getting back into the aquarium hobby - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-19-2015, 04:06 AM Thread Starter
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getting back into the aquarium hobby

So I'm considering getting back into the aquarium hobby. I'm in my late 20's now, and I've had a variety of tanks throughout my life, a few years on and a few years off. In college, I had my first well planted tank; my childhood attempts were not so great. It was only 10 gallons (as I recall) had driftwood and was planted java fern and anubias nana. The fish were x-ray tetras. Unfortunately, the fish died during a move and that setback caused me to lose interest for a while. A few years later, during grad school, I acquired a betta during a white elephant gift exchange (why would anyone do this?! ) and I had a nice little planted 2.5G desktop tank until I graduated 5 months later and moved across the country.

Coming to the present, I'm now making a salary and can afford to go big on an aquarium, but I live in San Francisco, so space is somewhat of a constraint. And I expect to move somewhat often. So is it safe to get back into the hobby, or should I wait until I am more settled? I have TWO LFS within 3 blocks of my apartment. Quite dangerous if you ask me.

These are my current plans:
  • Tank size: 20G long or 29G. I need help deciding here!
  • Substrate: Eco-complete (LFS1 has it, LFS2 has fluval). I may want to cap it with pebbles and sand, but this is something I've never done. I used fluorite in my last planted tank, which worked alright.
  • Decor: rocks and driftwood. LFS has some drift wood, but I may need help sourcing these items.
  • Plants: I figured I'd get the Live Aquaria Mega Pack 30G, but I'm not really sure. Should I, perhaps, pick out several I like and get multiples of them instead of going for so much variety? Also, how important is it to santize the plants before adding them to the tank?
  • Lighting: LFS suggested these Current LED models
  • Fish: Considering harlequin rasboras and cherry barbs. Should I get shrimp, otos, or snails for algae control? I was also thinking about killifish, but that might be too much of a commitment.
  • Filtration: LFS guy suggested an internal filter. I don't really have space for a sump, and I'll be putting this on a desk by a wall. I figured I'd just go with a standard external hanging filter. Is this a bad move?
  • Fertilization/CO2: not really sure here. I'll probably start with Flourish and I'll need to read up on the nitrates. I have old paintball gear that I may use to create a CO2 setup.
Thanks for reading! I look forward to feedback
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-19-2015, 04:36 AM
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These are my current plans:
Tank size: 20G long or 29G. Go big or go home!
Substrate: Eco-complete (LFS1 has it, LFS2 has fluval). I use Eco, its pricey, thought about dirt?
Decor: rocks and driftwood. LFS has some drift wood, but I may need help sourcing these items.
Plants: I figured I'd get the Live Aquaria Mega Pack 30G, but I'm not really sure. Should I, perhaps, pick out several I like and get multiples of them instead of going for so much variety? Also, how important is it to santize the plants before adding them to the tank? I wouldn't worry about it. Potassium permanganate treat if you must.
Lighting: LFS suggested these Current LED models Do a little Internet research, important if doing planted!
Fish: Considering harlequin rasboras and cherry barbs. Should I get shrimp, otos, or snails for algae control? I was also thinking about killifish, but that might be too much of a commitment. Do what you like! I'm partial to Apple snails, and Bristlenose plecostomus, way cool and stay small.
Filtration: LFS guy suggested an internal filter. Don't listen to the LFS guy. You probably know more than he does. I don't really have space for a sump, and I'll be putting this on a desk by a wall. I figured I'd just go with a standard external hanging filter.Not a bad move if you go with a Aquaclear, others need expensive cartridges.
Fertilization/CO2: not really sure here. I'll probably start with Flourish and I'll need to read up on the nitrates. I have old paintball gear that I may use to create a CO2 setup. Flourish comprehensive is only a micro. Add all of the Flourish macros, and it gets expensive! Look at GLA's dry fert packages.

Bump: Also Petco has their $1 dollar a gallon sale running through January 24th. I just picked up sweet 40B for..... 40 bucks!

125 Gallon Planted Angelfish Tank

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-19-2015, 06:15 AM
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Hey. I live in SF too, so I know about space constraints. My two favorite LFS right now are Aqua Forest Aquarium on Fillmore St. and Ocean Aquarium on Cedar St. I would go with the 29g, but that is just me. I went with a 25 and wished I'd gotten a 29, but still love my tank. I would go with the HOB filter, if that is all you have room for, as it will work fine. I use an Aqueon Quiet Flow 30 and it has plenty of water movement. Aqua Forest Aquarium will have good bog wood for sale but the prices are a little steep. I bought my wood there and got most of my rocks from Lake Merced. As far as substrate, I got my ADA Aqua soil from Aqua Forest for a real good price--much cheaper than Amazon.com. I went will the Amazonia aqua soil and have never been happier. If you are going to plant, co2 is a must in my book, but not a necessity. I have one 10g tank using Excel now and the growth is blah, where my 25 is explosive with the co2. I just run the Aqua Tek paintball setup. Works good and I just get it refilled at Sports Authority. I agree with Mark on the ferts. Go with GLA's stuff. Seachem is simple but got pretty expensive, especially with the amount you need with high light. I'm a micro fish guy myself, so I favor the little rasboras and pearl danios because I don't want anyone eating my shrimp. I also have some otos (if you get them, make sure they are active ones because many wind up dying). Go with your gut but stocking a tank is tricky business. On plants, I just spray them with hydrogen peroxide and wash any possible snail eggs off, which is important, as you don't want snails eating your hard work. Good luck!

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-19-2015, 06:51 AM
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Check out www.tropica.com and you can great ideas about which plant are easy mid/range and hard, they will even give you some brief info on what are the needs of each plant plus loads of aquascaping ideas. Go with the 29 gal, I use eco complete myself also think about a canister filter. As for lights, if you're not ready to spend plenty of money for LEDS take a look at www.aquatraders.com you may fine something there. My son lives there and works for Goggle.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-20-2015, 07:09 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the feedback and resources! I'll respond in more detail as I figure out what I'm doing. I'll do the 29. Still researching lights. Looking at the Fluval 206 and the Eheim Classic 250.

I've read that the tetras and rasboras tend to prefer low light conditions in their natural environments. If I'm going with a planted tank, perhaps I should find fish that are well suited for bright lights?
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-20-2015, 02:00 PM
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True. Mine don't seem to mind it though because the plants provide a lot of shady spots and they seem pretty active

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-25-2015, 12:18 PM
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In all the aquascapes you see, there are tetras in large schools , so you can't miss them. I have 3 different ones in my and I'm adding more this weekend.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-25-2015, 01:27 PM
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As regards lighting ,you might want to investigate the Finnex Planted Plus . Been running 3 for the past year or so and no complaints .
Either the Eheim or Fluval should serve you well as regards filtration .
Eco - Complete as it doesn't break down like the ADA stuff , might save you a few bucks when moving time comes around .
Rather than buy a 'plant package' , you have Aqua Forest reasonably local , get your plants there , if possible , and avoid any possibility of shipping damage . Check the for sale and RAOK sections here to see if you can snag what you want from local members .
Get fish from Ocean . What an amazing place! Skeezy area, though. I get out to the Bay area every year or so and it's a must visit every time , he's got stuff we never see in the NYC area . No place like it round me . Jealous.
Now's the time to make a decision as to how much time you're willing to devote daily/weekly to tank maintenance . Think it out and use your decision to determine how much 'tech' , and what kind of plants you're going to go with.If you're going lower tech/light Seachem Flourish will get you by , otherwise go with the GLA stuff and brew your own.
Above all , take your time .
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