65 gallon planted tank - setup journal
I'm going to show the progress of my tank setup, and would LOVE any feedback from anyone. It's a 65 gallon, 3-ft long by 24 high. Substrate is Flourite mixed with what my LFS calls "mesh" which is a slightly larger grain sand as far as I can tell. I have an Eheim 2217 external canister filter.
I set up some rocks and a couple pieces of small wood yesterday, and here's what I started with.
Sorry - phone photos. The SLR will make an appearance later on. ;) The water's a bit cloudy as I was stirring things up, and there's obviously some aeration going on with the spraybar. The water level is low because I am scheduled to get 20 plants delivered today and it's easier in a tall tank to plan in lower water.
I think I might need to move or remove a few rocks as I'm not sure how the plants will all work out. I may need to do a major redesign. I'm not sure where to put the planted driftwood yet, right now it's just there because I'm not sure where it needs to go to help balance after I get more things in the tank.
I have a larger branchy piece of driftwood coming via mail also, which I plan on having spread lengthwise but also reach up into the higher levels of the tank - we'll see how it works out when it's here.
The one lighter speckled round rock in the right pile is temporary and is just holding down the small forked piece of driftwood until it wants to hang out there on it's own, probably tipped upwards a bit more.
PLEASE throw your suggestions at me - it's been a long time and I very open! Where future plants should go, if I should move things around, etc. etc.
I'm very excited!
So far I like it, I really like the substrate and I may have more suggestions once you get the plants in. ; )
My LFS says that their "plant guy" loves this substrate and that my bottom-dwellers will like it, too. I've had gravel in the past, so I like it as well. Looks more natural.
Also, I want some floating plants, as some of the fish on my wishlist really like them. What are your favorites?
I love brazilian pennywort, duckweed, and wisteria. Some people don't like duckweed but I like duckweed because well it grows like a weed, lol and I like the way the little roots that grow from them look.
For fish, my list keeps evolving... still not solid at all.
4 Bolivian Rams
6 Forktail rainbows
12 Cardinal Tetras
8 Clown killies? Or maybe instead do Marbled hatchetfish? I looove killies but I'm not sure.
5-6 Kuhli loaches
2 Stiphodon elegans (algae-eating gobies)
I also am not sure about other critters for a planted tank - have heard that Amano Shrimp are helpful, also I hear mixed things about snails like Malaysian Trumpet Snails and Zebra Nerite Snails.
Opinions on this?
I have never had an Amano shrimp but I do have ponds snails and a mystery snail and they do a great job cleaning up.
Do the snails reproduce like mad?
That is very nice, well done. My one hardscape suggestion would be to put a chunk of wood vertical in the left rear corner. Not only to cover the filter stem, but for balance; I find that end of the tank just a tad "light" in weight and it needs something dark and vertical but not too wide. The wood you mentioned on order might do it, I don't know what it is like. A thinnish piece reaching to or close to the top would work, creating the impression of a standing tree or tree trunk.
I do like your river rock arrangement, very natural. A that is a nice substrate. For floating plants, nothing beats Water Sprite if you can get it. Brazilian Pennywort is my second choice. And definitely small snails, Malaysian Livebearing are ideal especially for the substrate which should be left alone by the aquarist.
On the fish, be careful with the Bolivians. If you can be certain of getting one male and 3 females, four will work; two males/two females might but might also be a bit "iffy."
As for the other fish, you have conflicting water parameters. Forktail rainbows should be in basic (pH above 7), and that will finish cardinal tetra that must have acidic. In my experience cardinals should not be above pH 6.
There is also an issue with current; the goby come from fast-flowing streams, and this is certainly not desirable to cardinals or hatchets or killies. On the killies, they would be perfect with cardinals and similar, as the killies stay under floating plants and need acidic water (not above pH 7).
As long as you do not over feed your fish the snails will not over run your tank. ; )
Driftwood page 4 The Driftwood Store
I was told that Bolivians liked being social, so more than one pair was good for them, that you'd see more of their personality that way, and that 4 would be good in a 3-ft long tank. I keep getting conflicting information in that regard and am not sure what to do. What would you suggest?
I was told to get a bunch of them and see if the LFS would take back the fish that don't pair off to find two pair.
Our water is soft and the pH generally runs right around neutral. Right now mine is 7.2 - with the driftwood added it might drop a bit, which is what happened to me previously, where it typically ran 6.8 - 7.0.
I definitely want Rams of some sort - Bolivians are hardier and seem even more interactive which is why I have them on my list.
I was initially considering a pair of Rams and then a pair or trio of Apistos, but then thought that one dwarf cichlid would be better than two. (?)
I love Kuhli loaches.
I love gobies (obviously am drawn to eel-looking fish with character - I would love a rope fish but I know it's not suited for this tank with smaller fish). I am fascinated by them and think they're adorable. Plus, the fact that they eat algae - rather well, I hear - is a bonus.
I am really drawn to the forktails as a unique schooler with some color and activity.
Cardinals are just fish that worked well for me previously (even in that same pH range) and I like how a large school of them look. I don't have my heart set on them, the killies, or the hatchets but do need some more middle-upper fish. I do really like killifish in general, though. I am wary of other species of them, though, as I had a female A. Australe eat my Cardinals (I know that's not typical, and I wouldn't have believed it myself had I not seen a tail sticking out of her mouth.)
I also like Silver tip Tetras quite a bit but read that they can be nippy.
I don't like Neons as much as Cardinals but if they're better suited I'd consider them - the blue is nice to have compared with the normal coloration of most other fish I want - which is why I like the Cardinals.
I also could go for Rummynose Tetras.
My husband likes Zebra Danios, I would like a little more color but am open to them.
(Haven't read up on water conditions for the above)
Other suggestions for me? Again, I am very open to suggestions.
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