Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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scooterlady 05-09-2011 08:53 PM

nw 29 gallon planted aquarium
 
Hi all! I'm Donna and I live in Salem Oregon. I'm new here, but I've done successful aquariums before, but I've never done a planted aquarium. Anyway, I'm planning on setting up a new 29 gallon planted aquarium. I'm getting the AquaClear 300/70 for filtration and for substrate I was going to go with either the Eco Complete or The CaribSea Floromax. In your opinion, which would be the better choice? From what I've been following here, everyone is pretty knowledgeable and I'll respect all of your opinions and take that into consideration. For lighting I'm just going to go what comes with the tank.

I'm going to start setting up within the next month or two, so I thought I better start picking all the brains here. After I get the tank, I'll start off with the plants and plan on leaving it sit for a month or so to get established. I'm going with an Amazon theme. A pair of Bolivian Rams. A school of 10-12 Flame Tetra or Bloodfin Tetra and a small school of Panda Cory's...maybe 3 or 4. I know I'm pushing the limits on stocking, but with the higher filtration, lot's of plants and at least a 30% weekly water change, I hope I'll be okay. Let me what you think about this setup. Which would be better, the Bloodfins or the Flames? I've also been thinking about getting Oto's instead of Cory's . What do you think. Not sure of the water parameters just yet, but if I remember right from the last time, our water is pretty soft and neutral. Had good luck with my last aquarium.
:thankyou:

scooterlady 05-09-2011 08:56 PM

new 29 gallon planted aquarium
 
Hi all! I'm Donna and I live in Salem Oregon. I'm new here, but I've done successful aquariums before, but I've never done a planted aquarium. Anyway, I'm planning on setting up a new 29 gallon planted aquarium. I'm getting the AquaClear 300/70 for filtration and for substrate I was going to go with either the Eco Complete or The CaribSea Floromax. In your opinion, which would be the better choice? From what I've been following here, everyone is pretty knowledgeable and I'll respect all of your opinions and take that into consideration. For lighting I'm just going to go what comes with the tank.

I'm going to start setting up within the next month or two, so I thought I better start picking all the brains here. After I get the tank, I'll start off with the plants and plan on leaving it sit for a month or so to get established. I'm going with an Amazon theme. A pair of Bolivian Rams. A school of 10-12 Flame Tetra or Bloodfin Tetra and a small school of Panda Cory's...maybe 3 or 4. I know I'm pushing the limits on stocking, but with the higher filtration, lot's of plants and at least a 30% weekly water change, I hope I'll be okay. Let me what you think about this setup. Which would be better, the Bloodfins or the Flames? I've also been thinking about getting Oto's instead of Cory's . What do you think. Not sure of the water parameters just yet, but if I remember right from the last time, our water is pretty soft and neutral. Had good luck with my last aquarium. :thankyou:

Edit: Two identical threads were started so I have merged them together. Byron.

Byron 05-09-2011 09:17 PM

Hi Donna, and welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum.

To your questions:

Light. The fixture will be OK, but the tube/bulbs almost certainly not. But that is easily solved. If it is fluorescent tube, measure the existing tube end to end (minus the prongs) and that is the size. Look for a T8 [unless the tank comes with a T5 fixture] full spectrum or daylight type. Here you have some options. If you don't mind the higher cost, from the fish stores you can get Life-Glo 2 tubes. There is not much better for single-tube over a planted tank. ZooMed also make a similar one, slightly less expensive, called the Tropic Sun. If you want to save money, visit the hardware store (Lowe's, Home Depot, etc) and get a Phillips Alto Daylight Deluxe or a Sylvania [forgotten their name, it has a 6500K rating]. I use the Life-Glo 2 on all my single-tube tanks; I use 1 Life-Glo and one Phillips on my dual tube tanks.

Filter. I am not a fan of HOB (hang on back) filters for planted tanks. With plants, they will do the major filtration, so the filter is there simply to move water around, and this should be minimal to moderate, depending upon fish. Those you mention are forest fish, occurring in streams with little water current, lagoons, ponds and flooded forest. They will be less stressed and more relaxed with quiet water flows. Plus the issue of the plants. [You can read more on this in the series at the head of the Aquarium Plants sections of this forum, entitles "A Basic Approach to the Natural Planted Aquarium," those cover the basics behind low-tech or natural planted tanks.] I have a dual sponge filter in my 29g. It does the job nicely. I wold suggest something else if you had current-loving fish, but you don't. Filters should be decided based upon the fish that will be in the aquarium, as not all fish and all filters go together:-).

Substrate. I chose Seachem's Flourite over CarribSea's Eco-Complete. I saw both in the local store, and I preferred the less hard feel of Flourite. I have been warned that corys sometimes find E-C difficult, and I have lots of corys. [I have not seen the Floramax, but I have read that it too is quite rough.] I also did not want that "bacteria" stuff in E-C. I can't say it is good or bad, just un-necessary with plants, and I prefer letting nature do the work, rather than my pushing unnecessary substances into the aquarium. Flourite comes in several colours which is another nice feature. I choose Flourite Black. Flourite Dark (a dark brown) would also work with an Amazon theme. I'll attach a photo of my 70g flooded Amazon setup with Flourite Black.

Not much to say about your fish, except on the cory-oto question. Corys over otos. Corys are active all the time (except when they're "resting";-)) and quite comical for most of us. Otos you will hardly ever see. They handle algae, but only the common green type or diatoms. There are many species of cory; a minimum of 3 of each species if getting more than one species, otherwise 5 seems to work best for the medium-sized corys. More if they are one of the dwarf species.

Hope this helps start you off on your adventure.

Byron.

Christople 05-09-2011 11:18 PM

yeah go oregon... I hate the weather here. I would go with ADA for a main reason for you... the pH adjustment. towards the amazon side of the scale... Also I would get GBRs instead of bolivian rams but thats just me... Oregon is rainy all year :[

scooterlady 05-10-2011 12:30 AM

I read up on the planted aquarium article and you're right, I should go with the sponge instead of a HOB filter. I'll have to look into it a bit more. I originally went with the HOB out of familiarity. I've never used a sponge filter before, so I'm not even sure how to set one up, though it's probably pretty simple. I was leaning toward the cory's myself. I'm a little worried about overstocking, but I'll kind of play it by ear. With 2 bolivian rams, 12 tetras and 5 cory's, I think I'm a bit over, that's kinda why I was thinking about a power filter. I chose Bolivian rams cause they're supposed to be a little easier than the German Blues, and since I don't consider myself an "experienced" fishkeeper, I thought the Bolivians would be easier. I'm a knowledgeable fishkeeper at best. I'm always trying to learn as much as I can about the hobby. I can successfully cycle a tank and don't have any problem with water changes, feeding, ect. Keep the information coming! I'm interested in hearing more opinions

scooterlady 05-10-2011 12:37 AM

Living down here in Salem, I'm worried about where I'm going to get the Bolivian Rams. As far as I know, there are no pet stores, besides Petco and Petsmart and neither of them sell the Bolivian Ram. I'd like to find out if there are any fish stores up in Portland that carry them or if there is someone in the area that breeds them. If I can't find them locally, which on line fish store does the best job at the best price?

LasColinasCichlids 05-10-2011 04:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by scooterlady (Post 669866)
Hi all! I'm Donna and I live in Salem Oregon. I'm new here, but I've done successful aquariums before, but I've never done a planted aquarium. Anyway, I'm planning on setting up a new 29 gallon planted aquarium. I'm getting the AquaClear 300/70 for filtration and for substrate I was going to go with either the Eco Complete or The CaribSea Floromax. In your opinion, which would be the better choice? From what I've been following here, everyone is pretty knowledgeable and I'll respect all of your opinions and take that into consideration. For lighting I'm just going to go what comes with the tank.

I'm going to start setting up within the next month or two, so I thought I better start picking all the brains here. After I get the tank, I'll start off with the plants and plan on leaving it sit for a month or so to get established. I'm going with an Amazon theme. A pair of Bolivian Rams. A school of 10-12 Flame Tetra or Bloodfin Tetra and a small school of Panda Cory's...maybe 3 or 4. I know I'm pushing the limits on stocking, but with the higher filtration, lot's of plants and at least a 30% weekly water change, I hope I'll be okay. Let me what you think about this setup. Which would be better, the Bloodfins or the Flames? I've also been thinking about getting Oto's instead of Cory's . What do you think. Not sure of the water parameters just yet, but if I remember right from the last time, our water is pretty soft and neutral. Had good luck with my last aquarium. :thankyou:

Hi Donna, and welcome to TFK!

I am going to go through what you wrote in order and let you know my opinions...

First off, Aquaclear makes great filters, I have an AC 50 and Marineland Penguin on my 29g. Love the AC, hate the marineland, lol. I think the AC 50 would be just fine, but considering they have relatively mild currents from the output and adjustable flows I am sure the extra filtration couldnt hurt.

As far as substrate goes, I have aquarium sand in my planted 15g and will be switching gravel substrate out for playsand in my 29g next month and fully plant it. I know more than a lot of members here on TFK have playsand in their planted tanks and it works great.

If going with "factory" lighting (I do the same), make sure to try and stick to low to medium light plants. Stem plants absorb ammonia/ammonium faster since they grow faster, so if planted enough and with some stem plants, you can add fish right away and probably not feel a cycle in the tank... especially if you can borrow a fellow fish keepers old filter media or stick some of their established tank's gravel in a bio bag or panty hose and stick it in the filter to seed the tank.

In my opinion, the rams, tetras, and cories would NOT overstock the tank, of course I wouldnt add them all at once though (I'd add the rams last though). As for the panda cories, they are a pretty sensitive to water parameters, and as with all cories would be best in a group of 5-6 or more (four usually being the agreed bare minimum). Otos should only be added to an established tank that has algae present. I'd start with the cories and then a few months later if you have algae then add maybe 3 otos if you want to.

As far as which tetra, I personally like the look of the bloodfin tetra, but that is personal opinion. TFK has fish profiles you can access at the blue tab at the top, or by clicking the highlighted name in posts, so I would recommend checking their profiles and seeing if all the fish you want have over-lapping water parameter needs like temp, pH, hardness, as well as feeding needs, and behavioral traits. As far as the tetras go, I'd choose the one least nippy as long as they fit the water.

If you have any more questions please let me or another member know, we would be glad to help. And for stocking assistance/guidence/ideas you can try www.aqadvisor.com it's not 100% but gives you a good idea of what you are looking at regarding capacity of stock and on filtration needs.


scooterlady 05-10-2011 05:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LasColinasCichlids (Post 670146)
Hi Donna, and welcome to TFK!

I am going to go through what you wrote in order and let you know my opinions...

First off, Aquaclear makes great filters, I have an AC 50 and Marineland Penguin on my 29g. Love the AC, hate the marineland, lol. I think the AC 50 would be just fine, but considering they have relatively mild currents from the output and adjustable flows I am sure the extra filtration couldnt hurt.

As far as substrate goes, I have aquarium sand in my planted 15g and will be switching gravel substrate out for playsand in my 29g next month and fully plant it. I know more than a lot of members here on TFK have playsand in their planted tanks and it works great.

If going with "factory" lighting (I do the same), make sure to try and stick to low to medium light plants. Stem plants absorb ammonia/ammonium faster since they grow faster, so if planted enough and with some stem plants, you can add fish right away and probably not feel a cycle in the tank... especially if you can borrow a fellow fish keepers old filter media or stick some of their established tank's gravel in a bio bag or panty hose and stick it in the filter to seed the tank.

In my opinion, the rams, tetras, and cories would NOT overstock the tank, of course I wouldnt add them all at once though (I'd add the rams last though). As for the panda cories, they are a pretty sensitive to water parameters, and as with all cories would be best in a group of 5-6 or more (four usually being the agreed bare minimum). Otos should only be added to an established tank that has algae present. I'd start with the cories and then a few months later if you have algae then add maybe 3 otos if you want to.

As far as which tetra, I personally like the look of the bloodfin tetra, but that is personal opinion. TFK has fish profiles you can access at the blue tab at the top, or by clicking the highlighted name in posts, so I would recommend checking their profiles and seeing if all the fish you want have over-lapping water parameter needs like temp, pH, hardness, as well as feeding needs, and behavioral traits. As far as the tetras go, I'd choose the one least nippy as long as they fit the water.

If you have any more questions please let me or another member know, we would be glad to help. And for stocking assistance/guidence/ideas you can try www.aqadvisor.com it's not 100% but gives you a good idea of what you are looking at regarding capacity of stock and on filtration needs.

Thanks for all the info! I think most of the plants I'm planning on are either the low or medium light varieties. I can always upgrade the bulb if I need to. I'm starting to lean towards a sponge filter for my filtratiion. Someone here was telling me that the the types of fish I'm choosing don't really like alot of water movement and it would make the fish feel more secure, and I'm wanting to go as natural as I can...don't know if I'll go the tannin rout just yet, but I'd like it to look nice. Of course I won't put all the fish in at once...lol! I was actually going to cycle 2 tanks. I have a smaller 10 gallon that I want to use as a backup/quarantine tank. I was going to cycle with the tetras, since they're hardy and start with maybe 4 or 5 in each tank. Once they're cycled, I'll gradually put them all in the 29 gallon until I get to my desired number, then do the same with the cory's...5 total. Then I'm going to get 6 of the Bolivian Rams and see if I can get a pair out of that. Then I can sell the ones I don't want to keep. I'm planning on doing this right. I learned alot and made alot of mistakes with my last tank.

Christople 05-10-2011 10:51 AM

the wet spot is in portland a little ways away but they have them... Filters don't do much besides the bacteria and catch debreis

Byron 05-10-2011 11:17 AM

2 Attachment(s)
Silly me, I forgot the photo in my first post. It's attached here, sorry about that.

As Christople said, filters trap suspended particulate matter to keep the water clear. We let the plants do the filtering. It is a common misconception that more filtration (meaning larger or more filters) will handle more fish, but this is not the case. Filter move the water around. They remove the suspended matter. They provide space for nitrifying bacteria to colonize. But they can't substantially alter the water chemistry by removing "crud" like dissolved (liquid) waste, pheromones, etc. And of course in planted tanks more filtration does seem to affect the plants, and since they can do a better job of filtration anyway, we might as well let them get on with it.

Sponge are easy to set up; you buy the sponge filter unit, and attach it with a line of air tubing to a small pump. Done. The type in the attached picture is my preference, I have one of these in my 29g and another in my 20g. If this is your only aquarium using the air pump, it is wise to have a 2-valve unit with one line connected to the sponge filter and the second with just an airstone. It acts as a "bleeder" so you can control the air through the sponge filter but the air pump can still put out its maximum, and I gather it is good to keep it operating at capacity.

You have space in a 29 for the fish named, and more, esp with live plants. You're thinking Amazon so I'll stay with that theme (my favourite anyway;-)). We have fish profiles here, second tab from the left in the blue bar across the top, and each species profile gives water parameters, minimum tank size, numbers needed for shoaling fish, compatibility issues if any, etc. When a fish name appears in a post exactly as it is in the profile (scientific or common name), the name will be shaded and you can click on it to see the profile, example Bolivian Ram or Mikrogeophagus altispinosus. As it mentions in the profile, always get both of them together. Once a Bolivian is in the tank, especially if it is a male, it considers the tank its territory, and any intruder (another Ram) is trespassing. Male and female are difficult to sex in young fish.

The Wet Spot in Portland is quite a store i believe, and I'm sure they could get practically any Amazonian fish you wanted. Most will be wild caught, so collecting times are seasonal by law in Brazil and Peru.

Byron.


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