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New 220L tank set-up questions

Discussion in 'New to the Hobby Questions and Answers' started by Yarkii, Mar 27, 2017.

  1. Yarkii

    Yarkii Fish Fanatic

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    Hi everyone!

    I'm new to fish-keeping. I've just bought a 220L Aqua One Regency with a sump filter. I'm pretty excited about slowly setting it up, and want to try to get it right. I like the idea of a planted aquarium with a tropical fish community (but I'm not sure I'd go as far as the whole CO2 injection thingy - time will tell). I hope to eventually have something like guppies/mollies/platies/swordtails (I'm reading mixed reports about housing them together), plus some small breed of cory cats, and maybe some kind of tetra. I like the look of white sand with lots of plants, some driftwood & grey rocks.

    I have a few set-up questions. The first is regarding tank location, sunlight & traffic. One of the potential spots for the aquarium is next to our rear door, which is a double glass door. A few friends commented on the possibility of algae growing in the tank if it's getting natural sunlight, but prior to hearing that I was concerned that the lights in the Regency won't be bright enough for a planted aquarium. Does sunlight cause algae problems that LED lights don't? Is algae a problem in a planted aquarium?

    Being the only door to the back yard, will human traffic be a problem? Sometimes it's groups of kids running in and out, possibly shouting/playing, though most of the week it's pretty calm. The doors don't slam, and it's a double door, with the one closest to the aquarium never opened. I'll try to upload a photo with the aquarium in this potential position. 20170327_143142.jpg

    Another question is regarding sand. The tank came with some off-white sand (it was their display model, and they put sand in it & some ornaments on display). I bought some white sand as well, thinking I might lighten the colour a little. But.... is aquarium sand from a pet-shop okay to use in a planted aquarium, or am I going to regret this when the plants don't grow? Do I need to get over the desired aesthetics & buy something with more nutrients? Or can I add nutrients? How does adding nutrients for plants affect the fish?

    My last (for now!) set-up question: the girl in the pet store said she always reinforces her aquariums with aquarium silicon from Bunnings (chain hardware store in Australia, for anyone from o/s). Is this something I should do before filling my aquarium; silicon all the edges? Inside the tank or outside?

    Thank you so much for reading my questions and (hopefully) offering some advice.

    :)

    Sent from my SM-G900I using Tapatalk

     
  2. Ch4rlie

    Ch4rlie Unlicensed Moderating Moderator
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    Nice tank, matches the surroundings :)

    220 litres is a good size of tank for a first timer, AND with a sump the potential is there to use this as a filter and perhaps to put the heater in as well to lessen to amoutn of equipment inside the main tank. Gives more room and makes the tank set up look neater. I have never used a sump as a filter s o am unsure 100% as to how to set that up but am sure its fairly straighforwards from one or teowo of our members experiences with this sort of set up.

    Now, as to sunlight causing algae issue. This is certainly true. Direct sunlight causes all sorts of algae, mainly cyanobacteria other wise known as Blue Green Algae (BGA) which is unsightly and can be tricky to eradicate, and Green Spot algae as well as a few other types of algae potenially arising from direct sunlight (even indirect sunlight can cause issues) so its a balance of putting the tank in a location where it gets as little direct sunlight as possible/ other option may be is to paint or cover the back and side of the tank glass itself to stop sunlight from entering the tank.

    But its not just sunlight that can cause algae, its a combination of a few other factors such as poor tank maintenance, overfeeding, Co2, fertilizers being out of balance to what the plants needs. The idea is to get a balance where the plants will consume the nutrients and lights in the tank and outcompeteting the algae of these essential components for good growth. In a nutshell anyway, its more complicated than that but dont worry about that for now :lol:

    As for tank location, this is all dependable on where you would like it, and being near power plug sockets is a must (otherwsie have ugly extension cords), located where there is as little footfall going past the tank (the bumps and noises can spook the fish therefore stressing them out) and as mentioned above out of direct sunlight as much as is possible.

    Personally, looking at the photo, I would swap positions with the single plant on the white stand in the corner, this way there is little footfalls going past, out of sight of sunlight (depending on where the sun shines through that door) and its there for everyone to enjoy when they sit on the sofa.

    And more importantly, it give you space to do these maintenances / water changes out of the way of kids running past etc

    Sand, well this can be a bit of a debate amongst certain members on the forum :lol:
    A lot of folk stand by normal coloured play sand as this is good for cories and bottom dweller fish, just bear in mind nto to get sand thats too large or too rough as cories like to sift sand through their gills and anything too rough can damage their mouths and barbels.

    Pretty much any substrate is fine for plant, just as long as it does not compact too much and restricting the plant root growth. So sand is perfectly fine for plants. the addition of fertilisers for nutrients is always a good idea as long as dosages is correct and also depends on what plants you want, all sorts of plants have differing needs as to lights, fertilizers and co2.

    If I were you and if having no experience with plants, would stay with low tech set up and plants, meaning plants that do not require high lights, specialised fertilisers and Co2, I have done these in the past, and is kinda complicated to get right, so would avoid for now until you can research and gained a little experience of knowing the basics of what plants needs.
    Anubias, Java Ferns, Java Moss, Amazon Swords, and many varieties of Cryptocorynes are usually fine in a low level type of set up.
    Some of these plants mentioned above will appreciate having a substrate root tab fertilisers, meaning a type of fertiliser in a sort of tablet form thats simply pushed into the substrate near the roots will slowly release fertiliser for the roots to feed on.

    White sand may look good fro a while, personally I have had white sand and looked good until I got diatoms and keeping white sand clean is a near on impossible task with debris, leftover food, fish poop and leaves from plants means spending a long time with the gravel vac trying to vac as much of this off the sand, a real chore and waste of time imho.
    BUT white sand is considered not good for the fish, the light is reflected off white sand, giving a glare, not good for fish eyes and can make for a more stressful environment making the fish more 'skittish' and more easily spooked and also the fish colours wont be as vibrant (I have had this with shrimps, not as red or as colourful as being on normal or black sand).

    Pet shop sand is perfectly fine to go into aquariums, just need to give the sand a good rinse to get rid of dust and debris, a chore disliked by many of us :lol:
    One thing, I'd avoid silica sand, this imho can cause or aide diatom algae making it dificult to get rid of since they need a source of silica.

    Lastly, am not too sure what the girl from the store means by adding aquarium silicon to re-inforce tanks, should not be needed, especially on a brand new tank. I have never done this with any of my tanks, past or present.
    Might be worth doing if you buy a old second hand tank but not with any tank in pretty decent condition.

    Hope that answers a few questions and helps a little bit.
     
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  3. thrujenseyes

    thrujenseyes Member

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    Ch4rlie made all awesome points!
    Something helpful, especially to newbies, is to start a journal of the whole process.
    This helped me a ton, as I always had it to look back on to reference and also it just helps to keep everything very clear.
    I agree with ch4rlie about that not being an optimal location.
    It might also make it too difficult to maintain a set temperature if sunlight is blaring thru there...also door opening and closing.
    But congratulations and Man that's a BEAUTIFUL set up!!!!
     
  4. Byron

    Byron Member

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    Ch4rlie covered most things. I would concur heartily with not using white sand, ever, because of the light glare for fish and frankly you. I have seen tanks with white sand, and they are not easy to view, I shudder to think what the poor fish feel. Play sand is ideal for all fish and plants.

    As for fish, what are your water parameters? Without knowing the GH (general hardness), KH (carbonate hardness or Alkalinity) and pH of your source water it is difficult to suggest (or confirm) fish. Many have rather specific needs in this area--mollies for example must have moderately hard or harder water or they do not last long. Some fish need the exact opposite, softer water.

    Plants...if you intend a fish tank with plants, as opposed to a planted aquatic garden tank with no or few fish, you have differing factors to consider. There is no need for bright lighting and CO2 diffusion in the former, provided you select plant species that do well with what you have. Data on your lighting will help. Generally with fish, the simpler the better.

    Byron.
     
  5. Yarkii

    Yarkii Fish Fanatic

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    =//=
    Thank you again so much Ch4rlie. You're a wealth of knowledge!

    I've moved the aquarium into the corner where the single plant on a stand was, and turned it around to face into the room. Here's a photo.

    [​IMG]

    I like it there, but there's a double power outlet and the TV aerial outlet behind it, and I'm not too sure whether that's a bad idea. If it is, I could potentially put the plant & plant stand back in the corner & have the tank between the plant stand & the sofa, so it's not directly above the power outlets but is still close. The tank will get a lot of indirect sunlight no matter where I put it in this room. My only other reservation with this location is that one side of the tank is against the wall, so we won't be able to look into the tank from that side.

    Re sand: I don't want stressed fish, so I think I'll take the white sand back to the store. It's still bagged. They actually gave me some 'sandy-coloured' sand with the tank - it was what they had in there while it was on display. I just want to clarify: white-white sand will be too glary and stress the fish, but sandy-coloured sand isn't too glarey? Or do I need to go black? Is it a matter of the darker the better, or should I just avoid bright white in order to not stress the fish?

    Re plants: thank you! I think I was a little overwhelmed by the stuff I was reading about planted aquariums, but I think it was written by/for people really into aquascaping & not quite so much into fish. The lights on this tank are 28W LED (2 x white + 1 x RGB & blue). I'm just starting to get to know different plants, but so far the ones in interested in all seem to fall into the "low tech" category, which is just fine by me.

     
  6. Yarkii

    Yarkii Fish Fanatic

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    Thanks Thrujenseyes.

    That's a great idea! I'll definitely keep a journal. Thanks for the feedback re the location. I will move the tank away from the door.

    :)
     
  7. Yarkii

    Yarkii Fish Fanatic

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    Thank you so much, Byron!

    Can I ask: does the sand need to be as dark as possible to not stress the fish, or is it just a matter of avoiding the unnaturally bright white sand? Would a more natural-looking sand have the same effect? The rear wall of the tank is all black, if that makes any difference.

    The lights in the hood are 28W LED. Apparently it's 2 x white & 1 x RGB + blue. I don't know when you'd use the white & when the other, or if you use them all together, etc. So much to learn!

    I'll do a little test strip test on some untreated tap water shortly & pop the results up.
     
  8. Yarkii

    Yarkii Fish Fanatic

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    Hi again Byron.

    I'm more interested in the fish, and giving them a healthy and comfortable place to live. I'm also interested in having as many plants as possible, and making an aesthetically pleasing (for humans too) environment, but the fish come first.

    According to my water supplier's 2015-2016 water quality report:

    Hardness average = 24mg/L (ranged from 14-56mg/L across 34 samples in the year)

    Alkalinity average = 16mg/L (ranged 9-34mg/L across 24 samples)

    pH average = 7.3 (ranged from 6.8 - 8.0 over 26 samples).

    The API test strip I just did with plain tap water left me thinking that it's not a very good test. It gave minimum readings across the board. I use it for the goldfish tank, and it shows more variability for that water. I've recently bought a new test kit with individual tests, vials, etc., which I want to use for the new big aquarium. I'll compare it to the test strips once I know how to use it.
     
  9. thrujenseyes

    thrujenseyes Member

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    oh wait...you have a goldfish tank?! So you're not new to fish keeping? Or did I read that wrong?

    Anyway...the new set up is definitely better...
    Is there any way it can go where the table with the TV is and the TV can go across the room from the tank? We haven't seen the entire room, so I'm not sure if it's possible but it would be best to have full access to the tank for water changes and such...
    and I'm not sure I'd want the fish stuff to share an outlet with a TV. Water changes can get a little messy sometimes. Not to mention if it's water change day and someone is trying to watch tv..the water changer is really going be in the way (and if it were me watching General Hospital I'd beat that person). ha

    As for fish and plants I'll leave that up to the super knowledgable guys helping above...they're awesome!
    I myself, have low-tech plants (different anubias species) and I love love love them! And they do well in my teeny little very low tech set up.
     
  10. Byron

    Byron Member

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    I have little experience with LED so would rather not weigh in on that, I'll leave it for the more experienced LED folks. Only say that light is extremely important for fish as well as plants, for different reasons, but that is another topic.

    You mentioned in the prior post about "sandy coloured" sand that came with the tank. This might be fine, as long as it is not sand intended for marine tanks or rift lake cichlid tanks. Both of these could contain minerals and/or salt (meaning sodium chloride, common "salt") and you do not want this in a freshwater tank. The sand must be inert, which means that it has no effect on water parameters.

    I tried black in one of my tanks and didn't like it. For one thing, under the tank lighting and water it was dark grey rather than black, and it showed every little speck of detritus. I have never had this before, in my 20+ years of aquaria, as I have always had substrates comprised of fine gravel or sand that is not uniform but a combo of sorts. Play Sand for example can be the dark grey which is comprised of black, grey, buff and white grains. I have also seen play sand that is more "sea sand" type, comprised of buff, white, black grains. I use the former because that is what Home Depot carries where I live, but either will work.

    I mentioned the black changing under the lighting and water, and this I have found occurs with any substrate. My play sand now is very dark grey dry, but in the tanks t appears much lighter in colour. Water refracts light, but the colour temperature (wavelength) of the overhead tank lighting is also a factor. I don't worry about this as there is nothing I can do anyway, if I start with a dark sand. Provided it is not pure white, I wouldn't worry.

    Another thing is that we rarely have bare substrates. Tropical watercourses are usually covered with a layer of dead leaves (dark brown), lots of chunks and branches of wood (dark brown to black), maybe rocks (these could be dark). The actual substrate is often silt, a mix of sand and mud/clay. So by using leaves, lots of dark wood, and floating plants, you can minimize things quite a bit. And it looks much more natural.

    Byron.
     
  11. Byron

    Byron Member

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    These numbers indicate soft water. I have similar, a bit softer actually. Soft water fish species will thrive. Avoid any requiring moderately hard or harder water, such as all livebearers (guppy, platy, swordtail, molly--you mention these in post #1 but they will not do well or be healthy in such soft water) and rift lake cichlids.

    Most all of the fish from South America and SE Asia will work, and this includes tetras, hatchetfish, pencilfish, catfish, dwarf cichlids, rasboras, danios, barbs, gourami, loaches.

    Byron.
     
  12. Yarkii

    Yarkii Fish Fanatic

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    I've had the goldfish (Goldie) for a few weeks now. The 20L tank with pebbles, light & filter was second hand from a friend's daughter. I've never had fish before this, other than a brief & bad experience when my sister unexpectedly gave us a weird shallow pot with two goldfish for Christmas (announcing "garden furniture"..?). So I definitely consider myself a total newbie to fish-keeping.

    Yeah - I didn't show the other part of the room, did I? It's sort-of a rectangular open plan dining/family room attached to the kitchen. The wall opposite where the tv now is, is way back, past a dining table. I can't put anything in the middle of the room (opposite the tv but before the dining table), as it's a passage way to the back door (the double glass door in the photo on my original post). I haven't tried it way over on the other side of the dining table, as it'll be over a heating vent and under the air conditioner, and far from where I'd like to sit & relax & admire little fishies swimming around. It would also push the dining table into the pathway to the back door if it was there.

    I agree that over the power point & aerial and in front of the tv isn't really going to work. I *think* what I'm going to do is turn it 90 degrees and back it against the wall it's currently touching side-on, but move it away from the corner a little (to get away from the electric outlets). I bought a little Ikea plant stand tonight that I'll put in the corner over the outlets. It's long & thin and could hold a tall plant and also a power board so I can do that u-loop thing I keep reading about (to avoid water getting into the electric outlets). It can also hold whatever fishy things won't fit into the cabinet, as the sump tank takes up lots of room in there. The tank will be between the new corner table and the sofa. The sofa will have to move along a little bit.

    I'll move it all around tomorrow and take another photo. It's 2:30am now and I'll wake others up if I start dragging things around again. :)

    I love the look of anubias! Beautiful big, dark green leaves compared to lots of other, lighter stuff you see in tanks. I didn't realise there were different anubia species. There's just so much to learn! Once I've finally decided on the tank's location, hooked up the sump etc., decided on the sand & started filling the tank with water, I want to get a couple of pieces of drift wood with anubias attached. I definitely want anubias and some kind of mossy stuff in my tank. I'll stick with low tech, from what I understand so far.

    Thanks so much for your advice. It's really helping me sort this out. It helps to keep me patient too. I want to try to get this 'right', rather than excitedly rushing into things!

    :)
     
  13. Yarkii

    Yarkii Fish Fanatic

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    Oh no!! That's not what I wanted to hear. :( After coming to terms with the info that a betta living happily ever after in a community tank seems to be a fairy story, I had my heart set on these four almost-as-beautiful species. :(

    Is there something I can do to the water to make it harder?

    When I test the water in the goldfish tank with the same strips I used today for the tap water, the GH reading is always at the maximum colour end of the strip, at 180mg/L (although I never know what it really is, because it could be even higher). The straight tap water today, with exactly the same type of strip, read 0 GH, or barely over 0. KH is always either 0 or 40mg/L or somewhere in between.

    When I first went to my local aquarium to set up the little 20L aquarium, they gave me water conditioner crystals & water conditioner drops. Could the crystals be making the soft water hard?

    I'm really, really hoping that there's a way I can have some livebearers. I do also want some little catfish, and was hoping to get one dwarf gourami (I read that they aren't super social with other gourami), and maybe some danios or tetras if there was room after all the other, more-wanted fish, but only if there was room.
     
  14. Yarkii

    Yarkii Fish Fanatic

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    Thanks Byron.

    I don't know what type of sand came with the tank. It didn't have the original packaging; it was just scooped up into a couple of shopping bags. I could take some of it back to the store and compare it to the different sand types that they sell, to see if it matches one. It is not as stark white as the sand I bought, so if it isn't reef/marine sand, I might just use it with maybe another slightly darker sand mixed in as well. I do want to have wood, rocks & as much greenery as I can grow in the tank, and have a fairly unstructured and natural-looking arrangement, so I guess it isn't going to be just a floor of sand.

    If I can't work out which type of sand it is, I won't use it and will start from scratch.

    Thanks so much. This is something that would absolutely never have occurred to me.

    :)
     
  15. Yarkii

    Yarkii Fish Fanatic

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    (My second reply to this comment. Sorry, I'll get better.)

    The water conditioner crystals are "Show Master" and are packed locally. The pack doesn't say what they actually are, and simply says they "assist in adjusting clean tap water to make the water condition as natural as possible for fish and plants". It says it doesn't remove chlorine, should be used every time water is added or changed, and "assists in preventing sickness and disease".

    A bit of a Google lead me to a handful of conversations, some of them saying this kind of water crystal is used to raise GH.

    The pet store where I bought the new 220L aquarium from gave me "API Quick Start" and "API Stress Coat +".
     

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