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Old 11-05-2003, 09:04 PM   #1
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Newbie needs tank/fish suggestions

I have a long 40 gallon tank (48x16x13) that I got with a custom stand. I'm going to get an Emperor 400 and I already have a powerhead, which I'm not sure will do me much good in a FW tank. I want to create a FW tank very different from most that I see. BTW I fully understand "the cycle" and have lost some goldfish... lesson learned *sigh*

I would like to use both sand and river rock as substrate to create an interesting bottom. I was thinking of a small variety of fish and would like a catfish of some type as a bottom feeder in addition to a normal algae eater for the glass. Snails, crabs, crayfish, frogs, toads, etc would be good if there are any for FW and that can get along. I really want a wide variety of organisms in this tank besides the fish, as long as they can co-exist.

Soooo... could anyone point me to a good resource for getting info on the varieties of freshwater fish and other organisms to put in the tank? I'm full of questions and I would love it if you guys can answer, but I also understand I need to do some of my own reading. I see several posts about mixing fish, but I'm not sure if those fish would get along with other little guys I want, and I don't even know if any interesting crabs or snails exist for FW tank, and if crayfish are even a good idea. I just thought those would work the sand if I that was an acceptable substrate.

Any suggestions on the non-fish that I can get for my tank? Any feedback on the sand and rock mix? How can I clean the sand since I probably can't vacuum it, or can I get something that will clean it for me? What about the catfish, are there any of those that are interesting? Can I end up with too many bottom feeders? Would it be futile for live plants added to this type of tank?

I know it's a lot of questions, but again, I'm willing to read if someone points me there. TIV
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Old 11-05-2003, 09:20 PM   #2
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I obviously don't have all the answers LOL but I do have some suggestions ideas:

Non-fish. Theres a bunch of folk here who have crayfish and crabs; I'll defer to them on those crustaceans, but do let me suggest FW shrimp. Awesome buggers. Ghost shrimp, Cherry shrimp, Amano shrimp all are bottom feeders of sorts, and are wee lil guys .5 - 1.5 inches average, although I know a few folks here (Madame_X I believe) have mutant ghost shrimp which are about 3 inches long. Bamboo shrimp are filter feeders, and would need a mature tank as they feed on microrganisms from the water column, but are VERY cool to watch and get a bit bigger (3 - 3.5 inches). The there are the atyas which are even bigger. All those mentioned are safe for other fish in the tank; they generally are too small or have filters instead of claws. You can read about em here: http://www.thekrib.com/Fish/Shrimp/ . I have neon/cardinals, gouramis, otos and cherry shrimp in my planted tank; I had a bamboo but he went carpet surfing; I'll be purchasing 2 more this week.

Substrate. You certainly can use a combo of sand and rock. The only thing to keep in mind, is sand needs to be aerated somehow to prevent buildup of anaerobic bacteria which gives off hydrogen sulfide and is deadly to fish. Plant roots, snails which burrow, weekly shifting/digging into the sand all help bring O2 into the sand and prevent that from happening. I have sand in my planted tank and clean it once a week. I use a smaller diameter siphon, and run it above the sand. The sand is heavier and stays as long as I'm paying attention LOL and the detritus gets sucked up. Easy peasy.

Lastly for now, you sure can have live plants, depending on your fish. I have discovered I really can't do a true planted tank with my pleco; he digs them up and eats em. All the plants in that 55g tank are in flowerpots to prevent him from dragging them around the tank. He also chews on them, and my amazons in that tank look pathetic.

Good choice on the filter; you may or may not need the powerhead depending on the fish you chose. Some lurve current, some don't.
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Old 11-05-2003, 10:44 PM   #3
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error, welcome to AA.com

Here are some websites I have found helpful:
http://www.fishprofiles.com/
http://www.liveaquaria.com/product/c...=21&pCatId=830
http://petfish.net/
http://fish.orbust.net/
http://planetcatfish.com/core/index.htm
http://www.fishmartinc.com/hobby.htm

HTH!
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Old 11-05-2003, 10:56 PM   #4
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Allivymar I completely forgot about shrimp! I definately liked the idea of shrimp, I didnt realize there were so many species for FW. Thanks for the link! Are the any fish that you know off the top of your head that will eat the shrimp?

What kind of sand am I looking for? I know it has to be 100% silica, but is there anything that would be large grain for less risk of it being stirred up and make the water cloudy?
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Old 11-05-2003, 11:19 PM   #5
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I do know loaches find em yummy; is why I don't have any shrimp in my 55g as I have clown n yoyo loaches in there. The dwarf gouramis, neon/cardinals and otos in my 10g all leave the shrimp alone, although when first introduced the gouramis were pretty interested. The shrimp zipped off and the gouramis gave up quickly (they're well fed; no reason to chase food when it come to you I guess *grin*). I think puffers are also a poor choice to have shrimp with as they make up part of the puffer diet.

I actually placed an order tonite from www. franksaquarium.com . He's got an awesome collection of FW shrimp, and is a definite shrimp guru. He runs a forum for shrimp on yahoo as well as a Sunday evening chat, and is a really easy guy to talk to and ask questions of. I'm picking up 2 bamboo shrimp to replace the one that carpet surfed (hes going to try to pick out a male n female for me) and 6 cherry shrimp as I rarely see the 2 I have, and hopefully having more will make em more visible as they are real cute.

As for your sand, nothing too special is necessary. I suggest not getting really fine sand; it compact more easily, causing anaerobic conditions, and will easily get sucked into the filter impeller, causing it to break. I have Tahitian Moon sand in my planted tank; expensive stuff but its black n shiny and georgeous. Do rinse the sand well before putting it into the tank; an old pillowcase makes a great bag to hold the sand while you rinse it. It will reduce the cloudiness that will occur when you add water to the tank at first. Also, put a plate down on the sand, and then pour the water slowly onto the plate when you start adding water to the tank; that too will help keep the sand from floating into the water column. Run the filter to remove any leftover cloudiness.
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Old 11-06-2003, 08:10 PM   #6
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Hey first off, thx to each of you for all the advice.

Second, what would your opinion be on going with two Emperor 280's instead of a single 400? It doesnt look like it's very efficient in this LONG tank to have just one filter on one side of the tank... 8O

Lastly, before I even put fish in here, I'd like to establish my tank using Bio-Spira in a fishless cycle. What do I use to provide ammonia? Rotting fish food?
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Old 11-06-2003, 08:21 PM   #7
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You can throw a fresh shrimp in there from the grocery store, I learned this from aquariumadvice.

It decomposes slowly thus providing the stinky ammonia that your lil nitrifying bacteria need to eat.

When you remove the shrimp, it may smell skanky though.

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Old 11-06-2003, 08:27 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snapcrackler
You can throw a fresh shrimp in there from the grocery store, I learned this from aquariumadvice.

It decomposes slowly thus providing the stinky ammonia that your lil nitrifying bacteria need to eat.

When you remove the shrimp, it may smell skanky though.

8O That sounds interesting... I suppose shrimp ARE fish food after all.
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Old 11-06-2003, 10:45 PM   #9
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No need to establish a cycle if you're using Bio-Spira; just add the fish WITH it. If you use the correct amount (it will say on the bag) it will add the nitrifying bacteria you need to cycle the tank instantly.

If you want to try the fishless cycle, do read this: http://www.tomgriffin.com/aquamag/cycle2.html

Understand Bio-Spira negates the need to do a fishless cycle; I've done all types of cycling: with fish, fishless and Bio-Spira. I prefer Bio-Spira; I have no patience *grin* Of course, you'll need to keep an eye on your water parameters; I know of 2 folks who got wonky bags. Even then, the tank DID cycle, but not instantly and they had small measureable amounts of ammonia although not at the levels one would find cycling with fish alone.
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