Help me with my 55 gallon, sorry long post
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Old 09-30-2003, 05:49 AM   #1
NFish
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Ok, I am finishing my plans for starting up a 55 gallon planted tank. I currently have the 55 gallon running with African Cichlids (I didn't do anything to raise the pH or harden the water) with play sand, a Penguin 330, Whisper 300, 200 watt heater. The tank is several months old (10 months?). So it is an established tank. I am moving the cichlids to a different tank soon. I want to make this tank a planted tank. What I want with this tank is just a nice planted (not too heavily planted) tank without complicated anythings. And most of all I want to be successful with this tank. I wasn't so successful with my 1st planted tank, and I want to do it right this time. I also want to get a handle on algae from the beginning. I also am on a tight budget (who isn't?). I don't really want/need an extremely fast growing aquarium with pressurized CO2 and really high lighting to speed things up. I will just go with a small variety of hardy, low to medium light plants. I don't particuarly need/want any fancy/rare plants. I just want a nice looking planted tank for my living room.

I have or will have soon:
55 gallon tank
Stand
2 x 55 watt PC lights
Penguin 330 (330 gph)
Whisper (300 gph)
Penguin power head (330 gph)
Play sand substrate
55 oz laterite
200 watt heater
Seachem flourish line of liquid feritlizers from my last planted tank
DIY CO2 probably just one bottle (don't have lots of light=not lots of CO2)

What I plan to do: Put about 40 oz of the laterite under the sand I already have (I'll drain the tank first). Save the other 15 oz for extra fertilizer later on for heavy root feeders (swords, etc.). As far as maintenance I would like to every couple of days siphon out a few gallons (2-6), getting out as much debris/dirt/ fish poop as possible and at the same time pruning any dead/dying leaves, and trimming if/when necessary. I will put fertilizers in sparingly in the new water after the small water change.

My questions:

1. Does this basically sound ok?
2. What should I do differently?
3. What should I do with the 330 gph powerhead? Put it on a sponge filter?
4. Is the laterite/sand ok?
5. As far as lighting, is this enough? (I'm not adding a lot of CO2 and I want the CO2, light, and fertilizer to balance)

Algae eating critters I want:
6 true SAEs
5 American Flag Fish
1 Candy Strip Pleco (should I get more than 1, any info on this fish?)
10 Golden Clam maybe (anyone know anything about these?)
12 Nerite Snail maybe (anyone know about these too?)
3-5 Black mollies
3-5 Rosy Barbs maybe
6 otocinclus
2 bristlenose plecos (are these any good for planted tanks?)

6. For my algae-battling crew how does this sound (I would order from www.azgardens.com -- anyone ordered from them before?)
7. Besides those above, I want a large school of tetras or rasboras, and some cory cats, and I'm sure some other fish too. I'm sure I won't get all of the algea eating creatures above, but atlest some of them. Is this way too many fish?

I'm so sorry for the long post.

Thank you so much,
NFish
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Old 09-30-2003, 04:51 PM   #2
BonesCJ
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This may sound strange but that almost sounds like to many algea eaters for your aquarium, I use Nerite snails(3) and Ottos(2) in my 25 and see almost no algea at all, they keep it very clean, unless your producing MASSIVE amounts of algea I do not think there will be enough to feed them all. Nerite snails are very very useful algea eaters and eat nothing else, not decaying matter or plants, just algea.
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Old 09-30-2003, 05:39 PM   #3
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Aren't nerite snails marine snails? I didn't know they would tolerate fresh water.
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Old 09-30-2003, 05:53 PM   #4
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I think the lighting you are suggesting is a good level for a low tech tank. You may want to carefully consider the plants you intend to grow or expect to lose a few. I wouldn't bother trying to save layerite to add layerite to the tank. That sounds like a mess.

American flag fish, particular that number of them may cause you trouble. Read up on them http://www.thekrib.com/Fish/J-floridae.html

You may want to consider adding shrimp to your mix. They are good bottom scavengers and are interesting to watch.

Lastly, I wouldn't vacuum the substrate so frequently unless you like the bare sand look. Fishpoop and mulm help enrich the substrate. I rarely vacuum (maybe once every 4-6) months.
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Old 09-30-2003, 07:20 PM   #5
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There are saltwater nerite snails and there are freshwater (Neritina reclivata) nerite snails(commonly called marble snails) though i did find out from my local supplier that freshwater nerite snails have to breed in brackish water.
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Old 10-01-2003, 03:26 AM   #6
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Thanks for the replies. All the algae eaters I mentioned I didn't mean I would get all of them, but was wondering which were best. I just had a major algae problem with my last planted tank and I just don't want to go through that again. I guess I'll probably put all the laterite in first. I forgot to mention that I would like some shrimp too, but they are expensive. How many should I get, and could I just get a few and hope they breed? I would be getting them from www.azgardens.com . And I wouldn't get any that have a high minimum. I don't know much about the shrimp.

Thanks
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Old 10-01-2003, 05:04 PM   #7
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If you want my opinion for your algea crew i would go with the Nerites, Otos and maybe a bristlenose or two, the nerites and otos are both very good for cleaning those hard to reach spaces or fine and delicate leaves without damaging them and the bristlenose plecos seem to work well for more large area cleaning without damaging plants. You might want to make sure and have some driftwood in your aquarium as it seems to be very benificial to plecos.
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