53Gal on a tall stand

  • #1
G'day all,

I've built my stand from 2 X 4" building grade pine, it's well braced and secured to the floor by several screws - I'm considering screwing it to a wall stud also, but I'll see if it get's any wobble first.

Filtration: Atman AT-3335 external with ceramic tubes and 3 layers of differing density foam media

Heater: 300w (to be bought tommorrow)

Plants are all plastic at the moment - real plants will come once tank has cycled.

9" air stone, misc rocks and a nice gnarly piece of driftwood.

Planned fish: 6-10 zebra danios, 6-10 male guppies, 3 otos, 1 male betta.

Any and all sugestions are requested since I've never done this before. I have read several fish forums thoroughly and this seems to be the best advised and most frequented.

I'm going to leave the filter running for a day or two without heat just to settle the tank. The heater will go in tommorrow or the day after and I'll try and get a stable temperature. Once I have a stable temp around 25C (77F) I'll begin feeding the tank and testing for ammonia/nitrite/nitrate until the first 2 zero out - am I missing anything?

This is gonna be fun!

  • #2
What substrate are you planning on using for the tank?

have you soaked and boiled the driftwood to remove the tanning from it, or are you looking for the brown water effect?

It may be worth looking at the above before adding the water!

If you are planning danios and bettas, you will need to keep your eye on the danios to make sure they don't go for the fins on the betta. You should be ok so long as you have 6 or more, since they will keep each other occupied.

Don't rush the stocking of the tank. remember that cycling only starts the process. Adding too many fish too quickly will throw the tank into a mini-cycle while the bacteria catches up with the load.

You have a good selection of fish planned, so long as you introduce them carefully.

  • Thread Starter
  • #3
HI timg, thanks for helping!

I'm using 2-3 inches of standard aquarium gravel since it came with the tank - finer gravels are difficult to come by in country victoria, and I've prepared the driftwood for over a month while waiting for the tank to arrive. If I can find some finer gravels later on I'll figure out a way to introduce another inch or so (or just use hardier plants).

I haven't got my heart set on any of the fish as yet, I'm just guessing based on what I've read here... if the zebras (I think I'll get 10 if I can fit them in) don't play nice with the betta I can rehouse him with my sister who has a vacant 2' tank. She has a bala she want's me to take but I don't think I'll have the room (or compatible fish lol).

If I have to lose the betta is there another sugestion for 1-3 feature fish that will work well with the above combination? The zebras and guppies are there for volume and movement and 1-3 really impressive fish (for the upper tank) is what I had in mind when I set the tank up.

I also only have 1 aquarium grade 35w fluorescent 4' light at the moment although I expect to have another before I start planting. As for the lid - I'm using 2 pieces of perspex for a cover and I'll need to cut around the tubing so they'll fit nice - since I have a large air stone running do I need to be concerned about air holes etc in the lid? (it's quite a nice fit)

Day 2 - ph=7.3 nitrites=0 ammonia and temperature not available
  • #4
The Betta and guppies could be a hard combination.. the colorful guppy tails say to a betta "come nip me!" If you have a betta, you'll need some air coming into the tank above the water since the air labyrinth fish need to come up for air.

You might check this page to pick out your 'feature fish' and base the tank mates around it/them. https://www.fishlore.com/TropicalFishProfiles.htm
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  • #5
Thanks for the heads-up with the betta - I really don't want to have my tank mates eating each other!

The airstone requires more power than my old second hand pump can produce, I've got the filter returning water above the water level so it creates a wide 'splash zone'. Over one half of the tank surface is covered with bubbles - I'm hoping this will be enough aeration since the air pumps seem to be quite noisy.

My sisters bala is looking more tempting - if only they didn't grow so BIG! oh well I'll just have to browse around some more...
  • #6
Xenomorph.... whereabouts are you from in good ol' Oz....

  • Thread Starter
  • #7
South Gippsland VIC... cattle country 

Been having a chat with FLBettaCouple on MSN and they've all but convinced me to go with 2-3 dwarf gouramis instead of the betta... will 3 males get along ok in a tank my size or should I go 1m 2f? I don't really want any of the fish breeding (if they do the young will just be fish food)... failing that, perhaps just one male - not my preference as I think they'll look better in schools.

I'm also wondering whether to bother with live plants after all, the plastics in there look quite nice and it's another expense I'm not sure I want to deal with since plants here are a bit on the expensive side.

Any thoughts?
  • #8
dwarf gouramis are very temperamental, and two females will be harassed by the male. (My male dwarf actually injured both of the females I put with him and I ended up losing both). I would suggest that you go for three males, since with no females, there would be no rivalry or need for territory, but not an expert on this, so check with the others to be sure.

Live plants can be a pain, but they do help the environment in the tank by using some of the nitrate created by the bio-filters. You could, if cost is a concern, setup something like I did to purify the water, using ordinary plants outside the aquarium to filter the water, but otherwise you will just need to ensure that you do regular water changes to keep nitrates down, like many do.
  • #9
yea, definitely not 2 males or you might as well get 1.. 3 should work and maybe a post in the gourami forum would be good since the members who've owned gourami will know better about their behavior.
  • Thread Starter
  • #10
Ok, I've got plenty of air running and a reliable thermometer... can I begin cycling the tank before I get a stable temperature or do I need to wait? I'm using 'Saga tropical fish flakes' since they're all I can find that doesn't contain phosphates although I might switch to pellets once I get stock in the tank - a fishless cycle seems to be the more humane way to go

There's also a fine sprinkling of dust gathering in the calm spot (where there's no bubbles) is this a concern? I vaguely remember a product that made particulates in a tank sink, or is there a better way, or do I need to worry about it at all?

  • #11
Cycling fishless, you don't have to worry about a stable temp really.. in fact we put our cycling tank out on the covered back porch to let the water get as warm as we could. The warmer water is said to speed up the cycle a little.
  • Thread Starter
  • #12
Thankyou to everyone who has helped in the decision making process so far! The good people who manage this site have set me up with a blog so I'll be posting all further information there including photos and other discussions...
  • Thread Starter
  • #13
Things are progressing slowly, my mother has offerred me some wild native underwater plants from their dam so I'll be able to change out the plastic plants in time. I also thought I'd post a pic:

  • #14
Cool to finally see the tank we've talked about. ;D just check those plants really well for snails or snail eggs. It would only take one to turn into a infestation.

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