New Tank: 52 liters/13 Gallons

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by maia, Feb 16, 2006.

  1. maia

    maiaNew MemberMember

    Hello all!

    I'm new to this business and I'm hoping to get some advice, reading articles online gets kinda boring after a while.

    I'm spending a year on a masters in Amsterdam. I'm living in a student flat and decided to add some life to my tiiiiiny room. So, I bought a tank. It's 60x30x30cm, which works out to about 52 liters/13 gallons. I have a heater, filter and hood with a lamp. A few questions:

    1) I set up the tank on Monday with gravel and lots o plants. I went to a petshop yesterday hoping to get some seeder gravel. Instead I bought something called "Aqua Bacteri-All" by Velda. I'm not entirely sold that it'll work...but it wasn't too expensive, so I figured it's worth a try. So yesterday I put that stuff in and some fish food to "feed the tank". I know the tank's supposed to get cloudy sometime while cycling, but today mine was greenish cloudy. I'm going to wait it out a few days to see if it goes away, but do you think it could be algae?

    2) I just bought some ammonia today and was planning on using it for fishless cycling. But...I don't have a test kit for ammonia (I know I know, I should go get one..but I have a tight budget, so I'm trying to cut corners). Any opinions on if the cycling will work just fine with fish food, or if I should switch to the ammonia. If it's better, I'll go out and buy a test kit. I tested for Nitrite today and it's at around 0.3mg/l, so I'm guessing the cycling already started.

    4) I bought my tank set up as a kit. I just want to check to see if the filter ( - It's this brand and looks like it, but I'm not sure that's the exact one I have) that came with it is sufficient. I keep reading about mechanical, biological, chemical filters. But, I don't really have a clear idea of what I need! What dyall think?

    5) Last question, I promise! The fish. I know it's an inch/gal. So that's about 6 fish, right? I'm kinda bummed about that because I was really looking forward to getting some schooling fish like black neon tetras. But then I can't get anything else. Ideally I'd like to have some exciting fish. A playful school (tetras), something creepy (kuhli loach), colorful (honey gourami) or cute (cories). Obviously I can't have everything. Any opinions on fun community tank combinations that make you go "Wow! Look at that! And look at that! And that one's crazy too!" (Being stuck in a 12 square meter room writing endless papers needs distractions).

    Ok that's all for now! Sorry for the long windedness... Thanks in advance for the advice!

    (I'm gonna try to attach a foto. It looks like a black path of gravel, but it's really a hill in the back that the little plants are planted on. I have piles of bigger pebbles that I have little flower pots burried under. Do those larger size stones on top of the gravel create problems? Can you see the greenish glow?)

    Attached Files:

  2. EmpPleco

    EmpPlecoWell Known MemberMember

    ;D First of all, I want to see that it definately seems like you have done you're research before giving into all the temptations in this hobby. It's such a relief a hear!

    Secondly, You're tank (the way the gravel is set up) looks wonderful!!! Never seen anything quite like it! Although it seems it will be a little hard to maintain when you start gravel vaccing, lol. No more perfection, hehe

    But as for the ammonia sources you are debating on, both should work fine, but there are really no "cutting corners". U really need to go out and get that test kit. It's vital to know exactly what your levels are when you are cycling your tank, because it's the only way to know when it is safe to add fish.

    Knowing what these levels are from tests kits will help you better to identify the problems you are having with your tank. For instance, your green cloudy water, could be a result of the ammonia source you are already using, and it could be causing spikes in the levels of ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. Which is perfect, because it's helping to form the beneficial bacteria you need to readily turn that yucky stuff into less harmful stuff lol.

    My suggestion would be to let your tank run fishless for the next couple weeks (or even as long as it takes, for safe test readings) and do biweekly water changes (not touching the gravel or filter media because that is where your beneficial bacteria will reside) and pretty soon you will see that your ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels with stabilize and that green cloudy water will turn crystal clear! :)

    Hope I helped, and Good Luck to you and your Future fishies ;)

  3. fish_r_friend

    fish_r_friendWell Known MemberMember

    its a good thing she did do research too b/c i didn't bought a common pleco for my tank (still don't know what to do with it ???)
  4. EmpPleco

    EmpPlecoWell Known MemberMember

    just a reason to buy a bigger tank ;)
  5. fish_r_friend

    fish_r_friendWell Known MemberMember

    that will not happen soon any way i couldn't afford a bigger tank any time soon
  6. EmpPleco

    EmpPlecoWell Known MemberMember

    Neither could I, lol so do dont feel bad.. i wish i could :'(
  7. Jon

    JonWell Known MemberMember

    you could still get small schooling fish like white clouds and a dwarf gourami... if you want cories some people keep 1 little tanks so you could do it... 6 white clouds + gourami + cory = 11 1/2 inches so you could still pull off the tank you want
  8. 0morrokh

    0morrokhFishlore VIPMember

    A better formula for inches of fish is lengh x width / 12. That is based on the fact that an average freshwater tropical fish needs 12 square inches of surface area to supply enough oxygen. You can probably have a bit more than 13 inches with this formula...with smaller tanks it tends to be more than the gallons, and less than the gallons in larger tanks, I think anyway. Jon, that combo wouldn't work--White Clouds actually need cooler temps than other fish, technically they're not quite tropical, and Cories need to be kept in groups of 3 or more. This is a very rough calculation, but in my 10g tank I could have 6 small tetras and 3 cories. Make sure you know the exact adult size of your fish.
  9. Jon

    JonWell Known MemberMember

    whoops... you could keep some smaller tetras (cardinal, neon, ect.) and a gourami... btw cories can be fine in groups of 1-2... they prefer schools of 3 but dont need to be kept in schools of 3
  10. Isabella

    IsabellaFishlore VIPMember

    Beautiful tank Maia :) You're lucky to be in Amsterdam, it's such a beautiful city, isn't it? My sister went there and brought back wonderful photos. We also have some really great friends from Amsterdam who visited us in NYC! People in Holland seem so warm, hospitable, and friendly (something we don't get a lot of in NYC!). I am planning to visit this city as well :)
  11. OP

    maiaNew MemberMember

    Thanks thanks for all the input. Amsterdam's not bad. Personally, my experience with Dutch people is that they're A LOT friendlier once they're outside of the country. When they're all together in their own habitat, they're super cold and their idea of hospitality is making an appointment (no spontaneity/surprises) for coffee and you get ONE cup and ONE cookie!!! The Dutch aren't bad, but I prefer the friendliness of warmer Brazil ;D

    The tank's still cycling. I can't tell if it's getting more green or less green though. But it's definitely got a green tint to it. Waiting for it to cycle is like...looking at chocolate cake behind a window. I just wanna eat it already!! It's ok, it gives me time to think about what fish to get.

    I did the calculations for the surface area and I'm not sure if I did it right because the number's a lot more than 13 inches. My tank's 60cmx30cm. In inches that's 23.622x11.811/12= 23.25 inches. Is that right? 23 inches of fish?!?

    Do gourami's get aggressive if they're by themselves? I've also read about German Blue Rams as another option. Any opinions on those fish?
  12. EmpPleco

    EmpPlecoWell Known MemberMember

    Actually, you have a little over 14 gallons there. So with the 1 inch of fish per gallon rule, you can fit 14 inches of fish in your tank at most (Keeping in mind the adult size).

    Gouramis are sometimes harrassing when they are on their own, but only with certain types of fish.

    If you gave us a full list of fish that you were interested in, we could probably help you and let you know what combinations of fishes would work best :)
  13. Isabella

    IsabellaFishlore VIPMember

    LOL Maia :D! Well, it seems my sister's experience was much different from yours. Perhaps it were just these particular people you've met there? Or do you think this kind of "hospitality" is prevalent there? To me personally it also seems they're very nice (at least my friends from Amsterdam are). As for Brazil - never been there, so I can't compare. But I'm sure it's a beautiful country as well. In fact, every country is beautiful in its own way :).
  14. Jon

    JonWell Known MemberMember

    if you've ever lived in egypt you'd eat your words

    the country is dirty and terrible.. the plumbing sucked and every time some idiot flushed a diaper down the toilet we'd get baby poo flooding into our bathroom

    the red sea was nice though i was too young to dive but i snorkeled there and it was breath taking
  15. OP

    maiaNew MemberMember

    Nitrites are getting up there....whoohoo! Progress.

    The fish I'm interested in are cories, kuhli loaches and tetras (I know the fish store has neons, but I've read that they're not too hardy). So do they get along with Honey Gouramis or Blue Rams?
    Do any of these fish need special environments - like caves or lots of plants? I figured I could spend the time waiting by doing some aquascaping.

    Will I interrupt the cycle if I move some gravel around? And I think the filter got clogged with some old fish food or plant leaves cause it's not running as fast - would it be bad if I rinsed it out in some old tank water?
  16. OP

    maiaNew MemberMember

    ps - anyone have experience/knowledge on ADFs? It'd be nice to have something non-fish looking (which is why I think kuhli loaches are fun) in there.
  17. EmpPleco

    EmpPlecoWell Known MemberMember

    I have 2 of them. Is there anything specific you wanted to know?
  18. OP

    maiaNew MemberMember

    I just wanted to know if they work out well in a tank alone and with fish.
    I did some reading and it sounds like they wouldn't be happy in a fish tank. I think I'll stay away until I have some more experience.
  19. EmpPleco

    EmpPlecoWell Known MemberMember

    If you want my honest opinion, I don't think they would do too well with ALOT of active fish. However, I have 2 ADF's in a ten gallon with a male betta (and they leave each other alone, unless given live food, and in that case, they get a little aggressive toward one another, but not anything that hurts either of them). And they also share a tank with two black catfish, who keep to themselves. So basically all of the fish in this tank mind their own business.
    All of the fish in my tank are generally independent, and not sociable, and from that I would say that ADF's could probably not get along too well in a full crowded tank with alot of active fish. And not to mention the fact that they eagerly eat anything that can fit into their mouth, so you wouldn't be able to breed any of the other fish in your tank without having to worry about the frogs.

    Hope this helps, lol I have rambled on long enough...!!