Need Help Setting Up 180G Tank For Roseline Sharks
Hi, I currently have a 30g tank with a Roseline shark and some tetras. I had 2 Roseline sharks however one jumped out, which was devastating, and because I love those sharks so much I'm going to upgrade to a much larger tank, probably 180g or so and get serious with it. After having the smaller 30g tank for 1 1/2 years I know I want a big one now and I really owe it to my "Rupert" the remaining Roseline as he should have never been put in that 30g tank. After I got the fish I started reading about them and found out what I had wasn't what they really wanted, fish store of course didn't try to stop me from buying the 2. I don't have a lot of experience with fish as you can tell and what I'm hoping for is some of you fish experts will jump in and give me some advise on what I should use for equipment on what I want to achieve. Money isn't a huge issue however I want to be somewhat sense-able but my main goal is to have the best environment for my Roseline sharks, this is to be there vision of a paradise.
Here's what I'm looking to get for fish.
6-8 Roseline sharks
10 - 12 Tetras
3-4 small frogs
2 transparent fish
I don't think that's many fish for a 180g tank and that's how I want it and think it will make life better for the sharks and me.
I also want lots of live plants in the tank, no plastic plants. I'm also thinking a few rocks and a log. I want it to be real looking and the best environment for Roseline's, the tank is designed for them.
I've never grown live plants in a tank so looking for beginner plants that are easy to grow.
I haven't bought anything and before I do I want to make sure I get everything right, I can't depend on the person at pet-smart or wherever to really know what I need.
With my current tank the only complaint I have is my algae is difficult to control and returns fast after a cleaning. When I first got this 30g tank I knew nothing and was ignorant not to learn and did things I shouldn't have and don't want to do that again. When my algae problem was at its worse it was when I had lots of fish in my current 30g tank, I had 2 Roseline's and about 25 other smaller fish like tetras. So all that life in the tank was giving me high waste levels and things got ugly, nice thing though is the fish didn't seem to mind. I've had the tank about 1 1/2 years and now I'm down to my 1 Roseline and about 8 fish and the algae growth has slowed down.
My friend told me the reason for the aggressive growth rate on the algae is because the waste level is too high in the water and me doing 20% water change every 2 - 4 weeks isn't enough because I don't have enough beneficial bacteria to fight against it. I use just a standard power-head filter which has the screen, carbon and the biological rocks (1 1/2 years old rocks), . He told me those rocks don't really do much because there's not much oxygen in water and you need lots of oxygen to help build the beneficial bacteria. He mentioned a bio-wheel filter would really help with my current tank, what do you think about that? He's trying to tell me if I have enough beneficial bacteria and do my 20% water change every 2 weeks it wouldn't get out of control like it does.
But my concern is setting up the new tank properly. I hoping I can control the algae so it doesn't start growing thick and stringy on plants and takes more than a week to start showing on the glass. I'm wanting to get a really good filter system on the new tank so I know everything will be fine. I'm not trying to get lazy and never do water changes, I'm hoping to get it so I do a 20% water change once a month and only have to clean the glass every 1-2 months, the longer the better. Is that realistic?
So here's a list of things I think I need to get and need help on what to choose.
- Lights for live plants (type and wattage) (want a light that will work for most plant types, when I get more experience I'll probably add plants that are harder to grow and may need stronger light)
- Live plants (easy type to grow, I have lists but what do you recommend for Roseline's that's easy)
- co2 system (unsure about this, I don't want plants growing fast, at least not when they get to the size I want, but read if you have high power lights you need co2 because water doesn't have enough) I have no problem buying one but if I don't need it that would be good too, just want whats best for everything, I've read Roseline fish like lots of oxygen so maybe its good for them?
- Best substrate type (I like sand and currently have regular fine sand, but want whats best for plants, water quality and fish and don't think sand is best. Also something I can add a variety of plants to.)
- Filter system (I want the very best) As I mentioned my friend brought up the bio-wheel, is there something better if it's even good?
- Heater (I'm scared about a heater because I have a friend that had his water boil because it went bad, my other friend says get a good one and you have nothing to worry about, is that true?)
I think that's all I need, if not let me know.
So what would you recommend for a really good setup? My biggest concern is the filter system.
...And some thought my posts were long...:lol:
Welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum. Glad to have you with us.
First, on the algae in your 30g. You mentioned no plants in that tank, so algae will naturally occur no matter what if light is available. Nutrients of course will be plentiful from the fish and organics breakdown, and algae will just occur. Without plants there is nothing to stop it. And without plants, it is very beneficial. Algae is only a "problem" when it attaches to plant leaves and can suffocate them, killing the plant. But without plants, it is performing much the same function as plants in a very minimal way, namely using some of the nutrients and producing oxygen. That explains algae. Another comment--water changes must be more regular, weekly is minimum, and larger. I do 50% of my tanks every week. You can manage with 30% minimum, weekly. A larger fish load obviously means larger water changes, so this is very general.
To your planted tank for Puntius denisonii, a cyprinid species with several "common" names including Roseline Shark, though it is a barb. It is in our profiles, click the shaded name. Suggestions for the tank setup are under the Description section, so I won't repeat all that. Also note the cooler temperature (temperate rather than true tropical) which will limit tankmates, plus the need for flowing water which also limits tankmates. But there are plenty to select from that will enjoy both these features. The profile broadly mentions certain other barb species, danio, Davario, and of course loaches are ideal substrate fish in such a setup. Tetra are not really the best fit, due more to the water movement which would stress most of them long-term.
Plants are easy, just avoid the high-light more demanding species. There are several suitable in our profiles [second tab from the left in the blue bar across the top of the page for fish and plant profile section]. You might also like to read my 4-part sticky series "A Basic Approach to the Natural Planted Aquarium" at the head of the Aquarium Plant section, that will cover the basics and any questions...ask away. I'll leave your present plant-related questions as some of that will be covered. But one point, you do not need CO2 for a thriving planted tank. Check the photos of my tanks under the "Aquariums" tab below my name on the left.
Filtration is important, since we need a current for the Barbs. A good canister rated for the size of tank will be sufficient. Canisters come with a spray bar or one can remove that and use the spigot; placing the spigot (outflow) at one end and the filter intake at the other will allow a sufficient current down the long tank, replicating a stream. We can get into specific plants later [otherwise my response will be even longer than your post;-)]. My suggestion for a heater is to buy a canister that has the heating element included. I have one Eheim Professionel II filter (on my 90g) with this, and I love it. That tank has maintained a temperature within 2 decimal points of the setting, running continually now for more than 12 years. It is far superior to hanging heaters which I have in my other tanks.
A fine gravel or sand substrate will be authentic and good for plants. If loaches are in the possible for substrate fish, either will work. Just make sure the gravel is fine, about 1-2mm grains. I have this in my 90g tank with my Botia kubotai, and they seem to do well. They are always burrowing tunnels around the river rock. The disappear down beside one rock and pop up several inches away beside another. They never uproot the plants though.
Thanks for all the input Byron, I appreciate it! Yeah I've been told my messages can get a little long at times, I always think I need to explain so much, glad to hear I'm not the only one. :lol:
In the last couple days I have read and read, I did come across your 4 part series on plants and it was great. After I found that I went through all your threads to see what other tutorials you may have wrote and got some other good info. I did check out your tanks and love the look of them, I'm also after the natural affect, I like hi-tech gadgets but don't want hi-tech, I want simple this time. I wanted a nice bright tank but after reading your article on how fish react to light it would be ignorant of me to do it, that made a lot of sense.
Thats good to know about the tetras, maybe I'll just add what I currently have, about 4, and not get anymore or I might just leave the small tank setup for them if I can find the room. I always thought they were ok together, all the fish stores around Edmonton have them teamed up.
Lets talk filters for now if thats ok.
I've been checking out lots of filters, and have been noticing Eheim is the choice among most for a good quality filter, anything out of Germany is good, isn't it, maybe not the prettiest or smallest but... I'm eying up the pro 3 or pro 3e if I can afford it. I like the idea of changing output speed at night automatically with the 3e.
I'm under the impression based on your articles that I need no chemical filter and not much if any biological filtering because I plan to heavily plant the tank much more than your big tank with less fish. There will be an open space but where plants are it will be dense as the roselines like that. And because I plan to under stock the tank I should be laughing right?
I'm also interested in the Aquaripure. I don't want it so I don't do water changes, I want it so I can maybe get my nitrates to 0 and slow water changes. Like you and others have pointed out, lakes and rivers have 0. I understand other crap builds up and needs to be removed which neither filter will do but I think life will be happier if the nitrates are a 0 and yeah I'm aware live plants use them and need them.
What if I got a canister and dedicated it with mechanical filters and then added the Aquaripure and I can adjust its output based on what the plants are leaving behind. Is that a good idea?
Or maybe a canister with mechanical filter and a dry/wet filter combined?
Or a canister and bio-wheel filter?
Or 2 canister filters?
In the end I don't want to do a water change every week I would like every 2 weeks. I feel pretty confident if I can keep the nitrates down for the 2 weeks the water changes can happen every 2 weeks. The amount of fish for the volume of water is very low so other crap won't build up that fast.
I got so much more to say but this is getting long. I'll go read up on some plants. :lol:
I've no personal experience with Aquaripure, so can't say good or bad as a "filter" on a plant-less tank. But on a tank with live plants, absolutely no. With plants you do not want anything that messes around with biological filtration. Plants do a better job of cleaning the water, so let them do it naturally. Nothing that messes with this is advisable.
A word on nitrates. Plants like all living things need nitrogen. Aquatic plants, unlike terrestrial, prefer ammonium as their source of nitrogen, not nitrates. Only when ammonium is no longer available will most aquatic plants turn to nitrate; they must change the nitrate back into ammonium in order to assimilate it as nitrogen.
In planted tanks it is rare to see nitrates above 10ppm [unless one is adding them deliberately or in the source water]. In my tanks they run around 5ppm or less, because I have a lot of fish. Other members here with planted tanks have mentioned zero nitrates continually. With good plant growth and a balanced fish-load, you should not have an issue with nitrates. So a good canister filter is all you need [more on this in a moment].
As for water changes, you cannot avoid weekly water changes. If I didn't want to do them, I would not have fish; it is simply a critical part of good fishkeeping husbandry. There is what I term "crud" that builds up. It cannot be seen, it cannot be tested, it has absolutely no relation to ammonia, nitrite, nitrate...nothing. It is just there. Urine, dissolved solid waste, pheromones from fish and chemicals released by plants--all this is undetectable. But it is detrimental to all fish, and plants. There is no way to remove it except a water change. There was a 2-part article in TFH in November/December 2009 that went into the mathematics and chemistry. Weekly water change of 30% (with few fish) to 50% is mandatory to avoid the long-term effects of this "crud" on fish (and plants to some extent).
Back to the filters. I have Eheims (2 Professionel II) and Rena Filstar (the XP3) and recommend both as far as filtration. Rena is relatively new on the market, so it may or may not have the durability that Eheim has proven. The extra cost for Eheim might thus be less expense long-term. My Eheims, one with a heating unit, have run for more than 12 years. My Rena I bought because no one locally then carried Eheim and I do not like buying filters online; if I buy from a store, and there is a problem (as in fact there was with the Rena;-)) I can replace it easily without shipping it half way around the globe.
Ok, that's good, I'll save a bunch of money filtering then.
Thanks for clearing up the nitrates and ammonia, I should have known that, you've only said it how many times in different threads.
Well if they need a weekly change so be it, I'll just have to make it easy for changing water which I plan to anyways. Right now its a hard task as I need buckets and my tank is sitting higher than normal. I've been reading on methods of changing water on large tanks and it worries me slightly.
What worries me is the chemicals. I almost see the fish better off with water changes less often because of all the crap that's in the tap water, like chlorine , I know people use chemicals but that can't be good for the fish or plants either. Right now I evaporate or boil my water before putting it in. Obviously that method isn't possible when dealing with this volume of water.
I'm guessing there's no practical way other then to use chemicals since I can't store the water?
That's impressive, 12 years, I was wondering if the heaters would quit too, guess not.
I have 7 tanks, ranging from a 10g up to 115g. I used to use the bucket and gravel siphon, until I bought my first "large" tank, a 90g, in 1995. Since then I've used a "Python," or the Aqueon water changer which is basically the same thing; the Aqueon tap connector is better built, I replaced my Python one three times (over 10 years) before I got the Aqueon (which fits the Python). Set one way, the unit drains water from the tank into the sink; set the other, it runs the tap water straight into the tank. A squirt of conditioner in the tank when it starts to fill is all that is needed. Conditioners dechlorinate instantly; and there is also chloramine which is becoming more widespread. Boiling or letting water sit will allow chlorine to dissipate out, but not chloramine.
My Eheim canister with the heating unit has run non-stop since I bought it in 1998. My other Eheim I bought in 1996. Neither have ever had a problem. And this is normal for Eheim. Plus, they are absolutely silent. Sitting in the fish room I have to look into each tank to see surface plant movement next to the filter outflow in order to ensure they are actually running.
When I do changes is it good enough to just remove the 25% or so or should I be vacuuming the substrate as well every so often? Just removing the water should be sufficient most of the time right?
You might hope those Eheim keep going too as I've heard others say you can't order parts from Eheim, they don't ship to Canada so its a bit harder for us to get them. I always thought Furval to be good because everyone uses them but have read from some people who really know filters and Furval aren't very good.
I'm in the Toronto area and I can get Eheim parts at any Big Al's. I have 3 within an hour in 3 different directions from me. my Eheim is a 2215 and is at least 10-12 years old. love it!! Worth every penny. I have a Fluval 305 also but it's crazy to prime and get started.
The Eheim if you decide is a workhorse kind of filter. Dependable, reliable. I agree with Byron.
Good luck with your choice whichever way you go!
I would aim for a larger volume, 40-50%; your fish will thank you.:fish::greenyay:
Fluval "filter" OK, but one pays considerably less for less reliable equipment. This is the thing with my Rena. I do like the filtration, it is doing what the Eheims do as far as I can tell; but how long before it gives out? No one yet knows.
Eheim sell through franchises in North America, which is why they are available only from certain stores. Now, I've no idea about "parts" but getting the media and pads was trouble enough when the only local store ran out. I've since found another, plus a couple of online retailers (Canadian too:-)) that carry these.
Thanks for jumping in Jakiebabie, that self priming looks like a good thing on the Eheim, I'm going to Big Al's on Friday to look around see if I can start getting a list together soon.
How much are these pads for the Eheim and how often do you change it? I thought the media baskets took any type of media?
What media would you recommend I use? Should it all be mechanical or a little biological as well? What's a good mechanical type?
Changing the extra water won't be any harder so I will.
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