Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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fighttest 07-05-2009 08:14 PM

new aquarium decisions
hi i recently decided that i wanted to buy a 50 or 55 gallon aquarium. i cant decide if i want it to be a fresh or saltwater tank but im kind of leaning toward a freshwater because i figure its probably easier to care for and cheaper to buy everything i need. i want the fish in the aquarium to be really cool and from what iv seen saltwater fish look a lot more colorful and pretty but im hoping there is still a lot of freshwater fish that are just as cool. depending on what i decide though i still dont know what equipment i will need and what the best brands are. iv already got a 10g tank with 2 gourami in it so iv got a little bit of experience but i still need alot of help. if someone could help me with all of these decisions and what not id be really thankful.

Cody 07-05-2009 11:06 PM

You are very new, so do freshwater. Yes, SW is better than FW (I am being completely honest here... ask anyone who has a saltwater/reef tank), but that doesn't mean you can't o wrong with a FW.

Check out African Cichlids. Malawi is an example. They are very pretty FW fish.
Or a SA setup. Two angels, 30 Cardinal Tetras, 15 Hatchets, 10 cories.
Or do 70 Cardinal tetras and nothing else. That would look amazing IMO. Black background, black sand/gravel, bright green plants on the sides, driftwood, and boom.

There are so many things you can do with that tank.

aunt kymmie 07-05-2009 11:34 PM

I've repeatedly heard & read stories of freshies going salty and because they "think" they have experience make more mistakes than a newbie setting up a S/W for the first time. I also want to do S/W and I've been researching and reading for months and I still don't think I'm ready. :-)

While I agree with Cody that anything S/W is a thing of beauty you can achieve something really lovely with a F/W too. Some of the fish I have are a nice sized school of Denison barbs and some colorful rams. Everytime a friend, upon seeing my tank for the first time asks, "Are those saltwater?". Granted, my friends must be idiots as the tank is planted but you get the idea. Cody's idea of a planted tank w/ black substrate and cardinals (or neons & cherry shrimp) is a stunner. There are sooo many beautiful cichlids available...I wish I had room for them all!

fighttest 07-06-2009 11:55 AM

alright so now that i know im doing f/w i need to decide on what equiptment i need. so what is the best filter,heater, lights,substrait and would i need a chiller or is that just for s/w

onefish2fish 07-06-2009 12:18 PM

i must agree starting with a freshwater tank will be an easier and cheaper task. honestly a 55 IMO isnt the best choice for a saltwater tank anyway as they are hard to aquascape due to being so narrow.
your going to want to check out freshwater fishless cycling. this is the process which involves ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. There are a few good reads here on the site and on the web on this subject. If you need me ( or someone else ) to explain more please ask. Your also going to want to pick up a test kit for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, and a thermometer for temp. which also means your going to want a heater too. API seems to make a decent liquid test kit called the master test kit which can be found online. i personally am a fan of canister filters on a freshwater tank. however having a filter doesnt mean you can get away without changing the water and doing gravel vacs. the lighting you choose will depend on if you wish to keep live plants or not. now is also a good idea to start thinking about what kind of fish you would like to keep and making a list. keep in mind your tank will take about a month or so to cycle prior to adding any fish. chillers are generally used on saltwater tanks because of the lighting and pumps which generate alot of heat. you shouldnt need to get a chiller.
welcome to the forum, glad to see you asking questions prior to setting up.

fighttest 07-06-2009 12:53 PM

i was thinking id probably end up getting a hang on filter because canisters seem to be far more expensive but im not sure of all of the different filters, heaters, and since i do want live plants what lights are best

Pasfur 07-06-2009 07:27 PM


Originally Posted by fighttest (Post 212469)
i was thinking id probably end up getting a hang on filter because canisters seem to be far more expensive but im not sure of all of the different filters, heaters, and since i do want live plants what lights are best

I love this hobby.

Lets talk plants for a minute. You ask about lights, because you assume that live plants require more lighting. However, you also have to realize that live plants utilize more CO2 as a direct correlation to the amount of light they receive. Increasing light intensity can actually make live plants more difficult to keep. Rather than looking at more intense lighting, I suggest you look at keeping plants which can live under low to moderate lighting, such as a double strip light fixture with full spectrum florescent tubes.

For filtration on a 55 gallon tank you have many options. I think you need to decide what sorts of fish and aquascapping you desire prior to deciding on a filter. A 55 gallon is small enough to filter with a simple sponge filter, but large enough that you may even use an Emperor 440 power filter. Almost any method of biological filtration will accomplish the task. Just be sure that you have an actual biological filter, and not just a hang on power filter such as a Whisper, which is primarily for mechanical and chemical filtration needs.

I have a livestock suggestion for you. I challenge you to set up an eye catching display. This is best accomplished by buying fish which have an extreme amount of space to thrive in a 55 gallon tank. I would avoid any fish which attain any level of size, and instead focus on large schools of small fish. I think Cody was on to a great idea in suggesting a large school of Neon or Cardinal Tetras. Rasbora Hets make a nice compliment to a school of Neons in a heavily planted tank. You want to create a display, not just keep fish.

fighttest 07-07-2009 07:51 PM

i figure i would do you and cody suggest by stocking the tank with schools of fish but it'd be cool to have 2 or 3 main fish like some chichlids or something. i dont know what specific lights i would need though like the name or something and what specific filter would be good for a set up with schools of fish. what do you mean by aquascaping as well?

aunt kymmie 07-08-2009 11:57 AM

Aquascaping = plants, rocks, stones, cavework, driftwood, etc. :-)

fighttest 07-09-2009 11:56 AM

how does that determine what filter i would need?

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