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Old 02-03-2018, 01:59 AM   #1
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Help Requested: Newbie setting up new 90G Tank

Hi everyone,

I've had a 10G goldfish tank for a few months and loved taking care of them! I've been loving this hobby so much that I have just placed an order for a 90G tank that will arrive next weekend! Yippie!

I intend to keep freshwater fish. In some years, I'd like to graduate to a planted tank, but I will start with plastic decor for now. Will likely keep fish that are what PetSmart would call "needs intermediate knowledge" to handle. So, maybe rainbows to start me off? Eventually, would love a cichlid tank, but maybe not to start off with.

And here is where the questions start! Looking for lots of advice, so whatever you have, please send it my way. I have the following questions to start off, but I don't know what I don't know - so any additional advice you have for a newbie is welcome.

1. Which canister filer should I get?
I am thinking of getting a Eheim Classic 2217. Why? Because I hear it lasts forever, is easy to take care of, and has biological filtration. I hear the filter cartridges are more expensive, but I'd rather pay a little more for cartridges than for fish replacement. Any advice would help

2. Which light should I get?
Given that I eventually want to have plants, I'd rather go for a light that can eventually support plant growth. I read that "Finnex Planted+ 24/7" is a good choice. Is it? Are there any disadvantages to getting a light for plants even when I don't have plants? Any other brands/models that I should consider?

3. Which heater and how strong?
I was thinking of getting that EHEIM Jager 300W. I assume I'll need 300W for a 90G aquarium. Will 1 heater be enough given the tank is 4ft wide? Should I instead think of getting 2 smaller heaters, one for each side?

4. Air pump, tubing and air stone: Do I even need these?
I heard from one of the aquarium shop keepers that this is really only helpful if I like the aesthetics of it. Otherwise, I could skip it. I was thinking of skipping it. Should I?

5. Cycling my tank: Whats the best resource?
I have been reading up on cycling and am reading a lot of different opinions. Are there any instructions that have worked well for you that you could point me to?

6. Gravel and decoration: When should I get this?
I am going to get the gravel now so I can cycle the tank with the gravel in it, but was thinking of waiting on the plastic decorations until I can decide exactly what fish I want.

7. Lastly, when I am ready, what fish should I consider?
Any handy guides you can point me to?

Lots of questions, but I want to do things right and keep happy healthy fish. Any help you can provide will be greatly appreciated?
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Old 02-03-2018, 10:33 AM   #2
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I’ll respond to a couple of your questions. For ninety gallons, I highly recommend a sump/wet-dry filter. It would make any air stones unnecessary and you can hide the heater in it, making heating and aeration very efficient as well. It’s more expensive than a canister filter but more efficient and easier to clean, i think.
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Old 02-03-2018, 10:46 AM   #3
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1) eheim is a good canister brand as is Fluval, I would look into both and compare them as they are both high quality
2) the finnex planted 24/7+ is a great light however, with running it you will want to use a co2 tank because otherwise the plants will start to melt because they won't have sufficient nutrients to keep growing under high light
3) I personally do not like the eheim heaters, my eheim is very inconsistent, it will overheat the tank or not heat at all. Instead I would go with an aqueon pro, probably the best heater on the market. I would also go with 2 slightly smaller heaters on each side just in case 1 were to die. Very low chance but it would still happen
4) really just for aesthetics if you like their look, otherwise only really needed if you have to raise the temperature to treat a disease
5)I would try to get some already cycled filter media from a LFS to help cycle, if done right it can instantly cycle a tank, otherwise I would either dose ammonia or put a cocktail shrimp in a pantyhose and let it release ammonia as it wastes away then you just take it out once it cycles
6) really up to personal choice, all basic gravel is inert and all plastic plans are as well, doesn't affect anything, however I would maybe look into adding driftwood too, it adds a nice appeal I think
7) If you want to do Cichlids eventually, I would go with African ones. One point with them however is that you need to slightly overstock the tank to help dilute any aggression
Hope this helped! Just ask if you have other questions
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Old 02-03-2018, 11:21 AM   #4
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Welcome. Some good questions there; can tell you've already been doing a lot of homework. I would recommend two heaters as even with quality heaters, it's not a matter of if they will fail it's a matter of when. A lot of folks like the aqueon pro, but I have been using fluval heaters. I would not use shrimp or fish food for cycling. I would use pure ammonia.

As far as decor... if at some point you are planning on going with a more natural looking tank with plants and the like, I wouldn't buy plastic stuff. I did that, spent a bunch of money on plastic plants and stuff then immediately began replacing it with real stone, driftwood, plants... If you don't want to start off with plants you could just hardscape it with driftwood and/or stone. That's just my 2 pennies, take them for what they're worth.

For fish... really up to you. I guess it mostly depends on what you have available to you. Check out your lfs and see what they have, and then look them up and ask question on here. Good luck.
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Old 02-03-2018, 11:58 AM   #5
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Welcome. Some good questions there; can tell you've already been doing a lot of homework. I would recommend two heaters as even with quality heaters, it's not a matter of if they will fail it's a matter of when. A lot of folks like the aqueon pro, but I have been using fluval heaters. I would not use shrimp or fish food for cycling. I would use pure ammonia.

As far as decor... if at some point you are planning on going with a more natural looking tank with plants and the like, I wouldn't buy plastic stuff. I did that, spent a bunch of money on plastic plants and stuff then immediately began replacing it with real stone, driftwood, plants... If you don't want to start off with plants you could just hardscape it with driftwood and/or stone. That's just my 2 pennies, take them for what they're worth.

For fish... really up to you. I guess it mostly depends on what you have available to you. Check out your lfs and see what they have, and then look them up and ask question on here. Good luck.
I diffently agree about the plastic plants! When your already thinking of live plants. You might as well get some eco complete for substrate and start planting low light plants (beginner plants) that don't need Co2 Or high light. You can always upgrade when your ready and everything will already be set up. As far as cycling the tank I'd move them goldfish along with the filter and anything else to the 90g and do a fish in cycle. Goldfish would cycle it fast with all the waste they make. Just keep up on the water changes and testing so you don't kill them. And getting fish from pet smart I highly suggest you have some ich meds on hand. Just a heads up. Every fish store is different. But 9 times out of 10 you'll have something to deal with. And what ever meds you get, make sure it's not gonna die the silicone and everything in your new tank blue. Live plants when using meds, make sure you get something that ain't gonna kill the plants too. Have some fun with it! Good luck! And enjoy!
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Old 02-03-2018, 03:06 PM   #6
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Some really good insights here - thanks everyone!

Some followups: (I'll use the numbering scheme from my original post for ease of tracking)

1) Sump/wet dry filter: I checked them out on Amazon, and boy, these are expensive (run in the 400-500 bucks range!). I appreciate the idea, but I think I'll stick with canister filters for now. Is Eheim the right choice? A LFS guy told me that if I were to consider other brands, Marineland was better that fluval because of its superior biological filtration and zero bypass (he said fluval does not have true zero bypass). Also, his opinion was that the fluval breaks more easily, but not the marineland. Thoughts?

2) A CO2 tank? Is there a brand and model you'd recommend? Is this a must-have even if I have beginner plants?

3) Thanks for the tip on Eheim heaters. I will drop that from my list. Sounds like Aqueon Pro is a solid recommendation. I checked out in-line heaters. They are more expensive, but are they any better than submersible ones? Do they last longer? Do I still need a backup heater even if I get the in line heaters?

6) I hear the solid advice on NOT starting with plastic plants and instead doing live plants. I love it! I had initially thought that as a relative newbie, doing cycling, new plants, new fish could all be overwhelming, and so just do the cycling and fish first. So which plants are relatively hardy for a newbie to start off with? I also like the idea of adding some driftwood to start with.
I will get some eco complete substrate. I assume I will need a 1-inch layer of this substrate? Is this right or do I need more?
Can I still pour sand on top of the substrate to brighten up the tank? Or should I just leave the eco complete substrate as the base?

8) Transferring goldfish: I can certainly do this if it helps cycle the tank faster, but I do not want to use the 90G for goldfish. Can I still cycle the tank with goldfish and then move them back to the smaller tank (or gift them) and still be able to use the 90G for other tropical fish?

I am so glad I have you all to help advice. Otherwise, i would have been so lost!
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Old 02-03-2018, 03:21 PM   #7
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No problem glad to help!
1) I personally would not use a marineland one, they arent very high quality and if I were to setup a tank I would spend more to get the quality
2)They aren't like, required, unless you go high light because the plants won't grow as fast and the co2 dissolved in the water is very helpful to them. I use plants in all of my tanks but don't use high light (like the finnex) I use seachem Excel which is a liquid co2, not as good but a decent supplement
3) not sure I've never used an inline but it's always a good idea to have a spare
6)Java fern, java moss, green cabomba, hornwort, and anubias are all easier plants. The java fern and moss get tied to driftwood and the cabomba gets planted and the hornwort can be planted or left free floating not sure about anubias, I would use around a 2" deep substrate layer, maybe 1.5" eco complete then cap it with a half inch of sand
8) you can use them to cycle the tank then take them out, no problems there
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Old 02-03-2018, 05:37 PM   #8
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No problem glad to help!
1) I personally would not use a marineland one, they arent very high quality and if I were to setup a tank I would spend more to get the quality
2)They aren't like, required, unless you go high light because the plants won't grow as fast and the co2 dissolved in the water is very helpful to them. I use plants in all of my tanks but don't use high light (like the finnex) I use seachem Excel which is a liquid co2, not as good but a decent supplement
3) not sure I've never used an inline but it's always a good idea to have a spare
6)Java fern, java moss, green cabomba, hornwort, and anubias are all easier plants. The java fern and moss get tied to driftwood and the cabomba gets planted and the hornwort can be planted or left free floating not sure about anubias, I would use around a 2" deep substrate layer, maybe 1.5" eco complete then cap it with a half inch of sand
8) you can use them to cycle the tank then take them out, no problems there
Dido... I have a marineland-360 for my 75g. I like it, but there are better ones out there. I like the ones where you can control the flow. I can't remember what kind they are. But it's a good thing to have. Your getting excited huh! Lol! Welcome to the addiction. Lol! I'm getting ready to flip my tank upside down with live plants. Washing them stupid plastic plants vacuuming the gravel SUCKS! LOL! I'm over it. And on to upgrading my tank. You'll love the plants much more and so will your fish.
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Old 02-03-2018, 05:43 PM   #9
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1) So it sounds like Fluval or Eheim are the choice here? Should I just pick between the Fluval 406 and Eheim Classic 2217 .. or are there other models I should think of?

6) Any recommendations on brand of eco substrate? And how much to get? Is it ok to have substrate and then sand on top (for aesthetics)?

Love you all already
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Old 02-03-2018, 05:55 PM   #10
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1) yeah, I think you'll be better off with one of those options, definitely the best quality out there. I like Fluval more, however I haven't had them to compare so I would go with what you prefer

6) CaribSea eco-complete is the one I was referring to, it's roughly $20~ for a 20lb bag, I would get maybe 5 bags to make sure the depth is thick enough, it's fine to cap it with sand but you might like how it looks straight from the bag. If you do choose to cap it with sand don't do more then about half an inch of capping
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