New to tropical fish - seeking some advice

jonnyc88

Fish Fanatic
Joined
Jun 21, 2020
Messages
134
Reaction score
61
Location
England
We should be expecting a new fish tank tomorrow which would be our very first tropical fish tank.

The tank size is 145L or roughly 32gallons.
Size of the tank (L x W x H) is 81cm x 38cm x 55cm or about 32" x 15" x 22".
The tank comes with 200W heater and Ocellaris 850 l /h filter.

We plan to have some live plants in the aquarium. Substrate we are starting with is 4KG of Fluval Plant & Shrimp Stratrum Aquarium Planting Substrate.
The plan is to have about 1-2" deep of substrate. Would this be enough? Do we need to mix with some gravel or sand?
We also plan to get some driftwood and perhaps some pipe for hiding places.

Once the aquascape is sorted and the water is established we would look at getting some fish.

In terms of stocking, we would like to have tetras, danios, corydoras, shrimps and snails.

For the initial purchase I plan to get the below:
x10 Neon Tetras
x10 Ember Tetras
x10 X Ray Tetras
x10 Sterbai Corys

Once this is established we would move some shrimps from my daughter's 30L aquarium. We would also like to add some guppies, Danios and shrimps from my daughter's 30L tank after a month or so when the aquarium is more established.

Is this too much fish? Should I start with less fish?
 

Byron

Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2009
Messages
13,733
Reaction score
4,915
Location
CA
Welcome to TFF.

First, substrate. If you intend cory catfish, it is not advisable to use any of the plant substrates. Smooth sand is needed; you can get aquarium sand from a fish store/supply place, or use something like play sand. I use play sand in all my tanks. As you are in the UK, I believe Argos Play Sand is a good one to consider. Not all "play" sands are the same.

Plants. Live plants will avoid having to cycle the tank, as the plants take up ammonia/ammonium rapidly. Inert play sand will be just as good for plants. It is easy to add nutrients via substrate tabs and/or liquid comprehensive fertilizers.

Fish. First thing is to ascertain the GH and pH of your tap water. You should be able to get these from your water authority, check if they have a website with water data listed. You have listed fish that all come from softer water (except for the guppies) but can manage up to moderately soft/hard, but let's pin down the number.
 
OP
jonnyc88

jonnyc88

Fish Fanatic
Joined
Jun 21, 2020
Messages
134
Reaction score
61
Location
England
Welcome to TFF.

First, substrate. If you intend cory catfish, it is not advisable to use any of the plant substrates. Smooth sand is needed; you can get aquarium sand from a fish store/supply place, or use something like play sand. I use play sand in all my tanks. As you are in the UK, I believe Argos Play Sand is a good one to consider. Not all "play" sands are the same.

Plants. Live plants will avoid having to cycle the tank, as the plants take up ammonia/ammonium rapidly. Inert play sand will be just as good for plants. It is easy to add nutrients via substrate tabs and/or liquid comprehensive fertilizers.

Fish. First thing is to ascertain the GH and pH of your tap water. You should be able to get these from your water authority, check if they have a website with water data listed. You have listed fish that all come from softer water (except for the guppies) but can manage up to moderately soft/hard, but let's pin down the number.
Wow, thanks for the quick reply Byron, much appreciated :)

I didn't realise I can just use play sand or aquarium sand with live plants. I'll have a look at Argos play sand however I think Amazon sells aquarium sand too, i.e. : https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07HFJQCRX/?tag=
My daugher prefers darker substrates.
Is there a guide of how deep to lay the substrate?
Perhaps I would change plan and go with simpler substrate and all nutrients separately as recommended.

Below are the 2019 data from my local water authority (we have testing kits too and would test this once the aquarium is filled):
251.25 mg/l (or parts per million) :Calcium Carbonate
100.5 mg/l (or parts per million) :Calcium
17.487 °C Degrees Clark
25.125 °F Degrees French
14.271 °dH Degrees German
2.513 mmol/l :Millimoles

I believe the water around our area is fairly hard however I'm hoping the filter would help.
 
OP
jonnyc88

jonnyc88

Fish Fanatic
Joined
Jun 21, 2020
Messages
134
Reaction score
61
Location
England
We would need to know your water parameters, GH and PH. The fish you selected are soft water fish so I hope your water is soft.
Hi Retired Viking,
I've posted above the data from my local water authority.
I believe the water here is on the hard side.
I'm glad I've asked here before buying the fish, our neighbour has tank with the same species I've mentioned hence why I'm considering it.
Hopefully they are suitable otherwise I would appreciate other suitable options.

edit: My daughter has a small tank with some shrimps and they are doing well.
 

Retired Viking

Fish Herder
Joined
Nov 22, 2019
Messages
4,894
Reaction score
4,651
Location
north woods
I have water that is moderately hard but I like tetras so I use RO water to lower the hardness in their tank. All my other tanks are hard water so I have guppies and other live bearers in those.
 
OP
jonnyc88

jonnyc88

Fish Fanatic
Joined
Jun 21, 2020
Messages
134
Reaction score
61
Location
England
I have water that is moderately hard but I like tetras so I use RO water to lower the hardness in their tank. All my other tanks are hard water so I have guppies and other live bearers in those.
My daugther does mixed in some filtered water into her tank to lower the hardness. It's mostly limescale.
I think I've read there are tablets to lower the hardness of the water too?
I like small schooling fish so really hoping we can have the tetras and corys.
 

Retired Viking

Fish Herder
Joined
Nov 22, 2019
Messages
4,894
Reaction score
4,651
Location
north woods
Having soft water fish in hard water shortens their lives and tends to stress their systems making them more likely to develop an illness same with Hard water fish in soft water. Also soft water fish are mostly egg layers and the eggs will not hatch in hard water.
 
OP
jonnyc88

jonnyc88

Fish Fanatic
Joined
Jun 21, 2020
Messages
134
Reaction score
61
Location
England
Having soft water fish in hard water shortens their lives and tends to stress their systems making them more likely to develop an illness same with Hard water fish in soft water. Also soft water fish are mostly egg layers and the eggs will not hatch in hard water.
Thanks for this. I will see what Byron replies. I want the best quality of life for the fish so would get the ones the are best suited to my tank.
 

Retired Viking

Fish Herder
Joined
Nov 22, 2019
Messages
4,894
Reaction score
4,651
Location
north woods
This Is a picture of my "soft water" 55 gallon tetra tank. It has neon, glow light, ember and red eyed tetra and albino cory in it. I have to lug around several 5 gallon jugs of RO water each week to do water change so it is possible to have soft water fish if you want to do the work.
 

Attachments

OP
jonnyc88

jonnyc88

Fish Fanatic
Joined
Jun 21, 2020
Messages
134
Reaction score
61
Location
England
This Is a picture of my "soft water" 55 gallon tetra tank. It has neon, glow light, ember and red eyed tetra and albino cory in it. I have to lug around several 5 gallon jugs of RO water each week to do water change so it is possible to have soft water fish if you want to do the work.
That's a big lovely tank :)
I've been doing some research and looks like it's possible to use water treatment like the Fluval water conditioner and also mix in some distilled water.
 

Byron

Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2009
Messages
13,733
Reaction score
4,915
Location
CA
Dealing first with GH, 14 dH is on the hard side, but not so hard you do not have some options. Obviously, livebearers (guppies, mollies, swordtails, platies, Endlers) will thrive, and there are a few other species. Many of the basically soft water species can also work. Species requiring very soft water cannot. From your initial list, neons and Embers will have some difficulty and are frankly best avoided, but the X-Ray (Pristella Tetra presumably) and cories should manage better. RetiredViking mentioned some of the issues fish have in hard water.

Softening water is only achievable by diluting the water with some type of "pure" water. We have to keep in mind not only the initial filling of the tank, but weekly water changes of 50-70% of the tank's volume, and having to prepare this water outside the aquarium is an extra effort. It will be safer to select fish more suited to what you have on hand, at least initially.

On the substrates, dark is always better for the fish. But it has to be inert (a calcareous material substrate would slowly dissolve calcium and magnesium into the water, increasing the GH), and very non-angular and not rough if cories or similar substrate fish may be acquired. "River sand" is the term frequently applied to suitable substrate sand.
 

Retired Viking

Fish Herder
Joined
Nov 22, 2019
Messages
4,894
Reaction score
4,651
Location
north woods
I have only one soft water tank out of four because of the extra work, even though there are a lot of soft water fish I want to have . Fancy guppies are a good starter fish for hard water and are hardier than many fish. Mollies and swordtails are also nice. Getting hard water fish will make keeping fish for you easier. As @Byron mentioned there are some tetras and cory that can do alright in your water. Just make sure you research or ask here for advice. Good luck.
 
OP
jonnyc88

jonnyc88

Fish Fanatic
Joined
Jun 21, 2020
Messages
134
Reaction score
61
Location
England
Dealing first with GH, 14 dH is on the hard side, but not so hard you do not have some options. Obviously, livebearers (guppies, mollies, swordtails, platies, Endlers) will thrive, and there are a few other species. Many of the basically soft water species can also work. Species requiring very soft water cannot. From your initial list, neons and Embers will have some difficulty and are frankly best avoided, but the X-Ray (Pristella Tetra presumably) and cories should manage better. RetiredViking mentioned some of the issues fish have in hard water.

Softening water is only achievable by diluting the water with some type of "pure" water. We have to keep in mind not only the initial filling of the tank, but weekly water changes of 50-70% of the tank's volume, and having to prepare this water outside the aquarium is an extra effort. It will be safer to select fish more suited to what you have on hand, at least initially.

On the substrates, dark is always better for the fish. But it has to be inert (a calcareous material substrate would slowly dissolve calcium and magnesium into the water, increasing the GH), and very non-angular and not rough if cories or similar substrate fish may be acquired. "River sand" is the term frequently applied to suitable substrate sand.
Many thank for the helpful advice.
The X ray tetras are Pristella Maxillaris so you are spot on :)
We would swap the ember and neon tetras for guppies , mollies and swordtails. Don't think we would get platies as we've already got corys.

How many should we get on the first batch?
x10 X ray tetras, x5 guppies, x10 mollies/swordtails, x10 Corys ok?
Or should I start with perhaps x10 x ray tetras or guppies and x 10 Corys first?
edit: Might not get guppies as looks like they might not be compatible with shrimps and corydoras.

I will ensure the dark sand substrate is inert and smooth :)
 
Last edited:
Top