Return To Tropical Aquariums

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by Nubias, Jun 13, 2018.

  1. NubiasValued MemberMember

    Hi there,

    Making a return to keeping a fresh water tropical aquarium, I used to have a few tanks around 18 years ago now as a young teenager. I am based in Australia and if any one is a member of I can't join the forum as there Captcha phrase is broken/website down, can someone let a mod know? On the plus side found this great resource, great ebook andcontent.

    I am still currently deciding on a tank tossing up between size and cost but will go for the biggest I can afford with contingency fund in place for stocking and aquascaping. I am after a set up off the shelf with cabinet and hood, down to the following so far;

    Juwel Rio 125 or 180
    Aqua One Brilliance 80 or 100

    Leaning towards one of the Juwel tanks at the moment, I know a lot of people don't like the filters but I'm keen to keep in tank filtration and I like the fact the heater is hidden away. I have looked into some options and will most likely upgrade the pump size (giving me the original as a spare) and change the filter media to some type of bio-media on the bottom half and simple sponge and filter wool coarse to fine on top half of the filter.

    I am starting to get my head around aqua soils/sands but looking for suggestions on substrate types for low-mid light levels assuming this would be what the Juwels would be classed as? and not running C02. I want a dark substrate to bring out colors in the fish and plants more (also black film on the background) but also want a school of corys or pygmy corys so was thinking dual substrate with sand towards the front. Something similar to the ADA powder and a dark sand or brown sand maybe? Not after the white and look. something a few small plants can still grow in towards the front of the tank with bulk of planting in ADA or similar powder. Any suggestions?

    As for stocking I am thinking of the following;

    4-6 cory/pygmy cory
    2 Honey Gourami (strict orders that we must have a yellow fish)
    2 German Blue Rams or similar (potentially if I am not over stocking)
    School of 6-8 Harlequin Rasbora
    School of 10-12 Cardinal Tetra or similar
    Maybe some small shrimp for algae control although I'm not sold on them atm, I also don't mind too much if the rams decided to have a shrimp meal.

    The general idea is for a peaceful community planted tank trying to keep bio load down to create less maintenance or more margin for error if I miss a water change once and a while. Thoughts on stock levels? or alternative stock? Order and frequency of adding after cycle?

    Finally any plant suggestions would be welcome along with what additives everyone is using these days. The seachem range looks good? I think back in my day it was API stress coat and de-chlorinator. I'm keen to keep things simple and not use a lot of things I don't know how to. Aiming for a fish-less cycle after planting of hopefully around 4-5 weeks before I can add fish slowly.

    Any favorite aquatic plant books/guides?

    Thanks and sorry for the long winded post.
  2. Lollipop0912

    Lollipop0912Valued MemberMember

    Welcome back to the hobby!
    I think that only you can decide the right tank, but my motto is “the bigger, the better.” Obviously, you don’t want to break the bank. As for the clean up crew, I’d try some cherry shrimp. (If the rams have a meal it isn’t he end of the world.) Since you are looking at cories, you’ll probably want black sand for a substrate. The serchan line is amazing. It’s never let me down. As for plants, I’d do java fern, anubias, amazon swords, some Marimo moss balls for the shrimp, and maybe a few other varieties. My rule of thumb is to get mostly what you know will grow and then give a new variety a try. They all do great in my 30 gallon community without fertilization.
    Ps. You may need to add alge pellets for the cories and the shrimp if you decide to get them. Please post pictures when the tank is all set up.
  3. Small TanksValued MemberMember

    With the cories, make sure you get at least 6, and that your substrate is either rounded gravel/pebbles or sand as other wise they get torn up. The pygmy cories are adorable.

    If you're trying to keep shrimp with the rams I would also recommend getting some Java Moss, it gives a place for shrimp fry (or any fry for that matter) to hide, and is a good way to suck extra nitrates out of the water.

    If you're going to do Rams they need to go in very last when your tank is completely cycled and settled as they're very very sensitive to water chemistry.

    The one thing I would suggest you check though for all of this is the water temperatures and PH for everything.

    Rams want to be 80 - 82F, the Honey's are pretty flexable for temp, Harliquins like warm water, but neons like to be under 79F and cories it really depends on the species (Pygmies can be pretty comfy at 80F iirc).

    You may be better off cutting out the neons and adding to the rasboras, having a nice school of 10ish.

  4. Dawn Michele

    Dawn MicheleWell Known MemberMember

    Welcome to Fishlore!!!
  5. sloughdog

    sloughdogWell Known MemberMember

    Welcome back to the hobby! I was in your shoes not that long ago.
    I’d avoid the cardinals or neons. Seem to be many health issues with them due to over-breeding.
  6. Bearwithfish

    BearwithfishValued MemberMember

    Welcome back to the hobby!!!

    I cannot wait to see how you progress. :watching:
  7. OP

    NubiasValued MemberMember

    Thanks for the responses,

    With substrate how do the Cory fare with the Amazonia powder? Granules look to be fairly small and smooth. Any brands of black sand or nice darker brown/gold that can recommend? I am thinking a 2/3 aqua soil and 1/3 sand towards the front. I don’t mind paying a premium for the right product as I want to get the look I am after right from the start. Plants and hardscape can be altered a lot easier than the substrate in most cases.

    I was concerned about the neons so was looking at cardinals for that reason, if they suffer the same issues what about other tetra species? Rummy nose? Cardinal coloring is pretty nice still to this day even considering their popularity.

    What do the stocking levels look like at the moment? Assuming the rio180, I think aqadvisor was around 70% which I think is my limit.

    Anyone tried a combination of ADA Amazonia powder and ADA Colorado Sand?
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 24, 2018
  8. Dch48

    Dch48Well Known MemberMember

    Cardinals are a lot less susceptible to disease than Neons. They're also better looking in my opinion.
  9. AquaticJ

    AquaticJFishlore VIPMember

    To top it off, Cardinals do better in warmer temperatures. I appreciate you already using Fahrenheit for us lol.
  10. Small TanksValued MemberMember

    Cardinals will definitely be hardier in there.

    Make sure you have a really good heater. The Rams do not like temperature changes so you're going to want it locked on 81F
  11. OP

    NubiasValued MemberMember

    Thanks guys,

    I had read that the cardinals were a lot less susceptible and I personally like their coloring better also.

    I was worried about temp compatibility as aqadvisor also puts the harlequin Rasbora temps lower than the ram temps.

    Any further thoughts?
  12. tetratetris

    tetratetrisValued MemberMember

    I just use natiniol geograpic black sand works well.

    Probbably wont help

    Good luck :)
  13. SegiDream

    SegiDreamWell Known MemberMember

    Since shrimp might become a snack and it sounded like you want small shrimp for part of the cleanup crew, you might want to look for wild colored neocaridina shrimp or shrimp culls. They'll blend in better and IMO less likely to become snacks than their brighter more colorful family members. You could also do a team of nerite snails as backups to the shrimp, they come in a range of patterns and colors, small, and don't reproduce in freshwater.

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