an idea of what kind of water they have and start planning!

Just to give you something to think about. . . even if it doesn't really apply just now. . . you say that the water in the city where you live is really hard, but many of the fish you have listed ARE soft water critters. Also... Ph isn't really indicative of the hardness of your water - especially for us city dwellers. They do things at the water treatment plant to 'fix' the Ph and make it in the neutral range. . . what you need to know to determine water hardness is the gH and the kH - gH is the more important of the two where fish are concerned. API sells a test kit for around $8 for both Gh and Kh, but you might be able to call your water company and get the info from them :) OR the water company in Oregon. . . ;)

An idea though. . . you could always get the tank started with plants now, that way when you're out of school and just moved and are super poorer, you'd already have that part taken care of! They might suffer a little bit during the move, crypts would almost definitely melt, but they'd for sure come through better than fish would. And could even be boxed! Plus. . .between now and then, if your plants did well, you could easily have many times more than what you started with, and immediately get to work on a gorgeous scape when you arrived wherever you're going - and it'd be fun, even without the fish!

I'm jealous, btw. I'd love to move to Oregon. If you DON'T have a specific area that you're looking to move, can I suggest moving a block away from that amazing fish shop - The Wet Spot? LOL! I'm 100% SURE they could tell you what the hardness of their water is, and you'd have access to so many amazing and uncommon fish. . . J E A L O U S!

Good luck!

LittleWatty 02-24-2013 09:40 PM

Well, I've been trying to do research to figure out the water parameters for the area I'm looking to move (I'm hoping for Seaside, OR) but wasn't able to find anything. The funny thing is... where I currently live, the water is very hard, but the Petco here (which doesn't "fix" their water in any way that I'm aware of) has all of these fish and they seem to do perfectly well XD Ah well. Guess I'll have to hope for soft water where I'm going!

I guess for now I'll just stick with raising plants in my current tanks. I had a thought today and am tempted to do a 55 gallon ADF species only tank... but my roommate made a good point: with a tank that big, you might as well add something that gives a little more interest/attention. Yes, I love my little froggies and 20 of them in a 55 gallon would be a dream! But if they all hide during the day like some of mine do right now, then that tank is no more than a decoration. *sigh* May just keep my 15 gallon up as a species only if I decide to do one at all.

Edit: OMG. I just found the Wet Spot, and now I HAVE to move to Oregon! XD Maybe not Portland, but Seaside is close enough that I could go there and get a ton of fish in one go XD They even have cute little Panda Cories!! I haven't been able to find those guys anywhere! I think I could live in that place!

Chesh 02-25-2013 09:05 AM

Yeah, man. . . that shop. . . is amazing! I've ordered from them before online, and as is my norm, asked billions of questions. They seem to take REALLY good care of their animals. Aside from having a huge stock of rare/wild caught critters, my guess is that it's an all-around really well kept shop. I'm super jealous if you live close enough to visit!!!

Y'know. . . just a thought, and of course the eventual hardness of your water will have a LOT to do with this. . . but if I were heading in the direction that you are with the froggy friends, I'd look seriously into doing an African biotope setup. I actually started researching this route before getting distracted by my 55, which has always been a very mixed community, but one day I WILL do this setup. . .

If your water is soft, you have a lot of options available. . . the water would have a slow flow, very shaded with floating plants - I believe WaterSprite is native, leaf litter, even full blackwater. you'd want to have driftwood, which you could attach African water fern to, and - off the top of my head (double check me, it's been a while) plants could include Ammannia, Anubias, Crinums. . .I think Hairgrass and Vals are also native to Africa. . .

There are TONS of African Tetra that would have no problems with co-existing with ADF - my JellyBean tetra came from The Wet Spot, and were wild caught in Africa, obviously Congo Tetra would be native to that area. . . but there are MANY more out there to choose from. . . many African catfish are available in the trade - including the upside-down catfish, as well as African Cichlids, though you'll have to be sure to do a lot of research into finding a type that is docile enough (and has the same water parameters) to coexist with frogs. . . Kribs, I think, are from Africa. . . Kilifish, though they may need cooler water. . .also a ton of 'oddball' critters that are from Africa, Elephant noses (though I wouldn't recommended these, lol) butterfly fish, Ghostknives (careful with these guys, lots of research needed). There! That could get you started ;)

Anyway. . . that's a ton of options that you can consider. And since you're so close to The Wet Spot, you'll find many options that AREN'T common in the trade - freshly caught, QT'd, and healthy! They also have a fantastic selection of plants. . . so you'll be in a good position to actually DO this, and make it amazing (if you wanted, lol)

Just a disclaimer, this is just a random off-the-top of my head list, lol. These fish could never all coexist in a 55. . . so PLEASE be sure to do your own research here - double check my accuracy, too - it's been a while since I was considering this type of setup - and of course, be sure to do all the learning you can on the needs of each fish before settling on them. (I know you will, just have to put it out there!)

Hopefully you'll have the softer water to pull something like this off. And I'll be so jealous (and inspired) by your tank!!!

LittleWatty 02-25-2013 12:32 PM

Thanks for the tips, Chesh! I'm hoping to maybe take a trip out to Oregon before I graduate, so I can get a lay of the land. If I do end up doing that, I'll be making a stop in Portland (its actually about 1.5 hours from Seaside) to check out The Wet Spot. I'll ask them a ton of questions, see if they know the water params of the Seaside area, etc. etc.

I would LOVE to do a biotope setup for my little froggies! I've always tried to get as natural looking of a tank as possible, and if I even do all african plants, all african fish... I think I'd be in heaven XD only problem is, I'd want to find some sort of african corydora or loach to go in there too! XD I just love the little cuties. If I do the biotope setup, I really hope my 3 current frogs (and 4th coming in) survive long enough to experience such a fantastic habitat. When I move, I'll most likely be driving the whole way, so I can take special care of my babies along the way. I'm hoping the drive won't take more than a couple days (based on google maps, it'd be a 30 hour straight drive).

Another question, that I should have remembered for the original post... Would it be cheaper do get a 55 (or larger) gallon kit that comes with everything, or try to build my own setup? If I set up a large tank like a 55, I would probably want to do one of those fancy filters that has tanks/barrels/whatever they are hiding under the tank. I just wouldn't know how to go about doing that. If it requires skills that I don't have, then the original question remains... tank kit, or buy each piece separately?

Chesh 02-25-2013 04:09 PM

LOL! You could probably shoot an Email off to TWS and get an answer right now from them. I'm sure you could also find the water supply people local in the area via google and give them a call. . .

What you're talking about is a canister filter. They aren't as scary as they seem at first, and if you go 55g + this is absolutley what you want. They're beyond compare with HOB filters and other types. . . wonderful things, and I'll never go back.

As for what your best deal would be, it really depends! I've seen some fairly nice 'kit' setups that include everything, they *can* be pricey, but they also go on sale frequently enough - you'll have to see what's available and stalk the shops for a while for a good deal when you're ready - best advice is don't rush out, but wait for what you want to go on sale - you can save hundreds of dollars.

Not all kits are created equal, though. . . I've found that oftentimes they won't have the highest-quality stuff included with the package, so you might find that you'd end up buying replacements for them, anyway. . . this does depend on the 'kit' though, some are better quality than others, like with anything! You really are just going to have to do some research and see what you come up with, check reviews - I like to cross check what I find on the chain sites with what I find on Amazon and other sites for the same item. . .

Pay special attention to the stand, too. . . The stands that I generally see in shops are fairly cheap, made of particle board, and not something that I really see holding up very well long-term if you're the type of person who spills water all over the place like I am, lol! They LOOK beautiful in the store, but once they're put in use the wood swells, the finish bubbles, and they look a mess - not to mention might not be able to handle that level of weight once the 'wood' becomes compromised. Metal stands are a whole 'nother thing. . . but do your research.

In my opinion, buying the tank (kit or not) then building your OWN stand for it seems to me to be a better (and far cheaper) option. I'm NOT the type of gal to be throwing down with hammers and wood, but I've seen some really nice DIY stands that are simple enough that I think even I could pull them off - and if you're lucky enough to have a handyman type of person in your life, bonus!

You can also usually find really nice used setups on Craigs list and such. Used doesn't have to be a bad thing, and the price is often right when people are trying to move, or are simply DONE with keeping fish and want the thing out of their way. . .

You'll figure it all out :)

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