The Planted Tank Forum banner
1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I'm not really happy with the current look of my tank. I think its the lighting that I am not happy with. Here's the problem. I see fish in the shops that look really good. I'm really into the silvery, bright, shiny fish like Balas, Silver Dollars and Tinfoils. But I bought three Balas and...they don't look nearly as good in my tank as they did at the fish shop. The light doesn't seem to bounce off of them the way it did at the shop. Before that, I bought five mollies, 2 black and 3 white/silver but they also look dull compared to the brilliantly colored mollies that caught my eye in the shop. I don't know if its my substrate, my lighting, my background or what. I am hesitant to buy the cool Silver Dollars and Tinfoils that I like because they also probably won't look as good in my tank either.

So, here is what my tank consists of:

-55 Gallon
-"Natural" colored gravel pebbles (mostly light and tan with some brown pebbles)
-Recently added Black background (slightly improved colors in tank but not much)
-5 or 6 small plants, mostly grass
-A couple pieces of driftwood
-Some slate that I've recently added

btw, I know I will need a larger tank for my Balas eventually, right now they're just 2-3 inches.
I'm sorta noobish at this stuff so thank you for your help.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
888 Posts
Pls avoid bala sharks, silver dollars and tinfoil barbs. All three are far too large even for a 55 gallons. All three are also fond of eating plants. For now, don't buy any more mid dwellers unless you can rehome your balas. Give them time to grow.

Why not just choose various tetras? Avoid dyed specimens. They are far too prone to various diseases. Most of them may not be silvery but you have to think that large fish are out of the question in a 55 gallons tank. Your plants will not survive most large fish.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
146 Posts
If you like silvery fish check out sliver-tip tetras and diamond tetras. Also danios. I too recommend staying away from the fish you listed.

This sight has a lot of fish profiles. See if you can find something you like. Then if you find something, do a little research on it because this site doesn't have much INFO.

http://www.aquahobby.com/e_gallery.php
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you for your advice on fish selection but apart from that, do you know what type of lighting or substrate would make my fish look brighter and better? I'm looking to make my tank contents and fish look really vivid in color. Should I go for a black substrate? What lighting?
thankyou
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
888 Posts
If you are serious in growing your plants, you'll need proper lighting spectrums, not just your color preference which will not benefit the plants at all. I prefer to stick with black gravel but that's my preference.:proud:

Try to post pictures of your plants and let the members here identify them and they'll give you advice for appropriate lighting. I would avoid the use of incandescent lights. Stick with fluorescent ones.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
ive got two 15w flourescent bulbs right now, bluebell. I don't know if thats good or bad.

and I had the same idea about the black substrate. I have the feeling it will make everything more vivid in my tank.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
and Silver Dollars only get to about 5" right? Do you think if/when I rehomed my balas I could get 2 or 3 Silver Dollars to be my "prize fish" in the tank? I don't want to stress any fish for any reason but I really do like brilliant, silvery fish.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
888 Posts
ive got two 15w flourescent bulbs right now, bluebell. I don't know if thats good or bad.
That's about 0.50 watts per gallon. You might need 3 watts per gallon for high lighting plants particularly the 'grass'-like plants you mentioned you have.
and Silver Dollars only get to about 5" right? Do you think if/when I rehomed my balas I could get 2 or 3 Silver Dollars to be my "prize fish" in the tank? I don't want to stress any fish for any reason but I really do like brilliant, silvery fish.
No. 8 inches is the maximum size. If you want silver dollars, definitely do not even consider getting plants. Plants will eventually become salad bars for silver dollars. If you want them, stick with driftwoods and Javan ferns.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
439 Posts
Should I go for a black substrate? What lighting?
Yes.

Tahitian Moon if you want a fine, smooth sand. Or Eco Complete if you want a coarser, gravel look -- but which is actually a dark gray.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,666 Posts
I think its the lighting that I am not happy with. Here's the problem. I see fish in the shops that look really good. I'm really into the silvery, bright, shiny fish like Balas, Silver Dollars and Tinfoils.
Ask your shop exactly what lighting they use (lamp model, #, etc) and substrate color. I am guessing that the tank lights are overwhelmed by ambient store light. Try visiting at night to rule out sunlight.

Your list of fish are known plant eaters. Take a look at the rainbows.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,507 Posts
If you want to replicate the way the fish look in a store or to highlight the more subtle irridescent and "metallic" colors, you'll need to light your tank from the front, overhead and slightly behind the viewing position. Unfortunately, this is obviously less than ideal for plants and can also cause unwanted glare on the glass.

Tommy
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
439 Posts
If you want to replicate the way the fish look in a store or to highlight the more subtle irridescent and "metallic" colors, you'll need to light your tank from the front, overhead and slightly behind the viewing position. Tommy
I have an Eclipse 3 hood, and that is exactly my configuration. :proud:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,602 Posts
My advise would be to get a dark substrate, like eco-complete or aquasoil (or similar). Fish colors tend to get washed out with bright/white colored gravel. Lighting is something that you'll need to experiment with. I especially like how my tank looks under 10,000k lights.
Water parameters affect how your fish look as well. When your plants are healthy and growing, there's not really anything healthier than the water in the tank. When I go look at fish at the LFS, sure I try to find healthy looking ones, but if the colors seem a little dull I don't worry about it as they always color up when I get them acclimated.
Just concentrate on growing the plants and maybe get a darker gravel and different color temp light. That should help you out.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
234 Posts
wow wow wow. they look good in the petstores because they use a contrasting colour on a usually bright background i have dull lights on some of my tanks and my fish still look pretty purdy. and balas will outgrow a 55 but he clearly stated he knew it was temp. tinfoil barbs would be fine in a 75-90 gallon so will the balas and the silver dollars.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Changed to black substrate and added more plants...everything looks beautifully vivid in there now.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
148 Posts
Have you thought about upgrading your lights now that you got new gravel? I had a 55 gallon for a long time and retrofitted a 20 dollar shop light with a silver reflector from home depot over the tank. That would up your wattage of your tank 50 watts.
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
Top