Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Nickster 11-20-2011 11:32 AM

Stocking, planting 30 gallon tank
 
I have a 30 gallon bowfront tank which I just recently restarted as a community tropical. The fishless cycle has been done for a couple of weeks and I started it off with 7 neon tetras. After having them for 10 days I added 7 silver lyretail mollies last night. There is a nice piece of driftwood in there still leaking a small amount of tannin but nothing that won't clear up with a 20% water change every few days, not particularly worried about a bit of brown but I do want to see my fish clearly and enjoy their beauty. The back I did paint black and I have black gravel in it currently planted with anacharis. I'd like to get some plants that will attach to the driftwood and am looking forward to having background, midlevel, and foreground plants. I'd also like to get at least one more group of schooling fish that will stand out with the black background and gravel. Thinking about adding a couple of otocinclus also but am waiting for the algae to start growing, maybe some ghost shrimp too. Pretty much the Hilfins are established in the much larger goldfish tank and I wouldn't want to transfer them from the hard water to the much softer water of the tropical (I have noticed the driftwood has significantly lowered the hardness of my water and am thankful I added that before buying fish). I am weary about adding too many plants at once and know this will take time, looking for ideas right now and any suggestions would be great. :-)

And on a side note I'm not worried about the tank being too crowded once the fish reach their full size since long before then I plan on having them in a bigger tank. The Goldies keep getting moved to a bigger tank as they grow, especially the Oranda which I swear grows an inch a month. So once I purchase a larger tank again the bigger tropicals will find a new home. Being that this is a small tank it makes it easier to experiment with different ideas and see what will work best and which fish will get along best together. I know I still have a lot to learn about fish keeping and want to know as much as possible before I dabble into the more complicated aspects.

Byron 11-20-2011 12:29 PM

You mention the water is softening in the tank; what is the hardness and pH of your tap water, and of the tank water? This may affect one or other of the fish species, since all molly [common molly] being livebearers must have basic medium hard or harder water; neon tetra will do best in soft slightly acidic water. You can read more in our profiles, click the shaded names.

Byron.

paybackranch 11-20-2011 12:35 PM

Anubias nana, christmas fern (most of the mosses) are some of your choices for plants that you can attach to wood or rocks. All of these are low light plants. The christmas fern is fast growing and grows best attached to something, even if a clump of it is hooked to the back of a tank or you make a moss wall out of it. Do you have a testing kit so that you know your water parameters? Though it at first it seems like an unnecessary expense, a kit will save you a ton of money when it comes to keeping your tank stable, helping to diagnose the reasons your fish are distressed (ammonia - nitrite - nitrate levels out of the safe zones). Ammonia and nitrite both need to be ZERO before adding fish -- especially shrimp. Nitrates can be managed by regular partial water changes & not over feeding. Elevated nitrate levels also encourage algae growth. Fish will act 'irritated' and itch against plants and ornaments if any of these levels are out of whack. Lighting is important for plant life. Use a plant bulb or even better yet, use a couple of light strips so that the light can penetrate to the bottom of the tank. Deeper tanks need more light. Don't forget snails as part of your gardening crew (shrimp, snails & otos) but make sure that the fish you choose won't eat them. Planted tanks are awesome things and very, very stable. Fish are healthier in them because the plants utilize the fish waste and produce oxygen. Fast growing bunch plants will also help stabilize a tank for this same reason, but choose those that will either float on the water or are low light plants. READ, READ, READ..... a lot of the chain pet stores sell plants that are NOT true aquatics--actually are terrarium plants and will rot under water--polluting your tank. A perfect example is MONDO GRASS and PALM TREE plants. Simply stated, do your research first and then buy.

Neons are fairly delicate and require soft water and are prone to neon tetra disease. There are so many really beautiful fish that are available that would look wonderful against your black background. Also, some fish are notorious plant eaters or have compatibility issues. Make sure that the temperature requirements are similar for all of the fish you choose. Some are cool water fish...and will not do well with tropicals. This site and other are wonderful resources. Have fun!!

Nickster 11-20-2011 01:07 PM

gh is running around 80 used to it being 120 if not more though, the gh is 40 or so. Normally I have extremely hard water.

Byron 11-20-2011 01:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nickster (Post 898291)
gh is running around 80 used to it being 120 if not more though, the gh is 40 or so. Normally I have extremely hard water.

Is this in the tank, or out of the tap?

Nickster 11-20-2011 01:27 PM

What I'm thinking is I'll get my plants from Animals & Things. All of there plants are kept in water and you bring them home just like fish. I learned the hard way about nitrates and nitrites when I first started with a 20 gallon goldie tank. Ammonia is barely registering right now but it is still a new set up and not established yet and I am keeping an eye on it. Part of the reason I want to get more plants in there. The more plants the more carbon will be taken out and oxygen produced but from what I've been able to figure out adding too many plants at once can be as bad as adding too many fish at once. Kinda figuring I'm close to capacity as far as stocking but with the neons being so small I don't think they are impacting water quality that much. The mollies are enjoying the white slime growing on the driftwood which I understand is normal at first and will go away in a few weeks. Snails I'm steering away from(rapid take over of tank by slime creatures I do not want) Full spectrum florescent that does a nice job of lighting all the way to the bottom and anything brighter would just encourage rapid multiplication of algae which I want to delay as long as possible and the temperature is holding at 74 with a heater.

Was looking at banana plants which look pretty dang cute, gonna have to check to see what they attach to though. Ferns I know I want and thinking some Alternanthera reineckii would look pretty awesome too. Meanwhile over the next few days I will be monitering parameters closely seeing as to how I just added new fish and the tank is still getting established. oh yeah, NO3 is under 40 and NO2 is under 0.5. A slight increase and expected when adding new fish with an environment still building.

Nickster 11-20-2011 01:31 PM

Thank you Bryon. Out of the tap my water is very hard and the driftwood is actually softening it which is a good thing. I've never been comfortable with it being through the roof, but the goldfish are quite adaptable and have always handled it. The more delicate tropicals need it softer which is one of the reasons for the initial setup I filtered the water to remove as much hardness as possible. The driftwood is taking it down to a happy medium in my opinion.

And if I find one more typo on this reply I'm gonna scream LOL
But it is the love of my life distracting me :-D

Nickster 11-20-2011 01:51 PM

:-?Actually I was wondering if I could throw a beta in there. Been searching compatibility charts and some list beta females as compatible with mollies and tetras while others list beta period being compatible. So........:-?

Byron 11-20-2011 02:10 PM

You might find this article on hardness and pH useful:
http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/f...quarium-73276/

paybackranch 11-20-2011 06:10 PM

<Ammonia is barely registering right now but it is still a new set up and not established yet and I am keeping an eye on it.>
Your tank is still cycling if you have any ammonia or nitrite readings. I do a fishless cycle with all of my tanks absolutely fully planted. NO algae.

<Kinda figuring I'm close to capacity as far as stocking but with the neons being so small I don't think they are impacting water quality that much. >

If you are talking about the same tank, it has not cycled and is not safe for fish.

<Snails I'm steering away from(rapid take over of tank by slime creatures I do not want)>

Nerite snails do not reproduce in fresh water and are needed in a planted tank. They clean glass, plant leaves and the wood.

<Full spectrum florescent that does a nice job of lighting all the way to the bottom and anything brighter would just encourage rapid multiplication of algae which I want to delay as long as possible and the temperature is holding at 74 with a heater.>

74 is way too cool for tropical fish. 78 degrees or better especially for the fish that you are stating that you want to keep. Yes, betta females are great, but only one or more than five. They should be introduced all at the same time or they will fight to the end. I have a large betta sorority tank with 16 females. They get along great, but they were added all at the same time. If I added another or any others now, the chances are excellent that there would be deaths....most likely the new fish. Bettas like temps closer to 80 degrees.

<Alternanthera reineckii would look pretty awesome too. >

This plant requires lots of light, as do most / all plants to maintain red coloring. Especially for a deep tank. Needs iron and supplements as well not to get leggy and lose its color. I have those as well. They have to be trimmed and the tops replanted regularly.

<<Meanwhile over the next few days I will be monitering parameters closely seeing as to how I just added new fish and the tank is still getting established. oh yeah, NO3 is under 40 and NO2 is under 0.5. A slight increase and expected when adding new fish with an environment still building.>>

My advice is not to add anything else until your ammonia and nitrites are reading ZERO. Then do a partial water change to reduce your nitrates and add a few more fish........a fully planted tank that has adequate lighting for the plants in it will absorb and utilize the ammonia. There is absolutely no reason not to fully plant it from the beginning from a tank parameter point of view. The algae blooms (not counting diatoms -- brown algae) are caused in good part from not enough plants to outcompete the algae for nutrients. I have set tanks up fully planted, let them cycle (fishless), did a water change when they were fully cycled and had no algae problems of any sort. Not even brown diatoms.

Wait until this tank has cycled to add anything else. Read up on the requirements of the plants you want to keep and the fish as well. It will eliminate many, many problems and make your planted tank a resounding success.

Cheers.....

Melanie

Read more: http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/f...#ixzz1eHyTzrYW


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