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Thread: Starting a first tank?
11-20-2013, 05:12 PM #1
Starting a first tank?
So, I mentioned to my new neighbor that I wanted to start an aquarium and since he was moving out he gave me a 40 gallon breeder tank with stand. It has no equipment or décor of any kind so basically a blank slate. After lurking through your forums for the last week or so I have decided to try non planted community tank for starters and slowly introduce / replace fake plants for real plants as time and money allow. At this point I am shopping for a filter set up, heater, silk plants, substrate that will allow me to swap in plants later and various décor. For stocking I am thinking a school of Danios, Rasboras, and Corys to start with. Just not sure on numbers/levels. Any advice or recommendations are welcome and appreciated.
For the filters I have one specific question. Would it be better to buy one canister filter capable of double (480gph) my capacity or two HOB filters capable of 240 gph each. Either way cost the same but with two filters I have the peace of mind of a backup and the option to alternate cleanings every two weeks. With the Canister I would have more than enough filtration to ensure a healthy environment for the denizens of my tank but no fallback. Also any specific brands I should look at or stay away from?
For the heater I was told that because the tank is 36 in long I need two around 200 watts each. One at each end. Not real sure I was getting the straight dope from the LFS guy on that one. Money is not really an option but I don't want to go over board either.
Well I guess that's enough for now. I'm certain I have forgotten something and I'm sure you all will remind me. Thanks again for any help and thanks for providing such a wonderful resource for those of us just starting out.
11-20-2013, 05:26 PM #2
I also started out with a 40B tank, and chose to go with a single canister filter and inline heater...I decided on the canister for looks only, nothing hanging on or in the tank except for a filter intake and spraybar, looks tidier IMO than HOB's, although they would work too..same for the heater, it hangs behind the tank, out of sight..here's a link to my build thread: http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/aqua...d.php?t=113666
11-20-2013, 05:40 PM #3
Also, be sure to read as many of the "stickies" as you can in the Beginner Freshwater section, particularly the one on Fishless Cycling.
11-20-2013, 06:10 PM #4Member Platy
- Join Date
- Dec 2012
As far as your filters: I think you will be fine with the HOB filters for a while. I have found that, in general, the consensus is that they are not as effective as a good canister filter. I myself will start with 3 canister filters, each rated for 80 galons, for a total combined of 240 gallons (in a 125). I think that will handle my tank just nice to get started, especially at a 75% stock level. I will, however, replace those with canister filters because of looks and efficiency. Now, even if the filter I get is rated for a larger tank, I still want more than one, I want to take no chances with insufficient filtration and want a back up in case one goes.
As far as plants go, my plan is the same as yours. I am running a fishless cycle with ammonia and want to wait to add plants slowly. Live plants are great for your water quality but I don't think you have to have all your plants put in right away. While not complicated, there is a lot to this fish keeping hobby, and as a newbie I want to take it easy and not get overwhelmed with plants and fish and cycling and lights etc. right from the start.
Now, an opinion (and nothing more, just an un-educated opinion), why waste cash of fake plants if you plan on replacing them? I thought about the fake plant idea, but then realized I can add my rocks/caves/branches and have enough for fish to have cover, then start adding my plants.
11-20-2013, 06:16 PM #5Member Platy
- Join Date
- Dec 2012
Oh, one more thing: As far as stocking levels, compatibility, etc. check out this website: http://www.aqadvisor.com/
That's basically a calculator where you input your tank's dimensions and filters and can stock a sort of "virtual" tank and have a rough idea. It will tell you, based on your dimensions and filters, how stocked your tank is. Keep in mind this is only an algorithm, a machine, there are a lot of other factors that only a human can figure out, this is just for reference.
Whatever you do, research the crap out of the fish you intend to keep. You may find that your water parameters aren't the best or that you simply don't want them. Case in point: I thought about discus (they are beautiful) but I decided not to until much later. Discus require way too many water changes and a bit more work I simply don't want right now.
11-20-2013, 11:18 PM #6
Oh, and the "2 200 watt heaters at each end of the tank" is nonsense.
generally tanks require 3-5 watts per gallon, larger tanks(40 gal+) can stick to the lower end or even go a bit below because
the large volume of water retains heat better. therefore, you only need one heater of at least 120 watts. for greatest efficiency, position the heater at a place of high current, such as a filter intake/outflow
12-31-2013, 07:42 AM #7
Hello again and thanks for the replies. Sorry it's been so long since I was last on but with work and the holidays I have been maxed out. So as I jumped down the rabit hole I have ended up with a 40 gallon, and two 3 gallon tanks. LOL Man this hobby can expand fast huh.
My main tank ended up with a Marineland C360 canister filter and a 200 Watt heater, Black sand substrate, airstone curtain effect, A huge rock decoration, various fake plants, some real Anachris plants and after the cycle 6 Long Finned Black Skirt Tetras. They have been in the tank for about a week now and are doing very well. I will be adding 6 more next weekend and then will start adding Cory Cats after that. Going slow but I dont want to overwhelm the tank.
That brings me to the two 3 gallon micro tanks......Yeah, so, my kids got so into helping me with my tank the asked me if they could have small tanks as well. So Santa dropped off a pair of Marineland 3 gallons and I took some of my media and jumpstarted their tanks. Tonight we aquired a new Double Tail Betta and a Black Molly. Each are enjoying their new digs and seem to be relieved to be out of the pet store. The Molly was so relieved that an hour after placing her in her tank (Pet store creep gave me a girl instead of a boy.) she gave birth to 12 Molly fry so far. :( So while my youngest is excited to have baby fish I now have to learn how to seprate and take care of baby fish as well. What an exciting month.
Any help regarding the Molly fry is welcome.
All the knowledge and help freely given by this forum is greatly appreciated for getting me this far. You guys Rock.
12-31-2013, 12:49 PM #8
With any new tank, how are the current water parameters? Specifically the nitrate levels? Also, are there any trace ammonia/nitrite readings (need to be on your guard adding new fish)?
How often and how large are the water changes in the new tank?
Finally, you appear to be doing fish based cycling on the new micro-tanks. Since you used seed media for the two new filters they still will need a few weeks to cycle. As such, what are the ammonia levels and are any nitrites showing yet in these new tanks? How often are you changing all the water in these micro-tanks with young fish?
Last edited by Cermet; 12-31-2013 at 12:56 PM.Knowledge is fun(damental)
A 75 gal with eight Discus, fake plants, and a lot of wood also with sand substrate. Clean up crew is down to just two Sterba's Corys. Filters: continuous new water flow; canister w/UV, in-tank algae scrubber!! Finally, junked the nitrate removal unit from hell.
For Fishless cycling:http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/aqua...ead.php?t=5640
12-31-2013, 01:33 PM #9
It may seem a bit harsh, but the betta will eat the fry if you don't feel you can spare the time for them right now. Or maybe the kids will enjoy watching the betta slurp them up, lol.
12-31-2013, 01:55 PM #10Senior Member Red tailed catfish
- Join Date
- Dec 2010
You're right to be concerned about water quality for the fry because eventually they won't be fry any longer and a 3 gal tank is way too small for that many fish (but I'm sure you know this already) - many forum members wouldn't even put 1 molly in a tank that size - mollies don't stay small and like to have swimming space.
Best to check your water parameters very often (like once a day) to make sure your ammonia stays at .25ppm until the tank cycles (and do water changes as needed).