Getting my 55gl anyday, yippy!

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lf11casey
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Getting my 55gl anyday, yippy!

Post by lf11casey » Sun Feb 01, 2009 10:58 am

Well I managed to pick up a new Rena Filstar XP2 for $100, hope that was a good deal. So now I have filter, heater, glass tops and 1 24'' strip light, need 1 more. Then I'll be set on equipment I think. Which outflow attachment on the filter would be best spraybar, nozzle or venturi for the loaches?
My husband has said I can use our tax return, getting any day now I hope, to get my tank and stand. I'm excited I have wanted a tank this size for a long time. I'll still be working on a tight budget for the decor as it were. So I have a couple questions, don't I always, lol. I was originally going to go with a black sand substrate but it's to much for me at the price my LFS has it. They do have regular sand at like $10 for a 20lb bag and it's what I already use. So was wondering about how many lbs I would need for a 1''-1 1/2'' bed? If anybody has a suggestion that would be cool. For plants I'm going to start with java fern, java moss and crypts till I can upgrade lighting someday. Any other low light plants that would work with just 2 24'' lights with regular bulbs? I don't think there is but thought I would ask. For hardscape it's just going to be driftwood and rocks. The best place for me to get rocks in bulk is the local creek but not sure this is a good idea since I don't now what might be running into it except some run off from local farms. I think I'm stuck with LFS, local rock quarry or creek for rocks. Does any one now of a website where I might get driftwood in bulk for a good price?
I think my only other question for now is what would be a good fish for the upper area that my loaches wouldn't try to nibble on? I was thinking maybe rainbows, but was concerned about stocking levels. Right now I have 3 yoyo's that will be going in. I'm going to get 3 more and I thought maybe 6 striata's that's about it. So I'm open to suggestions.
Thanks everyone for any help you can give.
Casey
Water is the substance from which life is born. (Mortal Kombat)
For beneath the surface, lies the future. (SeaQuest DSV)

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Keith Wolcott
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Post by Keith Wolcott » Sun Feb 01, 2009 12:31 pm

The volume and weight calculator at http://www.redflint.com/resources.htm gives that 33.3 lbs of sand will give and you a 1 inch bed and 50 lbs will give you a 1.5 inch bed of sand. Thus it looks like two twenty pound bags might be good (1.2 inches average height).

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mistergreen
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Post by mistergreen » Mon Feb 02, 2009 12:42 am

I was talked into getting a 75G instead of a 55G because the 75G isn't that much bigger in dimension. :)

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soul-hugger
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Post by soul-hugger » Mon Feb 02, 2009 11:56 am

As the owner of a 55 Gallon, I will definitely say go with the 75! And I'll even tell you the reason. I got my 55 for such a good price I could not refuse. But if I was to do it again, I would definitely wait for a 75 to come along. If you haven't already sunk money into equipment tailored specifically to a 55, I would reconsider.
First of all, the 75 has a substantially higher gallonage and can support more fish. If you are looking at Botias, a 75 would be a tank they could settle in and live in comfortably for a long time, whereas with a 55, you may have to upgrade sooner than later.
Secondly, I can tell you are going to want to decorate, and that you enjoy this part of the aquarium hobby. A 55 Gallon, though very long, is only just over a foot wide. This seriously limits you when it comes to decorating, because you just don't have the depth to be able to create a 3-D-looking scene. I have been endlessly frustrated with trying to decorate this tank, and now whenever I look at it, it seems somewhat flat, and all my attempts to remedy this have fallen up short of what I would really like to do.
Thirdly, a 75 Gallon does not take up much more space than a 55, because most, if not all, of the size difference is in the width and not the length. This gives the fish a significantly larger footprint without taking up the space.
When I first got the 55, I thought it was huge and that I'd never need or want another larger. This is until I really got into researching Loaches, and began to see how big some of them get. This is not to say you can't create a beautiful environment with a 55. It's just that if I were to go back, I would ask more questions, and someone would have told me to go with a 75, just as I am suggesting to you now. :)

Take Care,
and let us know how it all turns out! :)
soul-hugger
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shari2
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Post by shari2 » Mon Feb 02, 2009 1:41 pm

Casey, I definitely agree with the get a 75 if you can!
I had the same problem with the lack of width that soul-hugger mentioned. That extra 6 or so inches makes a world of difference in decorating.

As for stream rocks I'd go for it. Look for non-porous, smooth, hard rocks. Quartz, granite, slate, etc. If there's gunk on them brush them really well, avoid cracked rocks, then boil them. They hold the heat for quite a while, even after the water's gone, so plan to wait an hour before you can handle them.

All of my rocks are picked up either from rivers/streams, or woods. I even got some really nice rocks from my local bank that used them in their parking lot! I just asked them if they'd mind if I took a few. 8)

You can also get wood from rivers - though my favorite pieces are mopani that I was either given or got from the lfs. They sink like a stone, even when dry and have wonderful swirly patterns.

When i first started in fish keeping I was dead broke. My brother gave me a 'free' 10g fish tank. Just the tank. lol
After getting a filter, lights, a bag of blue rocks (the kids :roll:) and a heater it was scrounge some decor or not have any. :lol:
So down to the pond I went with the kids and waded around looking for wood and rocks. Found a nice little knot and a branchy thing and brought them home. The beauty of collecting (besides the fun of it) is that you don't mind trimming down a large piece since it's FREE!
If you do collect wood from a stream or pond make sure you remove ALL the bark, scrub it well (those plastic pot scrubbers, a butter knife and a toothbrush come in handy) and boil the heck out of it. I still have the fatter one of those two little pieces, believe it or not! That was, oh, about 17 years or so ago...

As for sand, make sure you don't get a very fine grain. It blows around in the tank every time the water swishes over it and can get into filters etc. and wreak havoc! Pool filter sand is around $4 for a 20lb bag. It sinks well, though even that will blow around when larger fish start tussling.
Rinse it to DEATH! Even then, you'll still find there's tiny dust accumulating on the surface after you add water.

It's a good idea to fill the tank partway, vacuum up that dust, fill some more, vacuum again before you add plants or decor. Otherwise you will have that dust all over everything and it will be harder to clean. You'll have a cloudy tank for days. And where do you think that stuff will end up? That's right, in the filters...8)
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loachmom
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Post by loachmom » Mon Feb 02, 2009 7:21 pm

That's exciting about your new tank that you'll be getting. You'll have so much fun setting it up.
I've also used wood from local streams for my tank. Like Shari, I scrub and boil mine to death before putting them in my tank. I'm really happy with the pieces I've found.

I also think that if you can afford it, go for the 75 gallon. My husband built my tank stand to hold either a 55 gal or 75 gal. I'm now shopping for a 75 gallon, since my 55 seems just a little too small now.

Keep us updated on your new tank, please. :)

Don't forget about anubias plants. Mine are doing great in my low light tank. :wink:

lf11casey
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Post by lf11casey » Tue Feb 03, 2009 10:02 am

I would get a 75 instead of a 55 if I could afford it, donations anyone. I did mention that it would only be a little more for the tank and stand for a 75 to my husband but he flat out said no, already have the equipment needed for 55. The only thing I could carry over would be the filter since it's rated up to 75, all else I would have to replace.
It has taken me 2 years to get this equipment piece by piece as I could afford it. I don't want to wait any longer for a 75, it would be unfair to the 3 yoyo's that I already have. Currently they are stuck in a 29. A 75 is going to be my next project and I expect that will most likely take another 2 years or more getting stuff as I can afford it. Since I'm disabled and can't work, we're limited to my husbands job and my SSI. But where there is a will there is a way, I'm getting my 55, so I can eventually get a 75. Now if I can only get my crystal shrimp to start throwing SSS babies I could sell those a hundred a pop and be all set, lol.
I'll make a trip to the creek and see what I can find in rocks and driftwood.
Is there any obvious way to tell waterlogged softwood and driftwood apart? Or does it really matter what goes in the tank?
I'll keep everyone updated on tank progress and post picks as I go.
Thanks for the help.

loachmom - I didn't forget the anubias just forgot to mention it. It does really well in my low light tanks also, in fact better then in my higher light tank.
Casey
Water is the substance from which life is born. (Mortal Kombat)
For beneath the surface, lies the future. (SeaQuest DSV)

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soul-hugger
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Post by soul-hugger » Tue Feb 03, 2009 12:36 pm

Hello Again :)

Sorry to have pushed the 75. I understand and can relate to your circumstances well. I have also had to struggle to put my tanks together, and in the end, I think you can appreciate it more than if you could just run out and buy what you needed on a whim. I applaud your patience, for two years is a long time, and I don't blame you for not wanting to wait longer.

I often check my local listings, and have been surprised at some of the deals I have come across. People who have to move will sometimes sell the tank with all equipment for much cheaper than you could buy them new. Your local Aquarium Club would be another place to check. But it's also fun to buy new. Only my 10 Gallon is new, the others I bought second-hand.

It's going to be a lot of fun for you to put it together.

Bye for Now :)
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loachmom
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Post by loachmom » Tue Feb 03, 2009 12:39 pm

Hi Casey,

A 55 gallon is still a great size tank. I've had mine for over two years, and I've loved it. It's just now seeming too small since I can't seem to stop collecting loaches and other cool fish.
When I collect driftwood, I walk in the stream and look for submerged pieces. When I find a piece I like, I try to push my finger nail into it. If my nail doesn't go in, then that piece is a keeper.

Have fun decorating your new tank. You've certainly waited long enough and worked hard enough for it. I'll be watching for pics.
:D

lf11casey
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Post by lf11casey » Tue Feb 03, 2009 9:36 pm

Thanks for the understanding. I have not always been patient waiting, sometimes I just wanted to give up and go spend what money I had saved on something else. My not giving up is finally going to show results, or at least not stuff sitting around in boxes. I have a few tanks and most are second hand yard sale finds, bought by in-laws, or gifts bought as new.
I know becouse of the dimensions of the tank it is going to be a pain to get the decor interesting and not flat. I'm up to the challenge and like I said, I don't work, have a lot of free time. I see lots of driftwood in my future. Oh speaking of that in my above post when I asked about the softwood, I meant the difference between that and hardwood. Not the difference between softwood and driftwood, lol.
Another question on the driftwood. What is a good total boiling time? Like maybe boil half an hour, change water, boil another half hour then repeat whole cycle for however much time. I want to make sure anything is totally dead, like how I like my meat, lol. And here's a question on sand. What is an ideal grain size for loaches? I'm going to try and stop at the local pool store and see what they have. The stuff I already use I would say is a mix of 1mm-2mm, I think, haven't whipped out the ruler to check. My loaches have no problem with it, they really enjoy sifting through it, but it does get a little dusty looking if stirred up to much. So I might be willing to try something else if I can find anything. Also should I put a sponge over intake with a canister filter? I know I do with HOB's but never had a canister till now.
Thanks again.
Casey
Water is the substance from which life is born. (Mortal Kombat)
For beneath the surface, lies the future. (SeaQuest DSV)

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shari2
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Post by shari2 » Tue Feb 03, 2009 10:39 pm

I sponge the canister intakes, too.

I'm glad you're finally getting your tank, Casey. Persistence has its rewards. 8)

Your 1/2 on 1/2 off sounds good. Judge by how black the water is. Be prepared for that lovely 'wet woodsy' smell to be all over the house.

Look for oak, sycamore or maple and avoid the conifers (pine trees). If there's still leaves on it, that makes it easy. Or if you see pinecones. lol!
Other than that you go by the bark or the whorls in the wood.

Here's a site with a listing of a ton of trees and how to identify them:
http://forestry.about.com/cs/treeid/a/

Setting up a new tank is so much fun!
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lf11casey
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Post by lf11casey » Sun Feb 08, 2009 12:16 pm

Went into town yesterday and bought my tank and stand :D Had the truck so only brought home the stand, going to borrow the in-laws vehicle and get the tank when the lfs opens this afternoon. While in town we stopped at the pool store and the only sand they carry has stuff added to it. Don't remember what is was except crystallized something or other. Has a warning on the bag not to breath in dust and could cause cancer. I was like I don't think so, don't even think I would want that in my pool filter if I had a pool. So we are going to stop at Lowe's today also. I'm pretty sure that they didn't have any sand suited for tanks when I was shopping for sand before, but they may have gotten new stuff. If I can't find any there I'll have lfs order me some, they were out yesterday. I decided to go with a slightly higher grade to avoid the dust and I guess yoyo's don't mind the slightly larger size. Or am I wrong do they prefer the smaller? I was thinking if I have to order substrate the lfs might beable to get the bigger stuff and not the finer they usually have.
If I'm lucky I will have the tank set up by tonight. It will be pretty much empty since I'm only going to remove some of the decor and the sand from the current tank. Have a pair of albino bushynose plecos that will be moved to the old tank. Need to make a trip the the creek soon to find some stuff to put in the 55.
Right now I have 2 HOBs on the 29. My plan is to remove 1 filter use this media and some of the media from the other and distribute it through the canister on the 55. Will this be enough bacteria for just 3 loaches in the 55, will I have a mini cycle? Same goes for the 29 with the 2 small plecs, mini cycle or no? Or should I just remove the one filter, using it's media and leaving the other totally intact? Trying to find the best way without killing my fish. My lfs used to carry Bio Spera which I would have used, but like I said they used to carry it. They do have Cycle but from what I've heard that stuff is a waste of money. They carry 2 others in liquid form one is more for saltwater. The other lists on the bottle the bacteria used, the right kind. It is shipped to them in cool conditions, can be put on shelf if kept cool, but recommended storing is fridge. Can not remember the name of it. Was thinking about giving it a try to see how it works but don't know.
Another thing I'm happy about is that while looking through the fish while waiting for stand to be loaded, I came across a lonely little striata. So I had to get it. It is now in qt with some levamisole added just in case. This is only the second or third time I have seen zebras since I've lived here. Hopefully some more will show up on lfs list and he can order some more. The ones that show up pretty much all the time are clowns and yoyo's, so I now the yoyo's shouldn't be a problem getting, but I want more zebras. Well I guess this is enough rambling for now. Hopefully I will have some pics soon.
Casey
Water is the substance from which life is born. (Mortal Kombat)
For beneath the surface, lies the future. (SeaQuest DSV)

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loachmom
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Post by loachmom » Sun Feb 08, 2009 3:08 pm

Looking forward to the pictures, Casey.

I'm sure you're very excited. :D

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Post by Memnoch » Mon Feb 09, 2009 3:43 pm

Congrats and enjoy!!:)

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Post by lf11casey » Mon Feb 09, 2009 5:09 pm

Got the tank setup last night. Took a while to transfer the stuff from the 29, move it and then fill the 55 and then 29 back up. My loaches were not very happy about spending time in a bucket. My big male was really unhappy, but it was his fault he jumped right back out of the bucket after I put him in, and onto the floor. I was nice and scooped him up and put him right back into the bucket. He doesn't seem to be suffering any ill effects from his acrobatics which is good. I was surprised that I had enough sand from the 29 to get a pretty even 1/4'' layer over the whole tank, so they have something to root around in till I get some new stuff. The lfs was able to order me some slightly larger substrate to add to the tank. It's costs a good bit so I will not beable to make a total switch. I'll have to do a mix and deal with some dust for the time being.
The yoyo's are happier with the bigger tank I think. It took them about 10 minutes to get there color back after going into the 55 and then I'ld say another 20 and they were zooming up and done the length of the tank. I also decided to move my 2 SAE's to the 55 and they are happier now too.
Currently the tank is really empty with just the fish, sand and 2 small pieces of driftwood with plants attached. My mother-in-law informed me that she ordered 2 pieces of mopani wood for me, an 11'' and 16'' so I can work those in somewhere. I'll get a pic tonight and try to load it tomorrow, but I warn you it's empty. Oh yes, the tank looks huge compared to the 29 I had sitting in the same spot, lol.
Casey
Water is the substance from which life is born. (Mortal Kombat)
For beneath the surface, lies the future. (SeaQuest DSV)

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