New 36 Gallon Bow Front Setup - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 3 Old 06-26-2013, 09:24 PM Thread Starter
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New 36 Gallon Bow Front Setup

Hello everyone,

Back in the day (as a child) I was very into fishkeeping, started with a 10 gallon and then finished with a 20 gallon. Then I left for college, and my mother made me give away my fish tank because she did not want to care for it. Well, four years later, I am back at home with an accounting degree and plan on setting up a 36 gallon bow front aquarium!

I was looking for some inspiration and opinions from you guys on what types of fish you guys prefer and what types of plants I should use in my aquarium. I am planning on putting all live plants in this aquarium along with some driftwood and larger river rocks. Speaking of larger rocks, what kinds of rocks are safe to place in the aquarium that will not through off any ph or alkalinity within the water?

Thanks for any help and advice!!
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post #2 of 3 Old 06-26-2013, 10:28 PM
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Welcome back to fishkeeping! My husband and I just got into fish in January and we have become somewhat of fish junkies, learning a lot as we go along. We have a 10gallon bowfront. We started out with gravel and fake plants but we have since switched over and don't regret the sand and live plants at all. We used play sand and a variety of plants that petsmart had to offer like wisteria, amazon sword, grass. They have done very well. We are still on the look out for some floating plants too.

We bought a piece of driftwood from our local pet store but we went bike riding down to a creek and chose a few river rocks for our aquarium that have not affected it negatively at all. We just boiled and washed everything well before putting them in. We have some of those rocks in our 10g and 55g. We have the driftwood in the 10g. Once you get the sand and live plants in the more real decorations just add to the natural beauty of the tank. This was just our experience though. Good luck with your new tank!
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post #3 of 3 Old 06-27-2013, 05:26 PM
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Welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum. And welcome back to this wonderful hobby.

You have many options for a 38g bowfront. The first thing to decide is what fish will be suited to your source water (presumably tap), as it is much easier and safer to select fish suited to the water than it is to get into adjusting water parameters which can certainly be done but often with considerable effort and expense, depending which way one is adjusting (making soft water harder, or the reverse).

You can ascertain the GH (general hardness) and KH (carbonate hardness, or Alkalinity) from the municipal supply folks, probably on their website. They should have the pH too. Once we know these numbers, we can start narrowing down options.

Plants are somewhat more versatile than fish, with a few exceptions, and the choice of plants partly depends upon fish, though most fish are fine with any plants. Temperature may play a role, depending upon the fish.

To answer your question on rocks: calcareous rock (limestone, marble, dolomite, along with coral and shells) will add mineral to the water, increasing the GH and pH. If you go with hard water fish, this will not matter, but if you have softer water and decide on soft water fish, these need to be avoided. I use "river rock" in a couple of my tanks that are aquascaped to replicate a stream. These are safe, and come in various sizes to represent boulders, etc. I get mine from a local landscape supply, they are very cheap at 75 cents for a whole pail.


Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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