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New Tank - First Timer

Discussion in 'Freshwater Journals' started by GlennStretton, Jul 29, 2016.

  1. GlennStretton

    GlennStretton Mostly New Member

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    Ok, so i've been thinking about getting a tank for a little while.  I finally bit the bullet today.  I'm starting to think my research didn't even scratch the surface, hopefully I've got the basics covered. 
     
    So here are my purchases for the day...
     
                    Fluval Roma 125 Aquarium + Cabinet
                    Fluval U3 Internal Filter
                    Fluval 150w Heater
                    Power-Glo Fluorescent Aquarium Tube 20w
                    Aqua-Glo Fluorescent Aquarium Tube 20w
                    Marina LCD Thermometer
                    Fluval Aqua Plus Tap Water Conditioner
                    Marina Nylon Fish Nets
                    Marina Aquarium Glass Cleaning Kit
                    Betta Small Wooden Bridge (MS835)
                    Fluval Black Driftwood Replica With Moss (11837)
                    Tetra Complete Substrate (MC208)  · Size: 5kg
                    Tetra Test 6 in 1 Water Test Kit
                    Marina Decorative Aquarium Gravel Grey Tone 8kg
                       3D AQUARIUM BACKGROUND ROCK GREY
                    25ft Python No Spill Clean And Fill
                    Echinodorus Tricolor x2
                    Cryptocoryne Petchii on Lava Rock
                    Echinodorus Ozelot Red Flamed
                    Bucephalandra Wavy leaf on Small Wood
     
     
    I'm pretty clueless about plants, I just went for a couple to start with.  I'l see how they look and go from there.  But any tips would be appreciated.
     
    I'm struggling to decide on which species to put in it once the tank is cycled.  (Fishless cycling seems to be general consensus?).
     
    I like Angelfish, from what I've read you either have one or a school, never just two. I'm thinking just one given the size of my tank.
     
    Also thinking about a bristlenose pleco and a small school of tetras.  I like the neon tetras but I've read they might get eaten by the angel?
     
    I think I need a few more, maybe another small school that hangout at the top of the tank... suggestions welcome.  Also not sure which order to introduce each species into the tank, or how long to wait before introducing the next species.
     
  2. Akasha72

    Akasha72 Warning - Mad Cory Woman

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    Hi and [​IMG]
     
    It sounds as if your on the right track and you've done some research. It's great that you've decided on the fishless cycle. This is always the best option unless you know someone with an established tank that can give you some media to kick start things.
     
    So, some more information and comments on the fish you've mentioned:
     
    It is true that angelfish can eat smaller fish. The neons you mention would be food to an angelfish in the wild, as would cardinals, rummy noses and many other small fish but our tanks are not the wild. Because you will be beginning from scratch and buying fish all young then angels and small fish can work. The theory is that if angels grow up with small fish from babies they see them as 'family' and not as 'food'. I myself have a pair of angels living with otocinclus and harlequin rasboras.
     
    As to the other 'myth' - keeping angels in pairs. Whilst we'd normally recommend getting a group of 6 angels as babies and allowing them to grow up together this often doesn't work long term. Because angels are impossible to sex when young you can't tell what you've bought. Normally the first sign of what sex they are is when two decide to pair up. This can leave the other 4 open to being bullied by the pair. Often it means that the 'spares' need to be re-homed to restore some kind of peace in the tank.
     
    As a side note though I would be concerned about angels and your tank size. Am I right in thinking the Roma 125 is 125 litres? This isn't a big tank and is unlikely to be big enough for angelfish long term. I would maybe consider looking to dwarf cichlids instead. Angels can be challenging. Their behaviour can be erratic and boisterous. They are not aptly named. Where-as some of the little dwarf cichlids can be lovely. They are full of character but without the sometimes, down-right nastiness of an angelfish. Have a look at Bolivian rams, German Blue Rams, Keyhole cichlids and some of the laetacara species. Laetacara Curviceps is a lovely fish (but can be a real rarity) as is the very similar Dorsigera. 
     
    Should you go down the route of dwarf cichlids instead it leaves your choices of tank mates wide open.
     
    Something else though to consider would be your water type. All of the above mentioned fish need soft water. They can not thrive in hard water. Before choosing fish it's a good idea to have a look on your water companies web-site to see what type of water they have. It should tell you if it is soft or hard.
     
    Hopefully I've given you some useful info. If you've got any questions let us know. Good luck
     
    Akasha :)
     
  3. GlennStretton

    GlennStretton Mostly New Member

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    Thanks Akasha,
     
    There is so much conflicting info out there, appreciate the advice.
     
    Yes my tank is 125 ltrs, 80 x 50 x 35cm. ~30 gal.  Am I right in thinking that its roughly 1in of fish for every gallon of water?
     
    I really like the balloon ram and the electric blue ram.  I'll look into getting some of those instead of the Angel. Will two small schools of different species of ram be ok in the same tank?
     
    I must have missed the part about water hardness.  Mine is Moderately hard - 113.6 ca mg/l.  Not a clue what that means, what do I need to do/look for?
     
    Glenn.
     
  4. Akasha72

    Akasha72 Warning - Mad Cory Woman

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    the electric blues can be a bit fussy compared to the german blues and from personal choice I'd avoid anything 'balloon' purely because I personally don't want to encourage the practice. Balloon fish came about through a severe birth defect - these poor fish have bent spines but someone decided this was something interesting and so actively bred fish with this painful birth defect.
     
    At the end of the day though that's my opinion and what you decide upon is entirely your own decision.
     
    In terms of your water type any type of American cichlid will struggle in hard water. I'm no expert though in converting those figures so for now I'd wait for someone to come along who can interpret the figures and tell you if they think they will be okay or not. It might be a good idea to find out the gH (general hardness) and kH (carbonate harness) figures and post them as those that can convert it will ask for those numbers to be able to do the calculations :)
     
  5. essjay

    essjay Moderator
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    113.6 mg/l Ca = 15.9 German degrees (dH) and 281 ppm CaCO3. Those are the two units used in fish keeping.
     
    My water company uses mg/l Ca as well, and their range is 80 - 120 mg/l Ca is hard, over 120 is very hard. 113.6 is right at the top end of hard on their scale.
     
     
     
     
     
    My water company does convert my hardness to other units which is how I worked out the conversion factor. They give my hardness as 34 mg/l Ca, 85 mg/l CaCO3 (aka ppm), 5.95 degrees Clarke, 4.76 degrees German and 8.5 degrees French.
     
  6. Munroco

    Munroco Member

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    You almost certainly won't be able to keep schools of rams. they will pair up and become very territorial. You will most likely end up with less than 3 rams. Electric blues, golden and german blues are basically colour variations of the same fish. Bolivian rams are, I think, a subspecies. Rams prefer warmer water than most tropicals so if choosing them, bear that in mind when selecting tankmates.
     
  7. essjay

    essjay Moderator
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    Bolivian rams are a separate species, Mikrogeophagus altispinosus. The rest, be they blue, electric blue, gold, balloon etc, are Mikrogeophagus ramirezi
     
  8. StevenF

    StevenF Member

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    Yes that is a common recomendation.  However you need to use that guidline with the full grown size of the fish.  For angle fish many can reach 6 inches in length or more when fully grown.  So five angle fih might puh you over the guidline recommendation.  Alo keep in mind that many fish prefer to live in groups.  neon tetras for example prefer to live in group of 6 or more. Group size as well a full grown size need to be conidered when selecting fish.
     
  9. GlennStretton

    GlennStretton Mostly New Member

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    OK, so just been into my local aquarium shop and had a chat with the guy there.

    He's recommending 3x Marble/black lace angels as they are smaller and only grow to a max of 6", a School of lemon tetra, a bristlenose pleco and a small school of something else like galaxy rasbora.

    Does this sound ok?
     
  10. Akasha72

    Akasha72 Warning - Mad Cory Woman

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    personally I still think this tank is too small for angels. I say this because I have a similar sized tank (a Juwel Rekord 800 which is 110lt) and when my angel pair first started breeding I set this tank up for them as a breeding set up. At this stage they were still growing and they were in there alone. I would not have added anything else to this tank. There wasn't sufficient space for them to move around freely ... certainly not as freely as they did in my 4ft tank. I eventually moved them back into the 4ft - partly because there was insufficient space and partly because since moving them they'd fallen out a little. In fact the male became depressed, spending all his time in a corner staring at the glass. 
     
    I've not heard of marble/black lace angels being smaller than standard angels. I have seen pure black lace angels and they were larger than my smokey blushing pair.
     
    This is my opinion but wait to see what the other guys think of your plan :)
     
  11. Ch4rlie

    Ch4rlie Unlicensed Moderating Moderator
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    Black lace angels is basically a colour strain/morph of a wild mixed (D/+) with (usually) a dark common type angelfish. There are many colour variations in fact. Well thats what i've read anyway from various websites.
     
    I have here a link from a pretty reliable site that I use fairly often, this is a 'scalare' angelfish, I use this as there is a black form of this angel so it may of use as a guide for angel care -
     
    Pterophyllum "scalare" Angelfish
     
     
    It does state, as you've mentioned already they reach a size of around 6". However, that site also recommends a minimum of 200 litres tank size with a minimum height of 50cm, personally I'd go for no less than 2 feet in height, 61cm as these angels need the height in order to feel comfortable swimming as they do have long tendrils, and if housed in too shallow a tank they cannot swim upright properly.
     
    You should note, that this species requires water parameters of - pH: 6.0 – 7.4 and Hardness: 0-15 dH, the 15 dH is right at the very top end of the extreme end of what these can cope with and your water being calculated at 15.9dH, you do not mention what your pH is but am assuming due to your water hardness will likely be at the range of around 8.0,  is pushing it to be perfectly honest :/
     
    Perhaps it may be worth looking for fish species that will thrive in your water hardness, there are several option that may work in your favour, rainbowfish for example, threadfins is one such rainbow specie would be good, or even a Africian cichlid/mbuna malawi type set up may work in your tank size and water hardness.
     
    A few options for sure anyway, do be sure to continue your research and asking for advice, its the best course of action :)
     
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  12. GlennStretton

    GlennStretton Mostly New Member

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    Thanks for all the replies.  Theres so much conflicting information out there, its hard to know what advice to follow.
     
    The angelfish bio I've been looking at is: https://en.aqua-fish.net/fish/angelfish1
     
    That gives the stats for these types of angelfish as:
     
    Usual size in fish tanks: 12 - 15 cm (4.72 - 5.91 inch)
    Recommended pH range for the species: 5.3 - 7.6
    Recommended water hardness (dGH): 0 - 18°N (0 - 321.43ppm)
    Recommended temperature: 23 - 29 °C (73.4 - 84.2°F)
     
    I do appreciate that they need a tall tank, mine is 50cm tall which is the recommended minimum for keeping them. 
     
    I've been going in to chat with the fish keeper at my local store.  He says that their angels are locally bred so they're are acclimated to harder more alkaline water than in the wild.  Not sure if he's just trying to make a sale, or if the Angels in the UK are, in fact, a little hardier than other parts of the world.
     
    I've got a few weeks until my tank has cycled, so plenty of time for more research.
     
  13. GlennStretton

    GlennStretton Mostly New Member

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    Ok, Just seen some pictures of Angels squeezed into a tank my size.  It doesn't look particularly comfortable! Back to the drawing board then!
     
  14. Akasha72

    Akasha72 Warning - Mad Cory Woman

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    there's a common misconception amongst older fish keepers in particular that if a fish has been raised in harder water from birth then it's fine to keep it like that for the entirety of it's life - which will be shortened. 
     
    The damage to the fish occurs in places we can't see - their kidneys is one place.
     
    It is true that the tank bred specimens we buy have evolved to withstand water hardness far removed from their wild counterparts. If you were to catch a wild specimen and add it to a tank, unless you've dropped your pH to around 4.5 it won't survive. It needs the pH range dropped so low and then acclimatised up to a higher level slowly. Where-as the tank bred angelfish is born into a pH usually in the 7's and so they don't need to be acclimatised. That doesn't mean though that we should encourage keeping any kind of central/South American cichlid in hard water.
     
    I suspect this chap is trying to make a sale but that's his job I guess.
     
    Anyhow .... you have us here. We have nothing to gain by misleading you. Our main concern is for the welfare of the animal. I'm glad that you've seen photo's of angels crammed into a smaller tank. Sometimes we need to see it with our own eyes - I'm a bit like that if I'm honest.
     
    So with moderately hard water we need to look at what fish would be best suited for this new tank. Unfortunately hard water fish arn't my thing as I only keep soft water species but there will be loads of members well versed in what fish will thrive in your water type.
     
    I wish you luck :)
     
  15. GlennStretton

    GlennStretton Mostly New Member

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    I've decided against the Angels, I've got some more accurate readings for my water and its way outside the parameters for keeping them, as well as the potential size issues.
     
    My readings at the moment are:
     
    Nitrate mg/l 45
    Nitrite  mg/l 0.16
    Total Hardness: 11 DH
    Carbonate Hardness 18 DH
    PH 8
    Co2 mg/l 6
     
    From what I've read, Guppies, Mollies and central american Chichlids are best suited to the hard alkaline water I have.  Back to the drawing board! [​IMG]
     
    The tank is starting to look like something though.
     
     
     

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