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 First tank! She's taking on 37 gallons, captain!

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starfish
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PostSubject: First tank! She's taking on 37 gallons, captain!   Tue Apr 23, 2013 11:11 am

So I just bought my first tank, which I haven't set up yet. I bought it used, with the filter and gravel still moist and hopefully with the bacteria colonies still alive and well. It's a 37 gallon, tall and thin, with the filter, gravel, light and some driftwood thrown in, too.

I don't have a stand, but I have a sturdy desk that I can dedicate entirely to tank. It should look very nice.

So, here's my plan. I'm going to buy a test kit and a dechlorinator and fill it and start running it and testing the water. I plan to do a fishless cycle, which may be easier with the used filter and gravel, but I'm not sure. Anyway, I was going to start out by planting the tank (and adding some neon fake plants, because I am a woman of very little taste) and add fish slowly, after the tank has been established for a while.

I know some of the fish I want in my tank- I'm a little obsessed with schooling fish, like neon or cardinal tetras, and I like cories and ghost shrimp*. *Not a fish. But I'm really not aware of what's out there, and I'd like to have some balance visually. Originally I was going to just get 30 neon tetras, but I realized I'd like a little more happening.

I really like long-fin red minor tetras, too, which are also schooling fish, and I kind of want one big dude just hanging out. Particularly since my tank is so tall, too, I also want some balance with the top swimming fish, middle swimmers and bottom swimmers. One of the most important things to me is as little fish death as possible, so I really want a peaceful community.

The other problem I have is that I haven't the faintest idea what kind of plants would be happy in my tank. I have regular gravel, which I would be happy to layer over peat, or I could put in sand.

Thoughts? Recommendations? Advice? I'm soaking up as much information as I can right now.
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gerald
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PostSubject: Re: First tank! She's taking on 37 gallons, captain!   Tue Apr 23, 2013 2:19 pm

If the gravel is coarse (4 mm or larger) you can add sand to help fill in the spaces between and make it a better substrate for plants. Could also put a thin layer of waterlogged soil (soak a few days in a bucket, and pour out whatever doesn't sink) underneath the sand/gravel, at least along the back where you want plants to grow tallest. Some easy low-light plants for a tall narrow tank include Vallisneria, Cryptocoryne wendtii, Ludwigia palustris, Hygrophila difformis, Myriophyllum pinnatum, Java fern, Christmas moss, Java moss, etc. What sort of light fixture do you have (number of tubes and watts)? It's hard to get much light into a tall narrow tank unless you spend $$$ on high-output lighting, so I'd go with low-light plants.

Beware that some of the plants sold for aquarium use are land plants and cannot grow underwater. They'll survive a few months, just long enough that it doesn't seem like the store's fault when they die, so you'll come back and buy more.

Good upper-water fish that should mix OK with neons and red minors (serpae) include hatchets, pencilfish, small danios, rasboras, emperors. For your "one big dude" how about a blue ram, bolivian ram, kribensis, honey gourami, dwarf gourami, paradise fish, ... ?
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RylandVT
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PostSubject: Re: First tank! She's taking on 37 gallons, captain!   Tue Apr 23, 2013 9:23 pm

I have cardinals in my 40 gallon along with a pair of german blue rams. The rams have such big personalities, very fun to watch and they both are eager to come up to the front to see me. For top dwellers, I was thinking marbled hatchets but just haven't gotten there yet. I had emperor tetras but I discovered they were jumpers. Definitely have the tank completely covered if you are considering either of these top dwellers. i did love the emperors though, absolutely beautiful-Richmond Aquarium has a large group of these guys if you're interested.

As for plants, I've found Crypt wendtii the easiest to grow. I'm a newbie in the plant department with a low-light fixture. Hope this helps!
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ddavis1979
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PostSubject: Re: First tank! She's taking on 37 gallons, captain!   Wed Apr 24, 2013 8:52 am

I am also relatively new to the hobby (I started last August) but it seems that we are seeking similar fish in our tanks. I have been through some evolutions in my fish stock, and here is what has made me the happiest.

- a school of 10-12 neon or cardinal tetras (bottom swimmiers)
- a school of 8-10 block neon or lamp eye tetras (middle swimmers)
- a single non-dwarf gourami (my gold gourami is awesome, but I loved my opaline before that as well) (top swimmer)
- 4 Leopard/julii/sterbai cory cats (pick one, they are all spotted) (bottom)
- 1 Rainbow shark (bottom)
- 2 Bamboo shrimp and 4 amano shrimp and 6 ghost shrimp

I did break the rules some as well, I have 2 male cherry barbs, and they seem to do fine. The striking red color looks good with the other fish. I also have a pleco and a farlowella stick catfish. (reason they are rule breakers...the barbs should be in a school of 8 or more, and the other catfish are starting to exceed the recommended amount of fish for my tank size.) But no fish death in a long time, and thats what matters right!

some words of caution....most barb species (cherry barb not included) are semi aggressive and nippy. I had a school of tiger barbs, and that pack of wolves killed a lot of fish. The rainbow sharks and gouramis can also be a little territorial. I had to get rid of the opaline gourami, as he passed 4" in lenth his aggression continued and could not continue to be a member of a community tank. However, the gold gourami is same size now and is very peaceful. Remember that each fish has its own personality. I have seen african ciclids that were peaceful and buenos aires tetras that were aggressive Smile


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55 Gallon Freshwater Community Tank (semi-planted) 48"x21"x13"
20 Gallon Long Freshwater Community Tank (semi-planted) 30"x12"x13"


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thegundog
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PostSubject: Re: First tank! She's taking on 37 gallons, captain!   Thu Apr 25, 2013 9:10 pm

Welcome to the forum Starfish!

For someone starting heir first tank it sounds like you have done some research and that's great.

You've already received some great advice, in terms of the cycle keep reading and researching - that's a huge point of mistake for many.

My preference is to take filter material from an established tank and use it in the new set up, by doing so you are basically transfering cycled media and you can begin to add your fish immediately. Do some research on this method and if you decide you want to go this route I'm sure someone on the forum who is close to you in Richmond will gladly provide you with cycled media. I have extra media I'd gladly give you, but I'm not that close to you geographically.

Live Plants: in my opinion a must with new tanks, they can be very beneficial to water quality. You've received some great suggestions on species already....

Fish: I love the active schoolers too... I would suggest some Rummy Nose Tetras, they are without a doubt some of the best schooling fish - they stay in tight groups and go everywhere together.

A couple of weeks ago I purchased some Green Tetras from Rama at Skoolz of Fish - they are similar to Neons but have a green color in place of the blue and they are even smaller than the neons. I am so glad I purchased them they are EVERYWHERE in the tank it's non stop action. Think about this species, they are very colorful and will go well with Cardinals, or Rummies or other tetras and are much more hardy than neons.

Enjoy your new tank, ask questions here and keep us updated on how things are going.

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ddavis1979
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PostSubject: Re: First tank! She's taking on 37 gallons, captain!   Fri Apr 26, 2013 10:10 am

I think I mean to post this here:


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I forgot to mention the plants...

My favorite plant by far is Anubias 'Nana'. Slow growing, low light, very hearty and fish dont seem to nibble much.

#2 - Cryptocoryn Wendtii

#3 - Java Fern

I have had bad experiences with dwarf hair grass and micro sword.

Also, if you wanted some different top level swimmers other than Gouramis, the live bearers, Mollies and Platys have a lot of varieties. Also some golden wonder killifish are nice

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55 Gallon Freshwater Community Tank (semi-planted) 48"x21"x13"
20 Gallon Long Freshwater Community Tank (semi-planted) 30"x12"x13"


Watch my updated aquarium video!
http://youtu.be/5SlIkYyPTWg
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