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Old 07-24-2014, 12:26 AM   #1
LittleMissEmily
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Brand new to Planted Tanks and could use some help!


Hey there! My name is Emily and I just picked up a brand spanking new 23 gallon tank that I'm going to make a planted tank! I have been doing some research but there is almost too much information out there and honestly I'm a little overwhelmed! So I am posting here to introduce myself as well as maybe get some help in setting up my tank. I'm basically looking for the what to do and what not to do here. I picked the brain of a knowledgeable person at a local pet store where I'm getting all of supplies as well as have been reading and reading and reading article after article, but they're all different! So here is what I have so far:

My 23 gallon tank. Brand new and washed with soap and water and let air dry. It came with a filter, and a heater (sitting in front).



I was told to get these by the lady I talked to at the pet store. To help set up and maintain the plants and water quality.


I was also told to get this kind of substrate....so I picked up two bags.



Obviously I have a lot more shopping to do but I want to take my time with this to make sure I do it right, so my plants...and eventually my fish...will thrive. So any suggestions would be much appreciated! I also kind of already have an idea about what kind of fish I want and would like some input on there as well. I know I for sure want some Angel Fish (I will only get two because I know they do better in pairs and once they get too big for this tank, I plan on making another, much larger planted tank for them), Discus (these are gorgeous but I'm not familiar with the care, I just know they too get large...help?) and maybe some Blue Rams and Tiger Barbs. I know that I don't want to over crowd my tank but I do want a good variety as well!

Thanks in advance for the help...and the patience with all my questions!
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Old 07-24-2014, 12:33 AM   #2
greaser84
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I would hose the tank out several times to make sure that soap is gone. Left over soap or soap scum is not good. I always use white distilled vinegar to clean tanks. I have that substrate I like it. What kind of filter is that? It looks small. What kind of stand is the tank on? That tank will weigh somewhere around 250 lbs when full so make sure that stand is strong enough to hold that weight for years to come. Good luck! PS leak test the tank before you set it up, last thing you want to do is set it up only to find out the tank is not waterproof.
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Old 07-24-2014, 12:57 AM   #3
Raymond S.
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http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...d.php?t=107303
Discus require a large tank and a very experienced person.
That filter is minimal...will work, but can be overwhelmed by a lot of fish being in there.
Best to just learn how to care for the plants, including which ones would be best for your light level(low is advised/w that filter because higher light needs more current)
and just get a couple of easy fish for the time till you get comfortable with growing the plants. A well established tank is better for the fish to live in.
http://www.fishlore.com/NitrogenCycle.htm
Try to ask questions on here before you buy. Less wasted money that way. Remember that pet store people are there to SELL THINGS.
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Old 07-24-2014, 02:24 AM   #4
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Nice tank. I think I started about a month before you, and can relate to where you're coming from. I guess the advice you'll receive will be very varied as there are so many ways to skin a cat.

The advice from my LFS was a little different from yours - I told them upfront I wanted to grow HC baby dwarf tears - so they immediately said I'm going to need a chiller (to regulate water temp), good lights and CO2 injection. So I said okay, put it on the list - and so on. But I guess your Flourish Excel does the same thing with CO2 injection.

So I guess you need to know what plants you want to plant. Angel fish too tend to bite on certain plants, so be careful what plants you mix them with.

Another thing is to ensure you get enough bio rings. These are very cheap and they go into your filter. These bio rings come with some bacteria potion which you can add to your water. This helps tremendously with new tank cycling.

Substrate is 2 inches deep at the shallowest and may go up to 4 inches deep.

Before flooding, plant your plants to cover at least 50% of the substrate area - and preferably with fast growing stem plants. This is to combat algae that will likely occur after about a week. I ignored this bit of advice, because I didn't want tall stem plants. The result is, I have an algae problem now - so I started treating with Seagel by Seachem.

Also I believe you'll need to get test kits for ph, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate.
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Old 07-24-2014, 02:24 AM   #5
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Hi Emily! Welcome to fishkeeping world.

It is hard to gauge how tall your tank is but I wouldn't put angels in anything shorter than 20 inches high. They grow pretty fast in optimal condition. I got mine when he was abt 1.5' and within a yr he reached 4 inches and that does not include his feelers. Also, tiger barbs are fin nippers (someone please correct me if I am wrong), I wouldn't put them anywhere near my angel. I do have odessa barbs in my tank. They leave the angel alone.

I agree with Raymond S. I would also suggest for you to stick with easier fishes first. I learned this the hard way. I killed 4 Ranchu goldfishes and two Eggfish goldfishes when I first started years ago. I listened to salesperson at a petshop which was a massive mistake. Lesson learned. After the goldfish tragedy, I kept guppies for a while. They're pretty, low maintenance and they multiply like crazy. It was kind of awesome to watch baby fishes spawned in your own tank grow.

Before stocking your tank with fishes, make sure to open to that link that was given to you about Nitrogen Cycle. It is the most important thing anyone needs to learn prior to stocking. I would also suggest that you invest on a water testing kit. Drops are more accurate than the paper one. I'm using API Master Kit.
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Old 07-24-2014, 03:06 AM   #6
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Tiger barbs will rip your blue rams to shreds... stay away feom then
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Old 07-24-2014, 04:19 AM   #7
LittleMissEmily
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Thanks for all the info guys! I did as suggested and rinsed the crap out of the tank and its soap free, I also checked for leaks all over and I'm good to go there. My plan is to get the drift wood and rocks that I'm going to use and the substrate in and let the filter do it's work. I probably will get a bigger filter because this one does seem a bit small. It came with the tank. The tank is on a pair of sturdy metal filing cabinets. My plan as far as the plants and fish go is to let the plants be in there for a while before I add any fish...I was thinking at least a couple weeks? Then slowly start to add some fish. I can wait on the Discus until I get a bigger tank and I can do without the barbs. The tank measures 30" wide by 12" deep by 18" high. Hopefully in about 4-5 months I'll be able to get a bigger tank...do you think the Angels would get too big for this tank by then?

Thanks again for all the help!
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Old 07-25-2014, 01:12 AM   #8
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If it is just going to be 4-5 months, It will probably be okay. I noticed that you're planning on getting driftwood? Soak it for as long as you can prior to adding to your tank, otherwise it is going to make your water look like tea lol. Change your water when it's no longer clear. Quicker way to do this is to boil the driftwood for a couple of hrs.
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Old 07-25-2014, 02:12 AM   #9
LittleMissEmily
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Ok. I added the substrate yesterday and it's slowly starting to clear up...I am going to get the driftwood and rocks as well as the bigger filter tomorrow. How long would be optimal for soaking the driftwood? Should I let the tank sit with just the substrate and decor before I do a water change and add plants? Thanks for being so patient with my interrogations!
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Old 07-25-2014, 05:43 AM   #10
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http://www.petmountain.com/product/a...er-filter.html
This filter is known on here for lasting a long time and also because you can use the
filter media that you choose in it and not be locked into buying one special made to fit it. And most people don't use the carbon part of it. But they will save that part as it can be useful if you ever need to put meds in the tank for the fish. You can use the carbon to get it back out after you use the meds. The other filter parts, the mechanical filter pad which often looks like a white version of those green scrubbing pads you change a couple of times a year and the bio-media should only be changed when it'sfalling apart.
Depending on which kind of wood, sometimes it leaches tannins for weeks. Other times it doesn't at all. Malaysian does for a long time. This actually is good for the tank/plants and fish but makes the water darker so most don't like it. Place it in a bucket and let it sit overnight to see how much it does this. It may also need this for it to sink. This part may or may not take some time. Try getting an idea of how long before planning the rest. When you get plants at a garden supply, because you change their environment, plants change things like leaf size/color darkness when you change the environment they are in. I want mine to be fully grown right now. But getting the bigger ones means that they will start having parts(the new parts that grow after you get them) which are very diferent from the rest of the plant. So the same with aquarium plants, I get small ones so most of it is all new once it grows in my tank.
Trying to say don't hurry the setting up process. But once the wood and sub and rocks are in, put in the plants then and turn on the filter and anything else like lights.
Any plants which came out of water at the pet shop will have some of the beneficial bacteria on them which helps start the nitrogen cycle and the filter needs to be on for this.
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Old 07-25-2014, 06:45 AM   #11
LittleMissEmily
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Thanks for the good info! I am in no rush really, as I want to do this right...but I am super excited!

I think I have figured out the combination of fish that I want, and want to make sure these all will do ok together:

2 Angel Fish (Leaning towards veiled but we will see what there is to choose from when I'm ready to add fish)
2 Electric Blue Rams
6 Red Minor Tetras

I will post pictures tomorrow of where I'm at.
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Old 07-25-2014, 09:20 PM   #12
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Ok. Here's where I'm at today. My tank is still a bit tea colored so I will do a water change when I get the new filter. I got some rocks and drift wood today and am boiling the wood as we speak. I rinsed the rocks in hot hot water for about 30 minutes before I put them in as well as scrubbed them pretty well.

Here is the light I'm thinking of ordering. Do you think this would work?
Amazon.com : Current USA Satellite Freshwater LED Plus Light for Aquarium, 24 to 36-Inch : Pet Supplies Amazon.com : Current USA Satellite Freshwater LED Plus Light for Aquarium, 24 to 36-Inch : Pet Supplies

Here is the tank now (Please excuse the crappy cell phone pics):

I plan to put the two pieces of driftwood I got in each corner, since they are taller, to add height.
I love this rock that I found. It's got so many nice caves and crevasses and will look really good with some moss on it don't you think?



Bump: Here is a picture of the two driftwood pieces I picked up.

Looks cool.


Also here is a picture of a little 2.5 gallon that I put together on a whim before I knew what I was doing. It has a little Red Minor tetra in it that I named Hannibal because he ate his other two tank mates. All I did was toss these plants in there and they seem to be doing ok, I put this together about 2 months ago and will transfer some of the plants to the new tank when it's ready.
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Old 07-30-2014, 07:01 PM   #13
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Here's the tank as it sits today. I let the wood soak in water for a few days before putting it in there. I am going to change filters and do a water change today so I will test the water before and after the change just to keep track. I ordered my light, so as soon as it gets here, I'll set it up and plant some plants!


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Old 07-30-2014, 07:43 PM   #14
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I think it looks good. I like big pieces of driftwood. Sadly, the rock may cause issues in your tank.

As I suspect you already know, driftwood will release tannins in the water, which are slightly acidic and drive your aquarium's hardness and ph down. Generally speaking, this is a good thing. The majority of the fish that are kept in planted aquariums prefer soft, acidic water anyway. Additionally, as the tannins release over time, any ph and hardness changes are diminished.

The rock, on the other hand, appears to be limestone or something closely related to limestone. It could be coralline, but I digress. Limestone is quite basic and has the potential to drive your water's hardness and ph up. Some very soft limestone and limestone type rocks will shoot your ph and hardness into the stratosphere. Rock tends to stay rock, and in my experience, it will continue to raise the ph and hardness of the water if it happens.

You may not have that problem, but if you see your ph begin to creep up, you may want to get some harder (physically harder, not ph harder) rocks, which tend to be more inert.
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Old 07-30-2014, 07:51 PM   #15
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I'll keep an eye on it, and if I notice any significant changes, I'll do something to fix it. Whether that be take the rocks out and get different ones or just replace them with more driftwood.

If the rock does change my pH is there anything I can add to make it more stable? Like a product of some kind?
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