My 'First' Tank
Blogs seem to be pretty inaccessible here and I think creating and continuing a thread will be a better option for what I want to do. (Post progress and ask questions all in one spot for others to view.) I want to create a 'blog' that others could point to and say "Now that's how you do your first tank!" Whether I meet that standard or not remains to be seen.
To start off I'll give a quick background. I have to confess that I'm a pseudo-beginner. A few years ago I started a couple of aquariums and lurked forums enough to understand the basics of 'fish-keeping.' I learned about fishless cycling, water chemistry, and a lot of general fish species information. About a year afterward I got married, moved, and started a new job. Aquariums unfortunately took a back seat and my aquarium maintenance faltered. An in-law family had one large tank already and had two kids really into the aquarium experience so I gave them all the hardware I had acquired. Now things have settled down and I'm ready to take on a tank again. My wife was excited at the prospect of new fish pets which really encourages my enthusiasm. I'm reading William Berg's "Tropical Fish A beginners Guide" provided by AC. Hopefully between AC, William Berg, and my limited experience I can maintain a healthy 'first' tank.
My plan is to post the progress each step of the way. My natural inclination is to approach this scientifically anyway, so I thought instead of just recording everything, why not record and post it on an intelligent forum to get constant feedback. I'll post pictures where applicable as well as all water readings and interesting facts/activities surrounding my tank. Hopefully any trends or warnings that escape my novice eye will be caught be some of the more experienced hobbyists out there.
GOAL: Create and maintain a community planted tank that is as attractive as it is healthy.
Secondary GOAL: Post plenty of pictures!
Last edited by roundar; 06-04-2011 at 04:02 AM.
Tomorrow I'm going to go pick up the tank! I really wanted to get a wide shallow tank but it looks like we're going in the opposite direction. My mother-in-law has an unused ~30g octagonal tank and stand. My wife really liked the tank when it was last up and running so I definitely want to make it work. So my first question:
What are everyones thoughts on these octagonal 30g tanks? What kind of fish immediately come to mind for you guys? What 'look' do you guys like best in these tanks?
I always liked them with plants in the middle and having schooling types of fish. Bright colored fish would look great against the green plants. I guess it all depends upon what type/look you want for the tank- a community, 1 main attraction tank or tropicals. I'm not that much help- Im a noobie- but I'm sure what ever you choose will look great!
2.5 Gal- Frank, Male Betta, HM- Low Tech Planted Tank
5.5 Gal- Fancy Male Guppies- Maintained for the Dorm Room
360 Gal- Pond- An Goldfish Adventure!
Welcome to the the AC roundar. As Cecile1 said, "I guess it all depends upon what type/look you want for the tank."
Even though I do not personally keep these, Angel fish would look nice in a high tank. They just seem built for such surrondings.
Live plants in the middle as was stated above is the way to go. Add a nice piece of driftwood with some java moss tied to it. But thats just a suggestion.
What type of fish are you interested in keeping? Now that is the question.
Nice idea with the, " (Post progress and ask questions all in one spot for others to view.)"
Keep up the energy.
Warning; Bulldog Pleco guarding my Sons tank now..
Please remember; every keystroke has a consequence.
I've been tossing around some Idea's about how I'm going to 'aquascape' this tank. I'm going to be using javamoss to carpet most of the bottom. I'm curious about how much substrate I actually need. I was thinking that if I use the common technique of securing the moss to rocks. If I do this with several flat rocks(like some shale I wanted to test out later maybe?) do I really need gravel underneath these rocks? Would it be better to just put those rocks down against the bottom of the aquarium and put gravel where I wanted gravel exposed?
EDIT: Thanks strider! I've got a lot of driftwood as I've collected it for other reasons, but not quite the piece I'm looking for I don't think... I do have one I considered using that looks like a log and has a big hole in the middle (will include picture later) that I thought could look like a tree layed down (at an angle) underwater. Making that the center piece and growing j.moss about half way up it. I'll keep looking for logs and ideas. :) Leaving now to pick up the tank!
Last edited by roundar; 06-04-2011 at 09:28 PM.
My 'First' Tank
Just picked up the tank! Hexagonal 35g tank with stand. it has the hood but the light fixture part is damaged. I'll clean it out tomorrow but the silicone looks great. It was a freshwater tank before so that's good too. It included some old air pumps but that's pretty much it. We went shopping before we picked up the tank and I went into the pet store near by while my wife picked up a few things. I bought some pretty non-committal things I needed: Heater, Thermometer, Master Freshwater Kit(Which does not include water hardness test unfortunately.) and a long handled alge scrapper that was on clearance.
The big question for me right now is filtration. What do you guys think?
Last edited by roundar; 06-05-2011 at 01:34 AM.
My 'First' Tank
Welcome to the AC and very cool looking tank!
I certainly have a couple suggestions for ya addressing some of your questions.
Filtration - I would seriously look into canister filter...like an eheim 2215. Plenty of filtration for the tank and perhaps you could mount the spray bar in the rear of the tank vertically to promote good water circulation around the tank, even at the bottom- which would be a concern since its so tall and you dont have a lot of water surface area at the top
Substrate - Since it seems like you are considering an 'aquascape' and a planted tank, as well as fishless cycling, I would reccommend biting the bullet and spending the loot on Amazonia Aquasoil and Power Sand S combo of at least 3" depth...this will give you a great nutrient source for the plants AND provide leaching ammonia for your cycle while your plants take hold (I just did this with a 20 L and cycled the tank in 2 weeks w/o adding a source of ammonia)...HOWEVER- using this soil requires some serious commitment - 50% daily WC's for a week, 50% WC's every couple days the next week the weekly WC's.
Now, that's a lot of work, but worth it in MHO. If that's too much for ya then I would go with 3" of Eco Complete. Great substrate I have used before and really good for plants too!
The Scape - I would get a big piece of driftwood, like a stump and set it vertically in the center of the tank surrounded by plants as well as having some plants attached to it with a nice ground cover. Now, I dont know what you are thinking of using for a light, but I imagine that you will eventually end up with a low light set up, especially with the distance from the top of the tank down to the bottom...so low light plants for the bottom to the middle. A couple good ground cover plants would include:
Marselia sp - water clover
Eleocharis acicularis - dwarf hairgrass
I like the idea of java moss and you could even tie it on the the driftwood scaling up the driftwood in spiral fasion. Another good plant to pair that with would be anubias. Also, the java fern...cool plant that can give you some more depth by bunching at the bottom and also scaling towards the top. You may even want to think of some of the sword plants...they can give you good height.
Stocking - I liked the Angel suggestion as a centerpiece fish - a pair, perhaps
Hope this gives you some things to think about and can't wait to see it in all its glory!
Tank has water!
The tank has water! I went to two LFSs today and got almost all I needed. Neither had Java Moss which surprised me since one seems like a very high quality small store (they just said there were out at the moment) and the other was a big chain store... Anyway, I'll get it later.
I didn't put the driftwood in because I'm just not sure I have the right piece yet. I want to put a piece on the right side of the tank that branches out over the middle and provides cover for the fish. I have shale in there right now I washed it down and tested a few pieces and they seem clean. My water hardness test hasn't come yet.
Filtration: Tetra Whisper 40i
Heater: PENN-PLAX Cascade HEAT 30/120
Heater is set to 86 for cycle, thermometer on the other side of the tank reads 80 after a few hours. Might need bigger heater.
Treated tank w/ 15ml of prime to rid it of chlorine. Waited 1h, added 1ml of Ammonia. (I did the math afterwards and it looks like .66ml would be 5ppm in a full 35g tank.)
My 'First' Tank
The William Berg you mentioned is the owner of this forum. He's written nearly all of the articles.
I don't know about moss covering the bottom of the tank for one reason. Moss is a debris catcher and also catches bits of algae unless it can get water thru it or get shaken out a bit now and then. I'd be afraid that it will catch all the food and waste that falls. You might want to consider attaching it to branches instead?
Is there a light that come with the tank? I remember someone here previously that had a blazes of a time finding a light to fit on octagon tank. There must be something that fits those tanks for lights but I'm not sure I've seen them either. Perhaps you may have to suspend something from the ceiling.
Your tank will look very neat when finished, I'm sure. I like the wood already. You may have to buy your java moss at AquaBid. I've never seen it in stores.