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Old 11-27-2016, 05:38 PM   #1
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Complete noob in over my head

Hey all. My experience in the hobby is basically none. Family had a 20 gal freshwater tank when I was 16. My job was to name the fish and feed them. No experience gained there.
I recently bought one of those ridiculous Tetra 1.8 gal waterfall globes for my office. Got a Betta and Cory Catfish in it. It is loved by all my coworkers and yes, me too. It's just enough to allow the bug to bite me. So I recently bought a used (scary) 55 gal tank. According to the ad I answered, it came complete with all the pumps, filters, lights, etc. however, it only came with a tiny air pump that looks like it's better days are far behind it. So I basically need everything and I don't have a clue what to look for and how much it will cost. Financing this project will take some time. My vision was to have a nice freshwater planted setup. I have no idea how to do live plants or what fish to stock it with. But that is after I manage to figure out what gear I need and get the tank ready to fill and balance. I got a long road ahead and about a million questions. I hope y'all are patient with me as I need help. The folks at PetSmart are helpful but don't know as much as they seem.
Any advice is very appreciated.
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Old 11-27-2016, 05:51 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by wetfarticus View Post
Hey all. My experience in the hobby is basically none. Family had a 20 gal freshwater tank when I was 16. My job was to name the fish and feed them. No experience gained there.
I recently bought one of those ridiculous Tetra 1.8 gal waterfall globes for my office. Got a Betta and Cory Catfish in it. It is loved by all my coworkers and yes, me too. It's just enough to allow the bug to bite me. So I recently bought a used (scary) 55 gal tank. According to the ad I answered, it came complete with all the pumps, filters, lights, etc. however, it only came with a tiny air pump that looks like it's better days are far behind it. So I basically need everything and I don't have a clue what to look for and how much it will cost. Financing this project will take some time. My vision was to have a nice freshwater planted setup. I have no idea how to do live plants or what fish to stock it with. But that is after I manage to figure out what gear I need and get the tank ready to fill and balance. I got a long road ahead and about a million questions. I hope y'all are patient with me as I need help. The folks at PetSmart are helpful but don't know as much as they seem.
Any advice is very appreciated.
I'm a noob as well getting ready to tackle the 55 gal. We can share ideas throughout the process. One thing I did read is that the 55 gallon tanks are actually easier to take care of once you get them going. Hopefully that helps ease some of the stres.
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Old 11-27-2016, 06:40 PM   #3
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Old 11-27-2016, 09:07 PM   #4
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So first off.... i wonder how the Betta and Cory are doing in their tank?
How long have they been in there?
Do you have an API Freshwater Master test kit?
If not get one asap, this will also be very usefull for setting up the 55 gal.

55 is quite an undertaking for a betta and a Cory and may also take a bit to get Nitrogen cycled but awesome once they are up and running.

Did it come with a stand?
If not keep in mind that a 55 gal tank is going to be very heavy (8.3lbs per gallon) always level things by the stand not under the tank. (Learned that the hard way, thank god it was only a 20long and not 55gal)

Look at sites and apps like Craigslist or Offer Up to find local deals and meet people.
Its ok to start small and work yer way toward better equipment.
Also if you dont mind waiting a month (which you may have to before a 55 gallon tank is cycled) theres quite a bit of cheap stuff that can be ordered from China as far as lighting, little accoutrements.
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Old 11-27-2016, 09:16 PM   #5
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The Betta and Cory are happy and healthy.
The 55 gal isn't for them. I may upgrade them to a 5 or 10 gal down the road.
Yes I have a purpose built aquarium stand.
Time to piece the rest of the equipment together as finances permit
I have been using test strips for the Betta tank, but yes I am going to get something a bit more telling and accurate also.
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Old 11-27-2016, 09:59 PM   #6
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Awesome, sounds good if all their peramiters are doing (0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, and only a bit of Nitrates) well thats a good sign.

Id likely upgrade the Betta and Cory and use that as a jumping off point.
Many if yer question will be answered by that stewardship which could be applied to the more expensive 55gal set up.

As far as other equipment it depends on what type of fish you want and what type of aquarium yer after as an end result.

Filter: id suggest a HOB (hang on back) and you want it to run at 8-10 times the gallons per hour.
(So 8 x 55 gph)
Many folks find Aquaclear to be exceptional.

Heater: which will also depend on size. I ran a 250 watt submersible in my 40 gal

A thermometer...i prefer portable didgital with a submersible diode as well as a regular suction cup type.
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Old 11-27-2016, 10:07 PM   #7
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As for the filter I was looking at the Aquatop CF Series Canister Filter with 9 watt UV sterilizer rated at 264gph.
Any thoughts?
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Old 11-27-2016, 10:34 PM   #8
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For a 55 you can still get away with a HOB (or 2) which i would recommend.

Any bigger tank and id say go for canister, simply because a canister filter can be a total animal of a project to keep proper.
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Old 11-27-2016, 10:37 PM   #9
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What type of tank are you wanting?

I know you said planted but are we talking dense or sparse?
Highlight with Co2 or a less high tech setup?
When yer setting up something like a 55gal with all the trimmings, patience is the name of the game before even adding water.
Youll thank yer self for it later on i promise haha
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Old 11-28-2016, 12:04 AM   #10
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As far as the plants go... I don't have the foggiest idea what I want. Being new to the game, I don't even know if it's something I would be capable of maintaining. In my head I have a beautiful picture of my completed tank, but I know that is a LONG way off.
Yes, I am practicing patience. The only thing I have done since purchasing it last week is clean the hell out of it.

I don't know what the guy I bought it from did, but the back pain of the tank is all scratched up. It's like he used sand paper on it. Wish I could do something to clean that up. Probably won't notice once it's filled. But it still bothers me.
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Old 11-28-2016, 02:05 AM   #11
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One thing I did read is that the 55 gallon tanks are actually easier to take care of once you get them going.
The more water you have, the less minor influences become major changes.
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Old 11-28-2016, 02:14 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by wetfarticus View Post
As for the filter I was looking at the Aquatop CF Series Canister Filter with 9 watt UV sterilizer rated at 264gph.
Any thoughts?

No experience? Come on you've got the lingo nailed down already.

Welcome to AA. I'm sure you will be fine.

I know what it's like to have a scratched tank. I'd have been happier if my scratches were only on the back and not on the viewing pane. You'll be too interested in working on the tank that the scratches will become less noticeable as time goes on.
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Old 11-28-2016, 02:34 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by wetfarticus View Post
Hey all. My experience in the hobby is basically none. Family had a 20 gal freshwater tank when I was 16. My job was to name the fish and feed them. No experience gained there.
I recently bought one of those ridiculous Tetra 1.8 gal waterfall globes for my office. Got a Betta and Cory Catfish in it. It is loved by all my coworkers and yes, me too. It's just enough to allow the bug to bite me. So I recently bought a used (scary) 55 gal tank. According to the ad I answered, it came complete with all the pumps, filters, lights, etc. however, it only came with a tiny air pump that looks like it's better days are far behind it. So I basically need everything and I don't have a clue what to look for and how much it will cost. Financing this project will take some time. My vision was to have a nice freshwater planted setup. I have no idea how to do live plants or what fish to stock it with. But that is after I manage to figure out what gear I need and get the tank ready to fill and balance. I got a long road ahead and about a million questions. I hope y'all are patient with me as I need help. The folks at PetSmart are helpful but don't know as much as they seem.
Any advice is very appreciated.
I know what you mean. I've never really kept fish and Im wanting a planted fresh water tank too but I got carried away and now have this 120 gallon tank and am overwhelmed with co2 and pumps air stones filters substrate plants ... Heck the fish are the least of my worries.
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Old 11-28-2016, 08:50 AM   #14
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I know what you mean. I've never really kept fish and Im wanting a planted fresh water tank too but I got carried away and now have this 120 gallon tank and am overwhelmed with co2 and pumps air stones filters substrate plants ... Heck the fish are the least of my worries.
I wish i had these problems
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Old 11-28-2016, 01:08 PM   #15
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Wow. I came to the right place. Any advice is more than welcome. Thank you all.
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Old 11-28-2016, 06:34 PM   #16
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Welcome back to the hobby!

So the bad... you have a Betta and a Corey in a 1.8 gallon aquarium? Not good if accurate. And normally I stay out of those... but that is a little rough. Remember, Coreys are social fish and really should be in bigger. Bettas are normally aimed at 2.5 gallon for itself.

Now the good.. for the 55 gallon, what is your vision? What are your limiting factors? Do you have questions on plants, filters, substrates... what were you thinking?
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Old 11-28-2016, 07:04 PM   #17
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I was told that the 1.8 was adequate for a Betta. And that a Cory was a good companion. That is why I didn't want to trust the "experts" at PetSmart
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Old 11-28-2016, 07:31 PM   #18
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I was told that the 1.8 was adequate for a Betta. And that a Cory was a good companion. That is why I didn't want to trust the "experts" at PetSmart
Thays what i was concerned about too, im not one to keep perfect conditions ALL the time but i had a single Cory with my Betta for a while in a 5 gallon.

My issue was that they generally dont share the samp comfort with temps.
(Betta 75-80, most Cory 68-73)
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Old 11-28-2016, 08:55 PM   #19
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I was told that the 1.8 was adequate for a Betta. And that a Cory was a good companion. That is why I didn't want to trust the "experts" at PetSmart
Honestly, 1.8 Gallons in some parts of the world is considered generous. Most of us here seem to be of a much more conservative following. But as a general rule: research first, then buy. I have a friend who was sold red tailed sharks as a very community tank friendly, small fish from PetSmart... he now has an RTS... and thats basically it.

Are you using a heater and if so at wht temp is your tank?
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Old 11-28-2016, 09:26 PM   #20
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I have a heater but haven't needed it as yet. Temp hovers around 78
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