Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Pep 01-02-2010 12:49 PM

Noobs first tank plans for comments and feedback
 
Ok, new to this hobby and I have been researching (All over the net but most on this VERY helpful forum) over the last few weeks. This is what I have figured out and am thinking for a plan.

Tap water tested today after sitting in a glass over night.

PH 7.6-7.8 (REALLY hard to tell the dif in colours I find)
GH 8-9
KH 8.4
Amonia 0.6-1.2
Free and Chelated Iron both 0-0.1. (Hard to tell if clear of very minute colour change)
Phosphate 0-0.25 (same as iron for colour change)
Calcium 60 mg/L

I am planning a 90G tank with the following:

4 Pearl Gourami
8 Kuhli Loach
10 Dwarf Neon Rainbow
8 Cherry Barbs
1 Bn Pleco
10 Ghost Shrimp

I might go 75G instead but since the stand will hold either 75 or 90 and 90 is just taller I am leaning that way.

I am looking at black sand or fine grain gravel with a black or very dark blue background.

I am planning to plant it and have not finalized what I am going to get yet. I am thinking of some crypts of some type, java fern on DW, some Brazilian pennywort and maybe some red lotus. Maybe some floating type of plant as well? Plan is for a good fert and no co2 unless I have to.

Lighting not decided yet but there will be at least one if not two if required full spectrum light at 6700k+ and maybe one bluish one of which I have not figured out what that is yet :) I am still figuring out light amount for a tank this size so any feedback would be great.

Heating is going to be two aquarium system stealth heaters so I have back up if one fails. I am unsure the size yet and open to suggestions. I live in Alberta, Canada and yes it gets cold in the winter. The tank will be on the main floor so the heat doesn't fluctuate as much as the basement or 2nd floor. But we do have a computerized thermostat that lets the temp cool down some when we are at work and at night. We do not have AC and it can get wamer in the summer for a few months. Hot being 25-30C (68-86) on the main floor so I don't see that as being a major factor.

I have done research on conditoner (Seachem Prime is planned) and how and how often to do partial wc's. I plan to buy a python for that. As for food type (recomendations?) that I need to do more research on but I have time. We are going on holidays for 2 weeks late January (somewhere warm:) )so other than perhaps buying a stand and a tank and maybe substrate I am not doing anything until we get back so I can monitor and test the cycling of the tank properly and not just assume it all went as planned.

Any feedback/constructive criticism/ideas greatfully received by this aquarium noob:-D Thanks

Link below is to Aqadvisor stocking calculator

AqAdvisor - Intelligent Freshwater Aquarium Stocking Calculator and Aquarium Tank/Filter Advisor

Byron 01-02-2010 02:34 PM

Hello, welcome to the Forum and this fantastic hobby.

You seem to have done your research well, good work on that; know what you want and what will work before you buy the fish is a good way to prevent disaster and have better success. As my experience is with planted aquaria, I'll provide some of the suggestions you've asked for on lighting and plants.

I have both a 70g and a 90g and would recommend you go with the 90g as the size (floor space) is the same, the size of filter and heaters are the same for either, so the only difference is having an extra 15 or so gallons more and that is a plus in several ways.

The plants you mention will grow nicely with moderate light and no CO2 so that will save you money initially and long-term. I have two 40w tubes over each of my three tanks [you can see the photos under my "Aquariums"] and they are one full spectrum 6700K and one cool white-type which is slightly higher in the blue. This combination is good for all plants, plus the colours of fish and plants appear natural. You can get inexpensive tubes that work, like Phillips or Sylvannia Daylight (full spectrum) and enhanced daylight or Daylight Deluxe (this is the slightly increased blue tube) from hardware stores like Home Depot. The "aquarium" tubes in stores will be much more expensive, I have some of these as well, and can comment if you ask.

On heaters, definitely two for either size tank, and I would suggest both be 200 watt. The higher the wattage the more reliable the heater, and having two means they are not working as much as one so there is more reliability that they will continue to function without trouble. One at either end, one next to the filter outflow and one next to the filter intake works best. You haven't asked about filters, but I would recommend a good canister. In a planted tank the plants do the major job of water filtration, and the current should be minimal; a canister allows you to adjust the flow. Eheim, Rena and Fluval are common; I think Eheim's are probably rated the best in reliability, and are more expensive as a result; I have two that have run continuously for more than 12 years with out any problem or failure, and one has the heating element included which I really like as it eliminates heaters in the tank and in 12 years the tank temp has never fluctuated more than .3 of one degree from the setting [except in the summer during a heat wave, not the heater's fault;-)]. My third is a new Rena XP3 on the 115g.

More questions will likely occur, but this will get you started.

Just spotted your comment on gravel/sand here and from another thread, so will add something on this. Either sand or gravel will work, each of us has out own preferences; I always use fine gravel, 1-2 mm grain size, in dark or natural colour. Plants (according to all authors I've read) are best in gravel 1-2 mm. There is also less chance of gravel compacting although it still can. But weighing the odds, I lean towards it. Whichever, definitely dark for the fish (most forest fish in planted aquaria come from dimly-lit waters and are more relaxed over a dark substrate) and plants.

Byron.

Pep 01-02-2010 03:23 PM

Thanks Byron.

An Eheim 2078 canister filter was on the list I just forgot to post it the first time. Ole guy forgetful disease here :) But that is interesting about your therm filter. So you do not have ANY other heaters and the one in the filter handles the 75/90G heating by itself just fine? Interesting. I might have to look into those.

I would like to know more about covers to use. Is just a standard cover with a light fixture above the way you go or is it an all in one type of deal? I am ok with home depot type lights from what I have read so far but I would be interested to know your thoughts on the "aquarium" lights. I am certainly open to ideas on covers and lights for sure.

Is your darker fine grained gravel bought from an LFS Byron or from some local source in Vanny?

I appreciate your input.

Randy

Byron 01-02-2010 03:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Pep (Post 298599)
Thanks Byron.

An Eheim 2078 canister filter was on the list I just forgot to post it the first time. Ole guy forgetful disease here :) But that is interesting about your therm filter. So you do not have ANY other heaters and the one in the filter handles the 75/90G heating by itself just fine? Interesting. I might have to look into those.

I would like to know more about covers to use. Is just a standard cover with a light fixture above the way you go or is it an all in one type of deal? I am ok with home depot type lights from what I have read so far but I would be interested to know your thoughts on the "aquarium" lights. I am certainly open to ideas on covers and lights for sure.

Is your darker fine grained gravel bought from an LFS Byron or from some local source in Vanny?

I appreciate your input.

Randy

You're welcome.

My gravel all came from fish stores, but I buy bulk gravel, it is less expensive. I found the dark gravel now in my 90g years ago, haven't seen it since in stores. But the other day I was in a landscape place and found some dark blend "Birdseye" gravel. I bought some to test, and it is inert and looks to me identical, so there is another source for gravel.

The heating coil in the Eheim is not your average heater; it is a coil like a stove burner, and as I mentioned it is extremely accurate. I can't get that close with my regular heaters.

I use plain glass covers on my tanks, with the dual-tube light fixture sitting on the frame above the glass. You can buy glass cover sets to fit standard tanks. If you're concerned about appearance, the full tank hoods will be more expensive, some may only have one tube which is not enough unless it is T5 HO fluorescent; or you can build one if so inclined with wood-working skills (I'm not).

Aquarium store fluorescent tubes are more expensive, but some of them are good light. The Hagen/Nutrafin series "...-Glo" are widely available; my full spectrum tube on the three tanks is a Life-Glo 2 at 6700K, a very good tube; I have them because when Petcetera was closing out here I got nine of these at less than 1/3 cost, so that's three-years supply (tubes should be replaced every 12 months). The "aquarium" or "plant" lights in this series I do not like, they are too purplish and less intense; same goes for any manufacturer of similarly-named tubes. Zoo Med has a good series of tubes, made in Germany but less expensive that the Hagen, and the Ultra Sun is comparable to Life-Glo, and the Tropic Sun is a bit warmer (more red). A third series is Lightning Rod, I've used their Ultra Daylight 11000K tube, it is high in blue, but on my 115g combined with a Life-Glo it has worked very well for this past year; having trouble getting another though, seems they may be discontinuing them.

Byron.

Angel079 01-02-2010 03:45 PM

:thumbsup: for the 90g route def, that way you don't limit yourself down on option and won't regret it down the Rd, bigger is better in the tank world :-)

Like I said in the other post dark sand or dark gravel really matter's what YOU wanna see adding a dark background to that...I can only invision how wonderful that'll look with your stock and plants...can't wait on the first pictures of that tank.:-D
Here's 2 sites you can browse and look around see what plants you like, you got plenty room you can fill up that's for sure.
Sweet Aquatics
AquariumPlants.com Largest online sales / service site for the live aquarium plants & aquarium products community.
Pers with the named stock, I'd not get any CO2 machinery. I'd get a regular comprehensive liquid fertilizer (Saechems for example) and maybe root tablets (if you plan on having plants like Swords) but that's it.

In my tanks I always went for set ups ranging from 0.7-1.5 MAX on watts per gallon water and no CO2 system, works for me :-) And I use daylights @ 6500K.

If you're really going for the 90g, I'd pers buy me 2x300w heaters

For foods, I always chosen a mixture of frozen (Bloodworm, Artemia, Daphina...)and sometimes flakes, just simply to offer variety (I don't wanna eat the same each day neither) and sometimes they get foods every single day, sometimes every other day, just simply to aviod food excess in the tank :-)

Hope you already have a nice warm vacation spot picked :-) Just don't come home with live fish and post back you're gonna do saltwater now :-)

Angel079 01-02-2010 03:48 PM

Another thought to add on lights: I'm sure with the 90g and normal hood over it, obviously you'll have more then 1 bulb in it...why not mix them!? Have like a daylight more blueish tone that's higher in K and a second more warmer tone that a LIL higher in red's / yellow....just a thought

Pep 01-02-2010 05:59 PM

Thanks to you both.

@Angel hehehe. We are going on a big boat from Miami to Los Angeles through the Panama Canal, so yeah very warm but no worries on the fish. The only salt water fish I plan to see on this trip will be on my plate at supper ;-) Some year down the road I might add a salt water tank but I want to build this fresh water one properly and enjoy it for a long while first.

I hear your thoughts on the lights. I remember reading a post that I think was yours talking about the blue and orange. I like the idea but how do I tell what is what in buying bulbs when it comes to colour? Is there some standard that I can look for in colours?



@Byron. The full glass type of cover and fixture above is what I am thinking of. I am not worried about having something fancy in an all in one type of deal if there is no other added value. And my wood working skills are ....well, give me a nice big piece of wood and I will make you a fantastic pair of toothpicks:shock:.
About the gravel I read about 2-3" deep somewhere I think. Comments? Do you have any idea how much by weight I would need approximiately?

Angel079 01-02-2010 06:15 PM

I see from your statement you had not yet spent appropriate shopping time at the light section of your home store staring at florescents :-) ...Seriously cautiously go look, you'll see some more soft white, some more blue some more yellowish...Usually you can say the lower the Kelvin the warmer tone and the high the cooler tone color.
I have the 45g set up with 1x 6500k and one (rattle my old brain cells now) something like 4500-5000 thou I was shy at first because of my plants the fish like it and my plants...well I think that kinda went wrong some way even thou I'm not adding fert's in this tank I have to AT LEAST trim 2.5-3" weekly by now on the plants...and they're not supposed to be fast growers....and I only planted this tank early Nov 09, with the plants being half as tall and less then the whole tank.....so that mixture apparently works well in that aspect.

Also I really think a BIG focus should be given on who is gonna be housed in the tank. Like me I am in the process of fully stocking that with Tetra's (Cardinal, Rummy, Emperor ....) and naturally they're in dingy lil forest places, if I was to put 2x 9000k at 100watts each on this tank I think its safe to say my fish would run off and or go blind...Its jus not natural, and that's what I try to achieve (to the best of my knowledge anyway) to have natural set ups between light, plants, fish selection etc...

Pep 01-02-2010 09:13 PM

Lol Angel you are correct I have not spent time staring at lights...yet :) I completely understand your point about blazing tv type bright lights at fish. One site I read said 2-4 watts per gallon but I am thinking less is better too. Natural compared to the fishes environment just makes sense to me.

Byron, as for your comments on aquarium type lights, thank you. My LFS super store sells the Zoo Med Ultra Sun and Tropic Sun which would give the nice blue and warmer mix of two tubes. That would give a 6500k and a 5500k. They also have a 8500k Flora for a higher blue option. I think I might go the Zoo Med direction to start.

Byron, what is your thoughts on watt/gallon for a planted tank? Unless I am totally mistaken (wouldn't be the first time) the temperature and the wattage are mutually exclusive no?

Ah so much to learn. Sorry to keep bugging you all with the questions but I REALLY appreciate the feedback, comments and your thoughts.:thumbsup:

Angel079 01-03-2010 09:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Pep (Post 298741)
One site I read said 2-4 watts per gallon

I try always aim for 1wpg, some tanks its lil less, some slightly more (eg 0.8 or 1.2) I never had nothing even remotely close to 3 or 4 wpg. I think (if I recall right, let's wait for Byron here) his are set up around 1 wpg or little less as well.
Also not to forget: The actual light intensity of a florescent tube for example at 15w is far more intense then your regular household bulb at 15w;-)


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