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Old 03-31-2006, 11:43 PM   #1
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Equipment: which path to take

I'm thinking of buying a fishtank (as mentionned in another thread) and am considering multiple options... size unknown for now but thinking that ~50 - 65 gallons would be a good start.

Since I have no experience and am not too sure of what I want, what would be the best approach in terms of filter, lights, and other misc items purchase? My wife and I want colorful fishes with some cool plants...

Lights: I'd eventually like to have plants because they look really cool, should I fork out some big $$$ for lights right away? I don't know if I'd go with low light plants or not.. would it be simply a bulb to replace? Is PC the way to go in my case? Does # of lumens / watts needed depends on tank height?

Fiilter: If I want something quiet, I need a canister right? Some plants (or was it fishes?) require not too much water movement and peoples were recommending not more than 5x turnover but for some other fishes, you need 10x. Picking the wrong filter can turn out expensive, unless that's only for HOB filters?

Should I plan for redudancy (2x heaters, 2x filters? but that seems overkill... and expensive!! especially with canister filters)

On top of this I guess that I need to buy a cheap 10 gallon tank w/ heater, filter and light to put my new fishes in quarantine?


man that's getting confusing... but at least I'm doing my research before even buying!
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Old 04-01-2006, 11:59 AM   #2
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Bigger is better in tanks IMO. They are easier to care for and keep stable.

Filtration, larger tanks can usually benefit from a couple of filters. I use two cannisters on my 125 gal but on my 75 gal I use a HOB and a cannister. There are HOB's that are quiet as can be. Some you can hear the water splashing a bit but that is a personal preference.

Lighting you should decide on once you have decided when and what kind of plants you want. Lights tend to be expensive so purchasing twice is not the most cost efficient way. There are so may types of lights out there, many ballasts can be overdriven but that is way out of my league so I'll leave that to the experts.

Tanks over 4" long, IMO should have 2 heaters as a precaution if one should fail and to keep the temps even at both ends.

Chosing fish ideas may affect whether or not you go with plants. African cichlids for example are colorful but very difficult to kept plants with. I said difficult not impossible, mind you. You should consider a fishless cycle when you do get a tank, it is much easier on your fish. Since you seem to be a sensible couple and are doing research before jumping in. I sure didn't, .

A 10 gal for QT is an excellent idea! I think you are off to a great start!
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Old 04-01-2006, 12:07 PM   #3
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I agree with Zagz, once you decide on the size tank you want, the equipment that will go with it will be easier.

You are off to a good start.
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Old 04-01-2006, 10:54 PM   #4
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Well, we saw a nice 75 gallon... the sedona red oak stand is super nice as well so my wife has decided that she wants that... she knows we'll buy a bigger one later otherwise.
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Old 04-01-2006, 11:58 PM   #5
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Being poor I have tried very hard to keep costs down, and still have a nice planted tank. There are areas you can spend less on depending on your level of "Do-it-Yourself" ability. For example, you can buy a ready to go out of the box lighting setup (can be big $$$), or you can buy a retrofit kit or even all the parts and assemble it yourself for a lot less. There are things that you shouldn't skimp on, in my case I used Eco-Complete for (planted tank) substrate which is quite pricey but I know I won't have to add anything to it down the road, and substrate is not something you want to replace in 6 months when you realized you should have gotten the good stuff in the first place. I would keep doing what you are doing, and gather lots of information and opinions. Once you decide on a tank size and what you're going to put in it, your options will narrow a bit. What I try to look for on forums like this is what NOT to do....there will be lots of opinions on what works, but there are usually less opinions on what doesn't work!
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Old 04-02-2006, 01:19 PM   #6
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A 75 gal will offer you many options for stocking that is colorful. Cichlids are always colorful but usually more aggressive than your community fish. GBR's are a cichlid but go well some types of communities and they are gorgeous fish. Angelfish are beautiful fish and comein quite varied colors. Oh I can go on and on but ultimately you guys need to decide where to start as far as what kind of tank. Such an exciting time. I envy you. (And to those that know me, no I am not getting another tank just yet )
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Old 04-02-2006, 01:32 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by mart242
Well, we saw a nice 75 gallon... the sedona red oak stand is super nice as well so my wife has decided that she wants that... she knows we'll buy a bigger one later otherwise.
That size is 4feet long, giving you some options for lighting. 40watt NO tubes are 48" long.
two 55/65w PC tubes will fit too (they're about 22.5" long, so side by side).

Since you want plants, definitely check out all the sticky posts in the FW planted tank section. Planted tanks are great, but require more maintenance.

And yes, you can keep cichlids in a planted tank. Yellow labs, demasoni, rusty cichlids, socofli and acei all do fine in my tank.
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