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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone, new to this great site as of now! Some very good info on here. I had a bunch of tanks from 20gal-55gal when i was in high school. I am now starting up a 55gal freshwater tank. I wish i remembered all the info i knew. I have a Whisper 60 hob filter for this tank. I was given this filter from the guy i bought the tank from. Will this filter be good enough for the 55gal. I am going to be putting comunity fish in it. any help would be appreciated!

Thanks again

Scott
 

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Welcome to the forum NYFan. A whisper HOB rated up to 60 gallons would work fine at first. It is a bit small for a typical 55 or 60 gallon tank because the manufacturers are a little optimistic. In your place I would be looking for a small canister like the Rena XP2 or a nice flexible HOB like the ones made by AC. The biggest problem with a whisper brand filter is the proprietary filter inserts, it works fine if you are willing to throw away money on the inserts. The filters run only one way and don't allow you to choose appropriate media to fit your situation. If you just want a basic biological and mechanical filter, the Fluval 3+ or 4+ might also be a good choice. You would be back to a less flexible filter but it would be a quiet one with large filter capacity.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
what size AC would i want? also i used to have a magnum canister filter and from what i remember those where great. what are the pros and cons to both? also the guy i bought everything from said i could jsut risnse the white filter with the cabon in it. is that true?
 

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The canisters are a bit harder to clean but don't need cleaning as often. They are quiet amd simple to change around the media. I am not familiar with the AC specific product numbers so I would look for one rated as big enough for about 70 to 80 gallons. All HOB filters tend to be noisy because of the way they return the water to the tank. When water is falling into a tank it makes noise. The internals like the Fluval are basically a sponge filter attached permanently to a power head in a nice case. They are not flexible in terms of media but do a very nice job of cleaning the tank's water.
I have a single HOT Magnum but would not call it a true canister, it is a decent filter but not as nice as my real canisters. It is my emergency filter that runs all the time on my big community. If I need a filter in a hurry, it is already cycled and ready to go.
Rinsing out the white filter from a Whisper in tank water is a good idea. It will preserve your biological filter capacity. If you replace the filter element, you are throwing away the biological filter which is no good way to go.
 

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Use a bucket of the water that you take out of the tank during a water change. The old water is going on the garden and the added debris from the filter will just make it richer. The old tank water won't have any chlorine in it to harm the bacteria on the filter element so it is an ideal thing to use to rinse the old element out.
 

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the filter should be ok at first, but its not big enough for the tank.

ALWAYS try to get filters which are bigger than the acutall tank size. ESPECIALLY if there is less surface area of the tank.

EXAMPLE:

Up to 15 Gallon tank- Penguin 100B Power Filter
Up to 20 Gallon tank- Penguin 150B Power Filter
Up to 30 Gallon tank- Penguin 200B Power Filter
Up to 60 Gallon tank- Penguin 350B Power Filter

Penguin and Emperor Bio-Wheel filters are my personal favorite because the bio-wheel eliminates amonia and nitrites.

P.S. I JUST GOT THE PENGUIN 350B FILTER TODAY IN THE MAIL! I JUST SET IT UP AN HOUR AGO! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Shotgun, thanks for the info i am going to go buy 2 aqua clear70 filters for my 55 gallon. also whats a good heater and a good place to get one...?
 

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Here is a nice little trick I have used when picking out heaters...


USE THIS TABLE and follow directions below to find out the right heater size for you.

Gallons/Liters 5ºC/9ºF 10ºC/18ºF 15ºC/27ºF
5 gal/25 L 25 watt 50 watt 75 watt
10 gal/50 L 50 watt 75 watt 75 watt
20 gal/75 L 50 watt 75 watt 150 watt
25 gal/100 L 75 watt 100 watt 200 watt
40 gal/150 L 100 watt 150 watt 300 watt
50 gal/200 L 150 watt 200 watt two 200 watt
65 gal/250 L 200 watt 250 watt two 250 watt
75 gal/300 L 250 watt 300 watt two 300 watt


Subtract the average temperature of the room the aquarium is located in from the temperature you wish to maintain the aquarium water at. Find the size of your aquarium in the left hand column and move to the column that shows the number of degrees the aquarium needs to be heated. If the heating requirement is between levels, move up to the next larger size.

In larger tanks, or where the room temperature is significantly below the desired water temperature, two heaters may be required. Heaters should be installed at opposite ends of the aquarium to heat it more evenly.


EXAMPLE:

Average Room Temp = 68 degrees F
Desired Water Temp = 77 degrees F
--------------------------------------------------
Heating required = 9 degrees F

Tank Size = 20 gallon

Now look up to the chart to find that a 20 gallon tank with 9 degrees Fahrenheit of heating required will need a 50 watt heater.


You can buy a nice heater at any local fish or pet store. They usually have a wide selection from 25 to 300 watt heaters for aquariums. You could also check Ebay, or google Dr. Foster Smith.


HOPE THIS HELPED! :)


P.S. The chart did not come out the exact way I expected. It is slightly slanted. If you have a problem reading it, just tell me, and i'll try to fix it. :)
 

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I like the Visitherm line of heaters. Both the regular and the stealth product lines are very reliable and seem to just go on and on. I pick mine up by checking on Ebay and at places like Dr Foster Smith or BigAls on line. Another way to go is to price a heater on the Petsmart on line store then ask the local Petsmart to match the price. It will cost a bit more than one of the other stores listed but will save you the shipping.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Ok i have 55 gal. How oftendo i need to do water changes and how many gallons should i remove? And lastly i can put tapwater backin directly intothe tankand just add declorinator, will this work. Any advise on what to do before i add fish? I really apreciate everyones help!!!! :)

scott
 

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All sizes of tank need about the same frequency of water change. On my 55 I try to do about 15 gallons once a week. For me that is 3 buckets full since I use a 5 gallon bucket. I mix the dechlorinator in the bucket while the bucket is filling then use my gravel vac to drain the bucket into the tank. Pouring the bucket into the tank just stirs the substrate too much and moves all the decorations around. I pull the hood off the tank and lay a board across the top of the frame to give me a place to put the bucket while it drains into the tank.
 

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ok there are a series of steps you should do.

1.) set up EVERYTHING in the tank. Just as if you have a full-blown aquarium, but with no fish.

2.) Have it sit for ATLEAST two weeks. Keep filter running, aristones, (if you have any,) bubbling, heater on, etc.

3.) Test water to make sure that the tank is your proper pH, hardness, etc.

4.) Add ONE OR TWO HARDY FISH. This is how you start the nitrogen cycle. To sum it up in one sentance, the nitrogen cycle is responsible for the bacteria that break down the fish waste. (poo, and pee.) When you start a new tank, there is no beneficial bacteria in the tank and filter, (except if it is a used filter with bacteria still in it.)

5.) Wait one week and constantly moniter your fish's behavior, and test the water daily.

6.) Add a couple more fish into the tank. Still check the water daily.

7.) Do small water changes every other day. I reccomend 10% for the first couple of weeks while you are cycling the tank. In your case, this would be about 5g-5.5g.

8.) You get the jist of it. Remember NOT to add all of the fish at once. This is a tedious, and most important step to setting up a tank, and can sometimes be frusterating if you are new to the aquarium hobby. Always remember not to rush it because if you do, it could jeperdise the health of your fish.



After your tank is set up and broken-into, make 20% water changes every other week. Thats usually what I do, and I have never had a problem with it.

Im in the same shoes now, I just bought a 56 gallon tank, and I am starting to cycle it. Always remember NOT to rush it.

Let us know what happens!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I really appre iate the detailed answer! Do you suggest usi gthe python or judt syphon and bucket????
 

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Slow down Shotgun. Letting the tank run with nothing in it does nothing to prepare the tank for occupants except let you check it for leaks. An intentional fish-in cycle, such as you would have started after 2 weeks of wasted time, is a lot of work compared to a fishless cycle although it gives a small bit of instant gratification by being able to watch a few fish.
I don't see a fishless cycle thread on this site so will give a short description of how it is done without damaging any fish, not even hardy ones.

The filter that you get for your tank is just so much hardware that can some day become an effective filter. Out of the box it can remove particulate matter fairly well and the carbon in it can remove some things like organic carbon compounds using adsorption for a few days before becoming exhausted. What it cannot do is process the ammonia that gets into the tank by having the fish wastes enter the water, plant leaves die or uneaten fish food decay. All of these processes, with the possible exception of dead plant leaves, go on in any tank that has fish in it. To prepare the filter for fish we need to develop the 2 separate colonies of bacteria that process nitrogen in what is called a cycle by aquarium people. It is not a full cycle but is the part we can deal with in fresh water. What happens in simple terms is that bacteria exist that can convert ammonia to nitrites and other bacteria exist that can convert nitrites to nitrates. Both the ammonia and the nitrites are very damaging to fish in small concentrations but fish in general can tolerate fairly high levels of nitrates.

The fishless way to establish those bacteria is to set up a tank with its filter, dechlorinate the water and start adding pure ammonia to the tank. We raise the ammonia concentration to about 4 to 5 ppm to let the ammonia processing bacteria get established. As they start processing the ammonia, nitrites are produced which feed the nitrite processing bacteria. When the nitrite processors get going they convert the nitrites to nitrates which we remove with regular partial water changes. So a quick walk through goes like this.

Add ammonia to establish 4 to 5 ppm and monitor the tank's water periodically until you see the ammonia get down to near zero. Once the ammonia level drops to zero you top back up to 4 or 5 ppm and start checking every day or two. You also start checking for nitrites as they will likely be present. Nitrites go through a spike that will be beyond your ability to easily measure it but will eventually come back down. Once you are seeing both ammonia and nitrites being processed, you start testing both daily looking for when the entire ammonia dose can be processed down to zero ammonia and zero nitrites in as little as 12 hours. At that point you can say that your tank is cycled and can quickly be made ready for fish. This process can take quite a long time to finish if you have no mature filter media to jump start the process. The first part of processing ammonia to zero consistently can easily take 3 weeks with another 3 or more weeks to get the nitrites consistently staying at near zero. Since we get almost 3 ppm of nitrates for each initial ppm of ammonia, you have quite a soup of nitrates built up by the time you are done adding 5 ppm of ammonia daily for 6 weeks. To get rid of the huge build of nitrates, you do a huge, 90% or more, water change with fresh dechlorinated water.
The whole idea behind the 4 to 5 ppm is to develop a biological filter that can handle a full fish stock from day 1. Unfortunately, if you run a higher value than the 5 ppm, the bacteria that tend to dominate the bacterial colony are not the right ones for long term nitrogen processing in a fish tank. By the time you get up to 8 ppm, the completely wrong bacterial colony will develop. Basically we take things as far as we can and still get the right bacteria.

All measurements should be made using liquid reagent type test kits. I use the API master kit but other manufacturers also make suitable testing kits. In general, the paper strip tests are misleading or completely worthless depending on your emotional level when you find out how far off your readings were.

Some things that can go wrong in any cycle

The ammonia you bought is not pure ammonium hydroxide but has detergents, surfactants or odors added. Use the stuff you bought for washing windows and go back for the right stuff. One source in the US is the Ace hardware store in the cleaning products aisle.

You can have a pH crash because the nitrites and nitrates that are produced are mostly acids. If the water does not have enough buffering capacity the pH of the tank water will drop and around 6.5 the cycle will stall. To fix this, the usual practice is to do a water change which removes some of the nitrites and nitrates and recharges the buffering capacity of your water by adding back the minerals from your tap water. Of course that means a need to recharge the ammonia that day. Another way to deal with a pH crash is to use some baking soda, not powder, to bring the pH and buffering capacity back up.

You forget that you are working with live bacteria and use untreated tap water to clean a filter or make up water into a tank. This can set you back a few days but is not usually a disaster, just treat the water as soon as you remember it.

You follow the advice of filter makers and throw away your bacteria by changing the filter element in your filter. Since the bacteria live on surfaces in high water flow well oxygenated locations, much of the bacterial colony is in the filter so this will set you back quite a bit. If you have a dirty filter, rinse it out in dechlorinated water, I prefer used tank water, and put it right back where you got it with the bacteria intact.

You use a proprietary bacteria concoction and try to take shortcuts on the cycle. No problem. Once you realize that the bacterial additives that you bought are snake oil, you go back to doing a proper cycle. I have yet to hear of one of those products actually preventing a cycle from happening. The only one that I know of that has ever actually helped is no longer available in the US. The shelf life was too short for the LFS to be trusted to keep it properly and it was quite expensive to buy.
 

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Oldman, I am not talking about a fishless cycle. Before I cycle all of my tanks, I let them sit for a good week or two. During this time, I moniter the water conditions and try to make them suitibale for the fish I will be keeping. After the proper water conditions are established, I then add ONE OR TWO HARDY fish. I then wait a couple of days or a week, then add more. I wait a couple of more days or a week, then add more.

As I am slowly adding more fish, I am gradually adding more waste sources into the aquarium. In turn, beneficial bacteria will start to grow.

This cycle takes me about 1 month to get all of my fish. I have never had a problem with it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Hey guy wondering what you all suggest as of lighting.... Sibgle tube strip light or double. Any pro andcons? For a 55 gal. Tbanks again!
 
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