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Old 12-03-2004, 02:06 PM   #1
ski
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What else do I need?

I'm starting my first tank. It's a 55 gallon glass -standard rectangle. So far I have the tank, a light hood with one 4' 40w fluorescent light, stand, Aqua- Tech 30-60 Hob filter, emperor 400 Hob filter, little time digital temp (thermometer), 200w heater, substrate is Black Tahitian Moon Sand about 1" to 1.5" thick, and various rock and cave decorations. All decorations will be fake except for a piece of driftwood for the pleco

I plan on getting an Esu power center, python syphon hose, rubber gloves and aquarium pharmaceuticals master test kit.

I also plan on using bio-safe, bio-spira and bio-coat to cycle.

Fish I'm planning on: 6 tiger barbs, 1 hairy tiger pleco, 1 red tail shark, 1 Buffalo Head, 1 German Blue Ram and 1 South American puffer

What else do I need and what potential problems do you foresee?

When using Bio-spira do you add the full compliment of fish at once or over time?

Do I need a powerhead and how many?

Can powerheads run airstones or do I need a dedicated air pump?

Are the backup battery airstones recommended for power outages and do they only run when the power is off?

On a side note, I purchased 3 bags of Black Tahitian Moon Sand from petsmart. I opened one bag and rinsed the sand off then opened the other bag and the sand felt different. One bag was a much finer sand than the other. Is that normal?

Sorry for the long post.
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Old 12-03-2004, 02:29 PM   #2
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Sounds like you got a good setup so far. I am concernced about your fish choice though.

Quote:
Fish I'm planning on: 6 tiger barbs, 1 hairy tiger pleco, 1 red tail shark, 1 Buffalo Head, 1 German Blue Ram and 1 South American puffer
I personally would forget the shark and the puffer. I personally feel that all puffers should have their own tank, because of how aggressive they are. And the shark, should only be put in with other fish there own size and temperment.

And I have no idea what a buffalo head is.
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Old 12-03-2004, 08:48 PM   #3
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When you say "backup battery airstones" I believe you are actually referring to an air pump which is battery powered. This battery powered air pump would replace your existing air pump should the power go out. I consider it a waste of money, as they do not work very well, have limited output, and there are other methods shoudl the time actually come that your power goes out for several days.

I do not like your fish selections at all. If you want Tiger Barbs, you will want to keep a group of 7 or more, odd numbers work best. Forget about keeping a Blue Ram, as they are very sensitive and best for experienced hobbyists. Your South American Puffer is a brachish water fish which will require exact opposite water parameters from your Tiger Barbs & Pleco. Plus the Puffer is extremely extremely aggressive. The Redtail Shark will probably be fine, but you would want to add it last because it will get territorial. The Pleco is a no brainer easy fish for you to keep.

I strongly recommend that you pick a family of fish which you like and stick with them. You could do a primarily a Barb &/or Minnow tank, because you seem to have a liking for Barbs ( the Red Tail Shark is an extended family member also). Gold Barbs, Rosey Barbs, & even some Clown Barbs would go nicely with your mix of fish. Instead of a Blue Ram, you could add a Kribensis, which would mix nicely and behave similarly to a Ram, although the Krib is a Cichlid it would mix well.

I'm getting carried away...
Good luck with whatever you choose!
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Old 12-04-2004, 12:33 PM   #4
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Thanks for your replies. If you check out www.thepufferforum.com they say south american puffers are freshwater. The tiger barbs can get away from the puffer if he gets aggresive that is why I am leaning towards them. Would 5 barbs be better than 6? I saw the Buffalo Head cichid at drsfostersmith site.

What equipment do I need that I dont have yet? Powerhead? Air Pump? Airstones?

Do you add bio-spira then a full compliment of fish or gradually build the population?
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Old 12-04-2004, 02:26 PM   #5
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Puffers require brackish water which is slighlty salty (but still considered fw), high hardness and high ph. Your barbs need low hardness and low ph. Powerheads are for ugf which don't work with sand. An air pump and a bubble wand are good ideas. You still need to add fish gradually because the bio-spira just provides the bacteria but they need food (such as fish waste) to multiply. A 55 should be able to handle 7 tiger barbs.
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Old 12-04-2004, 03:24 PM   #6
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Like some others have said, the problem with keeping the puffer in with the barbs and sharks would be that barbs and sharks do not tolerate brackish water. Really, the aggression levels would probably be fine if they were put together. But you shouldn't put barbs and shark in the brackish water.
With Bio Spira you can add all your fish at once, there is no need for gradual addition if you add them all at once with the bio spira at the same time. The fish waste will produce enough food for the bacteria.
DO NOT MIX PUFFERS AND CICHLIDS. No, No, No.....
I have never heard of a Buffalo Head cichlid so I can't advise you on that.
Don't try Rams unless your water quality is very, very close to their parameters, otherwise your just flushing your money(and your fish) down the toilet.
Either forget the puffer and do everyone else or forget everyone else and figure out something for the puffer.
Don't run powerheads in a sand tank.
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Old 12-05-2004, 12:18 AM   #7
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i run one 300 gph power head in my sand 55 gallon and got it angled so its just barely moving sand in the front of my tank i love it. helps keep dead spots down and keeps that part of the sand free of poo. all the poo colects in one corner then i can just suck that corner up with the siphon. a powerhead is a necessity in my opinion.
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Old 12-05-2004, 05:57 AM   #8
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Re: What else do I need?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ski

Fish I'm planning on: 6 tiger barbs, 1 hairy tiger pleco, 1 red tail shark, 1 Buffalo Head, 1 German Blue Ram and 1 South American puffer
The buffalo head is probably the blue one with lighter purple vertical stripes and a hump on his forehead (hence buffalohead). This is an African cichlid specie and i have no experience with them (yet, i want to get a pair of them as soon as i have more space to put up another aquarium).

I would advice against the puffer and the shark. I'm not sure of this, but i don't think it's a good idea to put a german blue ram on his own against a bunch of tiger barbs. I would either not take the barbs or leave the german blue ram out. I don't think the german blue ram is actually very hard to keep contrary to what someone else suggested.

I'll suggest the following for your tank, just to give you some more ideas:

A pair of german blue rams
The pleco you suggested
5 otocinclus
Maybe some pigmy corydoras (also best kept in schools, so maybe 7 or 9)
a small school of cardinal tetras (9 -13)
And i believe you could also keep an angel in there, they're always very pretty.

HTH

p.s.: Give ski some more suggestions everyone!
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Old 12-05-2004, 03:49 PM   #9
ski
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Here is the link for a Buffalo head. http://liveaquaria.com/product/prod_...fm?pCatId=1990

I think I am leaning toward 7 tiger barbs and dumping the idea of a german blue ram. I went to petco and saw 1 tiger barb in a tank of 9 other fish (of a different species) that were 2x his size. he was like a little pit bull going after those guys. I felt bad for the others. Seven tiger barbs should calm them down a bit.

Although it is true alot of puffers require brackish water after doing more research at the puffer forum. South American Puffers are true freshwater fish and do not need brackish water.

What are your opinions? Powerhead or no?
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Old 12-05-2004, 04:09 PM   #10
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That was the fish i meant. At my lfs the have vertical stripes, maybe because they are still younger. I believe you could keep a pair together with your barbs, but it will get nasty if you want them to breed. The buffalo's probably will become too aggresive and will get into trouble with the barbs. So don't provide space for the buffalos to breed if you would want this to work.........although it will be hard.
You could always add a powerhead, as long as your fish don't have to swim against the current all of the time.

HTH
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