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Hi everyone! :) I'm hoping someone can help me! I'm in the planning stages of setting up a 'new' tank. The tank I'm going to use is 92cm x 60cm x 50cm (which I think is 276 litres or just under 60 gallons?). The tank will contain soft/sand substrate, with lots of driftwood, lots of caves (plus a glass tube which I'm hoping the ele will favour), and LOTS of plants. On one half of the tank this will use the entire height of the tank (planted bottom, plants attached to driftwood at mid-levels, and surface floating plants at top), with the other half more sparsely planted/decorated and kept lower to give (the discus) some free space. 
The community I'm wanting to create, in order of importance, is- 1 elephant nose fish, 3 discus, 5-7 glass cats, 2 kribs, 5-7 cardinal tetras, 1-2 longfin bristlenose, 1 kuhli loach, 1-2 Angel/german blue Rams.
My questions-
1. My filter is a Fluval 404 but I'm wanting to add UV. I'm unsure though of what would be best for my tank and my fish. Ie: how many uv watts should I be looking for? Should i get one thats combined with a filter - is there any such thing as too much filtration? What type of Litres/hr should i look at - eg would 800L/H be enough? - would 2000L/H be better? Would a higher / 2000L/H flow rate create too much current for my size tank or my types of fish? Would an internal one be able to sit down low / offer the benefit of being able to target lower / problem areas of the tank? Or should I go for an external one (my tank has to have a sealed lid with not even little spaces or my ele might get out)?   

2. Your thoughts on my intended community ie: too many? or, could I dare to add - another discus? - or increase my schooling fish (glass cats? cardinals?) - even just by 1-2 to make them more comfy? I'm hoping the provision of lots and lots of hiding places and caves will allow me to keep a breeding pair of kribs and of bristlenoses. How likely is it that I'll encounter problematic aggression from these guys whilst mating?  - I expect them to defend their territory, but also to keep their defense localized? (There will be caves at mid-level that I'm hoping will appeal to the kribs, but my precious elephant nose will spend alot of it's time at the bottom level where the bristlenoses will presumably be). 

3. Obviously I'm very keen to avoid diseases in my scaleless fish, I've heard bolivian rams (and cories, and guppies) are more likely to carry / be susceptible to diseases, does anyone know if this is true of other rams such as Angels or German Blues - or any of my other chosen fish? 

Thanks so much in advance! Missfish xx

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Welcome :)  A good rule of thumb with discus is one mature discus per 50 litres.  That is for a species only tank.  Less than 5 discus can be risky though as generally the odd one out will be picked on by the other two.  More so when they are mature and if you have a pairing up of two of them.  Discus, if you haven't kept them before are best purchased over 6cm in size, which should be around six months old - if they have been well raised and are healthy.  Younger and smaller than this they are a lot of work and don't do well in a planted tank.  There is a lot of rubbish discus out there so make sure you choose fish which are good colour, good round shape, not hiding at the back of the tank and ask to see them eating.  If they spit the food out I recommend you walk away from the whole tank lot.

Cardinals look spectacular in a discus tank particularly in numbers - I recommend a minimum 10.  They also handle the higher tank temps which are needed to keep your discus healthy.  You have clearly done some research - when I looked at the list the Kribs were really the ones that stuck out as potential problems if they pair up to breed as they can be highly territorial and often only one parents raises the fry, having given the other parent a beating.

I don't really know enough about elephant nose fish to comment.

Longfin BN are spectacular - my personal observations are that adult BN tend to struggle if tanks get over about 28 degrees.  I kept them in my discus tank, the fins did tend to get a bit torn on the driftwood.  Try and get two males rather than a pair as males are pretty rough on the females once they mature.  If they do breed you would likely have to remove the young as the discus will pick them off.

Filtration is a good topic.  a minimum of 4 x the turnover would see you requiring around 1200lph minimum.  It is important to keep the airation/water movement up in any tank and more so at higher temperatures.  With a heavily driftwood/planted tank 4 x is unlikely to get through and around the wood/plants giving dead spots which is where waste will accumulate.  Options would be to get a larger single filter - I would recommend around the 2000lph or a second fluval filter.  My discus tank was 450 litres and I ran an FN5 plus a Sunsun 1400lph filter on it and 2 powerheads to keep the flow circulating.  UV - anything over 24 watts is a steriliser, under is a purifier.  A slower water movement through the UV sleeve is needed for proper sterilisation as the water has more contact time with the UV light.

Regarding disease - you are best to quarantine all new additions for at least four weeks.  Less time and some diseases won't show themselves.  Four weeks and they should.  

Would love to see photos of your set up when you get started, progress reports with pics are always welcome.

 

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Thanks so much for your reply Adrienne! :) I certainly will add pics and updates - I hope to start cycling my tank at the end of the month, so still a wee way off yet! I haven't kept fish for 6-7 years now, back then I had 23 tanks  - mainly tropical freshwater, but also orandas, axylotyls, eels, seahorses, frogs... Many of my tropical tanks were set up out of the necessity of separating 'problem' fish or re-housing pairs of fish who'd chosen to breed, etc - this time I'm determined to stick to 3 tanks (plus a quarantine tank), -  which I think, if I do it right, will be sufficient to give me 3  communities/set-ups for the fish I really want - so it's important I get it right! Thanks for your advice! I REALLY enjoy kribs but this tank is about ele and the discus, so that's them gone! (Heaven help me I haven't even started cycling my first tank and already I feel another tank coming on! :-/ ). And I'm not really into watching domestic violence, so just the one longfin bn. And upped cardinals to nine. So my fish list would become: 1 elephant nose fish, 5 discus, 5 glass cats, 9 cardinal tetras, 2 rams, 1 longfin bristlenose, 1 kuhli loach. I'll be sure to add enough filtration to cope with this load even at adult stage - (and they're a nice distribution in terms of tank level/area and species/grouping) - but it sounds like at some stage, I'll have to move on either the discus - or everyone else? (I'm already resigned to that with ele, who will eventually grow too big for this tank but I'd planned for him/her to go into my tank 2 once bigger, which is not possible for the discus). If so, do you have any idea on what kind of time-frame I'd be looking at before this became necessary?

Temp-wise I had planned on 28 degrees, which is ele's top range and I understand discus's bottom range - but bristlenose - and I think glass cats? - might find it a little warm?

Thanks so much for your advice re: filtration/uv/aeration - I have some of those bendy black air-pipes, so I'll be sure to endeavour to position them around the decor / in any potential trouble spots. I was looking into 2nd filters with a nice capacity and in-built uv light (I think my ele won't like a light that isnt housed in a filter as they don't like light) but most of these appear to have uv lower than 24w, so very good to know that I more uv than this to provide sterilization - if I can't find an acceptably powerful filter with higher uv I may have to do as you suggest - purchase another fluval - and also a smaller-capacity filter with higher uv. I will go and research what's available - I take it the more uv the better?

And yes, will definitely quarantine all new additions - my plan of attack was to cycle a quarantine tank at the same time as my main tank, stock the discus straight into the main tank once it's cycled (my reasoning being to disturb/change their environment as little/seldom as possible, and if they're used to higher temps drop them down to 28 slowly), then quarantine and add the others as I go. Am I best to then purchase my cardinals, quarantine and add, (I thought them next to help the discus feel comfy?), then the glass cats, or could I purchase and quarantine them together? Then I thought bristlenose & kuhlis, so they have a chance to settle in before ele. I'd planned on my quarantine tank being a smaller version but similarly set up to my main tank, to make everyone comfy, ie plants, soft substrate, driftwood etc - do you recommend adding some guppies or some such? or should I buy starter bactaria, or should I ask my local pet store for some of their new water to introduce to the tanks? Or all of the above? Also, if I should acquire more/different varieties of plants once my tank is cycled and stocked, is it a good idea to quarantine them too (maybe with some guppies or some such) before adding to the main tank?

Again, thanks so much for your time and knowledge! :) Missfish xx

 

 

 

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Bristlenose will handle 28 degrees just fine - its if the tank gets over that that the bigger/mature ones struggle.  You will know as you will see them coming right up to the surface for oxygen, even sticking the tips of their heads out of the water.

My personal opinion on quarantine tanks is that they are just that - keep them clear of any objects or plants as should a disease or parasite be present they will need to be sterilised and therefore emptied.  You can keep a few healthy guppies in the tank to keep the filter mature.  If the fish you get are from tanks that share filtration then there is no reason they can not be quarantined together.  Rather than ask your pet store for new water you can easily sort your own out, unless there is some reason you can't use your own supply.  Smart start is a good reliable product to use when starting off a new tank, despite debate about how is it possible that adding that product aids cycling, I have used it many times and added stock straight away with no issues. Just stock slowly and monitor the tank readings. 

Your biggest problem with plants will be snails and algae.  You can dip most plants to get rid of problems but they don't really need to go into a quarantine tank.

As above, if you choose carefully and select healthy fish and plants the chances are things will go fine.  Whitespot is the most likely outcome even after fish have been quarantined and that often comes down to fish being stressed so it is important to keep hands out of the tanks once fish are added.  Fiddling around with the scape, lighting and peering constantly at how the fish are doing all adds to the stress levels so best to resist the urge to check up every few minutes :)  That is easier said than done.

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Sounds like an awesome tank-- just a thought though,  Kuhli loaches don't do well alone as they are a very social fish. I have 9 banded and 4 black Kuhlis in my 60 L and they are always all hanging out somewhere together,  usually all stuffed in the same tube :D if you only get one, I imagine that you wouldn't see him very often as they can get quite shy when alone :/ 

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Thanks JJ, yeah I'm really excited to have a fishtank again - I just have one (frog) tank at the moment! Hmm, okey dokey, no kuhlis... I think a group of skittery loaches might prove a bit of a challenge to both my ele and my tank-size (however pleasing I may find them! :) ) and I'd hate to be responsible for making one uncomfy or lonely, so will leave them out of this tank - thanks for the heads-up! :) Missfish xx

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I have a leucistic L.aurea - he's one of a pair I morphed around 6-7 yrs ago but he raped the female to death last year so now he's on his own :( I'm considering selling him because it's probably a waste not to breed him (and I feel bad keeping him on his own but I'm also loathe to give him another mate in case of chyrtid) - he's currently driving me up the wall with his croaking :) Elephant noses are such amazing fish - they can be difficult, but they're worth it! I'd love a school of them but that would require a tank the size of a house, so I just have to make do with one for now (they don't do well in groups of less than 5). I'm moving house next month, so I'll set up and cycle my tank then - can't wait! :) 

   

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Aaaah the leucistic ones are so cool :3 mine are both male and were both croaking pretty much non stop up until 2 weeks ago,  thinks the weather has changed enough for them to calm down a bit here :P 

Looking forward to seeing photos :3

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Hello! Thought I should pop in with an update since I thought I'd be up-and-running in 6 weeks and here I am after a couple of months in and am nowhere near together! The chick in me spent at least 6 weeks moving the tank to different spots before deciding on exactly the right spot for it :) then another couple organizing the house around it :) ). So, I now have water in my tank with a working heater, light (with a bulb I'll probably change) and my old Fluval 404 running. (I also have a small tank with 3 guppies and a small tank with a betta because they followed me home from trips to fish-shops scouting out the bits and pieces I want!) I justified my adoptions by deciding I would use some of their 'dirty' water to cycle my ele tank :) I thought I'd also put in some water and plants from my outside tank which has a couple of goldfish in it. I'm in the middle of researching the plants I want / will be able to have in my tank type (low light, no additives, etc). I've sourced a 24w UV unit, but want to attach it externally to my filter and the hoses look to be of very dis-similar sizes, is there some magic wee attachment marketed to solve this dilemma? (I'm waiting to hear back from the supplier re: my query, but if anyone here knows?..). I'm going to add a smaller submersible filter too, once I find it among my stored fish-gear! I've also pretty much decided on/sourced my substrate(s). I think I mentioned my tank being kind of split into two sides/areas? - the left side is in a corner (lowest light) and will have my large driftwood pieces (I think swamp Puriri? that has been exposed to mud/frogs - thinking to add it to the tank while cycling?) and dense/high planting, caves, etc (for ele), and the other side with lower plantings and more open swim-space for the discus'. I've decided on putting a thin layer of cheap stones/gravel on the bottom of the tank, then laying an uneven line of large river stones/rocks down the middle before adding 'Black Satin Aquarium Sand' to the full height of the river stones on the left half, and 'Pearl Aquarium Sand' to half-way up the river stones on the right side, thus creating a split level. Both of these products state that they won't alter the pH of the water - am I right in thinking that this means it doesn't add salt/brine - (which of course ele's are very susceptible to)? Also, I was planning on just using river stones out of my garden - is that ok if I boil the proverbial out of them first and add them during cycling? No use adding pics yet - but will hopefully have the substrate/plants etc in in the next couple of weeks (fingers crossed! :) )  

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I personally cannot wait to see pictures... BTW im starting to fall in love with discus and am very tempted to just go and buy another tank (you would then have to find my body as i would most likely be killed by my husband~! 40 is not enough~!*joking*)

if you are wanting hardy low light plants, maybe go for some different sized Anubias plants and also the java fern variants would look amazing all attached to your multi level wood.

Needle leaf java, windelov, giant java fern and also java fern with the variating anubias types would look amazing - im saying they are hardy as i have them and manage to grow then well and havent killed them yet which is a BONUS! - i only flourish excel and comprehensive when i remember also

Excited to see your scape, have you thought what kind of discus you want.... im learning my fav ones.. you know just in case i accidentally buy and put another tank up....

 

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Hi maxxi1! :) Oooo, I just saw your profile pic - do you have seahorses?? I had a pair of hippocampus abdominalis - I loooove them soooo much!! I can see we'd be a very bad influence on each other - and end up as crazy old fish ladies with a million tanks each! :):) And gawd, you are so right about discus - there are so many gorgeous varieties!! If I'm to limit myself to 5 I'm thinking I'll try to get a variety of colours/types - Due to my tank being pretty bland colour-wise  with just black, white, plants, and the only colourful fish the cardinals, I'm hoping that the discus will be the stand-out feature - so I think it'd look quite good with say a turq, a blue diamond, a sunset, a white or albino, etc - so far I've only admired the different ones, not yet researched them, so I'm just presuming at this point that that won't be a problem? Have you noticed any other differences (ie temperament, versatility etc) between the types? Which ones are standing out as your favourites and why? I'm not going to be breeding them so show qualities won't be an issue - my choice will just be happy/healthy and who I think is pretty! :) Thanks for your suggestions re plants - it's pretty full-on/time-consuming trying to research them all, but it's also important that I get it right before the fish are in residence - aside from the fact that there's going to be a lot of plants and thus a risk of the potential for any major plant die-off causing water parameter issues, I actually love plants (my other 'obsession' being air-plants, moss gardens and carnivorous plants  - and, now, I know, aqua-scaping!), - so I know a patch of decaying plants would prove very hard to resist jumping in to sort - in the process potentially scaring the cr*%p out of everyone! :) I did have a couple of types of anubias on my list of potentials, but when I searched it again after your mentioning it of course all of them came up and YUP,  LOVE them!! You also reminded me that I already actually have some plants in with my frog and goldfish that I may be able to add also - I have loads of java fern!! - also some Christmas moss, floating duck-weed, etc I could start acclimatizing now from cold to tropical...have added some to both betta and guppies :) I'm a bit stuck at the moment though as to the logistics of what I'm trying to do, like what order I should be going in re the cycling/quarantine/stocking process - so far I have a tank of clean water! My intentions are to add substrate and driftwood (and lets face it probably a buddha and a crystal or two!) this weekend - plus we're going down to Auckland to the fish-shops - I mean visit family - so no doubt this will be planting time as well :):):) So. Do I then add to that a cup or two each of my goldfish water, my betta's water and my guppy water - and then leave it alone/play with the plants for a month to 6 weeks til pH is consistently 7? Also, I'm still a bit worried about my driftwood/rocks - like I said, these would have to be potentially crawling with pathogens - am I right in thinking that after 4-6wks my filter will have erased the risk of these causing problems for my fish?(Is there any such thing as throwing too much bio-load at it at once, or is this like "throw anything you can at it now so it 'learns' all the bugs"? - Should I put my feral 'ol goldfish in for a bit?). 
Likewise, when it comes time to stocking - just to double-check - is it a good idea for me to put an order in now with the fish shop in Auck for all of the fish I want - to be there in 6 weeks time -  and then add all the fish to the tank at once? (Avoiding quarantining since the fish-stores water is the same for all it's fish?) I realise any subsequent additions would have to be quarantined, but for the initial lot? Otherwise, I have another whole set of questions about what order to go about adding them! :-/ Sorry for all the questions! I do do (lol) all the research, but then when it comes to practice it just seems to raise more questions!

I'm going to try to add some pics of Fred (Fred cos he's flipping red! :) ) enjoying his java :) 

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Okey dokey, all set up! I've taken photos but should I do anything with them before uploading them so they don't come out huge like the ones of Fred up there?

 

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Okey dokey, all set up! I've taken photos but should I do anything with them before uploading them so they don't come out huge like the ones of Fred up there?

 

If you want them smaller then resize them, or crop them.  His are about the right size, maybe could even do with being bigger if they're good quality pics.

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Thanks Ira, hoping by 'his' you mean mine above - they look huge on my screen but maybe they're smaller for everyone else? 

Not perfect yet but I'm pretty pleased with it. Lots of cave space as my driftwood is mainly hollow. I don't know if you can see but I've used a large glass vase down the side of the tank which I'm hoping ele will utilise for better (human) viewing. It'll be a badly filtered spot but I'll concentrate on the area during vaccuuming/water changes. 
The ugly airpump diffuser bottom left was supposed to be buried but even the smallest sprinkling of gravel stops the air bubbles coming out so I've had to expose it - will tuck it behind something when I have another play. I've gone with a Fluval 404 and a Fluval 405 because I already had them. Yesterday I popped in a few cups of 'dirty' water from Fred's (betta) tank plus 3 adult guppies and about 20 babies (only about a week or two old), will that be enough to cycle? Also picking up a baby bristlenose this week - shall I quarantine before putting him in, or just put him in to aid the cycling? I've got a revised stocking list - 1 ele, 1 bristlenose, 4 sterbai cories, 3 german blue rams, 4 discus, 7 glass cats, 3 mollies, and will leave the guppies in there. (Planning on keeping at 27c). Not sure what to do now - just wait til consistantly pH7 before starting to stock? Do I still do water changes while cycling? Already planning my next tank - 1 blood parrot, 3 kribs, 1 black knife, 3 blue gourami - realise it'll be another big tank to keep everyone safe from breeding kribs. Oh the joys... :) 

 

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Hey thanks Gligor :) Nope, it's a REALLY thick/heavy glass, and not taking much of the weight of the wood at all - when I went to put the wood in (it's actually 3-4 pieces) I realised one of them, much to my consternation, must have been previously used on land in one of my frog tanks rather than in one of my fishtanks cos it was still a floater, so I had to weigh it down - hence the stone. It's also still going to leach tannins for a bit which I'm not thrilled about, but the residents will probably like it so.. :)

 

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Thanks Ira, hoping by 'his' you mean mine above - they look huge on my screen but maybe they're smaller for everyone else?

 

I shouldn't just skim over posts.  I thought you meant the pictures of the red betta were posted by someone named Fred. :P

 

And yeah, they come out only about 1/3rd of my screen width. Man, shrink this screenshot down this much and it becomes completely unreadable.  I forget sometimes I'm on a 4k screen.

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Edited by Ira

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Hey, is there anyone there that can help me please? I've just been to view what i hope will be my next tank (2nd hand - still set up at the mo)- and there's black (hair) algae in it - my original plan if I purchased it was to bring a bucket of that tank's water home with it/not wash it's filter (in-built). If I do that will I run the risk of having black algae in my tank once re-setup? Or should I bypass the water and clean the filter with tap water? Also, once empty, will it be sufficient to just scrub with water before re-filling, or will I need to use something more to kill the algae spores. (We're on tank water). Hopefully someone can help! Thanks in advance! :) 

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