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Discussion Starter #1
Good Day All,
I recently got a fish tank back after not having one for about ten years. I am super excited about getting some little swimmers and I have some questions about my set up and what fish would be the best for it. I have an 18-gallon hexagonal tank with a Fluval AquaClear PowerFilter HOB and a Fluval Q.5 Air Pump. I chose to use a sand substrate (which I learned will stop a filter so I had to get some prefilters) and 4 fake plants. I have a heater for it but have not set it up yet (wondering how necessary it is). I set up my tank and haven't gotten any fish for it because I wanted to establish it and make sure everything was in order and was worried about leaks because I had to reseal it. So now that my tank is set up I look at it with excited eyes but I worry that the current will be too much. Because its tall and not wide I see that the air pump and air stone are putting out a decent current I am not too worried about the filter because it has an adjustable flow and is at the top. I am concerned about the bubbles though because of how narrow the tank is. I love my setup but worry that the water movement might be too much for fish. So, my questions are; is it possible to lessen the flow of air, if not what freshwater fish like a strong current, and is a heater important?
 

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Welcome to the group. Nice looking tank.

You can put a adjustable valve on the air line they allow you to turn down the air flow and that will help with the current.

Some fish like the higher current Cory Cats (most are 2" or less) would be a nice choice they like to school so you would want to get 5-6. Then you could pick 2-4 more fish that stay higher in the water. Off top of my head 5-6 Black skirt tetras or maybe 8-10 Neon tetras, but I'm sure they are more.

The taller tank does limit the number of fish you can have but you can have a great tank just have to pick the right fish.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you. I will check on the valve when I go to the pet store. I was really hoping I could get Mollies, Danios, Platies, or similar fish. I knew that the shape and size would be a slight problem.
 

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Here is a link so you know what to look for.
Imagitarium Aquarium Air Control Kit | Petco

Any store selling fish supplies will have them.

Danios would be a good choice I think they like to school to in groups of 6-10. Mollies are great fish but they get a little big so I would stay at 3-4 max, platies are a little smaller so maybe 1 or 2 more. In a normal rectangle tank you could do a lot more fish but Hex tanks are cool I have a small one but they are harder to find.
 

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My family got this tank 15 or so years ago and when we moved we gave it to a friend who gave it back when I moved back. When I say 18-gallons people get confused. I am hoping the 1-gallon per full grown fish still applies. I want to add color by fish instead of adding decor. I think its perfect as is right now.
 

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18g hex isn't too common for sure.

The 1" per gallon rule doesn't work, we have learned over the years it's a god starting point but not always good. It really comes down to the shape of the tank, for example a 20g long tank and hold more fish then at 20g High tank. The difference is surface area, the long tank has more so allows for more gas exchange meaning it will house more fish.

Another good example is the 55g tank is 48" long so you can keep lots of 10-12 african cichlid (5" fish so 60" total) because they like to have the longer area to swim in but the 40g breeder tank is only 36" long and has more surface area so you keep 30-40 guppies (2" fish so 60"-80" total). So you can see the 1" rule can get you close it has to be adjust for every tank.

Platies are a good choice, they are come in blue, orange or yellow so you get lots of color and do well together. They will eat some of the fry so you shouldn't be over loaded in fish after a few months.

Mollies do have the colors that platy do, I have some black mollies and depending on the tank they can be hard to see.
 

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Oh my, I didn't know that about the size I will have to keep that in mind. I will probably only get a few fish at a time to start. Maybe like 5 rosie reds.
 

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Thank you so much. If I have any questions I will ask. I used to get 100 rosies at at time and loved watching them school.
 

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I have a 29 gallon aquarium it's a standard size. I want to have live plants & sand. I'm looking at guppies, neon tetras, mollies, Corydoras or plecostomus, a snail and maybe angelfish zebra,My dad kept these all together in a 10 gallon tank 60 years ago. What filter would be the best gph for this type of tank?
 

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I have a 29 gallon aquarium it's a standard size. I want to have live plants & sand. I'm looking at guppies, neon tetras, mollies, Corydoras or plecostomus, a snail and maybe angelfish zebra,My dad kept these all together in a 10 gallon tank 60 years ago. What filter would be the best gph for this type of tank?

Welcome to the group.

For a filter it depends on what type you want to look at. If you want a HOB (hang on back) filter here is a good option. Aqueon® QuietFlow Aquarium Power Filter 30 | fish Filters | PetSmart They work nice but replacement cartridges can get pricey but you can use other media and save a lot of money.

If it was me I would but a simple air pump and sponge filter.
Tetra® Whisper 40 UL Air Pump | fish Air Pumps & Air Stones | PetSmart
https://www.amazon.com/XY-2822-Double-Sponge-Filter-Aquarium/dp/B005VAFGKI/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1490301495&sr=8-6&keywords=sponge+filter

Cost is a little more but the sponge will last you years and it will be better for the small fish you listed.

For plants look a Java fern or amazon swords both are easy to get and do well in most water. There are lots of other options but I keep simple plants. For sand you have to be careful to not get sand that is too fine. I use pool filter sand from hardware store, it is about $10-13 for 50 pounds but it works great. I have used play sand but it is too fine and can get sucked into the HOB and ruin it.

Feel free to ask more questions
 

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Thanks for the answer.
I have never set up an aquarium piece by piece I have always bought the kits,
So I feel really lost at what order to buy things in (I know fish is last).
Do you have to rinse pool filter sand?
I know I must have a filter, heater and thermometer.
Are there any other must have equipment?
Can you explain what the difference is between Tetra whisper air pump and a power filter?
 

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I think most of us buy the kits to start with but you can save a lot of money buying it piece by piece.

As for the sand I poor 4-5" of sand in a 5 gallon bucket and fill the bucket with water, use your hand to to mix the sand up and poor out the now "Dirty" water. Do that 4-5 times and the water should be much cleaner and then you can add it to the tank. When you fill the tank put a bowl on the sand and let the water hit the bowl it will keep from string up the sand in the tank.

You will need Tank, heater, thermometer, filter and a water treatment.
Tank- you have but you can get good deals at Petco when they do $1 per gallon(3-4 times per year)
Heater- I order mine from Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Aqueon-100106252-Preset-Heater-100-watt/dp/B00P9QH5US/ref=sr_1_19?s=pet-supplies&ie=UTF8&qid=1490357623&sr=1-19&keywords=aquarium+heater
Thermometer- you can find locally cheap or on amazon. Grreat Choice® Floating Thermometer | fish Thermometers | PetSmart
Filter- I use sponge filters for all my tanks, super cheap and last for years plus if the power ever goes out the risk of them not restarting is almost 0.
Water treatment -I use Prime it works great and is pretty cheap for how much you get. https://www.amazon.com/Seachem-116043304-Prime-500ml/dp/B00025694O/ref=sr_1_1?s=pet-supplies&rps=1&ie=UTF8&qid=1490357770&sr=1-1&keywords=prime+water+conditioner

You can get heaters locally but most are $15-20 get one you can adjust, they have some that are preset and stay at 78f I hate those see too many fail. That bottle of prime could last you a year so it's pretty cheap but needed.

For things you don't need but want.

Substrate -Sand works good another good choice is pea gravel $5 for 50 pound bag at hardware store. Just wash it in a bucket like sand.
Decor- You can do fake plants or even large rocks from the yard just wash them well with hot water and allow to dry for 48 hours before you put them in tank.
Light- I have some tanks with shop lights, desk lights, and normal fish tank lights


Air pumps are just small air compressors, you will attach a air line then a air stone(small tip with lots of holes so it makes lots of bubbles). The bubbles will cause some water flow in the tank but not a huge amount that will bother most fish. When you attach the air line to the sponge filter it cause water to be pulled thru the sponge where the bacteria grows keeping the water clean.

Power filter will be the HOB filter or sponges attached to a power head. They use small water pumps to move water.

Both systems work it just depends on what type you like more. I like air pumps because of the price. Most fish rooms are run on Air pumps (large ones) because they are cheaper to run. After a few years you will have extra air pumps in a box some place, I have 8-10 in a box right now. I use them once in a while if I want to setup a new tank, this summer I will be setting up tubs out side and I will use a few of them.
 

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Next question how much work is an under gravel filter? The tank came with just the base and I don't know any thing about them. I'm basically looking for something that's easy to maintain.I want sand not gravel and live plants. The water here is extremely hard. All my electronics are in surge protectors. I live 5 miles in from the Gulf of Mexico in Florida.
How deep does the sand need to be?
What do I need to plant the live plants in?
Is gravel or sand safer for the bottom dwellers and burrowers?
These are the filters & sand I am looking at from Petco online:
I'm not sure of the gph I need.
Marineland penquin bio wheel power filter HOB
Aqueon quiet flow LED Pro 20 HOB
Caribsea Instant aquarium gravel
I have lights I just need the hood. The lights are little shorter than the tank.
I still have nightmares of cleaning the gravel with an aquarium vacuum.I'm looking for something I can clean that won't tear up the decorations, plants and fish.
 

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Under gravel filters work okay, lots of people hate them but most of that isn't justified. For filters my choices are Sponge, HOB, Under gravel, and Canister in that order. You won't beat the sponge for easy maintenance just squeeze it out 3-4 times a year in a bucket of old tank water. Going with sand not sure how well the Under gravel will work anyway.


How deep does the sand need to be? I do my sand 2" or less, some tanks have 1/2".

What do I need to plant the live plants in? Some people use pots to do plants but many of mine are just rooted in my sand substrate. Also depends on the plants if you use Java fern those will attach to rocks or drift wood.

Is gravel or sand safer for the bottom dwellers and burrowers? If the gravel is small enough the fish can move it around but most of my fish like the sand better.


I'm not sure of the gph I need. A good rule is to have enough GPH to turn the water over 3 times per hour so 29g tank would be 90-100 GPH. But this number only works for HOG and Canisters, sponge filters are different. Just get one big enough for the tank they are rated per gallon so get one bigger than the tank.

Marineland penquin bio wheel power filter HOB I would go with Aqeon 30 or the Marineland 200 both are bigger than the tank.

Caribsea Instant aquarium gravel I have never used this but the thought is it has bacteria in the gravel so it will help you cycle the tank faster, I would be a bottle of Tetra Safe Start and go with pool sand from hardware store. Tetra safe start will get the cycle going and will be much cheaper. If the instant aquarium stuff drys out or gets to hot or cold the bacteria can die so you waste your money.

I have lights I just need the hood. The lights are little shorter than the tank.Shorter lights won't hurt anything just means the plants on the ends won't get as much light. I'm not a expert on lights I use simple shop lights for most of my tanks, and my other choice are the 24" grow light from walmart for $10.

I still have nightmares of cleaning the gravel with an aquarium vacuum.I'm looking for something I can clean that won't tear up the decorations, plants and fish. The simple gravel vacs work good you don't need to vacuum all the gravel in the tank(should only do about half each water change anyway). I don't vacuum right up to my plants I will move the other decor and vacuum there but near the base of the plants I leave alone, the plants will eat that up. With sand substrate you mostly need to skim the top of the sand with the vac and the gunk floats up and down the hose.

Feel free to ask more. I will say I'm not online over the weekend so if I'm slow to reply that is why.
 

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I finally went to Petco. I learned a lot there. I now remember what an air pump is.
If I put in a sponge filter do I still need an air stone? I read someplace that tanks should have both a power filter and a sponge filter.
I don't remember ever waiting for more than a week or two to add fish.
Should I test my tap water? I don't know what chemicals are added.I do know we have very hard water.
My understanding is: first into the tank is the gravel or sand (after rinsing) the plants, decorations, water then hook up & turn on all the pumps, filters & heater (wait a bit for turning on heater). At this point I test the water and add the needed chemicals. Then wait until the tank stabilizes.
Do I have this correct?
Last come lights, camera & action (fish).
 

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Do I have this correct?
First into the tank is the gravel or sand (after rinsing) the plants, decorations, water then hook up & turn on all the pumps, filters & heater (wait a bit for turning on heater). At this point I test the water and add the needed chemicals. Then wait until the tank stabilizes.



 

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An air stone is not needed in the vast majority of tanks, so having one is entirely up to you and your tastes. On larger tanks (4+ ft) it's good to have 2 filters but that's not needed on small tanks. You may have heard them say it's good to have the sponge filter in the tank too that way you have a cycled filter to use at any moment for a quarantine tank. That's a very common reason for people to have both.

Good to test your tap water just to make sure it's not crazy weird.

You you got the setting up part right. I would wait till the next day to test your tank water, just because.
 

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Real quick regarding filtration - the general rule of thumb is 5-8x turnover for canister filters and 8-10x for HOBs. The reason for the difference is pretty simple - space. The HOB filter has limited space for media, and thus bacteria, so it needs to turn over the water faster to keep the ammonia concentration low enough for the smaller bacteria colony to handle. Canister filters house WAY more media than an HOB, so it's not necessary for the turnover rate to be so high because there is plenty of bacteria to consume the higher ammonia concentration. The filter operating at maximum capacity is a very dangerous position to be in - you WANT there to be room for growth, which is why it's almost always best to go bigger than you need on filtration. What you ACTUALLY need for filtration is a function of what you want to do. Heavily planted 10 gallon with a Betta doesn't need a filter doing 100 gph. Conversely, a 90 gallon tank with no plants and a pair of oscars will need more than 300 gph turn over.

Another thing to think about is pH. You had mentioned having hard water - bacteria colonies in the tank are not as efficient at handling ammonia at the higher pH levels. What that means is that it might require a bacteria colony twice as big at a pH of 8.5 versus 6, so you should take that into account when choosing a filter.
 
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