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Hi from Ipswich, seeking advice

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Hi everyone,

I've just recently acquired a 5' long, 1'6" deep, 2' tall tank, with stand from a friend. It is currently running an Aqua One CF2400 filter and a Eheim 250W heater. The filter has been thoroughly rinsed out and has been left dry for three months before I got it, should I be replacing anything in the filter, or just running it as it is. The wool in it does look a little discoloured, but still quite clean.

I had some fish as a kid (like everyone else) but these were only goldfish.I'm hoping to set up a relatively low maintenance tank, and the wife really likes the look of Neon Tetras. I would like to have real plants rather than plastic ones and a natural type look (don't want all the fake cars/spongebob ornaments that are at all the pet stores). Just chasing a bit of advice on what other fish types I should be looking at, what types of plants are hardy and suit these fish, and just general advice.

I realise I'm a bit vague, but I'm really not sure what I want other than above. I know there is H2O babies at Booval, I haven't been there yet and am wondering if they are good, or is it worth my time to go for a drive else where. I don't mind driving wherever as long as it's worth the drive.

I'll be putting the water into it tonight, so I know I won't be putting too many fish in straight away, but how long should I wait, and should I be getting certain fish first to help establish the tank.I'm not looking to make a full time career out of this, just something that is nice to look at after work, and doesn't consume my life looking after it. Thanks in advance.

Cheers, Andy

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Also don't by stuff from pet b#%n, you will end up paying double the price for dog quality, and every time I have been to every store every tank had a out break of some form. Also 40 bucks for a bristle nose that cost them 1.50 compleat waste of time money and the staff dint know jack

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Awesome, thanks guys.

I have looked at the o ring and impeller on the filter, visually it all seems fine but I guess the test will be on firing it up. I will read up on cycling the filter, hopefully will work it out.

I wasn't planning on buying anything for the fish from petbarn, only looked when we get the dog food (cheapest place to get the brand we use). I'll go for a drive out to plainlands and have a looksy, I've often laughed at the name of the shop on the way to Toowoomba. The friend I got the tank from mentioned a shop at Browns Plains too, so I'll have a look there too.

Any advice on what would make a harmonious tank with some Tetras, and any ideas on how many fish I should be looking at. Thanks again.

Cheers, Andy

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It is a nice sized tank for your first one :)

you say you want it to just be something u look at after work etc but I'm afraid it slowly becomes a fully fledged hobby for most... which is a good thing :)

definitely read up on fishless cycling... it will save you a whole lot of frustration down the line and ensure you enjoy keeping fish :) if you decide to go down that path i even have a bottle of ammoniaa here if you need it. if you decide you don't want to then i would definitely suggest you only add in a couple of hardy fish like guppies or molliies and invest in copious amounts of quick start :P

also no matter hat method you take you should definitely buy a test kit :)

This all seems like a hassle right now but I am telling you now it is a lot easier spending more time in the beginning and having happy fish then spending a lot of money on fish that will all die :P

sounds like you will want some nice driftwood and some easy to care for plants.. unless you wanted a heavily planted tank in which case you would need to add c02 to the water :) feel free to pm me if you need any more help!

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Awesome, thanks guys.

I have looked at the o ring and impeller on the filter, visually it all seems fine but I guess the test will be on firing it up. I will read up on cycling the filter, hopefully will work it out.

I wasn't planning on buying anything for the fish from petbarn, only looked when we get the dog food (cheapest place to get the brand we use). I'll go for a drive out to plainlands and have a looksy, I've often laughed at the name of the shop on the way to Toowoomba. The friend I got the tank from mentioned a shop at Browns Plains too, so I'll have a look there too.

Any advice on what would make a harmonious tank with some Tetras, and any ideas on how many fish I should be looking at. Thanks again.

Cheers, Andy

Browns Plains would be Age of Aquariums :) awesome place to go to and they sponsor this forum so you will also get a nice discount for being a member :)

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Aquariums are hardest in the first month.

Way I would play the game is,

1) make sure theres styrofoam between tank and stand

2) invest in good dechlorinator and treat your water

3) test out your canister (inside a bucket!) and make sure no leaks from perished rubber seals. Wet carpet sucks, so if the canister aint working well might be up for replacement parts like o-ring, or a new filter.

4) if you are good to go, invest in an api freshwater master test kit + some fish food (ocean nutrition community flake is a popular/quality choice)

5) start feeding the tank a little bit of food each day as if there is fish in there, test the water for ammonia/nitrite and record the results

6) while you wait for ammonia/nitrite to spike and then fall to 0ppm......... look into a gravel type, plants you like and suitable lighting.

7) get the gravel/lights/plants in

8 ) once water is testing well, start adding the neons in batches of about 6 a week or so. Research neon tetra disease, so you can spot it in lfs tanks and dont buy sick fish.

9) this slow pace should give you plenty of time to ask about suitable compatable fish that you like.

10) start looking into the more advanced side of keeping soft water conditions for optimal long term fish health.

Man how I wish I could go back and start this hobby again from the begining!

So many needless losses to get myself to where I am today :/

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Thanks for the info again guys.

Donny, looks like I will be coming down to visit you in the near future. Sounds like the shop I should be visiting.

-I do have styrofoam between the tank and stand, about half an inch thick.

-I will have to get some of this dechlorinator you speak of.

-The filter has a plastic storage container it sits in, and the tank is on tiles so all good there I hope.

-The tank also came with a near new API freshwater master test kit, on a win there by the looks.

-I have a container of Coles brand goldfish granules, will this do to start the "feeding" of the empty tank?

-I have 3 20L buckets of black gravel, I'll use that for now, and probably forever. The tank also came with an Aqua One fluro light so I'll use that for now too.

Looks like I'm actually ahead of the game further than I though. I also have about half a 1L bottle of Easy Life fluid filter medium, what is this used from? Also a 250g jar of PH up and PH down.

Cheers, Andy

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Read and learn. there are good books and guides available - and plenty of good educational websites that take you through a beginner's guide to aquarium care.

One of the best sites is Information on Setting Up Your New Aquarium - The First Tank Guide - Fish Tanks, Fish Bowls, Aquariums, Aquarium Filters, Aquarium Heaters, Choosing Fish, Aquarium Information My first tank guide - brilliant - informative. very back to basics: quality neutralizer; water changes; pH and ammonia testing; temperature; bacteria cycle; rinsing and cleaning filters; very minimalist and all about maintaining quality of water.

Do internet search for fish aquariums and then click on images. You will get dozens of photos of aquariums, which can give you ideas on what you can do with your tank.

Make friends with your local true aquarium and fish shop; pester them with questions. But don't get sucked in to buying heaps of additives, learn about the basics of what you need.

Ask about what goes with what - a fish community for your tank. Similar compatibility in temperament, pH, temperature, feeding. Get some Cory catfish to clean your gravel (although your tank might be a bit to high in water depth for these little fellows; or get some Bristlenose catfish [one male and a harem]. They will need caves.

Plants need special fluorescent lights, for your tank size I would say a double tube set up. Fluoros come in colour temperature and spectrum ranges for your plants and fish.

Explore the websites of the Forum sponsors and see what they have in their range of products.

Other good educational sites are - Proper Aquarium Cleaning and Aquarium Maintenance Guide - and 9 Best Freshwater Aquarium Plants for Beginners | Home Aquaria

Edited by Waggles
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Yea excellent!

The coles food will do fine to get it all started. Basically we just need something with protein, as that will break down into ammonia.

We want ammonia at first so we can breed up a big population of ammonia eating microbes in the filter.

This usually takes a few weeks.

its critical that when you clean your filter later on, that you only clean it in a bucket of water taken from the aquarium the filter is running on.

Never clean filters in tap water, as the chlorine will kill off all the good bacteria and undo your weeks of patient hard work!

The good guy microbes will start to breed up as soon as you get that dechlorinator in and remove whatever chlorine/chloramine is in there.

Easylife does remove some, but its capable of much more and I would wait until you have used a standard dechlorinator before adding some. Easylife is dam good stuff so keep it on hand!

Get a nice notebook that you can record the date/water test results in.

Trend data is the name of the game here, so its almost pointless doing water tests if you dont record them.

The gravel is a score, and even if its not specific "planted tank" gravel, it can still be enriched with fertilizer tablets like "dino dung" or you can add liquid ferts to the tank as well.

The light is going to decide the best plants for your tank, so you need to work out if its a T5 or T8. The wattage : length, will be a good way to tell.

Its likely the tube will be old or unsuitable spectrum for plants, so might be worth replacing.

That said theres plenty of low light plants out there...... foxtail, anubias and java moss are 3 I would check out for starters.

Getting plants in early is a good idea, they tend to bring in good microbes AND they generally enjoy the ammonia spike which is great as it reduces the algae bloom you normally get initially.

So yes, you are basically ready to rock and roll.

The hard part is going slow.

Take your time and you will have a drama free start up.

If however you are bullied into stocking the tank before its really matured enough to keep fish like neons happy.......... as a last resort you can dump a big bottle of API quickstart in there.

Its best to go slow, but when thats not an option..... there are cheats XD

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Righty-o, tank is full of water and filter is running.

Went down to The Age Of Aquariums today and got some plants. I didn't actually catch the guys name who I spoke to, but he was really really good. Seemed to really know his plants, and helped me with a few. Don't ask me what they are, I have no idea, but apparently most of them are easy to grow, and 2 are a little harder, but still should be fine.

Put in a half dose of liquid fertiliser, a really good dose of fraction, and a dose of the easy life fluid filter medium. Also found in the box of bits a almost full small bottle of API quick start, said a full bottle treated 416L, my calculated tank volume is about 380L so I dumped what was left in.

PH tested at 7.8, which I think is a little high for the type of tank I want, I'm reading high sixes, is this right? Ammonia tested at 0.5ppm, nitrite and nitrate both at 0.

Light is an Aqua One R2-150 with 6 25W tubes. How do I tell if they are a T5 or T8, they just look like normal fluro tubes to me. The light has three switches on the end and I currently have two on, so 4 25W tubes on a timer to turn on at 11am and off at 10pm.

Please let me know if any of this looks out of place to any of you.

Cheers, Andy

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When you come down Ipswich rd at the Oxley pub roundabout you have a few choices . If you are after dry goods, turn right get on the Blunder head down to Johsnon Rd and drive to Browns Plains, go see AOA they are pretty amazing for stuff, or get online and see the boys a Tech Den, either way you will be pleased.

If you are after fish you have a few choices too. Take the Roundabout a turn left for Oxley Rd and you are about 300 metres from Pauls Aquarium, he has some pretty slick stuff in there at the moment. Well worth a look. After that keep to Sherwood Rd and turn right, head down to the Rocklea markets and go and see Ray and Kev at Exotic fish connections.Awesome shop and great guys.

After that I would suggest you get back on Ipswich Rd and head to CTR Aquarium, which is under the arcade next to the Southside Antique Centre, its under new management but well worth a visit, Bainsey knows his stuff. After that I would suggest a trip to Annerley Aquarium on Old Cleveland Rd and then head back along Logan Rd to Mt Gravatt and go and see Pet City.

And your done.

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Thats a lot of T8 tubes by the sound of it!

Should get you some good growth.

I like the sound of this already BUT where the pictures at?

You realise we are only on your thread because we are nosey snoops eh?


Dont worry too much about pH until we get the cycle done, as the tank will likely cycle faster at higher pH.

I'd probably aim for around 7.2 to 7.4

Nice and stable if we stay just above 7 and also makes it easier to do water changes as less fiddling around.

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Haha, didn't think you guys would be that interested in a simple tank with just a couple of plants in it. Was at the cricket yesterday so didn't get chance to put it up but enjoy (hopefully it works)


I'm quite happy, can already see the plants are looking better, more green, and the two big ones at the back have grown already!

Well as for the lighting, the tank has about 50cm of water in it. The hood has a hole in it 119cm long and 27cm wide. I don't want to open the hole up any more because the lid will loose too much rigidity (the existing light does overlap this hole a fair bit). The wife likes to look of the hood, so we're keeping that too. I'm happy to spend a little, but don't want to spend crazy amounts of money. I think $300 would be the absolute maximum, but if I can get something decent quality cheaper even better. I probably won't buy anything until the new year anyway when I'm back at work.

Thanks for the advice on where to get fish. I was super impressed with the customer service and the amount of equipment they had at AOA, pitty they don't do fish as well. Will look into getting some fish after Christmas now. I have come up with assorted tetra, I like some of the rummy nose, wife likes the neons, I think a few bristlenose would be nice, and a few loaches, possibly yo yo, but worried about their size. What should I add first? Anything else that would go nice?

I also know I need to get some sort of wood in there for the bristlenose, how quickly will they eat it. I don't want to spend a heap of money on an amazing looking piece of wood only to have them devour it in no time. Otherwise I'll see what I can find at my uncles place, he'll have something suitable in the scrub he's got for certain.

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