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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi everyone! I'm new to the forum, but not the hobby, and since I'm setting up a new tank thats starting off really cool, I figured I'd make a chronicle of it on here for everyone to see the changes as it progresses.

Overview:
--The tank is a 60 gallon cube, 24"X24"X25".
--Substrate is about 1.5" of flourite, topped with another inch or so (varies in places) of a nice natural looking river sand from Carib-Sea.
--Only plants so far are a few amazon swords, cryptos, and water wisteria.
--Just a normal 24 inch T8 light for now but will be upgrading ASAP
--Emperor 400 Filter

To start off, I went into the creek behind my house and found some REALLY nice pieces of cypress driftwood that was already waterlogged and submerged underwater. I had to dive down about 5 feet deep to get them off the bottom, and the water was FREEZING lol. I grabbed the pieces i liked and brushed them with a very stiff bristled brush for about an hour, until no more bark or anything came off when sprayed with a hose. Let me also just say that the creek is a spring-fed, crystal clear water, sand bottom creek with basically a zero percent hange of polution, and that I've used driftwood from it before in other tanks for months at a time with no ill effects, so I'm not worried about the wood having anythign bad in it. Here are some pics of the wood I selected:






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After the wood was clean, I started arranging it in the tank with no water to try to find the shape and configuration I liked best. At first I arranged them into a "outter circle" typical layout you see in most tanks. What I liked about this was that I could get lots of coverage from the wood on the back and sides, and have plenty of open swimming area for the fish in the middle. I didn't like how stereotypical it looked though.




So I re-did the aquascape into a more centralized single-tree-root-system sort of look. I immediately fell in love with the layout that I put together on the first try, and decided to go ahead and add the substrate and what few plants I have to keep everythign in place before filling it up.




Here's the tank after filling it up a few hours ago. Even though I washed the sand and flourite for about an hour, it still clouded up pretty bad.



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So there you have my start. I'll add more pics tomorrow after work when the tank clears up a bit and we can see what it really looks like! = ) For the time being though, lets talk about a possible stock-list. I would like to stick to the Amazon Basin theme as much as possible, but I may cheat and throw some rainbows in there later if I don't like the options the amazon provides. Here are my thoughts so far:

--Java Moss. Java Moss EVERYWHERE! (does wrapping it to the wood with fishing line make it start growing on the wood?)

--2-3 discus. This is the main reason I wanted to do the Amazon theme. 60 gallons is plenty big enough for a small group, right?

--1 school of some sort of small dither fish, either Herlequin Rasboras or Rummynose Tetras. Would 10 be good? I've never had a school of small tetras like this before, and I'm not sure if 10 would be enough or too many in a tank this size. I would like a lot of movement from them.

--maybe 1 farlowella cat? Again no experience, but I've heard good things (eat algae like a pleco, but look way cooler, and fit my theme... wont outgrow tank?)

--1 altum angelfish. I don't want this to be an "angelfish tank"... I don't particuarly like them. I know they do best in groups, but I don't want them to lay eggs and get aggressive, so is it ok to keep 1 by itself? Will it be stressed? If not, I'll cut it, its not that important of an addition to me.

--A pair of german blue rams.

--3-4 hatchetfish, for a top-swimming fish so I have somethign on all levels.

--Loaches of some sort. What loaches are native to South America?

--1 Black ghost knife, maybe. I've had them before, and getting them to eat was never a problem, and I really liked them.

--A pair of Green Severums. No experience with these either. The guys at the LFS said that they were a very mild mannered cichlid, and I like the look of them. Think they would be ok? If I do discus, ill probably rule these guys out.

Any other suggestions??? I wish there was a list of South American fish somewhere that I could just scan over lol.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Oh, and I'm going to get a solid blue or black background to put on there sometime soon too. I don't like the look of the wall through the back lol.
 

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First of all I would like to say congrats on picking a 60 gallon. I didn't even know they made it in those dimension :proud: what are your plans for ferts?
Java moss will grow on the wood since you tied it on there with fishing line.
I think you might be able to get away with 4 or 5 discus in there but not much more. As for a schooling fish I would stick with something bigger than rasboras if your only doing 10 as they will probably make tasty treats for adult discus. Maybe if you get like 20-30 it might not be so bad but but I'm not 100%. Rummy noses would be good or another similar sized tetra. you could probably do 10-15 and call it a day. I would say wait for the tank to cycle then introduce the tetras and after two or three weeks add your discus and call it a day. I think any more fish you add after that will just give your tank a cluttered look since the length and width are only 24"s
 

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First of all I would like to say congrats on picking a 60 gallon. I didn't even know they made it in those dimension :proud: what are your plans for ferts?
Java moss will grow on the wood since you tied it on there with fishing line.
I think you might be able to get away with 4 or 5 discus in there but not much more. As for a schooling fish I would stick with something bigger than rasboras if your only doing 10 as they will probably make tasty treats for adult discus. Maybe if you get like 20-30 it might not be so bad but but I'm not 100%. Rummy noses would be good or another similar sized tetra. you could probably do 10-15 and call it a day. I would say wait for the tank to cycle then introduce the tetras and after two or three weeks add your discus and call it a day. I think any more fish you add after that will just give your tank a cluttered look since the length and width are only 24"s
Thanks for the feedback!!! Yeah i was thinking like 4 discus, and starting with small ones, so that sounds good. And yeah i didnt really think about the rasboras becomming food... So ill probably go with rummynose, but we'll see what happens. I think a school of 20 rasboras would be really awsome lookkng though. Im going to wait a couple days for the tank to clear up before i put my small fish in, whatever i choose. I figure the longer i let it settle, the better, and if i cant see anything in it then i may as well wait lol. Itll probably be a month or so before i risk any discus jn there, too. I hear theyre very fragile, and this will be my first attemp at them. If for SOME reason, i decide against discus, do you think that 8-10 rainbows with the rest of my stock list woukd be ok? I know the discus were the only BIG fish onmy list, amd would like to have plenty going on in there if i dont have those centerpiece fish for whatever reason

And on second thought, the tank MAY be 30 inches each way... Does that sound more correct? It looks bigger than 24...

In your experience, how fast does java moss spread? Should i be worried if i dont see growth for like a month?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
... I'm envious of your wood... :sly:

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I love my wood too lol. Theres TONS of pieces like that behind my house in the creek. Im actually considering putting pieces on ebay or something because im suretheres plenty of people out there that would love to have pieces that look like this. Fake branches in stores look so generic and fake, and are pretty damn expensive. Think i could get 15 bucks for a decent sized branch? More?
 

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Thanks for the feedback!!! Yeah i was thinking like 4 discus, and starting with small ones, so that sounds good. And yeah i didnt really think about the rasboras becomming food... So ill probably go with rummynose, but we'll see what happens. I think a school of 20 rasboras would be really awsome lookkng though. Im going to wait a couple days for the tank to clear up before i put my small fish in, whatever i choose. I figure the longer i let it settle, the better, and if i cant see anything in it then i may as well wait lol. Itll probably be a month or so before i risk any discus jn there, too. I hear theyre very fragile, and this will be my first attemp at them. If for SOME reason, i decide against discus, do you think that 8-10 rainbows with the rest of my stock list woukd be ok? I know the discus were the only BIG fish onmy list, amd would like to have plenty going on in there if i dont have those centerpiece fish for whatever reason

And on second thought, the tank MAY be 30 inches each way... Does that sound more correct? It looks bigger than 24...

In your experience, how fast does java moss spread? Should i be worried if i dont see growth for like a month?
I think if you don't do discus then you might be able to do everything else you wanted except for the severums. They are pretty much discus only cheaper and not as colorful.
Java moss should grow alot in a month depending on the light and nutrients it gets. You should definitely see growth in it within a month.
 

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Severums do not equal discus. They are pretty aggressive, and will eat all other fish that they can catch. They aren't appreciably planted tank friendly either. If you want to do moss and driftwood, along with some sort of anubias or java fern along with the severums, that would work! They are a pretty cool fish...pretty tame and most can be hand-fed when they get older. I think that they have pretty nice coloration, too! But, they don't make for great tank mates.
 

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Severums do not equal discus. They are pretty aggressive, and will eat all other fish that they can catch. They aren't appreciably planted tank friendly either. If you want to do moss and driftwood, along with some sort of anubias or java fern along with the severums, that would work! They are a pretty cool fish...pretty tame and most can be hand-fed when they get older. I think that they have pretty nice coloration, too! But, they don't make for great tank mates.
Yeah, I think I've been talked out of the Severums, unfortunately. I heard the guy at my LFS say that they destroy plants (eating them) and that they make keeping the planted tank looking nice is very hard. I did some further research on that topic online, and found that pretty much everyone agrees that they're very hard on plants. So they're out now =(

Thats ok, I liked discus better anyway = ) lol
 

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Day 2 pics!!!! First, the Full Tank Shot:


Looks 3 or 4 times clearer than yesterday's pic to me, and the close up shots can show the wood and plants pretty clearly. Coming along nicely = ) Tests show that the PH is 7.2, ammonia and nitrite at 0, no chlorine, so I went ahead and got a Farlowella Cat since they were on sale today for half price. He's a cool guy. About 5 inches long.



Also picked up 10 Rasboras, and they're in my other tank (long established, but pretty much empty. I use it as a psuedo-quarentine tank. I'll just move them over when I'm ready to add them to this tank.

Also got a crypto and a java fern. The fern is strapped to the center piece of wood with a rubber band, which I'll remove in a few weeks once it attaches to the wood with it's roots. I think it looks sweet = )



And heres a close up of the substrate. I think it looks awsome... exactly like sand-bottom streams look like in nature.


Left side of the tank:


Right side!


Hope you enjoy! = ) I can't wait until it clears up perfectly and I can REALYL see what it looks like. Its teasing me just getting a little better each hour lol.
 

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Personally, I would be happy just to see the water crystal clear, let alone filled in lol. Once the water clears so I can see what im doing better, I'll get the moss and start attaching it to the bottom-ish areas of the wood. And thanks for the kind words guys = D
 

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TODAYS UPDATES!!!!

So yesterday I decided to go balls out and just get a nice canister filter. I went with the marineland canister rated for up to 100 gallons. The tank is 60, so I should be MORE than adequate for filtration now. The effect was IMMEDIATE upon installing it. I'd explain how much clearer the water got in just 6 hours overnight, but I think I picture would do better ; )



Looks absolutely incredible. I had no clue it was going to be this nice when it was all foggy and soupy and you couldn't see more than 4 inches past the glass. So now that I could actualyl SEE the tank, I rearranged a few plants, planted a few more (dwarf hairgrass front left, a dwarf sword in back, tape grass in back, some red thign I already forgot the name of on the right, and a rotala mid left). Here's a few pics of the plants:
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Also, I found out that the Rasboras I had picked out as a dither fish weren't actually native to South America. Bummer, I liked them. So I caught them all and moved them into my other tank (empty, just water in it...QT tank). I then went to the LFS and bought 10 Gold Tetras, which I made sure WERE native to the Amazon lol. I actually like them better than the rasboras after having them in the tank. They school just as tightly, and the shimmering silver color REALLY pops against the blue background.

here they are in the bag


and now in the tank! = )


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The other fish I picked up: a nice looking Geophagus Suranamensis (sp?)




And I got a few nice snaps of other stuff. My pair of German Blue Rams, My Kribensis pair, and my school of 5 Roseline Sharks. Enjoy!!!





And how about that FTS one more time, just because I can't stop looking at it? =D lol

 

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:) i love scapes that alude to roots/stumps and all kinds of plants growing out around them! nice one! so is that all the fauna you will add in ?
 
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