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Thread: Is there a easy way to keep a tank looking nice?

  1. #1
    Zero's Avatar
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    Is there a easy way to keep a tank looking nice?

    My roomate has a 55g freshwater tank with some live plants and a few fish.
    I set up a 4ft t8 shoplight with a 5000k and 6500k bulb for plant growth.
    there are 2 hang on the back filters, an air stone and maybe 9 small fish.
    They are fed once a day not to much.
    It's been a pain to keep looking nice.
    any info from people that have or had nice tanks would be greatly appreciated.
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    i dont do pots. amphirion's Avatar
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    what kind of small fish? depending on your answer, there's a few things that could be added: amano shrimp, cherry shrimp, crystal shrimp, siamese algae eaters (genuine ones are difficult to find), freshwater nerite snails--these could be used for algae control, but dont expect them to clean out the tank completely!

    more plants, more plants and more light will make everything look nicer. what wattage are the bulbs? the size of the tank means you're going to need a CO2 system including a diffuser, regulator, and gas tank, bubble counter, and pH meter. you're plants will thank you and in return will out compete algae for nutrients.
    " You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." -Inigo Montoya
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    spdskr's Avatar
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    All the basics to planted tank operation can be found here: http://plantedtank.net/. Be warned, this can become an addiction just like keeping CPs......only more expensive.

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    Plant tanks are great, make sure you have a lot of plants and a lot of light, both at the same time. Use at least Four 4 ft lamps over a 55 and Six is better yet if you can fit them. Start with fast growing plants like hygrophilla and other aquatics sold as "bunched" stem plants (these are also cheapest plants too). Separate the bunches into single stems and plant in "patches" 10 of these, six of those, etc. Avoid the slow growing showy species like Anubias, java fern, and the Amazon swords til everything is growing swiftly and there are no algae probs. The stem plants absorb nutrients like vacuum cleaners and help stabilize everything. Then as you prune the fast growing stem plants (thereby exporting nutrients from the system) you can add the big slow growing things, my fave slow one was the Madagascar lace plant, a lovely spectral beauty.

    I used a hang on powerfilter on most of my tanks and a Fluval 304 canister filter on my 75 gallon nature aquarium tank. My filters had nothing in them at all, they were just for circulation purposes. Plants did all the work. I mainly kept killies and weird catfish, like the banjo cats!

    I used the DIY co2 method of yeast, sugar in a hawiian punch jug (hard square plastic jug) filled 1/2 way with water. Run an air hose from the air portion of the jug up to the filters intake where a co2 bubble gets sucked into the intake stem and get blasted into bits by the impeller sending the mini gas bubbles into the tank. If you do this coupled with a lot of light you'll get to see your plants sparkle with oxygen bubbles escaping their stomata, you actually witness photosynthesis in action!

    Planted tanks are a wonderful pain in the ***! Once the novelty wears off (it took me a few years and several thousand bucks) I decided I needed a less involved hobby! LOL

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    u might also wanna look into getting yourself a tank sifter i believe the name is right, if u go to Petco they use them to clean their tanks while attached to a faucet. It's easy cleaning, i mean very easy
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    My planted tank is winding down..after 14 years of continuous operation..
    I think im going to wait for the fish to die off naturally, then once they are all gone im going to take it down..I have had enough with the planted tank, im growing tired of it..

    I have two 14 year old SAE's and a Clown pleco in the tank, one remaining angelfish, and few remaining very elderly cardinal and glo-light tetras..(probably 8-10 years old on those.)

    Im inheriting a large goldfish tank from my Mom..she is moving..so im going to just have that setup instead..
    much lower maintenance! and they will go outside in a pond during the summer..

    the trick with planted tanks is..you need a TON of plants..the tank has to be jammed full of plants..you should barely be able to see the gravel, and if fish hide in the back of the tank, you should have no chance of seeing them at all..(I didnt see my clown pleco for years at a time! every few months I would dig through the leaves just to make sure he was still alive! (he is very nocturnal..)

    the reason for a large amount of plants is because live aquarium plants need a LOT light to grow..but algae also loves all that light!

    its an endless battle between your "good" aquarium plants, and the algae..and there is only one way you can win..

    a tiny amount of plants + a lot of light = algae fest. you wont be able to control it.

    but a TON of plants + a lot of light = the live plants are numerous and healthy enough to out-compete the algae for nutrients, and that will keep the algae growth to a minimum..

    with live plants, you have to go ALL out, or dont bother to play at all..
    you cant have "a few" live plants..it wont work..

    my favorite quote on the topic..read it on-line ages ago and it has always stuck with me:

    "You cant think I want to get a few plants for my fish tank..
    instead you must think I want to get a few fish for my plant tank."

    Scot

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    swords's Avatar
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    Scott, did you/do you ever break out from little itchy red spots after all the years of taking care of fish tanks? I did which was a big factor in my quitting and has prevented me from starting up again. It's like I developed an allergy to the tank bacteria or something, didn't matter which tank, any fishtank, not only even mine but any fishy water. The cricket girl at the petshop said the same happens to her, just curious how common it is.

    True on the more plants than fish, I had a 75 gallon filled with plants and just two breeding pairs of aphyosemion australe killies and their fry. lol

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    Quote Originally Posted by swords View Post
    Scott, did you/do you ever break out from little itchy red spots after all the years of taking care of fish tanks? I did which was a big factor in my quitting and has prevented me from starting up again. It's like I developed an allergy to the tank bacteria or something, didn't matter which tank, any fishtank, not only even mine but any fishy water. The cricket girl at the petshop said the same happens to her, just curious how common it is.

    True on the more plants than fish, I had a 75 gallon filled with plants and just two breeding pairs of aphyosemion australe killies and their fry. lol
    No, I have never had that happen!
    never heard of it actually..

    must be some kind of alergy to something specific in the tank..

    I bet a doctor could figure out what it is specifically..
    I think there are fairly easy tests to figure out allergens..
    maybe its just a simple thing you could eliminate from the process?

    Scot

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