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n1zjd 01-26-2010 05:55 AM

20 gallon with built in background?
Hello all, I was given a 20 gallon aquarium a few years ago that I had basically stored in my garage and forgotten about that I dug out today and cleaned all up. This tank has some sort of 'built in' background made out of, I believe, styrofoam amongst other things. When it was given to me it had some gold fish in it with like 6" of water and was BADLY overgrown with plants. It has a small water pump built in that pumped water up to the top of the tank to create a waterfall. There was no filter on this tank whatsoever. Ive considered using it now that I have a serious interest in aquariums but I guess I dont know what I could do with it? Due to the built in background thing I wouldnt be able to hang a filter off the back of the tank and was curious as to what you folks have for suggestions?

Edit: Im not much of a photographer but here are a couple of pictures.

Angel079 01-26-2010 09:03 AM

I pers find built in back's pretty cool, when built right makes for a pretty darn neat looking tank. That said it eliminate's HOB's and internal filters. Pers I'd set this one up with a small Eheim canister filter.
Then super planted and whatever fish suit your water, tank size and what you like :-)

n1zjd 01-26-2010 09:15 AM

Thanks Angel! I have a feeling you and I are going to become great friends on this forum, you are a very helpful person indeed. I havent closed this page since I found the forum and have been reading for 4 hours today and at least that many last night! Ive decided that Im gong to give this tank to my sister and buy a larger tank. Ive completely re-thought how I looked at aquariums in the past. I now know that a well planted and sparsely populated aquarium is a beautiful sight to behold! I should have the money for a 55 gallon tank on friday I hope, if not sometime next week! I would also like to setup yet ANOTHER 10 gallon tank just for plants. Personally I dont like aquariums that arent full. And in order to achieve the desired effect that this tank was designed for due to the waterfall it just isnt ideal for what I want. Thanks once again for your help. Cheers

Angel079 01-26-2010 09:33 AM

LOL I'm glad if I can be of help, that's what I'm here for :-)
Maybe consider buying used where ever you live, check craigslist or aquabid for your area, or any local paper classifieds.
55g sure would offer you a TON more options then this one, thou I'd then def go for a canister filter; I use the Eheim 2213 model for all my 55's for year now and I love them. Contrary to hang on backs, they make no sound, they don't clog easily (I take mine apart 1xyear for cleaning) and with the Eheims that's a quality you just can not beat. To my knowledge this is the cheapest place you can find them right now EHEIM Classic External Canister - Filtration & Circulation - Fish - PetSmart

Had you considered setting this 10g up with shrimp? Check out my aquarium tap here on the left, you'll see a few small tanks set up planted and with shrimp; they're pretty darn interesting to watch lol

On a side note....If you were close to me, I'd buy this tank off of you and built a paludarium out of it (i'm in TN) :-)

You know at our old house, due to having hard water I had a complete different fish set up in my old tank, now here the water allows me for set ups such as Tetra and to my pers eyes there's nothing nicer then a heavily planted tank with several schools of colorful Tetra in it and watch them move around in their groups :-)

I really find it the easiest if you start tank set up's "backwards". See what fish you want/ work with your water first. Then get a tank size around that, plant around that and choose your substrate around that. If you'd like to have Cory cats, they desire to live 1) in groups 2) on use play sand for the set up (its like $2 for a 25lbs bag here at Lowes)....sorry I'm rambling on I'll stop now :-)

n1zjd 01-26-2010 10:08 AM

Haha dont stop! Im enjoying everything Im getting out of you. Im located in Maine BTW. Sometime this week when I go to my LFS I will buy all of the water quality testing equipment I will need. About all I know is we have some of the best water in the US. Poland Springs bottled water wanted to setup a bottling plant here but chose another location only due to economics. Still doesnt tell me if I have hard or soft water though lol.

I do plan on buying a used tank/stand combo. Ive found many on craigslist and another local classified place for around $200 for tank, stand, filter, heater, and hood. I agree on the canister filter but I might be forced to use whatever filter I get with the tank at the time until Im able to purchase a better one. Regardless, there wont be any fish in the tank until after it has been well established.

Also, even if I did setup a tank for shrimp (yours is beautiful BTW) I wouldnt know where to purchase the shrimp. Like I said the only LFS I have access to is 20 miles away and they dont have much to offer, but if they did I would be glad to set one up like that. Im actually thinking most likely what I want to have in my 55 gallon tank would be Angelfish as I have always been in love with them and dreamed of having a large enough tank to have them.

Geez Ive been typing way to much and even I have a hard time to read it, let me try to break it up some lol. There, thats better and easier to read.

So, if I do decide to go the route of Angelfish is there anything you could recommend to me as far as substrate and plants? Thanks yet AGAIN!

Edit: If its not too late, could you post your reply in this thread Im already confusing myself bouncing between threads lol

Angel079 01-26-2010 10:22 AM

For test kit do NOT buy these test strips! They are soooo inaccurate, you may as well not even test your water then. Either get a liquid test kit from Tetra or API (I'm using API) these should contain: pH, KH, Ammonia, NO2, NO3. then you're all set. Yea they're lil more pricey then the strips, but for one they work, two they last FOREVERRR and a day and it totally is necessary to have on hand (sickness, tank cycling etc etc etc).

Hey that sound like a deal, just look at the silicon seals, make sure they're not missing/ busted and no cracks in the tank (pers I buy all mine used too and ALWAYS test fill them OUTSIDE first, let them sit some 24hrs and THEN they're allowed int he house lol).

Ask your LFS for ghost shrimp, they're the most common these days, also Petsmarts/ Petco's carry them. You just often would walk past them and not notice them...cause well they're ghost shrimps lol. Like my LFS actually orders me from their whole-seller whatever I want, they just don't have everything is stock :-)

Angelfish, I'd keep in pairs in the 55g. They like it heavily planted; I'd prop mix plants like Amazon Swords, Vallis, Pennywort, Vallisneria, Cryptocoryne and maybe dawrf sagittaria for them. They do like floating plants, so either i'd use some of the pennywort as floating plants (works great, looks nice IMO) or buy them some frogbit plants.

Check your 55g thou when you buy it, you may need new bulbs for it; you can find these the cheapest at Lowes, Home Depot, Walmart by GE, Phillips Salvina, Bright effects. Often 55g come with hoods that hold 2x18" T5' there i'd get me something at the home store labeled as "Daylight or Ulitmate daylight" they're full spectrum (needed for plants) and check the small print , you'd want something in the range of 5-6500 Kelvin and then if its T5's I'd get something like 50-65 watts total over a 55g (that's how mine are set up). Reason I'm directing you to the home store...their bulbs cost you like $5 and the very same type light will cost you about $20 each at the fish store :-)

Angel079 01-26-2010 10:23 AM

Oh shoot...substrate I'd either go with fine not sharp gravel (for the cory's) or sand. I pers loveeee black sand or fine gravel in combo with dark backgrounds cause it makes the fish & plants colors "pop". Alternatively you can buy play sand or pool sand for your tank too (Sand would be best for Cory).

iamntbatman 01-27-2010 12:14 AM

How about you go brackish and get mudskippers and fiddler crabs with a lowered water level to make use of that waterfall?

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