Choosing the right tank - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-30-2013, 10:09 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Washington State
Posts: 61
Question Choosing the right tank

Hey all! New to the forum but not new to fishkeeping.

So I saw a pair of Sparkling Gourami - Trichopsis Pumila (easily confused with T. Schalleri or T. Vittatus) in the local shop and I absolutely fell in love. These will be my next fish purchase!

Of course, I need to complete their setup before I order any. My experience is limited to the categories of "fish bowl" and the "classic" glass 10- and 20- gallon tanks.

I browsed Amazon and found some tanks that are pretty pleasing to the eye, but I have no experience with tanks like them. I was hoping members here could lend me their knowledge and experience in helping me choose!

Note that the tank will be heavily planted with plenty of hides. It will be heated and filtered (some of the tanks I'm looking at provide filters, else I'll just purchase).

Now, the number of fish I buy will be dependent on the size of tank I get: A pair or trio of sparklers for anything less than 5 gallons, and more as the tanks go up in size. I am not looking for a tank less than 4 gallons.

So what can you guys tell me about the following tanks? Which would you choose, and why?
Ascending size:

- (4 gal)
T-4301BK Finnex Kit T-4301BK Finnex Kit

- (4 gal)
Fluval View Fluval View

- (4.5 OR 8 gal)
Penn-Plax Parallel Penn-Plax Parallel

- (5 gal)
Fluval Spec Fluval Spec

- (5 gal)
Marineland Crescent Marineland Crescent

- (5 gal)
Ecoxotic EcoPico Ecoxotic EcoPico

- (7.9 gal)
Fluval Flora Fluval Flora

Also, I'd love to hear recommendations for bare tanks that are between 4- and 16- gallons.

Thanks in advance for your help, I know I'm asking for quite a lot of information!
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-30-2013, 10:22 PM
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Welcome to TPT.

It really depends on what is most important to you. Out of the tanks that you have listed I would go with, The Fluval Flora, because it's the biggest of them all and come with everything you will need to get a nice planted tank going. Since it is made for growing plants you get a decent substrate, lighting and co2. If you get that one, at least you will have everything to get you into the hobby to see if you really like it, without having to shop around. I'm not sure how well they do growing plants, but you can always buy a second light and get a better co2 setup if you decide to get more demanding plants. If you are open to buying the components separately. You can get a cheaper tank (petco is having the $1 per gallon sale) that is bigger and buy the equipment you prefer. Like a better co2 system, filter, lighting, etc. It really depends on your budget and the look of the tank you want. I was always told, buy the biggest size tank you can afford and have room for. In this hobby you will always want bigger and/or more tanks.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-01-2013, 12:43 AM
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I'm going to say nay on all of the, save the Ecoxotic.

Fluval Stratum does next to nothing for plants and the CO2 system included with the Flora is unbelievably inefficient and awful. If you are set on that style tank, get the Ebi and then sell everything but the light fixture that comes with it. Or, as mentioned above, go with the Ecoxotic. You'll get a terrific light fixture that you can expand with ease.

The only one that includes a decent filtration system is the Spec V. You'll need to buy a canister or HOB for the others.

Best advice anyone can give you: Spend 3-4 weeks (yes, weeks) seriously browsing hundreds of tank journals here on the forum. Spend a couple hours each day doing that. And really get a feel for what you enjoy.

Then pick a tank.

If this is a hobby you think you're going to stick with, save your money up and get a nice tank like a high-clarity cube from AquaTop or Mr. Aqua and order ADA Aquasoil Amazonia as your substrate. Then get a nice LED fixture and a nice filtration system - an AquaClear HOB or an Eheim/Fluval canister.

Start with low light plants that aren't demanding. Things like Crypts, Anubias, Ferns, mosses. Then, over time, work your way up to more demanding plants.

Focus on the tank and plants and then consider livestock. Since you want a small tank, stick with small fish or shrimp.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-01-2013, 01:15 AM
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I am going to echo that advice. I now have five tanks, and the learning curve is pretty obvious. In the order I bought them:

1. 2.5g Petco Special. Fine for what it is. Will become a hospital tank as soon as possible.
2. Deep Blue Betta 5. Like very much. Needs rescaping badly because I had no idea WTF I was doing when I set it up. I also have the wrong light on it.
3. Evolve 4. Bought for a rescue fish in a hurry. Dislike very much. Acrylic quality is terrible, light is terrible for what I want to do, pump is still loud.
4. Aquastyle 6. Love. Good filter, great light. Found out I am not a fan of rounded corners.
5. Mr. Aqua 12g long. Have been planning for months, researching, dreaming. Love this tank.

My point is that you might as well go with a petco 5 or 10 gallon, basic filter, decent light. Then, after you have it all running right, read everything and plan your "perfect tank". You can make the petco special into a quarantine/hospital/grow out tank someday.

If you find you don't like the hobby, you aren't out a bunch of money. And then you can send the sparklers to me. Love them.

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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-01-2013, 01:38 AM
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Larger tanks give you more room for errors. I would start with 10g++.

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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-01-2013, 01:48 AM
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I have to agree with OVT, the larger the better. Personally I would start with a 20g long with a decent canister filter like a rena xp2.

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-01-2013, 04:32 AM
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Originally Posted by OVT View Post

Larger tanks give you more room for errors. I would start with 10g++.

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Originally Posted by sadchevy View Post
I have to agree with OVT, the larger the better. Personally I would start with a 20g long with a decent canister filter like a rena xp2.
I sort of agree as well. Honestly my recommendation would be to go with the largest tank you can afford for the given area that your will place the tank. Believe it or not, larger tanks are easier to care for due to the margin of error ratio. My first tank was a 10g and my second was a 55g. I wish I had skipped the 10 all together.

Do the proper research as somewhatshocked stated. The more your aware of the better prepared you can be to pull off a successful tank.

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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-01-2013, 05:51 AM
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Pretty much what the others have said. They've given really good advise. I love the look of nano tanks but in reality bigger is going to be better as far as maintenance goes-at least up to around 100g or so, then heavy lifting factors start kicking in.
If you're not going custom, the tank is just about the cheapest part of the hobby so get one that really appeals to you. I'm new on the forum but have dabbled with tanks since I was a kid. Short, wide tanks are easier to arrange and IMO look better than tall narrow ones. If you have the room, you may be happier aiming for something like a 20 long or even bigger. Also, I took a quick look and apparently gouramis can grow to around 4 to 6 inches long (Please correct me if I'm wrong here). If that's the case with yours, they will outgrow all of the tanks you have selected.
If you're looking at smaller tanks due to budget concerns, Craig's List is full of used tanks. I doubt it would take very long to find one that's suitable for cheap. Just count on spending some quality time cleaning it.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-01-2013, 12:20 PM
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Agree, a bigger tank will give you better flexibility and success. Also wait for Petco's dollar/gallon sale, you can really pick up a nice tank for a ridiculously low price.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-01-2013, 12:29 PM
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Bigger is not always better. Larger tanks just allow for larger plants and accommodate errors and parameter swings much more nicely than small tanks.

If a hobbyist is patient and really enjoys the hobby/wants to develop their skill set? Maintaining a small tank could be a great tool. They'll learn a great deal about parameter stability, topping off, the intricacies of aquascaping and limits of their tank.
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-01-2013, 01:17 PM
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I went out and bought a Fluval Edge 12g tank. After a few months with it I stopped using it because it didn't meet my needs.Switched to a Mr. Aqua 12l becuase I started keeping shrimp instead of fish. In the long run, had I realized this sooner, I wouldn't have spend $150 + accessories on the Edge tank.

Spend some time browsing the threads !Though, mayve just a few hours or.days
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