Want to start a large tank
Hello everyone, I'm new here, first post even.
Back in college I had a 29 gallon and a 10 gallon fish tanks that I had a lot of fun with. I didn't do anything fancy, just mostly non-aggressive tropical fish, freshwater, plastic plants, etc. Then I moved 2500 miles away and couldn't move the tanks so I gave them away.
Now though that I'm in a stable job and own a house I want to get back into it. This time I want to go big! Well, not overly big, but a lot bigger than before. I'm thinking I want to go with a 125 gallon. I've actually heard that larger tanks are easier to maintain than smaller ones, is that true? I'm still pretty new with this so bear with me.
Haven't decided on specific fish yet, but will go with non-agressive fish again.
Well, here are my questions:
1) Will my floor hold up? I'm not sure how much that is, I think it's 8.33 lbs per gallon correct? That would put the water alone to 1041 lbs. Then have to add in the tank itself, the stand, and other various equipment and decorations. I know this is a loaded question, I just hope I get more of an answer than "It depends".
I'm planning on putting it next to a load bearing wall perpendicular to the floor joists. (My ideal spot though would be parallel to the joists and in the middle of the span ... which I know is the absolute worst spot)
2) How much wattage will I need for heaters? In the winter I keep the house at 68 during the day and 65 at night. During the summer the temperature is around 75.
3) Using a canistor filter, is there enough airation in the water or will I have to add an air pump?
4) For substrate I plan on just using the same plastic pebbles I had used previously in the smaller tanks. Is there any compelling reason to use something else? Using sand just sounds like a nightmare to clean.
5) This time I'm thinking live plants may be a good idea, I had one once in the 10 gallon tank and the thing took over the entire tank, I constantly had to cut it down so it didn't cover the entire top. It obviously grew just fine in the plastic pebbles without adding anything to the water. Are most plants like that? Or do most require something else, or adatives in the water?
6) What kind of lighting will I need? Are the standard ones that come with the canopy sufficient?
Well that's a start, I'm sure I will have more.
Thanks for your help!
Welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum, and welcome back to this terrific hobby.
Most of your questions (dealing with plants, light, substrate, filter) will be covered in the 4-part series of "stickies" at the head of the Aquarium Plants section entitled "A Basic Approach to the Natural Planted Aquarium." I suggest you give those a read, then ask any questions you may have. If it is about planted tanks, the Aquarium Plants section would be the best to post in. I wouldn't use "pebbles" for substrate, just a caution.
One comment on heaters, as this is not directly covered in the above articles. For a 125g tank, I would use two 200w heaters, one at either end next to the filter outflow and intake respectively. With a canister these can be at opposite ends of the tank for good circulation.
As for the floor supporting the tank, I'm not an engineer and living in a rancher with a concrete pad I don't have this problem so I don't know, but others have solved it and will undoubtedly have some advice.
I agree with everything Byron has said, I just wanted to say Welcome to TFK!
To be honest I read them and have the deer in headlights look. Not a bad guide by any means, just a lot of information and I'm slow to process it.
Would you recommend not doing live plants to start out with? Or is it really easier than it sounds at first?
I don't really have access to much for pet stores, just PetSmart and Petco so I'm kind of limited to what they have to offer. Buying online seems to be somewhat expensive due to the shipping costs of next-day shipping.
You mentioned gravel in the 1 to 2 mm range. I guess that's what I ment to say when I said pebbles, I was thinking the plastic kind that's about that size. You hadn't mentioned plastic (either for or against) just size. Is using real rock ($$$) a real benefit over plastic?
I was shocked to see nothing but mechanical filtration should be used (provided there are enough plants). That just makes me uneasy since I'd be afraid of not having the right balance. You had said most fish prefer still water but plants need circulation. What kind of gph would I be looking at then for a 125 gallon tank?
With my smaller tanks I use to vacuuming the substrate once a week, which also caused the 15% water change. Do you still do that with live plants (the vacuuming)? Or does that disturbe the roots (for those planted in the substrate)?
To make sure I read it right, you say to add a liquid fertalizer once a week, maybe twice a week?
Thanks for your help!
Now we're getting down to specifics, so here goes.
Live plants are far easier than fish to keep healthy and alive. But as with fish, there are some basics they need, and if not provided, it won't work.
Real gravel is very inexpensive if you buy it in bulk. A good fish store will usually have bulk gravel in a natural and sometimes a dark shade, excellent. Some landscape/stone suppliers have small gravel. As long as it is inert (won't affect water chemistry), like quartz, granite. Calcareous materials (limestone, dolomite, marble, and coral) are out--unless you have livebearers or rift lake cichlids only.
Plants are nature's filters, so take advantage. You do not need a filter in a planted tank except to move water a bit. Diana Walstad, noted authority and microbiologist, never uses filters, and never does water changes. The "trick" is to plant heavy and stock moderately. I have 140 fish in my 115g, check out the photos (under "Aquariums" below my name on the left) of my 115g Amazonian Riverscape, or my 90g Flooded Amazon Forest tanks. I've had these tanks running for over 15 years. I have filters because I have heavily stocked tanks.
I do recommend a canister filter in larger tanks like your 125g. It ensure good water circulation to "clean" the water of suspended particulate matter; the plants do the "cleaning" part. I have no chemical filtration as it works against the plants.
Lisa recently set up her 125g along the same lines. She can tell you how well it is working.
Water movement is more critical to fish than some realize. Sedate fish like angels, gourami, forest fish occur in slow-moving or still waters in nature, they are built for that; having to buck a current 24 hours a day is highly stressful, and that weakens the immune system. Now, if you want some fish that like currents--I have some in my 115g--you can accomodate them in a 5-foot tank bu having the filter outflow at opne end directed against the end wall. The stronger current at that end will satisfy the fish needing it, while those that don't like it will move further down the tank. I have noticed this in my 115g. The Corydoras duplicareus come from a flowing stream, and they took up residence under the end wall. C. gossei don't, and they reside about mid-tank in the back. The cardinals that also dislike any current remain in the right half of the tank except when they surface to feed. Fish have needs that have to be met to have them less stressed.
You will find that the majority of planted tank members here are low-tech natural system aquarists. There are some members with high-tech, that's another ball game. Same rules, but in much higher volumes.
Thanks, I'll digest all this info in the comming days and try to plan out what to do and what I'll need.
Your fish tanks look amazing btw.
I haven't bought the tank yet, just in the planning stages.
I really want Angel fish (they were my favorite) but my wife really wants a female beta but I don't think those two get along do they?
Wow! You asked almost every question I was planning on asking him
I have plans for a 125 gallon tank too:)
hmm.... looking ....reading.... liking a lot...wish i had a 125 gallon tank at home.wonder whether it will fall through the floor into my neighbors condo below hmm.... do i like my neighbor.. joking =) hope you get your dream aquarium soon.
i was thinking about the 125 gallon.no luck having my 104 gallon fall through the ceiling to my neighbors unit downstairs hehehehe
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