Tank Set-up

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Iamstupid

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Hello fish folks!

I am setting up my first ever aquarium (well, in my adult life, anyway) and am super nervous I’m doing something wrong.

First question:
I have a 5.5 gallon tank that came in a starter kit with a filter. Now, upon researching said filter, I have come across some information stating it may be too harsh of a current for a single betta fish (Top Fin 10). It is adjustable, and the lowest setting seems okay to me, but as a new aquarium keeper, I have no idea about anything. I could potentially get a Aquaclear 10, if that would be a huge improvement?

Second question:
How does this set-up look? I have a Java fern, some crypts, and then a questionable plant that I think Petsmart sold me that is potentially not even an aquatic plant...please let me know if that’s the case. If so, I was thinking of replacing it with another java fern.

Third question:
Can I add a few ghost shrimp? Or is that a terrible idea. I’ve heard that snails can eat plants, and I definitely don’t want that to happen.

So sorry for all the questions; I just wanna do this right. The tank is on day 5 of cycling and it’s not doing much yet (doing the fishless, food cycle).
6F190C11-27A3-47F0-B5E8-D1BB695A57F0.jpeg
 

Alex6455

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The tank looks great! In terms of the filter, I am not sure if you mean the Aquaclear 20, but I have never heard of a 10. Just wondering! You could upgrade to a AC, which would def be a improvement in quality, but the flow might get stronger. For either one you could make a DIY flow reducer out of a plastic bottle that should make it better. Something like this:

I am not sure if that plant is aquatic (the middle one that looks like long grass?), but I would keep it in your tank and if it starts to rot then you could just take it out.

For the ghost shrimp, if you want them you would want a less aggressive betta and add a few more hiding places. One way to pick a betta that is not as aggressive is to put a bunch of cups together, and see which one reacts the most and which one is more shy and tends to not mind others as much. Of course, even less aggressive bettas may pick at the shrimp. I would get the betta, and then wait a little so you can guage his reactions to different things.

Hope this helps! I don't mind the questions!
 
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Iamstupid

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Thank you for replying!

Yes, sorry, I meant the AC 20. Definitely gonna look into this bottle thing. Is there a way to gage if the current will be too strong prior to putting the betta in (plant movement, hand test, etc.)?

And I suppose I’ll just wait and see if I get a more docile fish haha. I’ll try not to get too attached to any shrimp I add.
 

Alex6455

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No problem! Glad to help.
As far as testing the current goes, I am not sure about what the right flow would be but you might be able to find something on Google. Good luck on your cycle!
 

Fanatic

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Unique setup! Good job
 

ParrotCichlid

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Great looking tank.

Can i make a suggestion though? Get rid of the internal power filters and go for a simple sponge filter and air pump.

The sponge filter is very effective and produces little current that will bother the betta fish. In my limited experience with bettas i have found that they hate even the slightest current.



 
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Iamstupid

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The sponge filters work just as well as a power filter?

I’ve not done any research on them, so I have no idea how they work or what they entail!

Do they connect to some sort of tubing? Do I just stick it in the corner and that’s it? How often do I need to replace them?
 

ParrotCichlid

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Staci said:
The sponge filters work just as well as a power filter?

I’ve not done any research on them, so I have no idea how they work or what they entail!

Do they connect to some sort of tubing? Do I just stick it in the corner and that’s it? How often do I need to replace them?
No they work better than power filters in most setups.

Sponge filters have been used on just about everything from Oscar tanks to small fry holding tanks. They are also widely used in fish breeding including sensitive species like discus. They are used so widely because they are very effective, cheap and easily maintained.

They don't really need much research all you need is an air pump, some airline tubing and a sponge filter. Would be a good idea to pick up a cheap valve to go on the airline tubing just to stop the water flowing down into the pump. These valves are sold at nearly all aquatic stores right next to the air pumps and airline tubing.

You connect one end of the airline tubing to the air pump and the other end to the sponge filter. Place the sponge filter in a tank corner and turn it on. Simple as that

They only really need replacing every few years and maintenance is simple. Just take them out once a month and squeeze the sponge in a bucket of the tank water when doing a water change. Plop it back in and its good as new.

Should be able to get an air pump, sponge filter and airline tubing for about $15 or $20.
 

Alex6455

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Yup, I didn’t think about that when I saw you already have your current power filter running, but sponge filters are great for bettas and easy to maintain.
 
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Iamstupid

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Thanks for you help!

I’ve just ordered a corner sponge filter from amazon! I’ll go to my LFS (or Petsmart) to get the power supply and tubing.

I also ordered a new clip-on light (I have a problem). The lights that came with this kit are garbage, and I’ve grown attached to my plants.

My plan is to make my tank a custom glass lid (I make stained glass, so I already have a glass cutter), to accommodate the clip-on light. Seems to be my best option for a 5.5 gallon.

So. Much. Learning.
 

Alex6455

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Great that you got a sponge filter! Just curious, but is brand is the clip-on?
Cool that you can make your own lid! Always wanted to do that out of like plastic but too lazy
 
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This is the clip-on I got:
LED Aquarium Lights 6500K Dimmable Planted Tank Lights with Gooseneck for Plant Freshwater Aquarium Fish Tank (Planted Version)

There weren’t a ton of options that weren’t $100s of dollars (Canadian Amazon, anyway). It’s probably not the best, but it’s certainly an upgrade.

I’m super excited to make the lid! It’s gonna cost me like, $10. Fingers crossed it works out.
 

Ryan P

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the long grass looking plant looks like Val to me. If that's correct it'll outgrow your tank. Awesome Job with the tank though! keep us posted
 

mattgirl

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Very good looking tank.
You have gotten some very good advice but I notice no one has mentioned a check valve. You really should have one between your air pump and the sponge filter. Air/water can go in one direction but not the other with a check valve in place. This little device will prevent water from being pulled into your pump should the power go off.

It is not totally necessary if your pump is located above the tank but it is a very inexpensive piece of insurance.
 
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Iamstupid

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Thanks for the tip! Where does the check valve connect too? Where the tubing and air pump connect? Somewhere in the middle? And is it something I can get at my LFS? Sorry, I know nothing about sponge filters haha.

If I have this, does that mean I would be able to put the air pump below my tank? Cause that would definitely be preferable.
 

mattgirl

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Staci said:
Thanks for the tip! Where does the check valve connect too? Where the tubing and air pump connect? Somewhere in the middle? And is it something I can get at my LFS? Sorry, I know nothing about sponge filters haha.

If I have this, does that mean I would be able to put the air pump below my tank? Cause that would definitely be preferable.
I put the check valve 4 or 5 inches from the air pump. You want it to be the first thing the air goes through so you could attach a 5 inch piece of tubing to the outlet of the air pump. Attach the check valve (be sure it is going in the right position by blowing through it) and then attach the longer piece of tubing to the other side of the check valve.

You may want to also use an adjustment valve to control the amount of air going to the filter. This should be placed along the tubing so it will be outside the tank for easy adjustments.

Yes, by using a check valve you can place the air pump below the tank.
 

Ms rose

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With a check valve you can put under tank. Without it, it must be above. Nice set up best wishes to you and your fishes lol
 

mattgirl

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This is a check valve


and this is an adjustment valve


You can find them less expensive. This is just to show you what they look like
 

Ms rose

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mattgirl said:
I put the check valve 4 or 5 inches from the air pump. You want it to be the first thing the air goes through so you could attach a 5 inch piece of tubing to the outlet of the air pump. Attach the check valve (be sure it is going in the right position by blowing through it) and then attach the longer piece of tubing to the other side of the check valve.

You may want to also use an adjustment valve to control the amount of air going to the filter. This should be placed along the tubing so it will be outside the tank for easy adjustments.

Yes, by using a check valve you can place the air pump below the tank.
Just wanted to say i love you "location" very cute
 
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Iamstupid

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mattgirl said:
This is a check valve

and this is an adjustment valve

You can find them less expensive. This is just to show you what they look like

Thanks so much for the info. I was having trouble picturing where it would go, but that makes sense! Definitely gonna look into both these thing!
 
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