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Metalman

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Hello all and good evening from uk Wiltshire.
The wife and I have decided to restart the hobby of keeping a tropical tank after 20 yrs. probably going to be a peaceful tank with lots and lots of plants. As long as I can have my pleccy I’m a happy bunny tbh....and maybe a clown loach or two.
We got offered a metre long by 400mm wide tank with lights pump etc etc for silly money (£20) and couldn’t resist......hence it starts again.
A lot has changed in 20 yrs and I shall get some reading in and ask questions of that I am sure.
dascrow I did try to reply but it said I had used something in my reply that was spamming ?
 

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Essjay

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Welcome to the forum and back to fish keeping :)

So the tank is 100 x 40 cm or 40 x 16 inches. I hate to tell you this, but it is too small for clown loaches (which also need to in a group of at least 6) but it is OK for most plecs except things like common plecs and sailfin plecs.


As you've been out of fishkeeping for 20 years you are probably unaware that nowadays we always for the hardness of your water. We now know this is important and we should keep fish which come from water with a similar hardness to our tap water.
Look on your water company's website for hardness. In Wiltshire, it should be a company that gives a number for hardness - post that here together with the unit of measurement (they could use any of half a dozen).

The other big change is that we no longer recommend cycling a tank with fish. There are two ways to do a cycle - fishless, using ammonia to simulate fish waste to grow the necessary bacteria before fish are put in the tank; and silent or plant cycling which relies on a lot of live plants to remove the ammonia made by the fish.
This is how to do a fishless cycle https://www.fishforums.net/threads/cycling-your-new-fresh-water-tank-read-this-first.421488/ bit if you intend a heavily planted tank, we can talk you through that.
 

Retired Viking

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Hello and welcome to the forum :fish: :hi: :fish: As @Essjay has informed you water hardness and cycling are important these days. I also had taken a short break from fish keeping and had to catch up on the new ways. I cycle my tanks the silent/planted way which feels more natural and live plants improve the quality of the water. I also keep both soft water and hard water tanks for the health of both types of fish. I would check with your local water provider to see what type of water you have before deciding on what types of fish you want. I use RO water to soft my hard water.
 
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Metalman

Metalman

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Welcome to the forum and back to fish keeping :)

So the tank is 100 x 40 cm or 40 x 16 inches. I hate to tell you this, but it is too small for clown loaches (which also need to in a group of at least 6) but it is OK for most plecs except things like common plecs and sailfin plecs.


As you've been out of fishkeeping for 20 years you are probably unaware that nowadays we always for the hardness of your water. We now know this is important and we should keep fish which come from water with a similar hardness to our tap water.
Look on your water company's website for hardness. In Wiltshire, it should be a company that gives a number for hardness - post that here together with the unit of measurement (they could use any of half a dozen).

The other big change is that we no longer recommend cycling a tank with fish. There are two ways to do a cycle - fishless, using ammonia to simulate fish waste to grow the necessary bacteria before fish are put in the tank; and silent or plant cycling which relies on a lot of live plants to remove the ammonia made by the fish.
This is how to do a fishless cycle https://www.fishforums.net/threads/cycling-your-new-fresh-water-tank-read-this-first.421488/ bit if you intend a heavily planted tank, we can talk you through that.
 
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Metalman

Metalman

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Heck things have changed, in my day we used water conditioner and run a tank in by buying maybe 4-5 tetras and let that go for a month.
Noted and I will check with water supplier for hardness it is pretty hard tbh and I don’t as yet have a softener built into my system. Thanks for the update gives me more to think about. As yet tank is running without anything as in lockdown and still we find it therapeutic
 
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Metalman

Metalman

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Hello and welcome to the forum :fish: :hi: :fish: As @Essjay has informed you water hardness and cycling are important these days. I also had taken a short break from fish keeping and had to catch up on the new ways. I cycle my tanks the silent/planted way which feels more natural and live plants improve the quality of the water. I also keep both soft water and hard water tanks for the health of both types of fish. I would check with your local water provider to see what type of water you have before deciding on what types of fish you want. I use RO water to soft my hard water.
Hi Viking thanks Ro water?
 

Essjay

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Ro water?
Reverse osmosis water - water that has had everything dissolved in it removed. In other words, pure water. When our tap water is hard but we want to keep soft water fish, we mix tap water with RO to make it softer. Some places have high nitrate, and we now know that nitrate over 20 ppm is not good for fish, and we can also use RO to dilute the nitrate in our tap water. This also makes the water softer, and there are things we can add to replace the harness if that's what the fish need.


Water softeners that are plumbed in to supply softened water to the whole house can use salt. This type is not suitable for fish because of the sodium in the salt. With this type of softener there should be a bypass tap for drinking water, and that tap should be used for fish.


There's a lot to re-learn, I'm afraid. I started keeping fish about 24 years ago and I've watched the changes coming in one by one which does make it easier :)
 

mcordelia

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Don't be daunted! You are in a good place with your tank as it stands, as in, you haven't screwed anything up!! :) Always easier to move forward from that kind of a starting point!

Essjay linked you to a good article, give that a read to familiarize yourself with fishless cycling, and you can get started on that even today! It'll work better with a substrate however, but nothing says you can't add the substrate after you have started cycling.

Even with hard water, you will be surprised at how many choices of fish you have available to you. The website seriouslyfish.com has what most folks regard as reliable data on fish parameters and compatibility, so you can start by using their search engine to look up fish of interest and start making a list of fish that could work! The forum members are also happy to chime in as well once you know your parameters :)

Welcome back to the hobby!! :):)
 

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