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Setting up my new aquarium

I bought an aquarium from a friend last week, a little bigger than I've run in the past; a deep (rather than tall) format 40gal. (36x18x15"). I've always wanted to run a deep format tank, due to the greater surface area (better oxygenation) and larger bottom area, allowing more plants and bottom feeders.

I built a stand for the tank with my father (I still have to assemble and install the doors; the wood is cut and stained, just not assembled), and have the tank cycling some water now. I spent a good bit of yesterday vacuuming the gravel, and have two filters running to remove excess particles. I still have to go out and get some decent drift wood (I'm not spending $15/kg for wood at the pet store!), stones and probably filter some more sand and maybe set up a terrace or two (or I could use some foam beneath the sand to add height?).

I have some plants in my current 15gal. that I'll be transferring, but I'll also need to spend a fair bit of change on more plants. I'm planning a general community, but might finally try my hand at some discus as well.

24 blog comments below

Do you wait some time (and how long) before putting the plants and the fish in the aquarium? I've heard the advice of 3 weeks or so for the bacteria culture to evolve, but to be honest I couldn't wait that long and after a few days (maybe at most a week) everything was transferred. Wink

Good luck with your new aquarium, by the way!
Bondings on Tue Feb 28, 2012 7:41 pm
Thanks, Bondings Smile

Yeah, I wait as long as I can, but, like you, I get impatient Razz
I probably won't leave this as long as my last one, as I'll be seeding the water with used water from my 15gal. to help establish the microbe community. Right now I don't even have a heater in the tank, so it's a little cold, I'm mostly cleaning out the old muck from the gravel and oxygenating the ground water I used to fill the tank. I'll be heating it soon and adding "live water" and some of my plants to help mature it.

My last tank lasted about a week of preparation before I got fish into it Razz This one will likely last longer, as I still need to get so many plants and the like to help it along. Add in that the fact that the lake beaches here are covered in snow and ice, slowing my ability to look for some decorative wood, and I just need to be patient Wink
Ankhanu on Tue Feb 28, 2012 8:21 pm
Nice tank, Ankhanu! Great job on the stand!
standready on Tue Feb 28, 2012 10:42 pm
What a lovely thing to show on your blog. Nice, I hope you continue to write and share this experience. I hope it is alright if I copy your idea? I would like to take a picture of mine and we can amuse ourselves with this little display of life.

I like your tank. It is huge. Not sure how big my tank is but it is a fair size too, so will measure it as well. Smile It is a good idea. I don't want to loose interest as that would be disastrous. I'm not an expert with fish, nor really want to be but do like seeing them swim around and not floating.

Bluedoll on Thu Mar 01, 2012 2:02 am
"I hope it is alright if I copy your idea?"
Absolutely... I kinda took the idea from Bondings, who made a thread in the Hobbies subforum, though I did maintain a website back in the late 90s about my fish too Smile

I certainly look forward to seeing your tank. I'll add a shot of my current 15Gal. tank when I get home too, since it actually has fish in it Wink
Ankhanu on Thu Mar 01, 2012 3:35 am
You two are making me consider re-starting my little 10 gallon tank up.
standready on Thu Mar 01, 2012 11:24 pm
Do it!!

This is my 15Gal not too long ago:

Today I've moved over a couple of the rocks with a little algae on them, the Amazon sword that's been struggling to survive since the Anacharis (I think) kind of formed a mat over the surface, and took some of the Anacharis tangled on the surface and planted it into the substrate... so there are a couple plants over there, and I put the light over the top to give them some energy.

I'm planning to add a terrace in the rear right corner of the tank, using some driftwood as the riser in front, to hold back the gravel. Rather than add more gravel or a large rock (and weight) behind the terrace to get the substrate to the right height, I'm looking for something lightweight to put under the gravel as a filler. I went looking for some sort of denser-than-water foam today, but couldn't find anything; I might use some glass cookware(?)... or I have some bulk filter pads for a filter that I'm not going to continue using; I might use those.
Anyone else do this sort of thing before? Advice on a good way to add height without adding much weight?
Ankhanu on Thu Mar 01, 2012 11:50 pm
Oh, I should mention that the big tank is temporarily sitting in the hall (in the photo); I'll be moving it to its permanent location when I'm ready to move the fish into it. I built the stand with casters, and draining a fair bit of the water will let me move it without splashing Wink
Ankhanu on Thu Mar 01, 2012 11:52 pm
Bought some plants tonight, and went out to a nearby gravel pit yesterday and got some rocks. After a good scrubbing, I set up a little rock cave duplex, built my terrace with a rock face and used a central vertical stone, rather than hunting for drift wood.

After getting things set in place, I drained some water and wheeled the tank into place, moving the little tank out of the way.

Soon I'll be able to move the fish to their new home.

Ankhanu on Tue Mar 06, 2012 5:16 am
I want to look into buying fish is i best to go with tropical or fresh water?
TheLimey on Fri Mar 09, 2012 4:34 am
TheLimey wrote:
I want to look into buying fish is i best to go with tropical or fresh water?

Most are both; tropical freshwater. This is probably your best starting point, unless you want goldfish. Most other cold freshwater fish will be hard to buy, and will likely require a tank with a current; marine (salt water) tanks impose all kinds of chemistry difficulties, and are expensive.

I wouldn't go with anything smaller than a 20Gal. tank to start, small tanks are hard to maintain, as slight changes in water chemistry are amplified, where they're diluted in larger tanks.
Talk to the people at your local pet store or aquarium supply store. Get their advice on peaceful community fish for our tank, filtration, appropriate temperature, etc. you may need to adjust things like pH, depending on the water you have available.
It sound like a lot o deal with, but it really isn't Smile
Ankhanu on Fri Mar 09, 2012 7:29 am
I transferred my fish, and bought some new ones already. I tried to take a photo of them, but the shutter speed was too slow to get anything but blurs; I'll try with a different lens later.
Anyway, this is what's in there now:
Columbian tetra (Hyphessobrycon colimbianus) x4
Black neon tetra (Hemigrammus erythrozonus) x4
Glowlight tetra (Hyphessobrycon herbertaxelrodi)
X-ray pristella tetra (Pristella maxillaris)
Angle fish (Pterophyllum sp.)
Dwarf gourami (Colisa lalia)
Opaline gourami (Trichogaster trichopterus)
Peppered corydoras (Corydoras paleatus) x5
Zebra loach (Botia striata) x2
Blue paradise fish (Macropodus opercularis) x2
Red-tailed black shark (Epalzeorhynchos bicolor)
Bushy-nosed plecostomus (Ancistrus sp.)
Ankhanu on Fri Mar 09, 2012 5:26 pm
Great job Ankhanu, particularly comparing the first photo with the last ones. Do you have to spend much time tending to it? And do you have to talk to the fish? Do they have names? Twisted Evil
deanhills on Fri Mar 09, 2012 5:31 pm
I don't name fish, no, nor do I talk to them Wink
My daughter has named some and talks at them, but, I don't.

A big enough aquarium is actually very little work. Once you set them up and get the chemistry stable, they largely self-regulate. Setting it up took some time and effort; days setting up the substrate, cleaning the water, setting up the plants, cycling the water to get it appropriately oxygenated, minor adjustments to chemistry, etc... I spent hours in the past couple weeks setting it up. But, now that it's set, I likely won't have to tend the tank, save feeding, likely for months.
Ankhanu on Fri Mar 09, 2012 6:28 pm
standready on Thu Apr 05, 2012 8:55 pm
Can only imagine how thick the glass is in those!
Ankhanu on Thu Apr 05, 2012 9:54 pm
Also, there's been quite a bit of plant growth in the past month... probably going to have to look into how to manage these plant species soon Razz

Ankhanu on Thu Apr 05, 2012 10:02 pm
Those plants are really growing. Soon, no room for the fish!
HMMMM, underwater weed whacker! No, just let the transformer dive in and chop those plants.
standready on Fri Apr 06, 2012 9:53 pm
I just randomly saw this. Your tank looks amazing. How is it doing these days?
TheGremlyn on Wed Jan 15, 2014 3:10 am
It looks terrible these days.

Two types of fast growing thread or hair algae came in with some of the fish or plants, and they took over. They're algae types that almost nothing eats, and I haven't been able to manage them. I tried introducing a couple species that will eat them (e.g. rosy barbs), but they didn't do nearly enough good to deal with it, even with me manually removing it every few days. I've since been kind of letting it go, and intend to nuke the whole thing with some bleach before too long. I've just been putting it off because of difficulty catching a couple of the faster swimmers (I've already moved some over to the old small tank), and wanting to salvage (and clean off) some of the plants before I kill everything in there.

Fixing the tank is going to be something of a job, and I just haven't put the time aside to deal with it.
Ankhanu on Wed Jan 15, 2014 3:40 am
About a month ago, I finally got around to catching the fish from the tank, taking out and cleaning some of the plants, putting them in a secondary tank and bleach nuking the whole thing. the process of cleaning the tank took about two days of work, between recovering what I wanted to live, bleaching the tank and cleaning out the bleached water and algal material.
(bleached algea)

(Fish in their temporary home)

After doing several refills/drains to clear out the remaining bleach, I let the tank run for about two weeks, adding some water conditioners and the like as it went. Then, I began the redecoration process, placing the rocks and wood how I wanted them, and adding some plants. Hoping that the biotic community was reestablished after a month of setup, I moved some of the old plants over and the fish this weekend. I also bought a couple Columbian Tetras and black neons to keep the ones I had left company, and added a pair of leopard loaches.

Here's the tank as of Sunday -

Hopefully the thread-like algea won't be reintroduced and the tank will run smoothly this time.
Ankhanu on Tue Mar 04, 2014 6:30 pm
Almost like going from grey to techni colour. Didn't realize all the work that had to go into cleaning and refilling the tank. Looks well worth it in the end though. Totally clear! Like what you did with the layout and the bright green foliage Cool
deanhills on Tue Mar 04, 2014 10:38 pm

Yeah, the actual cleaning of the aquarium was about 2 days of work; after that it was about a month of set up time, reconditioning/aging the water and trying to reestablish the bacterial community in the tank before adding fish. A lot of people just fill and put fish in... and a lot of people kill a lot of fish. Tank set up isn't a quick process, but doing it right is rewarding and, well, the moral choice Razz

The algae was quite a deep green before the bleach. It took about 5-10 minute before it blanched out. I didn't think it would happen at first, I was expecting it to be faster Razz
Ankhanu on Wed Mar 05, 2014 12:35 am
Haha .... was thinking back to Bondings' aquarium of 2011 and wondering what it looks like today. Maybe a darker shade of grey? Laughing
deanhills on Wed Mar 05, 2014 5:34 pm

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