Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Fedfireman 09-25-2011 09:04 PM

New to 14g to 55g community tank
Hello all,

Like the title says I'm new to, however I am not new to tropical fish.

I have had my current 14g planted tank running for the last 2 years and I finally bought a house and upgraded to a 55g 48" tank. My tank setup is as follows:

PH: 7.2

75% new play sand 25% established black sand (mixed for darkness)

A 1/2 layer of gravel (red pebble, crushed white shells, and black slate gravel mix)

Total substrate weight is 75lbs about 3" layer

70lbs of asst rock (quarts, slate, and river rock)

HOB Topfin 60 with bio sponges from whisper60

Bottom bubbler filter 4"

Marineland powerhead

18" of bubble stone

About 25-30 bundles of Java Fern

5 bundles of unknown long leaf plant (I'll post pics eventually).

Livestock is currently divided between my 55g and my 10g quarantine tank as follows:

7 neon tetra (4lg 3sm)
5 zebra danios
3 Chinese algae eaters

6 tiger barbs (2 albino)
1 red wag molly (female)
1 spotted Molly (female)
1 sword tail red Molly (male)
1 balloon Molly
2 zebra loaches (lfs had to order more and gave me an awesome deal for making 2 trips)
2 glass bloodfin tetras (lg)

My tank cycled within days due to the 20lbs of established sand, the established bubble filter media and 1 established biosponge from 14g.

I added the fish to my 55g yesterday after my ammonia and nitrites remained at 0 for 2 days and my nitrates stayed at 5.

This morning chem was the same. This evening Ammonia was still 0, nitrites approximately .15, and nitrates were 10
I did a 20% water change and will test again in the morning.

If my ammonia and nitrogen are low enough I will add my bloodfin tetra to my 55g in the evening and do a water change the next day. But judging by the results I've gotten with the current bioload I am confident my biofiltration is up for the task. I also have about 20 more plants enroute.

I will be setting up my CO2 generator once the plants arrive but am unsure of the buffeting effect it will have on my pH.

Future plans are:

Build HOB overflow
Use 10g as under cabinet sump
Go to canister filtration (loving the new API nexx)
Add another bubbler filter to the display tank

Get some companions for my loaches and bloodfin (3 more of both)
Possibly considering some cherry shrimp, African dwarf frogs(is a 55g too deep for them? I have rock built up), possibly some bala sharks, and open to suggestion.

I know I'm running borderline overloaded but I have alot and will add more hiding/territory spots and believe I've got all but the top of my tank covered as far as leveling (poor balloon Molly all by her lonesome).

Does anyone see any problems or have any suggestions for tank or livestock? (besides less fish)

Thank you in advance. And I have been creeping for a little while now and alot of you guys have some awesome tanks.

Santaclaws 09-25-2011 09:35 PM

Hi and Welcome I would forget the shrimp they would just get eaten.:-)

1077 09-26-2011 12:25 AM

Mollies would prefer pH level's between 7.5 and 8.0 with hardness level between ten and fifteeen degrees GH.
Your tank, according to pH posted,would over time, become softer more acidic than the mollies would thrive in.
Mollies prefer warmer water than the loaches,tetra's,barbs, and danios, who all prefer softer cooler water pH closer to seven and four to maybe eight degree's GH (Two species won't mix well).so care should be taken to research the fishes and their preferred water condition's.
Bala sharks would not be a good fit for this tank for they could outgrow it fairly soon., with proper care.
Many are those, who say they will get larger tanks for these fishes but far too many don't and the fishes die prematurely due to stress or poor water condition's due to lack of maint.
Would consider smaller catfish, such as pictus cat, or simply add another three Zebra loaches.(unless substrate is sharp)
Dwarf frogs don't see too well and food competition would be no contest between them and the loaches or catfishes.
Shrimps would in my view be snacks for mollies,barb's,loaches catfish,nearly all other fishes(babies are tiny).
Would use 29 gallon tank for sump rather than ten gal.(larger volume)
Would steer clear of stem plant's with crushed slate and shells mentioned for the substrate could damage plant roots and stems.(fishes bellies)I would select all anubias or java fern,java moss, (can/should be attached to stones or wood).
Some floating plant's would make the fishes more comfortable but not so much that it blocks light from reaching lower plant's.
Could be that crushed shells in substrate mentioned,,will help buffer the water and keep it from becoming too soft to keep the mollies, or perhaps,, some crushed coral will need to be added to the filter (mesh bag) But were it me,, I would simply look at keeping soft water fishes such as the tetra's ,barb's,loaches,and smaller catfish species.
Would get plant's established and CO2 equipment dialed in before introducing too many fishes.
Just my two cent's.

aunt kymmie 09-26-2011 09:14 AM

Welcome to TFK, Fedfireman! Happy to see you join us. :-D

BarbH 09-26-2011 09:53 AM

Hello and welcome to TFK :-D

Byron 09-26-2011 12:29 PM

Welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum.

I agree with 1077. Would only add on the water parameters that knowing your hardness (of source water, presumably tap) would help assess the likely fluctuation in pH. Probably hardness is low with that pH, but you can contact your water supplier for data (many have a website with data posted). For more on the interaction between hardness and pH, have a read of this article:


Fedfireman 09-26-2011 06:33 PM

Thank you all for the welcomes and replies!

I have decided against inverts, frogs, and sharks. I am closely monitoring my water and think I will be able to maintain a 7.2-7.4 pH without any additives, although I have all the additives I would need.

My pH has been stable enough IMHO to accommodate the Mollies at a low range. Something I didn't mention before is that the pH in my 14g was completely stable at 7 on the same water source. With the addition of my rock and gravel the pH has climbed to 7.3ish.

The 10g is the only tank that will fit under my stand or I'd be using bigger. And I've left a sand only area on the 2nd 5th or so of my tank floor for stem plants. Also created a few bowls on top of my rock formation and filled them with sand as well.

I only have test strips for hardness but will be ordering a liquid test kit soon. And I will be contacting the water treatment plant (down the street from me) about it as well.

And my loaches are exhibiting signs of distress with only having 2 so I may set my 14g back up in the interim for them. Hoping they don't turn on each other.

Again thank you for the replies!
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