Finally got an aquarium..some advice please;)

A

Anthony_Gomez

wanted one for a while, and lastnight I finally picked one up. I used to have 2 aquariums....a LONG time ago, and forget most of the stuff...so a few questions

1) I have the Topfin PowerFilter30 . Do you think I should also get the 20/29 gallon Undergravel Filter?
2) I want the tank to be fairly quiet. If I get the undergravel filter, what pump do you suggest I go with? I was thinking the Rena Model 200 pump.
3) I really like live plants, but hear mixed info. should I REALLY stay away from them?
4) Any suggestions of what fish I should get? While I do like the pretty ones (like the clown loaches), going into a store saying "oh, that looks cool" and throw them all into a tank is a BAD IDEA!! ..so I am looking for experienced advice on what a good mix of fish would be.
5) _________? (the question I should have asked but forgot to
)


EDIT: should also mention that my sister-in-law's balloon belly molly's had babies a while ago, so they will also be in the tank. I will wait till they are reasonably large enough before adding fish that would find them as food. Right now they are about 3/4" long.
 

Ryan Wright

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Jul 30, 2000
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You can try live plants. Buy a few low-light plants and see how they grow.

Your aquarium does not have enough light to grow most plants properly, and yes, I can tell you that without knowing how much light you've got on it. Chances are 99% you have a single striplight on top that came with it. My 75 gallon tank came with 40 watts of light, which is typical. I have 200 watts on top of it now in order to properly grow plants, as well as a fair amount of money invested into CO2 injection. And I'm still having a hell of a time, not with the plants (they're growing great) but with the algae.

If your plants don't grow, and you want to invest a lot of time and effort into making them grow, go here: http://aquabotanicwetthumb.infopop.c...m&s=4006090712
 

Jay H

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Ditto what Ryan says, you can try some low light plants.. The Java Fern is the most popular one.. I don't think you can actually kill a Java Fern, I've had one since I've had my 20gal and the thing is Mr. Indestructo.

I'd second the Rena air pumps, they are the best, I have a Rena 100 and it is is whisper quiet. UGFs can be a hassle sometimes for maintenance and with live plants, it might get even hairier. My Java fern's runners are always getting clogged in my intake, have to clean it out now and then. Live plants can be great but it is really alot of maintenance, practically more than the fish, and can be expensive in terms of lighting, (tubes lose their lumens with age so you have to keep replacing tubes even when they are not "dead") and CO2 will add time and/or money if you do not DIY.

Clown loaches are cool but do not start out with any loaches, catfish, or other bottom dwellers, wait til you have the tank established and then get some clowns.

Jay
 
A

Anthony_Gomez

Thanks for the advise so far. I will check out the links above later today.

Went to the LFS and I had my SO write down all the fish that she and I liked. I know there will be compatability problems, so I have a big list and can eliminate.

Any trimming of the list etc would be appreciated.

The tank WILL have balloon belly molly's since we have a newish fry. They are now about 3/4" long.

here is what we found at the LFS:

Electric Yellow Labidochromis
jack Dempsey Cichid
Gold Gourami
Leporinus Fasciatus
Clown Knife
Clown Loach
Pictus Catfish
Dwarf Puffer
Silver Dollar
Red Tailed Shark
Blue Paradise Gourami
Pangasius Catfish
Stripped Goby Brackfish
Suset Fireplaty
Zebra Danio
Emerald Green Cor Catfish
Upside-Down Catfish
Red Clawed Crab


Thanks again for any advise!
 
A

Anthony_Gomez

perhaps what you find will contradict what my feeble attempts have found, but here is what I have decided for molley compatibility.

Electric Yellow Labidochromis--Looks compatible
jack Dempsey Cichid -- definately too agressive
Gold Gourami--Perhaps 1 would be fine
Leporinus Fasciatus--possibly too agressive. Will eat my plants
Clown Knife --??
Clown Loach -- 3 to 4 of them should be good
Pictus Catfish -- should be fine. just get a small one so it doesn't eat the molleys (since they are still small)
Dwarf Puffer --not sure
Silver Dollar --not sure...might eat all my plants
Red Tailed Shark --too territorial?
Blue Paradise Gourami --too territorial?
Pangasius Catfish --should be fine
Stripped Goby Brackish --not sure
Suset Fireplaty --no problems here
Zebra Danio --no problems here
Emerald Green Cor Catfish --??
Upside-Down Catfish --no problems here
Red Clawed Crab --??


The place I went to did not have a lot of Cichid's, so I don't know if that would have changed things or not
 
A

Anthony_Gomez

did a test of the water after the first 12 hours (after adding the Stresszyme/ bacteria) and my pH=7.8, nitrite=0ppm, and ammonia is about 0.5ppm. those look suprisingly good for nearly fresh water.
 

Craig LeBlanc

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I just noticed that you were thinking about getting an undergravel filter, do yourself a favor and don't go down that path. Get an AquaClear 300 filter and use 2 foam inserts instead of 1 foam + 1 carbon...you will have a lot more area for beneficial bacteria colonies.

You should really read up on how to properly cycle the tank, pretty much everone of those forums I mentioned have stickies with methods of doing so. Since you already have the mollies, you will have to watch the ammonia and nitrite levels if you doa cycle with the fish present. Your best bet is to do a fishless cycle, that way you won't be exposing any fish to higher levels of ammonia or nitrite.

I would imagine any cichlid (the yellow lab and specially the jack dempsey) will probably clean up the mollies, no matter what size, in a short period of time. And the dwarf puffer will be very aggressive when it matures. If you stick with the mollies, you will basically want to doa community tank of more passive fish. For color, those platties would look nice, but I've never checked to see what they are compatable with.

The clown loaches will make a nice colorful cleanup crew as well.
 
A

Anthony_Gomez

I have been reading my brains out. I don't plan on putting any fish in the take soon, but I do want some in NOW!!!!!!!..
I'll be patient....just keep telling myself that over and over.

I will try and get some reagent grade or better ammonia, or ammonia hydroxide salt (to make ammonia) from the stock room (I am a chem grad student) to fishless cycle. Is there really starter benficial bacteria in Stress Zyme, or should I try getting some elsewhere? I read somewhere where it is pretty much useless stuff.

As for fishes, I spend the night with my So looking through fish in the "library" of them at aquariacentral.com Ran a freshwater searchfield using "peacefull" and "Common" as the fields. Eliminated the ones that grow really big, and those that like acidic environments (as my water is naturally basic). I'll try to narrow it down a bit and post up the list. I'll probably cut and paste part of this thread once I get a revised list, up at aquaria central for some more feedback.

As for plants, should I wait for a cyle to add them? (is the fishless cycle too "potent" for plants? I figure if I add them, some benificial bacterial will come with them as well....and it will help satisfy the need to put something in the tank. I was thinking about Java ferns/moss and other hearty plants.
 

Craig LeBlanc

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Putting plants in before the tank is fully cycled is probably a bad idea, you don't want any comptetition for the bacteria for the nitrogens! If you're going to use ammonia to start cycling, you probably won't need any other products. Just follow the fishless cycle articles...and does the tank daily to get it up to about 5ppm (I think that was the number). I'd have your decorations already in place and the filter going for the fishless cycle. The more surfaces you have in the tank, the more possible places for bacteria colonies. The cycle should only last about 7-10 days.

As for the water Ph, a good number of fish ar relatively tolerant of higher or lower than their in the wild value. The main thing to worry about is to have a stable environment. So unless you have a very large difference there, you probbaly will be ok. I woulnd't try to treat the PH with any products, you'll end up swinging it and that would end up being more harmful.

Remember, you're not keeping fish. You're keeping high quality water
 

Peter Burtch

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Messages
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Hi Anthony,

Sorry to be entering this thread so late.

One important detail which has been left out is the *size* of the tank. If you are at all interested in electric yellow labs (aka Labidochromis caeruleus), you will want to have at least a 33 gallon 'long' aquarium as a starting size. Bigger would be better. However there are plenty of other rift lake cichlid species which can work nicely in tanks of that size or smaller. We really need to know what you're working with in order to make a proper recommendation. I will leave the 'community' fish suggestions to the pros @ aquaria central since my main interest is rift lake cichlids from Lakes Malawi & Tanganyika.

Let me know how else I can be of help.

regards,
Pedro (the fish geek who just happened to be browsing the HTF today)
 
A

Anthony_Gomez

Thanks for the continuing advice. I will get the NH3 today if all goes well. The tank size iirc is 30"L x 12"W x 18"H.

I narrowed my list keeping only the more peacefull fish, those that prefer neutral to basic water, those that are more common, and those that I won't have to feed special foods. I would like a community take with variety over a couple of species.

doing such, I have a (different from above) list of fish. These fish will be in a tank that will have about 5 mollys in it. They should be about 1" long when they are introduced into the tank

Of the list below, I would really like to have a Pl*co, a pair of Clown Loaches, a pair of 3-Spot Gourami, and a pair of Blue-Eyed (Plumhead) Cichlid (supposedly pretty peacefull). Maybe someone will recommend against this though with the tank size and molly compatability.

Angelfish
Dwarf Gourami
Pearl Gourami
Compressiceps Cichlid
Guppy
Thick-Lipped Gourami
Three-Spot Gourami,Blue or Opaline Gourami
Adonis Pleco
Peppered Corydoras
Upside-Down Catfish
Weather Loach
Angel Catfish, Angelicus
Clown Loach
Cuckoo Synodontis
Blue-Eye Cichlid,Plumhead Cichlid
Platy, Moonfish
Swordtail


(as soon as aquariacentral forums are up, I will post in there too)
 

Andrew Pratt

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How about trying some African cichlids for fish? Very colorful for freshwater fish!
Also most sites will tell you plants don't do well with cichlids. I also agree nearly any cichlids you put in that tank will make life pretty hard on the molly's.
 

Jay H

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Fish warnings:

Guppies and platies are very hardiful breeders, they may get out of control after awhile..as they are fairly easy to breed.

Angel Catfish can get very big fairly quick, Clown loaches can get huge too but they usually take quite a while to do so, both are very nice "bottom" dwellers. The clowns have no problem feeding from the surface though, mine do, they're quite the voracious feeders! My Angelicus catfish wouldn't really go out to feed, I used to feed them shrimp pellets through a straw so nobody else could get them.

Of course, mollies being the brackish type might do better with a bit of salt in the tank, however, most of your other fish aren't the type. I think platies aren't as dependent on salt as the mollies are, at least the ones I had I didn't use much salt at all. But YMMV, they'll probably do fine without but for ideal tank conditions, they might prefer some.

Jay
 
A

Anthony_Gomez

Guppies and platies are very hardiful breeders
hmmm....fishfood!


Strike the Angel. I hear that the Clowns take several years to get reasonably large. I hopefully will be out of the apartment and into a larger place where i can have a larger tank.
 

Jay Heyl

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Apr 19, 1999
Messages
142
If you're still thinking about an undergravel filter, I'd recommend going with a powerhead rather than an air pump. The air stones always get clogged and require maintenance/replacing. It's real easy to put off this maintenance and next thing you know you've got single bubbles coming up the tube and the filter bed bacteria are quickly dying off. With a powerhead you get many times the water flow through the UG filter and you don't have to worry about clogged air stones.

The other thing I would caution about is overcrowding the tank. It's easy to think in terms of how small the fish are at first and forget they could get a lot larger. You (and the fish) might be better off if you stick with just a couple varieties with similar environmental requirements. As was already mentioned, mollies prefer brackish water. Most freshwater fish will tolerate some salt in the water, but chances are nobody's going to be real happy if you mix the mollies with other freshwater fish. The mollies won't have enough salt and the others will have more than is optimum.

Here's what looks like a decent site with basic aquarium information.
 

Peter Burtch

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Messages
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Also most sites will tell you plants don't do well with cichlids.
The tricky part is, the family Cichlidae consists of a few thousand species which live in different biotopes & continents. You just have to combine the right plant with the right cichlid
. It's really not that difficult to mix the two. For example, here's a shot of my own tank:



None of the Tanganyikan species in the tank uproot the plants so it works well. I learned the hard way in previous aquariums
.

-P
 

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