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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I've been wanting to get a fish tank for many years and now I'm finally able to. The idea that I have been having for a layout or landscape was all natural from a certain region and googling for it is when the discovery of biotope was made and my research started. Been reading a lot from different forums (including this) and wikis on species of plants, fish and items used to give it a more natural look such as wood and rocks/stones.

Seized the oppourtunity of the Aqueon 36g Bow and stand being on sale at my local PetSmart and purchased it last week.

I'm a total noob and maybe a biotope is an agressive attempt on my part, but I like challenges and learn very fast.

A friend that is knowledgeable and has experience in aquascaping and biotopes has been helping out a bit and telling me where what I can add/remove in order for it to a well balanced environment. But insight and opinions from others is helpful as well, the more the input the better the outcome :cool:

As the title states, I'm aiming for an Amazon River Biotope with this first set up. If all goes well then I might go for another region, maybe Korean or African biotope... we'll see :)

So far the list that I have compiled for filter, plants, fish and landscape is the following:

Filter

Light
24" 17-watt T8 full spectrum fluorescent lamp (included wtih the hood), it doesn't specify the amount of k

Substrate
?

Plants and Location in tank
Amazon Sword Back
Pygmy Chain Sword Middle/Front
Amazon Frogbit Surface
Roseafolia Mixed in with Amazon Sword but more to the front
Java Moss (maybe, invasive species:roll:) Covering some driftwood and rocks

Fish and Quantity
Green Fire Tetra x10
Neon Tetra x10
Otocinclus x5
Cockatoo Cichlid x6
Hatchetfish x10

Shrimp and Quantity
?

Landscape/Decor
Malaysian Driftwood
Rock
Dead Branches (Maybe)

I've looking for shrimp from the region but apparently they're not that common in the trade due to restriction on the export of them. What species can replace them or which ones are used instead? I'm looking for a good waste (uneaten food and dead plant matter) eater and maybe algae, though that might be covered with the Otocinclus.

Is there a type of moss that is from the Amazon's that could be used in biotopes and is found easily online?

As for substrate, no to sure on which type to use. I've seen many different suggestions on what to use, mix and don't mix, etc... Any insight as which type and quantity is ideal would be greatly appreciated.

I'd like to get it set up with the substrate and let it cycle for a few days and then order the plants, cycle for bit and let them settle in and then get the fish.

Is it ok to have two species of tetras, I couldn't decide on neon or green fire since both look great. I've read that they do ok together... I'm open to opinions and suggestions, feel free to tell me if I should add/remove something or change the quantities.

Still need to see if I can find an online store(s) that ship over to Puerto Rico and if the shipping charges are reasonable.

Thanks in advance!
 

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Welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum.:cheers:

The Amazon is my favourite area, and I have two geographic (as opposed to biotope) Amazon tanks. The terms we use are rather subjective, but technically speaking a biotope is the closest replica to a specific watercourse, with only fish species, plant species (if any) and hardscaping material that would naturally occur in that specific watercourse.

Next is what I term a geographic tank; in this, the fish, plants and hardscape are what one would find in a wider general area. A "habitat" tank can be along this line, such as a flooded forest habitat with only Amazonian or South American fish and plants. Or a stream lagoon with the same. My 70g flooded Amazon tank is pictured below as an example. The plants and fish are all SA, the sand [Quikrete Play Sand] replicates the sand in many SA streams, and there are chunks of wood, some representing standing tree trunks as one would find there. The moss is Java Moss so that I suppose is not strictly speaking authentic, but to me moss looks like moss wherever it comes from.

I like the play sand as it is authentic, plants grow well, and it is inert. Depth can vary; the substrate i this tank pictured is actually shallower than I would like; that in my 115g Amazon Riverscape is about 3 inches overall.

You may need to replace the tube in the light fixture. I use 6500K "daylight" types, made by GE, Phillips, Sylvania; With single-tube tanks i always use Life-Glo as it is more intense than the others mentioned. This provides moderate light which will suite the plants you mention, most of which are in this tank pictured.

There are a couple issues with the intended fish that I will mention to end. The Green Fire Tetra is Aphyocharax rathbuni, and it is in our profiles: http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/characid-species/aphyocharax-rathbuni-198434/
As it mentions therein, this fish is inclined to be a bit nippy, and mixing it with sedate fish like the cichlids is probably not a good idea. The neons are OK from this aspect, but given the warmth the cichlids will need (if you go with some species), cardinal tetra (Paracheirodon axelrodi) would be a better choice, or the False/Green Neon (Paracheirodon simulans) if you can find it; both are in our profiles in the characid species section. There are many other suitable species too, among the tetra, pencilfish and hatchetfish in characids. The 10 hatchetfish is fine, assuming this is one of the species in Carnegiella as these are smaller and less active than the larger Gasteropelecus and similar. All these are in the profiles.

The cichlid (Apistogramma cacatuoides) is also in our profiles: http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/cichlid-species/apistogramma-cacatuoides-189393/
Yoou have to be careful with numbers with dwarf cichlids; a 38g is not much space, so I would not have more than one male, and a harem of 2-3 females.

Byron.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Thanks for the feedback!

AWESOME TANK! That's what my goal is, let's see if I can pull it off.

Ordered the Eheim 2211 filter and it should arrive between today and tomorrow.

I'll check if my local home depot has the quickrete play sand, How much would I need for this tank to get 2" front to about 4" to the back? Was also thinking on a gravel type of subtrate, the person that is helping me out suggested it since sand can sometimes have pockets of amonia trapped that are released when cleaning...

What quantities of each plant would be good for my tank? I found a site, AquariumPlants.com, that ships out of US via UPS and building up a cart to see pricing and shipping charges. So far, they have 4 of the plants, Amazon Sword (Echinodorus bleheri), Pygmy Chain Sword (Echinodorus tenellus), Alternanthera reineckii and Java Moss which they have listed as Vesicularia Dubyana. The Amazon Frogbit (Limnobium laevigatum) seems to be available in Ebay, but going to see if I can find a more reliable source. Is fertlizer required, if so then would pellets be a good idea? And what about CO2 injection?

Read a forum post where they said that green fire tetras were somewhat a bit more docil since most are breed in capitivity, but they could be wrong. I'll take your advise and revise the list... Checked out the Green Neon Tetra (Paracheirodon simulans) and I like how they look and would be a good replacement. I'll go for Cardinal Tetras if I can't find these. The hatcet fish that I plan on getting is Marbled Hatchetfish (Carnegiella strigata), so the quantity is ok for these? As for the Apistogramma cacatuoides, I'll change the quantity as suggested and have a very happy male haha. Would this cause interbreeding problems in the future?

Thanks so much for your help! Can't wait to have this all set up! :)
 

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I'll check if my local home depot has the quickrete play sand, How much would I need for this tank to get 2" front to about 4" to the back?
One bag (25kg or 55 lbs), if this tank is 36 inches length.


Was also thinking on a gravel type of subtrate, the person that is helping me out suggested it since sand can sometimes have pockets of amonia trapped that are released when cleaning...
It isn't ammonia, but hydrogen sulfide caused by what are termed "dead spots" that your friend is actually referring to here, but this can just as easily occur in gravel as sand. Keep the sand about 1 inch at the front, and no more than 2.5 to 3 inches at the back. At least to start; it will shift, as will any substrate. I don't touch my sand substrates. Anaerobic areas are actually beneficial anyway. Youo can read why in my article on bacteria:
http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/freshwater-general-articles/bacteria-freshwater-aquarium-185721/

What quantities of each plant would be good for my tank? I found a site, AquariumPlants.com, that ships out of US via UPS and building up a cart to see pricing and shipping charges. So far, they have 4 of the plants, Amazon Sword (Echinodorus bleheri), Pygmy Chain Sword (Echinodorus tenellus), Alternanthera reineckii and Java Moss which they have listed as Vesicularia Dubyana. The Amazon Frogbit (Limnobium laevigatum) seems to be available in Ebay, but going to see if I can find a more reliable source.
I would suggest 3 Amazon swords (E. bleheri). They will get large, but that's OK. Pygmy chain sword, maybe 3 or more; they will rapidly multiply once settled, but if they are not expensive, more is fine. Java Moss, a clump; it attaches to wood and will spread.

Alternanthera reineckii needs good light, much more than any of the other named plants. You can try it, but it may last a short while then fall apart. With higher light come more nutrients, and CO2 might limit this [more below].

Is fertlizer required, if so then would pellets be a good idea?
Probably. Plant nutrients occur from water changes (the hard minerals, depending how hard the water is) and fish foods that end up as organic waste that bacteria break down in the substrate. I would use a complete liquid fertilizer, like Seachem's Flourish Comprehensive Supplement for the Planted Aquarium. It takes very little, for a 38g about 1 teaspoon once a week. They make several products under the Flourish name, make sure it is the Comprehensive Supplement.

And what about CO2 injection?
I never have, and you saw what my tanks look like. CO2 occurs mainly from the afore-mentioned breakdown of organics, and in low-tech or natural planted tanks with moderate light there will usually be sufficient. Don't mess with the substrate.

Read a forum post where they said that green fire tetras were somewhat a bit more docil since most are breed in capitivity, but they could be wrong. I'll take your advise and revise the list.../QUOTE]

When I advise on a fish species' behaviour, I always give the normal behaviour. There can always be exceptions, but these are the minority not the majority. And while it is one thing for me with 7 tanks running to move a fish that becomes a problem, it is not so easy to deal with this when one has one or two tanks. And a bad apple can spoil the barrel, as they say; one nasty group of fish can wreak havoc on all others in the tank. And this genus is prone to do this.

Checked out the Green Neon Tetra (Paracheirodon simulans) and I like how they look and would be a good replacement. I'll go for Cardinal Tetras if I can't find these. The hatcet fish that I plan on getting is Marbled Hatchetfish (Carnegiella strigata), so the quantity is ok for these?
Yes, though I would say 12. One or two may well jump out.:shock:

As for the Apistogramma cacatuoides, I'll change the quantity as suggested and have a very happy male haha. Would this cause interbreeding problems in the future?
I've little experience/knowledge on this question of inbreeding. I believe most dwarf cichlid breeders breed offspring back and forth, but I can't say more.
 

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Love the biotope / habitat idea. What are your water hardness and PH out of the tap ? That would be a good place to start insofar as the biotope / habitat you choose.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Love the biotope / habitat idea. What are your water hardness and PH out of the tap ? That would be a good place to start insofar as the biotope / habitat you choose.
I'm not sure, having a hard time interpreting the water quality report from the water company that manages the islands supply. Guess I'm looking for total hardness, which is 208ppm, then there's calcium hardness which is 130ppm. Can't find pH or specific mention of it... there's Alkalinity which is 132ppm.
 

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I'm not sure, having a hard time interpreting the water quality report from the water company that manages the islands supply. Guess I'm looking for total hardness, which is 208ppm, then there's calcium hardness which is 130ppm. Can't find pH or specific mention of it... there's Alkalinity which is 132ppm.
The GH at 208ppm equates to about 11 or 12 dGH. Not unworkable, but if you go with wild caught fish I would suggest lowering this with perhaps rainwater.

The KH has no effect on fish, but it does "buffer" pH, preventing fluctuations, so depending what the pH is, it will not shift much. Don't have the pH number, it should be below 7 for Amazonian fish, and here again the rainwater will lower it.
 

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Seems to be medium hard. I'll let Byron speak as to how that impacts your Amazon theme; however, it might be a challenge
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
One bag (25kg or 55 lbs), if this tank is 36 inches length.
ok, I'll check if they carry it over here. What would be an alternative?



It isn't ammonia, but hydrogen sulfide caused by what are termed "dead spots" that your friend is actually referring to here, but this can just as easily occur in gravel as sand. Keep the sand about 1 inch at the front, and no more than 2.5 to 3 inches at the back. At least to start; it will shift, as will any substrate. I don't touch my sand substrates. Anaerobic areas are actually beneficial anyway. Youo can read why in my article on bacteria:
http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/freshwater-general-articles/bacteria-freshwater-aquarium-185721/
Could have been sulfide, I'd have to check... So, when cleaning the tank I should not vacuum the sand. I bought Aqueon Aquarium Water Changer that has a vacuum function, I could use it to only remove the water necessary for cycles. Speaking of which, how often and quatity should the water changes be?


I would suggest 3 Amazon swords (E. bleheri). They will get large, but that's OK. Pygmy chain sword, maybe 3 or more; they will rapidly multiply once settled, but if they are not expensive, more is fine. Java Moss, a clump; it attaches to wood and will spread.

Alternanthera reineckii needs good light, much more than any of the other named plants. You can try it, but it may last a short while then fall apart. With higher light come more nutrients, and CO2 might limit this [more below].
That's more or less the quantities I had in mind. The online store I had mentioned only has Java availabile in 4oz cups, was planning on getting 3 to attach one to the driftwood, 1 large rock/stock and a branch or something else. As for the Alternanthera reineckii, it might fair well since there's sunlight about 5-8hrs a day hitting the tank, or this isn't a factor to consider?



Probably. Plant nutrients occur from water changes (the hard minerals, depending how hard the water is) and fish foods that end up as organic waste that bacteria break down in the substrate. I would use a complete liquid fertilizer, like Seachem's Flourish Comprehensive Supplement for the Planted Aquarium. It takes very little, for a 38g about 1 teaspoon once a week. They make several products under the Flourish name, make sure it is the Comprehensive Supplement.

I never have, and you saw what my tanks look like. CO2 occurs mainly from the afore-mentioned breakdown of organics, and in low-tech or natural planted tanks with moderate light there will usually be sufficient. Don't mess with the substrate.
I'll check out that supplement and see if I can get it locally, most online stores will not ship checmicals due to the new restrictions from FAA.

When I advise on a fish species' behaviour, I always give the normal behaviour. There can always be exceptions, but these are the minority not the majority. And while it is one thing for me with 7 tanks running to move a fish that becomes a problem, it is not so easy to deal with this when one has one or two tanks. And a bad apple can spoil the barrel, as they say; one nasty group of fish can wreak havoc on all others in the tank. And this genus is prone to do this.

Yeah, I understand that bit... the same applies to dogs. I have two huskies, one has all the standard traits and the other has none.

Yes, though I would say 12. One or two may well jump out.:shock:
Was reading up on their behaviour and the jumping out was a major warning. I can leave the hood closed during the day, that should keep em and in check. So 12 is the magic number...


I've little experience/knowledge on this question of inbreeding. I believe most dwarf cichlid breeders breed offspring back and forth, but I can't say more.
Ok, its just a slight worry... read on them being territorial and all. If there's two males then one would be alpha and the other wouldn't fully develop until the alpha died. That seems to be common in the fish world... So 1 male and 3 females as you suggested would be it.

I have to call the local aquarium shop and see what is their quote on the plants, I'll go with the cheapest option.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
The GH at 208ppm equates to about 11 or 12 dGH. Not unworkable, but if you go with wild caught fish I would suggest lowering this with perhaps rainwater.

The KH has no effect on fish, but it does "buffer" pH, preventing fluctuations, so depending what the pH is, it will not shift much. Don't have the pH number, it should be below 7 for Amazonian fish, and here again the rainwater will lower it.
How much would it affect if they were tank bred fish and not wild?

We get plenty of rain here, it's been raining practically everyday during the summer...

How much should he ratio be between tap and rain water?

I also intend to get the API Freshwater test kit, that should give me more precise numbers. Checked the qaulity report again and it doesn't mention pH levels :-?
 

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ok, I'll check if they carry it over here. What would be an alternative?
This was about play sand. Most any smooth sand that is not white will suffice. Play Sand is ideal because it is not sharp, being made for kids to play in/with, and it is (here anyway) a combo colour (mix of black, tan, white, gray).

Could have been sulfide, I'd have to check... So, when cleaning the tank I should not vacuum the sand. I bought Aqueon Aquarium Water Changer that has a vacuum function, I could use it to only remove the water necessary for cycles. Speaking of which, how often and quatity should the water changes be?
I use this, though with all my large tanks I have a "Python" that attaches directly to the faucet, but it works the same.

Some tanks I dig into the substrate a bit (my fine gravel one), one I run it across the top of the sand, and in others I never or very rarely touch the substrate. Each tank can be different, and the fish species play a role too.

As for the Alternanthera reineckii, it might fair well since there's sunlight about 5-8hrs a day hitting the tank, or this isn't a factor to consider?
It is not good to have direct sun striking an aquarium. First, the sun shining through glass can heat up the water very fast and quite high. Second, this is the surest way to have algae issues, and with as much sun as you indicate you would likely have green water.

Was reading up on their behaviour and the jumping out was a major warning. I can leave the hood closed during the day, that should keep em and in check. So 12 is the magic number...
With shoaling fish, whatever species, more is almost always better, so one considers the size of the fish, their normal behaviours/actions, the water volume and tank dimensions (length/width), other fish species. With fish like hatchets that are quiet (not active swimmers, just preferring to sit quietly at the surface), very peaceful, and in this sized tank, 12 to 15 would be my selection.

I had 21 Marbles in my 5-foot tank--until an internal protozoan that came in with new lower fish decimated them down to 4 within a couple of days. After that was dealt with, I increased the group up to 15, then proceeded to lose 3 that jumped during the night and got trapped between the cover glass and the tank brace:roll:, so I moved them into my 70g which has other Carnegiella species too, and now they are all happy together and number 23. The Marble and Black-winged cruise side by side, as if they were the same species. More proof that the more there are, the better. These fish live in groups of hundreds in the wild.

Ok, its just a slight worry... read on them being territorial and all. If there's two males then one would be alpha and the other wouldn't fully develop until the alpha died. That seems to be common in the fish world... So 1 male and 3 females as you suggested would be it.
This trait (dominant male, the rest subordinate and looking like females to stay out of the dominant's way) is common among the dwarf cichlids in Apistogramma certainly.
 

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How much would it affect if they were tank bred fish and not wild?
Depends upon the species as well. Even those commonly raised for decades still do better in soft water, but some of them can live longer up to a point.

How much should he ratio be between tap and rain water?
To make it easy, I would do half/half. This will cut the GH in half, and the pH I don't know but it will lower. TRainwater is on the acidic side to begin with, so it is not only diluting the GH and KH, but increasing acidity as well. Work this out before any fish go in the tank. When you get the test kit, set up the tank with the sand, wood, etc, add water half/half, plant it. Then test over a couple days.

Byron.
 

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I'm not sure, having a hard time interpreting the water quality report from the water company that manages the islands supply. Guess I'm looking for total hardness, which is 208ppm, then there's calcium hardness which is 130ppm. Can't find pH or specific mention of it... there's Alkalinity which is 132ppm.

IMHO one of the main things to remember is that tank conditions will depend upon how the tank is being ran not just the conditions of the initial input water.

Especially PH which is a function of KH and carbon dioxide. With a planted tank the plants can and hopefully will make the tank a net consumer of co2 each 24 hour period unless you are adding co2 back into the system.

On my planted tanks I use a substrate of peat moss capped with sand and then pc select which is a baked clay. I also do no water changes and as a result I have a KH of 4 degrees, gh of 9 degrees, and a pH of over 8 (api high range test kit.

But even with that high pH fish "requiring" low pH like neon tetras and hachetfish thirve and live for years.

But that's just me and my


.02
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
This was about play sand. Most any smooth sand that is not white will suffice. Play Sand is ideal because it is not sharp, being made for kids to play in/with, and it is (here anyway) a combo colour (mix of black, tan, white, gray).
I'll be going to Home Depot today during the evening to see if they have it available, hopefully they do.



I use this, though with all my large tanks I have a "Python" that attaches directly to the faucet, but it works the same.

Some tanks I dig into the substrate a bit (my fine gravel one), one I run it across the top of the sand, and in others I never or very rarely touch the substrate. Each tank can be different, and the fish species play a role too.
being a first timer... with the hose vacuum, is there a problem of sucking up substrate that needs to be replaced later or is the suction not that strong? Just want a heads up just in case...



It is not good to have direct sun striking an aquarium. First, the sun shining through glass can heat up the water very fast and quite high. Second, this is the surest way to have algae issues, and with as much sun as you indicate you would likely have green water.
It's more of indirect, the sun sets infront of the house and would shine in a bit through the livingroom windows which are covered by verticle blinds. But I'll keep an eye out for algae and temps.

As for temp I bought a thermometer sticker to monitor it. Where is the ideal place to put it to have good readings? Had thought of the middle towards the back on side of the tank.



With shoaling fish, whatever species, more is almost always better, so one considers the size of the fish, their normal behaviours/actions, the water volume and tank dimensions (length/width), other fish species. With fish like hatchets that are quiet (not active swimmers, just preferring to sit quietly at the surface), very peaceful, and in this sized tank, 12 to 15 would be my selection.

I had 21 Marbles in my 5-foot tank--until an internal protozoan that came in with new lower fish decimated them down to 4 within a couple of days. After that was dealt with, I increased the group up to 15, then proceeded to lose 3 that jumped during the night and got trapped between the cover glass and the tank brace:roll:, so I moved them into my 70g which has other Carnegiella species too, and now they are all happy together and number 23. The Marble and Black-winged cruise side by side, as if they were the same species. More proof that the more there are, the better. These fish live in groups of hundreds in the wild..
I've been reading about their habits and possibilities of them jumping out. Plan on having the hood on while I'm away and during the night. Is there a real need to have the hood open, such as for airing?

Was at petsmart yesterday, restocking food for my dogs and getting the API Fresh water master test kit... saw that they had silver hatchetfish and silver dollars available. Silver dollars were on my initial list, but was advised that they're heavy plant eaters and I should go with plastic plants if they were going to be in the tank. Is this the case or would be ok to have a few silver dollars in there too with the live plants I plan on? Might have to go with silver hatchet if I can't get a hold of marbled...



This trait (dominant male, the rest subordinate and looking like females to stay out of the dominant's way) is common among the dwarf cichlids in Apistogramma certainly.

Went back to the acquarium shop to check if they had contacted their supplier regarding the plants and they haven't checked yet... Might give them until this week to have something, then I'll go with the online store.


Thanks for all your help and insight so far, it's been a good learning experience!
 

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being a first timer... with the hose vacuum, is there a problem of sucking up substrate that needs to be replaced later or is the suction not that strong? Just want a heads up just in case...
No, you can avoid this by not digging down into the sand. I move it across the surface, touching the sand a bit, and the sand grains do lift up into the Python but if you lift it a bit higher they all slowly drop back out. It's only when you get a real thrust into the substrate that the vacuum created makes it pull up more.

As for temp I bought a thermometer sticker to monitor it. Where is the ideal place to put it to have good readings? Had thought of the middle towards the back on side of the tank.
If this is one of those stick-on plastic thermomenters, they can be inaccurate. I prefer the old fashioned glass theromemeter that floats, and can be attached with a small suction cup that comes with it. MArineland make these, probably others too. They are not expensive.

I have mine at the opposite end of the heater(s). In the flow from the filter is good if you can so you get a good current around it.

I've been reading about their habits and possibilities of them jumping out. Plan on having the hood on while I'm away and during the night. Is there a real need to have the hood open, such as for airing?
No, I never deliberately leave the cover glass open or the hood open. Only to feed. I remove it completely during water changes of course.

Was at petsmart yesterday, restocking food for my dogs and getting the API Fresh water master test kit... saw that they had silver hatchetfish and silver dollars available. Silver dollars were on my initial list, but was advised that they're heavy plant eaters and I should go with plastic plants if they were going to be in the tank. Is this the case or would be ok to have a few silver dollars in there too with the live plants I plan on? Might have to go with silver hatchet if I can't get a hold of marbled...
Silver Dollars will eat plants, esp soft ones, they are primarily vegetarian. And they need lots of space, check the profile.

Silver Hatchets are probably the slightly larger species, I have some, but prefer the Carnegiella species.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
No luck with quickrete play sand, local home depot doesn't carry it :/

Don't think other hardware stores around would carry it since there would be very low demand and ordering online might be a bit pricey due to S&H charges. Sand play pins aren't a big thing here.

Is there a good replacement?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
*bump* want to get this thing going, but all I can find locally so far is the gravel that either Wal-mart, Petsmart or pet stores sell.

Any recommendations on suitable substrate and how to calculate how much is required?
 

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As for sand substrate, any sand will do, look for pure quartz sand, quartz is inert and will not alter water chemistry, Sakcrete is another brand. Pool filter sand is another alternative, as long as it meets the above criteria. Avoid any calcium carbonate based sand or anything with additives like some 'paver' sands, which sometimes have added substances to make it bind together, and obviously avoid any that may say 'not for use in aquariums'; some do.

If you can't find any suitable sand from hardware type stores, you can always use that marketed just for aquariums, I like Caribsea Super Naturals line.

That is the bulb that Byron often recommends, if it is the 6700K one, which it looks like it is.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
As for sand substrate, any sand will do, look for pure quartz sand, quartz is inert and will not alter water chemistry, Sakcrete is another brand. Pool filter sand is another alternative, as long as it meets the above criteria. Avoid any calcium carbonate based sand or anything with additives like some 'paver' sands, which sometimes have added substances to make it bind together, and obviously avoid any that may say 'not for use in aquariums'; some do.

If you can't find any suitable sand from hardware type stores, you can always use that marketed just for aquariums, I like Caribsea Super Naturals line.
Thanks! Might be able to get pool filter sand at the pool shops around... but these substrates would need fertilizer in either tabs or liquid, right?

Amazon carries Caribsea Eco Complete, but it's the black version. They don't have the red one available ATM. I think I'm going with the caribsea eco complete, going to see if I can get the red version...

It is ok to mix in two substrate, like the Eco Complete black on the bottom for the plants and rooting and Caribsea Natural Rio Grande on top?



That is the bulb that Byron often recommends, if it is the 6700K one, which it looks like it is.
thanks, wanted to be sure. Its the 6700K one.
 
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