How will I maintain and take care of my future 32 gallon planted fish tank? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-14-2020, 03:46 AM Thread Starter
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How will I maintain and take care of my future 32 gallon planted fish tank?

Hi, I plan on setting up a [36"(L)◊13(D)◊16"(D)]
32 gallon (US) community fish tank in the future.
I have some questions that I really need help with. It will do a lot for me If you guys can help me 🙂 Thank you in advance...

(5) Guppy
(5) Balloon Molly
(5) Platy
(10) Neon Tetra
(3) Honey Gourami
(5) Kuhli Loach
(2) Red Cherry Shirmp
(2) Crystal Red Shrimp
(4) Otocynclus Catfish

Dwarf Hairgrass
Marsilea Minuta
Anubias Nana
Ludwigia Repens Rubin
Water pennywort
Jungle Val

-Will it be overstocked? If so, how many of what species should I not get?
- the inhabitants and plants harmonize?
-If somehow some fish do not go well with each other please let me know...
-Do I need a CO2 injection?
-How many watts of lighting should I get?
-Do I need a heater? (I live in the Philippines)
-What is the most suitable filter for this tank? Please rank at least 5 types of filter from greatest to least.
-How many water changes should I do per week?

(I will use this picture as a aquascaping reference)
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-14-2020, 07:14 AM
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Inhabitants: by water they prefer/optimal
(5) Guppy med-hard
(5) Balloon Molly hard
(5) Platy med-hard
(10) Neon Tetra soft
(3) Honey Gourami soft
(5) Kuhli Loach soft
(2) Red Cherry Shrimp. Med
(2) Crystal Red Shrimp. Med
(4) Otocynclus Catfish Med

I myself would start with water that you are going to be able to provide them and go from there. If your going to use tap water and city water supply is liquid rock (hard) that’s not going to be optimal for neons and most softwater fish. Endlers, guppy, molly, swordtails, furcata or Celebes rainbows would be harder water fish. Is a good resource for learning about fish your considering.

Learn what blackwater environments are and that many of the softwater fish actually come from and thrive in more tea stained water with almost no KH/GH (1-2 max) and PH in the 5-6.5 range. A Celebes rainbow is other end of spectrum, figure KH/GH in 6-7dGH/dKH at least and PH in the 7-8 range. Their also a estuarine fish who can withstand a influx of salt water from a rising tide, that same influx of water would have your neon tetra floating dead belly up within a couple hours.

I would figure out what kind of water your going to be able to provide and go from there. If you have softwater or are willing to invest in a RO unit to get softwater it easy to add a few minerals back and get any hardness of water you want. On other hand if you going to be using tap water and your tap is really hard that’s what your stuck with, look at fish and plants that will work with that hard water. Mother Nature has a animal or plant that will fit into any type of environment you want to setup, but you need to know what that baseline is before proceeding. I wouldn’t even think about what fish or plants until I know what kind of environment I can realistically provide them.

Water is what aquariums are all about, that’s 1st place to start after you decide what size aquarium you want. You seem to want to focus as much on fauna as you do flora. A environment where both prosper. Budget also needs to start figuring in at this point. You’ve picked a great size tank for a intro/beginner tank. Lights, substrate and decor acquisition also need to start coming into budget considerations at this point.

You also need to decide how much time you have to devote to this endeavor. It’s easy to get caught up in the pretty pictures of a high tech, high light , co2 injected tank but realize that type of a setup can be very unforgiving of slacking off on pruning, maintenance and water changes. They are also very unforgiving of a lack of technical knowledge, dosing rules, co2 regulation and monitoring of parameters and understanding of how all the GH, KH, tds, iron levels etc etc interact.

The pic you posted makes me think Nature style (ADA), probably co2 injected , med-high light and probably moderately dosed on ferts with a good full spectrum fert/lean EI dosing. Note the hairgrass front right in kind of a shaded light area isn’t as dense as left area that gets full light, but that’s OK. Areas of light and shadow are one the of major design philosophies of building a interesting aquatic display. There is no black and white in aquarium keeping, only shades of gray. Only 100% fact is knowledge is your best tool for running a successful aquarium.

A school of ember tetra would hang out mostly in that shadowy area, but because of that safe shadowy area they would shoal out into that higher light area regularly because they know they’ve got that darker area to duck back into for safety. That is a instinct they’ve evolved into over eons of time, I don’t care how many generations they been through in selective breeding in bare bottom tanks, once put in that environment that behavior will come forward within a couple months.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-14-2020, 11:37 AM
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All of what DaveKS said is great advice. Additionally I will throw in there that we don't really look at watts per gallon as an indicator of light strength. It doesn't really mean much these days with LEDs. Instead we measure PAR or PPFD at substrate level. This is a measurement of the strength of light that plants use for photosynthesis. If you are not going to inject CO2 you are still going to want somewhere between 30 and 60 PPFD at substrate for the hairgrass. What does this mean for your light selection? Well it depends on dimensions of the tank. The strength of light weakens as you go farther from the source, a deeper tank will need a stronger light etc.

Additionally if you want a carpet of hairgrass like what you see in the example tank you will pretty much have to inject co2.

As to the heater... well it depends on your room temperature. The fish you mention want temperatures in the higher 70s. The shrimp will start dying in the low 80s. Depending on your summer temperatures you might need a chiller as well as a heater.

Anyway step one is to figure out your water parameters. Step 2 is budget. Step 3 is figuring out your source for stuff. In the States I can recommend a number of options for the latter but I have no idea what is available in the Philippines. If you have a good local fish store they can probably help you a lot to figure out what will thrive in your area. If not then it becomes more an issue of what you can order and have shipped in.

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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-14-2020, 04:22 PM
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If this will be your first tank, I'd consider skipping the shrimp - they're a bit more finicky than some fish. Crystal reds and red cherries have slightly different preferred conditions and while they can be kept together, I have heard from other experienced shrimp keepers that they don't do as well in each other's parameters.

I imagine also that your platies would eat the shrimp! There's a pretty big size difference there, and even much smaller fish will go after dwarf shrimp.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-14-2020, 05:28 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you!!! You all are very helpful ☺️
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