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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
First off, Hello everyone and thanks for creating such a wealth of knowledge for Aquarium owners. I picked up my first Aquarium late last month and I can already tell I have a new hobby for life.

I picked up a 56 gallon tank and stand with hood at Petsmart last week for 224.99 which was really cheap compared to the 30 gallon tank I was looking for. Here are my tanks specs

56 gallon Top-Fin freshwater tank & Stand 30w X 25h X 18d
Filtration: Aquaclear 70
Heater can't remember the brand
Natural Daylight bulb (will have to check the wattage later fish are resting)
Aquarium Timer (right now set to 6am-8pm on it stays light late here in Idaho)
Top-Fin Bubble Wall
Top-Fin AirPump
Live plants about 6 or 7


I know some of that might be arbitrary but you never know. Anyway I got the tank set up 3 weeks ago, with all features and plants. I added Aquarium Pharmaceutical's Stress Coat and Stress Zyne I waited for a week and a half tested the water and then added 4 platys. After another week and a half I added two more platys and two african dwarf frogs.

Question 1: From Gravel to surface the water is about 20 inches deep, is that way to deep for my african dwarf frogs? They seem to be doing just fine so far (about 3 days) but I want to make sure.

Question 2: Is the bubble wall or any kind of airstone really needed? The bubble wall causes air to go into my filter which makes an awful noise and the tank is in my bedroom. I may just try and cover the area of the bubble wall below my filter with something as the fish seem to like swimming against the bubbles.

Question 3: What recommendations do you have for keeping my plants healthy and having them thrive.

Sorry if I put to much in here, I am really excited about owning a tank. Already getting the itch to buy a small one for my desk :)

I look forward to looking through everyone galleries, and will upload some pictures of my tank asap.

Thanks everyone.

J
 

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welcome to the aquarium forum!!!!!!!!!!:)
 

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Hi Jay, first welcome aboard! Really happy you joined, make yourself at home and get those pics uploaded! It'll be great to reflect on them in a couple years when the tank has morphed into what it is then.
Regarding your questions - That should not be too deep for the frogs. They will give an extra kick or two to get a breath of air. If your still not certain, you can get a shelf on suction cups and place it a little closer and they can choose if they want to dwell on it. Pen-Plax makes nice ones, I have some here since ten or fifteen years in my spare parts box :)
You can do away with the bubble wall. The air pump combined with the water filter sucking the bubbles in must be really annoying and take a lot to get used to.
So long as the water coming out of the filter gives some agitation to the surface, there's probably enough gas exchange for the fish that you need not worry.
For your plants, it all depends how much your into them and what you want to spend. You can go crazy between heating cables, C02 injection, special lighting, special substrates, and nutrient dosing... the sky is the limit.. mainly you want a good gravel bed for the roots to take hold into, some nutrient regime / liquid fertilizer, and a good bulb (which you say you already are aware of and gave attention to). Wattage will determine the type of plants, spectrum will determine success. As a general rule.
Stay in touch and we're here if you need us. Perhaps some others will chime in for you as well. Kind regards!
 

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Welsome Jay, this is the only hobby you find that nothing is really set in stone, what works for you might not work for others, but there ingeneral there are things that are just that way. 5" of gravel a little over kill it will make gravel vacuming a little harder but just means alittle more work, no big deal. Airstone are not required at all, but you should have one handy just in case the need to medicate the tank. as most will deplete the oxygen.

Now for the plants, you just bought the tank so most likely you have a 18watt bulb in the hoods. You can grow [lants with these lights but the have to be low light requirement plants like java fern and java moss, they will just growly. ALso with with reg. flor. lights the bulbs will need to be change every 6 months, weather they are working or not. that the life of a those bulbs for plant growth. If you want to get into plant tanks with all the fancy plants you need to upgrade the light system, to about 3WPG (watts per gallon) that would be at least 168w, that will give you that. Most of you high to mid hig high plant will grow very nicely with that. Also you will need to fert the tank. You can get into a the chemistry or just do what i do and add aquirum plant tablets to the root system of the palnst and do a weekly liquid fert schedule. Co2 will help but in a 55 you will want a injected system and those are costly as will. other than that growing plants in an aqurium is pretty much like growing a garden outside, except you can not over water. If you have any question about anything feel free to post, there are alot of people here who know what there doing and we a;l; here because we want to pass on a knowlegde to others.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Wow thanks everyone for all the great information. I think I will have to upgrade my light, I will try and do that today. The tank came with MarineLand natural daylight F18T8. I will look into the Aquarium Plant Tablets as well.

Tonight I will try and take a picture of the tank, and I look forward to gaining knowledge to share on this forum.

Thank you,

Jay
 

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I do not know about the frog except that you shouldn't have frogs and fish together because it will eat the fish.

But I can tell you about live plants. If you have them, you should not have anything, including the airstone, that can either agitate the surface of the water (it won't kill the plants but they won't thrive) or create air in the water.

The reason: oxygen/CO2 exchage occurs at the surface. The more movement there is in the surface the more exchange there will be and less ammount of CO2 will be available for the plants to absorb. The same applies to the air bubbles.

So, at the end, you don't need the airstone or bubble column.
 

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That only true forguppies if your using Co2, you are correct that you don't want the surface tention broken but if you don't have Co2 , than its just a personal choice at that time, other than needing it to medicate the tank. He is using a HOB filter already so the surface is always broken.

jsaenz look in the net before buying a light you will save money, and you will do will with a CF lighting..............you can find fert tabs at aquariumplants.com and floridadriftwood.com a resonable prices. Both the companies are good people.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Here are some pictures of my tank. I am working on figuring out what types of plants I have and at this time may just make sure I have plants that will work for an 18watt 5,500k light until my bank account recovers from the initial setup cost hahaha.

You have all given me so much to read and think about I can't tell you how much I appreciate it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Ha, okay here is the new guy being silly, I have to get 5 post to get the images up. Sorry for the delay.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)


BTW everyone looking through those of you who have image galleries and some of the tank setups are amazing.
You will notice the sword in the back left hand corner has some damage, this was the way the plant was given to me, It seems to be doing a little better then when It arrived.

I did remove the bubble wall, I have the air stone in, but may remove it tomorrow. The only reason I may leave it in is how much the fish like to swim against it.
 

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Welcome to our shared new obsession. I had to laugh at you already wanting another tank. I put one up in my school library this past fall and a larger home version was on my Christmas Wish list before 2 months passed hahaha. I ended up switching my two bettas into 2 1/2 gallon aquariums as well. Found the little palm filters and mini heaters so they are set. NOW I want another mid-sized tank. We'll see how that goes as I am also about to get a little Lovebird Baby. My hubbie might reach his pet spending tolerance soon. heehe I hope not.

I have two dwarf frogs in my 55 gal bowfront. Neither has trouble reaching the surface for air. One is full grown at about an inch excluding his legs, the other is really tiny.

People will warn against mixing frogs ith fish. Mine are in a tank with neons and white clouds, some of the smallest fish. They never bother anything, even when they are standing guard over the sinking pellets or blood worms (fed with a baster directly in the frog's areas) I feed them.

The misconception arrises from misidentifying frogs. African CLAWED frogs grow to a much larger size and will aggressively eat fish small enough to fit in their rather large mouths. DWARFS don't get nearly as large. To tell the difference check their front feet. Webbed front feet indicate a true DWARF. If the front toes are seperate, you have a CLAWED.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks for the tips on feeding, this has been one of my major concerns.
So far the tank is doing well, the ammonia levels rose the other day almost on schedule 28 days since starting the tank, the rise was slight and has since subsided. I will wait at least another two weeks before adding any more fish to the tank, any suggestions? Right now I have 5 platys and 2 African dwarf frogs.
One platy passed on, but he did not look healthy from the start. His fins were always down and he was very weak looking. :(

So far I am in love with my new hobby, but I know I have to take it slow and try and care for these fish as best as I can.
 

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You are definitely going about tank additions the right way. I made the newbie mistake of stocking too much too soon. Live and learn, that situation unfortunately always self-corrects (dead fishies). Now I have things more settled, but going slowly and being selective is definitely the right route.

Consider these factors.... What is the potential full-grown size of the fish? Do they need schooling friends? Are their water/temp requirements drastically different? What is their temperament? Will they eat or disrupt my plants (some fish uproot plants or nibble leaves)? Are they finicky eaters, and if so am I willing to supply a varied diet?

Since you began with Platys other live bearers might be one route to go. They all like the same basic water conditions. I have 4 Dwarf Half-moon Platys that I adore. Mollys, Guppys, and Swords come in dizzying varieties, so there's a lot of personal choices. I have Dalmatian Mollies (great algae eaters by the way), and Pineapple Lyretail Swords.

You might want to read up on some of the fancy shrimp varieties too. They are a new trend, and some do not recommend them with fish, but if you go the route of small live-bearers you might get away with it. The filter shrimp (larger) are good for keeping water conditions in line. Another creature to consider is a small fiddler crab. I keep two in my tank and their antics are so entertaining. You will have to provide plants tall enough to allow them to reach the top. I use a shelf near a tall plant and mine climb up on it to bask. I also keep Water Lettuce handy. They love to climb the roots and sunbath under the lights.

Since re-focusing I've decided that I like to keep my eye out for some of the less common breeds. In the "friendly community" category I've found Thread-fin Rainbows, Peacock Godgeons, and German Blue Rams all beautiful additions. Beware though, Rams are quite delicate and don't do well in newer tanks. Again, live and learn lesson for me.

I also have what a lot of people consider semi-aggressive in the same tank. Be really careful, I can't recommend this, but my experiences thus far have been very successful. That really depends on the temperament of each fish, and can go drastically wrong if you don't observe carefully. A male Betta gives a LOT of bang for the buck, and mine hasn't bothered a thing. Killifish are absolutely fascinating.

I added a couple of really small Angels as well. I think I got lucky with them as they get along fine. Adding them in while they were little might have been the key to them adapting to my community tank. Their eventual size may demand that I get another tank for them (on darn <grin>). I watch carefully as I said. If smaller fish start to disappear, I'll know they've gotten too big.

Well, can you tell I'm another new aquarium addict? Best of luck discovering a wonderful, variable, and throughly entertaining hobby.
 

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This hobby is about reading, experimenting and learning. It is non-stop process from which you never graduate. What keep hobbyist on it is the passion they get from working with their fish/aquarium. I can tell you that even the best expert in the field does not know everything. There is always something new to learn. So, we are learning here.
 

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When I first started in '81 they used to tell us we needed to empty the tank and wash it (including filter, deco, gravel, etc) every week. No wonder our fish kept dying. They didn't know they were giving us a recipe for disaster.
 

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so, all the people who "neglected" thier fish and had dirty tanks had the best fish LOL
 
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