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Splish
06-14-2010, 02:44 PM
I am starting up a small aquarium for the family (including little one's) to enjoy. I love the live plant look and will first get our tank looking great with plants and then add some fish after a week or so. ( I gather that's how it is done for a healthy fish environment).

First off we decided on a small tank to start. I like the eclipse systems because they have a built in filter and a top to keep curious little hands out of the water.

I wonder however if I should go for the 5-6 gallon eclipse is ok to start or if we should get a larger 10-12 gallon? I dont want to go larger than that for now.

i think I will try the ecocomplete soil to keep the plant roots healthy but I wonder if I should add supplemental lighting, the tank will not be in front of a window but a large window is nearby. Is sand or rocks sufficient without the need of ecocomplete, am i overdoing it?

I plan to get 3-4 plant species (ez plants like hygrophilia, bacopa, vallisneria, limnophilia, maybe a moss carpet) to start, see if a couple really take off, get some snails and add a few guppies and tetras, just little guys.

Is this a good idea or am I heading for problems with anyone's experience

Thanks

also, will the fish eat any of these species so that they would be fine if left alone for a week while traveling provided I set the fish tank light on a timer?

little hawaii
06-14-2010, 03:41 PM
Sounds real good, the larger the water volume the better though. I use peatmoss under my gravel for planted sections and they love it. Never used ecosoil

rhonin
06-14-2010, 07:49 PM
Keep in mind the plants and sizes you are looking at.

My wife wanted swords in her planted aquarium and went with a 20g eclipse system.
Smaller was not tall enough. She now has forest.

Then added cherry shrimp thumbs2:

enjoy!

SunSchein89
06-14-2010, 09:02 PM
Bigger is almost always better in the aquarium world. Go for more gallons when possible. It makes thing a lot easier on you and your fish. Ecocomplete soil should be enough for most basic plants to thrive in. As far as your lighting, I would try to upgrade at least your bulb. I'm not sure what type of bulb the eclipse systems use, but look for a bulb that is rated somewhere between 5700-6700K (Kelvin). This is the preferred spectrum of lighting for plants to use. All of the species you listed shouldn't bother one another even if you're gone for awhile. If you see any of these fish picking at other dead fish in your tank, chances are the fish died from something else previously and not from aggressive tankmates.

Splish
06-14-2010, 10:32 PM
oops, I read my post and I see now that my last sentence was poorly worded, I wanted to know if guppies and tetras eat any of the plant species I listed, so I wouldn't need anyone to feed the fish while I am gone.


I am going to try peat moss because I would guess it is cheaper than ecocomplete, after reading more on this website I think I will cover the peat with sand. Sounds like it will look very pretty.

I am going to a fish store tonight to look at another type of aquarium, I can't wait to get this tank started. I will check into what type of bulb comes with whatever aquarium setup I get and find the proper bulb, thanks for info!!

I have had tanks in the past, when I was in high school I had a 20gal. african cichlid tank in my bedroom but I struggled at keeping live plants alive.

I want to make sure the plants live this time! thumbs2:

rhonin
06-15-2010, 12:31 AM
Not a suprise!
African cichlids for the most part are very hard on plants and their water/pH is very hard on plants.

Generally most will not survive.
I have a few African tanks and have only been able to get anubias to survive.

Luck!!!

Cermet
06-15-2010, 02:42 PM
The bigger the filter the better :19: - you want as much bacteria in the filter as possible - that means: first, you cycle your aquariumthumbs2: ! Second, you never wash the filter media too well (rinse using old tank water - only replace when falling apart and use old stuff to seed the new glass wool. Maybe add bio-chips (noodles) in the filter.
Finally, bad idea to keep tank near a window that gets sunlight - you will get algae big time. Use lights and place on a cheap timer (Wal-Mart.) Depending on plants 8 -12 hours a day (I have mine off for three hours during day when I'm away any way.)

Cermet
06-15-2010, 02:49 PM
Almost forgot - get a water test kit to measure ammonia, nitrite,nitrate and pH. They can be had on line from Wal-mart very cheap and low shipping costs. Only get a liquid test kit, not dip tabs (they don't work very well.) See the section on cycling your tank. Takes two - five weeks to cycle. Remember that small tanks need a lot of water changes to keep nitrates low. Bigger tanks are (strange as it sounds) less work and better for the fish.