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Discussion in 'Fish and Aquarium - all types' started by Heather&Nicole, Jul 28, 2004.

  1. Heather&Nicole

    Heather&Nicole New Member

    We are new here (My girlfriend and I) and we will be getting a 55 gallon tank in the next week. We were wondering if anyone has any tips on these topics:

    Best filter
    Best pumps
    Best lighting
    Best gravel to use

    Also, we want to put nice colorful fish in the tank..what are some good tropical fish that we could put in there? I saw the pigmy puffer and the irredescent shark posts and they are also on our list of possibilities for fish.

    Anyone reccomend any good websites on freshwater tank care? THANKS!
  2. OneWolvesDream

    OneWolvesDream New Member

    Welcome! what type of water are you going for? salt, freshwater, or coldwater? what size is your tank aswell?
  3. Heather&Nicole

    Heather&Nicole New Member

    Thanks for the nice welcome!

    Im actually bidding on one on ebay right now, but i WILL get it either way. Its a 55 gallon tank. Im going for freshwater.

    here is a pic of the tank


    I know i need a top and lighting as well..so i dont think this tank should go for too much. Nice thing is its only 10 min from my house.
  4. t_chelle16

    t_chelle16 New Member

    What types of fish are you thinking of getting?

    Before doing anything, I suggest you read about cycling and make sure you understand how to do a fishless cycle. Here's a really good article:

  5. Heather&Nicole

    Heather&Nicole New Member

    Here are fish that we are thinkin bout getting :

    Black Mollys
    African Chiclids
    Albino Catfish
    Albino Pleco
    Upsidedown Catfish

    Not sure what else but we'd like to get some tropical looking fish.
  6. t_chelle16

    t_chelle16 New Member

    You can't mix the molies & the africans. You'll eventually end up with just africans.

    Like I said in your other thread, albino channel cats get way too big for most aquariums.

    The upsidedown catfish should be fine with africans. I think the albino will be a bit iffy. I have a common pleco in my african tank and although he's doing okay, he does get nipped at occasionally but has learned to fight back. I'm not sure if albinos are as hardy as commons and would be able to withstand african cichlids.

  7. Heather&Nicole

    Heather&Nicole New Member

    Are there any chiclids that arent very agressive?
  8. tina1

    tina1 New Member

    Hello there :eek:

    Couple of things about your list....

    Mollies and african cichlids cannot mix. Africans are very aggressive and require some fairly special care for a beginner, but it can be done. But mollies are peaceful and would almost instantly be killed in a tank with africans.

    The first thing you should do is find out the pH of your water. And if it is hard or soft. That way you will find fish that match your conditions and thrive in it. For example, if you have a high pH like say, 8.4 and very hard water Africans would do very well in that water. But if you have a lower pH like 6.8 your tank would be more suited to some softwater fish such as angels or tetras.

    In regards to the first questions you posted:

    1.Best filter You should probably start out with a filter that hangs on the back of your tank. Known as an HOB filter. These are very simple to use and learn with and do a darn good job too. Some of the better brands are Penguin, Emperor, and Aquaclear. Here's a link to the Emperor 400 which would be excellent for your tank.

    http://www.bigalsonline.com/catalog/pro ... d1=;pcid2=

    2. Best pump As in air pump? You would really only need this if using a bubble wall or undergravel filter (those don't work very good IMO)

    3Best lighting Definitely go for flourescents. Incandescent lighting isn't very attractive and can heat up the water quite a bit. If you decide you want live plants, you might look into compact flourescent lighting which is a tad more expensive, but well worth it.

    4.Best gravel This is really up to you. Just make sure that you pick it from a pet store and that you rinse it really, really well.

    One thing you didn't mention is a heater. Unless you are going for a coldwater (i.e. goldfish) tank a heater is the most important part for your fishtank next to a filter. Ebo Jager and Marineland make some good ones.

    Hope this helps a bit,
  9. t_chelle16

    t_chelle16 New Member

    Rams & dwarf cichlids are pretty peaceful. And I believe angels & severums, although they can be aggressive towards their own species, are generally okay with other community fish.

  10. Heather&Nicole

    Heather&Nicole New Member

    wow thanks so much for all your info!!! So you dont really need an air pump then for a tank..but just a really good filter system? Thats a great price for that system! Thanks for the links! Whats the best heater? What chemical test kit should i get? Do you reccomend sand type gravel or could i use those clear crystal ball type bottom gravel? I also have used seaglass in the past and thats pretty. What do i do to "clean" the gravel that i do get?

    Thanks for the advice on mollys and chiclids...thats why i came here and I saw you guys are very knowledgeable on fish so i figured it wouldnt hurt to ask. If you dont ask how else will you learn..thats my motto :)
  11. t_chelle16

    t_chelle16 New Member

    Ditto what Tina said. And I'd like to add:

    For filtration, if you go with a HOB filter, you will need a turnover rate of around 10x the volume of the tank/hour. So for a 55 gallon tank you would need a filter(s) that totaled 550 gallons per hour (GPH). Canister filters are more eficient so you only need around 4x or 5x turnover which would be 220 - 275 gph.

    For heater size, you'll need 3 - 5 watts/gallon (165 - 275 watts). If possible, it's actually a better idea to get 2 smaller heaters rather than one large one. That way if one breaks, it will take longer to have a major effect on the tank (ie get really cold or really hot).

    For lighting, unless you're going for a planted tank, just about any standard 55 gallon light set up would be fine.

  12. tina1

    tina1 New Member

    With regards to heaters, any brand will do basically. Just make sure that it is fully submerisble (so that you can shove it all the way in the tank) and that it has an adjustable temperature. Most of the ones in my tanks are Marineland heaters and they work just fine, much better than the Wispers.

    For gravel, it totally up to you really. Sand needs more care than regular gravel. You'll have to make sure that you do a good weekly stirring so that you don't get the sand compacting and forming dead spots (called anaerobic pockets) that release toxic gases. You'll also have to take some extra care that no sand gets into the filter which can wreck the filter's impeller.

    I think gravel is a better choice for a beginner. I like black or natural colored gravel, but like I said its up to you. If you think you'll want live plants (much recommended) then choose a finer grade of gravel. Also make sure not to get shells or crushed coral for gravel because that will raise your pH which is not that great of a thing unless you are doing african cichlids or saltwater.

    To clean the gravel I just get a new bucket and put the gravel in it with a hose and rinse it until the water runs clear. You really only need to rinse off the dust so your tank doesn't get cloudy.

    Test kits are test kits. I don't have much experience with them. They sell dip stick ones at wal mart which test for five things. Then get the additional ammonia test as well and you would be set to test for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, general hardness (gH), and carbonate hardness (kH). These aren't the most accurate tests but they are easy to use.

    Good luck to you!
  13. t_chelle16

    t_chelle16 New Member

    You can try not having a bubble wall, but if you don't have enough surface agitation from the filter and the fish start gasping, it would probably be a good idea to add one.

    I forgot to mention this in my last post, but one of the main things I look for in heaters is a dial so I can set it to a specific temperature. Otherwise you just have a + and - scale and have to fiddle with it and guess where it needs to be to keep your tank at a specific temperature. Also, even if you get a heater that you can set at a specific temperature, it's still a good idea to get a thermometer just so you can double check and make sure it's working right.

    The most important tests you need are ammonia, nitrIte, and nitrAte. Having pH, GH, and KH would also be a little helpful for figuring out what fish would do best with your water.

    For the most part, substrate is just a personal preference. However, there are some fish that do better with sand. For example, cory cats. Although they'll probably be okay with gravel, there is a chance that they can break off their barbels while rooting thorugh it. Kuli loaches also do better with sand because they like to burrow.

    For cleaning a tank, you will need a siphon/gravel vac. If you have gravel, then once you get the siphon going, you'll just shove it down into the gravel and let it suck up all the debris. If you use sand for a substrate, it's a little trickier, but not too bad. There's a thread around here somewhere about cleaning sand.

    Also, if you have chlorine or chloramine in your water, make sure to use a dechlorinator. My personal preference is Chlor Out by Wardly (Walmart brand) simply because it doesn't take very much/gallon so the bottle lasts quite a while.

  14. Heather&Nicole

    Heather&Nicole New Member

    Oh ok and what about Black Moores, my girl just alerted me that the ones i like are moores not mollys
  15. tina1

    tina1 New Member

    Black moores are a type of goldfish. You'd need to make your tank a goldfish only tank if you wanted them and you wouldn't be able to keep very many. I think the "rule" is one goldfish per 10 gallons of water. And they are very very messy fish so look forward to lots of partial water changes.

    Don't mean to scare you off, I know this is a lot to take in all at once. Hang in there :D
  16. t_chelle16

    t_chelle16 New Member

    Black moors are goldfish so that would limit you to cold water fish (meaning no cories and probably no pleco). And although they're one of the smaller varieties of goldfish, they still get around 6" and are very messy so you could only have about 3 or 4 in a 55 gallon tank.

  17. Heather&Nicole

    Heather&Nicole New Member

    Oh ok thanks so much. No goldfish for me then...maybe i'll get a 30 gallon and get a couple moores for that :wink: :y_the_best:

    Thanks so much for your help gals!! :) If you have any other info feel free to post it in this thread!! Any more advice for someone starting out. Yeah i know ims tarting on a big tank but I gotta learn on somethin and i already know how to maintain a 10 gallon :)
  18. Heather&Nicole

    Heather&Nicole New Member

    wow i didnt know they got that big!! :shock: :m17:
  19. tina1

    tina1 New Member

    Actually I really think larger tanks are easier to learn on. They're much more forgiving. Since you have access to an established ten gallon, take some little baggies made from panty hose and fill them with gravel to put in your new tank. ALso borrow some of the filter media from the 10 for the 55. Doing both of these things will give your bacteria a good start and make your cycle much easier to go through.

    And that green fishie smilie is probably the cutest smilie I've ever seen! :m17:
  20. Heather&Nicole

    Heather&Nicole New Member

    I dont have an established 10 gallon right now, I havent maintained one in a few years. :(

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