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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My first tank ever...

Just got equipment home. Im planning on cycling the tank and getting the plants off to a good start before adding fish.
45 gal tank
Aquatop canister filter 20-75 gal 300 GPH
Fluval plant spectrum light 46W
Eheim thermo control 150 heater
thermometer
Eco complete plant substrate
A piece of Malaysian wood and some lace rock
gravel vac

What else do I need to get to be stating off on the right foot?

Also, what do you wish you had known when starting your first tank?
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You might need more light. You have one watt per gallon. Sorry. I could be wrong though. But I don't think I am. You have time while your cycling to get a new one if you need to.

What I didn't know was that things take there own time in an aquarium. Your will sometimes has little to do with the pace of things. But watch out because conditions can change before you know it.

EDIT: Maybe you don't need so many watts with an LED light. You're probably good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
You might need more light. You have one watt per gallon. Sorry. I could be wrong though. But I don't think I am. You have time while your cycling to get a new one if you need to.

What I didn't know was that things take there own time in an aquarium. Your will sometimes has little to do with the pace of things. But watch out because conditions can change before you know it.

EDIT: Maybe you don't need so many watts with an LED light. You're probably good.
Thank you! I'll keep an eye out... Im going with beginner level plants too, so Im pretty sure I'll be able to save them in time if they don't thrive with the lighting. Just in case.
 

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I'm dating myself but in the old days they went by watts per gallon for lighting. I think your setup is great. I only have a 20 gallon with questionable filtration. That canister filter you got is going to be terrific compared to my Eclipse 2 filter. Don't clean it too thoroughly or you'll kill off the water purifying bacteria.
 

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Sounds like you’re off to a good start. You need water conditioner, some fish meds and a net. Don’t let algae discourage you. It’s a good sign your tank can support life. The art is in controlling how much it grows by keeping a balanced tank.

What type of fish are you considering?
 

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You should consider getting a water change system, such as a python. You will also need fertilizer you will be adding at least once a week. There are many options but one popular one for a low tech tank (no injected co2) is Nicolg ThriveC.

You will want to do 50+% water change every week. I aim for 70-80%. Your light is probably fine for easy plants. You will need a timer to keep the light on for 8 hours. That can be split up if you want. You will also need a water test kit to measure parameters. API master test kit is frequently recommended because it's cheap and readily available. Good luck!
 

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A 5 gallon bucket from Home Cheapo or Wally world will be fairly important. For a tank this size, if you don't have a system to bring your waste water directly to a drain, maybe even 2. They can be used to store equipment when not in use too.
 

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You'll need a test kit, especially right at the beginning, to monitor your tank parameters.

Will you be using tap water or RO water? I would suggest putting some tap water into a container for a day or two, then testing it to see what you're working with. Then you can decide whether you need to add fertilizer (and how much) by using one of the many calculators available online.

After that you can decide which flora/fauna you want in the tank. I'd suggest something that is easier to manage for your first tank - for example, if your water out of the tap is considered "hard", you'll want to choose flora/fauna suited for hard water conditions to make maintenance a little easier to manage. JMO.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Sounds like you’re off to a good start. You need water conditioner, some fish meds and a net. Don’t let algae discourage you. It’s a good sign your tank can support life. The art is in controlling how much it grows by keeping a balanced tank.

What type of fish are you considering?
I am on well water, so no chlorine. Is there a specific conditioner I should go with based on that? Also, what fish meds should I have on hand. I've had dogs and other animals for over 20 years but this is my first foray into water LOL.

As far as fish... the only certain is a school of cardinal tetras.
Im thinking of doing a single betta, the tetras, platys, and a couple bristle nose pleco's. I am certainly open to suggestions though!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
You should consider getting a water change system, such as a python. You will also need fertilizer you will be adding at least once a week. There are many options but one popular one for a low tech tank (no injected co2) is Nicolg ThriveC.

You will want to do 50+% water change every week. I aim for 70-80%. Your light is probably fine for easy plants. You will need a timer to keep the light on for 8 hours. That can be split up if you want. You will also need a water test kit to measure parameters. API master test kit is frequently recommended because it's cheap and readily available. Good luck!
Thank you! Definitely need to order the python. Thank you for the fertilizer suggestion. Water test kit on its way to me. I have a ph kit, but not the others.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
A 5 gallon bucket from Home Cheapo or Wally world will be fairly important. For a tank this size, if you don't have a system to bring your waste water directly to a drain, maybe even 2. They can be used to store equipment when not in use too.
Thank you! Yup, I was just thinking about whether I should get 2 buckets. That definitely makes more sense to me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
You'll need a test kit, especially right at the beginning, to monitor your tank parameters.

Will you be using tap water or RO water? I would suggest putting some tap water into a container for a day or two, then testing it to see what you're working with. Then you can decide whether you need to add fertilizer (and how much) by using one of the many calculators available online.

After that you can decide which flora/fauna you want in the tank. I'd suggest something that is easier to manage for your first tank - for example, if your water out of the tap is considered "hard", you'll want to choose flora/fauna suited for hard water conditions to make maintenance a little easier to manage. JMO.
Thank you and definitely!!! Im on well water and it is definitely more hard than soft. I have an RO loop and can utilize that if I need to, but it would definitely be slower to fill if I use that. Now I wish my test kit was already here instead of having to wait for Monday! LOL
 

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Since you are on well water you do not need water conditioner. The only value water conditioner has is to remove chlorine/chloramine. Anything else water conditioner is used for could be accomplished with simple water changes.

However, since you are on well water I'd also advise getting a GH/KH kit which is not typically included in some of the more popular test kits (like the API Master Test Kit). GH/KH will let you know how much trouble you are going to have growing plants on your well water. Similarly a TDS pen would also be a good idea for much the same reason.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Since you are on well water you do not need water conditioner. The only value water conditioner has is to remove chlorine/chloramine. Anything else water conditioner is used for could be accomplished with simple water changes.

However, since you are on well water I'd also advise getting a GH/KH kit which is not typically included in some of the more popular test kits (like the API Master Test Kit). GH/KH will let you know how much trouble you are going to have growing plants on your well water. Similarly a TDS pen would also be a good idea for much the same reason.
Thank you! I had hoped that the master kit would have covered that. LOL New kit ordered.
 

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...Also, what do you wish you had known when starting your first tank?
Honest answer, pressurized co2. Without a doubt the best thing you could add to grow plants, hands down, not even close regardless of which plants you choose to grow. Unfortunately most newbies don't add it and they struggle.
 

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I wish I'd known more about water hardness - get a test kit that tests for gH and kH. Platies have opposite hardness needs to bettas, tetras, and corys, so your water will suit one group but not the other. I also wish I'd known about the website Seriously Fish - it's a great resource for basic research :) Good luck and have fun!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I wish I'd known more about water hardness - get a test kit that tests for gH and kH. Platies have opposite hardness needs to bettas, tetras, and corys, so your water will suit one group but not the other. I also wish I'd known about the website Seriously Fish - it's a great resource for basic research :) Good luck and have fun!
Thank you!! I may try and find something else colorful than platies then... I'll check out the site.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
OK... we are started. Plants are in. Fingers crossed that the "melt" isn't too bad and that the beginner plants I have can make it through this LOL. I killed off a LOT of plants learning to garden above water, so Im a tad concerned I may do the same under.
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I am on well water, so no chlorine. Is there a specific conditioner I should go with based on that? Also, what fish meds should I have on hand. I've had dogs and other animals for over 20 years but this is my first foray into water LOL.

As far as fish... the only certain is a school of cardinal tetras.
Im thinking of doing a single betta, the tetras, platys, and a couple bristle nose pleco's. I am certainly open to suggestions though!
That's a nice assortment of fish. The only wildcard is the betta. I added a female betta to a new community with cardinals. She immediately saw them as food and started chasing them. I removed her to a smaller tank for a couple months and reintroduced her to the tank after the cardinals grew to adult size. If the betta has the pretty fins you will also need to consider flow from the canister filter. A dwarf cichlid, gourami or angel fish could be good alternatives.
 
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