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Old 05-23-2013, 01:29 PM   #1
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First large aquarium, need advice

I'm working on building my first large aquarium. I currently have a betta fish in a 4g lightly planted tank. I am currently looking around on craigslist to get a 38-50g tank. Whatever I can get for a decent price with a stand is what I will likely end up with. I had a couple of questions about equipment as well as stocking. I'll just list them off here, and I will assume I end up with a 40g tank:

1. For Stocking I was thinking the following: 6 False Julii Cory Cat, 6-10 Celestial Pearl Danio, 6 Zebra Danio, 1 neon blue dwarf Gouramis. Originally I was thinking of having an angelfish, but it sounds like it wouldn't like the cooler 75 degrees the other fish would like and might snack on the celestials. Should I have more, less? anything else I should add to that mix?

2. I would like to have a decently planted tank. What would be a good set of plants for the tank, and what substrate/light will I need for them? Seeing as this is my first tank, I am hoping not to mess with CO2 if I don't absolutely need to.

3. I know I'll need to heat the tank, but is it better to have one bigger heater or two smaller heaters? any recommendations for brand of heater and price range?

4. I was thinking a HOB filter, I've heard anywhere from 4x an hour all the way up to 10x per hour for GPH requirements. The only disadvantage I can see to a bigger filter is that my poor fish might be blown around like crazy. I know I had to slow down the output for my betta fish so he stopped getting thrown around.

5. My potentially biggest problem is the pH of my water. my tap water is ~8.2, while all of my potential fish like a pH of 6.5-7. How do I effectively and consistently reduce the pH by the correct amount?

Any help would be appreciated. I've been doing a lot of research and am excited to get started.
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Old 05-23-2013, 01:36 PM   #2
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These are what everyone recommends ! I'm adding one to my 20 gallon ontop of my penguin bio wheel! They are very reasonably priced as well! Ill attach an amazon link to it below!

It has a 3 stage filter in it which is awesome plus you can customize the media !

Just when using the sponge and bio bits rinse them in used tank water chlorine will kill the Beneficial bacteria on them.

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http://amzn.to/11cJrDF
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Old 05-23-2013, 03:59 PM   #3
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What fish are you gonna add? I have a bolivian ram (6-7.5 ph) and 6 rummynose tetras (6-7 ph) with a tap of 8, you probably won't have a problem, and in fact the most important part of ph is that it stays stable.
About the stocking, I would do 10 CPDs, they are happier that way. Angels would eat the CPDs, just like you said. You could probably add more fish. Like another school. Or you could do a pair of dwarf cichlids instead of a dg for a centerpiece fish.
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Old 05-23-2013, 09:04 PM   #4
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I read some more about pH and it seems that most fish can thrive even in high pH conditions as long as they are well adapted. I plan on having driftwood in my tank as well and I've heard that will slowly lower the pH as well, so I won't worry about it further.

CPD's are looking to be on the slightly more expensive side for a full school, so I might try and find a different schooling fish that works well for my first tank. Anyone have any ideas that would work well with what I already have planned?

I feel pretty comfortable with all the material and articles i've read, the only thing i'm still not sure about is what plants work well without any CO2.
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Old 05-23-2013, 09:20 PM   #5
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Easy way to lower PH is add bog wood to your tank. Also you could add peat to your filter. I put mine in a nylon bag then just put it in one of the cavities in my HOB. I've had a few different HOBs & my favorite by far is the Fluval C4. Works great has flow adjustments, has 5 stage filtration & is really quiet. I have it on my 55g planted community tank.

The fish you mentioned shouldn't have any issue with faster moving water. The betta only has issue because if the extreme size of their fins.

I know this is a point that most people argue over but in a bigger tank I would have 2 gouramis. They tend to be a little better off in pairs. As long as they aren't packed into a small tank. Many people say this isn't true but I have a community tank which is mostly corys, gouramis, & female bettas. They all get along fine. No fights at all. Well ok that's not totally true, my neons get a little pushy sometimes & my male honey gouramis don't like it when my rasboras try to take over their corner
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Old 05-25-2013, 03:44 PM   #6
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I bought the tank setup today off of craigs list. It is a 36g Bow Front. The Filter that came with it is an aquaclear 300 (300 GPH). The light fixture is a coralife 21" compact fluorescent 65W. Currently all the bulbs are 50/50 bulbs.

It looks like the light has enough power, but I would need to get the correct spectrum bulbs for freshwater plants. The bulbs are expensive however and don't last very long. I may end up selling the fixture and bulbs and going with a new set-up for the lights. Can anyone recommend a good light set up for a low light (no CO2) 36g (20" deep before gravel, probably 18" after) bow front tank? It has a glass cover, so it will be protected from the water. I don't have a huge budget for the light, but I also know that the newer LED set-ups are really nice, so i'm torn. Is it worth it to invest in a nice LED setup?

The set-up also came with an under-gravel filter and power head. However I wasn't sure if an under-gravel filter would be compatible with a planted tank and Eco-complete substrate and if it is worth it to set it up even if it is compatible?

In other news I've decided that CPD's are going to be too expensive for my first tank, so I am looking for an alternative fish. Preferably another schooling type fish that I can have 6-10 of with the zebra danios, cory cats and Dwarf Gourami. If anyone has any suggestions that they think will go well with what I have I would love some input.
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Old 05-25-2013, 04:08 PM   #7
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Nice acquisition. I have the 26g version. I was using a Finnex Ray 2 but with co2 and pps-pro dosing. I just recently sold that light and got 2 Current Satellite LED+ fixtures. I think it's perfect for moderate light. But what's cool is the full spectrum and wireless remote to control color output plus lighting modes like clouds, moonlight, lightning storm, etc.

The new Fluval plant LED is nice too. I like the dedicated LEDs in the 460nm and 640nm wavelengths. Also produces a nice color spectrum for planted tanks.

As for the schooling fish.. I like CPD's too but i agree, they are rather steep in price. Maybe go for some Cardinals or Ember Tetra? Maybe some Harlequin Rasboras?
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Old 05-25-2013, 04:32 PM   #8
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Dang, very nice tank for craiglist haha. Looks in great condition and not even used. Can I ask what you paid?
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Old 05-25-2013, 06:49 PM   #9
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The finnex Ray and Ray 2 both look like pretty good LED choices for me. They are relatively inexpensive and should provide a low-med light level. I'll look into them a little more, but they look promising.

I also like the Cardinal Tetras, i'll have to see if my LFS has those available.

@PockX, the tank/stand/filter/light I got for only $125. It also came with some decorations, nets, a pH test kit and some other odds and ends that I didn't really need but took anyway. It was a pretty awesome deal, I snagged it the same day that I saw it listed.
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Old 05-25-2013, 06:59 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by aja31 View Post
The finnex Ray and Ray 2 both look like pretty good LED choices for me. They are relatively inexpensive and should provide a low-med light level. I'll look into them a little more, but they look promising.

I also like the Cardinal Tetras, i'll have to see if my LFS has those available.

@PockX, the tank/stand/filter/light I got for only $125. It also came with some decorations, nets, a pH test kit and some other odds and ends that I didn't really need but took anyway. It was a pretty awesome deal, I snagged it the same day that I saw it listed.
That is a pretty good deal!
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Old 05-25-2013, 07:00 PM   #11
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A local fish store near me actually has the ray 2 set up on one of the tanks and it's pretty bright really brings out all the fish
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Old 05-26-2013, 03:39 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aja31 View Post
I'm working on building my first large aquarium. I currently have a betta fish in a 4g lightly planted tank. I am currently looking around on craigslist to get a 38-50g tank. Whatever I can get for a decent price with a stand is what I will likely end up with. I had a couple of questions about equipment as well as stocking. I'll just list them off here, and I will assume I end up with a 40g tank:

1. For Stocking I was thinking the following: 6 False Julii Cory Cat, 6-10 Celestial Pearl Danio, 6 Zebra Danio, 1 neon blue dwarf Gouramis. Originally I was thinking of having an angelfish, but it sounds like it wouldn't like the cooler 75 degrees the other fish would like and might snack on the celestials. Should I have more, less? anything else I should add to that mix?

2. I would like to have a decently planted tank. What would be a good set of plants for the tank, and what substrate/light will I need for them? Seeing as this is my first tank, I am hoping not to mess with CO2 if I don't absolutely need to.

3. I know I'll need to heat the tank, but is it better to have one bigger heater or two smaller heaters? any recommendations for brand of heater and price range?

4. I was thinking a HOB filter, I've heard anywhere from 4x an hour all the way up to 10x per hour for GPH requirements. The only disadvantage I can see to a bigger filter is that my poor fish might be blown around like crazy. I know I had to slow down the output for my betta fish so he stopped getting thrown around.

5. My potentially biggest problem is the pH of my water. my tap water is ~8.2, while all of my potential fish like a pH of 6.5-7. How do I effectively and consistently reduce the pH by the correct amount?

Any help would be appreciated. I've been doing a lot of research and am excited to get started.
I will ditto the sentiments on the pH needing to stay stable. I have an 8.2 pH as well and all of my fish couldn't care less about it. I wouldn't expect the drift wood to have any noticeable effect on the pH of your water though.

For the amount of filtering you want, it is hard to overfilter a tank. The fish will all find places that they feel comfortable swimming in and oftentimes they will play in the outlet of filters.

+1 on harlequin rasboras. Those are my favorite schooling fish to date and are fairly cheap.
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