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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone! My name is Tara and I'm 17. We just got back my favorite room in the house, which my brother just moved out of after a year. In this room I have a 20 gallon tall tank with 2 Three-Spot Gouramies, 2 Zebra Danios, and a 5 inch Chinese Algae Eater. My brother moved in because he had a new kind of Lung Cancer, so needless to say, this tank was not my highest priority. Now that he's in remission and back in his apartment, I want to replace this tank with the 55 Gallon tank I have in the garage.

A year ago, before my brother moved in, this tank was a gorgeous one, with Amazon Swords and Anubias. I had 5 Harlequin Rasboras and a third Danio. Over the past 12 months, all of my Rasboras and 1 Danio have quite literally disappeared. To top this off, we had an outbreak of Black (Hair?) Algae. All of my plants are gone and the pH is 7.2. I have tried pH down, but I think it is too old (10+ years.) Now that I have educated myself, I see where I went wrong and won't let this happen with the new tank.

But I need as much help as I can get, so I'll explain what I want to do. Bare with me, I'm on a budget, and my parents will get the last word.

I want to make this an all Asian tank, plants and fish. I am going to buy a Marineland Penguin Bio-Wheel 350 Power Filter, a 300 Watt Hydor Heater, 2 bags of Flourite substrate and sand to cover it. Is this enough or too much? Also, can anyone recommend a mesh to separate the 2 substrates? Also, should I make a CO2 reactor and if so, how?

For the plants, I'm free to suggestion. I am getting bogwood for the tank, any suggestions on getting all the tennin out? I had a piece a few years ago, boiled it 10 times in a day, but it still yellowed the tank. Also, could I use grapevine like the kind for reptiles?

Now for the fish. I definitely want 2 SAEs, (that's what I thought I was getting when I got my Chinese Algae Eater, Chomper, 3 years ago). I don't want to get rid of Chomper, so would a jungle of plants and the wood be enough to lessen any incidents between him and the SAEs? I also just need advice on the number of fish, or inches of fish or what have you. I am fine with just 2 Danios, but I was hoping I could get at least 2 more Gouramies and some Harlequin Rasboras.

Right now, if I factor in the maximum size for all fish it adds up to:

4 Gouramis (24 inches)
1 Chinese Algae Eater (10 inches)
2 SAEs (10 inches)
2 Zebra Danios (2 inches) and
9 Harlequin Rasboras (9 inches)
Total: 55 Inches

I have a feeling this will be too much, but that's why I'm here. All replies are appreciated!
 

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You definitely want more zebra danios in there, as they're social fish. You should add at least 4 more for a total of at least 6. The inch per gallon rule is pretty much useless, as one 10 inch fish produces more waste than ten 1 inch fish do.

As for the substrates, it's difficult to keep them separate. The smaller substrate (sand) will always fall below the larger substrate.

Some plants you could get are Cryptocoryne. There are many different types with different appearances, and most of them are pretty hardy and easy to grow. You could also go with Rotala rotundifolia, as it is one of the easier stem plants to grow. You can try moss as well, but if your tank is unbalanced it attracts filamentous algae very easily.

The CAE may cause problems, as they tend to get more aggressive as they get older. How big is yours currently?

It's getting late, so I guess I'll try to get to any remaining questions you have tomorrow.
 

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It will be hard to keep sand and a coarser substrate (eco-complete) separated. I am currently trying, and failing, to do so. My new tank is almost finished cycling and contains an all sand substrate. I may need to place some nutrient tabs in there. Also waste should just accumulate on top of the sand which will make it much easier to vacuum off, rather than falling into the eco-complete and having to churn it up before vacuuming.

Boiling helps remove tannins but you could do it forever and not get them all out. I boiled a pot of wood for 96 hours straight and it still stained the water. Charcoal filtration and lots of time will free you from the tannins.

As far as your fishes go, I like your list except for Chomper. As he reaches his full size potential I imagine you will run into issues with his aggression.
Perhaps establish him his own tank and go with a school of Cories instead? I am very partial to Cories and I know the aren't Asian but they really are wonderful, easy to maintain fish. Having bottom dwellers to go with your mid-levelers will create a nice balance.
If you want to stick to the Asian theme, maybe think about a little school of Botia loaches or some other small loach.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the replies! I don't mind if the substrates mix a little, I'm still working on that concept. I might just use straight sand and fertilizer tabs, as I did with gravel when I still had plants.

As for Chomper, he's about 6 inches right now. He's not really all that aggressive, at least for now I suppose. I've seen him chase off the Gouramis at most 5 times, but I don't expect miracles. And thanks for clarifying that Inch per gallon nonsense for me! I'll certainly defy it now and get those extra Danios!

I do like Corydoras a lot. I'm looking for anything that is pretty, because my parents wanted saltwater (WAY too complicated for their lifestyles at the moment), and my dad is convinced this tank is going to look bad. Zebra loaches are pretty, are those the same as Botia? Yoyos are gorgeous too. I also like ******'s and the similar.

I don't know why I'm stuck on this Asian theme, it just won't let me go!
 

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Zebra loaches and yoyo loaches are both within the genus Botia. Just make sure you don't get any clown loaches (Chromobotia macracanthus), as they can get to be over a foot in size. Loaches are generally social fish, and you should get at least 5-6.

As for the substrate, I think you'll save a lot of hassle by just going with sand and root tabs. Just make sure the sand's not sharp so that the loaches don't get injured.

As for the CAE, it could possibly work but leaving him in there is a risky move. They get more aggressive as they mature, so there could be more problems in the future than there are now.
 

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I wouldn't get 2 more gouramis, they are beautiful fish but very territorial. Adding 2 more to yours may create problems.

Yoyos are great, they remind me of puppies running around. Mine likes to think he's a tetra and school with them, plays chase with my cories and tries to get deep into the bog wood crevices and hang out with the kuhlis. He really is the most entertaining fish in my tank.

Perhaps a little off topic, but salt water is not any more complicated then a planted tank. It just requires specialty equipment. However dealing with "salt creep" gets old very fast, and unless you have saltwater coming out of your tap, water changes are a pain in the.....
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well today we went out and bought sand. I've decided against a second layer of substrate. I think I will get some Yoyos. I'll see about the Gouramis. I think I'll wait until this all gets settled before I decide on that. If I do get more Gouramis, I'll be sure not to get males. I've heard that more Gouramis won't fight that much, similar to Oscars? Worst comes to worst, I'll return the new ones and there will be plenty of hiding places if the conflicts hold up. However, I'm still not certain I'll be getting any more. I'm off to rinse the sand now!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you! I just put in the sand and nearly filled the tank. I'm wondering, I have 10 gallons from the other tank, should I put in 10 gallons or 5? I'm just not sure because the other tank had bad Parameters.
 

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If you're thinking of putting in the old water for the nitrifying bacteria, don't bother. Barely any will be in the water itself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I see. Well that's for the best then, I can barely put any more water in it. I checked my parameters after adding Beneficial Bacteria, Water Conditioner, and the Filter. The results:

pH 7.4 - 7.6
Ammonia 0 ppm
Nitrites 0 ppm

At this rate, when can I add the fish? And how should I fix the pH?
 
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