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Old 08-29-2007, 11:36 PM   #1
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new 55gal with wet/dry filter

Ok so I have a 55gal with about 1.5" of plant substrate(floralife I think.) Another 1" or so of a med size white gravel. I planned on Orandas because I have kept them successfuly for years but I scrapped that idea because I could never keep live plants with them. I tried thick hardy javas and all but my panda orandas were monsters until a house fire claimed their lives. My sister laughed at me because I was a grown man crying over fish.
Anyhow I had a very nice 55 gal setup given to me complete with a wet/dry sump and all. It was from a saltwater setup and I replaced all my hoses and anything that would have retained the salt. (although I know a certain degree of salt is beneficial for freshwater I was more concerned about dormant bacteria if that is even possible I didnt want to take any chances.)
From what I understand th bio-balls produce massive amounts of bacteria colonies and is good for oxygenating the water.
Here are my questions.
1) There is very little surface disturbance going on. Bad for gas exchange? Also seeing film building up on top of he water. I dont over feed. I have 6 Zebra danios cycling. I plan on raising angelfish. I have 2 cpu fans I rigged to my large wooden hood to keep the surface cooler. I was having problems with overheating. Should I use a protein skimmer to aid the wet/dry? The wet/dry spillover does nothing for water movement. Or should I just get a spillover biowheel type filter to help suck water from the bottom?
2) I am getting a brown type bacteria build up (nothing serious) on my spillover. The same kind that would build on my biowheels for my goldfish tank. My tank is pretty empty right now. I am going to move next month so I didnt want to put too much in yet. The tank has a large cluster of very tall fake plants for my zebras to hide in and the substrates and that is it.(I plan on adding live plants bit by bit but that is a whole different post.) Will that bacteria die off if I dont have anything too pourous like rocks?
3)I was told rocks will help add beneficial minerals to the water to help keep my plants healthy. I dont want rocks. Only some nice driftwood. Any suggestions on plants and decor for angelfish? I hear they are flighty fish and could use lots of tall grass. Being a predatory fish that made sense to me too. I have 2-65watt compact double flourecents. Both @ 10,000 kelvin. Is that ok?
4) ok last but not least. Fish selection. Any suggestions on hardy angels? I am confident enough to attempt them but I am still a beginner. I know blushers are out of the question. Pity too cause they are beautiful fish. I really like black angels and thought maybe 4 or 5 black and maybe 2 really bright ones for contrast. I am contemplating if I want to keep it all angels or lower the angel count and add some cories? Or no cories and maybe a small school of swords? I dont mind my angels eating the swordtail fry. But I was also thinking (even though I know the conditins have to be perfect) of maybe letting my angels breed.

Sorry for this mess of words but I am new to turning to the internet for help so it kind of just built up in my head. I cant find any good books @ any local stores just for angels. Any help and I promise I wont post this long again. Oh yeah... my cycling is just about done. My ammonias are finally down and I dont remember my nitrates but they were @ like 2. I read where the lower the better but anything over like 20 is bad? The ph is holding at 6.8 is that good for angles? I will post some pics as soon as my macro lens gets outta the shop. Thanks.

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Old 09-01-2007, 05:25 PM   #2
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If you have a wet-dry/sump, your gas exchange will occur in the wet/dry & sump (as long as that is not airtight). There is so much surface area in the wet/dry (you have a couple gals of bio-balls for that size tank, right?) that you don't really need any surface aggitation.

Protein skimmers don't work in fresh water.

You should not be seeing a surface film if you are taking water from the top of the tank into the wet/dry, and taking the water from near the bottom of the sump with your return pump (as in most set-up). The film should be trapped in the sump. Do you have a prefilter in the overflow? That normally traps the bulk of the material. At any rate, surface films are not really harmful.

You only need "minerals" added to water if your KH is extremly low. In which case you would need additional HCO3 as buffers to prevent pH swings. You can achieve that with a handful of crush coral/shells mixed in with your substrate (replace occassionally). If you don't like the look of that, just put it in the sump. <That is what the sump is for, put everything ugly in there!> If your KH is fine, just leave well enough alone. You will be adding fertilizer with trace elements, etc. when you add plants.

Don't add plants slowly!!!! This is a sure fire recipe for massive algae problems. Once you up the lighting levels for plants, plant heavily all at once with healthy plants. That way, the plants will out compete the algae before it gets a foothold. <Read the stickies at the plat forum for more info.> BTW, 2*65 CF is pretty good for that size tank (consider to be medium light, 2-3 wpg) ... you can grow a fair selection of plants. 10000K is fine for plants.

I don't know enough about angels to really recommend fish. However, for a planted tank, you will need an algae cleanup crew <as the usual algae fighting methods don't work well in a planted tank.> I would suggest a school of Otos, or Siamese algae eaters, or a couple DWARF plecos (bristlenose, rubberlip...). I believe that these would work with angels. I am sure there will be other suitable fish to add to make a community tank with the angels as the focal point.

PS - you can keep plants with golds..... Mine would not touch any veggies unless they are cooked!
80 gal FW with 30 gal DIY wet/dry/sump.
9 fancy golds, 1 hillstream loaches, 1 rubber-lip pleco (C. thomasi), 3 SAEs, small school of white cloud minnows, planted.
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55 gallon, dry, filter, wet, wet/dry

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