Help: Setting up a new tank 55 Gallon Tank

Discussion in 'More Freshwater Aquarium Topics' started by Dean, Mar 15, 2010.

  1. DeanValued MemberMember

    I just acquired a 55gal (4ft long) tank to set up in my classroom. I don't have a lot of money to set this tank up so any cheap options are great. I'm going to do a fishless cycle so I have a while to figure out stocking issues. What I'm wondering now is:

    1) It came with an undergravel filter. Should I use it or just get a good filter (I'm thinking Ehiem classic 2213 canister) or use both?
    2) I'm picking up a basic lighting fixture today(donated for the cause). What kind of bulb should I get if I want to have it pretty heavily planted but I don't want to use CO2.
    3) Substrate suggestions for a community tank? I've been hearing a bunch about "Chicken Grit". Anyone ever use that.
    4) It came with a 100 watt heater, is that powerful enough?

    That's all for now although I'm sure more questions will come up as I get answers for you guys. Thanks a lot for your help.
  2. bubblynutterWell Known MemberMember

    Hi Dean,

    I can answer a couple of these, and will let others add their expertise for the rest.

    1) Canister filters are by far the best filters out there. Undergravel filters are a pain in the you-know-what if you want to have a heavily planted tank. I recommend not using it.
    3) Gravel should get you by just fine, even with a planted tank (just ask Nutter). I haven't heard of chicken grit, but quartz-based gravel is a great cheaper option...
    4) You would want to look into a 300w heater. The general rule of thumb is 1w=1L, which says you want a 210w heater (200 is the closest). I always work out what I need, and then go the next size up. Otherwise you could keep the 100w, and pick up another 100 or 200 (to be safe).

    Good luck! I hope this helped...
  3. CichlidudeWell Known MemberMember

    I would pass on the undergravel filter. Search this forum or the web for issues with them now. A good canister or HOB is what you need.

    As far as the heater, 100 watt MAY be enough if your ambient temperature does not go below 70 degrees for your 55 gallon tank. Otherwise you will need more.

    Heater Guide Example:

    If you need to raise the temperature of a 55 gallon tank 15 F, simply use the guide below to find out what wattage is needed. The corresponding wattage is 190W, therefore you would select a 200 watt heater. For me, my downstairs theater room may get down to 60 at night for my 75 gallon. Therefore a 300 watt heater is used.


    Let's say the guide above says you need a 400 watt heater. This does not mean you can use 2 - 200 watt heaters. You would still need 2 - 400 watt heaters (but they would cycle less often).

    Otherwise, you could have 8 - 50 watt units and your tank would be at temperature right? Wrong, it would only heat up to the value of one (1) 50 watt heater. If I heat water to 100 degrees and heat another pot to 100 degrees and then combine them, I would have 200 degree water right? Sorry, it's still only 100 degrees. Unfortunately it is not additive.

    Multiple heaters are for redundancy, lessen the duty cycle and eliminate cold spots that's all.
  4. DeanValued MemberMember

    I decided to splurge and get a in-line heater for my tank. I have one for my house tank and love it. it's only $25 more then a submersible.
  5. bubblynutterWell Known MemberMember

    wow. Great choice!

    I wish I could get one of those...
  6. DeanValued MemberMember

    They don't sell those down under?
  7. bubblynutterWell Known MemberMember

    not for $25 they don't. Cheapest I have seen is $95 + shipping, and that's for a 200w.

    I would need a 200, 2x300 and the biggest bad boy they have for my 180g!!
  8. DeanValued MemberMember

    $45 at but I'm buying it from BigAl's online with price match 5% cheaper than competitors so that make's it $42.75.