New Tank Blues

pequafrog(z7a/Long Island)February 22, 2005

I'm going to get a new aquarium. I'm thinking maybe a 75 gallon...you know, the whole deal. I want to put in live plants, and community fish. Guppies, neons, zebras, cory's white clouds...you get the idea. Also, I want to plant the tank with all kinds of live plants.

Here's my dilemma:

Whenever I've set up a tank like this...55 or around that..I start out with little community fishes. But then, I'll see a baby Pacu, or a beautiful convict, or my favorite cichlid--the Jack Dempsey. Invariably, I'll want to change the whole tank over to accomodate these more aggressive species. I'll justify it by saying 'why waste such a large tank on such small species."It's a kind of aquatic wanderlust.

Does anyone else go through this? If so, what do you do about it? (and don't say 'buy 2 75 gallon tanks' my wife would kill me!)

-PF (andy)

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breezyb(z6/7VA)

Uh - this may sound like a dumb response, but why not set up & populate your tank from the start with community-type cichlids, African cichlids, or other larger community fish that will hold your interest longer?

    Bookmark   February 22, 2005 at 10:08AM
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luxum(9/10 Tampa FL)

I have to agree, if the smaller, docile fish don't hold your attention, why not plan your tank for fish you'll like better? A 75 gallon is a pretty big tank, sounds like you'd enjoy the African cichlids that were suggested above. You could keep quite a few, with some nice rockwork and feisty, interesting fish. Or you could choose one of those single large specimen fish who would need a whole 75 gallon all to itself. Tetras aren't for everyone. :)

The link below has some nice "cookie cutter" setups for cichlids.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cichlid forums cookie cutter 75 gallons

    Bookmark   February 22, 2005 at 1:15PM
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imaginators(z6 KY)

I know a type of Cichlid that would do well in that size tank. The Discus. Expensive but beautiful, colorful and graceful. Fuzzy about good water condition.
Theresa

    Bookmark   February 22, 2005 at 1:46PM
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james_ny(z7 NY)

I enjoy having small fish in a big tank. You get a much closer representation of their normal behavior. With large fish you'd need a 400gal tank to set up a realistic enviornment.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2005 at 9:06PM
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pequafrog(z7a/Long Island)

That's what I'm thinking, James. I like to have caves, and plants, and different fish at different levels. Like, a school of zebras creating a lot of movement at the top while a red tailed shark hangs in his cave. Like different neighborhoods. I've done the African Cichlid thing and have always been bored after a while. It feels to restrictive. I think I'm a little bit crazy.

I just need to stay strong!

-PF

    Bookmark   February 22, 2005 at 10:07PM
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skygee(z7NY)

I set up a 70 gallon tank just for those "small" tropicals! My problem though is wanting to have a planted tank - which always looks great in the first few months, but then need so much work to maintain those plants that I always wind up yanking them out and putting in plastic or silk plants.

But I do love the community tank. It's very peaceful - and in the larger space you really do get to see more natural behavior. Like watching otos school and race back and forth like small sharks! Very cool.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2005 at 9:32AM
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pequafrog(z7a/Long Island)

Yeah...what do folks do to keep the plants from getting raggy?

-PF

    Bookmark   February 23, 2005 at 1:32PM
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skygee(z7NY)

and replant. It really is a lot of work!! But very pretty if you can keep up with the maintenance. You also need to consider light factor - not sure what kind of lighting you have. Different plants need different strengths of lighting. Then you have to worry about overgrowth and shading... along with planning the layout well so that foreground tanks are not tall, and smaller plants won't get overshadowed by neighboring plants.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2005 at 2:08PM
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skygee(z7NY)

CO2 devices are also a must if you really want good lush growth...

    Bookmark   February 23, 2005 at 2:09PM
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dinabear(z7AL)

What kind of plants are trouble ? I used to have a 110 gallon with enubus ? and they grew like crazy and looked fantastic.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2005 at 4:46PM
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pequafrog(z7a/Long Island)

...and what's the best kind of lights toget? What's the deal with these strip lights with two bulbs in them? One usually looks purple. Is that a grow-bulb? And what's a C02 device?

-PF

    Bookmark   February 23, 2005 at 5:44PM
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paparoseman(z8 WA. PO.)

For a seventyfive I would get one of the full spectrum bulbs for plants. They tend to look like a strong white light with blue tones. The one on my seventyfive is called an Aqua Tone and makes the tank quite bright. If you grow Java Fern and Anubias, of which there are many kinds the tank will look fabulous for years. If you put in West African cichlids they will spawn in a seventyfive and not hurt the other fish. Any of the various Pelvichromis species would be great.

Lance

    Bookmark   February 23, 2005 at 10:52PM
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skygee(z7NY)

are in the hygrophila family. There's one type that is tri-colored and really stunning when growing well.

The only plant I was successful at keeping with cichlids were anubis. Once established and tucked under a rock, it's pretty tough. Leaves are tough, stems, thick, roots thick.

But thought you were contemplating a community tropical planted tank?

There are amazons sword types of all kinds. If you have a tall tank - Aponogeton crispus is beautiful as well. With some plants you can simply purchase tubers or bulbs. You also should purchase the special soil for planting.

Don't put any large gouramis in a planted tank - they love to pull them up and make nests of the leaves up at the surface! It's my moonlight's favorite pastime.

There are various types of CO2 devices out there. You can go to Big Al's or That Fish Place or even Drs. Foster and Smith to look at the variety and prices. They really range in price. The Aquarium Fish mag always has good monthly write ups on planted tanks.

You will need at least a double flourescent light for most plants - and more if they need strong light.

Here is a link that might be useful: aquatic plants

    Bookmark   February 24, 2005 at 6:38AM
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pequafrog(z7a/Long Island)

This weekend, I went to a LFS and was amazed at the different type of plastic plants they have. They look so real nowadays. They even have some plastic plants that look half eaten, or dead. So, I think I may go with a foundation of Plastic, and fill in with a few real plants like my favorite, like Banana's. Oh, and instead of the 75, we're gonna get a 90 gallon.

-PF

    Bookmark   February 27, 2005 at 10:16PM
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skygee(z7NY)

haha! that's a really smart decision!! I really do love having live plants, but the plastic or fabric really are so much easier to take care of (and they don't clog the filter up with decaying plant debris!) Good luck! And have fun with that 90 gallon tank.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2005 at 12:55PM
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pequafrog(z7a/Long Island)

Fabric? Hmm...not sure I've ever seen those. Do they look more realistic?
Even though I'm gonna go artificial, I'll still get my beloved banana plants. I love the 'lilly pad' look.

-PF

    Bookmark   March 1, 2005 at 8:23AM
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skygee(z7NY)

There are "silk" type plants (you can get them at petco or on-line through big als or drs. foster and smith) - which are not really silk. But I'm particularly fond of the long leafy greens in a tall tank. They look very realistic and will wave and move prettily in the water flow. But there are some really nice plastic plants out there. Softer plastic (not the super hard kind that definitely look plastic) and all types of plant repros.

Banana plants are a lot of fun, too... but I haven't seen any for sale for a while. Anubis is slow growing and the harder leaves don't rot out quickly. That's another that you may want to add to your real plant collection.

Here is a link that might be useful: seagarden plants

    Bookmark   March 1, 2005 at 8:53AM
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pequafrog(z7a/Long Island)

Do silk (or fake silk) plants move more than plastic? More realistic movement?

-andy

    Bookmark   March 18, 2005 at 8:59AM
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skygee(z7NY)

Depending on the water flow, all my plants move - fake or silk (fabric)... :)

I _do_ prefer the softer type plastic. Some brands are like made of harder plastic. Very rigid. You can feel through the packaging.

I DO like the silk/fabric type, though. I think that Dr. Foster Smith have this special that if you buy 3 or more (mix and match) the prices are discounted.

S.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2005 at 9:04AM
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AshleyNicole

I have a 50 gallon tank and I LOVE the big fish, Gouramis, rosey barbs, red tailed sharks, they are so much fun. why get something you don't like?

    Bookmark   April 7, 2005 at 3:50AM
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drygulch(z9 AZ)

Please. Go with live plants. Please.

Another option for you on the cichlid side is to go with South American dwarf cichlids. Check out the various species of apistogramma, in particular. They have all the color and personality of the larger fish, but can safely be kept with white clouds, tetras, etc.

They're especially interesting when they spawn. If you haven't seen a female apisto in her yellow and black breeding colors herd her fry around, you need to. It's one of the great rewards of aquarium-keeping.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2005 at 1:11PM
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pequafrog(z7a/Long Island)

D'oh!
I went with artificial plants. I got the fabric ones from Fosters and Smith.com (thanks to my online buddies). They look amazing!! They sway in the current and when my fiddler crabs crawl up, they bend over. People...fish people that come in to see my setup cannot believe that the plants are artificial! I sped up the cycle a bit because I took the sponge out of a well established tank and but it in my new tanks filter box. It was good and stinky too so I'm sure there was lots of bacteria! When I figure out my camera situation, I'll post pix for you guys.

-andy

    Bookmark   April 7, 2005 at 3:14PM
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pequafrog(z7a/Long Island)

Oh..as far as fish: 3 mollies; 5 neons; 2 cory's; 5 veil tailed zebra; 3 platies; 2 Sword tails; 6 fanch schmancy guppies. I think that's it so far. Oh and the fiddler crabs.

-andy

    Bookmark   April 7, 2005 at 3:16PM
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