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Alex's Freshwater 55 Gallon

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Hello, My name is Alex. This is my first-ever freshwater aquarium. It is a random 55 gallon tank that is about 48.25 x 12.75. I was unable to find a serial number on the tank. More details to come!

Disclaimer: I asked Christopher Marks for a suggestion on where to document my freshwater aquarium (because I love this site so much), and he said I should feel free to start a topic in the Aquarium Journal category, because tank journals are great to follow no matter the type.

 

Tank was wet 3/17/17. Cycling began 3/24/17.

 

Filters

Fluval C4 Power Filter-details TBD

Some other cheap little HOB rated for a much smaller tank of like 5-15 gal

Substrate-40 lbs Imagitarium Black Gravel + 15 lbs Black Gravel from Walmart

 

Equipment

2 Aqueon Aquarium Deluxe Flourescent Hoods, 24" each.

Random Heater shown below, unsure of brand or wattage.

Tetra Whisper 60 Aquarium air pump connected to two small (5") Aquaculture Air Bubble Stones

 

Fish

TBD, considering the following so far:

Neon Tetras

Golden/black Mollies

Dalmation Mollies

Boesemani Rainbow

Harlequin Rasbora

Fancy Guppies

Small Algae Eaters

 

Current FTS: 3/19/17

 

33409386911_6151fb5e27_k.jpg

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Why did I decide to set up a freshwater aquarium?

 

Well, it all started with a free tank. My boyfriend's grandfather is friends with someone who comes by a lot of aquarium setups, and was getting rid of this one. His grandfather asked if we wanted it and said we would need to make a decision quickly, so we went ahead and said yes. We weren't told what equipment it came with or anything. Just that it was a 55 gallon aquarium.

 

His grandfather lives in Tennessee, so we drove down there and obtained everything. We got:

  • 55 gallon tank, unknown with no serial number. Chipped on one corner but holds water fine.
  • Open small metal stand that was rather rusty and not in the best shape-trashed and replaced it with an enclosed wooden stand from Uncle Bill's.
  • Two 24" light fixtures, one of which was trash and the other didn't look very nice so I trashed it too. I will order a new hood and light.
  • A glass Aqueon top-too small, will be replaced with hood+light
  • Fluval C4 Power Filter that turned out to be cracked in multiple places-ordered a new one and keeping the old one for spare parts.
  • Fluval Protein Sea Skimmer, which at this point we're assuming is somehow broken as well, but we'll hang onto it. I don't have a use for it.
  • A grey box 4-channel air pump with back-up battery that said "Whitewater AP17" on it. I didn't work. It turned on, but was not strong enough to move the air through the tubing and air stone. Bought a new air pump.
  • 5 or 6 random heaters, some still in the box. Will try them out as needed.

So we took all this stuff home. Obviously from the equipment provided, it was almost like starting from scratch. I was just going to give away what was worth keeping and be done with it, but my boyfriend suggested we set up a freshwater aquarium. Of course I thought about it, got excited, and said yes. He figured they are easier and cheaper to set up and maintain than a saltwater aquarium.

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So for the substrate, we decided on 40 lbs of Imagitarium black gravel. We figured it was enough to cover the bottom of the tank, and we can always add more if needed. Gravel is supposedly easier to vacuum than sand. We are considering adding some sort of decorative accent gravel, but haven't found anything we really like at this time. We don't like the bright neon colors at the store (ex. pink, orange, green, etc.) and want it to look more natural.

 

As for the decorations for the aquarium, we are considering a mostly rock-filled aquarium (preferably fake rock that isn't super heavy), with a couple of fake plants here and there. We want the maintenance on the tank to be minimal, and fake stuff is easier to periodically pull out and clean. We don't fancy the look of a heavily planted tank.

 

For the filter, we decided on the Fluval C4 Power Filter again because it seems to be one of the best for the price for our particular aquarium, and we like how we can customize the inside to fit our needs.

 

For the air pump and air stones, it was really just a matter of what they had at Walmart that day.

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I have several freshwater tanks. Yes they are cheaper and 10 x easier.  Much less stress then the saltwater.  IMO

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IMG_0334.thumb.JPG.7eeef7b889ccce06ff4f5b424fcd2bd7.JPGI would look into finding or buying some nice driftwood, as well as aquascaping stones. I like ohko dragon stone, which you can see in this picture of my tank from several weeks ago (it's now planted). Plants really aren't hard to keep, especially anubias or java fern/moss. You never have to rinse them, so they arguably may be less maintenance than plastic plants!

Seiryu stone is also nice but sort of plain. And if you're set on no plants, I think the tank above still looks good so you could aim for something similar.

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Here is the random heater we are currently trying out. We cannot find a brand and do not know the wattage of the heater:

 

32723543183_6da93fc6b1_k.jpg

 

It seems to always be on (because the light is always on) and it heats the water up way too much. The water is frequently found to be around 91 degrees. Here are the chips on the back right-hand corner of the tank:

 

33409383821_1b853bf29a_k.jpg

 

I don't think they will be an issue. Here is the skimmer:

 

33381012972_9857f3af98_k.jpg

 

We aren't using it. It's probably broken or missing parts, but I wouldn't know even if it was. Here is the Fluval C4 Power Filter:

 

33409380241_b930febebd_k.jpg

 

The air pump we're using now:

 

32723534393_7863174e0b_k.jpg

 

I planned on kick-starting the cycle with Tetra SafeStart bottled bacteria after some research (in addition to dosing ammonia):

 

33381007612_019ea9e775_k.jpg

 

Here is a bottle of Fluval Biological Enhancer that came with the tank I forgot to mention:

 

33381000402_52779e050e_k.jpg

 

We picked this Tetra AquaSafe to treat the water, although we need to do a little more research for that:

 

32694446644_88cac4658a_k.jpg

 

Here is the glass top Aqueon lid that is too small and doesn't have any handles to lift it up with. We put it on for now to prevent evaporation:

 

32723530693_87a1931570_k.jpg

 

Here is the tank and stand before we rinsed the gravel and put it in/filled the tank with water (please ignore the Fluval filter parts inside):

 

33497035306_3b54836165_k.jpg

 

33380966542_5387deff25_k.jpg

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39 minutes ago, HIppieRose said:

I have several freshwater tanks. Yes they are cheaper and 10 x easier.  Much less stress then the saltwater.  IMO

Sweet! Hopefully you'll follow along with mine in case I have questions/issues you can help with! :) 

 

31 minutes ago, JoeR said:

I would look into finding or buying some nice driftwood, as well as aquascaping stones. I like ohko dragon stone, which you can see in this picture of my tank from several weeks ago (it's now planted). Plants really aren't hard to keep, especially anubias or java fern/moss. You never have to rinse them, so they arguably may be less maintenance than plastic plants!

Seiryu stone is also nice but sort of plain. And if you're set on no plants, I think the tank above still looks good so you could aim for something similar.

Yes, I really like that tank!!! I've never heard of aquascaping stones. I will definitely have to check those out. I'll look into those plants. My boyfriend was really the one who wanted plastic plants, but I'll bring your points up to him and see what he says. Thanks for the awesome pic!

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Awesome!  Following :) Glad your thread is on here because this is the only forum I'm a part of!  I agree that plants are pretty easy, I have several planted tanks, one fairly low light with a bit of everything literally just dropped in (trimmings from the other tanks) and they grow.  You can make it more complicated if you feel like it, but a planted tank can be pretty easy.  I find cleaning decorations more annoying.

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Also no offense, but you're overthinking it! Forget what you know about saltwater, freshwater is NOTHING like saltwater. I maintain three fw tanks (two of which are planted) and I've never used anything fancy. I treat the water with dechlorinator and dose excel in the planted tanks, that's it. No bottled bacteria, cycle starters, tests of any kind, etc. 

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55 minutes ago, JoeR said:

IMG_0334.thumb.JPG.7eeef7b889ccce06ff4f5b424fcd2bd7.JPGI would look into finding or buying some nice driftwood, as well as aquascaping stones. I like ohko dragon stone, which you can see in this picture of my tank from several weeks ago (it's now planted). Plants really aren't hard to keep, especially anubias or java fern/moss. You never have to rinse them, so they arguably may be less maintenance than plastic plants!

Seiryu stone is also nice but sort of plain. And if you're set on no plants, I think the tank above still looks good so you could aim for something similar.

That's a beautiful scape!  I'm not fantastic at scaping, so I always appreciate what people can do.  What kind of plants did you put in it?

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1 minute ago, fishfreak0114 said:

That's a beautiful scape!  I'm not fantastic at scaping, so I always appreciate what people can do.  What kind of plants did you put in it?

Thank you!

My cousin bought me some mystery "aquascaping seeds" she found for $1 on the wish app, and so I planted those and they actually turned into an amazing carpet. I also have anubias nana 'petite', buce, and soon some red bocapa. I can post a picture of it tomorrow if I have time

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33 minutes ago, JoeR said:

Also no offense, but you're overthinking it! Forget what you know about saltwater, freshwater is NOTHING like saltwater. I maintain three fw tanks (two of which are planted) and I've never used anything fancy. I treat the water with dechlorinator and dose excel in the planted tanks, that's it. No bottled bacteria, cycle starters, tests of any kind, etc. 

Haha, none taken. I knew I would overthink it. My boyfriend thinks I'm crazy. I am a medical laboratory scientist that works in a lab in the country hospital, so I am used to testing all kinds of different stuff. I like it!

 

What dechlorinator do you use?

 

Since I already have the bottled bacteria and already ordered an API Freshwater Test Kit and ammonia, I am going to go ahead and dose/test/track the cycle. Because I'm a nerd.

32 minutes ago, JoeR said:

Thank you!

My cousin bought me some mystery "aquascaping seeds" she found for $1 on the wish app, and so I planted those and they actually turned into an amazing carpet. I also have anubias nana 'petite', buce, and soon some red bocapa. I can post a picture of it tomorrow if I have time

Yes, please do!

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My 125 goldfish and 14 gallon guppy tank are both low tech planted. They live off waste.  Depends on the fish you intend to keep as to how many you can have. Example would be if you decide on an oscar you can only have one and it will adventally outgrow the tank. Mine is in a 150 gallon so I could add a couple other fish with him.  Goldfish need 20 gallons each and a little thinking to add plants.  Guppies need about a gallon but need at least a 10 gallon tank.....

Anyways ask away Ill do the best I can,  I have only been keeping FW for about 33 years now.

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"only 33 years"... Yeah you might know a thing or two! 

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Whatcha gonna stock it with? Also, shoulda made it a reef. :P

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1 hour ago, RIP Sebastian said:

Whatcha gonna stock it with? Also, shoulda made it a reef. :P

I dunno yet! And I am waiting for a red Sea reefer XXL 750 in a few years

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I like the blue striped neon tetras, golden/black and dalmation mollies, and the boesemani rainbow. My boyfriend likes the harlequin rasbora and fancy guppies. And if course some small algae eaters. 

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I love boesemani rainbows!  We have quite a few in our 92g, the males are absolutely stunning when they get larger.

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My 26 Semi-Planted is tetras/livebearers with a shoal of danios. Pretty and easy to keep. :) FWIW, you should do a shoal/school of Neon tetras. I have five of them and they're gorgeous, I can only imagine having more!

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2 hours ago, RIP Sebastian said:

My 26 Semi-Planted is tetras/livebearers with a shoal of danios. Pretty and easy to keep. :) FWIW, you should do a shoal/school of Neon tetras. I have five of them and they're gorgeous, I can only imagine having more!

I had thought about getting around 5 of them. Maybe I'll get more! Who knows!

3 hours ago, fishfreak0114 said:

I love boesemani rainbows!  We have quite a few in our 92g, the males are absolutely stunning when they get larger.

Pics? The picture on liveaquaria is amazing, but I don't want to be misled, because when I google them it seems most aren't as vibrant in color. (Well, either that or a lot of people take a lot of really bad pictures).

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I'll try!  We only have one big male, and one (maybe two, it's unknown at this point) smaller males, as well as four females.

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Kind of blurry photos but I tried :P

This is the little male (2")

P3200978_zps1epdyov0.jpg

 

The big male who we've had for years (4")

P3200976_zpsv6qvq9kv.jpg

 

The big female who we got at the same time as the big male (4")

P3200974_zpsqnyxu3yx.jpg

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4 minutes ago, fishfreak0114 said:

Kind of blurry photos but I tried :P

This is the little male (2")

The big male who we've had for years (4")

The big female who we got at the same time as the big male (4")

Those are gorgeous! :) Maybe I will get more than one! How do you tell if they're male or female? Do they get aggressive? My mom has angelfish and she put 3 males and a female in together (unknowningly) and the males are all super mean to each other.

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Cycle your tank first and don't add but about 5 fish.  Then wait a few weeks before you add more making sure you tank can handle the bio load before you move on to the next fish.  I don't think your going to get all you want.  Rainbows need to be in larger groups to see their true color.  6 but 8 would be better.  They get rather large so you  need about 4 gallons per fish.  Does not leave a lot of room for other fish.  Maybe you can get some of the dwarf ones.  They are smaller and you can get away with less water per fish.  Ill have to look up their size but you can use the 1 gallon per inch on them. Keeping in mind the rainbows well eat any baby mollies or guppies you have. So that well help keep the population down.

You might want to look into a https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cichlid tank.  Little more work and you need to over stock but many people think they are saltwater fish cause of all the color.

Just do your research.

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Just now, HIppieRose said:

Cycle your tank first and don't add but about 5 fish.  Then wait a few weeks before you add more making sure you tank can handle the bio load before you move on to the next fish.  I don't think your going to get all you want.  Rainbows need to be in larger groups to see their true color.  6 but 8 would be better.  They get rather large so you  need about 4 gallons per fish.  Does not leave a lot of room for other fish.  Maybe you can get some of the dwarf ones.  They are smaller and you can get away with less water per fish.  Ill have to look up their size but you can use the 1 gallon per inch on them.

Yeah, that's what I thought. That's why originally I was only going to get 1 rainbow. If I could find dwarf ones that would be cool, but I don't think that's going to happen, so I'll just plan on having 1 rainbow. We wanted more smaller fish. I'm most excited about the neon tetras. We won't necessarily get all the fish I listed, and there may be others we looked at that I forgot to mention. We don't plan to take things too fast or overstock the tank, though.

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