Planning a new tank
Hey everyone! Just got started on the forum here. Planning a new tank setup, and looking for LOTS of information. I want to do my FW setup right this time, I want to know more of what I am doing.
I tried a FW tank many moons ago, when I was a lot less knowledgeable about how it all works. Needless to say that ended poorly.
After that I waited a while, and started up a reef tank. That went much better, everything was working fine, but I had to move, and in the process of the move, it ended up crashing the tank, and I just didn't have the money at the time to revive it.
So now here I am, I want to do freshwater again, and I want to do it right. Here's what I have in mind so far. Looking at a Marineland 27 gallon cube set they have at the local big name pet store. Comes with tank, stand, and an LED light system for it.
For heating and filtration, I was looking at doing the Fluval 206 canister, with a Hydor in-line heater. After some research, looks like some minor modification will need to be done for the hose between the filter and the heater, but that shouldn't be a problem.
I honestly have not decided on a stocking list yet. I know with a tank this size, I'm looking at smaller fish obviously. I'd love to do cichlids, but I don't think this tank is quite large enough for them when they are fully grown, so I'm looking more at tetras and others around that size.
What are some other good options for a tank this size? The dimensions are 20"w x 18"d x 20"h.
I'm not looking at doing a planted tank (even though I really would love to!!) just because I want to keep things simple for now. Substrate suggestions would be helpful too, I don't like the appearance of the colored gravel they sell in the stores.
Thanks for any information you have! Tips, suggestions, other equipment need, and livestock help are all appreciated! I am at the very beginning of my research for this tank!
Welcome back to fish keeping
First of all, do your homework and read up on fishless cycling.
The 206 is decent. I'd recommend you over-filter by a factor of 2 (as rated on the box). I'm not sure what the 206 is rated for.
You could keep South American dwarf Cichlids if you have soft, acidic water. Or small Tanganyikan Cichlids if you have harder, more alkaline water. Shellies are fun if you've not kept them before. You could also look at some of the smaller julidochromis sp. A pair of neolamprologus pulcher "daffodil" fish would be stunning.
I'm getting carried away!
206 is rated for 45, 306 is rates for 70 gallons. So sounds like I may wanna do the 306, which I don't mind going up to, and would probably be good because I could upgrade a bit in the future and use the same filter!
So those Daffodil fish surely are stunning! I would be proud to have those in the tank, and I really appreciate you giving me the other options as well.
As for getting carried away, please do!! I will take all the info I can get! I want to make a journal/log book type thing for this so I know what all fish I can keep, what I have, what requirements they have, etc... So I don't mess up by forgetting something.
So yes, get carried away! Let me absorb your knowledge!
Oh! And also worth mentioning. I am definitely not dead set on Cichlids. I know there are lots of other stunning options out there that may be easier to keep for a beginner, since often times Cichlids and be aggressive. A school of small fish is an incredible sight to see, so I may go that route. 5-6 small fish and then maybe if bio-load doesn't get too high, add in another different species that will get along with them. I'm very open to expert opinion at this point!
I'd you did go with a pair of daffodils...or something similar, like brichardi, you're looking at a species only tank. It can look a little stark with only a pair, but these fish create family units when they breed. The young share duties in rearing further young. Quite amazing.
Alternatively, you might consider a peaceful community. Like you said, shoaling fish are fantastic. Check out schools of harlequin rasbora against a planted backdrop. Pow. I nearly got these for my community but opted instead for cherry barbs...one of the more peaceful and shy barbs. They live planted cover and shade to hide in...but when they're active they really buzz in a tank (at least mine do when they want feeding!)
Schools of small Cory species (such as pandas) are very sweet, and active. Khuli loaches are interesting...but do hide a lot.
Your options are many. Do you know your water hardness and pH?
I don't know my water harness, or PH. guess I should go get some testers for that and check it out, however I do have an RODI (reverse osmosis de-ionizing) filter from my reefing days, and I can always use that as needed to get 0ppm fresh, dechlorinated water for water changes... Don't know how that effects PH or hardness though, if at all lol. It just removes anything from the water, leaving it as completely purified water.
Are they ways to adjust hardness/PH to suit the types of fish I want? Or just best to go with fish that go well with the water I have?
I knew I forgot something when I posted that. You mentioned a planted backdrop...
I worry about going the planted route, I feel the more living things I add, the harder and harder it will be to keep everything just perfect for everyone in such a small tank. Correct me if I am wrong though!
Is it very difficult to keep a planted tank? Would a beginner be getting in over his head wanting to do a planted tank? Should I stick with just rockwork and some fake stuff to get started? Although I do think fake stuff can look very cheezy, but that's just me lol.
I hope someone else can assist with this but I'm fairly sure a RODI softens hard water really well, but it does take out ALL the minerals (which plants need) so you'd need to put these back in.
Keeping planted tanks is only something I've started this year and getting the balance of nutrients, CO2 and light is just that, a balancing act. But it can be as high or low tech as you choose. If you're not sure you want plants, go with a pool sand substrate (which looks great planted or unplanted and is flexible for both) and nice rockwork. You can always start with anubias which grow on rocks and have very low demands and high tolerance to water conditions.
Have you thought any more about what fish you'd like to keep? Large pairs? Breeding fish? A totally mixed community? Shoals of small fish? Aggressive or peaceful?
I have done some thinking... and I've also done some looking about on the AC forum fish guidelines and what not... I feel like if I keep things relatively peaceful, I can probably get a decent blend of fish in there. This tank is pretty tall, being a cube, and so by planning it out, I think I can get a fair number of top, mid, and bottom level dwelling fish.
The only issue i've come across in the planning of which fish is just knowing what will go well with what. I would really like to have a nice schooling fish, something I can put 6-10 of in there that will be nice and showy, but then also considered having something else that may stick to a different part of the tank that would make a nice pair. Maybe a pair of blue ram cichlids, as they appear to be friendly, will fit the size of the tank, and enjoy pairing off and even mating.
For the schooling fish, I'm considering harlequin rasboras. They are incredible looking, and would make a FANTASTIC school to contrast some greenery if I plant it.
As for greenery, liveaquaria.com has a nice plant set that I'll link, and I think it's pretty basic, but I don't know quite enough about planted tanks to know if it would actually be good for a beginner.
Here's the link to the plant set I'm thinking of:
Let me know what you think of this idea!!
Can't go wrong with Harlequins, always keep them in a big group.
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