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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,

My name is Kjell, from Belgium, but moved to Gibraltar about a year and a half ago (for a girl, of course)...

Anyway, having recently bought an apartment together, I'm finally in a position where money nor space are holding me back to set up my first aquarium, which I've wanted since I was a child.

However my incessant talk about the aquarium is driving my girlfriend nuts, so I figured I'd join the forum heh. Don't get me wrong, she's great and was on board straight away when I brought it up, but she really doesn't care beyond being able to enjoy the sight of it.

I've bought a fair deal of what I'll need already:

Sunsun 404B canister filter
Hydor inline heater (300W)
ADA Aquasoil amazonia (2x9L)
Dragon stone (21kg)
A beautiful piece of red moor wood
Finnex planted+ 24/7 led fixture
CO2 system (still need to figure out the canister though)

I'll also need to pick up some pool filter sand and lava rock at the local diy/garden store, as well as a lot of bits and bobs at a local pet or fish store.

I'm also missing the tank still, but have found someone just over the frontier in Spain who makes custom tanks and stands, and will probably commission him to make me something nice, thinking 130x50x50cm would be a good size for the tank, so 325 litres.

If you're wondering what I'm waiting for, it's for the contractors to start working on my new place, as it'd be good to have a floor installed before putting the tank in I think :)

What I'd like to do is have the tank partly planted, partly sand, I'm thinking an island or a side of the tank planted, building up some height with the stones, lava rock as a first layer, aquasoil on top. A carpet of Monte Carlo possibly, not quite sure about mid out background plants yet. The rest of the tank would be sand, with the wood covered with moss somewhat overhanging it, like a tree of sorts.

As for stocking it I'd like to have a large school of tetras (cardinals possibly), some red cherry shrimp, and some Otos. Maybe some Malaysian trumpet snails too.

One thing that worries me a bit though is I've tested the water that comes out of my tap pretty much as soon as they hooked it up, and it has a pH of around 9 and a kH of about 3.

Now ideally I'd need to get the pH way down since the above fish prefer acidic water from what I gather, and if I'm not mistaken the aquasoil should buffer that down, as should the wood and CO2, but since my information is purely from my, albeit obsessive, online research, I'm not quite sure how that'll translate in practice.

Regardless I'm very excited to get started, hopefully soon, and am looking forward to meet some cool people on here who can guide me along the way. Also since I'm working mostly very long nightshifts, it'd be a nice distraction just to chat with you all :)
 

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Your cardinals will tear your cherry shrimp to shreds. I'd recommend amano shrimp instead, they're more durable. Alternately, you can try a bamboo shrimp or two once your tank is established enough for them to filter-feed well enough.
Malaysian trumpet snails are a good addition to any tank. Chuck a bunch in when you get the chance, they'll burrow out of sight.
 

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You can test to see if the aquasoil will lower the pH by putting a handful in a glass of water.

Remember, though, that when you do water changes you will have to prep the water ahead of time, not depend on the substrate to correct the water once it is in the tank.

Might be better to select a fish that is OK with that kind of water.

Do you have a GH test?
 

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Really hmm. I recall reading they were compatible somewhere, or maybe it was with neons, but I wouldn't imagine that's be much of a difference. But thanks for the advice, precisely the reason I signed up here. Amano shrimp are nice, but I figured cherries since they breed easily. Will look into the bamboo shrimp, not familiar with those.

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You can test to see if the aquasoil will lower the pH by putting a handful in a glass of water.

Remember, though, that when you do water changes you will have to prep the water ahead of time, not depend on the substrate to correct the water once it is in the tank.

Might be better to select a fish that is OK with that kind of water.

Do you have a GH test?
I don't have a GH test right now, no. I'll have to pick one up when I have some time to go to the store. What would you recommend when it comes to preparing the water then? And if you have any recommendations as to what fish to keep in higher pH water I'll gladly take them, can't hurt looking into alternatives, although I'll admit I have had my heart set on tetras for a while now.

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welcome to the forum.please post pictures when you get your tank up and running.love the sun sun canister filter.really good filter for the price.tetras are really nice fish.rummy nosed tetras are a great fish that like to hang out together.what ever tetras you get make sure you get more than one or two.they do alot better in groups.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
welcome to the forum.please post pictures when you get your tank up and running.love the sun sun canister filter.really good filter for the price.tetras are really nice fish.rummy nosed tetras are a great fish that like to hang out together.what ever tetras you get make sure you get more than one or two.they do alot better in groups.
Thanks :)

Oh, don't worry, I'm getting more than a few. For the size of my tank, and considering I don't want to stock much else, I'm thinking 50 would be a minimum. And yes, I'll definitely take some pictures of the tank when it's done.

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
So I've ran a few more tests. After letting the water sit for 24h, the pH went down to about 7.5, so hurray for that. I also got a kH test, but it was inconclusive. Kept adding drops and saw a loss in color but no change like it said in the manual. I'll have to check it again later, perhaps get a different test kit. However by doing some research I found the website of my water provider, and they state a gH of 5.6° to 8.4° (German), and describe it as "slightly hard".

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