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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-02-2008, 01:02 PM Thread Starter
 
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Hi All - Newbie to the forums and aquariums need some startup advice

Hi guys and girls, so I bought a 8 gallon bowfront all glass tank, its a petcetera premium brand with the filters built into the hood of the tank, similar to that of the marineland eclipse systems.

I do not have anything set up at the moment, I want to take it nice and slow thinking about what kind of tank I want to show, and what I need to accomplish that. So far I am leaning towards a simple tank with some live plants, a few fish some some inverts, after some research of my own, I have become confused by the mass amounts of conflicting information out there, so I was hoping some experts might point me in the right direction.

So my first question is regarding the live plants, from what I have learned so far, live plants will grow in any kind of substrate (the kinda that are planted in substrate), but sand is not ideal. I really like the look of black sand to show the colors of the fish, and I like the sand look better than gravol, if I went this direction would I be asking for troubles being new to keeping live plants? Are there some beginner live plants that do well in sand that can be recommended? I believe they would also be lowlight plants since my lighting is only a single fluorecent bulb built into the hood.

my next one is on stocking the tank, I would like a blue lobster eventually, but the smallest I could find was for a 20 gallon tank, is there any that may fit my size, or am I out of luck? Would this be about all I could stock in a 8 gallon if I could find one, or how much of the inch per gallon rule would it take up? For stocking options I was thinking of dwarf gouramis (2) some neons (2-3) some sort of algae eater (open to recommendations, I have yet to find one suitable for a tank my size) and 3-4 inverts of some kind, this is all depending of course whether a blue lobster would be addable, and would be changed to accomidate this. So is there any conflicting fish in there? I was told they were all "community" fish, would this be overstocking at all?

one last question I had was this aquarium did not come with a heater, is it small enough that one may not be necessary?
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-02-2008, 03:55 PM
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Re: Hi All - Newbie to the forums and aquariums need some startup advice

First off let me say welcome aboard. Hope many of us can help you get your tank up and going the way you want it.

Plants will grow in most any substrate. Even sand. I have it in 10 of my 12 tanks. The only problem I would see is if you get the substrate to deep, Don't go more than 1 1/2 inch deep with sand, then where ever you don't have a plant take a fork and poke into the substrate at every water change.

In an 8 gal tank I wouldn't put in any gouramis, as being the size and bioload you wouldn't be able to have much more. The neons would be better to up to 5 - 7 and maybe an oto, or a apple or nerite snail for your cleanup crew.

Heater: Unless you plan on keeping the room warm that the tank will be in I would suggest a small heater for it. That way your on the safe side of things.

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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-02-2008, 04:50 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Hi All - Newbie to the forums and aquariums need some startup advice

thanks for your help, do you recommend adding anything underneath the sand? I keep reading about this "fluorite" and then you can put the sand over top of them which keeps the plants fed.

For startup, I was thinking of getting the sand in there, adding the water, treating it, but from here I am not sure which order to do things

would I then run a fishless cycle, then add the live plants, then slowly introduce some fish over time? or do you add the live plants after the fish so they have food, or does it matter?

Is it wise to clean a brand new tank, or not necessary? I also have gotten conflicting info on this.

Thanks again!

I also looked up the oto, I would assume this is the otocinclus cat? I am getting alot of my info from liveaquaria, is this a good reliable source for what fish can go in what size tank? Since it mentions requiring a 30 gallon tank, so I wanted to be sure I was looking at the right species.

Last edited by summit; 12-02-2008 at 04:59 PM.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-02-2008, 08:49 PM
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Re: Hi All - Newbie to the forums and aquariums need some startup advice

You can put flourite under the sand but it will eventually work its way to the top. In most of my tanks I either put a thin layer of potting soil or peat then top with sand. If you do this make sure to add just enough water to cover the soil and let it set over night before putting the sand in. It will hold it down better.
But really not needed. You can use plant tabs and liquid ferts just as easy.

You can add your plants right away, it won't hurt them. In fact if you planted at least 70% of the tank with fast growing stems you can start adding a few fish at a time in a couple of weeks. Called a silent cycle. Or you can just add a few plants and let the tank cycle the normal amount of time.

On cleaning a new tank, I would just for the sake of it, you will have dust and anything else on it. Plus you don't know who might have had their hands in it. That person might have been sick or something.

otocinclus cat would be a good choice, you could probably add 3 or 4 to a 30 gal. You could also have a bristlenose pleco in it. But on either of these I would wait till the tank is more established for a couple of months.

Liveaquaria is a pretty good source of info. You can also ask here about different fish as I am sure someone or another have kept it and if not can help steer you into the right direction in finding the right info.

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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-02-2008, 09:33 PM
 
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Re: Hi All - Newbie to the forums and aquariums need some startup advice

Welcome to the site....

If your going to have plants, it best to use a plant sub or gravel that is 3mm. Sand is not a good sub for plants because it compacts and doesn't allow enough oxygen to flow through it. and it really hard for the root system to grow. The bio colony use oxygen and plants use the bio-colony to help absorb the nutrantes. There is black gravel you can use. I'm not saying you can't use sand, it has a different set a problems that come with it. There is an all black sub that just came out. Eco complete is black with grey and red mixed in it look really natural. You can also us layers of different sub to get the effect you want.

Now that you want plants you need to also think about the Watts Per Gal and Ferts for the plants... because the palnt will use up anything in palin gravel or sand very quickly.

As far as stocking the lobster not a good choice for a planted tank with small fish. 2 oto cats will keep the tank nice and clean. You could look into mirco fish for a small tank... a chain loach for snails would be a good choice. maybe some micro cories. lemon tertas gaxaies rosoda are small fish that get 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch.

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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-03-2008, 03:37 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Hi All - Newbie to the forums and aquariums need some startup advice

thanks for the advice, I will definetly look into all that, for the substrate, could I get away with gravel, and a small layer of sand overtop? I just really enjoy the sand look, but looks like I might have a decision to make depending on which direction I want to go. How deep should the substrate go? 1.5" - 2" I have read, is this correct?
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-03-2008, 03:58 PM
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Re: Hi All - Newbie to the forums and aquariums need some startup advice

I wouldn't go so far as to say that sand isn't good for plants. This tank is sand only.



30 days later



Sand over gravel won't work as the sand will fall below the gravel then end up mixed up. To help aerate the sand you could use malaysian trumpet snails.

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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-13-2008, 07:17 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Hi All - Newbie to the forums and aquariums need some startup advice

so how deep does the substrate need to be? Does is vary from sand to gravel? What is the general rule since its bought in lbs? I was thinking 8 lbs for an 8 gallon bow front tank.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-13-2008, 09:45 PM
 
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Re: Hi All - Newbie to the forums and aquariums need some startup advice

the experts say about 4"'s at the lowest point. I generally have 4"'s in the front and 5 to 5.5"s in the back... the sloping help give you more depth to the tank.

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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-15-2008, 12:59 PM
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Re: Hi All - Newbie to the forums and aquariums need some startup advice

If you want color, I would say several small tetras or cherry barbs. They will keep the tank active and give some color to the aquarium. (glo-light, black neon, neon, gold, or cardinal are the best in my opinion for this tank.)
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-15-2008, 01:22 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Hi All - Newbie to the forums and aquariums need some startup advice

So I ended up buying seachem fluorite black for my substrate, it came in 3 sizes, sand, small gravel, and larger gravel, I opted for the small gravel look, so far I am liking the look it gives. I put the entire 7KG bag in my 8 gallon tank, so it gives it a nice base, around 2.5" at the front, 3.5" at the rear, nice and deep for future plant root growth. I did not rinse it, from reading the bag instructions it said you can, but is not necessary, but wow did the tank ever cloud up when I added the water. Once I added the water, I treated it with seachem prime, and switched on the pump to let the filters try to clear up the cloudiness, as of this morning, the tank was still very cloudy, this is currently where I sit.
-will the cloudiness clear up eventually? should I not be running the filter?
-was this a good substrate choice for planted tanks? Does it restrict you with any kind of invertabrites? I figured it was the best happy medium.

After the cloudiness clears up, I wanted to start the cycle, this is where a few of my other questions come in.

-I could not find pure ammonia at the shop like what was specified in the fishless cycling sticky, so I picked up some aquarium pharmaceuticals stress zyme with live bacteria, it has directions on the bottle for a fishless cycle, where you add amounts on the first, 7th, and 14th day, and monitor and test it similar to what was outlined in the fishless cycling sticky, is this the same thing?

-I had 2 master test kits to choose from, tetra laborett test kit, which came with everything, including some saltwaterautolinker.com autolinking image testing, and a red sea freshautolinker.com autolinking image/plant kit which came with 2 tests for PH (low values and high values) Nitrites, and Ammonia. I chose the red sea test kit, the other one looked cheap, was this a good choice? I have heard of some test kits are pretty useless, and want to be sure to start on the right foot. I guess I will have to pick up a nitrates test as well pretty soon.
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-15-2008, 02:40 PM
 
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Re: Hi All - Newbie to the forums and aquariums need some startup advice

The cloudiness will clear up in a few days... Now is the hardest part of aquarium keeping.... nows the time you want to runout and get fish... you seem to have you head on striaght about waiting thats good.... Did you look at an ace hardward store for pure ammonia, that where I found and a a few other people I know have as will.

Keep up the good work... and keep doing that research. you can start adding plants and decor, now. the plants will help in the cycling process. your going to wnat to you some fast grows now so combat an aglea outbreak because you have alot of nurients in the sub. and light. Perfect combination for algea. You are going to want to use it for plants not aglea

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Last edited by djrichie; 12-15-2008 at 02:48 PM.
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-15-2008, 03:09 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Hi All - Newbie to the forums and aquariums need some startup advice

it sure is hard not to go buy fish for it, but on the other hand it gives me more time for planning which is good.

So your saying to add a few plants right now otherwise I may experience some algea outbreak? I do not have any of the aquascaping in place, I was going to get some nice river rock and driftwood this weekend and boil it for some of my decor (this is ok right?), so I am not really prepared as of yet to add plants, I just wanted to get the cycle started. Can I just lay them in there, and not plant them as of yet?

I will take a look at the local hardware stores for the pure ammonia, never thought about that, hopefully will have some better luck. Is it safe to add the ammonia and start the cycle while the tank is still cloudy from the dust?

EDIT: So it appears stress zyme would be used if I would be doing a cycle with fish correct? and that a tank can become dependant on such additives as stress zyme? if this is the case, definetly not the way I want to go.

Another question that popped up, is once I have the tank cycled, I do a large water change correct? at that point I would treat the new water with seachem prime to remove the chlorine and chloramine, and add it to the tank to top up to complete the water change, however the seachem prime also treats ammonia, and nitrites, so would this not kill off any ammonia in the tank that the bacteria are feeding off, depriving the bacteria of food? or only the toxic form of ammonia? or can I simply add a few more drops of pure ammonia right after the water change, to reintroduce some ammonia for the bacteria to feed on?

Last edited by summit; 12-15-2008 at 04:33 PM.
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