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Author Topic: Tank Evolution  (Read 31378 times)

Offline Si4geckos

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Tank Evolution
« on: February 25, 2017, 06:33:33 pm »
Hello all.

This is going to be a log/ discussion about how to improve my tank and hopefully get an all round better fishy experience from the hobby and basically get the most out my setup.

Current equipment:

48 x 12 x 18" tank (About 160L)
APS 1000EF filter
Fluval u4 plus internal filter
Sand substrate (natural sand colour)
Artificial plants
Bogwood

Fish:
Sterbai cory - 9 adults, hand full of growing babies...
Guppies - 7 adult males
Dwarf gourami - 1 male
Cardinal tetra - 9

Current issues (Why change?)
1) My main issue is the overall look of my tank. I bought it used and it came painted blue on the back and sides. Blue looks good in the pet shops, but as I want a natural looking tank I've grown to massively dislike it. It basically washes out my shoal of cardinals and Gary the Gourami's colours, which was meant to be the centre piece of the tank.
2) I seem to be getting a major brown algae and green hair grass algae problem.
3) I'd like a bit more depth from the wall to create an aquascape (but space is pretty limited)
4) I get build ups of black foul smelling sand under the fake plant bases which I believe could be harmful gasses

The plan:
1) I'm looking for a new (or used) tank 4-5ft long (unpainted) that I can put different backgrounds on. I'm thinking of a 48 x 15 x 18 to give me an extra 25% of depth to create more visual depth in the tank. Would the extra 3 inches be noticeable do people think? I could just get the same size tank again if not and I wouldn't have to alter my stand/ base unit. Would I need more filtration? I think I'll fill the extra space with hardscape/ extra sand depth (currently only running 0.5-1" of substrate) so the water volume should remain pretty constant despite the bigger tank.
2) Very kind forum members have donated 4 amazon sword cuttings I've planted in the sand for now. Would I be best putting down a layer of compost or fertilizer under the sand in the new tank? I intend to mix live and fake plants temporarily while I see how my plant growing skills develop. As the sand I have is super fine and seems to compact very easily, would I be better with a different sort? More coarse? To help prevent gas build up?
3) Colours: What sand colour is best to show off the sterbai cory on the bottom of the tank? Natural sand? Or black sand? I think I'll opt for either plain black or at least very dark coloured background to the tank (vinyl printed backgrounds). Which would look more natural together? And most importantly, is this the best colour to help the fish 'pop?'
4) Would real plants help with algae control? I've just put a new tropical bulb in my current setup as I've read this may help with algae control and plant growth?

Any input ideas and thoughts much appreciated from you awesome people as always.

Thanks,

Si

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    Offline Si4geckos

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    Re: Tank Evolution
    « Reply #1 on: February 25, 2017, 06:39:44 pm »


    Where I'm at..

    VS

    Roughly where I want to be...




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    Offline plankton

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    Re: Tank Evolution
    « Reply #2 on: February 26, 2017, 11:58:43 am »
    Can you not scrape the back/sides off and re-do in black?
    Also, are you going to get a small, cooler tank for the guppies while you do it? ;) :)
    Sent from my PC as I still don't understand the the logic for mobile internet usage ;) *grin*
    I really hate "autocorrupt"!!!

    "We found this spoon sir"

    Take it easy
    Ian

    Offline Si4geckos

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    Re: Tank Evolution
    « Reply #3 on: February 26, 2017, 07:50:04 pm »
    Hi Ian,

    Would it just scrape off with a knife or something? I've read that you need to use paint stripper/ chemicals so I figured I needed a second/ new tank to house the fish while it's treated. Plus I'm not sure how scratched the tank would be after paint removal.

    I definitely want to be able to use different backgrounds rather than painting.

    Tempted to get a massive tank, but space restrictions and maintenance (water changes) would be too much as I have to use 2 flights of change per 10 litre bucket. Being sensible is hard....

    Offline plankton

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    Re: Tank Evolution
    « Reply #4 on: February 27, 2017, 10:32:44 am »
    It depends what paint it is, but I would imagine a single-sided blade would get most off........
    Sent from my PC as I still don't understand the the logic for mobile internet usage ;) *grin*
    I really hate "autocorrupt"!!!

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    Take it easy
    Ian

    Offline fall-apart-dave

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    Re: Tank Evolution
    « Reply #5 on: February 27, 2017, 01:12:53 pm »
    It depends what paint it is, but I would imagine a single-sided blade would get most off........

    Heat gun and gentle scraping. Job jobbed. Don't matter what sort of paint it is, unless they have used high temp manifold paint for automotive use, a heat gun will do it no problem at all.
    It won't get better if you keep picking at it

    Offline Si4geckos

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    Re: Tank Evolution
    « Reply #6 on: February 27, 2017, 09:21:23 pm »
    Went to have a look at a 48 x 16 x 18 tank today (as well as some expensive tanks in various fish shops!). It's used, but great condition (just a couple of scratches on the front). Including tank, stand, light, decor, internal fliter and some gravel (and 5 free goldfish if I want them...) it's only £100. So that should save me some time in paint stripping! And better dimensions for a bit more depth for scaping.

    Also I found a new (to me) fish shop nearby and while I was asking about tanks and plants they asked if I wanted a new filter (Fluval 306) which they were reducing as I was in there to £70. Only thing missing was the pipework and box. Wondering if this would be a much better filter than my APS 1000ef?? And would the pipes fit? Currently researching answers, but if anyone has any experience?

    Would flow be better with 306 and would it be any quieter? Tank is in my bedroom so needs to be silent as possible! Is £70 a good price for a new 306 with no piping?

    Offline ajm83

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    Re: Tank Evolution
    « Reply #7 on: February 28, 2017, 07:56:19 am »
    Yes it would be (much) more powerful, and IMO they are better quality and nicer to work on.

    Those 306s can be found on amazon for £89, and it's £10 for the hoses, however if you need the other bits (strainer, spray bar etc) then that's another £18 on top...


    Offline Si4geckos

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    Re: Tank Evolution
    « Reply #8 on: March 01, 2017, 08:56:52 pm »






    Well here's the new tank. 48x16x18

    Managed to scoop the lot for £80 including a 2000lph internal filter. Happy with that. Stand and tank are pretty much immaculate so I'm very happy. I'm intending to use my current stand as its lower, but as the new one is in such good condition (apart from 1 missing handle) it's hard to get rid....

    Needs a good clean yet so won't be set up for a week or two yet.

    Oh I did get the fluval 306 as well as I've got pipe work and spray bars from my aps filter that'll fit.

    For substrate I'm sticking with my sand and thinking of some rocks to creat a bit more of a dramatic hardscape. I found some massive 'plum slate' pieces in b and m super cheap. Would they be suitable? Seem to have nice smooth edges. Would the tank and stand be ok holding their weight or would I be best trying to find fake rock structures? Or is there a similar black/ dark grey alternative rock option?

    Would I need to add anything to the sand to help plant growth? I move my tank around too often for proper soil with a sand top and I'm not keen on the ammonia risk.

    Also, the chap in the shop told me gravel is better for plants than sand. Is this correct? The tank came with natural looking small gravel. Could I mix the 2 substrates or would this risk the cory barbels? Or is there any point?

    Thoughts appreciated,

    Thanks




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    Offline the_storm

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    Re: Tank Evolution
    « Reply #9 on: March 01, 2017, 11:00:38 pm »
    Is the blue paint acrylic? If so, you can just peel it off with a scraper and it should be really easy.
    I'd go for sand over gravel every time. I have a heavily planted tank and it's great with sand, also great for your Sterbai and their barbels.
    Jealous! I love starting tanks up!

    Offline Si4geckos

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    Re: Tank Evolution
    « Reply #10 on: March 01, 2017, 11:07:55 pm »
    Is the blue paint acrylic? If so, you can just peel it off with a scraper and it should be really easy.
    I'd go for sand over gravel every time. I have a heavily planted tank and it's great with sand, also great for your Sterbai and their barbels.
    Jealous! I love starting tanks up!

    Gone for a new deeper tank in the end and going to sell the blue one eventually. Do you have anything under the sand like soil? How deep is your sand? Or how else do you feed the plants? I thought it'd be easy-ish, but the more I read, the more I'm getting put off with all the extra costs and complications...


    Offline fall-apart-dave

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    Re: Tank Evolution
    « Reply #11 on: March 02, 2017, 06:52:48 am »
    Plumb slate is fine.
    It won't get better if you keep picking at it

    Offline the_storm

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    Re: Tank Evolution
    « Reply #12 on: March 02, 2017, 10:00:55 am »
    Is the blue paint acrylic? If so, you can just peel it off with a scraper and it should be really easy.
    I'd go for sand over gravel every time. I have a heavily planted tank and it's great with sand, also great for your Sterbai and their barbels.
    Jealous! I love starting tanks up!

    Gone for a new deeper tank in the end and going to sell the blue one eventually. Do you have anything under the sand like soil? How deep is your sand? Or how else do you feed the plants? I thought it'd be easy-ish, but the more I read, the more I'm getting put off with all the extra costs and complications...
    I have aquatic soil under the sand and roots tabs in the soil, some put all manner of additives in the substrate as can be seen by the myriad of clips on youtube regarding planted tanks.
    I cap the soil with a layer of sand a couple of inches thick. Sand is down to personal choice, black looks great with planted but I've got pale kiln dried, you pays your money!
    Feeding the plants? I dose daily with ferts into the water column, use injected CO2, plants take nutrients from the water as well as the soil. The plants are under led lighting, though I will upgrade the lighting to something higher spec when money allows.
    It can be daunting but if you add a little extra  knowledge and kit as you go, it's not daunting at all. Just research, ask and do it in little manageable chunks.

    Offline Si4geckos

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    Re: Tank Evolution
    « Reply #13 on: March 07, 2017, 08:21:30 pm »
     

    So I found these rocks today. Plenty, for free, now I just need to know if they're safe to use in the aquarium?

    Not sure exactly what type of rock it is. Currently soaking a load in some water in the garage and the water has turned grey, but they're covered in gunk. Is there any way of testing suitability before I clean them all up? They were very dusty/ clay covered.

    Essentially they look similar to the plum slate I saw the other day, but a dark grey rather than the purple colour. Fairly easy to break up/ smash like slate. Has white ish lines/ patterning in some pieces.

    Any thoughts? Am I best testing water I've left in in to check the ph?

    The region I found it in has slate and shale, but not sure if this was from there or just dumped.

    Any thoughts welcomed. Hoping it's ok as I love the shapes and colours!


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    Offline Martyn87

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    Re: Tank Evolution
    « Reply #14 on: March 07, 2017, 09:59:11 pm »
    Sand on top of some form of aqua base will grow plants fine. Unless your adding pressurised co2 the lights will be fine just keep to slow growing plants.

    Also I have found that some carpeting plants find it harder to root through really fine sand which can become compacted. Go for a slightly larger grain size.

    What fish do you intend to keep? If the rocks are releasing minerals then it could increase water hardness. Test the water in the bucket before and after adding to see what the impact is?
    Tank 1: 125l planted
    Venezuelean Corys
    False Julii Corys
    Neon Tetra
    Celestial Pearl Danios
    Golden Lyretail Kilifish.

    Tank 2: 55l Amazon bio type
    Apistogramma Agassizii
    Green Neon Rasboras