Help me set up my new 50 gallon (plants and fish)
I just got a new 50 gallon tank today. I gave my buddy my 29 gallon that I had posted awhile back about and from someone else got a free 50 gallon All Glass Aquarium with stand, Aqua Tech 30-60 HOB filter, 2 under gravel filters, Whisper air pump, Tetra heater and decorations. Here is a pic of before:
I got home and spent a few hours cleaning it all with vinegar/water and bleach/water and a razor blade. I couldn't wait for it to dry so I used a couple of fans to speed up the process. :lol: I then spray painted the back black. I pitched the UG filters, gravel and the filter floss. Here is how it sits now:
I am going to go with dark play sand substrate, like what Byron uses. I am considering going 100% "natural" in the sense that I am going to use real rock, wood and live plants. I have a couple nice fake rock/wood caves that I might use though...
Tank's inside measurements are 47.5" x 11.8", water depth of 19". Tap pH is 7.8-8.0, GH 150ppm and KH about 300ppm.
I really want to try live plants but I need it to be low maintenance/cost. I had some Anacharis is my other tank but it died. Taking Byron's advice and not letting that ruin me trying plants. It has a single 48" fluorescent. The fixture states 40W. Will a 40W 6500K bulb be enough for my tank? That's less than 1W/gal but I don't really have the money to buy new fixture(s)
What would be some good plants to use for a beginner like me? Keep in mind I'll be using sand. Should at get something that floats like Water Sprite?
Now onto fish. I'd really like to have some Kribs again.I tried a couple before but lost them, of course I lost all the fish from that LFS. I am most likely going to get a BN Pleco. I really enjoy my Albino BN in my other tank and he does well cleaning. I have a single Albino Cory in my current tank. I need to get him some friends but don't want another tank with Albino Cories...maybe another type of Cory? I'll be putting some MTS from the other tank into this one too. What do you all think? Any other suggestions?
Like I said this came with a HOB but I have a Fluval canister as well. Having a planted tank which should I use? The Fluval was on my other tank but kept leaking so I replaced it. I am hesistant on using it again although I got it back out a while ago to test and ran it at the sink with no leaks! Am I also correct that having plants I should only run mechanical filtration? From Byron's write up:
Any ideas and comments are welcome!
My feeling's on biological media in planted tank (Bio-ball's,ceramic,etc) is that this media compete's for same organic's that plant's use for food.
Plant's perform better biological filtration in moderate to heavily planted tank's.
I removed all biological media from canister filter on 80 gal planted tank and filled the void with mechanical media (pads,foam,sponges,etc) with no Ill effect's.
I believe it is very beneficial to place as many fast growing plant's like vallisneria,water sprite,pennywort, in the tank from the start and as the tank matures,, replace the fast grower's with maybe some not so fast grower's ,but alway's keep in mind that low light will limit those species of plant's that will perform well without CO2 enhancement.(buy plant's that will perform in low to moderate light)
I too like sand substrate and use this as a cap over top soil and plain unscented cat litter .
Cat litter(largely clay) helps hold the nutrient's from topsoil a bit longer, and topsoil helps give plant's a good start with largely inert substrates like sand,gravel.
I believe sand on it's own can deprive plant's of nutrient's(most organic's will remain on top) that might otherwise find their way to root area's of plant's when using gravel, and by placing some form of nutrient as bottom layer,, I have seen a bit better growth.
I recently set up a 29 gal tank with bottom layer of Osmocote slow release plant fertilizer (about three tablespoon's), followed by approx one inch of plain topsoil (unwashed),followed by approx one inch of plain unscented cat litter,and then I placed nylon mesh over this and capped it all with approx two inches of black sand.
Mesh helps keep sand from finding it's way to the bottom, and helps keep dirt from finding it's way to the top.
Sister gave me three or four cherry shrimp(Tightwad):roll: and I have eight cardinal tetra's that are all well with exception of the four cardinal's I lost while acclimating.
Just sharing some of what I have done and maybe some of it will help you?
I'll look into those plants you mentioned and see what the stores have.
My aunt just told me that she has some gold Platies she'll give me.I could get up to 10 of them I was also considering Swordtails, some kind of Tetra, Cherry or Gold Barbs, and YoYo Loaches. I don't know anything about YoYos. Would one be okay by himself?
I also looked it up, this is a 55g not a 50.
Platies and swordtail's would be good fish for stat's posted, and perhap's cherry barbs as well.(72 to 75 degree's F)
Yo-Yo loaches grow to around five inches, and prefer to be in group's of three to five or more.
Most of the tetra's would prefer soft water rather than hard water to do well in the longterm.
More than a few rainbow species would also be something to consider in my view.
I concur with what 1077 has posted so won't repeat any of that.
A group of loach will be fine, this is a 4-foot tank. Botia almorhae (the Yoyo loach in our profiles, click the shaded name) does attain 6 inches, and if you can find them I would suggest Botia kubotai or Botia histrionica which are very, very similar in patterning (see our profiles) but a bit smaller, or Botia striata. A group of 5 of any of these would be fine.
On the light, a single T8 tube in full spectrum will work provided you stay with low and moderate light plants. A Life-Glo 2, ZooMed UltraSun (from Pet stores), or a daylight-type by Phillips, GE or Sylvania (from hardware-type stores) with a kelvin of 6500K will work. Plants like swords, Brazilian Pennywort, crypts, Vallisneria, Anubias, Java Fern, Java Moss, will do well.
I was hoping you'd post Byron. Thanks!
The only sand I have been able to locate is the light colored play sand, natural sand from the LFS and darker Quickrete all purpose sand. . Thoughts?
A little more costly but Petco has really nice black sand for $17 per 20#. 50g tank might take two bags at the most and black looks really nice, especially if you are planting your tank.
I am using the Quickrete playsand from Home Depot; I believe Lowe's also carries it (don't have a Lowe's out here yet). It looks dark gray/tan dry, but in the tank is lighter I admit. But as the tank matures, it tends to darken some with plants, wood, etc. It is basically identical to the sand common in streams in Amazonia, so authentic.
The aquarium sands that are black are also good, though more expensive as Nubster mentioned. But if the cost isn't an issue, they will be lovely. I have a black substrate in my 70g, not sand specifically but Flourite.
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