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Old 04-19-2006, 12:08 AM   #21
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Hi...

Good job so far. As for filter media, I'd stay away from the carbon and use a combo of maybe ceramic rings, lava granules, and filter floss. I have the XP3 and here's what I use:

Bottom basket - 2 coarse sponges, then the 2 medium sponges on top.
Middle basket - lava granules in lower half of basket, and bio-stars in the upper part of the basket.
Upper basket - Ceramic rings in lower half of basket and filter floss and the fine micro pad that comes with the XP3 in the upper half of the basket.

If you get the fixture with the 4 65W bulbs, get the one with 3 switches. Then you can run a single bank first without CO2 injection (130W), then if you upgrade and get a CO2 injection system, you can run both banks. Also, when running the single bank, the 2nd bank can also be used as a spare in case a bulb burns out, or you can run actinics if you think it will make your fish look better.
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Old 04-19-2006, 10:26 PM   #22
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Again, many thanks for the advice so far!

I picked up my stand, canopy and tank yesterday after work and dropped it by the store to get painted.

Today I hit the craft store and bought some iridescent aqua and deep blue glass paint and have experimented sponge painting and "dripping" them on a piece of glass to see how I may like the effect for background. The paint isn't dry yet but it appears to have a beautiful luminance effect that should provide a nice backdrop for the more "tropical" look we are going for. If that is a go we will probably tackle painting the aquarium this weekend as the stand won't be ready for pick-up until Monday.

Also, stopped by the LFS and got some PRIME, a fist net and a Coralife DIGITAL timer powerstrip. I hadn't seen this version online (but, then again, I wasn't looking for it). This may work if I take Lonewolfblue's advice and buy a four ballast light as it can timer control 4 outlets (2 day, 2 night). I would consider putting the lights that "bring out the color in the fish" to run a few hours at night as this is when we are generally home to look at them and when the look good anyway.

As for some further research on the "substrate" - I am leaning toward a find gravel and nothing else....(expect maybe some fert pellets under the rooting plants).

I am now debating on some fish choices. I have noticed the Boesemani Rainbow (on sale http://www.liveaquaria.com/product/p...fm?pCatId=1053) and it seems to fit into my parameters of "easy" fish. Any experience out there with this fish and would it be good to fit in after the platys and possibly some danios survive?

Also, I really was getting my heart set on a pleco but I read they will rip the plants out of the tank. Is this true? I saw a group of them at the pet store tonight and they were going to town on something they just fed and were very fun to watch. Then they all went to the back of the aquarium and stuck themselves to the back! Perhaps the cory cats are a better choice for my bottom dwellers.
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Old 04-19-2006, 10:36 PM   #23
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Quote:
Also, I really was getting my heart set on a pleco but I read they will rip the plants out of the tank. Is this true?... Perhaps the cory cats are a better choice for my bottom dwellers.
This is really about the larger plecos. Because of their potential size, lightly rooted plants will be constantly uprooted by them. They aren't doing this on purpose. My 8" sailfin accidentally uproots a decent amount of plants daily.

The dwarf plecos won't be able to uproot plants and are really cute when they are cleaning the plant leaves, some of which are smaller than them. I have several bristlenoses and cories in my tank.
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Old 04-20-2006, 12:17 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jchillin
This is really about the larger plecos. Because of their potential size, lightly rooted plants will be constantly uprooted by them. They aren't doing this on purpose. My 8" sailfin accidentally uproots a decent amount of plants daily.
Acidentally? LOL
Mine isn't even 8 inches and my contortion vals are constantly being uprooted, lol. Ticks me off, lol. It's an aquaria adventure, LOL
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Old 04-20-2006, 07:38 AM   #25
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Welcome!

One thing I'd add in your setup is to NOT add Prime/StressCoat during the initial setup. Since you are not seeding the tank immediately when you first add the water, I'd recommend leaving the tap water as is in the tank. The small amount of chlorine present in the water will evaporate within the 24hours that you have everything up and running (and before adding the fish), but it will help to somewhat sterilize the glass/substrate if some contamination was present (be it from shipping/not perfect washing/your hands).

This is a great way to make sure that your fish are added into a tank as sterile as possible.

It does appear that money is not an object, but I'd recommend for the remaining parts for the tank to purchase online (I'm partial to Big Al's, but there are many reputable dealers). Keep the fish purchases and heavy purchases (substrate, tank, stand, etc) to the LFS or pool store (if you go with PFS which I highly recommend for low maintainence!)

Finally, I'm a bit worried for you about the live plants and your wish for little/low tank work. Nothing looks better, or is better for the fish than some live plants (2 sets of my fish spawned after addition of plants!), but they are generally NOT low maintainence (especially at the beginning when your trying to figure out dosing of nutrients, pruning dead/dying leaves etc). I agree to limit your light level, but the potential is still there to get an algae outbreak in the tank with those levels. These are not extremely easy to get rid of, nor without added time.

Again, I applaud you for doing vast research prior to your tank setup, but would caution to possibly start without the live plants and then see if you have more time to spend on the tank.

* Just to qualify this last statement, I currently spend 4-5X as much time on plant maintainence as I do on the fish. Trimmings, dosing of nutrients, observing possible problems (deficiency), algae fighting!, DIY CO2 troubleshooting, all of these things are not required when not using live plants *

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Old 04-20-2006, 12:16 PM   #26
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One teensy note on your stocking plan:

You are planning to add biospira, then some platies, and wait a few days and add danios, etc....

As I understand it, you are supposed to add the biospira & immediately add the entire bioload. That way, the nitrifying bacteria will have a Nitrogen food source & won't die off. Since you tank will be heavily planted from the beginning, this is even more important as the plants will be competing with the bacterai for "food".

Slow, cautious stocking is OK too. But you will risk a mini-cycle with each fish addition unless you add biospira with each fish load or add fish really slowly (say a couple new fish every few weeks.)

Otherwise, I think you are doing a fine job planning out this tank. One other thing regarding Justin's post: The point about not using dechlor in the first 24 hr is true only when your water has chlorine as disinfectant. Most tap water has chloramines these days & this will take a week or 2 to come out of the water. So I'd use Prime just to be safe! I do use the tap water trick to sterilize my plants before adding to the tank. I soak the plants in tap water for 24-48 hours to kill off any nasties (so I hope) before planting in my tank. This abbreviated QT also is effective in avoiding getting ick into the tank as well.
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Old 04-20-2006, 12:48 PM   #27
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jsoong,

Good point. I neglected to mention that I add dechlor prior to adding the fish in as a "just in case measure". It gives 24hours to sterilize the tank, and then add the dechlor, then the fish.

And great idea on the QT for the plants. I'm hesitant to do the bleach treatment, or potassium permangenate due to cost/availability, but it seems like it would be a great way to have a cleaner plant prior to addition.
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Old 04-20-2006, 06:25 PM   #28
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Congrats one choosing the worlds greatest hobby to share with your child.You guys are gonna have a blast.My kids (3) love the tank and are very involved in what goes into it.They "check on" the fish daily making sure they don't notice any issues.I guess at my house we have a "Tank Team" lol.Its truly been great.

You will be needing one or two of these (one for the sink to adjust temp if you don't want to keep removing the one from the tank).

http://www.petsmart.com/global/produ...N=2030060&Ne=2

I'm a bit of a noob myself actually,but I'm pretty deep into the freshwater learning curve because of how I started my tank.With the help of these very helpful folks in these forums I now have a fully cycled FW tank fully stocked and testing wonderfully.I've recently started working on a few live plants to keep the challenge alive.

Having said that,your newest hobby may present a few more challenges then you anticipate and hence consume more time dispite your best efforts (those efforts can be seen here by the way).I think if I were in your exact situation I would wait on the live plants.

There will be plenty to learn about the fish themselves as you get futher involved with stocking,compatability,behavior,illness ect...My fear would be that trying to master the plant situation at the same time may get a little overwhelming and turn you off to the idea of a tank as a whole.Especially if your time is very limited before you even kick off the whole endeavor.

Also...I think saving the plants for later will be a lot more fun and hold both of your interests in the start up process for much longer.Kinda like a "phase two" if you will.Moving the plants to a later date will make your whole project more enjoyable.

Just my humble opinion of coarse.

Congrats on you efforts so far and I wish you all the best.Get some pics up as you get started if you can.

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Old 04-20-2006, 09:31 PM   #29
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Now I am back on the fence again regarding the plants! I think I will get a different light fixture (maybe the four-light, 3 plug one that was suggested) and get enough wattage so that if I do want to attempt plants at some point I don't have to change anything out. Or, maybe I will just dump them in and see how they do....

I wondered how the bio-spira was going to work with only a few fish so thanks for the suggestion on loading everything in at once. I think we will still be on the lighter side of stocking so we should be ok....

Any advice as to whether it is much better to buy fish from LFS or online? I have hit 5 LFS and each one has one fish or two but none have all of what we want. It seems like if we ordered all online it would be easier but it seems kind of cruel to "drop ship" a pet....past experience?
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Old 04-20-2006, 10:35 PM   #30
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Can you get all the fish you want/need even if you have to go to multiple stores? If you know one or several of the stores seem to have nicer fish, ask if they can order the rest of what you want. A lot of stores will do that for customers.

If you buy from a reputable business, can afford the fastest method of shipping avaliable & can stick around to make sure the package will be unpacked soon as possible, I wouldn't be afraid to order anything.
I've gotten oodles of bettas through the net, my last ones were eating blood worms a few hours after they were released. Have gotten many chicks through the mail & am expecting my tarantulas to be sent to me next week.

Upgrade your lights & just don't buy a ton of decor. See how you like keeping a tank & decide from there if you want to do more decor or live plants.

I'd say take the dive though. Just setup my first live planted tank & it was pretty easy thanks to people in the planted forum. Got better bulbs, root tabs, & my low-med plants arrived in great shape from aquariumplants.com. It's been setup for 2wks now, i've been gone for a week & can't wait to see how it looks tomorrow.
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Old 04-20-2006, 11:35 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by 2BeachGirls
Now I am back on the fence again regarding the plants!
I am going to sugget something different for your consideration:

Get the plants established first, then add the fish as a phase 2.

Personally, I think that plants are great & if you choose easy plants, maintanance shouldn't be too much of a problem. However, I do see trying to do both plants & fish may be a bit overwhelming. Others had suggested fish first then plants ... but I think the opposite may be better. Plants are a bit more forgiving and you can play around with the tank a bit during the setup. Once the plants got established they will help in keeping a stable enviroment for the fish.
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