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Old 03-09-2009, 04:11 PM   #1
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Wanting to upgrade my 10 gallon tank

I got my first fish a couple years ago (a betta) and it sat in a bowl for a couple of months and I felt sorry for it and bought a 10 gallon tank and really enjoyed watching him swim around in it. I added some plants, a few harlequins and some ghost shrimp and they all got along great and I really liked the tank. Anyways, the betta just recently died, and I am just left with 4 harlequins and a shrimp, and I would like to upgrade to a larger tank because I want more fish. So I thought I'd ask for advice about tank options and fish for them.

First off, I was considering a 29 gallon because they have a pretty good deal at Petco with the complete setup for $89. I know some kits seemed to have cheap components, but this looked pretty nice (all glass hood, flour light, whisper filter, heater), and when I priced all that stuff separately, it came to about $170. Anyways, looking on the web the most common thing I see is "get the biggest tank you have room for". Well, I can't get a 55 gal because that 48" length is too big for the room. The only other thing that might be doable is something like a 40 breeder which is 36" long, because that would fit, but I don't want to go any longer than that. I don't want it to take over the room. But then something like that would cost probably around $200 because I didn't see a package deal for that, so I'm trying to see if it is worth double the cost.

Anyways, besides the 4 harlequins I have that I would put in there, other fish I saw that I liked are tiger barbs, zebra danios, some tetras, gouramis, and maybe some kind of catfish or algae eater. Basically maybe a couple groups of schooling fish, and one or two larger more noticeable fish. I also thought about putting in black gravel, some wood and/or rocks, and plants, so if you can think of fish that would look good with that substrate let me know. I just want an idea of what I could do with either of these tanks, and the amounts of some of the fish I mentioned that would work in there. I want to upgrade the 10 gal so I can have more fish, but I don't want the tank to take over the room or spend a ton of money. Any thoughts on this would be appreciated. Thank you.
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Old 03-09-2009, 07:54 PM   #2
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You could always try to find a used tank. They're way cheaper. I just bought a used 48 gallon tall square shaped tank with stand and all equipment for 200$. I saw the same one for over 500 plus tax at petsmart. I have black gravel in mine too....no fish in it yet though...still cycling.
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Old 03-10-2009, 06:27 AM   #3
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I have that same tank from Petco which I bought on sale for $149 so that is really a good deal at $89
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Old 03-10-2009, 12:50 PM   #4
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I have that same tank from Petco which I bought on sale for $149 so that is really a good deal at $89
Wow really? I thought the regular price was like $129, that must be a really good deal then. What fish, substrate, decorations do you have in it? Does it have that Whisper 30 filter, and is that sufficient?
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Old 03-10-2009, 01:08 PM   #5
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I used blue fake gravel in mine from petco. I like it because it has a coating on it and does not get dusty like other gravel and is easy to clean.
I have a 3" long airstone, a barrel decoration for hiding in and 6 baby Amazon Swords, I will be selling the plants to my LFS soon.
I bought the tank as a QT/hospital tank so right now I just have an Otto cat and a few Red Cherry shrimp in there. I have a 4" Bala with a damaged dorsal fin that I will be transferring in there tonight for treatment.
The Whisper 30 is enough as long as you don't stock too heavy.
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Old 03-10-2009, 03:49 PM   #6
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So do you think this 29 could make a nice community tank, or is it better suited for a quarantine tank like you have it? Could I get like a guorami or two, and then some schools of 4-6 of the harlequins and some of the other ones I mentioned above?
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Old 03-10-2009, 04:03 PM   #7
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Sure, it would be a fine community tank.
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Old 03-10-2009, 04:15 PM   #8
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neon tetras or cardinal tetras look really nice in black substrate
and they are relatively small

the same thing by Aqueon is sold at Petland Discounts for $129 in my neighborhood
i think it was a sweet deal
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Old 03-10-2009, 07:01 PM   #9
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Ok I think you have me convinced on getting this 29 now. It sounds like I can have a nice tank and not have to spend a ton. And if down the road I find room for a bigger tank, I won't be out that much money at all. And instead of spending $100 on a cheaply made stand, I am just going to make a sturdy one so that shouldn't cost too much. Looks like I should be able to have a decent setup without breaking the bank. Thanks guys! When I get it, I might make another post for stocking suggestions.
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Old 03-10-2009, 07:06 PM   #10
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I have what I think is just about the same setup you are looking at. I bought it at Petsmart, and paid more than $89... I did however upgrade the lighting (the light it comes with isn't enough to grow much, even low light plants), and added a CO2 system, but my tank is just as you described... black substrate, wood, rocks, and plants. It is a community tank with ~12 neons, 2 black neons, 4 serpae tetras, 2 lampeye tetras, 3 Siamese Algae Eaters, and a bunch of ghost and amano shrimp.
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Old 03-10-2009, 07:29 PM   #11
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That looks great Fort! When you say you upgrade the lighting, is it just changing the bulb, or do you need a whole new light? That is something like I would want, maybe not even that many plants. But when I get it, can I drop you a message for advice on planting it? I just had a couple plants pushed into the gravel of my little tank, and they didn't thrive, but they didn't die either. I never added fertilizer or anything which I probably should, so I could use some advice on that. Is the filter that came with it sufficient, or did you have to upgrade that? I think a bunch of tetras and a couple larger fish is just what I'm looking for, so I think this might work!
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Old 03-10-2009, 07:37 PM   #12
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I have 2x2xT5HO fixtures (4 T5 HO bulbs, 24W each, 96W total) on top of the tank (about $240). The fixture that comes with it only holds 1 20W t-8 florescent bulb. Enough to light the fish up, but not enough to grow much, if anything. Of course, you will not need as much light as I have to grow some low light, easy maintenance plants in your tank.

There is a great forum on AquariumAdvice.com for planted tanks. You can check that forum out and there will be a ton of folks who can help you determine what kind of planted setup would work best for your tastes and budget.

The filter that came with mine is a HOB (Hang On Back) type, Topfin 30. It has been adequate, I have not upgraded it. The heater has worked well too.
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Old 03-10-2009, 07:49 PM   #13
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Ok I will check out that forum. Yours looks so great, but I can't afford to spend that much on the lights. I will be happy with some java moss or java ferns, it doesn't have to be as lush like yours is. Maybe I will put a big rock in there besides the wood. Thanks for you help though. I looked at your older pictures and can't believe how fast thos plants grew!
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Old 03-10-2009, 07:56 PM   #14
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Yeah, I am running high light, pressurized CO2, and fertilizer, so stuff happens pretty quick. I trim about once a week.

For java moss and ferns, you would just need about 30W or so over your tank. It would be easy to retrofit something else into the hood that will come with your tank for you to hit this thresh hold (I did that on my tank before I decided to really get into this). You may get java moss and ferns to survive in your tank with the stock light, but they probably won't grow much, if at all.
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Old 03-10-2009, 08:03 PM   #15
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Is it just a matter of changing the bulb?
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Old 03-10-2009, 08:12 PM   #16
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Unfortunately, probably not. 20W is just right under the threshold you would want on 29G tank to grow low light plants. The thing is for a florescent light, the bulb lenth & diameter is tied to the wattage. A 24" T-8 fixture holds 20W bulbs. You aren't going to find a 36W bulb for example that will fit that fixture.

Like I said though you could try the stock light out. I don't think any of my plants grew an inch under the 20W light, but my java ferns and moss stayed green for the most part (I didn't upgrade my light until about 2-3weeks after I started the tank and my plants weren't really growing). It all just depends on what you are looking for in your tank. Really in terms of ease of maintenance, the lower the wattage, the better... less wattage generally means less algae, less nutrient defficiencies, less need for CO2, etc etc. However, below a certain threshold, it just won't be enough light to support plant life.
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Old 03-10-2009, 08:44 PM   #17
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Ok thanks for all your help Fort. One more thing if I could bother you again...Could you give me the measurements of the footprint of the tank? Is it exactly 30x12, or is it 1/2" more with the metal frame? Reason I ask is because I need to build a stand, so I know what the size of it is. I wonder if I should make it exactly the size of the tank, or if it should be maybe an inch larger all the way around, or if it should be exact size with a bit of molding sticking up and inch or so to cover up the bottom piece of trim?
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Old 03-10-2009, 08:47 PM   #18
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hmm, that I am not sure of, and I am not at home right now to check. If no one else posts the standard footprint of a 29G before I get home, I will measure it for you.
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Old 03-11-2009, 04:39 PM   #19
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Ok back to the plant issue, if this kit just comes with a 20w light, and that isn't even sufficient to grow something like java ferns, I wonder if I am better off buying the components separately then with a higher output lamp. I am not sure what to look for though, do I just get a clear glass lid, and put a light on top of it? Sorry Im such a novice with these, but if there is something that will help that plants that doesn't cost a ton, then I might go that route. But if its going to be hundreds for a hood and light, maybe I will just take my chances with the kit one.
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Old 03-11-2009, 05:08 PM   #20
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I don't think you are going to save yourself any money by piecing together a tank as opposed to buying the kit, and upgrading the light. If all you are after is low light though, I think you can probably just get a glass top (standard 29G is going to be pretty cheap at a LFS), use the light it comes with, and build or by 1 other light at your lfs. Another 20W would be fine... and they are cheap.

Perfecto Manufacturing Fluorescent Black Strip Light 30 Inch-Aquarium Lighting

Spent about 30 seconds searching for 1... if you added this to your existing light with a glass tank you would be good to go. However, you will probably need to change the bulbs to get you in the proper spectrum, which will be another $10-20 for both. I think to get to low light, it will cost you right around $50. You could do it for even less if you built the light from parts bought from your LHS or home depot.

Figure about $120+shipping if you wanted to get to medium low to medium. That would be about the cost of a T5HO or PC fixture for your tank.
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