My First 55Gal Planted - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-02-2013, 07:44 AM Thread Starter
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My First 55Gal Planted

So, months ago I was at a major chain pet store with my two boys (aged 6 and 7) picking up dog food. We were on our way up to the register when the plastic Betta cups caught my eye. We had done Koi in the outdoor pond and I had heard Betta liked to eat algae growth off roots and of course the pretty fins...well, we got one. I was told any old vase or "goldfish bowl" would do.

I ended up sticking the poor guy in a vase with ivy house plant cuttings (don't throw things, I promise I learned fast!!) in my kitchen. The water mucked up quickly, so I got him his own bowl (typical goldfish bowl...yeah...I fell for it). When I noticed the bubbles staying in the top of the water we went and got a 1.1G Betta Kit. Betta "kit" indeed. One halogen bulb, acrylic constructed tank, a three month supply of food, a mini QuietFlow, and enough water conditioner to treat a 35 Gal tank!! Ok, so it's filtered...kinda. It's got a hot enough bulb to not get cold. It looks big enough for one fish that doesn't do much. Total waste of money and HUGELY scary environment for anything to live in!!

Now we get around to this tank journal. We got majorly addicted to tank keeping and somehow, in this one weekend, ended up with:

(4) 55 Gallon
(1) 35 Gallon
(3) AquaClear Filters (50, 70, 300) 70 and 300 are apparently the same
(3) bubble bars
(4) bubble stones
pounds of substrate
(7) mix&match liquid test kits(& some strip tests that were promptly trashed)
several large tank decorations (rocks etc)
(2) 55 Gal adjustable tank heaters
an AMAZING cleaning tool that I don't know what it's called, but it has the syphon connected to the kitchen sink and forces flow in and out...omg saved my life cleaning the 55!!

Back on track, so the locally owned fish store needs plants in a bad way and so do I...so i'm planting everything heavily and doing starts soon. This is the first shot of the tank. Easy on the criticism, I am cycling some decor and equipment for my kids' tank, so I realize it is crowded and clumsy....this is not by design, it will be landscaped with all-natural decor and live plants. I have some plants on the way, but i'm always happy to figure something out for more selection. So, here is day #1 of my first 55 Gallon



The stand was whipped out today at the boyfriends shop. It took us about two hours to get just this basic framework done, final shots will be posted as progress shots as well. The stand will be fitted with a custom built sump and already has a surge protector mounted. I just picked out the material for the cover for the frame and I can't wait to show you guys!!

Cycling has begun with Prime and Aquarium plant food and a sprinkle of fish food. Good numbers so far, will test in the morning to see what all this equipment does, hopefully my extra plants arrive fast...someone told me plants do miracles for cycling these big tanks

Last edited by Tank Artist; 06-02-2013 at 04:27 PM. Reason: photo problems
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post #2 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-02-2013, 06:21 PM
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Its a good start! I just saw your other post. 3 oscars in a 55 is too much. Oscars grow to be over 12". As they get bigger, they'll start jumping out of your tank if there isn't enough room. Also, oscars will tear up and eat your plants.
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post #3 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-02-2013, 06:36 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you, so only one if I do an oscar and careful about planting? I will do that one in a different tank then. So now what to put in this one?? I have a colony of RCS started with a school of WCM. I thought about putting them in there after the tank is cycled, but I kind of want something more to watch in there and maybe something a little bigger. Any ideas about what could safely live in an RCS/WCM tank?
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post #4 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-02-2013, 07:26 PM
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One oscar and maybe a couple other mildly aggressive fish that don't grow to be quite as big.

Fish and shrimp are always a tricky combo as many fish will nibble on shrimp.
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post #5 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-03-2013, 04:32 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by thelub View Post
One oscar and maybe a couple other mildly aggressive fish that don't grow to be quite as big.

Fish and shrimp are always a tricky combo as many fish will nibble on shrimp.
How are angels about nipping?

I decided no plant eaters in this one because it's going to be a heavily planted tank to help out a friend. I know I want an algae eater of some sort, (maybe rcs, maybe not) I just can't decide the focus of the tank. I want 2-3 fish with some personality.
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post #6 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-03-2013, 04:45 PM
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Nice thread dear!
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post #7 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-03-2013, 04:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tank Artist View Post
How are angels about nipping?

I decided no plant eaters in this one because it's going to be a heavily planted tank to help out a friend. I know I want an algae eater of some sort, (maybe rcs, maybe not) I just can't decide the focus of the tank. I want 2-3 fish with some personality.
If you mean nipping on shrimp, they don't nip. They gobble. I feed "George the guppy slayer" ghost shrimp occasionally and they aren't exactly tiny. But, he will hunt them down in the tank. Fortunately, he leaves amano's and giant whisker shrimp alone.
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post #8 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-03-2013, 05:04 PM Thread Starter
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Nice thread dear!
Thank you lol. Thanks again for your help too!! Awesome CL score
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post #9 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-03-2013, 05:10 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by JoeandCarrie View Post
If you mean nipping on shrimp, they don't nip. They gobble. I feed "George the guppy slayer" ghost shrimp occasionally and they aren't exactly tiny. But, he will hunt them down in the tank. Fortunately, he leaves amano's and giant whisker shrimp alone.
LOL, great name! I love it! I'm familiar with the ghost shrimp, my friend got one by accident as a shrimplet and it grew up and ate one of his fish...eek.

I have decided the 35G we got this weekend will someday house a tiger oscar starting as a baby, then we'll move him over to a cycled 55 after we get the custom cabinets with sumps going. My boyfriend has started designing these amazing fish stands for me since I got into the hobby, i'll post a photo of this stand when it's done. He's nicknamed Bob the Builder around here, so i'm really excited to see the big one when he's done

Thank you for sharing your experience with your oscar! It is greatly appreciated.

Just read that again...sorry, your experience with you angel lol.

Last edited by Tank Artist; 06-03-2013 at 05:16 PM. Reason: mis-read...need more coffee
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post #10 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-03-2013, 05:31 PM Thread Starter
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Day three progress notes:

So we tested the water this morning. pH of 7, amm 0, nitrate .5

I thought for sure with all that extra stuff in there it would have jumped a little higher, but for now it is still normal params. Trying to find evidence of a link between tank size and cycling time, but not having much luck finding anything definitive. Slight thickening of the water...like bubbles in the front corners on top are staying on the surface instead of popping. Maybe my driftwood or the decor? Trying to figure out what kind of ground cover to put in there that will root ok in that substrate. It isn't fine like sand or aquasoil, but it's suggested by a lot of members, so I tried it for the heavy planting of the tank. It's a good, thick layer in there and I like the way it looks, but I can't plant the dwarf hairgrass in it because there are no runners yet. Any ideas for good LOW ground cover plant? I want to be able to see the activity level of my tank inhabitants, so the LOW is key here for me.
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post #11 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-04-2013, 07:07 PM Thread Starter
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Day four:

We set up a "hospital" tank in 5.5 that has the quietflow10 on it for good filtration and a floramax light to help keep some purifying veg in there. This is soon to house some water hermits or something of the cleaning variety chosen by our kiddos.

The water was still testing great yesterday, so I went ahead and started slow by adding my two red cherry shrimp and ten white cloud minnows (still about a third grown, not a large bioload at all) to the 55. They were comfortable instantly and set about territory decisions. I fretted for a really long time about just what my focus was going to be for this tank!!

With the help of OceanGirl and the input about experiences from several other members I chose baby angels. I tested all my water again to be sure and decided to risk going to the only chain in town that actually has some gurus working there!! I called ahead at the suggestion of OceanGirl to check what temp they were keeping them to make sure acclimation would be as stress free as possible. With only one degree difference, we went for it. I got four babies that are about quarter sized. Their mouths are the same size as the minnows. I did this so that they would grow together for awhile and have opportunity to get used to each other before they became a food source. I'm told if you have enough food and things to do in the tank they are less likely to get bored and go after each other.

The store also had a pleco for sale for a buck...i couldn't help it, I love to watch them. Keep in mind I have several other tanks and a custom builder living in my house so my tanks will handle whatever size all these get. The pleco will eventually be housed in a custom tank built with 1" acrylic walls that will be fabricated for all our large species that are not aggressive. (I've always wanted a parrot fish).

So now the inhabitants are:
10 white clouds
2 red cherry shrimp (until I get my delivery of 20 )
1 pleco
4 marbled angels

Everyone is scheuling nicely and nobody has been busted nipping yet. There is lots of room for everyone to run and hide if they need to and it's a fun game for my kids to play find all the inhabitants lol.

I should note, the Betta totally lucked out and got the 10G minnow tank after the big move!! He got a remodel and some plants and we upgraded his filter to an aquaclear50. He is diggin' life right now. Photos will be up for progress on the tank later today.
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post #12 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-04-2013, 07:49 PM
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Sounds like you are off to a great start!

Make sure you put lots of hiding spaces in the tank for the shrimp. The angels will eventually start hunting them. Cholla wood is good and you can set up a "shrimp hotel" by stacking them, but really anything that has small holes that are big enough for shrimp only will help them hide and avoid being eaten by the angels. My angels I got have already devastated my snail population. The ones I got were raised as hunters. The breeder feeds her babies brine shrimp which trains them to be active hunters at a very young age.
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post #13 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-04-2013, 08:21 PM Thread Starter
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Ok, i'll get progress shots up lol. I have lots of greenery in there that will fill in quickly and another shipment of plants on their way from another member. I still have about 80% of the equipment/decor in there from the day 1 shot too, so lots of places to duck, weave and hide. I have been giving my angels a variety of the tank nibblers...they stick to the side of the tank and as the current of the filter pushes past tiny freeze dried pieces soften and break off and they chase them. It's really something to watch. We accidentally stayed up til midnight watching this tank. I will have to do something about transferring my photo files so I can get some video of this community in action. No aggression between anyone yet
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post #14 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-04-2013, 11:02 PM Thread Starter
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I am having some photography clarity issues....eek. I remembered I have a waterproof camera too!! Any suggestions to get a clearer shot??
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post #15 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-04-2013, 11:16 PM
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Congrats my friend!! I am hopeless at pictures! Someone should chime in soon! Make sure to vary their diet, constipated fish aren't fin.
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