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cartmanis
01-27-2007, 07:22 PM
Hi folks,

As I mentioned in my introduction thread, I'm setting up a 90 gallon tank in our Dining room. Plan is for a Community tank, focusing on the usual small calm fish. Barbs, Tetra's, maybe a few other as I read more and make some decisions/see what is available locally. Plus the kids will likely try to make me buy an Oscar or something lol. (No guys, can't buy him. At least unless he is the only guy you want, cause those flashy neons would be quick snacks for him.) Much as I liked my Jack Dempsey's and such in the past. The trickier fish I will likely look at will be maybe a "shark", some clown loaches, and my 6 year old was talking Angels. (though I'd have to be careful to avoid nippers if we end up with Angels/Gourami types).

The tank is 48" wide by 18" deep and 24" high. Have it on a nice solid stand I have, which is then on a solid floor on a concrete slab, so I think I'm set for support.

I placed an order with one of the local pet stores to get in some 1/8" natural gravel. I'll probably slop it to be a little shallower at the front, thicker near the back where most of the live plants will be. Ordered 50Kg, so hoping that will be enough.

Looking into filters and lighting now. My old filters were a Fluval 203 (I believe) and a Magnum 350. Both are rather old now, and I'd really like to get one good filter that I can setup below the tank in the stand, and have the intake deep on one side in the back, and the output on the other side. I have some reading to do, see what options there are now. If someone has some recommendations, please let me know :) I know I use to lust after the German made ones (Eheim If I spelled that right), but a quick look around and it seems there are a few other choices, and they all look much easier to use than my old ones. I like to shoot for more filtering capacity than the actual tank. The guy at the pet store was saying the newer ones can have heating and UV built in. Sounds interesting, but mixed feelings. I like the idea of less stuff in the tank itself hanging in sight.

I'm also going to need some lighting. I have 2 older fixtures I had for the smaller tanks that I use to use, and found those to be enough to light the tanks, but never had much luck with plants in the larger tank. Basically they allowed me 2 24" bulbs. I'm thinking there must be a way to use some inexpensive fluorescent fixtures that you would buy for a shop or something, and put some decent bulbs in them. But maybe I'm dreaming. Again, more reading, recommendations welcome :)

I'll have 2 weeks or so before the gravel will be in, so no rush. :)

Abbeys_Mom
01-27-2007, 07:48 PM
I would avoid Barbs if you are looking to avoid "nippers". In a 90g you have Sooooo many options. For a community, I would definitely avoid the larger Cichlids. You would definitely need some kind of larger fish. I have found that Guppies look silly in a tank that big :)
A fairly peaceful cichlid (larger then an angel) would be a Festivum, they aren't much to look at in the store, but they get really pretty. I found they look a little like angels, but not as nippy. If you want to limit the aggression, I find getting one of each kind (with the exception of schooling fish) seems to work. An example would be, 1 angel or 1 gourami (pearls are less nippy then 3 spot or gold), 1 medium cichlid etc.

If you are going for smaller schooling fish, you have to be careful not to add anything that will eat them, like angels :)

cocoa_pleco
01-27-2007, 09:10 PM
cichlids are great for a 90. Go with some community cichlids like kribs.

Or, you could put 100 tetras in the tank!! my lfs has 80 for 100$

cartmanis
01-27-2007, 09:36 PM
Thanks :)

Ahh yes, I remember now, Angels eating live bearer fry, lol, not a great choice if I plan on neons and such. :)

Yeah, I like the smaller african cichlids I've seen, but going through the 3 places I have for fish, they didn't have much choice.

I think I like the idea of large schools. It would be really cool to have a couple of large schools of fish swimming around.

Pheww, reading up on lighting, a lot to absorb.

Anybody familiar with FilStar XP4 Canister Filter? Or that brand in general.

cocoa_pleco
01-27-2007, 09:56 PM
most canister filters are pretty basic. Canisters are the best filters for over 10g tanks by far.

Wallyfish
01-28-2007, 08:53 AM
This sounds like a really cool tank. I think Jeff has the best large community tank. He can probably give you better advice than me. If I had a 100gal that I was going to make into a school tank, I would go with schools of just 10 to maximize the amount of schools you get to see. My first plan would be

10 zebra danios
10 neon tetra
10 glolight tetra
10 harlequin rasbora
10 panda cory catfish

Thats over half the tank right there. The rest is tougher to come up with in my opinion. I think it would take much more thought as well as some visits to the pet store to look at fish. Personally I wouldn't mix schools of larger tetras with schools of smaller tetras and would avoid barbs in order to reduce nipping and bullying.
I hear that black gravel brings out the color of tetras more. Natural that you ordered should be fine though as long as you keep it thin and gravel vac it regularly.
One thing that is important to note however is that small fish probably look really small in large tanks which is probably why I would never do this myself.

Nautilus291
01-28-2007, 10:03 AM
Maybe instead of corys you could get a group of smaller loaches. I have 6 of them and they really love to swim in groups. Alot of the time They swim in a v shape almost like they have ranks. Ive been trying to get a picture but its hard to get a clear shot of them.

jweintraub
01-28-2007, 10:27 AM
As far as filtration is concerned, you mentioned German brands, in my 20G I've got an Eheim Powerball and in my 42G I've got a JBL Crystalprofi 250. Both filters work great, but I am also in Germany and everything here runs on 220v although I'm sure you can find Eheim in 110v, not sure about JBL.

Drumachine09
01-28-2007, 02:50 PM
With 90 Gallons to play around with, you could make one hell of a mbuna tank.

Lady Hobbs
01-28-2007, 05:05 PM
You need to take a walk thru a fish store to fall in love with all the different community species. I would stay away from barbs, as mentioned by Kimmers. You might like a "show species" to set the tank off. Silver Dollars are nice, timid fish and grow to around 6 inches and go with everything. Swordtails, platies add a nice color as well as a bunch of neon's. Pearl gourami's are nice. Black skirt tetra's are nice.

You will most likely want to go with top swimmers, bottom swimmers and mid swimmers so you have all over activity.

Please do a fishless cyle to avoid fish loss and a ton of work. Check out the Tips of Newbies part one in Tank Setup thread for a quick version.

cartmanis
01-28-2007, 05:56 PM
Thanks folks,

Did the walkthrough of the local pet stores yesterday. Choices will be limited. I don't think I could pull off an african type tank for cichlids. I found a few different ones, but not many. I didn't ask about orders yet for them, so I may have more options than I saw.

I need to get a decent test kit again. I have my old one, but I question whether it will be still good or not, as it is 5 years old or more, and been sitting in the basement for 3 years. I should pop it open and see. My water should be fairly soft, since we have well water, we have to use a water softener as well as special one to remove biologicals (read tanins from what I saw/heard from the guy - we had the 2nd highest reading ever found in Canada when they checked that lol.) Once I baseline that, it will maybe make my decisions on fish a bit easier. I have a few good books. Vol 1-3 of Dr. Rudiger Riehl and Hans A. Baensch Aquarium Atlas. They should give me some good references on what suits my water conditions.

For barbs, my leanings were towards ruby nosed, they seem to be fairly peaceful. But, we'll see.

I like the idea of a few silver dollars.

cartmanis
01-29-2007, 07:05 PM
Update:

I'm narrowing in on a few choices for new equipement.

I like the look of the Hydor external heater. Looks like something that will install very easily, as well as hidden below the tank instead of inside. Looking around for some reviews of it, make sure it isn't a big mistake versus just buying a submersible.

The Filstar XP3 canister filter is rated for 175 Gallon tank, and looks to be a pretty good price to give me head room.

Still looking at lighting. Have to hit some hardware stores to see what I can buy and use. I may end up using the 2 strip lights I have and seeing how it goes with the plants.

Pics to come.

cocoa_pleco
01-29-2007, 07:58 PM
it'd be cool to make a HUGE mbuna tank. it'd be friggin sweet

cartmanis
01-29-2007, 08:37 PM
So, I tested my water.

PH 6.0
Hardness: Gh - <20ppm, Kh - 20ppm

I think that puts me naturally into the territory that most tetra's and such like.

I love the cichlids from Malawi, but I don't think my water will suit them, even if I could find them at the local shops. (And I refuse to get into adjusting water again - been there, hated that lol)

Make me wonder If I can get discus though. It would seem right up their ally. And I do have that 40 gallon tall that might fit in my office some time in the future :) lol.

cartmanis
01-31-2007, 05:13 PM
Hey folks,

So I've ordered my filter and heaters. I did order the XP3 mentioned above. Seems like a nice straight forward canister filter with about twice the capacity of my tank.
Heaters odered were 2 200watt submersibles. I'm hoping that will keep things nice, and I can hide them away down at the bottom of the tank in the back.

Lighting I am narrowing in on. I think I'm going to go with 2 strip lights from teh hardware store (so 4 48" bulbs at 40 watts each). That should take up a good portion of the top of my tank. I looked at VHO's and such to get more watts per gallon, but dang, I already dropped a bunch on the filter and such, adding another 3-500$ on lighting just wasn't in the cards for now :). I'll go for the cheaper stuff and see how it goes. 8 bucks for a bulb is a lot easier to manage than 30, as is 30 bucks for a fixture that takes 2 of them versus 300 lol.

Not like I'm probably going to have rare and exotic plants from my lfs anyway. :)

The bulk of my wait now will be for the gravel I think. Once I can get that in, I can fill the tank, get things hooked up, and start cycling. I'll look for the fishless cycling info next, though I think I'm okay to start adding plants once the tank is filled and such.

cartmanis
01-31-2007, 05:21 PM
A couple of pictures, if this works :)

cartmanis
01-31-2007, 09:22 PM
67 dollars later, I have 2 shop lights (48") that take 2 bulbs each. I bought 2 "grow" lights, and 2 daylight ones. Not quite sure how I'll get them above the tank yet, but gives me something to work on. :) I may start by just hanging them and seeing how they work, and then adding another if I have to. Once I know how much I need, I'll see about building them into a hood or something to house them permanently.

cartmanis
02-10-2007, 11:01 PM
Yay, I have my gravel. :) Ended up they didn't order my stuff at the LFS I went to, so I said forget it, and drove over to Truro to the bigger one there and bought some natural stone stuff. 40kg, hopeing that is enough lol. Heavy carrying all 4 bags out at once.

So, tomorrow I rinse out the aquarium, suck the water out, and then rinse the gravel and start putting it all together. Hopefully by tomorrow afternoon I'll be adding the ammonia to start cycling it.