Hi everyone. I’m another newbie to tropical fish keeping so you will have to be patient with me. I have done a lot of research but there are still some things which I’m unsure of and clarifying.
I have just bought, from a friend, a tank and various bits and bobs. The tank measures 48” (W) x 18” (H) x 15” (D). According to PFK website this gives a volume of about 210 litres when filled completely, which obviously it won’t. The tanks comes with a solid base cabinet with lots of storage and a matching hood.
Just to let you know I want a nice simple community tank to start with and slowly develop it into a more varied collection.
I also have an Interpet Prime 30 external canister filter, which I believe is a suitable filter for this tank size.
I have two fluorescent light tubes, about 40 inches long, rated at 40W each. Is this enough? I am going to start with some plastic plants and hopefully some real plants too.
2 x heaters. One is 150W and the other is 200W. Would these both be used for the volume of water (one at each end?). I know it is a bit of a general question but lets assume the tank will be about 25C ish.
Just two more questions!! What is a “Interpet Airvoloution Mini”? I am assuming, by the looks of it, that you plug a small hose into which pumps air out the other end into the tank.
Last One. I have read that under gravel filters are good to use to keep the gravel/stones in the bottom of the tank cleaner. Are they worthwhile? Can they be used in conjunction with my existing filter?
Thanks for any help you can give me. I’m sure I will be asking about a lot more stuff!!!
Your set-up looks perfectly fine to me! I'll just answer your questions as you seem to have everything you need:
Two 40W striplights are plenty for the average community tank - you don't say what type of light they are, but I'll assume they're pretty standard tropical lamps. If you find they are a bit dull, you can always fit reflectors easily or upgrade to brighter bulbs (Hagen's LIfe-Glo have built-in reflectors and are very bright for the wattage)
I would definitely run two heaters, one at either end, because if one fails, the other can keep the temperature up until you can replace the faulty one - the chance of both failing at the same time (barring a power cut) is vanishingly small, and it's easy in hindsight to say "if only I'd had both running" when faced with a tankful of dead fish! One 150W heater will heat this size of tank to 25C at a push, provided the water circulation is good, but it will be on constantly which will shorten its life considerably.
An "Interpet Airvolution Mini" is, as you have correctly guessed, a small air pump which, in a tank of your size, is only sufficient to power a small airstone for a decorative effect - you can buy airline (platic air tubing) at any LFS/Pet Shop, along with an airstone if required.
Undergravel filters are a contentious issue. Some people swear by them and others wouldn't fit them to a tank if their life depended on it! I personally think they are a perfectly fine way of filtering a tank as long as they are kept clean - they won't clean the gravel for you at all, as they drag debris down into it, so have the opposite effect in fact. The only way to use ugf's to clean gravel is to use them in reverse i.e. force the water down the uplift tubes using reverse-flow powerheads, which then is forced up through the gravel, washing the debris out with it (the internal filter then collects the debris from the water column). Personally I think you have all the filtration you need -just use a gravel syphon to do a water change with once every two or three weeks and you should be fine!