Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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-   -   Please help, new 55g aquarium!! (

ir0n_ma1den 02-08-2007 05:08 PM

Please help, new 55g aquarium!!
hurray, my first post!

alright, i have had a 10g aquarium for about a year or so. Currently i have 4 neon tetras and 1 stunted krib. I have gone thru about 10 neon tetras!!! those fish are a pain :x . anyway, We are getting our basement done so my parents are letting me get a 55g aquarium to put in the basement. I have spent alot of time going thru multiple forums and other websites to get ideas on equipment n stuff. I plan on having this be a planted tank because i think those are the best tanks done ( got my inspiration from various professionals and pictures from

So, i would like to know what equipment should i use, what fish i should keep ( i want hardy fish at first), how to maintain it, substrate, and good spieces of plants.

I want an easy to maintain aquarium, so from what i read i probably want alot of plants to do most of the filtration for me?

I want to get a Rena xp3 because those seem to be a great filter. I know i need flouresent lighting but i dont know what brand works the best. Since i want an aquarium that is easy to maintain, i want some fish that can do the cleaning for me. I have already got an idea to make a CO2 injector so my plants can grow. (question: do i need a speacial fertalizer substrate for my plants, or can i just rely on my lighting and CO2 injector?)

To sum it up, i basically would like to know what would be the ideal equipment, fish, plants. substrate, and decor for a 55g aquarium.

Hope im not asking to much :D


GalaxyGirl 02-09-2007 11:37 PM

First off, black neon tetras or zebra danios are the hardiest fish I know of. I had one black neon tetra survive through a lot, as I was new to it all.
Next thing, I would go with Aqua clear filters. That or Penquin brand bio wheels. best damn filters out there =)

musho3210 02-10-2007 09:19 AM

if you are willing to pay more, you can get a canister filter, but the best HOB filters are: Aqua-clear, Penguin and Emporer, with the latter being the best.

I read you are planning a canister filter, great. I myself dont know much about it but i think the one you want is alright.

Decor is all up to you, you can go for an artifical look with skulls and divers or you can go with a natural look with driftwood and rocks. That choice is up to you

Different plants require different lighting, an average lighting system for a planted tank is 2 wpg, but i would suggest at least 3wpg if you want a wide assortment of plants. (wpg= Watts per Gallon)

Hardy fish include
Agressive tank: Tiger Barb
Semi-Agressive tank: Zebra danios (although danios may be placed in a community tank)
Community tank: Platies and Swordtails
Coldwater fish: White Cloud minnows

These are the hardiest fish in those categories but there are a few other hardy fish, the black neon tetra is an example of that.

soco1125 02-10-2007 11:27 AM

I'm also going to put a Rena xP3 in my 55g. I want to use it instead of a Bio-Wheel because there isn't enough space between the back of the tank and the wall for a HOB filter. I use Bio-Wheels on my other tanks... I think it's a matter of personal preference.

I don't know what brand of fluorescent light is best. I bought mine on eBay for about $50... I think the brand is Jebo or something like that. It has 2 bulbs in it, and I have really noticed a big growth increase in my plants since I put this new light on.

For substrate, I use a mixture of gravel and Fluorite. If I were to start a brand new tank, I'd probably use all Fluorite instead of the mix. You can pick up a few bags of it at Petsmart or via mail order, but it's not a necessity to have. Whatever you use, make sure your substrate is 2-3" deep to accommodate the plant roots.

As far as the plants themselves go, I've had good luck with various species of swords, java fern, vallisneria, sagittara, cryptocryne, R. rotundifolia, java moss, and Christmas moss. I fertilize the roots once in awhile (especially the swords) and I have a homemade CO2 system.

You can see in my signature below what fish I currently have, and they're all fairly tough. The newer 55g is going to be re-vamped and have the Rena added. Once it's ready, I'm going to add emperor tetras, sterbai corydoras, and eventually dwarf cockatoo cichlids which are a little more delicate than what I currently have.

If you don't know yet what fish you want, here's what I like to do: Take a trip to the LFS for a little "window shopping" to see what catches your interest. Don't buy anything, no matter how tempting it is! :) Write down the names of the fish you like and do a little research on them. Then you can make educated decisions and plan out how you want your tank. It's a bit more work in the beginning, but it'll save you lots of trouble and heartache in the long run.

Hope I haven't talked too much. Good luck!

Unrulyevil 02-13-2007 10:42 AM

Hello. If you want to plant vallisneria and swords I would suggest something more powerful than just 50$ lighting off ebay.

soco1125 02-13-2007 04:58 PM

I would have thought so too, Unruly, but since I put it on a few months ago the vals have grown about 8 inches and the swords are taking off too. I went and checked the brand... it's actually an Odyssea.

Dk 02-13-2007 05:31 PM

I use a 20 dollar shop light from home depot. It can accept the same bulbs that specialty lights do at 1/6 the price.

Unrulyevil 02-13-2007 08:18 PM


Originally Posted by Dk
I use a 20 dollar shop light from home depot. It can accept the same bulbs that specialty lights do at 1/6 the price.

can you post a pic of that? I'm just curious.

P.S. I'm looking in to lighting and trying to save

thx :D

Dk 02-13-2007 08:37 PM

Well i started out with those plastic canopies with the 15 wtt bulbs. obviously low light. SO next i cut some plexi glass to fit and just set the shop light on it. I have since bought some all glass tops to make cleanin easier. But here is a pic of what i did. its not that pretty but it works. This one had a metal cage on the bottom which keeps the bulbs a good safe distance from the actual top. It just plugs into a wall outlet couldnt be easier. It takes 35 wtt t8 bulbs. so you could buy any number of specialty lights if you wanted to. You coudl even build a wooden box with one or more of these in it but i didnt want to get that involved.

Dk 02-13-2007 08:39 PM

Actually if you wanted to you could also paint the inside silver or add soemthing else as a reflector to get even more light. I havent felt like getting around to it yet but i will eventually i have soem chrome paint someplace around here.

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