View Full Version : first tank- tips appreciated-

10-26-2007, 07:12 PM
I developed an appreciation of tanks after living in a house with one. So when I found a 140gal for a couple hundred bucks I bought it. After doing some reading and investigating, I thought (and was planning) on setting up a low impact cold tank.

I have the entire bottom covered with an under gravel filter with about 4-5 inches of gravel. I know that's a lot, but I slope it toward the back so it gives a cool stadium effect, effectly increasing the floor area. I have no powerheads, but doubled up bubblers instead. The only other filter is a 110 Aquaguard. The water is plain old tap water, kept around 60-69degrees f.

My plan for "low impact" was that I thought I was under loading the tank, hence the slight lack of filterization. I have about 8-10 feeder goldfish with about 20 minnows and a couple crawdads. The goldfish are already getting big, like in 6 months they went from 12 cent 1 inch moochies to 5-6 inch lunkers. My main problem is introducing new fish. The crawdads manage to catch and eat about one fish a week, so eventually, i'm buying a new batch of a dozen or so feeders to restock the tank with. I thought I was really being over zealous with how slowly I was introducing the new fish to the tank but i still have about a 70% die-off rate over the first week on introduction. Surprisingly, very few die the first night, like maybe one or two, which i figured was normal. But to have another 7-8 die over that week is what gets me. When i introduce them to the tank, I use a large plastic barrier "quarantine" floater area that I fill with water from the store. This area is approximately 3-5 gallons and has dedicated bubbler. For the first day I don't allow any water transfer with the rest of the tank, so itís just a temp equalizer. Afterwards I lower in the tank a bit to allow a slow exchange over the course of the next day. From what I read, this is more then most people do. What is weird is that the most die-offs occur after the first couple days are past.

Is this typical? Any constructive help appreciated.

10-26-2007, 07:24 PM
and Oh yeah... I change the water a couple times a month using water conditioner and I tried adding a bit of salt a couple times when adding fish as it claims to reduce stress. It didn't seem to make a bit of difference.

I haven't had a fish die that wasn't introduction or crawdad related.

I'm also wondering if there are any other compatible fish with the goldfish and minnows in water this cold. I was thinking about a local solution, like a Pumpkin Seed Sunfish (bluegill) from a local pond, but I don't want something so aggresive.

10-26-2007, 08:12 PM
Ok, you need alot more filtration. I reccomend a large cannister filter. Obvioulsy, the crawdads are killng alot of your fish, so you need to either choose larger goldfish and get rid of the crawdads. and those 10 feeder goldfih will get really big, so the stocking sounds fine how it is.

Did you cycle your tank?

10-26-2007, 08:34 PM
Thanks for the reply.

The tank is fully established, its been up for almost 7 months. Though, admittedly, I never did any water testing, instead figuring on sheer water volume and frequent water changes to make up for it. I did visually see the water cycle though when I first set it up, as it went through severl murky phases in the first month. But its been clear and stable for at least the last 6 months.

Are you saying its lack of filterization causing the fish to die? I thought I had more than enough water volume for the small number of small fish I had to support my filter decision. Isn't it safe to assume if it was a filter problem, I would have fish dying at times other than when I'm first introducing them to the tank? Its always the newly introduced fish that die too, not established ones.

I'm not thrilled about the crawdads eating the fish, but I'm slowly getting a fish population that is either too big or smart enough to avoid the crawdads because they get nipped a couple times. But they're so darn interesting, the crawdads. The minnows seem to have an instinct to avoid them as I don't think a single one of them got ate. Its always goldfish.
But yeah, I might end up giving them their own tank eventually. I keep them well fed by hand feeding them pieces of dry cat food. But the goldfish literally try to steal the food from the crawdads if they don't retreat into a burrow. That's the only time I saw one of them first hand catch a fish. They ended up keeping their hold on the fish and let the cat food float away. The fish I have from the first batch I got are more cautious than that and are careful to give the crawdads a berth. I'm hoping eventually I'll wind up with a group of crawdad resistant fish.

10-26-2007, 09:05 PM
Crays while REALLY cool are not community type critters. Your fish have to sleep, guess when crays are most active... I've lost quite a few fish that way back when I was trying to keep crays... I now know crays get species only tanks with fish that are food not friends...:wink2:

10-26-2007, 09:11 PM
i didnt know they sold crays. Ha kinda cool.

10-26-2007, 09:40 PM
Okay. I guess you guys are selling me on giving the crawdads their own tank. I suppose now I can get more fancy fish if i want and not worry about them becoming crawdad fodder.

I still think there is some problem with introducing new fish to the tank though, as the fatality rate is unacceptable to me.

Can someone give me a reasonable expectation of loss when doing that? When you guys buy fish, what percentage loss do you experience? Any more tips to minimize this loss would be helpful.

The crawdads were caught out of a creek behind my house, btw. I did see some electric blue ones for sale in a store though, but they want 20 smackers for 'em.

Thanks again.

10-28-2007, 02:30 PM
Those goldfish are VERY dirty fish. More filtration indeed.

Loss of new fish varies greatly dependent upon the quality of the stock. I mean, a while back I got 4 fancy guppies from Walmart. All of them died. However, I have also gotten blackskirts from Walmart and none of them died.

You do need to be able to test for water parameters or you will continue to have misfortune. Very, very important step in successfully keeping fish.

Lady Hobbs
10-28-2007, 02:38 PM
And now my two cents worth. I agree with above posters on filtration. Gold fish are dirty fish and need a lot (once a week and large) water changes. I would also get rid of that UGF. Especially with the gravel being deep, a ton of junk is being hoarded under those filter plates and it's a good place for bacteria, worms, etc, to grow.

UGF are the thing of the past pretty much. Years ago everyone seemed to have one but anymore, no one uses them....well, hardly.

10-28-2007, 03:25 PM
Right. The UGFs are indeed things of the past. They get clogged easily and aren't terribly efficient. I find that people who still run UGFs have poor water conditions because of the large amount of junk in/under the filter that is never removed.

10-30-2007, 07:18 PM
Thanks again for the input.

11-09-2007, 10:10 PM
if i'm right corydoras can live in cold water.and i think they won't be very agressive.

11-09-2007, 10:11 PM
Corydoras are NOT coldwater fish. I wouldn't keep them at temperatures much less than about 75 degrees or so.

11-09-2007, 10:34 PM
right, cory's are tropical.

the only coldwater fish are koi, goldfish, weather loaches, and white cloud minnows

11-09-2007, 10:35 PM
...and paradise fish...

11-13-2007, 11:25 PM
Thanks for the replies. I looked into those paradise fish and they are being described as aggresive. I still have my crawdads but they haven't caught anymore fish.

I'm thinking I'll just stick to what i have.

11-15-2007, 05:12 PM
If you're still shopping for filters, for your goldfish, a good rule of thumb is 10 x the GPH i.e. you would want a filter that did 100 gph for a 10 gallon tank. I have a 55 gallon tank and I use two filters: a 350 gph and a 330 gph on either end to get over 550 gph. For a tank your size, a big cannister would be great. Just read the GPH.

You can't really do better than a big tank for stocking goldfish. Just remember that each single tail fish (common, comets, and shubunkins) should have 20 gallons and fancy double tailed goldfish can have 10 gallons each.


01-01-2008, 08:45 PM
So just incase you haven't heard enough about filtration.....
One thing that you have to realize is that in a tank that big, and without proper filtraion, the water can separate into layers, some being more concentrated with toxins than others. I learned this principal when I used to build my own tanks. The water in your tank has a rate at which it should roll over or completely circulate. you're using a 110 filter for 140g of water. plus you have one of the highest waste producing fish that there is. I agree that the best method is going to be a good exterior canister filter. you may also want to add an auxiliary intake. make sure that your intakes are low and that you have provided a good current, which ensures that you will have minimal dead zones in your water. a dead zone being a place that is way leess circulated than the rest of your tank.

01-03-2008, 04:15 AM
cough cough, I still use a UGF, BUT!!! I put filter fiber between the UGF and the gravel, and I only put in 2" to 3" of gravel and I make sure I clean all the way down to the fiber. 25% to 50% only clean. AND I test my water every week. it can be done, you just need to stay on top of your water conditions, oh that and I use power heads.

BUT, when I redo,(it is only temp setup atm) I will be doing sand, ( if I can find the right size) and doing a can or big bio wheel of some kind.

EDIT: I am sure I will get my butt chewed out for doing it this way.. lol