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60 Gallon advice

Discussion in 'New to the Hobby Questions and Answers' started by Serbmarine, May 26, 2019.

  1. Serbmarine

    Serbmarine New Member

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    I am re-entering the aquarium world after being fishless for about ten years. Previous to the hiatus I always had some type of tank since I was 10-11... Life took over and I didn't have time to properly care for a tank, but now I have a 2 year old the eats sleeps and breaths fish.

    I have tried to reeducation myself as much as possible, I was hoping to get some feedback from the experts to make sure I am not to out of wack here.

    Setup is:
    60 gallon tank (24 x 48 x 13)

    Eheim 2217 filter with pre-filter on the intake and rainbar submerged about two inches on the opposite end of the tank from the intake.

    Aqueon 200 watt heater

    Substrate is eco complete

    Light/moderate planted (Java moss, Java ferns, Anubias Barteri, moneywort, Marimo balls)

    Two aeration stones, either end of the tank.

    Two large "coralish" decorations and about 15 pounds of various size slate

    The current stock is:
    13 guppies (male and female)
    4 angels
    2 plecos

    I have kept angels and guppies as tank mates in the past with good luck when they all start out little (all the fish are about a month in to being in the tank guppies are about 1.5 inches, angles about a dollar coin size). So far we haven't had any issues, two of the angels seem to have paired off already, the other two are pretty skittish and have been hanging out under cover with the exception of feeding time. The guppies are guppies, active and carefree. They can out run the angels with no problem but haven't had much need as everybody seems pretty mellow.

    So a few questions, I did a fish in cycle (which I guess is not the thing anymore, I am behind the times) with four guppies. Everybody made it out the other side with no issue. I was able to "borrow" some media from a buddies filter, and the Eco complete, which is new to me, was supposed to accelerate the process also (is this true?). At any rate the cycle only took about ten days, which I thought was fast. When I am testing now I am getting 0 across the board for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. I feel like I should be getting some nitrate reading, but have double checked a few times (using API master test kit, drops) and all goose eggs.

    On the filtration, is the 2217 enough for this tank? I am assuming about 120 gph with the prefilter installed so I am turning over the tank twice an hour. I am reading things saying 4 times an hour is ideal. I have not had any water issues but I don't want to set myself up for problems.

    Anyone have experience with seachem alerts in tank pH and ammonia test cards? I grabbed them as I thought the price was worth having readings at a glance but I have trust issues so I have been testing every few days with the master kit too. So far they have been a pretty close match.

    I have the tank @ 79 degrees, PH is right around 7.5, that seemed to be a pretty good balance for the guppies and angels, am I in the ballpark?

    And some dumb questions..... I got the tank and filter second hand, and did not get a hood. I cut Plexi to use as top lids with notches cut for the filter and air lines. Is there any issue with air exchange with this setup? Lighting is a 4 foot, 4 "tube" led shop light that I had on hand already. It looks good and if anything is a little brighter then I like. Being newer to planted tanks, is to much light an issue aside from potential algae issues?

    Lastly, I seem to have pretty decent flow in the tank but I have a few circulation pump that I could install, would that be of any benefit?

    Sorry, I know this was long winded, our local stores are pretty limited on fish knowledge & I am trying to start this hobby back up with a good experience. This forum had been great for refreshing knowledge and learning a ton of new things as well. I am looking forward to interacting more!
     

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  2. Byron

    Byron Member

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    I'll comment on a couple things I see here.

    Heater...for a 48-inch length tank, you want two heaters, placed one at each end. One next to the filter outflow, and one next to the filter intake, is best, and I gather these will be at opposite ends of the tank. I would also increase the wattage to 250w or 300w.

    No problem on air flow. Light is an issue. You want good spectrum and I know nothing about the LED. If it has a Kelvin rating, and is in the 5000K to 6500K range, you are good. As for intensity, I don't understand the "tube" with LED, can you explain?

    Filtration is often misunderstood. With live plants your need for filtration is much less to begin with, and here you have sedate fish that do not want to live in a strong current so less is better. With regular (once weekly) partial water changes (50-70% of the tank volume, this will be good. I should just mention that the filter really has nothing whatever to do with the water changes, the latter are essential regardless of filters.

    Substrate...Eco-complete is frankly useless as some sort of enriched plant substrate, and it carries the serious issue of sharpness. Substrate fish like cories and loaches should never be added with this substrate. The angelfish should be OK. I suggest play sand, it is perfectly safe and natural and plants grow well in it. The plants you mention here won't gain any benefit from the substrate anyway.

    Hope this is of some benefit.
     
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  3. Deanasue

    Deanasue Moderator
    Staff Member Moderator Global Moderator Tank of the Month Winner!

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    Shop lights can put off heat but an LED should be fine.
     
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  4. Serbmarine

    Serbmarine New Member

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    Thanks for feedback! I think the light may be an issue that needs to be addressed, going back and looking at the packaging it says 4000k 7000 lumen. Again it was a light I had on hand and was a "quick fix" until I decided on a permanent solution. It does run very cool (heat wise) so no issue there but it sounds like the spectrum is on the low end for a planted tank. It is designed to mimic an led fixture thus the 4 tube although it is led - this is the actual light - https://www.homedepot.com/p/Commerc...ght-with-Pull-Chain-SHOP-4X4-840-HD/306224339

    I will keep an eye out for a second heater, so far no issue with maintaining temperature but we are in the summer months obviously.

    On the substrate, I read a lot of mixed reviews. In previous tanks I never had issue growing even in plain aquarium gravel, but then again I never moved beyond the "beginner plant" world. I almost did go with sand, but having no experience with it I was hesitant. I had hoped to introduce some type of cats into this tank, will that be an issue with the Eco substrate?

    We are currently doing water changes weekly, during cycling we were doing them twice weekly. Still a little confused on our current readings @ 0 nitrate but checked everything again this morning and still at 0 across the board for ammonia nitrite and nitrate. Last water change was 50% on Friday.

    Again thanks for the feedback, learning more everyday.
     
    #4 Serbmarine, May 27, 2019
    Last edited: May 27, 2019
  5. FishFinatic77

    FishFinatic77 Fish Crazy

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    If you don't have any nitrate, your tank is not cycled. You should always have at least a little bit of nitrates.
    It could also just be that your test kit isn't working right. Take a sample of your water to your fish store and have them test it. If they get 0ppm too, then keeping testing your water at home and make sure you have the parameters under control.
    With all those fish in the tank, and a little two year old, it would be terrible if your fish died after a spike. Just watch your water parameters and you should be fine. :)
     
  6. Byron

    Byron Member

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    On the light, I would get something better. The data on the link is confusing too, it says 4000K but calls it "cool white." Cool (= more blue, less red in the colour) increases as the Kelvin number increases, so 6700K is much cooler than 5000K. Warm (more red, less blue) is the opposite, so the lower the K number the more red and thus warmer. Aquatic plants must have red and blue which is the light that drives photosynthesis, and red is a bit more important. Adding green to the mix does improve plant growth, probably because it is then closer to the sun and the light is naturally more intense because the green is what plants reflect to appear green (same for red, red leaves means more red is being reflected, another reason red needs to be higher in the mix generally).

    Cheapest option is something like a basic T8 fluorescent shop fixture holding two T8 fluorescent tubes, buyilt into some sort of housing to sit on the tank frame. You can use two T8 tubes, a 5000K and 6500K for ideal plant light; this is what I have over all my tanks. The Phillips or Sylvania tubes are fine in the 4-foot length, and both manufacturers make 6500 daylight and 5000K sunlight (or some name) tubes. Inexpensive but perfect light for moderate light requiring plants. Replace T8 tubes every 122 months as by then they are emitting much less intensity and plants will begin to degenerate.

    No, you cannot have substrate fish over Eco-Complete, nor Flourite. I tried Flourite, and in my hand I thought it was not rough compared to EC which did feel rough, but even this was no good; I had to remove the poor cories, one had even lost about a third of its lower mouth, but placed over play sand ever since (this was six or seven years ago now) they are still all thriving, digging in the sand all the time.

    I also found that after two years of Flourite substrate, the plant response was no better than with sand, so out it went (considerable waste of money). Some of the European "plant" substrates may or may not be worth it, in high tech systems perhaps, but not otherwise. And it is also true that all these substrates do impact substrate fish regardless.

    I would not worry, quite the opposite. Nitrate is harmful to fish, even though less than ammonia or nitrite. There are few fish in this tank (I assume the angels are still juveniles and not mature large adults) and you do have some plants. Most mentioned are slow growing but Moneywort is fast growing, and if it is showing signs of growth then it is taking up ammonia as its preferred nitrogen source. This is why with fast growing plants, you can forget the "cycle" per say. Just don't overdo the fish load, go slow. Some floating plants would safeguard this even more, and the angels would appreciate a nice cover of plants over them as they are dim water fish.

    Some with natural or low-tech planted tanks never have nitrate above zero; my tanks tend to be in the 0 to 5 ppm range and have been for over 10 years now. Another huge benefit of plants.
     

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