My new aquarium journey!!!

Awesomeneptune

I've got a Juwel 180litre (47 gallon) tank on the way, it should arrive tomorrow (I can't wait!) . It comes with a stand, filter and heater which I saw as a bonus. I'm hoping to share what I'm doing here and hopefully get some tips on aquascaping, stocking ect.

Anyway today I went to my lfs and picked up some things for the tank. I got eco complete plant substrate, 15kg of sand, seachem stability and a large peice of wood (photos attached!). As my birthday and Christmas are both coming up I've also asked my family for a few things for the tank, and am planning to get rocks from outside and a nearby river for the aquascape. I'm also going to try and order some plants online either today or tomorrow! I'll try and update what I'm doing here when ever possible, although once it starts cycling there might not be so much to say. Thank you for reading!

(Also is anyone having issues with the minimum amount of characters for the title? I can never think of how to make it longer lol)
 

BigManAquatics

It certainly has made for some interesting titles from time to time...hurts people like me who prefer to type straight to the point lol
 

StarGirl

Cant wait to see it. Yes the titles are a pain. You have all the dechlor and testing kits already?
 

Awesomeneptune

Yes I do. I currently have a 15 gallon that I've had for a year now with 1 betta and 2 corydoras (the Cory's are going to be moved to the new tank when ready and get a bigger school). I'm certainly finding that multiple tank syndrome is real lol
 

WRWAquarium

Look forward to seeing the progress :)
 

Mbradley17

Will be fun to watch… post lots of pics of your journey ;)
I agree TITLES ARE A PAIN! LoL :confused:
 

Awesomeneptune

I ended up changing the title from 'my new tank journey' to 'my new aquarium journey' but that still wasn't enough so I had to add 3 exclamation marks lol.
 

Awesomeneptune

The tank has arrived!!! I'm very pleased with how it looks so far, although it still isn't out if the box. The filter looks good too. I can't wait to get the stand built and get it up and running! It is 101 x 40 x 50cm (LxWxH). It looks so much bigger than my current tank and I'm sure my Cory's and any other fish I get will love it! I'll update ASAP when I've got it built and then when I'm dry scaping it. Also anyone got any suggestions for stocking? I'm definitely planning on having 10 false julli Corydora and a bristle nose pleco but any other suggestions welcome!
 

Blacksheep1

I have this tank and I’ve been very happy with it so far!! I’m looking forward to see how you scape it as mine is no where near what I want it to be.
As for stocking try and find a centre piece fish you just have to have and work with parameters so the other fish suit .
 

Gudgie

Can't wait to see updates as it all comes together!
 

WRWAquarium

Plenty of fish options for that tank.

Angelfish group could work if your willing to seperate any pairs that form.

Rainbow fish are nice larger schoalers. For some of the larger species a 4ft or 120cm is recommended but your not far off that.

Gouramis are nice, maybe like pearls which are peaceful and top dwelling.

A nice large group of tetras are always stunning. Rummy nose group up nice, cardinals group looser but have the color E. C. T

Barbs are an option. I really like black Ruby barbs and tigers. They have a bad reputation but not necessarily going to fin nip everything!

I think the tank could be a little small for a cichlid setup like Malawi or tanganyika but there's the dwarf cichlids and rams.

Then you could go oddball fish like puffers or something. Just research and ask questions and get your stocking right from get go :)
 

Awesomeneptune

The cabinet it now fully assembled! We had a bit of trouble trying to get the doors to fit but got there eventually, everything else was pretty straight forward. I'm very pleased with how it looks at the moment, and can't wait till I have time to put the tank on! Before we put the tank on though we are going to make sure it is level, and maybe try and put a peice of wood underneath one if the sides of the cabinet as it is a bit wobbly at the minute. We also didn't put the feet on, as we thought it might spread the weight out more evenly, is this ok?
 

Awesomeneptune

I'm not going to manage to get the stand leveled and things tonight, but I have been thinking more about stocking. I really like the look of the white fin bentosi tetra ( Hyphessobrycon bentosi ). So do you think that this stocking would work:

10 Corydora (false julli)
10 bentosi tetra
4 pearl gourami ( 1m : 3f )
1 bristle nose pleco

Would this be over/under stocked? To be honest I will probably change my mind again before im ready to get fish, but it's good to have all options right?
 

WRWAquarium

I like that stock :)

It would be fully stocked in my opinion. Others may think differently.

Never seen the bentosi tetras before, bit like a smaller Congo. Beautiful fish.
 

Awesomeneptune

I'm glad that stock seems ok! I wouldn't add any other fish with that stock, although may replace the bristle nose with a few shrimp instead.

I hadn't heard of the bentosi tetras before either but I saw them at my lfs at the weekend! They looked really cool and looked quite clueless as to what was happening most of the time which was really sweet and funny!
 

Awesomeneptune

Small update: We managed to cut some wood to go under the stand to level it today, so we should get the tank on at the weekend! And then I'll try dry scaping it!
 

jmaldo

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The possibilities just remember to have fun.

Good Luck!
 

Awesomeneptune

Ok, the tank is up!!! We got it up yesterday but was quite busy so sorry for the delay. I think I've got everything I need for setting it up now, apart from the plants but they are on the way. Before I aqua scape we just need to cut the wood a bit to make it fit, and find and wash some rocks. I'm planning on planting mainly around the wood, with some vallisinera hopefully spreading to cover the background. I'll try and get some more photos of the tank and supplies tomorrow. I can't wait to get aquascaping!

Stocking wise I'm thinking the same kind of thing with a few adjustments:

10 false julli corydoras
10 white fin bentosi Tetra
3 pearl gourami (1m: 2f)

Has anyone had any experience with the pearl gourami? I really need something that is peaceful and won't stress the other fish (although I do know that aggressiveness will vary, even in the same species). Also what should I feed the pearls and Tetras? Thank you!
 

Awesomeneptune

Ok, so this is probably going to be a big post, but I just wanted to start saying that I'm sorry i havent posted in so long, it's been a busy time especially with Christmas coming up!

( all photos attached)
I got the tank up and running about a week ago. First we added eco complete substrate at the bottom, trying to slope it up at the back. We then cut the wood a bit so it wasn't right up against the glass. Then we washed the sand in a big bucket with a garden hose - it was very dirty!!! After adding the sand I placed and positioned the wood and rocks (that had been washed, boiled and tested with vinegar). We then filled it up a fe winches with water using a pond pump and some tubing. Next we added the plants! I put the vallisinera at the back and some crypts at the front with a few mid ground plants inbetween. The Java fern and anubius is just floating at the moment as the wood is still floating slightly. After that we just filled it up fully with water and got the filter and heater plugged in.

The next day I used Dr Tim's ammonia to get the tank to 2ppm and added in some seachem stability. Also raised the ph to 7-7.5 using bicarbonate of soda. Kept dosing seachem stability until I ran out yesterday and tested every few days, not much difference to the ammonia reading. Until today that is! Here are today's readings ( by the way I use NT labs liquid test kit):
Ammonia: 0.5
Nitrite: 8
Nitrate: 80
Ph: 7-7.5
Must say I was very excited when I saw that I had nitrite and nitrate! Next step is to add some more ammonia to get it up to 2ppm again. To be clear I just keep the ammonia at 2ppm until it can turn to nitrate in 24hrs right? And how much nitrate should I aim to have? Also, does it matter if I do a water change once the cycle is completed?

Since I set it up last week the wood has released a lot of tannins into the water and has also started growing white fuzz. The crypts have started their notorious melting too. The anibuis has also started to turn brown - any ideas why this might be? The vallisinera really adds to the river look and I love it but it has started growing hair algae on the bits that are by the surface and has also started to turn brown at the ends, why could this be? Also I did put in root tabs.

Stocking wise I haven't really changed my mind at all:
10 false julli corydora
10 white fin bentosi Tetra
3 pearl gourami
Any other suggestions welcomed though!

Thank you for reading!
 

Blacksheep1

That’s a lovely piece of wood ! Yes dose to 2ppm ammonia until it’s converted in 24 ( 48 maybe ?) hours. You can do a water change once you think you’re fully cycled as practically none of the bacteria is in the water. I’m sure a cycling guru can offer more insight on that for you.
I actually like the tannin look !! As for plants it could just be the change and no nitrates to feed on at the start and will start to come back soon, once cycled you can start to fertilise if needed .

Im, personal opinion only , not a fan of gourami’s. I find multiples such a hit and miss regardless of m/f, but again I’ll stress that’s just my opinion. They are pretty though.
 

Awesomeneptune

Ammonia is now going down to 0 within 24hrs, but nitrite and nitrate are still high. I got a magnetic algae scraper for my Christmas which has already been used to get all the algae off the walls of the tank, it works brilliantly! As the tank is getting closer to be fish ready, I've been thinking more about stocking. Especially other centrepiece fish options, please tell me which one you think would work best with 10 white fin bentosi Tetra and 10 false julli Corydora, and let me know if you have any other suggestions:

1) 3 pearl gourami
2) 2 honey gourami
3) 2 Bolivian rams
 

jmaldo

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Nice start!
 

Awesomeneptune

The nitrite has just began to noticeably go down today which is exciting! The odd thing was I'd been seeing high nitrate readings for a while but nitrite stayed the same, but luckily it's going down now. Can't wait to get fish but am still undecided on which centrepiece! I definitely want the 10 corys and 10 bentosi Tetra but I just don't know which centrepiece would be best and most peaceful. I love the look of the pearls but don't want them to be too aggressive. Any body got any suggestions or had any experience with pearl gouramis?
 

Jon Crosby

Why don't you use a school of fish as a centre piece? A decent sized school I feel like stands out more
 

Awesomeneptune

I do like that idea but I would also like something that has a personality. I know that smaller fish will as well but I feel you can't really get to know them, if that makes sense?
 

Blacksheep1

Have you scrapped the idea of a bristle nose pleco?
 

Jon Crosby

I do like that idea but I would also like something that has a personality. I know that smaller fish will as well but I feel you can't really get to know them, if that makes sense?

I guess that's true. Apistogrammas are quite nice
 

Awesomeneptune

Have you scrapped the idea of a bristle nose pleco?

No, not all all. I think that it would be a really cool centrepiece. I'm just wondering if they would bother the Corydora at all, and do they have an obvious personality? I love all of them different variations though and a bonus that they eat algae!
 

Awesomeneptune

My filter seems to be getting quite clogged with all of the mulch from plants ect. Is it ok to "clean" the coarse filter sponge after the cycle is complete? Or will this distrupt beneficial bacteria too much.
 

Blacksheep1

No, not all all. I think that it would be a really cool centrepiece. I'm just wondering if they would bother the Corydora at all, and do they have an obvious personality? I love all of them different variations though and a bonus that they eat algae!
I wouldn’t class them as a centre piece if I’m honest. They are very shy and you’d barely see them. And tbh if you’re buying a pleco to clean — do not bother !!! Those guys are poop
Machines and make more mess than they clean ! Having said that I love my pleco but he’s definitely not a centrepiece .

have you looked at chocolate gouramis ?
 

Awesomeneptune

have you looked at chocolate gouramis ?

I've heard that they are quite sensitive to changes in water chemistry and according to some websites they are quite difficult to care for. I would definitely consider them though, but this is only my 2nd tank and I don't want anything that I'll struggle to keep
 

Blacksheep1

Well that’s a wise decision then. If you’re set on gouramis then maybe honeys would be best , pretty , friendly and personable and they stand out with that bright colour. Or powder blues
 

mattgirl

My filter seems to be getting quite clogged with all of the mulch from plants ect. Is it ok to "clean" the coarse filter sponge after the cycle is complete? Or will this distrupt beneficial bacteria too much.
Yes, you can clean your filter media if it seems to be getting clogged. You don't have to wait until the cycle is complete. Just be sure you clean it in water you have pulled from the tank. I suspect it is time to change some of the water anyway so now is a good time to clean the sponge. Keep in mind, the bacteria is not free floating in the water so doing the water change isn't going to be removing any of it.

Just be sure you temp match and use your water conditioner if you have chlorine/chloramines in your tap water. I know there are no fish in there yet but I consider the bacteria a living thing thus the reason for temp matching the water.
 

Awesomeneptune

My tank is fully cycled! Got these readings yesterday:
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 80+

Did a 60% waterchange today to get nitrate down and moved some plants about. I also added in a large broken terracotta pot cave. I'm really pleased with it at the moment and am planning on going to my lfs to get some fish on Wednesday. Here's my stocking plan:
10 false julli Corydora
10 ornate Tetra (white fin bentosi tetra)
2 keyhole cichlids
I'll add in them in in that order aswell, over a few weeks.

After the waterchange nitrate readings are 5-10ppm. What's the best nitrate range? And do I keep adding in ammonia until I get the fish?

I've also ordered some Indian almond leaves and alder cones to give it a more natural look.

I'll add more updates once I've been to my lfs!
 

mattgirl

Congratulations on a job well done. :)

Since this tank is processing 2ppm ammonia through to nitrates within 24 hours you should be safe adding all of both the corys and the Tetras all at the same time. I would want to make sure the chance of a spike in ammonia/nitrites is past before adding the last 2 fish. If you are still seeing 0 ammonia and 0 nitrites for at least a week it should be safe to add the other 2 fish.
After the waterchange nitrate readings are 5-10ppm. What's the best nitrate range? And do I keep adding in ammonia until I get the fish?
The most recommended number is about 20ppm. As long as i see orange in the test tube I call it good. If you are adding ferts for your plants your nitrates may run higher than that. Just keep up with your weekly water changes and you should be able to keep the nitrates down to safer levels.

I would probably test the tank out by adding ammonia at least one more time. This probably isn't needed but I would go ahead and add it daily up until the day before you get the fish. By doing so you will be assured of no spikes once fish are added.

You may want to do another water change the day before you get them. This way the fish are starting out in fresh clean water.
 

Awesomeneptune

Ok, so there is a slight issue with the tanks cycle. I don't have any fish in the tank yet because of the problem. I think that the ph dropped too low in the tank after it was cycled, and this caused the cycle to well, un-cycle. The ph in the tank keeps swinging quite dramatically which is slowing down the cycle recoverey but I've been trying my best to keep it stable with baking soda.

So here's a summary of the situation: on Sunday my tank was fully cycled but then the ph dropped and now it is no longer converting ammonia to nitrate in 24 hours. My ph keeps swinging but I'm doing my best to keep it steady at 6-6.5. Do I just have to recycle the tank now?
 

mattgirl

Your tank hasn't "un-cycled" The bacteria is still there as long as you didn't do a huge water change and didn't remove the chlorine if you have it in your source water. Once the pH is back up and stabilized the bacteria should get back to work.

Please refresh my memory. What is the pH of your source water? Have we talked about and have you considered running crushed coral to raise and stabilize your pH? The problem with baking soda is you have to keep adding it. Once crushed coral is in there it will hold the pH steady.
 

86 ssinit

Nice thread!! What is the ph of your tap water? The ph may be going down because of the driftwood and the substrate you used. That substrate isn’t eco-compleat it’s from tetra eco is a seachem product.
 

Awesomeneptune

Your tank hasn't "un-cycled" The bacteria is still there as long as you didn't do a huge water change and didn't remove the chlorine if you have it in your source water. Once the pH is back up and stabilized the bacteria should get back to work.

Please refresh my memory. What is the pH of your source water? Have we talked about and have you considered running crushed coral to raise and stabilize your pH? The problem with baking soda is you have to keep adding it. Once crushed coral is in there it will hold the pH steady.

Straight from the tap my ph is 6.5 but after being left for 24hrs or more it's closer to 5.5-6.

I have wondered about crushed coral but I'm just not sure how I'd do water changes as the water id be adding in would have a different ph to the tank water. I'm also not sure where I'd put it and how much I'd need?
Nice thread!! What is the ph of your tap water? The ph may be going down because of the driftwood and the substrate you used. That substrate isn’t eco-compleat it’s from tetra eco is a seachem product.

Tap water ph is stated aboveabove. The ph could be going down because of the driftwood and Indian almond leaves, but there isn't actually that many tannins in the water and I don't think it would drop so suddenly.
 

mattgirl

Straight from the tap my ph is 6.5 but after being left for 24hrs or more it's closer to 5.5-6.

I have wondered about crushed coral but I'm just not sure how I'd do water changes as the water id be adding in would have a different ph to the tank water. I'm also not sure where I'd put it and how much I'd need?
the crushed coral should hold the pH close to the pH of your tap water straight from the tap so no problem with water changes. I run about a cup of crushed coral in my filters. I run 2 HOB filters on my 55 gallon tank. So 1/2 cup in each filter.
Tap water ph is stated aboveabove. The ph could be going down because of the driftwood and Indian almond leaves, but there isn't actually that many tannins in the water and I don't think it would drop so suddenly.
If drift wood and IAL actually made a big difference in our pH level those with a really high pH would be using them for this purpose.
 

Blacksheep1

I wonder what your kh is if the dw and leaves did affect your ph. Mines real low ( like none existent ) and it did lower mine but it’s a huge dw chunk . I run crushed coral too in one tank ( a handful and a half ish ) my ph in that tank runs 7.2 the one without is 6.5
 

86 ssinit

Well new driftwood can bring down ph and even older pieces can bring down ph. It use to be recomended to bring it down. Also not the IAL I’m thinking the substrate. It’s some sort of planted substrate. But all in all it’s the tap that is low so yes the crushed coral is the way to go :).
 

mattgirl

Well new driftwood can bring down ph and even older pieces can bring down pH
thank you bunches. No matter how long we have been in the hobby we can still learn something new. I have to wonder why this isn't recommended more often to those that really would like to lower their pH for whatever reason. Has it been known to make a drastic change? Most of the time crushed coral will help raise and stabilize it but I didn't know how to lower it.

In this case I have to think the tap water is the main problem. Hopefully the crushed coral will help stabilize it.
 

Awesomeneptune

Thank you! I'll definitely look into getting some crushed coral for my filter. My tap kh is 2 but it's 4 in my tank at the moment because of the bicarbonate of soda
 

Awesomeneptune

So my tank ph was back and it was processing ammonia within 24hrs again so I went to the lfs today, after doing a water change.

They didn't have any false julli corys in and only 2 of the tetras, so I didn't get either of those. They did have in the keyhole cichlids though so I got 2 of them which are currently acclimating! They are absolutely tiny at the minute, I'll send some photos once they've settled in!

Help! I went in to check on the fish and to start adding in some water. But I could only see one fish in the bag... I took it out if the tank to have a look and one of them was out of the water, almost stuck to the side of the bag! I tipped the bag carefully so that he was back in the water and luckily he was still alive, I was so relieved! I had no idea that they were the kind of fish to jump?! Is there anything that I can do to stop him doing this again or just watch him till they are added into the tank?
 

Blacksheep1

He probably just scared himself and got stuck, not much else you can do apart from keep your eye on it until it’s in the tank
 

Awesomeneptune

They have been added into the tank now and are both hanging around together at the back. They keep pecking at bits of algae things. They are staying together in one section at the moment, I'm hoping this means they will get on with each other although it's a bit early to tell.
 

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