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Old 06-09-2020, 11:52 AM   #1
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I am returning to the hobby after a long absence, need advice on restarting

Hi everyone, I used to have 2 freshwater tanks, a 20 and a planted 40 with community fish, platys, corries and other similarly sized fish. Sadly I ended up at a point where I could take care of my kids or fish but not both and I got rid of my tanks.

Fast forward 10 years, we moved to a new home and I am getting a free hexagonal tank (no clue about size yet but based on the pics I am guessing around 40 gal) and stand later today!

Unfortunately, when I got rid of my tanks I got rid of all of my supplies and all fish related stuff except for two books on keeping fish so I need to start all over.
My wife is not nearly as excited about this as I am so I need to do this in the least expensive manner that will allow me to properly care for the fish.

A tall tank like this will fit the best in my new home (bigger house, less good locations for tanks ) so I am committed to this shape.

My old planted tank was beautiful but a lot of work and expensive so I am planning to do artificial plants only. I was thinking about creating a rock wall along the back of the tank, preferably by finding rocks in the area and gluing them together with 100% silicone sealant. I would prefer to use river pebbles for a substrate and then was planning to add a few artificial plants on the rock wall and in the foreground of the substrate.

So, I need a few things from all of you.
  1. Does all of that sound reasonable?
  2. Can I just get a bunch of local rocks, clean them carefully and use them?
  3. Can I buy river pebbles at Home Depot or do I need to get them from an aquarium supplier?
  4. Any suggestions on artificial plans that look decent, will last for a while and aren't going to break the bank?
  5. What are some good fish to use in the tank? I would like fish that are active, look nice, hardy and not crazy expensive and they have to do well in a tall tank.
  6. For a filter, unless this free tank comes with something, I was thinking about one of the Aqueon LED HOB filters. They look a little better than the old aquaclear filters that I used to use is that a reasonable choice?
  7. is a HOB filter enough? do I need one under the substrate as well?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 06-09-2020, 06:29 PM   #2
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Fake plants can be just as expensive as some of the easier to care for ones and I find they don't look as nice. Why not have a few lowlight beginner plants? Anubias and java ferns can be attached to pretty much anything, they don't need high lighting, C02 or fertilizers.
I've not had a hexagonal tank so I'm not 100% on filtration but if you stock lightly or have smaller fish with a lower bioload a HOB should be fine.
Local rocks can be safe but you may have to do some tests to make sure they won't effect your water ie: ph or hardness. You can add a drop of vinegar to the rock, if it fizzes it'll change your ph. If you have a water test kit you can leave them in water and test over a few days/weeks to see if anything changes.
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Old 06-09-2020, 06:35 PM   #3
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As for fish small schooling fish like tetras or rasboras would work. Guppies would work would too. Like I said keep the stocking light, it will be less work.
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Old 06-09-2020, 09:20 PM   #4
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Thanks for the quick response. It turns out that this tank is about 24 gallons not the 40 that I had hoped.

I will definitely try to test some local rocks, it would be nice if they are safe to use. In a tank this size, I am thinking that really small tetras, guppies and rasboras are probably the best bet. This tank is too small for larger fish, right?
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Old 06-09-2020, 09:34 PM   #5
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Correct smaller or nano fish are your best bet. A lot of fish like longer tanks rather than higher ones. I believe the only bottom feeders you should have (if you choose to have any) would be shrimp (amano are great for algae) or pygmy corydoras.
Stick to the smaller tetras or rasboras as well. Think something like a cardinal tetras.
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Old 06-10-2020, 12:54 AM   #6
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2nd SaraB that sticking with "Nano" fish ia best

Cardinal NOT Neon Tetras
Celestial Pearl Danios

Chili Rasboras/Brigittae rasbora
Boraras uropthalmoides
Boraras merah or Phoenix rasbora
Boraras naevus or Strawberry rasbora
Boraras maculatus

Harlequin Rasboras
Emerald rasboras

Pygmy Cories are GREAT *bottom level* fish stay small and in a group of 4-6 are quite active.

I LOVE Amanos for algae conttol but since I've had issues with them hunting fry in my live bearer tank I'm not sure how they'd do with nanos, but personally I'd be willing to try because of their cleaning abilities.

Nerite snails are also great at algae control but I find their "sesame seed" like eggs annoying

There are not very many decent looking fake plants and the GOOD ones are pricey. In live plants, since your tank is tall I'd go with Jungle Val since it can grow tall and only need basic a basic fertilizer like Thrive S which is invertebrate safe so if you have/get snails or shrimp you have no worries about copper issues.

This forum has many *experts* so ask away
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Old 06-10-2020, 11:14 AM   #7
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Thank you all for the suggestions. Since I am now looking at small fish, if I run a rock wall up the back, do I attach the rocks directly to the tank or eave space for fish to hide behind the wall?

If the latter, I assume that I would need to space it far enough from the back to allow me to get a vacuum and small net back there?

Also, do the plans that you suggested need lighting for plants or just whatever I stick on the tank? I wanted to keep things simple and was thinking about a daylight spectrum LED.

lastly, I am thinking that while it would be more work upfront, using a sump rather than a HOB filter will save me $ and make the system healthier and easier to maintain. I am thinking that I could drill a hole near the top of the tank for an outlet, run PVC pipe down the back from there to a sump tank (likely 5-6 Gallons) underneath and then pump water back up with a fountain pump and another set of PVC pipes.

If I do that
Is one outlet and one inlet enough?

Can I add a pipe on the inside of the outlet so that it draws water from lower in the tank while not running the risk of emptying the tank into the sump in a power outage?

does the inlet belong at the top or should I plumb it down to a lower level as well?
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Old 06-10-2020, 11:18 PM   #8
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Disclaimer-I have NOT done this myself

I know from talking to the glass.cutters I have used to make lids for my tanks that the smaller/thinner the piece of glass and the more *intricate* the cut, the greater chance of cracking. While a sump would be awesome if it worked, do you want to risk cracking a panel of your tank if you try to cut it
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Old 06-11-2020, 07:56 AM   #9
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@EarthMother, I was planning to drill because I thought that this tank was Acrylic which I can easily drill. Sadly upon further review it is definitely glass. So no, I won't be drilling. I found some plans to build a unobtrusive HOB overflow so I can still run a sump in the stand.

for a substrate, I want something cheap to buy and easy to clean. I was thinking about sand since I can get it at home depot, but it seems like it might get messy when cleaning. I could do something more like river pebbles, but I feel like debris will fall under the pebbles and be hard to vacuum up. Am I just best off with gravel?

Also, I saw a pack of fish at liveaquaria.com that looked interesting
https://www.liveaquaria.com/product/...150&c=830+6150.

I wouldn't buy the pack, but do you think I could put a Gourami in with some rasboras and a few corys or is my tank really too small for the Gourami?
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Old 06-11-2020, 01:34 PM   #10
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Look for diy aquarium background.

Look for how to cycle your tank

Look for bring harmony (u dont wanr amazonic plant with Asian fish)

Look for fish parameters to be the same

You have 24g tank, bring caracter to it and add a German blue ramirezi couple and see what happens, this fish are awesome

Try using a filtration for a 40g tank (tetra whisper is good)

Dont forget about the water movement, try to locate the best spot for the fish not to be stressed under the current all the time (some fish can enjoy it)

Depending on your substrate u can't have bottom feeders

Dont forget to test your tap water before anything, because that's the water you will always use, make sure to know whats in it before conditioning.

Good luck ma man
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