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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-17-2012, 09:49 PM Thread Starter
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Some questions for the experts!

Hello all! I am so excited to finally be a part of this fantastic forum! I currently have 2 aquariums. My 55 gallon is home to 7 Rainbows, 1 Skirted Tetra, 13 Bronze Cory Cats, 3 Severums (yes, I know that they are not ideal to be kept with the others but they will soon be separated and they all get along fine), and an Iberian Newt. Donít Panic! They are all juvenile sizes and I watch the water quality very closely. I also have a 10 gallon that houses 6 adfs and a betta. I will be getting a 45 gallon tank that the rainbows, half the cory cats, and the tetra will be transferred to. I want to set this tank up as a planted tank. After it is established I would then like to transition my 55 gallon and 10 gallon as well. I have done a lot of research on the subject and would like some input. I would like medium light and would like to have 2-3 watts per gallon. I have recently been looking at the kits available at ahsupply.com and would like to know if anyone has one of these on their tank and how difficult it was to put together. Also, I am confused as to which kits will work for that I am trying to accomplish. I am thinking the 2x55 compact bulb kit would be 2 watts/gallon for my 55 but what could I use for the 3 watts/gallon or for my other tanks? Is there another place with good (preferably not overly expensive) lighting options? Do any of the lighting solutions available with a full lid to protect against jumpers? I am planning on mixing Eco Complete with Carribseaís Tahitian Moon Sand for a substrate in the 45 gallon and supplementing with fert. sticks under the substrate. It will be somewhat densely planted with a manzanita driftwood centerpiece. The 55 gallon I plan on using various pieces of Lace Rock with a blanket of a ground covering plant since Severums are notorious for uprooting pants. Does anyone know if this setup will suit the newt as well? He seems to like caves but Iím not sure about their relationship with plants. I donít want him to get tangled. I will be new to canister filters as well but have been looking at both the Eheim Classic Canister Series and Reaction 4-Stage Canister Filter (both at Dr. Fosters and Smith). Does anyone have experience with either or have another suggestion? I have also read all about DIY CO2 and was wondering if it is truly a comparable option. Any opinions about any of the setups I would need? The plants I like so far are saved at http://pinterest.com/chrikc1/everything-aquatic/ . I would list them here but in an effort to not make an extremely long post longer, you can see them there. I would appreciate any knowledge and/or opinions on them. Iím sorry for all the questions but I figured I would be better served to come to the experts! I want my fish and other aquatic creatures to be the absolute happiest they can be!
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-18-2012, 04:26 AM
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Hey, welcome to the site. Heres a few things off the top of my head!

Catalina lights are super affordable and can be made custom fit to any size aquarium. Watts per gallon is a very old school method of measuring how much light is needed, and shouldnt even really be considered. More importantly, you should think about how much PAR you would receive at the lowest part of your tank (ie, the substrate). These levels are measured in high, medium and low intensity. Then, its quite easy to look up certain plants you are interested in and see if its appropriate to get that for your tank, depending on how much light you want. Heres a good thread to read up on:

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/li...t5-t12-pc.html

However, you can't simply say you want high light and high light plants. To go high light, means you need ample amounts of co2 and ferts, or else you will run into serious algae and deficiency issues.

Another lighting option is LED's. They are vastly more efficient than t5's, but also not as affordable. If you are simply looking for an affordable entry level light, t5HO's are your best bet.

One of the better, cheaper canister filters is the (SunSun, Aquatop, etc) CF series. I currently set up an AquaTop CF300 and love it. It works great, and is really affordable. You may want to look into their other versions for your 45g.

As for full hoods, I think the simplest solution is a glass top with a fixture that stands, or hangs. That way, the light can be varied by height if you run into issues with algae.

Finally, a suggestion. Tetras are schooling fish, and having 1 lone black/white skirt by his/her self is probably extremely stressful for it. I would for sure get at a bare minimum 5 skirted tetras.

PS. I know nothing about newts

Late Night Edit: DIY CO2. Usually suggested for smaller aquariums, but of course its possible to use multiple 2L bottles to achieve good results. However, DIY CO2 is simply not as reliable as a pressurized system. I have DIY on my 25g, and the levels are shaky at best. For optimal growth, and health of your fish, stables levels are important. That doesnt mean you shouldnt try, though!
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-18-2012, 04:43 AM
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Diy co2 will work but it is more expensive in the long run. I did diy untill I could afford a regulator and a tank, diy is also a lot more work.

As for the lighting look at odyssea that is what I have and its a good product and cheap. Ebay

There are also a lot of good filters on ebay as well but you can't go wrong buying from dr. Fosters
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-18-2012, 05:59 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you both so much for all your advice! I will definitely read up on the lighting and research the filters mentioned. I am trying to learn everything I can before putting this into motion. You both have been beyond helpful!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trickerie View Post
Finally, a suggestion. Tetras are schooling fish, and having 1 lone black/white skirt by his/her self is probably extremely stressful for it. I would for sure get at a bare minimum 5 skirted tetras.
I did have him in with some others of his kind but lost them over time. When I moved I was down to 2 and I don't know if it was the stress of moving but when his little buddy started a downward spiral he would swim in circles around him and try to help him swim. It broke my heart! No medications helped him and he died. I had transfered my last one into my rainbow tank until I got him some more buddies because he did seem miserable. My bows just love him! They all school together and he is happy as can be! Its like they adopted him! Funny how they all have their own little personalities, huh? Thats why I only have the 1...
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-18-2012, 11:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrikc1 View Post
Thank you both so much for all your advice! I will definitely read up on the lighting and research the filters mentioned. I am trying to learn everything I can before putting this into motion. You both have been beyond helpful!



I did have him in with some others of his kind but lost them over time. When I moved I was down to 2 and I don't know if it was the stress of moving but when his little buddy started a downward spiral he would swim in circles around him and try to help him swim. It broke my heart! No medications helped him and he died. I had transfered my last one into my rainbow tank until I got him some more buddies because he did seem miserable. My bows just love him! They all school together and he is happy as can be! Its like they adopted him! Funny how they all have their own little personalities, huh? Thats why I only have the 1...
Well thats sad to hear! But, depending how long you've had them, it could have died from old age. They only have a lifespan of upwards to 5 years or so. I love tetras, and currently have 3 schools of bleed heart, black skirt and long fin serpae. While they do school together sometimes, more often than not they are hanging with their own kind, especially during feeding time.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-18-2012, 11:20 PM
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Severums aren't just plant uprooters, they're plant eaters! It'd probably be good to have them in the 55 with no plants. A bunch of wood and white sand under low light, while simple, can have a startlingly heavy impact. Plus, that's about what it looks like where severums com from. Just a thought.

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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-19-2012, 01:24 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Trickerie View Post
Well thats sad to hear! But, depending how long you've had them, it could have died from old age. They only have a lifespan of upwards to 5 years or so. I love tetras, and currently have 3 schools of bleed heart, black skirt and long fin serpae. While they do school together sometimes, more often than not they are hanging with their own kind, especially during feeding time.
Thank you, it was sad. I had had 3 for 4 years and then the last 2 for 2 years. I think the moving process may have done the one in. I will look into possibly getting him some friends after I get the tank they will be going in established. He is one of my favorite fish. Im not exactly sure what kind he is. He was sold to me as an Albino Blushing Skirted Tetra but I had never heard of that combination, I have seen them sold under many different names (Albino Skirted, Albino Blushing, Blushing X Ray, ect.) He is a super friendly and happy little guy though!
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-19-2012, 01:34 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LB79 View Post
Severums aren't just plant uprooters, they're plant eaters! It'd probably be good to have them in the 55 with no plants. A bunch of wood and white sand under low light, while simple, can have a startlingly heavy impact. Plus, that's about what it looks like where severums com from. Just a thought.
An excellent and entirely doable suggestion, thank you. Do you know, by chance, of any good places to look for wood pieces? Center pieces specifically? I love the branchy look of manzanita wood but have only found a few sites online at which to find it (Manzanita Bulworks and through Tom Barr at The Barr Report). If anyone knows of any other good sources it would be most helpful. Thanks guys!
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-19-2012, 04:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrikc1 View Post
An excellent and entirely doable suggestion, thank you. Do you know, by chance, of any good places to look for wood pieces? Center pieces specifically? I love the branchy look of manzanita wood but have only found a few sites online at which to find it (Manzanita Bulworks and through Tom Barr at The Barr Report). If anyone knows of any other good sources it would be most helpful. Thanks guys!
Got my wood and seiryu for my 25g from:

http://manzanita-driftwood.com/

You can also look on:

http://aquabid.com
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-19-2012, 06:22 AM
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I never found the cost of DIY C02 to be much of a problem. Yeast, sugar, and water are pretty cheap. The biggest problem with yeast generated C02 is that you have no control over the gas going into the aquarium, and having to remix it every few days gets very tiresome. You might find THIS ARTICLE helpful as well as THIS ONE.

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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-20-2012, 05:28 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you! I really wanted to go with a Co2 system but evrything I read kept saying that the diy was better because it was cheaper and I got the impression you can't over do it. That was appealing since I have never dealt with C02 before.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trickerie View Post
Got my wood and seiryu for my 25g from:

http://manzanita-driftwood.com/

You can also look on:

http://aquabid.com
Wow! The first one is incredible! I was looking at spending $60 -$70 on a piece! $25 sounds much better!
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-20-2012, 06:49 PM
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http://www.sunlightsupply.com/p-1309...-supremes.aspx

I've got the 48" version over my 55 gallon. 54w of T5 HO is as good, if not better, than the 160w of T12 NO lighting I had over the tank before. I'm able to grow all the easy plants and don't have much algae.

I did DIY CO2 for a while, but gave up on it. It was just annoying and it's impossible to maintain a steady CO2 saturation. My plants seem to be fine without it.
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-21-2012, 03:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrikc1 View Post
Thank you! I really wanted to go with a Co2 system but evrything I read kept saying that the diy was better because it was cheaper and I got the impression you can't over do it. That was appealing since I have never dealt with C02 before.



Wow! The first one is incredible! I was looking at spending $60 -$70 on a piece! $25 sounds much better!
Yeah, the guy who runs it is very nice, and prompt with customer service. I had a question about my orders and he always answered within a few minutes!

As for DIY CO2, its a good place to start. It takes some trial and error to find a balance between co2 production and longevity. You don't want to be remixing your co2 every week. Personally, i have a 2x2L bottles diffused with a glass diffuser. I use the following recipe:

1TSP baking soda,
1/2TSP dry yeast,
2 cups cane sugar,
Water to about 3 inches from top

Heres how I mix:

Place sugar and baking soda in bottle. Fill with tepid water, cap, shake until mixed, and let sit

Place yeast in a shallow bowl, add a few pinches of sugar, and a few teaspoons of tepid water. Beat with a fork (like scrambling an egg) to form lots of bubbles. Let sit 10 minutes, repeat beating after 5 minutes.

Pour yeast mixture into sugar mixture, cap, and youre done. I dont shake at this point.

Putting the yeast in the bowl isnt necessary, but it ensures that most, if not all of the yeast activates and lives.

This process gives me a steady 1 bubble per second for a few weeks.

And, invest in a drop checker. Get it established in the tank for a day or so before the co2 gets turned on. That way its easier to monitor changes
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