Still debating on fish...
Been awhile since I've really talked about my new ideas here and like always, I like to get as much advice from as many people as I can. So I'll start out by updating ya'll on the plan and then proceed to my questions. Excuse the wall of text below.
My plan for tank size will either be a 55g or a 100g, this is only because I'm looking at tanks in terms of length, not height or width. The tank just depends on what I can find on Craigslist or if I can find a good deal at a pet store.
A 55g is 48 1/4 x12 3/4 x21 (LxWxH) ~625lbs full
A 100g is 72 7/8 x19 x19 5/8 (LxWxH) ~1180lbs full
Info you all probably know, but just for detail... The reason for length is because of my catfish, which I'll get to later.
Next the fish I have been researching. These fish I've tried to match up as much as possible in terms of water parameters. Now because I have no idea what my tap water hardness will be when I move, I can't pick fish according to the tap, so I won't be surprised if I have to find a way to soften or harden the water when times comes.
Keep in mind that I have no intention of using ALL of these fish, these are just the ones I've found that seem to be compatible from what info I've found. Excuse me if I spelled the scientific names wrong, typing from paper rather than copying and pasting.
THESE ARE THE FISH I LIKE THE MOST:(Pimelodus pictus)Pictus Catfish x5
---this fish is non-negotiable
---Soft to medium hard (< 12dGH), acidic (pH below 7) water, 22-25C/71-77F
---About 5" in length
(Petitella georgiae)False Rummy Nose x6-10
---Reason why a FRN is because it's the largest of the three rummies, and I don't want eaten fish
---Soft to medium hard (< 12dGH), acidic (pH below 7) water, 22-26C/72-79F
---About 2.8" in length
(Devaria aequipinnatus)Giant Danio x8-10
---Soft to medium hard (5-20dGH), slightly acidic to basic (6-8pH), 22-25C/71-77F
---About 4" in length
(Danio albolineatus)Pearl Danio x6-10
---Soft to moderately hard (<20dGH), acidic to basic (6-7.6 pH) water, 20-25C/68-77
---About 2.25" in length
(Pethia nigrofasciate)Black Ruby Barb x6-10
---Soft (<12dGH), acidic (pH below 7) water, 22-26C/72-79F
---About 2.4" in length
(Melanotaenia praecox)Dwarf Neon Rainbowfish x6-10
---2 females to 1 male ratio
---Soft to medium hard (5-15dGH), acidic to slightly basic (6.5-7.5pH), 24-25C/74-77F
---About 2" in length
THESE ARE THE FISH I HAVE IN CASE OTHERS DON'T WORK OUT (think of as backups):(Gymnocorymbus ternetzi)Black Widow Tetra x6-10
---Soft to moderately hard (<30dGH), acidic to basic (pH < 7), 20-26C/68-79F
---About 2.25" in length
(Aphyocharax anisitsi)Bloodfin Tetra x6-10
---Soft to moderately hard (<30dGH), acidic to basic (6-8pH), 18-28C/64-82F
---About 2.2" in length
(Hyphessobrycon columbianus)Colombian Tetra x6-10
---Soft to medium hard (<12dGH), acidic (pH < 7) water, 23-27C/73-80F
---About 2.5" in length
(Thayeria obliqua)Penguin Tetra x6-10
---Soft (<15dGH), acidic (pH below 7) water, 22-28C/72-82F
---About 3.2" in length
(Hyphessobrycon bentosi)Roberts Tetra x6-10
---Soft (<10dGH), acidic (pH below 7) water, 23-28C/73-82F
---About 2" in length
(Puntius semifasciolatus)Golden Barb x8-10
---Medium soft to medium hard (5-19dGH), slightly acidic to slightly basic (pH 6-8) water, 18-24C/61-75F
---About 3" in length
(Pethia conchonius)Rosy Barb x6-10
---Moderately soft to moderately hard (5-20dGH), slightly acidic to basic (pH 6-8) water, 18-23C/64-74F
---About 3" - 6" in length
That's it for the fish I swear, I mainly wanted very active, colorful fish for the tank, but of course with my Pictus in the lot I was pretty much stuck with Barbs and Tetras.
I also want my tank planted and attempted to find plants that enjoy similar water parameters, I also didn't want to spend a bunch of money on lights (but also because a lot of the fish I have picked out enjoy dimmer lights, also want dimmer lights so my catfish will be more active) so I wanted to make sure I only got plants that like low to somewhat medium light and are fairly easy to care for.
Not going into much detail here... just listing off what I found:
Brazilian Pennywort (I frickin love their leaves...)
Now... for the questions, I will try to be as straight forward as I can here:
Because I'll be living in an apartment and will be on the bottom floor (I'll find one) I am curious if a 100g tank will be too heavy, whether the floor has beams or concrete?
If my tap water turns out to be too hard or soft or too high or low in pH, what are ways I can alter it (Without using chemicals)?
I know certain fish like darker substrate and others like lighter. I plan to use sand (easier to keep clean)... should I be concerned with what the fish like better?
Or should I just do my best to match the color of their natural environment?
Out of the fish I listed that will go well with the Pictus, what fish would you recommend?
Are there some I listed that I should ignore?
I know some Barbs are nippy fish and shouldn't be kept with fancy finned fish, but I'm concerned about my Pictus' barbels/whiskers. I know they're tempting to ME to play with, not that I ever would. Should I throw out the barbs or will my cats be safe?
Are there fish that I didn't list that would be worth looking into?
As far as plants go, what would you suggest? I'm hesitant on the floaters even though I do like them just because I don't want them to grow out of control and prevent light from reaching the other plants.
Should I remove some of the listed plants from consideration?
I don't plan to buy a fancy lid for my aquarium, but I will use some mesh of sorts to cover the top with if the tank doesn't come with a lid. I plan to use some cheap shop lights and hang them over the tank from the ceiling. Suggestions?
What filters would you suggest? I'd prefer quiet ones.
Should I bother with air stones?
I want a gentle current in my tank, would said-filter be enough of a flow or should I attempt to find a cheap water pump?
I don't want to bother with Co2 injections... I've read though that too many plants = needing Co2. Is there a limit on how many plants I can put into a 55g without needing to worry over Co2? What about a 100g?
I think that's it... don't be surprised if I come up with more haha. I have a lot more to learn. P: If you have any other advice to give, please do so, even if it's not an answer to a question I have up here. If something is unclear, my apologies, you can certainly ask about it and I'll clear it up as best I can.
Java fern and java moss are grate low light plants and are very easy to care for.
Bloodfin tetras are fin nippers.
Black ruby barb are beautiful and would work grate.
Most of the fish you listed will work well with the pictus now you have to chose witch ones you'd like to have.
C02 is not necessary but if you do ad it your plants grow much faster.
Note that java fern and moss grow slow and don't respond in a super fast way if they get ferts and C02 they just take it slow and steady.
It would help if you could tell us what your hardness and PH are.(They have in big role that they play)
I've been trying to find some kind of information about the water hardness of Missoula's tap water... but google isn't giving me anything....
I've been told RO water is the better choice to be used for aquariums... but I can't even find the parameters on that...
I won't know my tap water parameters until I move and actually can test it myself @_@
I gotta run to work in a couple of minutes, so I don't have time to look through all of your questions to see what I can answer. But I can tell you that RO water is pure water. It has no GH or KH and the pH should be approximatly 7.0. It's not good for fish or plants because it will suck the minerals from their bodies through diffusion. But in some areas of the country, the water quality is so bad (lots of heavy metals or dissolved gasses) that using re-mineralized RO is recommended.
If you can't find the water hardness online, you might have to call the local water treatment plant. They should have those numbers for you.
RO water can be expensive,its soft and neutral(I think, I don't have it so I'm not sure) but it takes out all minerals and puts them back again(I think you can alter the PH and hardness)
Bummer on the test kits I can only find PH and strip tests where I stay(a small town with 3 fish shops) try to stay away from the strips as they can be very inaccurate.
Is it easy to make soap suds in your water,the harder the water the harder it is to make suds(I hope I spelled suds right, second language lol)
Back from work now, so I'll see what questions of yours I can answer. Hopefully others will come along that can answer the ones I can't.
There are ways to alter the hardness and pH of your water, but they aren't that easy. I harden my water for my tanks. It requires and extra step in the water change process, but it's much easier than making water softer. The only way to reliably do that is diluting your tap water with RO water. You'd need to mix up the water outside of the tank and then pump it into the tank. If your water is just a little too hard or a little too soft for the fish you plan, then I'd just leave it. When it's very far off you might want to consider changing it.
You can find sands in both dark and light colors. The biggest problem here is cost. The black sand I have cost considerably more than something like play sand. Light colored sand isn't a problem unless you have crazy high lighting with no floating plants.
For plants, I certainly recommend floaters. You can always thin them out weekly if they get too overgrown. That's what I do on my planted 29 gal. Every water change I chop back the water sprite and remove 70% of the duckweed (goldfish love that part ;p) Your selection looks pretty good, although you might have trouble with anarcharis. Mine never really did well under low-light. I've also had problems with my tiger lotus under low light. It seemed very picky and more prone to melt than my crypts. Speaking of crypts, those would be another plant I highly recommend. They are a little finicky at first, but once they get going, they can thrive especially in low-light, soft water. The wendti crypts are good, hardy crypts. The only thing you have to make sure with them is that they get plenty of root fertilizers as they are heavy feeders.
For a filter, I'd recommend staying away from HOB filters if you want a quiet one. I have three and they... aren't quiet. I'm actually looking to switch to canister filters this summer. So while I haven't had a canister, I'd certainly recommend them over an HOB.
Air stones aren't necessary, but they will add more flow to the tank. I'd say personal preference with them... if you like the look or the sound, go for it.
You can easily have a moderately planted tank without CO2. Planted tanks are all about balance. If the light and the ferts aren't too high, you won't need CO2. You can balance a tank with or without CO2.
Hope I was able to help! For your more plant-specific questions, you might want to make a thread over in the planted section. We have some plant-heads here that might be able to help you.
The only easy adjustment is to harden the water, as mentioned. There are additives (Seachem's Equilibrium I think is one) that you can just add to the water to bring it up a bit but even then you need to know where the pH will settle... although it won't change drastically if you add just a few degrees.
:D thanks for all the help, it's really shinning light on things for me <3
Instead of tiger lotus, there are dwarf lily bulbs that you can get at walmart. Not all of them sprout, but if you save the receipt, they'll send you good ones. Mine shot up really quickly and I have really crappy lighting.
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