New tank setup

New to freshwater? This is the place to post!

New tank setup

Postby Aestolia » 2008-06-25 13:35

Hello everyone,

So thought I'd throw out a couple of little uncertainties I have with the new tank.

It's a 56g tank (aprox. 76L x 45.5W x 63.5H cm) I've decided on sand over gravel, i like the natural look of it better, so it's got 60lbs of Argonite settling at the moment (I was told about 1lbs/gallon). I'm going to be using live plants over plastic, but from what I understand, I shouldn't place them in until my tank is cycling, since the plants will also eat up some of the nitrate slowing the startup process of my cycle. Long term I'm aiming for Cichlids, like my little avatar buddy up there (I really like Green Terrors) and possibly some tiger barbs, though since I've only really thought far enough ahead as to: Tank Size, and Cichlids, I know I still need to do some research into fish compatibility. I have a power filter adequate for up to 70g, and the light /canopy came with the tank, so I'm going to assume that it should be adequate for the tank.

I've not thought very much about fishless/fish cycling. I'm considering using Danio's, largely because I'm a little giddy about my new tank and seeing it empty will make me pout. However, I do feel a bit bad about giving the poor guys a hard lot in life. I've read about a lot of the different fishless methods, of them I think I'd lean more towards using pure ammonia and a dropped to kick start it.

So having said this (pulls out her can of worms and readies a can opener) I was wondering if anyone has any opinions on this method of fishless over others.

Also, a bit on the silly side, but how far down should I be placing my thermometer. I mean the surface water should theoretically be warmer than the bottom water right? So should I put it about half way down the tank to get the 'average' temperature?

----Edit----

As an after thought, I realized that cichlids will likely enjoy munching on plants, so I'm looking for something a bit hardier in that department too. I know about Java Ferns, and Anubias, can anybody recommend some other plants for me?
-----
An empty tank 56g tank, awaiting me to make up my fickle mind.
User avatar
Aestolia
Member
 
Posts: 15
Joined: 2008-06-25 12:27
Location: Ottawa, On

Re: New tank setup

Postby dekker » 2008-06-26 05:24

hi Aestolia :)

i would go for a fishless cycle, do you know anyone with a tank already setup, you could get them to give you a squeeze from there filter to kick start yours,i'am going to start a new tank in a couple of weeks it is a 240 lt i'am a bit inpatient myself bit its best to take your time, its worth it in the end, post some pics when you can perhaps at each stage of the tank build that would be nice to see, hope all goes well. :)


dekker :)
ENJOY YOUR FISH ENJOY LIFE
User avatar
dekker
Regular member
 
Posts: 217
Joined: 2008-05-23 06:35
Location: ROTHERHAM UK

Re: New tank setup

Postby KittyKat » 2008-06-26 11:20

Aestolia wrote:Hello everyone,

Hey
So thought I'd throw out a couple of little uncertainties I have with the new tank.

NP, we're here to help, after all :hug: anyways, it's always better to ask then not!
It's a 56g tank (aprox. 76L x 45.5W x 63.5H cm) I've decided on sand over gravel, i like the natural look of it better, so it's got 60lbs of Argonite settling at the moment (I was told about 1lbs/gallon).

Are you talking here about "CaribSea Aragonite" sand? If yes, you need to be careful as those are all marine sand substrates as they are made from crushed shell and coral: they are not advisable for freshwater fish as people have had problems in the past with gill irritation due to small particles. But if you washed it out very well, then you may not have a problem.. although I would have to honestly say that the only freshwater fish I would consider putting with a marine substrate are African Rift Lake cichlids most of which are not what I'd call "beginner" fish, but some of which I would not hesitate to suggest as a "first fish" to someone I know will look after them well and will research them. On the other hand African cichlids tend to be expensive and not everyone can afford them.
The best sand for a more "Amazonian" community would be just common play sand available from garden centers, but while that's alright, anything NOT marked as play sand should not be used as it will be too "sharp" (in sand quality terms).
I'm going to be using live plants over plastic,

Excellent!
but from what I understand, I shouldn't place them in until my tank is cycling, since the plants will also eat up some of the nitrate slowing the startup process of my cycle.

Not necessarily. In fact, I find that having plants will make the tank "fish safe" much quicker then no plants as you will bring in bacteria on the plants themselves.
Long term I'm aiming for Cichlids, like my little avatar buddy up there (I really like Green Terrors) and possibly some tiger barbs, though since I've only really thought far enough ahead as to: Tank Size, and Cichlids, I know I still need to do some research into fish compatibility.

Cichlids are considered the kings of fish ;) but Green Terrors, although are wonderful fish, are much too big for your tank. For largest fish I would recommend that you take the length of the tank, dividing it by 5 and then take the width, dividing it by 2, use whichever is smallest as the maximum full adult size of the species you look at keeping. In your case this will be 15cm or 6 inches. Why don't you have a look at some of the profiles that have been written by our members? They can be found about half way down the index page.
I have a power filter adequate for up to 70g, and the light /canopy came with the tank, so I'm going to assume that it should be adequate for the tank.

Depends on stocking, but should not be a problem in your case.
I've not thought very much about fishless/fish cycling. I'm considering using Danio's, largely because I'm a little giddy about my new tank and seeing it empty will make me pout. However, I do feel a bit bad about giving the poor guys a hard lot in life. I've read about a lot of the different fishless methods, of them I think I'd lean more towards using pure ammonia and a dropped to kick start it.
So having said this (pulls out her can of worms and readies a can opener) I was wondering if anyone has any opinions on this method of fishless over others.

I prefer fishless with a large prawn as source for ammonia: all you have to do is take a large prawn, pop it in and leave it in there for 4-5 weeks. Safe, less effort then bleach and happy fish. A fish going through a cycle is very likely to die as the ammonia and nitrites are very toxic and ammonia can "burn" them. The way I look at it is that a fish is a live animal, so they should all be treated as such.. how would you like to go for a swim in blach? :P
Yes, there are some people there who thing fish are objects and can't feel pain, I can only show you the two sides from my point of view - it's up to you to decide what you do!
Also, a bit on the silly side, but how far down should I be placing my thermometer. I mean the surface water should theoretically be warmer than the bottom water right? So should I put it about half way down the tank to get the 'average' temperature?

Not silly :) With good circulation, the temperature will be within one degree on top and bottom, so it shouldn't matter. But yes, half way up will give most accurate. Also with heaters it's a good idea to place them horizontally, rather then vertically, about 2/3 of the way down for most effective and even heating.
As an after thought, I realized that cichlids will likely enjoy munching on plants, so I'm looking for something a bit hardier in that department too. I know about Java Ferns, and Anubias, can anybody recommend some other plants for me?

Not true, only some eat plants. The cichlids to watch out for are the African Rift Lake herbivores and some of the Central Americans, but you should be fine with most that are suited to your tank in terms of size.
For thick leaved plants, there are a large number of Anubias, Java ferns, some swords, some onions and some of the thicker leaved Vallis.
But I think you should probably be fine with Hygrophilas, mosses, hornwort and even maybe cabomba.

If you have any questions at all, feel free to ask!
Last edited by KittyKat on 2008-06-26 14:05, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Correction
Kat
stock list | main display tank | 60 litre cycle log (aka, guide for beginners) | Flickr
User avatar
KittyKat
Site admin
 
Posts: 6873
Joined: 2005-09-04 14:50
Location: Norwich, UK

Re: New tank setup

Postby Aestolia » 2008-06-26 12:02

KittyKat wrote:Are you talking here about "CaribSea Aragonite" sand? ....... I would consider putting with a marine substrate are African Rift Lake cichlids...


That's the stuff. I had been considering African's when I was buying everything to get all set up. He (the FS guy) said that the sand would be good for those kinds of cichlids.

KittyKat wrote:The best sand for a more "Amazonian" community would be just common play sand available from garden centers


That's good to know, I may look into that. Though now I'm a little pouty now at the thought of changing out my substrate, though it is something I will certainly consider. Especially since my flavour of fish shifted a bit since setting up, and looking into community compatibility.

KittyKat wrote:Not necessarily. In fact, I find that having plants will make the tank "fish safe" much quicker then no plants as you will bring in bacteria on the plants themselves.


Would the bushy plants be better for this than leafy ones? Based on the concept of greater surface area.

KittyKat wrote:Green Terrors...are much too big for your tank. For largest fish I would recommend that you take the length of the tank and divide it by 5 and the width and divide it by 2, use whichever is smallest as the maximum full adult size of the species you look at keeping. In your case this will be 15cm or 6 inches.


I hadn't heard this before, thanks for the input on that, Does it matter that my tank isn't really of 'standard' dimensions. it's taller than average tank, making the L:W ratio much lower than standard tanks. Should this affect the 5/2 in some way? (like 4/3 instead or something of the like)

KittyKat wrote:Why don't you have a look at some of the profiles that have been written by our members?


I'll do that :D

KittyKat wrote:with heaters it's a good idea to place them horizontally, rather then vertically, about 2/3 of the way down for most effective and even heating.


My current heater isn't fully submersible, though if I find I'm having troubles with heat (which is always a possibility) I'll be sure to keep this in mind

KittyKat wrote:...cichlids to watch out for are the African Rift Lake herbivores and some of the Central Americans......For thick leaved plants, there are a large number of Anubias, Java ferns, some swords, some onions and some of the thicker leaved Vallis.
But I think you should probably be fine with Hygrophilas, mosses, hornwort and even maybe cabomba.

If you have any questions at all, feel free to ask!


Thanks again for all your input, The purchase was half spur of the moment (I want a tank dangit). But, I knew enough not to just get some fish until I had done more research on it, just wanted the big purchases done with.
-----
An empty tank 56g tank, awaiting me to make up my fickle mind.
User avatar
Aestolia
Member
 
Posts: 15
Joined: 2008-06-25 12:27
Location: Ottawa, On

Re: New tank setup

Postby KittyKat » 2008-06-26 15:01

Aestolia wrote:That's the stuff. I had been considering African's when I was buying everything to get all set up. He (the FS guy) said that the sand would be good for those kinds of cichlids.

Even for Africans, from experience, it's best to use "freshwater" sand.. having said that, I do know people who use marine sands and I personally use pea sized gravel for my Labidochromis.
KittyKat wrote:Not necessarily. In fact, I find that having plants will make the tank "fish safe" much quicker then no plants as you will bring in bacteria on the plants themselves.

Would the bushy plants be better for this than leafy ones? Based on the concept of greater surface area.

Yes, but I don't find much difference between the two for cycling. On the other hand, for nitrate removal, bushy plants are most of the time considerably better. Also that reminded me of the "quick start" things you can buy to help cycle the tank.. maybe I'm just too much of a cynic, but I don't believe in them myself.
I hadn't heard this before, thanks for the input on that, Does it matter that my tank isn't really of 'standard' dimensions. it's taller than average tank, making the L:W ratio much lower than standard tanks. Should this affect the 5/2 in some way? (like 4/3 instead or something of the like)

I only heard of other people using this a few years after I "made it up" to use for myself. The way I look at it is this:
  • Fish are active swimmers, so need space: 5x body length gives barely enough to speed up (in human terms I think of it as 5 large steps)
  • Fish need to be able to turn around when they get to the end of their tank: 2x body length means that while turning, they can have enough space to actually not do a pin turn or a turn on the spot
So with that in mind, you also have to consider the type of fish.. if it's a pleco or something similar which does not swim much, you can go larger without too much of a problem, but if it's something very active like a highly territorial cichlid, then it may be a good idea to leave it some space as cramped quarters can lead to health problems.. and then of course there is always the aggression to consider, which may limit the fish you have as well. And yes, there are people who will put a 12 inch fish into a 24 inch tank and I know exactly what I would love to do to them as keeping fish in an environment which is too small for them leads to all sorts of problems and issues. Also something to think about is that small tanks are not build for extremely large fish and if a large fish gets spooked and goes at the glass rather fast, it can break (I think that happened to someone with a pleco on here, just as they came into the room)
My current heater isn't fully submersible, though if I find I'm having troubles with heat (which is always a possibility) I'll be sure to keep this in mind

What wattage is your heater? I have heard of ones you can't submerse, but I've never come across them myself as submersiblility is one of the requirements for me!
Thanks again for all your input, The purchase was half spur of the moment (I want a tank dangit). But, I knew enough not to just get some fish until I had done more research on it, just wanted the big purchases done with.

Hehe, once you get a bit more into it, you'll find out how big a purchase fish can be! Why don't you try to find a local fish club and go to some shows? Something there may inspire you.. :bonk:
Kat
stock list | main display tank | 60 litre cycle log (aka, guide for beginners) | Flickr
User avatar
KittyKat
Site admin
 
Posts: 6873
Joined: 2005-09-04 14:50
Location: Norwich, UK

Re: New tank setup

Postby Aestolia » 2008-06-27 02:01

KittyKat wrote:I only heard of other people using this a few years after I "made it up" to use for myself....

That seems quite rational, I'll probably be looking at some other breeds then.

KittyKat wrote:Also something to think about is that small tanks are not build for extremely large fish and if a large fish gets spooked and goes at the glass rather fast, it can break (I think that happened to someone with a pleco on here, just as they came into the room)

That's pretty frightening, My tank is on the far side of a room, so hopefully I shouldn't have to worry about that specifically, but still a good thing to keep in mind.

KittyKat wrote:What wattage is your heater? I have heard of ones you can't submerse, but I've never come across them myself as submersiblility is one of the requirements for me!

I've got a 200 watt heater at the moment, seems to do alright in the tank as it's sitting at ~25C

KittyKat wrote:Hehe, once you get a bit more into it, you'll find out how big a purchase fish can be! Why don't you try to find a local fish club and go to some shows? Something there may inspire you.. :bonk:


Oh I was fairly aware of the costs associated with setting up which is why I waited for a nice hefty tax refund! :D I did find a local group, however they pretty much shut down July-August, so I'll have to wait until the end of Sept. to get to a meet and greet of some kind. So I'll just continue to pester all of you until then. :cheers:
-----
An empty tank 56g tank, awaiting me to make up my fickle mind.
User avatar
Aestolia
Member
 
Posts: 15
Joined: 2008-06-25 12:27
Location: Ottawa, On

Re: New tank setup

Postby dekker » 2008-06-27 05:26

hi Aestolia :)

its not pestering :) its nice to talk to anyone in another part of the world that has an interest in this fantastic hobby of ours, just keep chatting theres nothing better, ho yes don't forget pics,pics,pics,pics
now i'am doing the pestering lol, sorry. :)


dekker :)
ENJOY YOUR FISH ENJOY LIFE
User avatar
dekker
Regular member
 
Posts: 217
Joined: 2008-05-23 06:35
Location: ROTHERHAM UK

Re: New tank setup

Postby Aestolia » 2008-06-28 21:34

Well as requested here's my, now settled plant-less, lifeless, uncycled set up *sigh*

I think I'm going to have to get a stepping stool as the tank comes up to my shoulders, making a bit hard to arrange the bottom. >.<

I had to get one piece of tacky for my tank... it just felt... mandatory, so I got the ruined columns since I liked them best. a couple small rocks I got from my cousin. I still want to get some larger flat rocks to build up some natural nooks and the like over on the left side. Just trying to figure out how big, what colour, where to get them etc. etc.

So this is it, my first tank.

Image
The horror of forgetting to rinse some of the sand :o

Image
Starting to look better now.
-----
An empty tank 56g tank, awaiting me to make up my fickle mind.
User avatar
Aestolia
Member
 
Posts: 15
Joined: 2008-06-25 12:27
Location: Ottawa, On

Re: New tank setup

Postby dekker » 2008-06-29 07:44

coming along nicely aestolia it is a pain washing the sand/ gravel just on with mine now, just keep the end picture in your mind, and you will get there before you know it,but its looking nice more pics at next stage ok.


cheers..........dekker :)
ENJOY YOUR FISH ENJOY LIFE
User avatar
dekker
Regular member
 
Posts: 217
Joined: 2008-05-23 06:35
Location: ROTHERHAM UK

Re: New tank setup

Postby KittyKat » 2008-06-30 15:37

I can just imagine that arch with a bit of moss and Anubias on it! Looks excellent, would love to see ready for fish :yu:
Kat
stock list | main display tank | 60 litre cycle log (aka, guide for beginners) | Flickr
User avatar
KittyKat
Site admin
 
Posts: 6873
Joined: 2005-09-04 14:50
Location: Norwich, UK

Re: New tank setup

Postby dekker » 2008-07-01 05:39

as kat says more photos when you get it ready for fish and then when you first fish are in, tremendous feeling when you put your first fish in and see them settle to there new home. :)


dekker :)
ENJOY YOUR FISH ENJOY LIFE
User avatar
dekker
Regular member
 
Posts: 217
Joined: 2008-05-23 06:35
Location: ROTHERHAM UK

Re: New tank setup

Postby Aestolia » 2008-07-04 13:28

Thought I'd do an update on the tank, which is still quite empty. Some things came up so I'll have to put off filling the tank with anything for about a month or so (well it will be good and well cycled by then...).

So, I'm going to have to do some shopping around, and hope (fingers crossed) that my LFS will do orders, they seem like they'd be pretty good about that kind of thing.

So I'm looking at getting 7 or 8 Aulonocara's, 1 or 2 males. One I get the rest the tank set up I need to figure if there would be a territory problem between the two.
2 Baenschis(F)
2 Firefish(can't find the specific name) (F)
2 Hueserii(F)

Yeah, Red, Yellow, and Blue... what can I say?

For the male(s) I was looking at the Gertrudaeor Chitande.

Then with them 3 Cuckoo catfish... as much as I like the Featherfin... he would be a monster in the tank (almost twice as big) and I would have to do a big ph balancing act to keep both in. I'm going to pass on the Pleco's for the same reason.

Besides if they do come to breeding, I'd like to see the cuckoo's namesake, though it would make breeding the peacocks more difficult.
-----
An empty tank 56g tank, awaiting me to make up my fickle mind.
User avatar
Aestolia
Member
 
Posts: 15
Joined: 2008-06-25 12:27
Location: Ottawa, On

Re: New tank setup

Postby KittyKat » 2008-07-05 17:38

Peacock set-up needs to be more open then usual for Lake Cichlids, but still needs to have a reasonable amount of caves and rockwork, I use clay pots and slate myself, but people also use boulders & slate or marine rock.. I reckon try the arch at one end with a rock pile at the other, what do you think?

The "Firefish" is a hybrid, so it does not have a scientific name.. the guy who breeds them says that only 30% of males attain that colouration.

Probably best to go with one male and two females per species of three species (since almost all females are grey/brown, maybe best to just base your choice on the males?), but chose species that do not look like each other.. or alternatively go for 3 males, one of each species and a trio (1m, 2f) of Labidochromis caeruleus (which are the yellow labs that I have)

Good to see you planning :)
Kat
stock list | main display tank | 60 litre cycle log (aka, guide for beginners) | Flickr
User avatar
KittyKat
Site admin
 
Posts: 6873
Joined: 2005-09-04 14:50
Location: Norwich, UK

Re: New tank setup

Postby Aestolia » 2008-07-05 21:08

Well I've got time on my hands as it's over a month before I can fill my tank anyways.

You're pretty much reading my mind on the placement, Mount Rock on the left, and the Anubias covered arches on the right. It would give two different territories I think (well in my mind, dunno about fish minds)

If peacocks need more space than normal, then I'll probably only do 2 trios, because of the space needed. If the Labs and Peacocks get along then I do like your suggestion of the trio of Labs, and 3 Males Peacocks. Would there be an aggression problem though with no females?

If anyone knows a good site to show different breeds of aquatic plants it would be appreciated. Trying to find pictures of different anubias is getting somewhat frustrating. Have to find that Perfect plant to grow up around the columns. :D
-----
An empty tank 56g tank, awaiting me to make up my fickle mind.
User avatar
Aestolia
Member
 
Posts: 15
Joined: 2008-06-25 12:27
Location: Ottawa, On

Re: New tank setup

Postby KittyKat » 2008-07-05 22:14

Try http://tropica.dk for plants. Good resource! You can view the plants by species, or go into the "Advanced search" and put in your tank parameters.. altho personally I haven't seen any difference between "Very Easy" and "Easy" in terms of difficulty or the "Hard" and "Very Hard".

With most Rift Lake cichlids, you need to either overstock (first case) or understock (second case). In the second case, there will be less aggression as there will be no females which are quite a big incentive for competition between males, but I think that having females is overall is less stressful all round, but not by much.. Going for something in between may actually mean that you may have more problems then if you go for either, but I can't say that for definite as each fish is very individual and you never know how they will react.

As for Labs and Peacocks: Labs are actually quite different, being Mbuna (as opposed to Peacock), and while Mbuna on the whole are more aggressive, the Yellow Labs (not the other Labs tho) are peaceful, but still able to hold their own if need be. Also that means that because they are a different body shape, colour, have different behavioral patterns and different living preferences the "peaceful" Peacocks should not be too aggressive to them.

p.s. Recommend that you avoid A. jacobfreibergi (all colour morph)as too aggressive, but apart from that most should be fine!
p.p.s. The "Firefish" may actually be linebred from Aulonocara sp. ''Stuartgranti Maleri"
Kat
stock list | main display tank | 60 litre cycle log (aka, guide for beginners) | Flickr
User avatar
KittyKat
Site admin
 
Posts: 6873
Joined: 2005-09-04 14:50
Location: Norwich, UK

Next

Return to Getting started!

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests

cron