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Starting new 36 gallon aquarium.

Discussion in 'New to the Hobby Questions and Answers' started by Nathan Aldridge, Jul 4, 2019.

  1. Nathan Aldridge

    Nathan Aldridge New Member

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    Hello everyone!

    I used this forum many years ago when I began the hobby and haven't had the opportunity to have fish for a long time. Due to some amazing kindness, I am coming into a 36 gallon bowfront tank, standand all equipment that the previous owners had, for free.

    I am going to be buying a sponge filter, or something similar that also creates good water flow. Some advice in this department that won't break the bank would be appreciated.

    And as for stocking. I have done lots of research and want some equation of:
    • Honey Gourami
    • Panda Cory
    • Peacock Gudgeon
    • Harlequin Rasbora
    Not afraid to overstock a little because I plan to maximize the filtration in the tank and will at least partially plant the aquarium.

    I do not want to stress these fish out in the same vein so I am looking for a happy medium.

    Looking forward to learning from you.
     
  2. Byron

    Byron Member

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    Welcome back to the hobby and TFF.

    It would help members suggest fish species if we knew the water parameters of your source (tap) water. GH (general or total hardness) and pH especially. You should be able to find these out from your municipal water authority if you are on city water, check their website.

    The fish species mentioned are soft water, but leaving that there are some other similarities and one is water current. All of these prefer quieter water, so a sponge filter is ideal here. It will create some surface disturbance (necessary) without strong currents in the tank. Plants also do not benefit from currents so that is another plus. I use dual sponge filters in most of my tanks with similar fish. Something like the one pictured below; these connect to an air pump obviously, but they provide very good biological filtration and some surface disturbance without strong currents. You can position this in one rear corner next to the heater (which helps disperse the heat).
     

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  3. Nathan Aldridge

    Nathan Aldridge New Member

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    Hello. I have looked all over the internet for the water parameters for my area. I live in Clarksville Indiana, our water is cleaned from the Ohio River. I use the same exact water sources as my LFS and he keeps all of the above mentioned fish.
    I have scoured the internet for water parameters. I live right on the Ohio River in Clarksville Indiana. I actually live close enough to my LFS to be fed from the same water lines.
    I assume the water is pretty soft because he keeps predominantly south american fish.
     
  4. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    Contact your water company by telephone and ask them what the general hardness (GH), carbonate hardness (KH) and pH are. You want numbers not hard or soft. And ask them what the test results are in (eg: ppm, or dGH or something else).

    If the water company won't give you this info, take a glass full of tank water to the local pet shop and ask them to test the water for you. Again, you want numbers and what the test results are measured in.

    ---------------------------
    River water can be hard, soft, fresh or brackish, or any combination of these. And the pH can vary between 5.0 & 8.0+
     
    #4 Colin_T, Jul 8, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2019
  5. Byron

    Byron Member

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    I agree with Colin, post #4.

    This is a common misconception, that if the fish are "OK" in the store tanks, they will be OK in the home aquarium. Not necessarily so.

    Stores have fish from many different areas with differing parameters, from hard water rift lake cichlids and livebearers to very soft water tetras and such. Some stores do some water chemistry, but many do not. Those that do might, in a soft water area for example (as I live in) the local stores have a bank of tanks with calcareous substrate and they keep the hard water species in this area. But I suspect in most areas the stores do not do much with the parameters, for the basic reason that they do not intend keeping the fish long enough to justify the fuss. This generally works, except in extremes. But the point is that you should never take the store's tanks as any indication for your home tank(s). This applies not only to water parameters, but often to compatibility, and certainly to tank size and numbers.

    Members sometimes wonder why fish species "X" is in the same tank at the store as fish species "Y" so why not at home? In the store tank the fish are all basically under considerable stress because of inappropriate conditions which include water parameters, numbers, lack of needed aquascaping, incompatible species, etc. The usually crowded conditions plus the ordeal the fish went through getting from the source to the store will affect its behaviours for a time. But once it is in your home tank--where it will spend the rest of its life--things are very different. If these conditions replicate inappropriate conditions from the store, the fish is not going to do well. It will be severely stressed which weakens it and leads to other issues, and it will inevitably die prematurely.

    So ignore most of what you may see with respect to the store tanks, and do the research on what the fish requires to be normal and healthy and then be able to provide that. If you can, then the fish will be happy and healthy in your tank, and provide a lot of enjoyment. :fish:
     
  6. Nathan Aldridge

    Nathan Aldridge New Member

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    I found the water quality reports finally.
     

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  7. Nathan Aldridge

    Nathan Aldridge New Member

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    Expanded report Screenshot_20190710-152056_Drive.jpg Screenshot_20190710-152046_Drive.jpg Screenshot_20190710-151423_Drive.jpg
     
  8. Byron

    Byron Member

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    The GH is in the range 137-239 mg/l or ppm (hobby uses ppm which is the same value as mg/l). In dH (the other common hobby unit) this is (rounded off) 8 to 13 dGH. The 2018 sampling is 191 ppm (= 10 dGH) which is moderately hard water. The pH at 7.2 to 7.6 is not likely to lower with this GH.

    Nitrate also caught my eye but it is basically zero so no issues there.

    Now that we know this...the fish listed in post #1 should be OK here. With the possible exception of the peacock gudgeon none will be wild caught (not sure of the gudgeon).
     
  9. Nathan Aldridge

    Nathan Aldridge New Member

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    The Peacock Gudgeons are actually bred by a local hobbyist in the area. We have met in store and I have had a chance to walk around his fish room.

    Is there anything I can do with the water to make it softer or do I not really need too.
     
  10. Byron

    Byron Member

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    For the fish mentioned, I would suggest things are likely OK. Not the best but not too extreme.

    Adjusting water parameters is not at all as simple as it may appear. There is not magic fix of adding some water additive because the interaction of GH/KH/pH/CO2 is involved and going after one can trigger real fluctuating problems, and this is extremely hard on fish. Stability is better provided the levels are not extreme.

    If you did soften the water, the only method is dilution with "pure" water such as RO, distilled or if otherwise safe rainwater. This would be relatively easy were it a one time process, but it needs to be carried out at each and every water change, which means preparing the water in advance so the tank's biology is stable from water change to water change. The fish must adjust their internal processes such as the pH of their blood to match the water they live in; this is just one example of why water stability is crucial. Fish forced into these situations will be severely weakened.
     
  11. Deanasue

    Deanasue Moderator
    Staff Member Moderator Global Moderator Tank of the Month Winner!

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    I have just started using the same type sponge filters that Byron has posted. I have tanks from 10G up to 55G and I just buy the sponge filter appropriate for each size tank. I really am liking them. In my 55G I do have 2 hob’s along with the sponge filter as I have goldfish in that tank with heavy bio-loads. I have noticed my nitrates staying lower since adding the sponge filter.
     

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