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Finney12 12-25-2011 07:25 PM

Questions about starting a new Mini-bow 5 gal - filter, lighting, substrate, cycle...
 
Hi there,
I'm just getting back into fishkeeping after several years away from it. I have to keep my tanks small due to landlord restrictions. I'm starting a 2.5 gallon mini-bow for a male betta as well as a 5 gallon. I bought the Aqueon 5 gallon mini-bow and I plan to have live plants (easy ones for beginners) as well as around 3 male Endlers, 5 female Endlers and 2 small shrimp (a cherry red & a blueberry). Should the shrimp be compatible with the Endlers?

My questions:
1. I was going to use a better filter than what the tank comes with - I have an AquaClear 20 that's meant for a 5-20 gallon... do you think this would be too powerful? I'm also worried it might be too physically heavy and bow and potentially crack the acrylic mini bow where it hangs over the back - any thoughts? I could try to prop it up so that not all the weight is on the tank.

2. I hope to find a small (under 15 Watt) Fluorescent light so that I can have live plants - do you think it's safe to use a different bulb than the incandescent 15W it comes with?

3. I'm hoping to used a dark colored gravol/substrate... maybe even black sand. I want something that will be good for the plants. Would it be best to use either a very fine dark gravol and mix it with some black sand, or mix it with a special plant substrate? Can anyone recommend a product that's easy to find at Petsmarts or a LFS?

4. I'm going to add live plants right when I set up the tank and maybe some gravol or filter media from the LFS to kick-start the cycle (if they'll let me). I also have stress-zyme to add. The LFS suggested I could use some cheap fish (danios) to cycle the tank, and then return them and get the Endlers. However, if I'm adding live plants and doing regular water changes, might I be safe to add the 3 male Endlers right from the start?

Thanks for any advice you can offer:)

Finney12 12-25-2011 08:14 PM

Ok I realize that would probably be too many Endlers for my small tank... maybe more like 2 males and 3-4 females. I'm also not 100% set on the Endlers... they are very pretty, small and would be a good fish for me to try breeding (I have a separate small tank for fry). Some other options I'm interested in (kept as a single species in the 5 gal)
- rummynose tetras
- dwarf neon rainbowfish
- small killifish or a puffer (but I know very little about these)
- pair of kribensis (I think they would need at least a 10 gallon though? I really want to have kribs eventually and try breeding them)

I want something interesting and active that I can hopefully breed. Kribs would be my first choice but probably 5 gallons is too small.

SomeDudeAtHome 12-25-2011 09:22 PM

First of all welcome!

1. That filter should be fine, you might even have to baffle it depending on how the fish react. A sponge filter though like the Elite ones would probably be better though. I wouldn't worry about it cracking the acrylic either the acrylic was made to support the weight.

2. Go to Wal-mart and look for compact fluorescent bulbs. They're the spiral ones on all the commercials. Those are best for your tank and I'd look for either a 10 or 15w one depending on the plants. Which brings me to the questions which plants are you going to keep?

3. Pretty much anything you like the look of is going to be fine. I've used big and small gravel and personally like the look of small. It's also easier to plant the plants in.

4. It depends on the plants you add and how many whether you can add the fish right away or not. Which is also why I asked about the plants. Don't cycle the tank with fish in it since that's just sort of cruel. A 5g won't tank long to cycle anyway. If you do add lots of faster growing plants, have the correct lighting and dose with a fertilizer (Seachems Flourish Comprehensive) then adding a couple fish shouldn't hurt. Also look for Prime as a water conditioner.

For your second post 2 males and 3-4 females would be much more comfortable for the fish especially if they breed. Other than the puffer and killifish I don't think any of the other fish will work. They all need longer tanks for swimming in. The Kribs though can't be kept in a 5g for sure they'll need much more room.

There's a tab that says "Tropical Fish Profiles" at the top left of the screen in the blue bar where you can read requirements for all different fish.

Finney12 12-25-2011 10:00 PM

Thank you so much for your advice! I tried to find the compact fluorescent bulbs at my Walmart but they didn't have them. I saw one at Petsmart that was 10 Watts and should fit in the mini-bow hood. I actually don't know what type of plants I want, do you have any suggestions for ones that are good for plant beginners with the 10W lighting? I will have a piece of driftwood as the centrepiece of the tank. I also hope to have the two little shrimp eventually. I know I would like some floating plants and other ones that are good for Endler females and fry to hide in. I was going to ask my LFS what they recommend but it would be great to have some ideas ahead of time.

If I were to get killifish instead of endlers, what are some good, colorful, small types of killifish that might work in my tank? I couldn't find any profiles on them on this site. Are they kept as pairs, or several females to one male? Maybe they would be more interesting than the endlers?

Thanks so much!

Finney12 12-26-2011 11:15 AM

Would a bulb like this be good? NOMA 13W Ultra Mini Spiral, 6-Pk | Canadian Tire or these ones http://www.homedepot.ca/product/mini...-6-pack/914388 since they're cheaper:) I think I read somewhere that "daylight/cool" is better than "soft light"?
Are they generally pretty safe for aquariums, even if they don't specifically say they're for that purpose? I just worry about them getting wet with condensation...

Obakemono 12-26-2011 01:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Finney12 (Post 930354)
Would a bulb like this be good? NOMA 13W Ultra Mini Spiral, 6-Pk | Canadian Tire or these ones Philips | Mini Twister Daylight Compact Fluorescent Bulb - 13 Watt, 6 Pack | Home Depot Canada since they're cheaper:) I think I read somewhere that "daylight/cool" is better than "soft light"?
Are they generally pretty safe for aquariums, even if they don't specifically say they're for that purpose? I just worry about them getting wet with condensation...

If they are in the 6500-6700k spectrum they should work fine for plants. Anyone else?
Oh also, the wattage for CFL's is not the amount of light you get out of it, it is the watts the bulb will consume. Light measurement is in lumens. A 13-15watt CFL is equal to a 40-60watt standard bulb for light output.

Byron 12-27-2011 01:36 PM

I agree with the light suggestions so far, and will just clarify a bit on your question about the linked bulbs. The Noma might be OK, it does not give a kelvin rating (Kelvin is the colour temperature of a bulb, the colour hue it produces as we perceive it). If you are shopping in Canadian Tire, look for the GE daylight compact fluorescent bulbs, they are 6500K and I use them in my smaller tanks. If you have one socket in the light fixture, a 13w will probably work; if you have two sockets, then 10w bulbs is the highest you should get.

As for fish, with a 5g you want very small fish. Some killifish would work well. You are correct, we have no killifish profiles (yet), very few members seem to have an interest in killifish so I have not got around to them (I write most of the freshwater profiles, though other members are welcome to contribute if we have any killifish aficionados). Fish that I do know something about that would work are the rasbora species in Boraras, there are six, two of which are in our profiles, Boraras maculatus and Boraras brigittae [click on shaded names for that profile]. These need very soft water. Another similar fish is the Ember Tetra. If you have medium hard water, the Emerald Dwarf Rasbora is possible. The Celestial Pearl Danio can work, though I would prefer a larger tank for a larger group, but it is still possible with lots of plants. Endlers Livebearer as mentioned, but be careful, if you mix males and females you will have dozens of fry regularly. Males only would work.

Byron.

Finney12 12-28-2011 01:31 AM

Hi, thanks everyone for your help and advice! I bought the 13 W twister CFL bulbs from Home Depot - they are "daylight" which I believe is over 5000 K. There is only 1 socket. I bought Seachem Flourite Black as my substrate... expensive but I want to give my plants the best chance at thriving. I'll post photos in another reply below, but so far I have Anubias barteri, Cabomba and two others - one I think is Bacopa and the other is a grass-like plant that may be Eleo parvula? Tomorrow I hope to add some Water Sprite as a floating plant (Byron, I saw you had recommended this in another post) and I may add a moss ball (thinking it will hopefully be good for seeding good bacteria to my tank?). Obakemono, I saw the moss balls in your sig - are they easy to keep healthy?
I have Seachem Flourish Comprehensive to fertilize the plants. A few questions:

1. I have an old partially used master liquid test kit that I had for my fish 4 years ago... any idea if the chemicals might still be good and accurate?

2. Byron, I saw in another post that you said if a new tank has enough plants, it's basically safe to put a few fish in from almost day 1 because the plants kind of reduce the bad effects of the cycle? I plan to test for ammonia etc. every day and do a partial water change if it registers on the scale over 0.25. Do you think I would be ok to add 2 male Endlers in the next day or so with the setup that I have? I know there are varying opinions on cycliing...

3. I still haven't totally decided on what fish I want. With the Endlers, I thought I would actually enjoy the experience of breeding and raising fry, and my LFS said they will take any that survive to adulthood back to re-sell. However, the females are not colorful so maybe it would not make for such a pretty tank with 2M, 4F Endlers. I like some of those small rasboras you mentioned - my LFS suggested the Galaxy rasbora but don't have any right now for me to see. Another I am wondering about are Threadfin Rainbowfish. A different LFS suggested Dwarf Rams (obviously once my tank is established, and either Bolivian or Blue). Can these be kept as a single fish (and if so, would they be ok with 2 male Endlers?), or are they happier in a pair (in which case, they would be the only fish in the tank)? I know they might be pushing the stocking limits, but if it helps I do have a good filter rated for 5-20 gallons. My favorite fish from my tank 4 yrs ago were my pair of Blue Rams, which spawned multiple times which was very cool to see (see photo below)

Oh, also meant to add that my temperature is 78, pH 6.8 and hardness is 3 (which I believe is actually quite soft but I don't know a lot about this parameter yet).

Thanks again for your help and sorry for asking so many questions!

Finney12 12-28-2011 01:39 AM

5 Attachment(s)
Here are photos from my setup of the 5-gallon mini-bow. I also added a photo of my Blue rams that I had 4 yrs ago... probably my proudest moment as a fishkeeper:-D

Byron 12-28-2011 12:50 PM

Quote:

1. I have an old partially used master liquid test kit that I had for my fish 4 years ago... any idea if the chemicals might still be good and accurate?
API tests have a limited life, I think most of them are 3 maybe 4 years. Having said that, I have had much older tests that were still accurate (when used with new tests) but this might have been luck. If you are starting a new tank, having a Master kit with ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH is probably a good idea, though with plants not necessary [see next answer]. I now only use pH at all regularly, and that is not that often, and nitrate now and then.

Quote:

2. Byron, I saw in another post that you said if a new tank has enough plants, it's basically safe to put a few fish in from almost day 1 because the plants kind of reduce the bad effects of the cycle? I plan to test for ammonia etc. every day and do a partial water change if it registers on the scale over 0.25. Do you think I would be ok to add 2 male Endlers in the next day or so with the setup that I have? I know there are varying opinions on cycliing...
Plants need nitrogen, and aquatic plants prefer it in the form of ammonium. The ammonia produced by fish and bacteria will be grabbed by plants and changed into ammonium (in basic water, in acidic water ammonia changes into ammonium automatically). They are very fast at this, faster than nitrosomonas bacteria can establish. The faster-growing the plants, the more ammonium they use. Even beyond this, they can take up ammonia as a toxin. Provided there are enough plants, and mainly fast-growing ones, and few fish, there will be no discernible ammonia or nitrite. I have set up dozens of new tanks this way. Faster-growing are plants like stem plants, floating plants, swords, Valisneria. Floating are particularly good for this, since they assimilate CO2 from the air, are close to brighter light, and thus assimilate even more ammonia/ammonium.

Quote:

3. I still haven't totally decided on what fish I want. With the Endlers, I thought I would actually enjoy the experience of breeding and raising fry, and my LFS said they will take any that survive to adulthood back to re-sell. However, the females are not colorful so maybe it would not make for such a pretty tank with 2M, 4F Endlers. I like some of those small rasboras you mentioned - my LFS suggested the Galaxy rasbora but don't have any right now for me to see. Another I am wondering about are Threadfin Rainbowfish. A different LFS suggested Dwarf Rams (obviously once my tank is established, and either Bolivian or Blue). Can these be kept as a single fish (and if so, would they be ok with 2 male Endlers?), or are they happier in a pair (in which case, they would be the only fish in the tank)? I know they might be pushing the stocking limits, but if it helps I do have a good filter rated for 5-20 gallons. My favorite fish from my tank 4 yrs ago were my pair of Blue Rams, which spawned multiple times which was very cool to see (see photo below)

Oh, also meant to add that my temperature is 78, pH 6.8 and hardness is 3 (which I believe is actually quite soft but I don't know a lot about this parameter yet).
I would not do rams in a 5g. I know it can work, but assuming the fry survive it will very quickly get crowded. Plus I would want more space around the pair, a 20g would be better. They are better with dither fish, and there is no space for those in a 5g with a breeding pair of rams. The temp should be 82F minimum.

Endlers will not work with soft water (and 3 dGH is very soft); they need medium hard water and pH above 7. The Celestials would be perfect, and the Boraras species, Ember Tetra, etc. are all suitable.


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