New 45/55?? gallon tank need help/ideas rescaping. - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-21-2008, 03:29 AM Thread Starter
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New 45/55?? gallon tank need help/ideas rescaping.

I recently was given a 45 or 55 gallon tank(for free from my good friend).
I bought a filter with 3 mediums for a 50 gallon tank(the foam brick, carbon bag, and charcoal chunks), i also bought an undergravel filter that is a little small on the ends(about 3")but fits the depth and i have 2 top fin powerheads for 50 gallon tanks.
The tank is 38" in length, 12" in depth and 24" tall.
Forgive me I am a noob ace and i dont know much about these things.
I just bought some fish at random not realizing i should've planned these things out and now i think im ready to change some stuff.
The gravel is an ulgy multicolor emalgamation of bright green, purple and other ugly colors.
I would like to go with some kind of black gravel/theme, maybe some sand, driftwood and plants.

The fish were bought at random and with no real plan as to what i was doing with the tank.
I have an oscar(eh..hes going back) a few tetra's left, 3 black fin shark catfish, a green puffer, a plecostamus and some glo-fish.

Id like to redo the tank without having to sacrifie some of the fish.

How would you reccomend i go about re-starting this aquarium?
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-21-2008, 04:06 AM
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Unfortunately, you also need to start over with most of the fish. The hi-fin chinese sharks also get way to big for your tank (I'd say a 300gal is probably a minimum for these beasts). Unless your puffer is a dwarf puffer (I"m guessing it's a green spotted puffer, not a dwarf) it's not a true freshwater fish, and also needs to go back- it first needs brackish water and then full-on saltwater later in life. If your pleco is a "common" pleco it also will get too big for the tank- they can easily exceed 14" and they also put out TONS of waste for their size.

Which leaves you with tetras and glofish- which ARE appropriate for a planted tank your size.

There are 2 main types of setups for planted tanks. A "low tech" tank is cheaper, less maintenance, and does not require as much lighting or CO2 equipment. A light fixture that puts out 1 to 2 watts per gallon (wpg) is sufficient for a low tech tank. The tank may or may not need any ferts, and the plants will all grow much more slowly in a low tech tank.

A high tech tank takes a light fixture that puts out 3+ wpg, needs CO2 equipment (these two things cost $$), daily ferts, and usually at least weekly plant trimmings.





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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-21-2008, 04:18 AM
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Hi Akira, and welcome to PT! You appear to be really ready to go, but just need some direction to help guide you.

The first thing to do is what you have already learned you need: to make a plan. You have to first decide on what kind of fish and tank designs you like. As you get some idea of what you like, then you can start narrowing things down to what of those things you like will work together and will fit in your tank.

I'd first start off by figuring what size of tank you actually have. Is it a 45 or 55 gallon tank? If you can post the measurements of the tank, I'm sure we can help you figure out the size for you.

Next, given that you already have fish and wish to keep some of them, I'd immediately begin looking up each fish you have. You need to know a few things about the fish, but for starters you have to know how big they'll grow to (the plecostamus may grow to 4" or 24" long!). Second, what is their personality like. Are they aggressive, semi-aggressive, peaceful? Do they need to be kept alone or in shoals (groups)? From there, you will probably discover that many of the fish you have now simply will not do well together nor will they do well in your tank (45g or 55g).

So step number 2 will be to decide on what to keep and what to give back. I'd offer starting out with keeping just the tetras and glo-fish. I'd return/sell/give away/trade in for credit the sharks, the puffer and the pleco (unless you know it's not a common pleco). Once you've done that, you will have a few basic peaceful fish, usually known as "community fish".

Once you've handled the immediate needs of the fish you currently have, I would suggest doing NOTHING other than learning a few basics. Of great importance is to understand the process of "cycling" a tank and how to properly maintain it (water changes, etc.). You want to know what it takes to keep fish alive and healthy before you get a bunch of fish.

Then you can start narrowing things down to what you really like most. The best way to do that is to look at what other people have. Note which styles you like and which you don't. Of those you like, find out what you need in order to have that style. That will help you narrow things down even further. Eventually, you'll have a better idea of what you want most and how you can create an aquarium setting that fits.

Let me give you an example to help make this more clear.

When I first got back into fishkeeping, I discovered cichlid fish. They are incredibly beautiful! I LOVE THEM! So I thought I might have a "Cichlid Tank". I checked, and their water needs fit my water perfectly (high pH, hard water, etc.). I was in love!

Then I went to YouTube to view other people's cichlid tanks. I adored the fish, but I soon discovered that I did not like how they behaved. They are frequently aggressive with a lot of their daily behavior being one of obtaining and defending their territory. No sweet swimming around the tank for them. I want a peaceful, calming aquarium, not one in which the fish bicker back and forth constantly! Even worse, African Cichlids need a rocky environment and are completely incompatible with a lush, planted tank. They uproot the plants, rip up the leaves, and so on.

So while I fell in love with the cichlid fish and have the right water parameters to keep them, I did not like their behavior or their environmental needs. So I do not want an African Cichlid tank.

So what do I want? Well, I like plants. I like driftwood. I like rocks. I like a natural setting. I like colorful fish. I want as many fish as I can get which means I need to stick with smaller fish since the smaller they are, the more I can have. I want peaceful fish or at least near-peaceful (semi-aggressive, but okay for a community tank). Hey! All that put together says that I want: (1) a planted tank, (2) a community tank and (3) some dwarf cichlids as show pieces.

Now that I know that much, I now need to figure out how to do that. So I look and learn from others. I find out what I need (plant friendly substrate, lights, CO2, large tank for lots of fish, etc.). I get what I can afford that works for me. And then I begin to build it from the bottom up meaning from the substrate to the hardscaping (rocks, driftwood, etc.) to the softscaping (plants). Piece by piece, I can finally create the aquarium I want.

So it's a process. You learn as you go, but you do need to have some direction of what you want to achieve in the end, and that can only come from you. You figure it out by making a list or collecting pictures of tanks, plants, fish you really like and then figuring out which of those things you can put together to create an aquarium you will enjoy and be capable of maintaining properly.

But right now, you must find better homes for your sharks, puffer and most likely your pleco. That is a priority. They are animals, and you have to ensure they are not harmed. If you can return any of them to the store from which you bought them, I'd do it right away.

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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-21-2008, 03:43 PM Thread Starter
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Id like to do somthing along these lines:
http://www.cau-aqua.net/index.php?op...d=75&Itemid=40

I'm not against going with C02 but again i am a total noob and im still figuring this stuff out and it is not out of my budget at this rate.
I understand i cannot do somthing exactly like this as it requires alot of experience but i would like to get somthing along those lines. I work on mobile bay in alabama, which gives me access to alot of drift wood which is a plus.

The specs of the tank are 24 inches tall, 12 inches deep and 38 inched in length. How much substrate would i require?
The particular tank in that link had ADA Aqua Soil Amazonia, ADA Aqua Soil Amazonia powder.

I've been looking at a TEK Light T5 HO 36" 4 Lamp(39w). which should give me around 150 watts or 3wpg if i figured the tank right(being 50 gallon).
Will this suffice?

thanks for your help.
As for the fish they are going back tomorrow when i get an off day and im ordering a 10g hex to house the tetra's and glofish(to be reused later).
I plan on putting some tetra's back in and perhaps a jack dempsey.
Id like some exotic fish.

Any further advice?
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-22-2008, 03:56 AM
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You do need to research fish before mixing them. Tetras would make great Jack dempsey snacks, and so would plants

Teks put out killer lighting. I'd say you're better off with 2 bulb Tek than a 4 bulb Tek, and you'd still need CO2, and should be able to grow just about any plant you'd like with that level of lighting + CO2. ADA Aquasoil is also probably the best stuff on the market ATM, but needs a long time to cycle before adding fish. www.RexGrigg.com would be a really good site to spend some time on, reading up on plant needs, and how to balance out lighting, CO2, and ferts in order to grow plants instead of an algae farm.

There's nothing wrong with "exotic" fish- you just need to make sure to select fish that are compatible with each other, with the size of your tank, your water parameters, and with plants... research first, and asking questions here BEFORE you buy is a really good way to do that





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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-24-2008, 03:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Akira View Post
The specs of the tank are 24 inches tall, 12 inches deep and 38 inched in length.
That makes your tank ~ 45g.

3wpg of light is high. It would require that you use pressurized CO2 (DIY for that light intensity is impractical). You'd also have to have a good understanding of how to balance the light, CO2, number and variety of plants and plant fertilization programs. I'd suggest you start off much slower until you gain more experience. If you want to get the TEK lights, you could only run 2 of the 4 bulbs at first which would bring your light intensity down to a low tech system while still giving you the freedom to grow into a high tech system in the long run.

The design you referenced should be something you can do. I'd suggest substituting the plants in that design with plants that are easier and less demanding as a starting place. Then, as you become more experienced, you can add more demanding plants as you go.

Using found driftwood sounds like a fun way to go! Be sure to familiarize yourself with how to sterilize the driftwood before you put it in your tank. If it's not properly sterilized, it can introduce parasites and diseases that could wreak havoc on your entire tank. If you need help, just ask.

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