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ColoradoUtah 04-21-2013 05:48 PM

Beginner - ready for a review of my set up.
While I have had fish before, I really didn't study like I have been. I am essentially a beginner. I have spent the last two weeks reviewing the basic instructional material which I appreciate very much as well as the profiles for the fish that I currently own. As can be expected, there are some incompatibility issues that need to be addressed.

I have tried to describe my set up as clearly as possible. I would like the forum to review my profile and give me input, however, I am unclear as to how to provide that link.

Several things that I need to clarify or have clarified:
1. My water is uncloorinated well water that is hard with slightly more iron than normal.
2. Up until this recent attack of fungus, I had not been doing water change outs. After medicating the tank, I've done two 30% change outs. I will be doing another 25% water change this week to bring the tank back to a more normal cycle. When tested on 4-19, all paras were good except nitrate (I think) was .05. In either case, I am buying a liquid test kit this week in order to be able to do my own testing.
3. The tank is 4' x 1' x 20"h.
4. I don't believe there are enough plants or hiding places in the tank.
5. I am confused about the right kind of lights to maintain and for how long each day.
7. At some point, will need to discuss the gouamis and tiger barbs, specifically.

There are a million more questions that have gone through my head through the last few weeks
, which I can not remember now but this will get us started. Thanks for any and all help you can provide.

MoneyMitch 04-21-2013 05:56 PM

nitrates at 0.5 ppm is less then what I have coming from my tap and is nothing to get in a twist about. I recommend 50% weekly waterchanges. and as far as plants go take a look here to get a general idea Byron has some more in depth guides pinned in the planted section too that you should take a look at.

less is more when it comes to lights when just starting with plants.

Chesh 04-21-2013 07:54 PM

Welcome to TFK, and the amazing world behind the glass walls of your tank!

The link to your Aquarium can be found here: Tank One - 55 gallon Freshwater fish tank

I see that you set this tank up in November of 2012, have all of the current residents been living in here since that time? I'm glad you mentioned stocking inconsistencies, there definitely are some here! Some of your fish, like the Kissing Gourami will become far to large for a tank of this size (wonderful to start with a 55, though!), others like your Tetra, prefer softer water, and there will certainly be some issues with temperaments as many of these creatures grow. . . there will need to be some changes made for this community to remain happy. I'm guessing that your Live-bearers will thrive for you, but I would really like to have a *bit* more information about your water, if that's possible, before we really start to advise with stocking. Do you happen to have any numbers regarding the hardness of your water? Knowing the PH, GH, and KH of your well water would go a long way in figuring out which fish will do best for you. If you need a bit more information on why, one of our members has written an article on this, that can help clarify.

Sorry you've been dealing with illness in your tank, but on the bright side, it's probably what got you learning, and brought you to us! Hoping it's gone and the fish are well now?

Nitrate at a level of 0.5 is fine, as MM stated, but I do suspect you'll be seeing this number rise, considering the stocking you have in this tank. Also fine, as long as it stays on the lower end of things. The typical recommendation is to try to keep nitrAtes under 20-30ppm, I'm surprised to see you have a number so low, and I wouldn't be surprised to see it rise a bit before stabilizing.

Water changes are good! I like to do a water change of 30-50 % every week in my tanks to keep conditions clean and parameters as stable as possible. As you go forward from this point, I encourage you to take the time to do a water change every week. Clean water is good for fish, it keeps them healthy, and clears potential toxins out of the system!

For plants, you'll need to get full spectrum lighting - 6500K is what the plants need to thrive. But on a tank this size, you'll need more than a single T8 strip to support anything but lower light plants, unless they're floating. Low light plants (like your anubias) are wonderful, too ^.^ It all depends on what you want to do, and what is working for you currently. As far as the photoperiod is concerned, 12-14 hours is pretty long, but I don't want to break something that works! How long have you had the plants you've listed, and have you had any issues with algae?

This. . . is a start! I'm sure others will be around to chime in with their thoughts, too!

ColoradoUtah 04-21-2013 09:16 PM

Thanks for the reply. I've been having #'s checked at lfs therefore don't have them in mind. That will improve. With the exception of silver dollars and swords, most fish have been in tank since Dec. and seem healthy particularly the skirts and barbs which I find very entertaining.

Speaking of the barbs, one is smaller than the other three, stays somewhat distant and seems to be picked on. Does this mean it could be a female and would this harassment stop if I increased the school to six? which I have been reluctant to do because they are such fisty fish and so far have not bothered the others.

In terms of lighting, I don't understand what I have at all. 15 watts seems like nothing. What does that mean when compared to 6500K or red and blue lighting like I have read about.

My plants are not really growing much but I assume that is due to the fact that I am not using fert. Also, some will have to be replaced after the meds I used to treat the fungus did a number on them. I have been slowly adding the plants but most have been in tank for at least three months.

I am aware of the size issues for some of the fish. I've already decided another tank is in my future once I really know what I am doing here.

Other thoughts would be helpful. I would like to keep this going. I'll try to get some pictures by tomorrow.
Oh, I've not had major problems with algae so far, but I did have some snails which died and some very small algae eaters which also died. There were deaths as I brought the tank up but not as many as I had the first time many years ago.

MoneyMitch 04-21-2013 10:23 PM

as far as lights go, plants prefer red blues and lastly green. pretty much any light you can buy will work for the plants but the 6.7k gives the most natural look to the colors in your tank. with the single t8 12-15 hrs doesn't surprise me with no algae issues, they are very low intensity and I often did this in my lowlight tanks aswell. like chech said if no problems with it then keep the photo period (longer viewing times ^^)

ao 04-21-2013 10:57 PM

Plants use light primarily in the red and blue spectrums. They reflect green light back up.
That's why we percieve most plants as being green.
If you don't already have 6500k lighting, you can et them fairly cheap at walmart (or so I've heard).

Byron 04-22-2013 11:43 AM

Welcomr to Tropical Fish Keeping forum.:wave:

I will just pick up on a couple issues others have already mentioned. First, the light. Two 17-inch fluorescent tubes is going to be very low light, regardless of the type of tubes you get. The only ones that will be useful are Life-Glo. This is still low light, but there are plants that will work with this. We can come back to this later, when discussing fish too, as you could do a very nice low-light aquascape for certain fish that would use more hardscape (wood, rock) with some low-light plants and lots of floating plants. But another queston, is a new light a possibility? This is another option.

On the water, as this is a well, do you have a local fish store that will do water tests? You could have them to a test for GH (general hardness) and KH (carbonate hardness or Alkalinity). If not, the API liquid test kit is good for these, there is one that covers both GH and KH. A pH test kit is a good investment, and again API's liquid test is reliable. It is good to know the GH and KH as it makes selecting fish easier.

Now to the fish. I will copy your present list from your Log here so we can all see it:
6 white skirt tetras
6 black widow tetras
4 tiger barbs
2 opaline/blue gourami
2 double bar platy(?)
4 silver dollars
5 neon tetras
2 gold dust mollys
1 kissing gourami
2 orange swords
6 assorted mollys

I would find some way of removing the Kissing gourami. Also the Silver Dollar since these eat plants and their size is going to create other issues down the road.

The Blue gourami are OK, but should not be in with Tiger Barb or the Black Widow Tetra [and the white, which is the same species], both of which are prone to fin nip when confronted with such sedate long-fin fiish. This may not have occurred yet, but it is frankly a matter of time before it likely will. Before getting more of these, decide how you want this tank to go forward.


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