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Old 09-25-2012, 11:29 PM   #1
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I'm a beginner starting a 55gal aquarium. ADVICE NEEDED

Hello to all you wise aquarium keepers! My family and I are wishing to have an Aquarium. Yes, I am a beginner. (I've only have a Betta for the past 1 1/2) So I'm in need of some advice, and have open ears for what you have to say.



We bought a 55gallon tank from someone in our town. It came with 2 Aquatech 30-60 gallon filters, hood lid and lights. also some other things, but those are the main. We have yet to find a stand to hold the weight of the tank once full, but one will come soon. This will be a freshwater Aquarium.

To save you time and typing, Id like you to know I have read this beginners guide on this site, and those like it. Along with countless other websites on how to keep and maintain an aquarium, fish and plants. I've been resurching for about a hald a month now. But am still learning and hoping for any advice.

So here we go:

Firstly I wish to go for a natural look in our tank. With Sand as the substrate, driftwood, smooth stacked rocks ( for hiding) and live plants. Possibly an air rock for bubbles? enough for some fish to hide in. (I know what to do to clean each of these before putting them in the tank)

Next, Which kind of plants should I have in my tank? I like some height. I don't want it cluttered. Just enough to have in and around the wood and rocks and for the fish to hide in. Also ones for them to nibble on. What is high in protein and nutrients? I was thinking some types of Anubias and duckweed, I'd also love some moss that can grow on parts of the driftwood. Suggestions?

We are going to go with the 'Fishless Cycling' It seems the best way to make sure everything is well and safe before we add our new family swimmers. I know it will take some time, but I'm very patient. I want my fish to be happy in there new underwater home. I want toproperly cycle the tank before getting the fish.
Any advice on this? How was it when you tried this method? And do I do this before, or after I add the plants and decor?

and:

  • What type of liquid test kit do you recommend?
  • Which type of heaters for a 55 gallon do you recommend?
  • What brand of Dechlorintaor?
  • Which types for food do your fish enjoy?


Now for the exciting part: What fishies to add??

So I've done some reading and I made a small list of fish I'd like to add when the time is ready. I want lots of color in there! We really want the Angle Fish to be our center. Our "focal point" so to say. I have made that our main fish and looked up the fishes who are compatible with them. These will be added over time:
  • 2 Angels will be added 1st.
  • Dwarf Gouramis
  • Gardneri Killifish
  • Goast Shrimp
  • Mollys
  • Starlight Pleco
  • Bolivian Rams
  • Some type of very small schooling fish, maybe neon tetras?
I know not to overstock. So how many of each fish should I get to add in my 55gal? Also are these fish okay to be with one another? If no, then what do you recommend to live well with the Angels? Please keep in mind pretty colors! and no fin nippers. (I love love love the blue and orange on the Dwarf Gouramis)
Is there a site I may go to that tells which wish get along with one another? Compatibility?
Also, how long should I wait before adding new fish after the Angels?

I am open to suggestions. please tell me what you think!




So I think this is all for now. Thank-you for reading this. ( This is the 2nd time I had to type it! I somehow was not logging in the last time I submitted! haha) anywhoo, thank-you for any advise you give. I am open to hear what wisdom you share.


It will be a few weeks or months until all is ready too add my fishes so please please please keep an eye out for more questions from me and maybe some photo updates! Thnak-you so much again!


-Katelyn
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Old 09-26-2012, 11:06 AM   #2
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I think the angels shouldn't go in first because they are sensitive. Lots of people here use the API Liquid Test kit. Fluval heaters are nice even though i haven't had one. Seachem Prime is a good dechlorinator.
Good Luck
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Old 09-26-2012, 12:12 PM   #3
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First off, welcome to the site !!! You have put alot of thought into this, so Im sure your fish will be healthy & happy. I like the Anubius, Amazon sword, and Anacharis ( the fish seem to like to eat on the Anacharis). The Amazon sword makes a nice full plant at the rear of the tank. I've not planted Duckweed so maybe someone will respond to that one. Most use the API liquid test kits, or you can buy the master kit for $30-40. It will allow you tyo test for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, ph, hardness...... The ammonia, nitrite, & nitrate is what you want to keep your eye on while cycling. I've not done a fishless cycle. I've done a planted cycle, and fish in cycle. Jetjockey has a GREAT link on the cycles on this site.
Unless I've missed something, your stock seem to be ok. The rule of thumb is 1" of grown size for every 10 gallons. Alot of the fish sites online have a compatibility chart to show what makes for good tankmates (PETCO.com comes to mind on a quick chart). You can exceed this by a little if you do weekly water changes, and keep your eye on the water parameters. The plants will help with the nitrates in the tank once it is established. The Pleco is a waste machine, and the Dwarf gouramis can be sensitive to dirty water, so I would recommend running both of the Aquatech filters on the tank.
I recommend Prime by Seachem for the dechlorinator. It is a little more expensive, but much more concentrated. One cap for 50 gallons with it while most of the others are 1 tsp for every 10 gallons. GOOD LUCK !!!! And keep us posted
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Old 09-26-2012, 02:43 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fedex3d
First off, welcome to the site !!! You have put alot of thought into this, so Im sure your fish will be healthy & happy. I like the Anubius, Amazon sword, and Anacharis ( the fish seem to like to eat on the Anacharis). The Amazon sword makes a nice full plant at the rear of the tank. I've not planted Duckweed so maybe someone will respond to that one. Most use the API liquid test kits, or you can buy the master kit for $30-40. It will allow you tyo test for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, ph, hardness...... The ammonia, nitrite, & nitrate is what you want to keep your eye on while cycling. I've not done a fishless cycle. I've done a planted cycle, and fish in cycle. Jetjockey has a GREAT link on the cycles on this site.
Unless I've missed something, your stock seem to be ok. The rule of thumb is 1" of grown size for every 10 gallons. Alot of the fish sites online have a compatibility chart to show what makes for good tankmates (PETCO.com comes to mind on a quick chart). You can exceed this by a little if you do weekly water changes, and keep your eye on the water parameters. The plants will help with the nitrates in the tank once it is established. The Pleco is a waste machine, and the Dwarf gouramis can be sensitive to dirty water, so I would recommend running both of the Aquatech filters on the tank.
I recommend Prime by Seachem for the dechlorinator. It is a little more expensive, but much more concentrated. One cap for 50 gallons with it while most of the others are 1 tsp for every 10 gallons. GOOD LUCK !!!! And keep us posted
About the rule of the inch per ten gallon rule thats completely off. So if a neon tetra is one inch then only 5 and nothing else could fit in the tank? I don't agree with any of those rules
I use API liquid test kit as it is much more accurate than the strips. They range in price of $18-$29 dollars. For dechlorinators I recommend the nutrafin aqua plus and the nutrafin cycle.
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Old 09-26-2012, 03:52 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Samzter View Post
About the rule of the inch per ten gallon rule thats completely off. So if a neon tetra is one inch then only 5 and nothing else could fit in the tank? I don't agree with any of those rules
I use API liquid test kit as it is much more accurate than the strips. They range in price of $18-$29 dollars. For dechlorinators I recommend the nutrafin aqua plus and the nutrafin cycle.
You're right, it's 1" to 1 gallon. Sorry for the typo
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Old 09-26-2012, 03:59 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fedex3d

You're right, it's 1" to 1 gallon. Sorry for the typo
Umm that rule is also flawed. You couldnt keep a 10 inch Oscar in a 10g. It also depends on the temperament, bioload activeness and requirements.
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Old 09-26-2012, 04:05 PM   #7
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I as alot of people have used that in stocking a tank if used with some common sense & some knowledge of your stock. But I'm not going to argue the point with you.
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Old 09-26-2012, 04:06 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Fedex3d
I as alot of people have used that in stocking a tank if used with some common sense & some knowledge of your stock. But I'm not going to argue the point with you.
Yeah well with common sense but lots and lots of people on this site will disagree with the rule.
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Old 09-26-2012, 05:39 PM   #9
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Okay. So I decided against the Starlight Pleco & Dwarf Gouramis. Plecos because of extra waste so I'll go with some type of cory for bottom dweller/scrap eater. and I don't want to get Gouramis for there easy sickness just yet.

The tank we got is pretty nasty. (The last owner used it for Oscars) It has some kind of white flaky mess on the filters and parts of the tank. And a brown/dark green film.
What do you recommenced to clean it? Just tap water? hit it with a scrub brush and pressure washer? Mom said to use vinegar...
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Old 09-26-2012, 05:42 PM   #10
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Scrub and with water. I don't know about vinegar.
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Old 09-26-2012, 06:03 PM   #11
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Plain white vinegar, lots of scrubbing & rinse very well.

In respect to fishless cycling, make sure you get a usuable ammonia (no dyes, fragrances, surfectants, etc). Your fine to decorate & add plants from day 1. Make sure theres lots of aeration & bump the temp up to the mid-80's. Adding some cycled media is the quickest way to jumpstart a cycle. I cant help with stocking but if you have any cycling questions, just ask!
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Old 09-26-2012, 06:16 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by jlk View Post
Plain white vinegar, lots of scrubbing & rinse very well.

In respect to fishless cycling, make sure you get a usuable ammonia (no dyes, fragrances, surfectants, etc). Your fine to decorate & add plants from day 1. Make sure theres lots of aeration & bump the temp up to the mid-80's. Adding some cycled media is the quickest way to jumpstart a cycle. I cant help with stocking but if you have any cycling questions, just ask!

Okay, thank you so much! Vinegar cleaning tomorrow! haha I read that I can get 100% ammonia at an Ace hardware store. I'll look there 1st. If not then I'll look at Lows when we're getting the pool filter sand for the tank floor. And I am definitely going to take you up on that cycling advice throughout this!
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Old 09-26-2012, 06:31 PM   #13
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Yep, Ace Hardware stuff is great stuff just dont be tempted to take a sniff of the bottle- it will knock you on your feet! I am glad your doing your research and asking lots of questions!! Keep asking!
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Old 09-26-2012, 07:38 PM   #14
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Hi and welcome, my replies below in blue.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kay2lynnS View Post
Hello to all you wise aquarium keepers! My family and I are wishing to have an Aquarium. Yes, I am a beginner. (I've only have a Betta for the past 1 1/2) So I'm in need of some advice, and have open ears for what you have to say.



We bought a 55gallon tank from someone in our town. It came with 2 Aquatech 30-60 gallon filters, hood lid and lights. also some other things, but those are the main. We have yet to find a stand to hold the weight of the tank once full, but one will come soon. This will be a freshwater Aquarium.

To save you time and typing, Id like you to know I have read this beginners guide on this site, and those like it. Along with countless other websites on how to keep and maintain an aquarium, fish and plants. I've been resurching for about a hald a month now. But am still learning and hoping for any advice.

So here we go:

Firstly I wish to go for a natural look in our tank. With Sand as the substrate, driftwood, smooth stacked rocks ( for hiding) and live plants. Possibly an air rock for bubbles? enough for some fish to hide in. (I know what to do to clean each of these before putting them in the tank)

Next, Which kind of plants should I have in my tank? I like some height. I don't want it cluttered. Just enough to have in and around the wood and rocks and for the fish to hide in. Also ones for them to nibble on. What is high in protein and nutrients? I was thinking some types of Anubias and duckweed, I'd also love some moss that can grow on parts of the driftwood. Suggestions?
Plants will depend largely on your lighting. If you want to just keep the light that came with the tank most low-light plants will do: Anubias, Java Fern, Vallisneria, most Crypts and Swords (although they are heavy root feeders so should have something like fertilizer tabs in the sand). Do a Google search for "low light plant list" and you'll get some options. Most fish won't eat plants although they may graze on the biofilm that grows on the plants themselves. Your fish will get their nutrition from the food you feed them.

We are going to go with the 'Fishless Cycling' It seems the best way to make sure everything is well and safe before we add our new family swimmers. I know it will take some time, but I'm very patient. I want my fish to be happy in there new underwater home. I want toproperly cycle the tank before getting the fish.
Any advice on this? How was it when you tried this method? And do I do this before, or after I add the plants and decor?
You can start cycling anytime. Add plants and decor anytime throughout the cycle.

and:

  • What type of liquid test kit do you recommend?
    API Master Liquid kit. Most pet/fish stores sell it although it's cheaper on sites like Amazon and BigAls Online.
  • Which type of heaters for a 55 gallon do you recommend?
    Anything adjustable; Fluval and Aqueon make good heaters.
  • What brand of Dechlorintaor?
    Seachem Prime
  • Which types for food do your fish enjoy?
    Like humans, fish like variety. A good staple food would be Hikari or New Life Spectrum pellets. You could alternate that with other foods throughout the week like flakes or frozen foods (bloodworms, shrimps, daphnia, etc). Some bottom-feeders like shrimp and algae wafers or pellets.


Now for the exciting part: What fishies to add??

So I've done some reading and I made a small list of fish I'd like to add when the time is ready. I want lots of color in there! We really want the Angle Fish to be our center. Our "focal point" so to say. I have made that our main fish and looked up the fishes who are compatible with them. These will be added over time:
  • 2 Angels will be added 1st.
  • Dwarf Gouramis
  • Gardneri Killifish
  • Goast Shrimp
  • Mollys
  • Starlight Pleco
  • Bolivian Rams
  • Some type of very small schooling fish, maybe neon tetras?
If the angels and/or rams are a breeding pair you may have some aggression issues toward other fish and if they aren't a pair they could get aggressive toward each other. The Neons could be food for the Angels but it depends on the fish's temperament.

You could do something like:
1 Bolivian Ram
5 Least Killfish (they do better in groups)
8 Corys
12 Neon tetra
12 harlequin rasbora (or any type of tetra, rasbora or danio)
2 mollys



I know not to overstock. So how many of each fish should I get to add in my 55gal? Also are these fish okay to be with one another? If no, then what do you recommend to live well with the Angels? Please keep in mind pretty colors! and no fin nippers. (I love love love the blue and orange on the Dwarf Gouramis)
Is there a site I may go to that tells which wish get along with one another? Compatibility?
Also, how long should I wait before adding new fish after the Angels?

I am open to suggestions. please tell me what you think!




So I think this is all for now. Thank-you for reading this. ( This is the 2nd time I had to type it! I somehow was not logging in the last time I submitted! haha) anywhoo, thank-you for any advise you give. I am open to hear what wisdom you share.


It will be a few weeks or months until all is ready too add my fishes so please please please keep an eye out for more questions from me and maybe some photo updates! Thnak-you so much again!


-Katelyn
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Old 09-27-2012, 03:38 AM   #15
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In terms of stocking, the best piece of advice I've learned is to go to your different LFSs and write down the names of every fish you might be interested in (this way you have a good idea of what's available to you too). Then do your utmost to avoid purchasing any of them and instead go home and begin to research them as best as you can. There are many helpful websites out there and please feel free to ask us specific questions regarding compatibility and care with those fish you ultimately decide on.
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Old 09-27-2012, 05:50 AM   #16
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Api Master Kit
Eheim Jäger heaters - most reliable heater on the market
Seachem Prime - favourite for most on this site
New Life Spectrum food - again favoured by most on the site
Nearly all fish go crazy for boiled deshelled peas - really good to feed them peas a fews times a week

Plants - Vallisneria, Anubias, Hairgrass, Java Moss, Amazon Sword, Java Fern

Stocking list is good, maybe drop the gourami for a another dwarf Cichlid due to Dwarf Gourami disease, Festivum go really well with Angel fish or Cupid Cichlids. With Cichlids you usually better getting the wider body Tetra type, ie Black Phantom, Lemon Tetra and I would go for Amano Shrimp.

And welcome to the site!

Pic is of a Festivum, not a million miles away from an Angel, but distinct differences.
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Old 09-27-2012, 07:20 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fedex3d
First off, welcome to the site !!! You have put alot of thought into this, so Im sure your fish will be healthy & happy. I like the Anubius, Amazon sword, and Anacharis ( the fish seem to like to eat on the Anacharis). The Amazon sword makes a nice full plant at the rear of the tank. I've not planted Duckweed so maybe someone will respond to that one. Most use the API liquid test kits, or you can buy the master kit for $30-40. It will allow you tyo test for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, ph, hardness...... The ammonia, nitrite, & nitrate is what you want to keep your eye on while cycling. I've not done a fishless cycle. I've done a planted cycle, and fish in cycle. Jetjockey has a GREAT link on the cycles on this site.
Unless I've missed something, your stock seem to be ok. The rule of thumb is 1" of grown size for every 10 gallons. Alot of the fish sites online have a compatibility chart to show what makes for good tankmates (PETCO.com comes to mind on a quick chart). You can exceed this by a little if you do weekly water changes, and keep your eye on the water parameters. The plants will help with the nitrates in the tank once it is established. The Pleco is a waste machine, and the Dwarf gouramis can be sensitive to dirty water, so I would recommend running both of the Aquatech filters on the tank.
I recommend Prime by Seachem for the dechlorinator. It is a little more expensive, but much more concentrated. One cap for 50 gallons with it while most of the others are 1 tsp for every 10 gallons. GOOD LUCK !!!! And keep us posted
The inch per gal rule is flawed and generally considered useless here
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Old 09-27-2012, 08:13 AM   #18
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Ok we'll heater wise I would go with a larger heater than necessary for that tank 300w would do I honestly love my aqueon heaters. As mentioned I would run both filters there is no such thing as too much filtration. Great starter plants are swords, crypts, and Anubias. If you wanted to upgrade your lighting true lumen makes some decent led strips that aren't too expensive. I love the look of manzanita wood and it is neutral. You could also look at some snails nerite snails are great little cleaners and come in a ton of varieties. Shrimp will also clean up a lot of things in the tank I.e. dead leaves, left over food, etc. prime for dechlorinater API master test kit. Aqadvisor is an ok site for getting started and will help with compatibility and conditions for stocking.
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Old 09-27-2012, 10:13 AM   #19
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Question on a stand. Will a well built dresser made of solid wood work as a stand for a 55gal? Our calculating say the tank with water and sand will be about 550lbs...
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Old 09-27-2012, 12:14 PM   #20
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So we found a stand. An old buffet table type thing. It has some damage as in scratches but that is an easy fix. It is way sturdyer than the last one we found. And so much more beautiful! All for $40! (Photo below)It will look wonderful in our living room and tie in great with the natural look we want inside the tank! So excited!
Next step. Cleaning the tank and setting it up for cycling.



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