Message to all the 'nay sayers' out there on a Tetra/Barb 55 gallon build

ikolbyi
  • #1
8 weeks ago I began a brand new 55 Gallon community tank build project. During my initial phase of this effort many people answered my questions with hostility instead of constructive criticism. This is unfortunate that adults can't keep their emotions in check and answer peoples honest questions with constructive criticism. I'm here to report back that the conclusion of that effort has yielded positive results all around. Many changes were made especially to the filtration system and a few fish tweaks, but this post is help those in similar situations.

Initial Setup:

MarineLand 55 Gallons:
48" length, 13" width, 20" height
Filter: Fluval 406 Canister
Heater: Aqueon Pro250 (250 Watt) : Temperature set to 76 degrees
Light: Fluval Fresh & Planted 2.0 Full Spectrum Performance LED 48"

I took 4 gallons of water from an established 13.5 tank and poured it into the new tank. Let new tank run for 48 hours with zero (0) fish. Tank is planted.

Added fish to tank:

(4) OtocinclusCatfish (Otocinclus vittatus)
(5) SterbaiCorydoras Catfish (Corydoras sterbai)
(9) Red or BlueSakura Shrimp (Neocaridinaheteropoda vSakura)
(2) Fresh WaterRiver Asian Clam
(1) Assassin Snail
(1) Siamese AlgaeEater Fish (Crossocheilus oblongus)
(1) Bulldog/Rubbernose(Chaetostoma milesi, L187b)
(1) Clown Plecostomus (Peckoltia Vittata)
(5) Cherry Barbs(Puntius titteya)
(5) Gold Barbs(Puntitus sachsii)
(11) RummyNose Tetra
(1) Neon DwarfGourami
(1) Black Anglefish(Pterophyllum scalare)

Results:

The new 406 canister filter had 4 bags (2 trays) of carbon out of the box, for 2 weeks I could not control my Nitrates and Nitrites, they were always high, Ammonia was close to zero (0). I replaced 1 tray (2 bags) of carbon that came with the filter with Seachem de*nitrate and the original Fluval BIOMAX tray with Seachem Matrix, 3 days later Nitrate and Nitrate all dropped to near zero (0) and has remained that way for the past 2 weeks. Water received Seachem Stability daily for 2 weeks.

Conclusion on 406 canister stock filtration: was not very effective. Too may trays of carbon, adding more bio-filtration helped. Seachem Stability did work in speeding up buildup of bacteria.

Fish are all happy and thriving. Only 1 fatality, an Oto 4 weeks later. No fin nipping, occasionally the Gourami and Angelfish have a 'cold war' between them, but as the weeks went by that love/hate relationship settled down that they no longer shadow each other and finally swim in peace.

The single fish change:

Instead of the Gold Barbs this tank initially had Pristella Tetras. What I found was the Pristella and RummyNose Tetra schooled together and the two fish blended well despite their fin differences. My tank in my opinion became boring having the RummyNose schooling "loose" and similar Tetra's scattered all over. After removing the Pristella Tetras and introducing the Gold Barbs made the RummyNose Tetra school beautifully and swim end-to-end daily in tight formation. The Gold Barbs also add 'personality' that was missing from the tank.

Going forward:


I'm contemplating replacing the Cherry Barbs with Ruby or Emerald Barbs due to their small size (less than 2 inches). Thoughts?


IMG_5627_edited.jpg
 
Fettuccini
  • #2
One thing I feel I should point out: putting water in from an established tank doesn't actually do anything, since nitrifying bacteria doesn't live in the water column. Established filter media is what you want. That's why you had initial trouble with your parameters, not so much the filter itself.
 
ikolbyi
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
Established filter media is what you want. That's why you had initial trouble with your parameters, not so much the filter itself.

I noticed Fluval didn't give you much volume of BIOMAX media at all, looked very sparsely. After 5 weeks I just could not get my Nitrate/Nitrites down. 3 days after replacing it and 1 tray of carbon all of my levels dropped to near zero and have remained that way.

My present filter setup now that is actually working (instead of the original setup from the box):
1) Fluval 406 Foam Filter Block
2) Fluval 406 BIO-FOAM Filter
3) Seachem Matrix - 500 mL
4) Seachem de*nitrate - 500 mL
5) Fluval 406 Carbon
6) Fluval 406 Polish Pad
 
Lucy
  • #4
HI ikolbyI
Very nice tank. Glad things worked out for you
 
Anders247
  • #5
What did the nay-sayers say? I'm confused, because I can't find a thread about your 55 gallon in your 'my threads'.
You want ruby barbs instead of cherry barbs? That would be fine.
What species do you mean by 'emerald' barb?
 
ikolbyi
  • Thread Starter
  • #6
You want ruby barbs instead of cherry barbs? That would be fine.
What species do you mean by 'emerald' barb?

The Ruby over Cherry simply because of size - the Cherry's are lost in my tank.

The Emerald is a colorful version (dark greenish solid color tone) of the Tiger Barb. The local fish store has them mixed with regular Tiger barbs and they really stood out in comparison. They are not Glo-Barbs, those "Glo" fish were in a completely different tank.
 
Anders247
  • #7
Ah, OK, so it's the green color variant of the tiger barb. I'd avoid those with the angel being in there, but ruby barbs should be OK.
 
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ikolbyi
  • Thread Starter
  • #8
Ah, OK, so it's the green color variant of the tiger barb. I'd avoid those with the angel being in there, but ruby barbs should be OK.

Thank you for the feedback. Do you believe I can safely add 3 Ruby's to the existing tank to see how it works out or am I really overstocked at this point and need to wait for the Cherry's to die off first of natural causes before adding the Ruby? End goal is to have 5 Ruby (replace the existing 5 Cherries but wondering if I can safely add 3 Rubies now)
 
Anders247
  • #9
Can you give the cherry barbs back to the store? Or to someone else? If not, just wait for the cherry barbs to die of natural caused before replacing them. 3 ruby barbs would probably be rowdy and fin-nipping because they prefer larger groups.
 
ikolbyi
  • Thread Starter
  • #10
Can you give the cherry barbs back to the store? Or to someone else? If not, just wait for the cherry barbs to die of natural caused before replacing them. 3 ruby barbs would probably be rowdy and fin-nipping because they prefer larger groups.

The problem is getting them out. When I removed the Pristilla Tetra's I nearly destroyed my tank getting them out. The only way it was possible was to drain 50% of the water then use dividers to cut the tank in half. Then and only then was I able to corner the fish to remove. Never again, took me over an hour. The plants in the tank make it too difficult to catch them and when I did try I ended up damaging the plants.
 
Anders247
  • #11
Ah, OK. Have you tried using two nets to corner them? That should be much faster.
 
ikolbyi
  • Thread Starter
  • #12
Ah, OK. Have you tried using two nets to corner them? That should be much faster.

Correct 2 nets. 1 stationary and the 2nd to drive them toward the stationary one. The stationary one caught them. Just took a lot of time, effort, and damaged plants - at least 2 weeks later the plants are growing back nicely. Right now I'm counting 4 Cherries in the tank, the 5th must be hiding really well in some plant which I find them doing that often. Occasionally they swim in open water. The Gold Barbs and RummyNose Tetra's own this tank swimming everywhere in their respective schools.

The Cherries also do not school, spread about.
 
Anders247
  • #13
Hmm, sounds like they are pretty shy right now. When they grow a bit, and if you add more, they should be more outgoing.
 
ikolbyi
  • Thread Starter
  • #14
Hmm, sounds like they are pretty shy right now. When they grow a bit, and if you add more, they should be more outgoing.

I was told they are fully grown, they appear to be just shy of 2", where as my Golds are pushing 3". The RummyNose are larger than the Cherries but only slightly.

The RummyNose Tetra's are original fish to this tank. The Cherries were added 6 weeks ago. The Golds are new additions, 6 days ago and they had to be the most impacted of all really making the talk come alive. All the fish (except Cherries) provide entertainment - safely, no fin nipping, etc... The Cherries remain close to plants and just blend into the aqua-scape. I'm hoping the much larger size Ruby Barbs (3") will resolve that.
 
Anders247
  • #15
Hmm. Well, I'd just wait the cherries out then.
 
ikolbyi
  • Thread Starter
  • #16
Hmm. Well, I'd just wait the cherries out then.

I was able to safely remove the 5 Cherry Barbs from the tank, they are not as fast swimmers as the Tetra's. So I purchased 5 (looks like) adult Ruby Barbs, they have been added and now it is chaos. (both schools of Barbs 'fight dancing' for real estate).

It is clear the Angelfish need's to go, not enough swimming space in tank. The size difference between Ruby and Cherry is huge. These Ruby's are about 2.2" long and 1.5" high (dorsal-ventral fin).

As a result, the RummyNose Tetras are only swimming in the top 1/3 of tank, but their synchronous swim is interrupted by the Angelfish since they now are in the same tank region.

* The 5 Cory's went into hiding.
* The angelfish is annoyed, infact now the Gourami is using this opportunity to break the truce and is taking shots at the Angel.
* The Gourami is oblivious and all fishes ignore him, and now after weeks of peace once again is showing some hostility against the Angel. The Angel runs away,

-- 20 minutes later---

The Gourami and Angelfish have returned to their 'cold war' and swimming in peace once again.
The Gold barbs calmed down
The Ruby barbs are keeping to themselves
The Tetra's are in the tightest formation I have ever seen and still swimming-to-end
The Cory's are still in hiding.
The Oto's are in hiding
The Pleco's are both sunbathing.....including the Clown! go figure.
And not a shrimp to be found anywhere in the tank. I take it I can scratch them off the list as now on the fish dinner menu.

I have a Dwarf Orange Mexican Crayfish (Cambarellus patzcuarensis) in my overstocked Platy/Sword/Tetra/Amano/Cory/SA-BumbleBee Cat - 13.5 Gallon planted tank now for 2 weeks. When I got him I noticed he was missing both claws and 2 legs. They now have since grown back and s/he looks healthy.

Would this be a good addition to the 55 Gallon or am I asking for trouble?

AqAdvisor says Orange Dwarf Crays will go after and eat the fish, my only bottom dwellers are 2-3 inch Cory's.
 
Anders247
  • #17
Oh, well that's good.
The orange dwarf crays will be fine, they don't go after fish. It's the larger crays that do.
 

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