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Setting up a new aquarium after 25 years out of the hobby

Chu'Wuti

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Hi, folks!

We are getting ready to set up a 75-gallon aquarium after being out of the fish-keeping hobby for about 25 years, so I am being very careful in my preparation, taking my time to do my research and plan. My husband is part of the "we," but he has zero experience in this hobby. We have a couple of starting questions (and I'm sure there will be more!)

1) We bought an EHEIM Classic 350 external filter. This is the first time I've used an external canister filter, so I want to be sure I'm setting everything up properly before we put water in the tank. How much space do we need behind the aquarium to the wall? Right now, we've set it at about 2 inches. Is that sufficient space for hoses and for us to deal with hoses? Or do we need more space between the aquarium and the wall?

2) We had the water tested at our LFS. They do very poor tests, unfortunately, and gave us zero information about hardness. I have ordered a water test kit--the API Freshwater Aquarium Master Test Kit, 800 count--and will re-learn how to do my own water tests. It may take another week for the test kit to arrive due to the impact of SARS-CoV-2 on shipping processes. The pH of our water straight from the tap is 7.6. We do know that our water is pretty hard, so we will need to do some work to bring the hardness level down. Long years ago, I used to use a mixture of tap water (allowed to sit for at least 48 hours to dechlorinate) and distilled water/deionized water. It is my understanding that our city began using a different chlorine treatment product that will not outgas from the water, so the second question is: is there a means of treating that, or should we use only deionized water?
 

LindaJanie

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Hi, folks!

We are getting ready to set up a 75-gallon aquarium after being out of the fish-keeping hobby for about 25 years, so I am being very careful in my preparation, taking my time to do my research and plan. My husband is part of the "we," but he has zero experience in this hobby. We have a couple of starting questions (and I'm sure there will be more!)

1) We bought an EHEIM Classic 350 external filter. This is the first time I've used an external canister filter, so I want to be sure I'm setting everything up properly before we put water in the tank. How much space do we need behind the aquarium to the wall? Right now, we've set it at about 2 inches. Is that sufficient space for hoses and for us to deal with hoses? Or do we need more space between the aquarium and the wall?

2) We had the water tested at our LFS. They do very poor tests, unfortunately, and gave us zero information about hardness. I have ordered a water test kit--the API Freshwater Aquarium Master Test Kit, 800 count--and will re-learn how to do my own water tests. It may take another week for the test kit to arrive due to the impact of SARS-CoV-2 on shipping processes. The pH of our water straight from the tap is 7.6. We do know that our water is pretty hard, so we will need to do some work to bring the hardness level down. Long years ago, I used to use a mixture of tap water (allowed to sit for at least 48 hours to dechlorinate) and distilled water/deionized water. It is my understanding that our city began using a different chlorine treatment product that will not outgas from the water, so the second question is: is there a means of treating that, or should we use only deionized water?
If I were you, I'd call the water treatment department & talk to one of the engineers about the city water issue. Seems like a good place to start, anyhow. I do use some distilled water in mine, but only if I've got evaporation. For normal water changes, the city water here (sitting out for a couple of days) works fine. I do know that there are now products which remove both chlorine & chloramine from tap water; not needed where I live, but you might look into that, too. Have fun.
 

Retired Viking

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I use Imagitarium water conditioner and it takes care of both chlorine and chloramine and I would think most on the market these days would. Like @LindaJanie I use to let my water sit and age but not with chloramine- it last a lot longer in the water. Many cities now use it.
 

seangee

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Is that sufficient space for hoses and for us to deal with hoses? Or do we need more space between the aquarium and the wall?
Only you can answer that :) - you don't need more space but may find it convenient
I have ordered a water test kit--the API Freshwater Aquarium Master Test Kit, 800 count--and will re-learn how to do my own water tests.
From memory the master kit does not include hardness tests. The info may be available on your water suppliers website, or you could use strips - which are good enough to give an indication. Since hardness does not change over time the cost of buying a liquid test may not be justified.
so we will need to do some work to bring the hardness level down.
Lets find out first what the actual hardness is. GH is the number we are interested in and the unit of the test. There are a few different units in common use. Some fish need hard water, some need soft and others are tolerant of a wider range. I usually recommend that people keep the fish that are suited to their water as that is usually easier (and cheaper) - but of course that is a choice depending on what fish you choose.
chlorine treatment product that will not outgas from the water, so the second question is: is there a means of treating that, or should we use only deionized water?
Most dechlorinators do deal with chloramine. Check the lable and instructions. With some the dosage is different for chlorine (old style treatment) and chloramine (new style treatment). If you are comfortable using DI water, and have a convenient supply, that is indeed a way to lower the hardness but may not be required depending on how hard your water
 

PheonixKingZ

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Hi, folks!

We are getting ready to set up a 75-gallon aquarium after being out of the fish-keeping hobby for about 25 years, so I am being very careful in my preparation, taking my time to do my research and plan. My husband is part of the "we," but he has zero experience in this hobby. We have a couple of starting questions (and I'm sure there will be more!)

1) We bought an EHEIM Classic 350 external filter. This is the first time I've used an external canister filter, so I want to be sure I'm setting everything up properly before we put water in the tank. How much space do we need behind the aquarium to the wall? Right now, we've set it at about 2 inches. Is that sufficient space for hoses and for us to deal with hoses? Or do we need more space between the aquarium and the wall?

2) We had the water tested at our LFS. They do very poor tests, unfortunately, and gave us zero information about hardness. I have ordered a water test kit--the API Freshwater Aquarium Master Test Kit, 800 count--and will re-learn how to do my own water tests. It may take another week for the test kit to arrive due to the impact of SARS-CoV-2 on shipping processes. The pH of our water straight from the tap is 7.6. We do know that our water is pretty hard, so we will need to do some work to bring the hardness level down. Long years ago, I used to use a mixture of tap water (allowed to sit for at least 48 hours to dechlorinate) and distilled water/deionized water. It is my understanding that our city began using a different chlorine treatment product that will not outgas from the water, so the second question is: is there a means of treating that, or should we use only deionized water?
Sorry for the late reply, TFF was down for a while. I would say you need to figure out how much space you need. I suggest more than 2 inches though.

2) Yes, buy a simple de chlorinator online or at your LFS. I personally use Tetra AquaSafe, but the brand is up to you. Just make sure you follow the directions on the back of the bottle. :)
 

essjay

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Most, if not all, dechlorinators deal with chloramine. This is an ammonia and a chlorine joined together. The dechloinator splits chloramine and removed the chlorine part, leaving the ammonia part in the water. A lot of dechlorinators also contain something to detoxify ammonia; this detoxification lasts 24 to 36 hours and the filter bacteria will have 'eaten' the ammonia before it becomes toxic again. This detoxified ammonia will still show up in the ammonia test.
 

essjay

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Some dechlorinators say they detoxify ammonia for up to 24 hours, some say up to 36 hours. But the amount of ammonia released from chloramine will be removed by the bacteria in a cycled tank in a lot less than 24 hours.
 

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I typed out a post yesterday, but the system happened to go down for several hours so it did not appear. Still seems relevant, so here it is.

Welcome to TFF, and the hobby.

Question 1...I would move the tank out from the wall a bit further, say 5 inches. I ran into this issue myself and getting the filter intake and return in and out when cl;eaning the canister and removing the tubes to clean can be very difficult without adequate space.

Question 2 on the water...GH is not included in the API Master Combo test kit as it is a parameter that rarely needs testing once you know the GH of the source water (unless you then go down the road of adjusting parameters). You might be able to find this data online, check the website of your municipal water authority. If you see general hardness or total hardness, that is what you/we need to know; the number and their unit of measurement as there are several. Once we have the actual GH, it will be easier for you to decide on what if any water adjustments may be advisable.

When testing the pH of tap water, you need to ensure the CO2 is out-gassed or the reading could be inaccurate. Letting a glass of tap water sit 24 hours is one way to do this, then test. This is never needed with aquarium tank water, just tap.

The chlorine issue probably refers to chloramine. Many areas now use this because it will not out-gas like plain chlorine. Most conditioners, certainly the good ones, all detoxify chlorine and chloramine. While you are on the water authority site, see if chloramine is mentioned.
 

PheonixKingZ

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When testing the pH of tap water, you need to ensure the CO2 is out-gassed or the reading could be inaccurate. Letting a glass of tap water sit 24 hours is one way to do this, then test. This is never needed with aquarium tank water, just tap.
That’s where I got the 24 hours from, thanks for clearing that up. ;)
 
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Chu'Wuti

Chu'Wuti

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I typed out a post yesterday, but the system happened to go down for several hours so it did not appear. Still seems relevant, so here it is.

Welcome to TFF, and the hobby.

Question 1...I would move the tank out from the wall a bit further, say 5 inches. I ran into this issue myself and getting the filter intake and return in and out when cl;eaning the canister and removing the tubes to clean can be very difficult without adequate space.
First, Byron and Everyone: Thank you VERY much for all the great information and tips! Everyone is so helpful--I'm so glad to be joining this community!

Byron, your response to this first question is especially helpful, as it would be awful to fill the tank with it too close to the wall to do what needs to be done in the future!

Question 2 on the water...GH is not included in the API Master Combo test kit as it is a parameter that rarely needs testing once you know the GH of the source water (unless you then go down the road of adjusting parameters). You might be able to find this data online, check the website of your municipal water authority. If you see general hardness or total hardness, that is what you/we need to know; the number and their unit of measurement as there are several. Once we have the actual GH, it will be easier for you to decide on what if any water adjustments may be advisable.

When testing the pH of tap water, you need to ensure the CO2 is out-gassed or the reading could be inaccurate. Letting a glass of tap water sit 24 hours is one way to do this, then test. This is never needed with aquarium tank water, just tap.

The chlorine issue probably refers to chloramine. Many areas now use this because it will not out-gas like plain chlorine. Most conditioners, certainly the good ones, all detoxify chlorine and chloramine. While you are on the water authority site, see if chloramine is mentioned.
Yes, I was referring to chloramine, which my city began using a number of years ago.

The pH level that the LFS got may have been inaccurate, based on your explanation--I had not allowed the tap water to outgas properly. So I will put some water in a bucket and allow it to outgas while I wait for the test kit to arrive.

Here's a screenshot of the basic info available on my city's website; much more detailed information about sources and predictions for water availability into the future is available in a long document that I won't post here.

1585755263758.png


Thanks again for the help so far--I will get that aquarium move out farther from the wall before I begin washing sand and pouring it into the tank!

Sandy
 

essjay

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The figure you need for hardness is the first one
"Total hardness 150 mg /l as CaCO3"

mg/l CaCO3 is the same as ppm, and it converts to 8.4 dH. Fish profiles use one unit or the other so you need to know your hardness in both. It is not really soft but neither is it hard. You be able to find more soft-ish water fish with your hardness in their range than hard water fish.
 

PheonixKingZ

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Yes, definitely move the aquarium before you start putting decor/water in there.

1 US gallon = 8 pounds. That’s a lot if you have a big tank.
 

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