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Old 03-28-2008, 05:39 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default I set up my tank today. Any advice?

So, after about 10 years of living a fishless life I am back in the hobby. I finally set up my first tank today. In the past I have kept both fresh water and salt water tanks. However, I have never kept live plants. I realized that I still have much to learn, specially when it comes to successful planted aquaria.

My tank is:

40 Gl tank.
3” of Eco-Complete substrate
Aqualight 96W, 6,500 K
304 Fluval filter

The filter has only sponge and the three chambers have ceramic rings. One of the chambers has pre-cultured rings that I purchased today from my LFS.

I set up the tank two days ago and it has been running fine. Today in the morning I added three plants. I forgot to write down the name of the plants, so I don’t know what they are. Also, per advice of my LFS, I added two fish. The fish I added are one molly and one dojo loach (my all time favorite fish). Eventually I want some clown loaches, pictus cats, khuli loaches, maybe some bala sharks.

I also added some Excel per the bottle’s instructions. I have a piece of driftwood that I am soaking and some rocks that I will be placing. Plus I have a nice PVC cave that I am waiting for the sealant to cure. I also will be adding a bubble wand. Besides aesthetic reasons, is there a reason why I shouldn't add it?

I did a test with a kit I purchased today and these are the results as of today:

Nitrate = 20
Nitrite = 0
Hardness = 300 (is this high?)
Chlorine = 0
Alkalinity = 300
Ph = 7.8

Another change I want to do is cut the outflow of the filter. It rests right on the substrate. It was for a turtle tank with a bare bottom. How long below the surface should it be?

Also, I will be using pressurized CO2, in a couple of months. How long can I get away without it?

Besides the fact that I need to add way more plants, any tips, ideas, suggestions, critiques that anybody could offer?

Thank you so much for all your time.

Luis
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Old 03-28-2008, 05:49 PM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: I set up my tank today. Any advice?

No need for the bubble wand.

Actually when you get Co2, no need and it is counterproductive.
Without the Co2 it will at least keep the water with the same levels of Co2 as the surrounding air.
So use it if you want, but really doesn't have any benefit. Plants add Oxygen to the water.

Pitcus Cat, I have two and hate them. I really like the look, but they NEVER come out from under a rock and I mean NEVER, maybe when I am asleep, but never do they see the light of day.

You are on the border of low light to mid light. Once you add Co2, if you add a touch more light, you should be able to grow anything you want. You can do it in that light you have, but I think it requires more patients and skill to do so.

Think about adding one of these with the addition of the Co2
http://www.bigalsonline.com/StoreCat...hwater&offset=

Also, Add as many fast growing stem plants into the tank to help uptake nutrients and keep algae at Bay while the tank balances. Also, if your finances allow, don't wait for the Co2, get it as soon as you can, it will help you very much.
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Old 03-28-2008, 05:53 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: I set up my tank today. Any advice?

Oh yeah, water changes about every 3rd day about 1/2 the water for about 4 to 5 changes.

Many plants sold at fish stores are grown emersed (above water) and most likely will melt their current leaves and grow new ones. Some may look like they are dying, but as long as you see some new growth they will come back. Also, many plants look completely different with submersed growth then emersed growth.

Be sure to remove all the die off, if it stays in it is just food for algae.

You can use some hose, like the filter hose clear vinly hose about 1/2 dia ID as a siphon.
use it to suck up the die off and any diatom algae or hair algae that starts to grow in the next week.
There will be some, it is inevitable, but the harder you work to keep it away thru the first 2 to 3 months (more in many cases) the faster your tank will balance and the happier you will be.
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Old 03-29-2008, 11:43 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: I set up my tank today. Any advice?

Thank you so much for your help. I learned new things.

It is a shame about those shy pictus, if I won't ever see them then why do I want them? lol.

Luis
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Old 03-30-2008, 06:29 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: I set up my tank today. Any advice?

Clown Loaches and Bala Sharks will outgrow a 40g. They get BIG. Please dont get them.
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Old 03-31-2008, 02:33 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: I set up my tank today. Any advice?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kets View Post
Clown Loaches and Bala Sharks will outgrow a 40g. They get BIG. Please dont get them.
Yes, upon further research I learned that. I am not getting them.

Thank you,

Luis
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Old 03-31-2008, 03:06 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: I set up my tank today. Any advice?

Typical beginner mistake is most people buy non aquatic plant that stores try to sell.

Here is a list of non aquatic

http://www.plantgeek.net/plantguide_...hp?category=11

Get plants you see growing in the tank.
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Old 03-31-2008, 03:08 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: I set up my tank today. Any advice?

Quote:
Originally Posted by frozenbarb View Post
Typical beginner mistake is most people buy non aquatic plant that stores try to sell.

Here is a list of non aquatic

http://www.plantgeek.net/plantguide_...hp?category=11

Get plants you see growing in the tank.
Thank you so much for that link. I will keep those in my mind.

Luis
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Old 04-01-2008, 09:24 AM   #9 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: I set up my tank today. Any advice?

Oh, if you want some loaches, there are some that stay small and productive at removing snails.
Sidthimunki (sp? Pronounced "sid the Monkey") loaches are very small and really cool looking, you can get some of them.
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