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Old 06-27-2009, 11:20 PM   #1
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Debating a new (first) 20-gallon tank after too much 10-gallon angst

Over the last 10 years I've had a series of minimally to moderately successful 10-gallon tanks, all of which I ultimately give up on because maintaining the water quality becomes such a pain in the neck.

No matter how many partial water changes I do, no matter how often I test and no matter how low a bio-load I try to maintain, the levels and temperature seem to rise and fall too much, too fast and ultimately the water quality deteriorates faster than I (or I think anyone with a full-time job) can keep up.

This especially becomes a problem in the summer when temperatures rise. I don't have air conditioning.

Thus the empty 10-gallon tank in the corner of my apartment.

But, I'm debating whether to start a 20-gallon or 25-gallon tank in hopes that the increased water volume will mean more stability and less gray hair.

I'm looking for suggestions on how to outfit it. A local store sells a 20-gallon high that comes with a Penguin 200. But since I already have a Penguin 100 (in theory good enough for up to 20 gallons) I wonder if I should just buy a second 100 and run them both. It would seem the added benefit would be that if one fails for some reason, you at least still have some filtration

Also, the set-up comes with a submersible 100-watt heater.

Lastly, I still have some of the gravel from old tank, but that hasn't had any fish in it for more than a year. Would it help jump-start my cycle to use that, or has it been too long? I would think it's been too long, but, then again, what do I know?

I appreciate any advice. Thanks!
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Old 06-28-2009, 12:54 AM   #2
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i would look on craigislist for a used one often you can find them really cheap. the bigger the tank the more stable it is. also look into a python. it lets you suck the water out to a hose or sink then fill back up. makes water changes fast and easy. i can do my 120 in 30-45 mins and about 5 mins of work. just have to stop it sucking out flip the switch and fill back up. its super easy.

what temps do you face? having a fan blowing over the tank really cools it down also frozen powerade bottles.

the old gravel wont help at all.
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Old 06-29-2009, 11:11 AM   #3
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I second what mgamer20o0 said...craigslist can often be cheaper if not free and usually include filters etc. Sometimes even a stand.

I like your idea of having two filters, having an extra is also good for setting up a QT in a pinch.
I would say if your biggest problem is temp fluctuation the bigger the tank the better. Find a cheap one on craigslist or go for a 29 gallon new if you don't like that idea or can't find what you want on craigslist.org.
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Old 07-01-2009, 12:46 AM   #4
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The penguin 100 will probably struggle to keep a 20g or larger stable. The gph rating is said to be obtained without filter media or any of the blockages that naturally develop (mulm, dumb fish that swim up the intake).

If you're worried about stable temps, I'd go with a Marineland Stealth heater a.k.a visi-therm heater - two, if you're aiming to have redundancy. Cheaper heaters will stay the course for a few months, but ultimately the heating elements tend to fry. The Stealth heaters might be more expensive, but also seem to be more reliable.

All that having been said, redundancy is a bit dangerous - you might not know when one part of your system has failed, overly stressing the backup. You also have more potential points of failure.
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