Introduction/New tank questions - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-29-2015, 12:47 AM Thread Starter
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Introduction/New tank questions

Hello guys! After a long time of lurking I decided to join the Forum. I am new to the Fish Keeping hobby and was looking for some guidance.
I am wanting a heavily planted tank. (Had to put this somewhere)

I set up my 20 gallon long tank about two weeks ago, and let it cycle until yesterday. I bought a small Amazon Sword and a bunch of new fish buddies.
3 Sunburst Mickey Mouse Platys
2 Silver Lyretail Molly's
1 Gold Panda Molly
2 Green Lantern Platys
And 5 Ghost Shrimp.
I was told by the Petsmart Associate that they would all get along well and picked the healthiest looking fish after doing research on all of them (before buying of course). My Tetra Whisper 10-30i stopped working yesterday afternoon (found it dead after coming home from Petsmart). I put in a small air pump filter to get some kind of filtration until I can make another hour trip to the closest Petsmart. (My LFS had nothing but big filters and won't get any until the Thursday stock up.) This is starting to kind of get long winded so ill wind down. My questions are as followed; What kind of filter is good for a 20 gallon long tank? And how should I go about decorating so that the plants will still look good? Because most people's tanks have driftwood and I want something different. Please help a newbie to the hobby
Any further questions just ask and I will provide as much detail as possible!
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-29-2015, 02:14 AM
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I use a aqueon quiet flow filter. Hang on the back type.
Livebearers can be tricky. Do you know the sexes of your fish?
Since you are new you will want some easy growing plants. Windlov java fern grows nicely in most set ups and can be tied on to rocks or driftwood. Anubias is nice but very slow growing. Swords can become to large for a 20gallon. Cryptocoryne are slow but steady growers that I recommend. Narrow Sagittaria is nice as a grassy area. All will depend on your lighting and set up. If you like swords they have smaller rosette swords that are nice. Search aquascaping threads to get a feel for what you like. I also float anacharis and duckweed in most of my tanks. Moss is always popular and the shrimp love it.
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-29-2015, 02:42 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you for replying!
I believe the Silver Lyretail Molly's one female one male. Both Green lanterns are female. Two of the Sunburst Mickey Mouse plates are female one male. I will check more intensely in the morning because it's well past lights out time for them lol. Also I will be getting a larger tank in the future (within 5 months), because I really love the planted tank look and want to delve into this hobby so much more! What size filter is it? Since I haven't got a lot of plants should I be worried about turnover rate and GPH? Should I plan ahead? It feels like I'm overwhelmed with information and can't sort it out lol. Looking forward to hearing your reply!
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-29-2015, 02:56 AM
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The aqueon 20 is 125gph and is rated for a 20-30 gallon tank.
There are many other filters out there. A lot of folks here use aquaclear filters. This is just the brand I use. You will be overstocked easily with all those females very soon. Mollies will want the larger tank. A female livebearer can give birth to 30 fry per month easily. Platies in my experience are the slowest to overpopulate.
You will want to get that filter ASAP.
For a first planted tank you may want to consider low light/ low tech. Are you using a stock light currently? You can grow some things with this.
The aquaclear 20 is rated for up to 20 gallons at 100 gph and the aquaclear 30 is up to 30 gallons at 150 gph.
I don't pay to much attention to flow rate because all my tanks are under stocked. When I had goldfish it was a different story.
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-29-2015, 03:04 AM Thread Starter
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I am using a stock light at the moment but looking at the other options. The most I see are LEDs and I've heard they don't grow plants well. If need be I will make my own light setup. I figured all those females were gonna be a problem lol. I do have some small 5 gallons and a 10 gallon for when the fry come (30 fry a month is going to be good for some friends that have bigger multiple tanks, they can take some lol). I was thinking of the Java Moss next for the "carpeted?" look. I most definitely was no going to dive in so hard that I'm getting pressurized Co2 right off the bat. Most likely the future. Sorry I rambled a bit
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-29-2015, 03:45 AM Thread Starter
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Do you have any experience with the Marineland Penguin filters? I've read some good reviews (some bad but that's most filters), I just don't know what the best option is honestly.
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-29-2015, 01:47 PM
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I would recommend the Aqua Clear 50 on your tank. Especially since you will soon become overstocked due to fry. It's quiet and easy to maintain. Do you have a plan to relocate/sell/rehome the fry? If possible, I would trade the females back in for males or you are going to be very busy separating out the babies from the adults to another tank or to their new homes.
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-29-2015, 03:43 PM Thread Starter
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I think that's what I'll do because 30 fry a month for each female is a lot.
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-29-2015, 03:55 PM
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Congrats on the new setup and best of luck in the hobby!

Couple of things to point out though. First of all how did you cycle the tank? I'm going to assume you understand the nitrogen cycle and how important beneficial bacteria is. Now keep in mind that bacteria mainly lives in your filter and thrives on the fact that water is constantly flowing through the filter. Since your filter is not working there is a good chance some (or even all) of that bacteria will die off allowing an ammonia spike to occur which can be detrimental to your livestock.

So, while you are filterless, make sure you are testing your water and doing water changes as necessary. If you've got that air pump in the tank now, you can take whatever biomedia you had in the filter and place it on top of the airstone; which will force water over/through that biomedia hopefully keeping the beneficial bacteria alive.

Its also worth noting that when you do get a new filter you will want to take the old biomedia from your failed filter and use it in your new filter. If you dont, you'll essentially be removing the beneficial bacteria from your new setup and its as if you're starting the cycle over from day 1.

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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-29-2015, 04:00 PM
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I second the Aquaclear, the filter media are easy to find/DIY. You can skip the carbon and double up on the sponge or the biofilter beads.

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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-29-2015, 04:34 PM Thread Starter
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Right, I have been testing the water and cut the failed filters filter floss and put it in the tiny air pump powered filter to keep the beneficial bacteria. I researched the Aqua Clear filter and think that's what I'm going to go with. I like to option of using different filter media and not tossing a cartridge with all the Beneficial Bacteria. I am also doing a small water change everyday (with tested water) to make up for the loss of the big filter. I would say no more than a 20% water change just so I don't throw things out of balance.
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-29-2015, 04:42 PM
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You could always go with a large air pump driven sponge filter.


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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-29-2015, 07:10 PM Thread Starter
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I decided to get the AquaClear 50 and have it running now. Put the filter floss with the Beneficial Bacteria in along with what it came with. Thanks guys!
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-29-2015, 10:32 PM
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How's the flow on that one? Is it adjustable?
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-29-2015, 11:15 PM Thread Starter
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The flow is perfect! It's not too heavy and not too light. It is adjustable but the flow is just right, not blowing the sand everywhere but not too low of a flow. The fish seem to like the current and are swimming against it. If anyone was wondering I did take the females back and exchanged them for males (I double checked). They were very understanding and saw how it could be a problem.
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