Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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T4V3N 07-04-2013 01:22 AM

Questions, Questions, Questions.
 
Okay, so my 20 gallon tank is now established, no ammonia spikes, no cloudiness. . . YES!! Only thing this, I just bought a 45 gallon tank. Now I won't be switching over quickly, I'll be slowly gettin' that up and running. So I'd like to learn some more before and when I have all of the items needed to start aquascaping my tank then filling it up with water so I can start cycling it. Like; stocking it up, how many small fish can I put in there? Maximum size would be 3", I prefer schools of fish than having very few large fish. I'd like to make this tank a fully planted tank, not a semi-planted like my 20 gallon. I know I'll be using sand, no dirt or fertilizer-type substrate. I'll be using fluorescent lighting, I forgot what I'd have to go for but retracing my steps can help with that. Right now it has a T8 Full Spectrum 17 w bulb, I know that is not efficient for plants, it's just what came with the tank. I'd like to know what I got to do to keep my plants alive with no CO2, or any expensive equipment. I'm out to achieve a perfect balance between fish and plants where they'd support each other, but of course with supplements to keep things in check.

For my 20 gallon, once I move the fish to the 45, I'll be using it as a shrimp tank for Red Cherry Shrimp, accompanied by Harlequin Rasboras. I might make this tank fully planted as well, and instead of the filter it has now(Fluval Aquaclear 50), it'd be a dual sponge filter that is made for 20 gallon tanks. So any of you with knowledge, please share.

JDM 07-04-2013 07:07 AM

If you are going with "fully planted" you don't need to cycle the tank, particularly if you can stock it slowly. A few weeks between additions of no more than 8 to 10 or so small fish at a time. Fish numbers will depend on a good number of factors but a good place to start is the old 1" of fish per gallon... sort of gets you in the ball park. I think if you only have two or three species and they are a mix of bottom dwellers, mid water and surface fish with well matched water parameter needs and temperments you could have as many as 40 2" fish in there but don't rush it.

For the plants, once you get the right light (I'm LED so I can't really say much about the fluorescent) all you should need are root tabs (once every three months) for the root feeders and a liquid comprhensive fertilizer for the rest (once or twice a week).

Oh, and pictures.

Jeff

T4V3N 07-04-2013 08:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JDM (Post 2468810)
If you are going with "fully planted" you don't need to cycle the tank, particularly if you can stock it slowly. A few weeks between additions of no more than 8 to 10 or so small fish at a time. Fish numbers will depend on a good number of factors but a good place to start is the old 1" of fish per gallon... sort of gets you in the ball park. I think if you only have two or three species and they are a mix of bottom dwellers, mid water and surface fish with well matched water parameter needs and temperments you could have as many as 40 2" fish in there but don't rush it.

For the plants, once you get the right light (I'm LED so I can't really say much about the fluorescent) all you should need are root tabs (once every three months) for the root feeders and a liquid comprhensive fertilizer for the rest (once or twice a week).

Oh, and pictures.

Jeff

I've learned my lesson the hard way from adding multiple fish too fast, so trust me, I'll add them in slowly. I've already got Neon Tetras, Zebra Danios, and Gold Pristella Tetras so far. They all seem to swim at all levels, actually. They even pick at any leftover food on the bottom, during a feeding. I may add more Tetras(Bloodfin, Glowlight, Penguin), haven't fully thought about it yet. Now, Byron told me about a Seachem supplement which I will try out, and for the roof tabs, do you have any suggestions on brand? I think I've seen API selling those, and so far I trust API.

My 20g gallon has basic LED lighting, and I've been thinking of upgrading but I've seen the prices of these things... I guess I could afford it, but to me, it makes more sense spending 200+ on a full tank setup than one light fixture... If I do though, what LED should I go for? As I said before, it'll be a shrimp tank, fully planted, with a dual sponge filter. I may have a HOB filter to keep things in check, I've got a marineland penguin bio-wheel 150 hangin' around that I didn't like but I could use different media as long as I fit it correctly. Judging from the size of my current filter's media, I probably could. Point is, would algae grow in that small a tank? Or would I have to have a certain amount of plants to prevent that? Which brings me to my next question.

What other plants should I go for? So far I've got an Amazon Sword, Melon Sword, Anubias, and Java Moss which is on a bendable rod so I'm too afraid to take some off and tie it to a rock... And how do I even propagate? Did I spell that right? Right now my Melon Sword is growing a mini-me and I don't know how to cut it off properly and plant that tiny thing. I was hesitant just to nuzzle their roots into the sand, lol. Back to the point, I've been wanting a plant that stays small and will carpet the sand on its own with not-to-fast speed so my shrimp can have their natural hiding spots along with any babies they'd have. For now I have Java Fern, Wisteria, Jungle Val, on my list for plants to look for. Oh, that reminds me, I mostly shop at Petco, and they have these poor plants in tubes. One of them is called an Argentine Sword, and another; Tropica Fern. . That throws me off. I don't remember seeing anything on these two. Is the Tropica Fern the same as Java Fern? Or is it just a mimic?

JDM 07-04-2013 09:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by T4V3N (Post 2469042)
I've learned my lesson the hard way from adding multiple fish too fast, so trust me, I'll add them in slowly. I've already got Neon Tetras, Zebra Danios, and Gold Pristella Tetras so far. They all seem to swim at all levels, actually. They even pick at any leftover food on the bottom, during a feeding. I may add more Tetras(Bloodfin, Glowlight, Penguin), haven't fully thought about it yet. Now, Byron told me about a Seachem supplement which I will try out, and for the roof tabs, do you have any suggestions on brand? I think I've seen API selling those, and so far I trust API.

I use Seachem's Flourish Comprehensive and their root tabs as well... I can't vouch for others.

I have a bunch of barbs, a betta and catfish (sort of corys) and I had the barbs, and sometimes the betta, on the bottom competing for the food that fell there. I now use two sizes of food. A small sinking pellet that takes a while to get to the bottom and gets somewhat swirled around byt the filter output... the barbs no longer go to the bottom. I then I drop larger faster sinking pellets for the cats to graze on. I spot feed the betta so he stays at the top, I can make the sinkers float long enough for him to grab them. Takes a little longer but I believe that the fish not competing for food in the same part of the water column is easier on all of the fish in general... less stress.

Quote:

Originally Posted by T4V3N (Post 2469042)
My 20g gallon has basic LED lighting, and I've been thinking of upgrading but I've seen the prices of these things... I guess I could afford it, but to me, it makes more sense spending 200+ on a full tank setup than one light fixture... If I do though, what LED should I go for? As I said before, it'll be a shrimp tank, fully planted, with a dual sponge filter. I may have a HOB filter to keep things in check, I've got a marineland penguin bio-wheel 150 hangin' around that I didn't like but I could use different media as long as I fit it correctly. Judging from the size of my current filter's media, I probably could. Point is, would algae grow in that small a tank? Or would I have to have a certain amount of plants to prevent that? Which brings me to my next question.

Algae will grow in a thimble... size doesn't matter. Lots of plants and a well balanced setup go a long way in reducing algae growth.

I'm a fan of LED... but I understand that the up front pricetag for a good light can be prohibitive. I just spent $290 on a 254" aquatic LED system from Marineland. It is rated for 50,000 hours which is about 12 years at 12 hours a day. I have a lesser LED from the same company that worked well for about $100 rated for 17,000 hours (about 4 years). I consider that buying a fluorescent for $50 and spending $20 every 9 months for a replacement tube is $370 over 12 years (without inflation) or $156 over 4 years. It doesn't take much to justify the up front... and I think that a good fluorescent fixture is more than $50.

Quote:

Originally Posted by T4V3N (Post 2469042)
What other plants should I go for? So far I've got an Amazon Sword, Melon Sword, Anubias, and Java Moss which is on a bendable rod so I'm too afraid to take some off and tie it to a rock... And how do I even propagate? Did I spell that right? Right now my Melon Sword is growing a mini-me and I don't know how to cut it off properly and plant that tiny thing. I was hesitant just to nuzzle their roots into the sand, lol. Back to the point, I've been wanting a plant that stays small and will carpet the sand on its own with not-to-fast speed so my shrimp can have their natural hiding spots along with any babies they'd have. For now I have Java Fern, Wisteria, Jungle Val, on my list for plants to look for. Oh, that reminds me, I mostly shop at Petco, and they have these poor plants in tubes. One of them is called an Argentine Sword, and another; Tropica Fern. . That throws me off. I don't remember seeing anything on these two. Is the Tropica Fern the same as Java Fern? Or is it just a mimic?

The sword daughter plant can be cut once the roots are well developed and then plant it. I typically wait for the runner to disintegrate on it's own so the daughters are already "planted" by that time anyway. I haven't had my swords do that but other plants have... valls, lilies and crypts (although crypts are not so much runners as adventurous roots).

Java moss, you can chop that up into little pieces and they will all grow, don't worry about harming it by moving it around. Cut off a hunk and tie it to what ever.

Your plant list is pretty good... I am a fan of just buying what you think might look good and seeing how it fares. Watch out for "semi-aquatic" plants as they won't survive completely submerged. Tropica Fern sounds suspect. Even the other tube packaged plants have likely been started emersed and will either eventually not look like they do now or they may die off and come back due to going from emersed to immersed growth. I like buying plants that are growing under water already... but my LFS has a nice plant setup.

Jeff.

Byron 07-04-2013 12:16 PM

Rather than buy new lighting for the 20g, I would get something better for the 48g. What you have, a single T8 24-inch tube is not going to be adequate no matter what tube you put in it (except for a few very low light plants like Java Fern and Anubias, and Java Moss); I have this over my 29g which is 30 inches in length (the tank), and with a Life-Glo tube it is just sufficient for low and some moderate light plants. Believe me, you will not be happy with the tank unless you change the lighting. Light is the most critical issue for planted tanks; plants cannot photosynthesize without sufficient light intensity.

Assuming you have a manufactured hood which includes the light fixture, you will be limited when it comes to a T8 fixture that fits. You don't mention the tank dimensions (length particularly) so I don't know the maximum tube you could have, but getting fixtures to fit into manufactured hoods is not easy. A better plan might be to get a glass cover set, and then you can get any light fixture you want. The glass cover sits down on the lip running around the inside of the tank frame, and is hinged (some models) or sliding, so the front part opens for feeding. The light fixture then sits on the tank frame itself, at both ends.

If you do the glass cover, you could get a dual tube T8, a single tube T5, or LED. LED can work very well, provided you know what you are getting. It is more expensive. The least expensive plan would be a twin T8 or a single T5. Tubes have to be replaced regularly, around 12-18 months for T8, and for T5 I believe they last a bit longer. They will eventually burn out, but long before that stage they are emitting so little light intensity (they continually weaken as they burn) that the plants will begin to fail and algae will increase.

To the number of fish, this depends upon what they are, their behaviours as well as their size.

Byron.

JDM 07-04-2013 12:42 PM

The LED fixtures can be light enough to just sit right on the glass too. Both of mine are like that. They also, mine anyway, are adjustable. I have a 24" fixture on a 30" tank but it would fit a 36". I like having a slightly shadier end as I keep it off to one side.

Byron makes a good point, go the extra on the larger tank.

Jeff.
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T4V3N 07-04-2013 01:21 PM

Gosh, so now I may even need to replace the original hood of the 45 too. It's 36" L x 12 1/4" W x 24" H, not 100% sure about the width but it's around that length. I may just buy a Marineland LED light that JDM has which fits up to that, which one is it again? Is it that reef one? I'll still be getting a light for the 20 as well though, but I may just use my one lamp with that bulb I spoke to Byron about from GE.

JDM 07-04-2013 02:07 PM

Not the reef, it's the "aquatic plant system". I had a "double bright" that was very good but I wanted more surface plants and needed more light. Going to a full 36" fixture is another price level higher though. If you go double bright, go for the 36-48 unit for sure. The APS could manage the 24-36 unit but you will have either a darker end or slightly darker sides.

Another point, that is a fairly tall tank and light will be lower at the bottom. If you go with higher light levels you can always add surface plants to compensate.

Jeff.
Posted via Mobile Device

Byron 07-04-2013 03:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by T4V3N (Post 2470338)
Gosh, so now I may even need to replace the original hood of the 45 too. It's 36" L x 12 1/4" W x 24" H, not 100% sure about the width but it's around that length. I may just buy a Marineland LED light that JDM has which fits up to that, which one is it again? Is it that reef one? I'll still be getting a light for the 20 as well though, but I may just use my one lamp with that bulb I spoke to Byron about from GE.

Over my 33g which is also 36 inches length, 12" wide, but only 18" deep, I have a single T8 tube that is 30 inches [longer than your 24 inch] and here again with a Life-Glo tube it just manages low light plants. This tank has no lower plants except a couple clumps of Java Fern, some Java Moss, and 3-4 crypts and even they are not doing that well. This is all I want in this tank, as it is a different sort of aquascape, not meant to be planted like the others, so this light functions. But you won't have luck over your tank with one T8 even full length.

Jeff can advise on LED better than I, as he has done.

T4V3N 07-04-2013 09:30 PM

Well I've gone and done something on impulse. I bought a Aqueon Floramax tube for my light fixture on the 45(the tank is from Aqueon too), and moved it over to my 20 for now so the plants can get some proper light. It ranks at 5000k. I also bought Wisteria too, plus the supplement for the plants. As I am now, I'll need be to treated like a fool since I'm still lost even with your explanations on things. I'm still trying to figure out the difference between all these different tubes, and LEDs. Like what's the difference between T8, T5, T12, etc.?

I'd like to know all the details so I can know which kind of lighting to choose for the tanks I have now like I've said before; 45 is 24" high, then my 20 is about 16" high I think. . And as you, Byron, said a T8 won't reach the bottom for my 45 but would it do it for the 20?


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