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Old 05-27-2017, 12:43 AM   #1
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Questions on a tank upgrade

Iíd like some advice on a few topics. After having a 75-gallon freshwater reef-ready for 13.5 years, Iím planning to upgrade to a 150-gal, freshwater reef tank. I donít consider myself an aquarium expert at all. I have a company that comes out and cleans it. I have them rearrange the decorations every time so the look changes.

Iíve always kept community fish, and Iím pretty sure I want to stick with that.
Iíve never used live plants or coral, and I plan to stick with that as well.
Iíve wanted a tropical ocean look to it, not a lake or river look, and I plan to stick with that general concept as well.

Iím not much of a photographer, but for reference, below is a pic of what Iíve had.

Tank
The new tank will be 48Ēx24Ēx30Ē; wet-dry filtration system.

To keep the tropical look, I considered sand, but am going with a white, fine rock (much finer than what I have now).

The place I bought originally painted the back blue. The company Iím using this time recommended that the back be painted black. They say that will help the fish bring out more vivid colors. I do like the look of black backgrounds in the store.

Tank Questions:

Iím inclined to have them paint the back black, but any other thoughts on that?

Any other general advice about the tank from what Iíve described?

Decorations
Last time I bought too many decorations. Iím going to buy only 4-5 (depending on size). Iíll have a larger sunken ship, and 2 or 3 pieces of coral at the most. The pic above doesnít show near all the decorations Ė just the ones that have been my favorites.

Iíve kept several plastic plants and plan to do that again. Iíll mix the sizes and have a lot of color. With a deeper tank, Iíll have more room for plants, but will keep a proportion similar to the old tank.

Decoration questions:
Is there any type of acrylic or epoxy I could paint the decorations with that would help them last longer? When the tank is cleaned, they typically bleach the decorations to clean them.

Fish
While I want to stick with community fish, Iím considering trying to breed swordtails, plaities, tetras, and possibly clown loaches. Iíve never tried that, but it seems like the first 3 breeding is commonly done.

I expect to have 75-100 inches of fish. I know I could do more, but have never had as many as we could. It seems to keep the tank cleaner.

Fish questions:
Any recommendations on community fish we might breed?
Should we have floating flowers in the top for the little ones to hide in?
Weíve had bad luck keeping any type of Cory cats alive. Recommendations for other catfish that will work well with community fish?
How many catfish should we have in a 150 gal tank?
We have trouble keeping clown loaches alive. Any idea on that?
Is a pleco really necessary?

Lighting
Up to now Iíve had florescent lighting. We will be getting LEDs. They guy at the aquarium place recommended two different types of lights. One is blue and white and the other is blue lights I think. We typically donít have lights on a high percentage of the time. Our aquarium gets some good natural light, but not direct sunlight.

Lighting questions
Any lighting suggestions?

General questions
Are there good automatic feeders out there that we can us for 10-14 days of vacation?
With our system, will we need to have someone check our water level? In the past Iíve overfilled before we left and itís been fine. Iím not sure if that will work the same with a 150-gal instead of a 75-gal.

Thanks for any help.
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Old 05-28-2017, 06:15 AM   #2
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Welcome to the community.

Are you having any interest in using live plants?

A large group of Congo Tetras is nice or a large group of Cardinals or Neons always looks amazing.

Do you know the pH of your tap water? GH/KH?
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Old 05-28-2017, 09:16 AM   #3
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If breeding livebearers I would recommend live plants. Low light/low tech plants can be kept rather easily, are good for maintaining water quality, and provide a place for livebearer fry to hide. Live plants also provide microalgae (can't remember the name) for fry to eat before they're big enough for finely powdered flake.

I breed platys and swordtails in my 75 community tank, never removing the parents at or fry from the tank. Plants provide cover a d help maintain water quality.
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Old 05-28-2017, 12:14 PM   #4
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Autumnsky and Toolman, thank you for the info!

I have known the pH of our tap water, but donít remember. I donít refill from the tap; I use RO water. We use a service for cleaning and water changes generally, and they do use the tap with some type of treatment for it. With this new tank, I may have to use water from the aquarium place, depending on how big the evaporation problem is. For my 75 gal, RO was manageable. Iím not sure what GH/KH is. Iím going to take a sample of our tap water to the aquarium place so they can test all of that for us.

I have thought of live plants, but am not sure how easy they are to keep. Please provide additional info on possible live plants! Iím going to ask about the aquarium place about them. Iíve never done live plants, but if we could easily keep them, yes, Iím definitely interested, even more so if they help maintain water quality. Live plants raise some additional questions.

Can I get a variety of colors in live plants?

Is there a reason I couldnít mix live and fake plants if the color variety isnít available?

Would you recommend some live plants on the floor of the tank and some floating at the top?

I donít want my entire floor taken up with live plants. Are there types that wonít take over? Is it possible to do something like a planter box for live plants?

Fish
First, Iíve already given up on the idea of breeding to sell to fish stores, but I would love to have fish that donít have to be replenished. Breeding makes sense, but Iím not going to do a breeder tank too. This will be my one aquarium. Toolman, Iím glad to hear that works for you.

Autumnsky, Iím not new to keeping FW fish, but I do appreciate the article. I think I had already read the referenced article, and it has clown loaches in the ďthink twiceĒ category. I was thinking of 5-7 of them. We like them because they are fun to watch and colorful. From what aquarium people tell me not all of them will grow big. Are they just saying that?

Weíve had good success with tetras, except for neons. Our old tank (this isnít in the pic) had too large of a flow through opening for neons and the ones we bought all wound up dead in the filter in less than a day. I donít believe that will be a problem with the new tank. I think weíve had Congos in the past; I know weíve had Cardinals.

Would neons be too small to be in with the other fish I mentioned? I also want swordtails, platys, tetras, and possibly clown loaches.

We had a 10 gal aquarium when I was a kid. We had guppies, and never ran out. Iíve thought of guppies too. Anything thoughts on that?
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Old 05-28-2017, 01:22 PM   #5
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Hi,
If you want Cories, your substrate needs to be smooth. Clown Loaches do grow big. If they can't they stunt and die young. They'd prefer smooth substrate as well.

Blue lights are for Reef tanks.
Freshwater ? We normally use white and then a mix of red and blue. Blue lights make a FW tank look Cold at least to me.

Auto feeders are not always reliable. I'd have someone come in twice a week while you are gone.

Easy FW plants are green and some are brownish. Red needs high light and CO2 typically.

I use Driftwood and Rocks and live plants to decorate.

I use smooth sand or a plant substrate in my tanks now.

10g
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My 55g
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My 10g Shrimp Jungle My 10g Rimless My 5.5g CRS Tank They are a work in progress
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Old 05-28-2017, 01:27 PM   #6
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55g
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My current stock is
4 Denison's Barbs
21 Neons
9 Rummynose
4 Cory sterbai ( plan on adding 4 more)
5 Otos ( adding more)
1 Farlowella vittata
1 male Pearl Gourami
3 Nerites, Ramshorns, and Pond Snails.
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Old 05-28-2017, 01:32 PM   #7
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Livebearers often do better with harder water than Tetras.

When you say Coral? You mean fake Coral correct ? Not dead Coral skeletons. Coral raises Ph in FW tanks. Not recommended except for some African species.

Easy beginner plants ?
Java Fern
Java Moss
Anubias
Amazon Sword ( will need a root cap 1x a month).
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Old 05-28-2017, 01:34 PM   #8
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Oh and in high tech, high light tanks you can get a ton of color from live plants.

This is not my tank. This is one of Tom Barr's. He knows how to grow plants
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Old 05-28-2017, 04:43 PM   #9
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Coursair, thanks! I may have to skip the clown loaches. Maybe thatís why weíve not been able to keep them. Weíve not used smooth substrate. Iím not sure about the new stuff, but am still considering sand too.

We do have a reef tank. I thought the blue at night would be pretty. Iíll have to check into the red/blue mix.

Good info on auto-feeders. Up to now, weíve typically use 10-14 day feeder of some type (big wafers). But I expect we will have more fish this time.

Tom Barrís tank is pretty! So were the others, but I really liked that look. The two pics with the Neons and the white substrate looks similar to the substrate Iím getting.

Iíll have to ask about the red plants, light, and CO2. If we need to leave the lights on more, we could. Weíve not used lights a lot to prevent algae, but would plants help with preventing algae? Red would be great as a plant color!

Good point on the coral! I did mean fake coral, as in decorations that look like coral. I got some real coral once and wonít repeat that.
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Old 05-28-2017, 10:50 PM   #10
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Plants can outcompete Algae if your tank is properly balanced.

I run lights 6-8hours daily. On timers.

I would try a few easy low light plants first. I'm just now trying High Light/ High Tech. I bought my first CO2 system and turned it on today.

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