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Build Thoughts

Discussion in 'New to the Hobby Questions and Answers' started by Freakshow1966, Nov 18, 2019.

  1. Freakshow1966

    Freakshow1966 New Member

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    Hey guys. It's been a hot minute since I had a tank set up. Its time I think for a new one. Now I am by no means a newbie but I don't consider myself an expert either.

    This go round im doing things totally different. So tell me if this sounds ok.

    1) Sand substrate (always had gravel with UGF before)
    2) I have a Penguin 350 and will also have a sponge filter as well
    3) Live plants, i have never had live plants only plastic so i hoping for the best.
    4) I would like to add Shrimp and Snails which is something i have never done before.
    5) the HOB filter will have a pre filter sponge on the intake.

    All this in a 40 gallon breeder. Does this sound ok?
    For fish it will most likely be a Betta and some tetras maybe White Mountain Minnow
    For lights i have this
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07PFHD1G1/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
     
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  2. essjay

    essjay Moderator
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    The only thing doesn't sound OK to me is the betta. They are not community fish. White clouds are not good with bettas because they need cooler temperatures than bettas. And a lot of tetras will nip the betta's fins - even normally placid ones just can't help themselves.

    Can I suggest you look for another 'centrepiece' fish; and if you really really want a betta, get a 5 gallon tank for one.
     
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  3. FishFinatic77

    FishFinatic77 Fish Crazy

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    Gouramis are beautiful fish and are very personable. Pearl gouramis are very pretty and one would look nice in a forty gallon.
     
  4. Alina

    Alina New Member

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    1) Sand substrate is beautiful, but make sure you do your research. Cheaper ones usually comes with a few cons and ‘aren’t fit for the purpose’.
    2) I have a modified Penguin as well and I like it (sponge pads, poly pad and bio rings). The motor makes a small sound but as soon as I leave the room I cant hear it anymore.
    3) No plastic for bettas. Their fins are so delicate and can easily get torn. There are some beautiful silk plants on amazon that is perfect for bettas. Live plants even better and there are a lot of easy plants out there.
    4) If you really want a betta as your centerpiece, shrimp can easily be nipped on by the betta if you pick a smaller sized shrimp. Pick the right one and they can work very well together.

    I personally love bettas and would build a 40 gallon for them, but its kind of an overkill too. 5-10 gallon is perfect for them. So theres quite a lot of other centerpieces you can consider that might be a better fit and wont need specific artificial plants.
     
  5. Freakshow1966

    Freakshow1966 New Member

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    I can do without plastic plants im just nervous about real plants. When i was young my father had angels and oscars and real plats. I dont remember everything about it, but i do remember it was a mess. the plants died and messed up the tank bad.

    But i do really want live plants they not only look good but can help the tank. As for the Betta, i am not dead set on having one, they just look beautiful and are tough. I was gonna cycle my tank with a Betta and maybe a couple of guppys.

    As for the Betta and shrimp, i thought they would be safe. I mean the Betta is a top fish and the shrimp bottom dwellers. I do really want shrimp cause they look nice and are helpful.

    Thanks everyone for the replies. I am taking this slow. Building up my needed supplies and taking my time. This tank wont go live till spring. So i have plenty of time for research and learning.
     
  6. essjay

    essjay Moderator
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    Depending on the personality of the betta, most will regard shrimps as food. I have had three that have lived with adult shrimps, though with two of them there was no sign of baby shrimps. But if a betta decides it wants to eat an adult shrimp, the shrimp doesn't stand a chance.
    And I've never had a betta that stayed exclusively at the top of the tank. Mine have been everywhere fish.
     
  7. essjay

    essjay Moderator
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    Just to add - while I was getting my breakfast this morning, I saw my betta stalk and attack one of the shrimps, killing it and eating part of it. The shrimp was on the bottom of the tank picking through the sand for bits of food when the betta pounced.

    I need to rescue the shrimps and put them in my other tank.



    I missed your comment about shrimps being bottom dwellers - they aren't, they are everywhere. In my main tank most of them hang out in the floating plants.
     
  8. Freakshow1966

    Freakshow1966 New Member

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    Thanks, everyone for the input. I am not set on a Betta by any means. I just think they would make a good centerpiece fish. More importantly, it is a tough fish so i was going to use it to cycle the tank.
     
  9. Byron

    Byron Member

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    I have a few comments from issues mentioned so far.

    First, you should have no issue with live plants. Sand substrate is ideal, and the data on the light seems good. My knowledge of LED is next to nothing but this unit seems to check all the necessary boxes. You might have to be careful of the brightness though; forest fish (most of the fish we keep in an aquarium are forest fish) do not appreciate bright overhead light and can pale and be stressed. Floating plants is the easiest way to deal with this (provided the light is not excessively intense) and floating plants also assimilate a lot of nutrients like ammonia/ammonium. Which brings me to thee next issue, cycling.

    With live plants and especially floating plants, once they show signs of growth (a few days in the case of floating will tell you) they are taking up ammonia/ammonium and you can begin adding fish. Just go slow. With shoaling fish (fish that must have a group, like all tetras, rasboras, cory catfish, etc) it is always best to add the entire intended group of the species together. They will settle in much faster, avoiding some problems like ich better, and if they are hierarchial this will be sorted out without incident. That deals with cycling.

    Bettas are not community fish and they should never be forced into such a situation. Now, it is probably true that some aquarists may have luck doing this, at least for a time [there is more than one thread here where this worked for a time and then literally overnight ended with dead fish], it is risking the fish which no responsible aquarist should ever do. Enough said.

    Before we can suggest fish species at all, it will help to know the parameters of your source water. The GH (general or total hardness) is the most important, then the pH. You should be able to get this data from your municipal water authority, check their website. We can go further into this later, but some fish have specific mandatory requirements respecting water hardness so it is wise to know before you start selecting species. Temperature is the other parmameter that is crucial to fish, as the temperature drives their metabolism and they have a very narrow range which varies among species. This we can deal with via an aquarium heater, but all intended fish must share the basically same temperature need.

    On the filter...decide on the fish first, then decide on an appropriate filter. In a 40g tank [one of my tanks is this size) a dual sponge filter is more than adequate if you intend peaceful fish like gourami, small shoaling tetras or rasboras, cory catfish, etc. A HOB would be unnecessary and produce far too much water current for such fish. On thee other hand, if you were to decide on a tank of fish like Hillstream Loaches which must have stronger currents, the HOB would be a necessary choice (or some other form of water movement). You also intend live plants, and this reduces the need for filtration to begin with, and many plants do not do well in stronger currents. Again, it is all dependent on the intended fish.
     
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  10. Freakshow1966

    Freakshow1966 New Member

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    I don't know exact numbers on hardness but our water is pretty soft. our PH is 7
     
  11. Byron

    Byron Member

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    The pH is related to the GH (and KH, as well as dissolved CO2) but without knowing the specific GH we really cannot suggest fish. Check the website of your water folks, or call them. Just ensure you get the number and their unit of measure as there are several.
     
  12. Freakshow1966

    Freakshow1966 New Member

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    Ok the local water treatment plant said our PH is 7.1 to 7.6 And while they dont have numbers per say but we have soft water. and they gave me the number for iron which is .05mg Does that help?
     
  13. Byron

    Byron Member

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    Iron is mineral hardness but at the minimal levels to be safe in your drinking water it is not going to matter with respect to the GH. Calcium and magnesium are the primary minerals in GH. It is unbelievable that they do not have a number if they know it is soft. Can you take a sample of water to your fish store and ask them to test GH? Remember again to get the number and their unit of measurement or we won't have a clue. There are tests but I don't like suggesting you buy a test kit when you are only going to use it once, probably. Some test strips include GH though, that might help.
     
  14. Freakshow1966

    Freakshow1966 New Member

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    I did ask the guy but he said they dont know the number just soft water. As for the other, well i can try but its a petco so i likely know more than they do.
     
  15. Freakshow1966

    Freakshow1966 New Member

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    OK i got my water tested and here are the numbers. BTW the test used was NINAO Aquarium Test Strips 10 in 1

    Alkalinity……………………... 80

    pH…………………………….. 6.5

    Total Hardness……………….. 25

    Iron……………………………. 0

    Copper……..…………………. 0.1
     

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