Where to begin - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 14 Old 03-03-2017, 11:24 AM Thread Starter
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Where to begin

Hi All,

Taking the plunge to sign up to fish keeping site...never done that before

I have for a long time kept fish on and off, old tank is a 30L, holds about 10 fish.

Just upgraded to a massive 340L with Sump filtration. Bought it about a week ago...still done nothing with it...just pondering. So thought I'd join somewhere with more expertise than I have.

Planning on having a community freshwater tropical tank, but a million and one thoughts, will I flood my living room, how can I get plants into the sand (its 34 inches deep) amongst other things.

Looking forward to some friendly advice
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post #2 of 14 Old 03-03-2017, 12:00 PM
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Welcome and congrats on the big tank. Regarding planting the plants - I believe they make tools for that. You'll only flood the room if you break the tank. Most leaks start small (comparatively speaking) so you'd have time to take care of that before you had a complete disaster on your hands.

Any ideas about what you'd like to be the showcase of your new tank?

125 - BGK, chanchito cichlid, pictus cats, silver dollars, palmas bichir
125 - cichlids (severums, bolivian rams, chocolate), rainbows ( turquoise, red), loaches (angelicus, zebra, kuhli and horseface), plecos (BN, RL and clown), denison barbs, tiretrack eel, pearl gouramis, betta
90 - Congo tetras, african knife, upside down cats, spotted ctenopoma, kribensis, delhezzi bichir
2.5 - betta
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post #3 of 14 Old 03-03-2017, 01:11 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jaysee View Post
Welcome and congrats on the big tank. Regarding planting the plants - I believe they make tools for that. You'll only flood the room if you break the tank. Most leaks start small (comparatively speaking) so you'd have time to take care of that before you had a complete disaster on your hands.

Any ideas about what you'd like to be the showcase of your new tank?
Hi, not really sure of what to do yet, I have sand..in a bag, and ordered 25kg of wood stone ...it's in it's box. I am thinking of how to get some height in the tank as otherwise I may end up with everything at the bottom of the tank. I think that they height will have to come from plants, as it is quite high to stack rocks up.

I am also thinking that I would prefer to have groups of schooling fish, as colourful as possible, and possibly a couple of bigger 'friendly' fish.

I need to find the tools
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post #4 of 14 Old 03-03-2017, 03:19 PM
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Not sure what kind of a budget you have to work with, but rainbows are a terrific, colorful schooling fish for a larger tank like that. I'm a big fan of pictus cats in a large tank, for the bottom. Severums are good larger friendly fish that won't give anyone any trouble. Same with chocolate cichlids. You could go a little smaller and do a group of fire mouths. There are a lot of cichlids that you could do. In addition to the rainbows (top) and pictus (bottom), you could do a 3rd and even 4th school of mid level fish, like some of the larger barb and rasbora species.

125 - BGK, chanchito cichlid, pictus cats, silver dollars, palmas bichir
125 - cichlids (severums, bolivian rams, chocolate), rainbows ( turquoise, red), loaches (angelicus, zebra, kuhli and horseface), plecos (BN, RL and clown), denison barbs, tiretrack eel, pearl gouramis, betta
90 - Congo tetras, african knife, upside down cats, spotted ctenopoma, kribensis, delhezzi bichir
2.5 - betta
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post #5 of 14 Old 03-03-2017, 04:45 PM
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Pencilfish for the win, just recently got some and they have amazing characteristics. The good thing is they slightly smaller than the fish that Jaysee mentioned, so gives you more room to add more to make a bigger school, or add other types of fish.

Owner of fish, hermit crabs, shrimp and plants!


Hermit Crab Association (HCA) is a great resource for hermit crab care
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post #6 of 14 Old 03-03-2017, 06:15 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you both, I have googled all of the varieties Must admit that I always thought that Cichlids were not suitable for keeping with anything except cichlids. I have bookmarked a few pages, just need to get the sand washed and get the water up to standard..so I'm still a couple weeks away from buying I'm sure
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post #7 of 14 Old 03-03-2017, 07:00 PM
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Where to begin

That is true of almost all African cichlids, and only some new worlds (central and South American). And some NW species aren't even good with other cichlids. But there are many that are community suitable, and if you have some beefier community fish that opens up even more options.

125 - BGK, chanchito cichlid, pictus cats, silver dollars, palmas bichir
125 - cichlids (severums, bolivian rams, chocolate), rainbows ( turquoise, red), loaches (angelicus, zebra, kuhli and horseface), plecos (BN, RL and clown), denison barbs, tiretrack eel, pearl gouramis, betta
90 - Congo tetras, african knife, upside down cats, spotted ctenopoma, kribensis, delhezzi bichir
2.5 - betta
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post #8 of 14 Old 03-03-2017, 08:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deeonehere View Post
Hi, not really sure of what to do yet, I have sand..in a bag, and ordered 25kg of wood stone ...it's in it's box. I am thinking of how to get some height in the tank as otherwise I may end up with everything at the bottom of the tank. I think that they height will have to come from plants, as it is quite high to stack rocks up.

I am also thinking that I would prefer to have groups of schooling fish, as colourful as possible, and possibly a couple of bigger 'friendly' fish.

I need to find the tools
Don't forget driftwood or roots. They can fill some of that vertical space.
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post #9 of 14 Old 03-10-2017, 09:11 AM Thread Starter
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Ok...so I have filled the tank...added rocks and some plants (they say they will grow bigger )..and started the cycle using some balls from the aquatic shop. I have a large bit of drift wood soaking since yesterday (been told that I don't have to as no tanins), but I want to remove any little 'fly away' bits.

I bought some dip strip testers - read other posts - and realised that they don't test for ammonia

The readings came back as -

Nitrate : 65
Nitrite : 0
Carbonate Hardness : >20
PH Value : 8.5
Chlorine : 0
Carbon dioxide : 2

Not really sure what any of this means...as previous small tank, never tested...any help explanation would be appreciated.

I have also tested the small tank

Nitrate : 80
Nitrite : .12
Carbonate Hardness : 10
PH Value : 7.8
Chlorine : 0
Carbon dioxide : 4

Was thinking of squeezing the sponge over the new filtration system, but didn't know if that would be helpful as the nitrates are a bit high.
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post #10 of 14 Old 03-11-2017, 08:48 AM
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Yeah, when you are cycling the only values that really matter are ammonia and nitrite. Test strips aren't the most accurate so I wouldn't get to worried about values like nitrates and whatnot. Whether they are 30, 50 or 80 isn't that important for you to know. Likewise if you were testing for ammonia. Whether your test shows 0.5 or 1 ppm doesn't really matter, since any reading higher than zero is too much.

Lots of people dump on strips, but there's nothing wrong with them. You just have to look at it like a binary test - yes or no. The truth of the matter is your exact ammonia reading isn't very important, because whether it's 0.5 or 1 ppm, you have to do a water change. And if it's 1.5 ppm, you have to do a water change. And if it's 0.25, you should do a water change. Same goes for nitrites. The only real information you need to know is whether there are nitrites or not. ANY value for nitrites means your ammonia bacteria has got its foothold, which means it's just a matter of time for the nitrite bacteria to colonize the tank and finish off the cycle.

So if you threw some bioballs from the stores filtration system in your tanks filter, then you are well on your way to being cycled, if you aren't already. The absolute best way to cycle a tank is to skip he cycle altogether by adding seeded media to your filter. POW! instant cycle. Now how many fish your tank can support at the moment is another matter, determined by how much media you've moved. When in doubt, it's always good to play it safe and start small.

No tannins in drift wood? Is it a used piece that has already released most of its tannins? If it was in use before you got it than that's another bacteria colony you've transferred so that's good. You might still end up with stained water, which can be taken care of with carbon. In a situation where you are battling tannins, it's good to run carbon out of its own HOB filter for easy of replacement.

125 - BGK, chanchito cichlid, pictus cats, silver dollars, palmas bichir
125 - cichlids (severums, bolivian rams, chocolate), rainbows ( turquoise, red), loaches (angelicus, zebra, kuhli and horseface), plecos (BN, RL and clown), denison barbs, tiretrack eel, pearl gouramis, betta
90 - Congo tetras, african knife, upside down cats, spotted ctenopoma, kribensis, delhezzi bichir
2.5 - betta
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