View Full Version : Absolute Beginner

12-29-2007, 05:56 AM
My girlfriend bought me a used 55Gal tank for xmas.

The tank came with the following:

1. 55 gal tank
2. fluval 402 powerhead
3. skilter 250 skimmer/filter
4. eheim wet/dry 2227 trickle filter
5. 4ft. double flourescent lights x 2
6. CO2 natural plant system
7. seatest salt level guage

I have been doing research for the last few days trying to figure out what to do and how to get this thing started.

I would love to go saltwater with live rock and exotic fish and what not but as far I have read it is super exspensive for something like that. I'm looking at getting this going with the equipment I have now plus maybe another couple hundred bucks.

I think I have decided to go with a freshwater planted aquarium. I'll worry about the type of fish ill have after my plants are healthy and growing with out problems after a month or so.

Anyways I guess I want to know the ideal equipment setup for such an aquarium. Which substrates I should use and what filters with what media; I know the eheim trickle filter uses 2 layers of different media (ie. charcoal is one)

Like the title of this topic implies; I am an absolute beginner.

Please, any advice would be greatly appreciated.


12-29-2007, 05:58 AM
most of that varies on the species of fish

12-29-2007, 05:59 AM
have you decided the type of fish you would want. Community,Cichlid, ETC.....

Lady Hobbs
12-29-2007, 11:17 AM
Saltwater and corals take some know-how and generally not a good start for first time fishkeepers without tons of research. But if this is where your interest lays, then definately go with what you want. Just do lots of reading and don't be afraid to ask the questions.

Hope you enjoy that Christmas present. Sure was a nice one!

12-29-2007, 11:39 AM
Ya saltwater really takes some experience but you could do it if really researched everything and spent a little money on it.
To answer some of your questions it would help if you gave us an idea of the general type of fish you want to keep.
Livebearers are really easy but you'd need somewhere to put the fry. And you WILL have lots of fry.
I think I tetra community tank would look nice.
School of neons, rasboras, maybe black skirts and some platies and corys would be easy to do.
Cichlids are slightly harder and also take a little bit of experience but I think if you were willing to learn it is definelty possible to start on some easy to take care of cichlids.
Have any questions about the different types of fish just say so. I'm sure everybody here will help you pick out your first fish.
Congrats on your new tank!

(and shouldn't this go in general freshwater?)

Lady Hobbs
12-29-2007, 11:42 AM
He mentioned he'd like saltwater, corals and exotic fish. Livebearers aren't too exotic. LOL

12-29-2007, 11:59 AM
He mentioned he'd like saltwater, corals and exotic fish. Livebearers aren't too exotic. LOL

ha i guess your right, thanks for pointing that out hobbs. He did say freshwater planted though. Not saying you couldn't do it but it would probably easier and less frustrating to start off with easier, less exotic fish just until you learn some of the basics before buying expensive fish and having them all die on you. Exotic fish are nice but I think a big school of tetras can look really pretty and colorful too.
You might need to ask some more questions before you have decided on what type of fish you want. You should buy a pH testing kit and test the natural pH of your tap water and see which fish would do best in your water.
Ultimately it's your choice we're just offering suggestions.

12-29-2007, 06:08 PM
I have decided to go with a planted freshwater aquarium. (55gal)

I am going to use 60lbs (2") of flourite as my base substrate layer with a 1-1.5" layer of sand. (preferrably white sand) which I will knead together slightly.

I will test the pH levels of my tap water when I get home from work today.

I really don't know what type of fish I want. Preferrably something colourful that swims in schools. Also wouldn't mind a crazy looking catfish or something. First I want to concentrate on the plants and I will pick the appropriate fish for my aquarium conditions.

I am mainly looking for advice on my equipment now.

Out of all the equipment I have listed, what would you suggest I use? I know theres more equipment than I need there.

As of now I'm thinking the Eheim 2227 wet/dry trickle filter and the CO2 plant system.

Do you think I will need to use any of the other equipment for this tank. If you got this equipment for christmas, what would you do? What equipment configuration would you use?

Again, any information would be greatly appreciated.


12-29-2007, 07:02 PM
you might want to use the CO2 system to get started. but take it out a couple days before you get the fish.

12-30-2007, 12:13 AM
If you want colorful schooling fish there are many types of tetras that look great in schools. I like the black skirts, neons, and serpaes best. Harlequin rasboras look nice too.
As for the funny looking catfish you could fit a featherfin in there if you wanted too.
But before you do all this you should cycle it with some danios or do a fishless cycle. I think there are some sticlies here somewhere that explain cycling better if you need to know more.

12-30-2007, 01:11 AM
yeah i plan on doing a fishless cycle. I got a couple tutorials online. Right now I'm waiting to get to a city a hour away to pick up some flourite and a new hood....

i think i will just pick out some tetras to start after my fishless cycle and I get some plants in there.

So I should take the CO2 filter out when I put the fish in?

Any other tips I should know?

The Eheim Trickle Filter has two layers of filtration. What do you guys think is the best media to use? right now there is some flaky lookin charcoal and some octagon shaped cylinder like peices... like an off white color...

I was reading about mechanical, chemical and bioloigical filtration? Will the eheim filter, co2 filter be enough? or should also use the skilter 250 filter wiith the built in protein filter as well. I understand the undergravel filtration is not advised with with a plant aquarium so I will not use the 402 powerhead

12-30-2007, 02:57 AM
Protein skimmers are really for saltwater only, I beleive.

The two things in the filter you see are the activated carbon, or chemical filtration. In established aquariums many say this is not necessary, its actually a hindrance. The cylinders you see are the place where the biological filtration, the bacteria, live. This provides excellent water flow around them. There is usually a mesh thing before these two that is the mechanical filtration. That just takes out big chunks. You filter is just fine.

The Co2 you can keep in there, but look out for signs if the fish are having trouble breathing - too much Co2 does that. Look them gasping at the surface, acting strangely, etc. It should be fine though.

Glad to see your doing your research first. You'll be addicted in no time.

12-30-2007, 03:35 AM
funny looking catfish is a Pictus.
thier are lots of colorful schoolers out thier here is a link for tetras