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Old 05-03-2007, 06:12 PM   #1
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55 gallon tank at work

I inherited control of the 55 gallon tank at work, as the person who originally brought it in is leaving the company. I haven't talked to the person in control of teh $$$ yet, but I think I should be able to get a decent amount of money to give the tank an upgrade. Right now it has a lousy HOB filter, a fluorescent strip light that must be 400 years old as it puts out about 6 watts of light, huge sized gravel (1/2"-1"), 2 pieces of driftwood, 3 fake plants, and for fish, 1 tiger barb, 1 cory, 1 pleco, 1 very nice large koi angelfish, and (get this) 1 HUGE fancy goldfish.

I am guessing I might get $100-200 to upgrade the tank. I would like to get at least some live plants in there but don't have the budget for bigger lights and also don't want the tank to be a maintenance problem. I'm thinking replace the filter, change out the substrate, remove the goldie (he is a poop factory), add some rocks or other hardscape, new light bulb and then some Java fern, crypts, anubias etc. I'm thinking Tahitian moon sand as I really like the look, but will the plants like it?? Also, I don't think a 40 watt strip light is going to cut it even for those plants.

Any suggestions are welcome...I will update as I continue this process! Also need to figure out what fish would look nice with the angel, and also the lone tiger barb (figuring I'll get him some friends).
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Old 05-03-2007, 07:28 PM   #2
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The light strip will probably fit 2x32w t-8 bulbs if you gut it out and retro them in. Paint the inside white and bingo! enough light for $40 bulbs and all.

Turface charcoal is a cheap plant-friendly substrate. Black beauty sandblasting sand is a cheap alternative to tahitian moon sand. Be aware most sands aren't very plant friendly.

Spend the majority of the rest of the money on a good canister like a fluval or rena.
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Old 05-03-2007, 08:13 PM   #3
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Shultz Aquasoil is also a cheap, plant friendly substrate. Mixed with some traditional pea-sized gravel of a similar or darker color would do well and not bust your budget.

What species of pleco is roaming around in there? You may have to ditch him as well if he is a common or gibby. IMO, all planted tanks require SA cichlids, julii corydoras and bristlenose plecos!

I agree with hoovercat on the filter, can't go wrong on that. Petco has both the Shultz and the Rena's for sale online.
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Old 05-03-2007, 10:55 PM   #4
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The Tahitian Moon Sand is supposed to be fairly plant friendly. Just need to make sure to either stir it manually or get a nice colony of MTS going.

Turface MVP is dirt cheap and really good with plants. You really can't go wrong when a 50lbs bag is about $10.00! Only draw back is that it's a bit lightweight, but that's pretty much a non issue once the plants are established.

I think that the plants you've selected are an excellant choice considering the lighting and desired maintenance level. Some mosses on the driftwood could be quite nice too.
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Old 05-04-2007, 11:33 AM   #5
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Thanks for the tip on the Turface, I think I will give that a try. I was checking prices in my Drs F&S catalog last night and even plain gravel is $$$ when you need a lot.

JChillin, I'm not sure what the pleco is. it is not a bristlenose, but not a common or gibby as he's been in there a while and is only about 6" or so. I will try and get a pic of him, he's lighter brown than most plecos I've seen.

Was thinking of going with a stock double strip light, that would give me 80 watts, which hopefully will be enough for the plants. it costs a little more than DIY, but I don't have the time or the skills to retrofit the hood.

As for fish, still not sure, but I have a while on that, was thinking a school of Praecox rainbows and another school of something.....
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Old 05-04-2007, 06:12 PM   #6
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I vote cardinal tetras on the second school.

If you make sure the double strip you get has the capability to support t-8s you get more light for less power than t-12.

Check with local lawn companies to find out your local Lesco supplier for the turface.
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Old 05-05-2007, 10:43 PM   #7
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Would the angel eat the cardinals?? He's pretty big, about 4-5 inches body length. But cardinals would look great, I agree.
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