Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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-   -   New & Need help setting up a 55 gallon? (http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/beginner-freshwater-aquarium/new-need-help-setting-up-55-a-27054/)

Abbyapple12 08-09-2009 05:28 PM

New & Need help setting up a 55 gallon?
 
I am new to this hobby. And i have always admired it and have had every other pet in the world. But never really fish from a store just every once and a while minnows in my turtle tanks nothing i paid for. But for my bedroom I was going to have a 55 gallon tank and it would be hidden in the wall. to were just the face of it was showing. We already have it figured out with the contractor how it will work. But I was wondering what I exactly need to set up a beautiful tank that is freshwater. I want something that is easy for a beginner and still looks good. I need to know everything u need to setup a 55 gallon aquarium. from the lighting to the substrate? decor fish and so on? if you can help i would very much appreciate it?

Byron 08-09-2009 06:13 PM

This is a big request for any of us. My suggestion would be for you to first do some research on aquaria and fish in order to find something that will be interesting for you. The fish (and plants if you go with a planted tank) must be compatible in terms of their requirements in water parameters (temperature, pH, hardness, salinity if into brackish) as well as behaviour. For example, a tank of rocks, sand and the beautiful African rift lake cichlids is one thing, as opposed to a livebearer tank of colourful platies, swordtails, mollies in a Central American habitat, or a SE Asian swamp or stream tank with gouramis and loaches, or a South American setup with characins, angelfish, discus...the ideas are endless. Many of these fish will not live together in the same aquarium simply because their water requirements are so different. Substrates, lighting, decor can all be specific to the type of aquascape you prefer. An excellent book is Peter Hiscock's "Aquarium Designs Inspired by Nature" which details how to set up a number of different habitat aquaria. Once you have an idea what sort of aquascape you'd like to have, there are many members on this forum with knowledge and experience in these areas that could offer advice.

Byron.

Abbyapple12 08-09-2009 08:06 PM

ok thank you so much I will research what I seem interested in as in fish and go from there on who they are compatible with and what decor and substrate they prefer. thank you so much :)

Abbyapple12 08-09-2009 09:48 PM

I was wondering if these fish could be put together?I have done some research on fish and this is what I have come up with. These fish i have found seem to get along and seem compatible. I was thinking 2 swordtails, 3 Bala Sharks, 2 silver tip tetras, 5 Zebra Danios? I know Bala Sharks get big and if they get to large for the tank I do have a friend with a large aquarium that they will gladly take them they said. I just would like to know if these numbers seem ok and if u have any other suggestions? like if there shouldn't be a certain fish or maybe even suggest another? and if these fish are too hard to take care of?

JohnnyD44 08-10-2009 10:21 AM

Hello and welcome!

Bryon started you off with some great stuff.....

3 sharks will be too many for a 55G tank...you could maybe do one....anything else you will run into agression issues and that's never good for one of them in the end....

the silver tip tetras will work, although you should keep tetras in shoals of 6 or more...in a 55G tank you could easily get away with atleast 8 of them....they enjoy being in a group which keeps them feeling safe and lowers their stress level.

danios will be fine, they are great beginner fish......the sword tails are fine also, just make sure you keep them sexed right or they will multiply quickly, they are in the livebearer group

liek Byron said, it's a great task to help people pick fish for their tank...it's all personal preference....maybe use some of the groupings he mentioned....i think my next tank will be a african rift lake cichlid tank

any more questions go ahead and shoot! you got plenty of room in a 55G for quite a good amount of fish, what kind of filter are you running? is your tank cycled yet?

Byron 08-10-2009 10:52 AM

I agree with JohnnyD. And another question for you, what is the ph and hardness of your tap water (assuming you will be using tap water for your aquarium)? This is important because as I mentioned before, not all fish will live together; some fish prefer acidic water and others must have alkaline...knowing what you have to start with will determine if anything needs to be done to alter it, or alternatively, allow you to choose better fish to live in it without modification (which is always easier and safer). Adjusting water parameters is not the easiest or safest thing, especially when new to the hobby.

You should have a good test kit; one that uses liquids, not test strips (they are unreliable). API make a good one that includes tests for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH. These are the important things. Hardness is another, but once you know your tap water's hardness it becomes less important, and your local fish store will probably test the water for you (or know already).

Abbyapple12 08-10-2009 01:12 PM

I have not yet purchased the 55 gal. yet. Because i wanted to do some research first. But i did find one I would like to purchase that has two filter pumps which I liked so it will stay cleaner. And I really don't have a personnel preference as in fish. I always have admired the bala sharks. But when it got too big I had a friend with a very large tank happy to take it they said. But i also was saying i wanted 5 danios is that an ok amount? i heard they should be in multiples. and you said you should have at least 6 or more isn't that getting to much for a 55 gal? cause like there would be 5 danios, bala shark and the silver tips. I am kinda rethinking the gourami even tho they are a beautiful fish. But idk if it a good fish for me to get unless you think it would be ok. I also am rethinking the swordtails? they are cool but idk they aren't that great to me. Is there another fish that would get along with these that you may recommend my options are endless as long as they have enough room in my tank?

Byron 08-10-2009 02:16 PM

2 Attachment(s)
From what you've posted so far Abbyapple12, I think I can make a few suggestions.

First, there is no workable rule about how many fish in an aquarium. This depends upon the water parameters, water quality [filtration but equally important your maintainance program (primarily regular weekly partial water changes)], if there are live plants or not, the adult size of the fish (what it will grow to, not what it is when you buy it), and the type of fish (here thinking behaviour).

Allow me to offer an example from my own experience which has mainly been with South American characins, cichlids and catfish. Both of these examples assume good water parameters (the pH and hardness of the water suits the fish's natural habitat), good water quality (good filter and weekly partial water changes of 40-50% of the water volume) and heavily planted. In a 55g tank you could have a group of 5 angels and a few corydoras for the bottom, and a small group of shoaling small peaceful tetras that tolerate (appreciate) the warmer water temperature that angels require. Alternatively, you could have a group of 70-90 small characins of different species (tetras, pencilfish, hatchetfish, etc) and a dozen corydoras.

The difference in number of fish stems from the size and type of fish. Larger fish have a greater effect on the biological equilibrium in the aquarium because they produce more waste. The biological equilibrium is the established biological state of the aquarium which is the interaction between the fish, the plants, and bacteria that live in the substrate (gravel or sand), on the plant leaves, on the tank walls, on the wood or rocks, and in the filter media. There are many types of bacteria, all good (the ones we are talking about here) and they perform many functions that together ensures the stability of the water quality. The aquarist assists with the weekly partial water change, rinsing the filter media when it needs it, feeding the fish, and fertilizing the plants. When this all works together and is in balance, we say the aquarium is established and biologically balanced. From start, it takes a few months for this to occur. It is not the same as cycling, which occurs during the first 2 to 8 weeks; once a tank is cycled, the biological processes then have to settle out according to all the influences I mentioned previously.

Live plants perform a superb job of filtration provided they are healthy and growing. And the fish have to be behaviourally compatible. If fish are constantly being harassed or "threatened" (whether actual or just perceived) they will be under stress, and stress in fish (as in humans) brings on poor health, immune system problems, disease, and sometimes death. This can result from aggressive fish, but also from something as simple as putting small fish that are too active in with more sedate fish--the constant swimming activity of the small fish, even though they never come near the sedate fish, stresses them out because they are not biologically programmed for it. As another example, keeping angelfish in a brightly lit tank with no plants or places of natural refuge will result in stressed fish. The natural internal programming of the angelfish tells it that it is safer when it is surrounded by plants, twigs, overhanging vegetation, and in a group. Placing one or two lone fish in a bare aquarium will stress it out. It does not know that there are no predators and nothing to really worry about; its instinct tells it that it is in trouble because of the poor environment.

So, this brings us back to deciding what type of aquarium you want before you start. The fish have to be compatible: have similar water requirements and behaviours that will match. The type of fish--how large they will grow--will be one factor in determining how many.

To illustrtate how this can work, I'm attaching a photo of my 90g (top photo) and 115g (lower photo) aquaria, taken last week; the 90g is a flooded Amazonian forest aquascape, and the 115g is an Amazonian riverscape. There are about 85 fish in the 90g and 113 in the 115g. These levels are nowhere near high, but this works because they share identical water requirements for fish and plants (all species of both come from the Amazon basin), none are aggressive, they have natural refuge (plants, wood) when they feel the need to "get away" from the others, and except for a few of the larger corydoras species in the 115g, none get larger than 2 inches maximum, and most less than that. I have a 70g tank that is in the beginning stages of being a SE Asian swamp aquascape. JohnnyD mentioned a rift lake cichlid aquascape which is very different again. But the important thing is that the fish (and plants if any) must work together, and that requires pre-planning.

MoneyMitch 08-11-2009 06:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Abbyapple12 (Post 224866)
I am new to this hobby. And i have always admired it and have had every other pet in the world. But never really fish from a store just every once and a while minnows in my turtle tanks nothing i paid for. But for my bedroom I was going to have a 55 gallon tank and it would be hidden in the wall. to were just the face of it was showing. We already have it figured out with the contractor how it will work. But I was wondering what I exactly need to set up a beautiful tank that is freshwater. I want something that is easy for a beginner and still looks good. I need to know everything u need to setup a 55 gallon aquarium. from the lighting to the substrate? decor fish and so on? if you can help i would very much appreciate it?

Firstly, welcome aboard! i also am getting ready to start as 55 gal myself, a few good things to keep in mind, are
1. lots of live plants?
2. fake plants?
3. aggressive tank?
4. community tank?
5. lighting
6. filtration
7. Temp control
8. sand or gravel?

i can kind of give you a crash course in a shopping list lol. if your in the same position as i am then you wont require top of the line items just those that are exactly what you need.

1. A great hang on filter usually any with a bio wheel are EXCELLENT
2. Water heater (not sure how big to go with those as i have a post about them going up here in a min)
3. Water testing supply (you can find a master freshwater test kit at walmart.com for like 18.00$
4. your light tubes, fixtures and aquarium hood
5. decor
6. a siphon to perform your water change
7. substrate
8. a powerhead if the fish you have prefer current in the water, ( i used to have a tiger oscar that would just sit in the current of the powerhead and just swim against the current was pretty cool to watch)
9. a timer for your lights (for a consistant light schedule)
10. alge pads
11. common sickness meds such as ick
12. LOTS AND LOTS of research and learning aswell :D

**MAke sure to do your shopping around when you go to get your equipment. i went today to a lps and they were charging 10$ more for a hood that was exatly the same at another store. you can also find alot of things at a home dept or lowes even walmart (mostly online) then you of course have your online shops that can be a great place to buy equipment and even fish at great prices.

but you can pm me if you would like to chat about it sometime casue as i said i too am just starting my tank. plan to have it heavy planted with a large community of fish.


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