Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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xanadeath 08-17-2008 01:13 PM

60 Gallon Fishtank
I am going to be very straightforward. I am 13 turning 14 this next month......and I currently have a healthy 13 gallon fishtank in my room. My dad past away this last February and he used to love I got into it. He used to care for a 60 gallon fishtank.....and he let it go to waste long before his death.... but we still have it and are going to replace the tank so I can start it.....My mom and 7 year old sister are pretty cluless when it comes to fish. Now with the 13 gallon fishtank that I currently have it is simple.....I have a biowheel filter and a heater....I treat the water and stuff....clean it occasionally....and that is pretty much it....easy. With a tank as big as 60 gallons I have been hearing a lot about undergravel filters and that sort of thing.....along wiht powerheads and other more complicated stuff.....all I have been looking at are canister filters and i heard those could do everything and there was no need for any other type of filtering. I need.....basically....a guide to what to do to set up a tank that is 60 gallons.....and to keep fish alive in that big a tank.....please help.....I know this is the freshwater posting area...but just IS FRESHWATER...NOT SALWATER. :-)

iamntbatman 08-17-2008 03:17 PM

Don't be discouraged! There's really nothing different about setting up a bigger tank other than the fact that the tank is bigger (and heavier). For starters, make sure you have a good stand that was built for the tank and be sure you're setting it up completely level on a floor that can support the weight of the tank. A standard 60 gallon tank weighs 710 pounds when full.

Essentially, you have the same things to consider when setting up a big tank. You need substrate (gravel or sand in most cases), heaters (once you get to that size tank you might want two heaters for even heat distribution) and filters. There's really nothing special about filtration on a bigger tank like that - you just need to be sure you're providing enough of it. On big tanks, canister filters are helpful because they can process a lot of water and can hold a lot of filter media (like filter floss, sponges, bioballs, ceramic rings, carbon, etc) however they certainly aren't required. You could get the job done with power filters just like you have on your 13 gallon tank, you'd just need bigger ones. Filtration also depends on what you're putting in the tank. If you plan on having lots of live plants, then you probably want to avoid power filters because they tend to cause a lot of surface turbulence, which releases CO2 from the water that your plants need. If you're getting big, messy fish (like cichlids) then you'll want to add extra filtration. For example, I have a 29 gallon tank that I'm going to put a Jack Dempsey cichlid in. Since these fish produce a lot of waste and are messy eaters, I'm using a power filter rated for a 55 gallon tank and a canister filter also rated for roughly 55 gallons.

When you choose the substrate, it changes some of your options. If you use sand instead of gravel, you can't use an undergravel filter. You also need to take extra precautions to keep your sand stirred up, either by doing it yourself or getting some sort of burrowing animal (fish like loaches or Malaysian Trumpet Snails) to stir it for you. Having sand has the benefit of letting you get fish that like the burrow or root through soft sand, plus it looks great.

Also, the lights you use on the tank will determine what kind live plants you can have. If you aren't interested in live plants, any sort of fluorescent lighting will work, but you'll need more expensive light fixtures for plants that require high lighting.

With a bigger tank like that, you have a lot more options when it comes to choosing fish to go in the tank. You could have big schools of small fish, or keep some bigger fish like mid-sized cichlids.

I suggest you figure out exactly what kind of fish you want to keep, then get the equipment you need in order to keep them. Then, it's just a matter of setting up the tank, letting it cycle properly, and then adding your fish.

xanadeath 08-17-2008 03:35 PM

Will the amount of oxygen in the water become an issue.....I thought powerheads had something to do with ( idont think they do now...i dunno). I know the power filter I am using now for my 13 gallon ( it is a little bio wheel model) said somthing about helping to get oxygen into the water....and i sure dont want to suffocate all the fish in the 60 gallon when i start it....other than this question......the last post gave me much more understanding than i had....Thanks..... :-)

okiemavis 08-17-2008 03:47 PM

If you've got a decent filter (and therefore decent water agitation) it shouldn't become a problem. I've never had issues in any of my tanks. There are some fish the come from highly oxygenated water and will require powerheads or something like that for extra water flow, but for the average fish, you'll be all set.

Why not look around and decide what type of fish/tank you want, and you can start picking out supplies from there. Here's a few questions to think about:

-Do you want live plants in your aquarium?
-Do you want aggressive or peaceful fish?
-Do you want a few large fish or many small ones?
-What's most important for you when it comes to fish- looks, personality,etc?
-Do you want this to be a biotope (ei all fish/plants from the same region)?

Once you decide the fish & plants, we can help you pick out lights, filter, substrate, etc.

Tyyrlym 08-17-2008 04:17 PM

A good filter will stir up the water enough on its own that unless the water is extremely warm or you're very heavily stocked it can handle oxygenating the water all on its own. If you're worried about it you could add an air stone(s) and help keep things stirred up.

As for a filter one of the big Marineland Penguins or the large Emperor can easily handle the tank.

xanadeath 08-17-2008 04:58 PM

Type of tank
I plan on having a few random simple live plant from petco or something like that. Small and medium sized peaceful really big ones. I want to have a nice community of assorted fish that are perfectly compatible. And I have been wondering......what do I have to get.....and put in the make it so that I can have bubbles and possibly moving the cute little opening Treasure chest and stuff like that? If u guys culd help me figure out what to buy and put in that would be great. I m not a n00b but having a fishtank about 5 times as big as my current 1 is a new concept to me...Thank for the help.... :-)

okiemavis 08-17-2008 05:20 PM


I plan on having a few random simple live plant from petco or something like that.
Beware live plants from petco/petsmart. A lot of their plants aren't actually fully aquatic, and will rot over time in your aquarium. I'd recommend Java moss & java fern if you want nice, hard to kill plants. They will be fine with low lighting. Just look for something that's at least 1.5-2 watts per gallon. (so you'll want a light that's at least 85 watts or so)


Small and medium sized peaceful really big ones. I want to have a nice community of assorted fish that are perfectly compatible.
No problem, that will be easy. If you want bottom dwellers (check out Corydoras catfish), I'd recommend getting sand or a *very* smooth gravel as the substrate.


And I have been wondering......what do I have to get.....and put in the make it so that I can have bubbles and possibly moving the cute little opening Treasure chest and stuff like that?
You'll just need an air pump to power the decoration. Make sure the pump is rated for aquariums at least 60 gallons (or it won't be strong enough to go so deep in the water). You just plug it into the decoration and you're good to go.

As for filters- I'd recommend either the Magnum H.O.T. or the Emperor 400. Just remember, it's impossible to over filter your water. There's no need for an undergravel filter. Others are much easier to maintain and require less technical knowledge. Here's links to the two filters:

For heaters you'll want something that's 200 watts. Anything that's fully submersible and has a light to indicate when it's on/off will work. Here's a good one that's on sale:

Once you've got your heater and filter, you'll want to start cycling your tank. This is the important part, and worth reading up on! Otherwise you'll end up killing your fish when you add them to the tank.

xanadeath 08-17-2008 05:49 PM

Filter and cycling
Thanks for the heater link...thats perfect. Unfortunately I dont really have the room to hang anything on the back......I have been looking at on the ground canister filters and running the tubes to the tank from inside the cabinet below it. I have a nice stand and canopy...with great lighting....I just finished ordering the tank to fit them. Shipping A couple pics of the tank are in this post....its nice....the tank itself could look better right now....

okiemavis 08-17-2008 05:56 PM

Gorgeous! And you've already got lighting, so you'll be good on that front provided you grow low light plants. Actually, do you know what kind of lighting this is? It looks pretty decent. Was this tank used for salt water?

The Magnum H.O.T. is a canister filter. I'm not sure that the tubes that come with it are long enough to go under your tank, but you'll have no trouble extending it. If you want a stronger filter, I recommend the Magnum 350. That's the one I use on my 86 gallon tank and it sits inside the stand under the tank like yours.

xanadeath 08-17-2008 05:56 PM

Cycling....Air Pump
This Air Pump: ......Would it go underwater or outside of the tank...that and how does it work....what do the tubes would it get the air to pump in.....etc.....also how long would I want to cycle a 60 gallon tank. I know after cycling my smaller tank I put some of the dirty feeder goldfish in from petco just to start my nitrogen cycle then i returned them and got real fish.....will that work the same way.......Im srry i dont mean to be pesty....a am just trying to learn new things.....thanks for all the help u guys....ur great! :-)

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