How to set up a fw tank

Discussion in 'Fresh Water Tanks Discussion' started by TheMarine, 8 Aug 2015.

  1. TheMarine

    TheMarine

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    So, since I have received a whole bunch of help on setting up a tank for marines, I decided to give back to the community and help out people setting up fresh water tanks.

    So in a nice list format, let me start from the beginning.

    You will need:

    1. A tank.
    Any size will do for fw fish, as long as it isn't overstocked.

    2. Normal tap water, or RO water.
    Update: As has been pointed out to me, RO water is much safer, so please use this instead when starting a new tank, tap water may kill your fish, I myself have never used it, so honestly did not know that. Thank you, Dexter.

    3. A sand bed, this can be any type of sand that you want.
    p.s If you want a planted tank, you need special sands, there are a few to choose from, which I won't list here, but they are available at any fishy pet shop starting at about R300 a bag.

    4. Your plants, either fake or real.

    5. Prime, water conditioner.

    6. Ph balancer.

    7. Phosphates, only for the planted aquarium.

    8. Filter.
    P.s needs to support the size tank you have.
    P.s 2 if not using an overhang filter or a filter that allows you to add an oxygen pipe to it, please purchase air stones and an air pump as well, or your fish will die due to oxygen deprivation.

    9. Heater.

    10. Fish.
    Please DO NOT buy the fish on the same day as the tank, you will kill them.

    So, how do we start?

    1. Rinse out your tank really well, get off anything that may be in it, especially if it is second hand.

    2. Rinse your stones or gravel out until the water runs clear, this is an important step, as some fish are sensitive to what lies in the sand, and it also can make your tank look murky.

    3. Lay your sand bed.

    4. Fill up the tank with normal tap water, or RO water, and add water conditioner and a ph balancer. Also, add phosphates at this stage for a planted tank.
    P.s this removes chlorine, chloramine and ammonia and detoxifies Nitrates and Nitrites.

    5. Add your filter, and switch it on.
    P.s this is where you would add air stones and air pump.

    6. Let your tank cycle for 4 weeks at the minimum.
    (This is to ensure that bacterial levels are sufficient for your aquatic life to survive)
    P.s Remeber, we are trying to mimic nature.

    7. Add your heater, and switch it on, make sure any fish you add go in accordance with the temperature in the tank.

    8. Time to add fish, so you can buy your fish now and add them.

    Things to note.

    1. Plecos can go with almost anything, except for piranhas, which is kind of obvious, also, plecos that are smaller than 3-4cm may be eaten by gouramis, chichlids, and oscars.
    (Learnt this the hard way)

    2. Chichlids as a rule can only go with other chichlids, though once you are more experienced, you can see if you can find a balance. Also, they destroy any live plants.

    3. Oscars start out really cute, but they can grow to 20cm from 2cm in four months.
    P.s they are very rewarding, as they are intelligent and recognize their owners, and will come to them, whereas other people it will just look at and swim away.

    4. Guppies are always a good start, as are goldfish.

    5. Every fish lives at a different temperature, make sure what these are before buying them.

    6. Always check aggression levels of all fish, some fish that are said to be placid will still be aggressive when defending either itself or its territory.
    P.s some fish will not defend themselves at all. Even some aggressive ones.

    7. Some fish do better in schools, such as guppies, tiger barbs, tetras, minnows, widows and glass fish etc.

    8. Please do not support "inked" fish, such as parrots, colored widows, colored glass fish, and similar ones, 90% of these fish die, the other 10% you buy and they have a drastically shortened lifespan.

    9. Always boil anything new you want to add to the tank, such as rocks, wood ect. never use any soap to wash, always wash in fresh water.

    10. Adding wood can cause your tank to go a yellowish color, it is leeching toxins and bacteria, as a live rock would do, the yellow is sometimes liked by owners and fish alike, but if it goes too yellow, your tank is most likely going acidic.
     
    Last edited: 9 Aug 2015
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  3. Dexter

    Dexter

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    Awsome stuff....am sure this can help someone. There are some beautiful tropical tanks out there.
     
  4. TheMarine

    TheMarine Thread Starter

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    My tanks

    I currently have two tropical tanks running, here are their specs and fish.

    The first tank is a 100l 90x32x37cm tank.

    It's current occupants are:
    2 jewel chichlids.
    2 Malawi chichlids.
    4 tiger barbs.
    2 horse face loaches. (these guys are houdinis and are like the invisible man)
    2 common algae eaters.
    1 silver dollar.
    1 Oscar (he is only 3-4cm now)
    2 hi-fin bicolored Sharks.
    1 albino shark.
    2 gourami.
    3 plecos.
    30 khuli loaches. (you never see these guys) (ever)

    The second tank is a small 60l tank.

    It's current occupants are:
    1 hi-fin bicolored shark.
    2 guppies.
    2 black widow tetras.
    2 minnows.
    1 glass fish.
    1 platy.
    1 Molly.
    1 pleco.

    Now as stated previously, chichlids as a rule go with chichlids, but with careful watching and selection of these guys tank mates at the pet store, their personalities suggested they will go with the Chichlids.

    The gouramis actually originally came when I went to the store and asked for tetras, and didn't check the bag and ended up at home with these guys, so they went in the aggressive tank and survived, so kudos to them.

    The 60l tank is a good start to any beginner fw tank. These fish are rarely aggressive, but be careful with the hi-fin shark, as he does tend to nip tank mates.

    Also, guppies reproduce like nothing on earth, so either sell them to your lps or use them as food if you have an aggressive tank with carnivores.
    Update, don't use the guppies, use their fry. o_O
     
    Last edited: 8 Aug 2015
  5. TheMarine

    TheMarine Thread Starter

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    Haha

    Thanks, I owe everyone here, or else I would still be stuck with my new marine tank, and I saw a few people in the posts struggling, so I decided to just put this up.
     
  6. red deacon

    red deacon

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    I have owned tropical fish for 30 odd years and run a 770l system that has been running for 5 years now. I have some decent sized cichlids as well as some clown loaches and red and green deacons. My interest in these waned substantially the second I started on my marine journey :whistling:
     
  7. SterlingAce

    SterlingAce

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    Don't want to be mean but sjoe that's two heavily stocked tanks? Then mixing livebearers is generaly not a good idea. Many of your fish will also outgrow your tanks. Livebearers also prefer harder water with a bit of salt. What kind of plecos do you have?
     
  8. Perky Pets

    Perky Pets Sponsor

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    Im also a believer of keeping fish together that suit the same water conditions.
    This way , you can aim for the best P.h ect for that bio type and keep them at there best.

    If radically mixed , one type of fish will do well and the other will just do...

    D
    D
     
  9. TheMarine

    TheMarine Thread Starter

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    Hi


    Haha, I see how you think they are overstocked, but everything is less than or 3cm, there is also another tank, for when these guys need to be moved to a bigger tank, or they are given to friends who would like them.

    Our live bearers do well together, because we add breeding nets when they are going to give birth, so it isn't really a problem at all. I have never added salt to my aquariums, because plecos do not like salt at all, and many live bearers are brackish fish, so they can go either way really.

    The guys in the small tank have been going for about a year now, and nothing has died.

    Besides, it is also personal preference at the end of the day.
     
  10. TheMarine

    TheMarine Thread Starter

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    Haha

    I have the feeling the same will be happening to me, but I see a lot of people have posted that they try start fw tanks for kids or such things, and it doesn't always end well. ^^

    So excited about my marine tank already. :biggrin:
     
  11. TheMarine

    TheMarine Thread Starter

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    Yep

    This is a good point, and probably should have been included, but to be honest, I don't always follow the rule to a T. I let it drift by sometimes either way, but yes, you are 100% right. We don't always follow our own advice though. :m13:
     
  12. TheMarine

    TheMarine Thread Starter

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    Please note, the water is tested weekly, with 15% water changes every Sunday.
    There is no algae growth in the tank at all, and all parameters are stable.
    There is sufficient hiding and territories placed for each new fish, and our bio load is actually very low.
    Khuli loaches stay in the sand, and you hardly ever see them, and horse face loaches as well.
    The tanks are filled with RO water whenever needed.

    I have been keeping tropical tanks for years, and I have only ever had three deaths, a guppy who somehow got into an in tank filter, which was then removed, a catfish which died during transportation, as the bag had a small hole, and the water ran out onto the seat of the car, and one pleco which died when I added salt.

    Please, if someone doesn't like what I have in my tanks, or has a problem with how I do things, contact me via pm, and I will try and fix the problem, I do not want to argue over the forum, as it is against the rules.

    I am very open to new ideas, and correction, and no one is perfect. This is how I run my tanks, based on years of research, and some trial and error. Yet, when it comes to my animals health, they do come first, so without arguing, I will be open to any good advice, and will place it into this "manual".

    Thank you for your consideration.
     
  13. viper357

    viper357 Admin MASA Contributor

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    Nice thread. :thumbup:
     
  14. Dexter

    Dexter

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    The only thing I will change in your comments is not to encourage using tap water. Yes we all used to use tap water because that was all that was available at the time. Myself used to setup tanks using tap water. Through in some chemical to make water save and Bob was my uncle. But things has changed. Today we get ro/Di water that works much better. So for the new comer rather encourage to use ro or Di water. Much saver for everybody.
     
  15. SterlingAce

    SterlingAce

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    There are differing opinions about using RO water because it lacks all the minerals.
     
  16. TheMarine

    TheMarine Thread Starter

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    Thanks

    Thanks for pointing that out, I have never used normal water, I always use RO water, whether for fish, rats, snakes or myself, I just find it is healthier. Though, I was thinking of purchasing one from Riaan for my saltwater tank to make sure, because mine is actually built into all pipes leading off the borehole, and they are now 5 years old, it cost a lot, but I deemed it worth it, maybe time to replace it.
     
  17. TheMarine

    TheMarine Thread Starter

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    True

    That is true, but I have always found it easier to add thing, than take them out.
     
  18. TheMarine

    TheMarine Thread Starter

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    Thank you.

    Thank you.
     
  19. RynoParsons

    RynoParsons

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    Using pure RO water in a freshwater tanks sucks because of the ph fluctuations you can get.
     
  20. SterlingAce

    SterlingAce

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    Sorry there are too many issues with your tanks. And thinking you can just pass them on to other people is not a great way to solve the problem. Your fish might survive but not thrive. There are too many different water parameters that each fish needs. And then some of those fish need to be in schools. The livebearers need to be at least 1 male to 2 females. And what do you add to the RO water? What kind of plecos do you keep?
     
  21. TheMarine

    TheMarine Thread Starter

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    Moderator

    Okay, I actually posted this to try and help people, now you have sent me a pm, and I have replied, I add a ph balancer and many other things, but in all honesty it doesn't matter anymore as it seems like I don't know what I'm talking about.

    If you read the post you will see that I stated some fish do better in schools.

    Due to this, I am asking that a moderator to please just remove this thread, as I seem to be causing arguments, and this is not what I was aiming for. I have been keeping tropical tanks for 13 years, my dad kept them for 45 years, and his dad also kept them all his life, and even caught his fish himself, so I thought I would know what I was talking about, as I have only had three deaths in my tanks, since I started... But, obviously I do not, so thank you moderators, in advance. I will stick to just asking for advice on marine...
     
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