Setting up a new tank, I need advice
I am very new to this as I have had a fish tank in the past however it was a 29G and all it had was goldfish. This was about 10 years ago.
Anyways I got rid of a desk in my room and wanted to fill the space with a 55G tank. I have heard the bigger the tank the somewhat forgiving the tank will be. 55G is the biggest that will fit in my space.
I wanted to know everyones advice on what I should get. I want to keep this below or around the $500 price range however I understand you pay for what you get and I am willing to spend more on quality items.
I want to get small schooling fish like tetras...
I have created a preliminary list.
1. The 55G tank
2. Whisper air pump model 100 with a bubble hose
3. EMP 400 for filter - Should I buy the pre packed filters or do I buy the carbon & filter separate?
4. Coralife T5- 48" light - What kind of lighting should I get?
5. Do I need some kind of glass hood?
6. Eheim Jager 300W heater? Do I need this? I live in Hawaii...however I keep the Air Conditioner on @ 70 degrees.
7. Some kind of substrate & driftwood? Maybe sand?
8. I want some sort of plants.
OK.. lets go down the list.
1. For just the tank, no accesories you're looking at $100ish. This varies widely by area and may be significantly more in Hawaii
2. Airpumps aren't too bad usually, still can cost up to $50
3. No idea on that filter in particular, but even cheap walmart ones for that tank would be $50ish. Fluval filters are a couple hundred, just to give you an idea of the wide price range.
4. T5's are quite powerful and is likely going to produce far more light then you need. Algae will grow to absorb it. I would look into T8 bulbs. Byron has a great article on plants over in the plant forum, should check it out.
5. As to the glass hood, I would recommend some sort of cover. Many fish can jump.. probably all given the right circumstance. Unless you like stepping on dried up fish in the morning.
6. As to a heater, it's kinda meh in your case. Get your tank set up otherwise and check the temperature a few days later.
7. Sand can make a beautiful substrate.. but it can be messy. I would start thinking about what kind of fish you like and run that by us. Some fish are diggers and would make a huge mess in a sand substrate. Some fish risk injury by being on a gravel substrate and sand is much preferred.
7b. Most fish love having caves and holes. Driftwood is good too but you have to make sure it's safe for your aquarium. Picking up random pieces of wood can have fatal consequences. Same for rocks.
8. Again as to plants you have to consider what fish you like and may have to decide whether you want that fish species or plants more. Your lighting also plays a major part of this, high light or low light. Again, take a look at Byrons 4 part article in the plant forum.
I agree with the above in regards to the lighting and plants. You say you want a T5 48 inches, but are not sure on the tank yet. I think you first need to consider which tank you are going to buy and whether it comes with in the hood lighting for fluorescent bulbs (such as a full set up jewel or fluval) or whether you are buying a basic tank with the hood or just a hoodless tank. This will dictate which lighting control unit you will need or whether a tank (with included lighhting unit) has the option for you to use T5's. You say you want 48 inch lights but you need to make sure that these will fit the tank and are suitable with the unit powering them, usually the longer the tube the higher the wattage. But you could get a double ballast and use two t8's if you cannot get the desired intensity of a t5 as i think 48 inches may be too long for a 55gal (but dont quote me on that).
Also in agreement with the above poster, plants come in various levels of difficulty and would depend on how much you would like to spend on them, as some need CO2 adding to tank and specialist fertilizers (potassium, ferrous iron etc) and trace elements, although easy plants can do well with (flora tabs) in the substrate (if you had sand for instance) and decent lighting. some plants need intense lighting and some dont. Also again some fish will eat certain types of plants. I would say if your investment is $500 i would go for plants which are easy to grow and maintain, as additional water column elements (can be costly inially but can last for a few months) and co2 . Or you could look up DIY co2 which can save you alot of money.
I am from the uk so not too sure of the prices in Hawaii for aquatic supplies but over here to buy a 40 gal tank with basic hood and stand, double ballast lighting unit, filter, heater, 2 t8 lightbulbs, sand, fertilizers, co2 unit, food, plants, decoration and fish it has cost me in the region of £600+. I would suggest you buy a complete set up because although i thought tailoring the tank myself would be cheaper, it certainly was not.
I am pretty certain I will get the 55G tank. I found a new tank for around $120.
I will also be building my own stand. I am a civil engineer!!!
The tanks measurements are 48" Length 13" Width 20" Height...
I dont really understand the lighting. I looked throught that part 4 by Bryon and it was helpful. However I wasn't sure what length of light I need I thought that I would need a 48" length light because I have a 48" length tank. Would a shorter light even fit? I dont think at 24" light would fit however I do not have enough experience to assume that.
I would suggest not going too 'high-tech' with the lighting since this is your first steps back into fish keeping in some time. You will still have a wide variety of easy to keep plants to choose from. I would recommend just the standard 48" T8 from Marineland or Aqueon, all you will need to do is plug it in and turn it on. They may not be as nice to look at (some say they look like upside down rain gutters) as the sleek T5s but they work well and are cheaper. I recently went from T5 HO to T8, plants are doing great and no problems with algae. If the fixture you were refering to is a regular T5 rather than the HO (High Output), it would be better (than the HOs) but the T8s are sufficient.
As far as fish go (you mentioned tetras) start by finding out what your water chemistry is. Most tetras will prefer soft, somewhat acidic water, others can manage in water that is slightly above neutral and with more minerals. Some info is available from your water provider or you can buy a test kit. I really don't know where tap water comes from in Hawaii, lots of rain so maybe reservoirs, maybe desalination plants? It could be hard or soft, you'll need to find out and go from there.
Air pump and bubbles not really needed in planted tank. Most fish (thinking about tetras) will prefer a calmer environmnent without the extra flow and movement of the bubbles.
My experience with carbon is that it inhibits plant growth, I have since gone to a less aggressive media and my plants are doing much better. You could probably could do without any chemical filtration, get lots of plants and use the filter for mechanical/biological (I think that model has biowheels) filtration only.
Most tetras will need warmer temps than 70, so the heater will be needed if you decide on them.
Just looked at the stats for the 300W heater listed and it is rated for tanks over 200 gallons and is way overkill. The 150 watt is rated up to 79 gals and should be more than enough.
Also, the Emperor 400 may be a bit too much as well, rated for 30-80 gals. The 280 model is for up to 50 gals and may be enough if the tank is well planted. It can always be supplemented with another HOB filter, sponge or internal filter if needed. If you end up keeping tetras and similar fish they will do better with less current anyway. If you go will some other fish, the larger filter may be warranted.
Anyways I wanted to get plants just to make the aquarium look cool...
As for the types of fish, I like it when they all school together and move as one unit. I think thats nicer then one big fish floating around...
I prefer that as well. Lots of choices with tetras, rasboras, some barbs (some can be aggressive and big), danios (usually very active and can limit the choice as far as tankmates).
Be sure to peruse the profiles if you haven't already, lots of info and photos, second button on the left in the dark blue banner at the top of the page, just below 'Keeping' in the title. Freshwater Fish-Characins for tetras, hatchet fish, pencilfish and Cyprinids for rasboras, barbs, and danios. Plants there as well.
Well chosen, you could get 4 groups of different species up to 10 individuals each plus have room for a few individual 'character fish'
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