Almost ready to put my 90 gallon together (nearly went saltwater)

BFG Scott

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So for a little over 3 years, I had a lightly stocked 20 gallon. About 2 to 3 months ago, I saw a good deal on a Marineland 38 gallon bow front and picked one up. Once I had it cycled to the point where I was stocking it, I started to realise how many more options I would have if I only had a bigger tank. Well, we all know how this story goes...

I started looking on Craigslist and was amazed to see how affordable aquarium stuff can be on the secondary market. As a side note, during my almost daily trips to the LFS while I was getting the 38 up and running, I got chummy with the salt water guy. I started learning about saltwater and basically, the major drawback was setup cost. As I was piecing together a larger system off of Craigslist, saltwater started to become a possibility. I was picking up equipment knowing I might go either way.

Here's what I was able to get so far...

- A used Hagen 90 gallon with stand for $75 (included a few fake plants a 5 gallon bucket of black gravel)
- On the way home from picking up the 90, I stopped a Petsmart and they had the Marineland "Advanced" LED light (48-60 inch) on for $110 down from $220. Because the box was open, I got another 10% off. So $98 brand new.
- Since the LED was also good for saltwater, I was looking for protein skimmers and spotted an AquaC Remora on Craigslist. It was brand new (bought for a second tank that never happened and had never seen water). Mine for $50 and included the optional pre-filter and Maxi Jet 1200 pump.
- Another "bought for a tank that never happened", I picked up a SunSun 304b canister filter, brand new with media for $40.
- At this point, I was convinced I was going saltwater so I started looking for a sump tank. I found a 50 gallon Hagen with two Aquaclear 50 filters, a fluorescent light, some plastic plants and a couple 1 gallon buckets of gravel for $40.

That's where I stand at this point. This is when the reality of saltwater started started to slip away. I still needed a return pump for the sump, some live rock, a different stand (to accommodate a sump), some power heads and other bits and pieces. I was also going to need to either drill the tank or get an HOB drain and return. The LFS guy also mentioned that even the bow says so, that LED wasn't going to cut it for a reef tank. Plan on spending at least another $400 to $500 on lights.There's someone a few blocks away trying to dump a 75 gallon saltwater setup with a tank and homemade stand, live rock (but REALLY nasty), 2 power heads, a bucket of salt, some testing supplies, etc. I'm sure I could get it all for no more than $100. Then I was going to need to design and build the sump, not to mention getting a reverse osmosis system, then there's the cost of stocking a saltwater reef tank. At this point, I've decided I'm a freshwater guy (and there's nothing wrong with that).

As I'm almost ready to start setting up my 90 gallon, I'd LOVE to hear any ideas, suggestions, tips from the many knowledgable members here. I'm still probably a couple weeks away as I'm waiting for a friend to help me build the stand (he has cabinet making experience) and I need a lid for the 90. A few things I'm still on the fence about. Is it worth it for me to run a sump? The SunSun is rated for 150 gallon tank and it has a UV sterilizer. Would the sump be worth the extra work and expense? I could always keep the 50 as a quarantine tank. Especially since it came with two 50 gallon filters.

Although I only recently joined, I've been doing a lot of reading here researching equipment and livestock. I'm still deciding what to stock it with, but I want something with some decent size and color. Any opinions (angels, gouramis, rainbow fish, others)? The showcase fish will determine what I fill out the rest of the tank with. I think I've ruled out cichlids because although they look incredible, you're pretty much just limited to cichlids.

Also, I was thinking of going with sand but since I had a pile of black gravel from the 90 gallon, that seemed like the most economical choice. My only concern is that it feeels pretty rough. Here's a photo of it...

image

Is this going going to be a problem for certain fish?

Sorry for the super long read, but as you all know, there's an awful lot involved in setting up a new tank and you only want to do it once. Thanks
 
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Al913

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WELCOME to Fishlore!

, 90 gallons, that a lot of options you can go by! What are the dimensions of the tank?

For stocking we can do:
2x angel fish
3x pearl gourami
15x rummy nose tetra
8x rainbow (what species?)
12x sterbai cory

Personally I would go with the Penn Plax Cascade Canister filter rated for 150! It has better ratings and I've been planing on getting one myself for my 40 breeder.

Heater wise your gonna want a heater at least 400 watt. Thus it would be best to get 2 200 watt heater!
 
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BFG Scott

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The tank measures 48w x 24h x 18d. As far as heaters, I was going by the 3 watts per gallon rule so I was thinking either two 150w or two 200w. I wound up buying a new Eheim Jäger 300w submersible. I would have preferred two smaller ones but it was too good a deal to pass up. Funny thing is, the box says it's good for "aquariums up to 264 US gallons". Not sure how they got that number. By my math, I wouldn't go more than 100 gallons with that heater.
 
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BFG Scott

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I have the SunSun 304b. I had never heard of them so I did a bit of research and the verdict seems to be that they're decent filters for the price. It wouldn't have been my first choice but for 40 bucks used (but brand new in the box) I'm willing to give it a shot. If anything happens, I can run the 2 Aquaclear 50s in an emergency (very short term) while I get a replacement canister filter. Plus, I'm still not ruling out running a sump.
 

JumpmanRick

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I like the stocking that Al913. I went with figure 8 puffers in my 75 gallon and now i have some platies and im getting bumblebee gobies and yea... im limited lol. Make sure you know what you want before getting any fish. You could also throw a rainbow shark in their with a community tank and some other cool stuff.

And if you do plan on getting cories or other bottom feeders i would go with a finer sand.
 

vikingkirken

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What kind of tank are you interested in? Active or relaxed, aggressive or peaceful, lots of color, lots of personality...

If you like active and colorful, how about a mixed rainbowfish tank with some yoyo loaches on the bottom?

Or a big school of tiger barbs (you could combine regular, albino, and green), plus a red tail or rainbow shark and nerite snails?

For lots of personality, what about Central or South American cichlids? There are lots of small and mid-sized types that can work in an appropriate community.
 
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BFG Scott

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Looking for some color. Trying to stay away from anything too aggressive. I like the look of cichlids but from what I've read, then you're pretty much limited to mostly cichlids and even then, you have to keep them from harassing each other. I like the idea of a variety of species.

I saw the suggestion of pearl gouramis. I see their on the peaceful side. Is that common of most full sized gouramis?

Is there a larger type fish that's safe to house with smaller schooling fish (like tetras)? I see the info page on rummynose tetras warns against putting them with angelfish.

I like that the Barbs come in so many different colors but don't they tend to be nippy? What will I be able to put with them?

Thanks for all the suggestions.
 

vikingkirken

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New World cichlids, especially dwarf ones, are much more peaceful and compatible for a community than the mbunas I'm guessing you're thinking of. You could look into German or Bolivian rams, keyholes, laetacara, or apistogrammas. There are others, but those are the first that come to mind.

Pearls are one of the most peaceful gouramis, one of the few you can comfortably keep in a group. Honey gouramis are smaller but equally peaceful.


If you pick tetras that are larger or have taller bodies, they'll be safer. When you say "larger type fish", do you mean centerpieces or schooling fish?


Tiger barbs tend to be less nippy when in a large school, but honestly I'm not sure what else would work best with them. For sure you want to avoid something like angelfish, that have long trailing fins! You could add gold, black ruby, or Odessa barbs (or do those instead, if you want something more peaceful than tigers). Cherry barbs are smaller and quite peaceful.
 

Al913

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I saw the suggestion of pearl gouramis. I see their on the peaceful side. Is that common of most full sized gouramis?

Is there a larger type fish that's safe to house with smaller schooling fish (like tetras)? I see the info page on rummynose tetras warns against putting them with angelfish.

I like that the Barbs come in so many different colors but don't they tend to be nippy? What will I be able to put with them?
So pearls, honey, and sparkling gouramis are the most peaceful and they can be kept in groups.

As long as you have adequate cover rummy nose tetras shouldn't have a problem. When you get your angel it will be quarter to dollar coin size! The angel won't be able to eat the tetra. It will then later on grow up with the tetras and will be less likely to eat it. Most people who have gotten a baby angel and had them grow up with the tetras such as neons tend to not have problems. Most of the problems come with people having adult or at least a pretty big angelfish already and then decided to add neons or small schooling fish. The angelfish will than eat them. Angelfish aren't the kind of fish that are like I will eat you if you fit in my mouth like other kinds of carnivorous fish which once they become an adult will eat anything in the tank small enough.

As for barbs one of the most popular is the cherry barb which is a peaceful shoaling fish. Some barbs are schooling while others are shoaling. Schooling are fish that stay close together and normall swim in one direction while shoaling are more stay in one big area and the individual is able to explore by itself yet need to know others of its kind is around. Shoaling fish are more social and will come together if one finds food or at night. When they are active they split up!

So if you still change your mind about the stocking just think of which fish you might want to take out and which fish you might want.
 
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BFG Scott

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If you pick tetras that are larger or have taller bodies, they'll be safer. When you say "larger type fish", do you mean centerpieces or schooling fish?


Tiger barbs tend to be less nippy when in a large school, but honestly I'm not sure what else would work best with them.

I was talking about a centrepiece fish that won't seriously limit my choices for the rest of the tank. As far as the Tiger Barbs, I hadn't really considered them. I only mentioned them as they had been suggested with angels and gouramis. I figured they were a bit nippy to be with either of those.


As long as you have adequate cover rummy nose tetras shouldn't have a problem. When you get your angel it will be quarter to dollar coin size! The angel won't be able to eat the tetra. It will then later on grow up with the tetras and will be less likely to eat it.

As for barbs one of the most popular is the cherry barb which is a peaceful shoaling fish.
That's what I was wondering about the angels. And the cherry barbs looks nice. I'll have to look into those.
 
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