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Old 10-20-2005, 04:04 AM   #1
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Newbie needs advice all lots of stuff UPDATED

Hi all. I have a few questions.

OK I scored a large tank tonight, it has a stand and some supplies but I didn't see a hood, obviously a necessity with kids and cats. I wont be able to move the tank here for a few days, some idiot hit my Landcruiser with a front end loader so the back wont open and the tank wont fit inside.
Anyway, I believe the tank is either 40 inches or maybe 48 but I am thinking 40. I am guessing the gallons to be between 70-110, I really need to see it in the light. Tomorrow I will get the truck and go over there and photograph it for you all, maybe bring it home if I can.

I am fairly certain I will need a good filter, not sure if it has anything, maybe an undergravel...maybe. I posted to my freecycle group, who knows maybe I will be lucky and score some filtration and lighting too, maybe.

Here is my question to start with though.

Lighting, a hood really. I need one but after looking at prices of 40 and 48 inch hoods I am scared. We are poor right now and spending 100.00 on a hood is something I would prefer to avoid. I will do it if I must, but it may take a while. I know i can afford the upkeep on the tank but the starting up costs may be a bit steep for us right now.
So i was browsing some photos and I noticed one tank that looked a lot like the one I am getting, and it had 2 smaller hoods. I can get two 20 inch hoods for 2/3 the price of one 40 inch hood so I am thinking that might be the way to go. Is there anything I should know about this? Do I need to place some kind of divider on the top if using two hoods? If so where do I get that? Are there advantages or disadvantages to have 2 hoods vs. 1 long hood? What should I expect to spend, and honestly I must go inexpensive, we are rich but we do love our fishies.

I have successfully kept many tanks before, just never got one so large without everything included. My tanks seem to have all been hex shaped, this is my first long tank thats bigger than a 30 gallon.

Also, what about filtration? Any reccomedations?

I plan to have an aggressive tank and feed live food, I just love the aggressive tanks.

Last question (for the moment)... I was in the pet store the other night and the lady told me that she "cannot sell" me both an african cichlid and a convict for the same tank, says they cant live together. Now i know this is a load of hoopla because I have kept the two together in a few tanks now. Anyone have any idea what she is talking about? She thinks she knows it all, but I am sure if buying these two fish together were a sin the professinal fish shop i used when I lived in a big city would have said something about it. If you keep them well fed there and the tank clean there don't seem to be any problems, till your convicts start breeding without your knowledge.
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Old 10-20-2005, 09:57 PM   #2
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OK I checked into it more and the tank is indeed 48 inches long with spaces for two hoods. Its 19 inches deep and 12.5 inches wide, so I am assuming its a 55 gallon.

So now I have a 55 gallon tank to start from scratch, any ideas?
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Old 10-20-2005, 10:02 PM   #3
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I would recommend a cannister filter if you have the means. If you are interested in cichlids you can choose from many different types. Just choose them from the same lake and you will reduce aggression. There are a great many articles here on AA that can help you decide. I'd first get an idea of where you want to go with your choices and then post that and the members here will help with their opinions. I'd also highly recommend doing a fishless cycle with the tank. Congratulations on your acquisition!
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Old 10-20-2005, 10:04 PM   #4
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Thank you.

What about the hoods? Will two 24 inch hoods work on a 48 inch tank? Will they be slightly too big? The lady at the petstore was trying to tell me 23 inch hoods but they dont seem to make those.
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Old 10-20-2005, 10:13 PM   #5
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I would think so and if they didn't fit you could always trim them a bit. I don't think I have ever heard of a 23" hood either.
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Old 10-21-2005, 12:46 AM   #6
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Here is a photo of the tank I need to get all the equipment for. What would everyone reccomend i run in here and how?
Attached Images
File Type: jpg tank1_408.jpg (156.5 KB, 59 views)
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Old 10-21-2005, 01:09 AM   #7
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48x19x12.5 = 47g,
take wasted space under the lids and glass thicknesses probly around 45gallons all up. anyhoo.....SCORE!!!
alot depends on either salt/fresh water of course and what you want to keep in it.
but fresh.....
1 300w heater be plenty
i'd go for a 400gph canister, which is overkill but thats just me.
2 hoods/1 hood doesn't matter really. if you haven't got the money just grab a 48" fluro and it will sit on the outside glass anyway, as long as you have lids to stop bubbles and splatter on the light it'll be right. only thing is you'll want to research further if your keeping plants etc.
I ran a 510 l/ph twin port air pump into my 120 gallon via the outlet on the canister just for extra filtration ( there was no surface agitation from the filter.)
hth a bit

Matt.
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Old 10-21-2005, 03:24 AM   #8
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Well it will be freshwater. I went to the pet store and they had an identical tank rated at 55 gallons, my friends have one the same size and claim its 55 gallons as well. So hummm... maybe i will see how many gallons go in it, maybe not.

I plan to keep cichlids in it, all kinds, a mixed tank. I have done this before and have never had any problems. I keep my temp between 76 and 78 usually and do partial water changes once a week, large water changes 1-2 times a month and a full clean out (except the filter) every 3 months on adverage.

Do I NEED an undergravel filter? I have alwasy run one, but how necessary is it?
For filtration I was thinking the Penguin power filer for ease of parts in my area. I saw the canisters and may get one, but I am trying to keep my costs at a minimum.

I need to have a hood as I have kids and cats, the hood is there to protect my fishies from my home and all the dangers it holds. I plan to buy 2 24 inch hoods as cheap as i can get them.

Our local fish store has a 250 watt heater, but the 300 watt is 18 inches long and will not clear once gravel and stuff is in there, so should I run two heaters or will a 250 watt do it?

I have a twin port air pump, hope it works... lets see. Ok yes it works, that will save me a little cash.

I have been pricing and I can get everything I need for 100.00 except fish, plants and gravel which I have to get locally, not ordered. I will actually drive to the next town 2 hours away for fish, they pack them with extra air for me and I drive straight home I did this for all my fish in my old tank since the local store never seems to ahve what I want anyway.

Something I Have never kept is one of those lil puffer fishies, what do I need to know about them?

I am thinking about selling the 10 gallon to make some money to go into the big tank... maybe.

What about cycling? To be honest I I haven;t started a new tank in so long I dont remember how to properly cycle a tank. The 10 gallon was a new set up, but I had fish that had to go in right away (rescued from moms pond)

And finally, are there any kind of small turtles that can be kept in an tank with fish?
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Old 10-21-2005, 08:05 AM   #9
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Turtles dont stay small for long
a baby turlte will either get harrased by a large fish or it will go after the fish and killed it I've heard of rare occasions where the turtle let a fish live with it but still ate any new fish that came into the tank.
A 55 is teh bare minimum for the smallest aquatic turtles and turtles produce alot of waste. It takes a large canister filter to keep a turtles tank clean
most adult turtles need 100 gallons and up for a single turtle
In short no a turtle can not live in a 55 gallon fish tank or any size fish tank if you value the life of your fish,plants, or invertbrates.
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Old 10-21-2005, 06:37 PM   #10
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Thats whatI figured, bummer. I was hoping there was some two inch species of aquatic turtle I didn't know about, lol. I actually have 2 turtles in my moms (my) pond at her house, I guess they will have to do.
Do you know a lot about turtles? Might you be able to help me identify one of our turtles? We don't know what type she is.
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Old 10-21-2005, 06:46 PM   #11
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I dont think any turtle stays that small
I know a decent amount, I have a red eared slider and a three toed box turtle
If you mpost a picture of the turtles i should be able to tell what they are, and if i cant i know people that can
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Old 10-21-2005, 06:48 PM   #12
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I almost forgot, the tank holds water, i tested it, now its draining so i can clean it to bring it inside
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Old 10-21-2005, 06:54 PM   #13
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right now this is the only photo i can find of her, she is clearly not a red eared slider as this guy is

his name is SwimAway (named by my kid) and her name is Shelly.
Shelly is black with no real spots of color on her, she is also quite small.
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Old 10-21-2005, 08:35 PM   #14
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For hoods, try glass hoods. They are cheap (about $10 each). If you do purchase glass hoods, you need to know the brand of tank that you own. You will want to purchase a 48" kit. It comes with 2 seperate glass hoods. Do NOT buy 2 24" hoods. They don't fit. I speak from experience. I now have 2 Perfecto 24 inch hoods and 2 All Glass 24 inch hoods. Eagerly awaiting the 48" kit.

I'd go with a canister also. When it comes to canisters, you don't need to overdo the filtration. Aim for about 5 turnovers per hour. You can use a power filter, but if you are going to have African Cichlids, you'll need extra filtration. They are messy. So you'll need to double up on the power filters and run about 10x turnover rate per hour.

I would not mix South American and African Cichlids. I have done it in the past, but it's generally not a good idea. Dietary needs, water parameters, and aggression are big factors in this. Africans are generally more aggressive. They also prefer a higher pH. Crushed coral in the filter will help increase this level. This is not to say that it CAN'T be done, it's just that its better to have them seperate.

With the heater, just turn it sideways in the tank, parallel to the gravel.
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Old 10-21-2005, 09:18 PM   #15
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I want Oscars too, what can I mix them with? Africans? I hope.

Why dont 2 24 in hoods work? I tried to buy glass and they didn't have it. This tank has the divider and is set up for 2 24's, does that make any difference?

Oh how do i find the brand of tank?
The heater isnt fully submersible, the top stays out of the water, so i think 2 smaller heaters would be the way to go
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Old 10-21-2005, 09:21 PM   #16
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Something I Have never kept is one of those lil puffer fishies, what do I need to know about them?
Do you mean dwarf puffers? If I were you I would avoid them unless you want a puffer-only tank.

Quote:
Do I NEED an undergravel filter? I have alwasy run one, but how necessary is it?
No. In fact UGF are one of, if not, the worst filter you can get. I have an Emperor 400 and they are pretty cheap (around here they are $40).

Quote:
Our local fish store has a 250 watt heater, but the 300 watt is 18 inches long and will not clear once gravel and stuff is in there, so should I run two heaters or will a 250 watt do it?
250 watts will work fine.

Quote:
I have been pricing and I can get everything I need for 100.00 except fish, plants and gravel which I have to get locally, not ordered.
Real or fake plants?

Quote:
I have a twin port air pump, hope it works... lets see. Ok yes it works, that will save me a little cash.
Air pumps are not needed. They are more for decoration.

Quote:
What about cycling? To be honest I I haven;t started a new tank in so long I dont remember how to properly cycle a tank. The 10 gallon was a new set up, but I had fish that had to go in right away (rescued from moms pond)
Fishless is the best method. http://www.aquariumadvice.com/showqu...q=2&fldAuto=15

This works for freshwater, too.

Quote:
a full clean out (except the filter) every 3 months on adverage.
Can you give more details about this.

HTH,
Justin
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Old 10-21-2005, 09:24 PM   #17
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I want Oscars too
A 55 gal is not suitable for them.

HTH,
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Old 10-21-2005, 09:28 PM   #18
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The tank is to small for an Oscar, and SA and African cichlids do not generally mix well.
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Old 10-21-2005, 10:19 PM   #19
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The full clean out was exactly that, tear down the entire tank and spray it out. I never cleaned the filter during this time except to maybe remove some of the excess sludge that was affecting the pumping ability.

As for the undergravel filter I mean running one in addition to another filter, not alone thats just completly inefficient.

Fake plants, real ones are a PITA

I do run air pumps for the undergravel filter (which I may skip this time) and for decoration. Since I already have one its no big deal.

I will for sure run a fishless cycle, that was my plan. As soon as i get a filter I will do that.

OK now my hood problem, please help. I NEED a hood thats all there is to it. The problem is while the tank is 48 inches, the inset openeing for 1 hood is 46 and 1/3 and the inset for 2 hoods 9since there is a divider) is 23 not 24. So what the heck size hoods do i get? I do want two hoods I have decided because I was looking at the availability of replacment bulbs in my area and the ones for 24 inch hoods are way easier and afforadble. So what the heck can i do? I also decided on full hoods not glass tops and a light fixture. So if i buy 24 inch hoods will they fit?
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Old 10-21-2005, 10:24 PM   #20
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I checked out that article and its for cycling a saltwater tank, I am going to look for a freshwater one
OK I am confused now, do I have saltwater when cycling a freshwater tank?
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