Hi peeps new to the hobby just inherited a 3ft tank im just wanting to setup a tropical community tank but also have it well planted, it has been used a few year ago to keep goldfish so apart from a light there is no other equipment so im wanting help in starting a shopping list
heater, what type & size filter, what type & size substrate, wanting this instead of gravel plants? this is probably a personal choice, but any websites to buy from will help have a forgotten anything?... then i suppose the fun starts, fishless cycling etc
thanks for any help im in your hands as i only have a pets @ home near me & dont feel there can give me constructive help
first off (although I haven't done so yet) update your tap water readings straight from the tap and after standing 24 hours, that will help determine what fish you will be able to have EVENTUALLY
If you are planning a planted tank instead of spending ???? on a planting substrate use pond soil, a little messy at first but topped off with sand looks more natural and does the same job just as well, if you would like help with using pond soil let me know
what is the volume of your tank (width doesn't really help as u could have a 3ft x 3ft x 3ft or 3ft x 2ft x 3ft etc...) this will determine what kind of heater and filtration you need etc...
I have a 125l trop tank running a Fluval U3 and a small tetratec 60l filter (no such thing as too much filtration in my opinion)
some people choose to heat in different ways some use 2 slightly under-powered heaters others use just 1 heater
with a heavily planted tank u will also need a CO2 system and dependent on lighting depends what plants you have, for example if u have 2 T5's or 4 T8's u could very well keep red plants which also require iron supplements if (like me) you only have 2 t*'s then your looking at the more green plants remember getting the balance of CO2 and Lighting is vital too much lighting and u will lose Hardness too little and u will end up suffocating the fish of oxygen.
personally I use a simple CO2 system TMC starter kit (does the job for my set up)
you'll also want to look into stemming, rooting, and floating plants cause again they all do the same job but in slightly different ways
Measure the tank's length , width and height and use the calculator on the right of the page to find the volume in litres. Then get a heater equivalent to 1 watt per litre. If that's an odd size, go for the next size up.
filter, what type & size
Go for either an internal filter or an external canister as you prefer. Externals have more volume for media and have the advantage that they don't take up space in the tank. Using the volume you worked out earlier, look for a filter that can turn that volume of water over 4 times an hour. So for a 100 litre tank go for a 400 lph filter.
substrate, wanting this instead of gravel plants? this is probably a personal choice, but any websites to buy from will help
Many of the specialised planting substrates are designed to be used below sand or gravel so you may need both. However, whether you need it or not is partly dependent on what kind of plants you intend to have. Bear in mind that if you use a planting medium to provide high fertilisation you need plants that can use it and possibly high output lighting and/or CO2 injection to enable them to use it. If water contains many nutrients but the balance between nutrients, plants, CO2 and lighting isn't optimised, the nutrients won't be taken up by plants and will give algae a chance to take hold.
It's possible to to be densely planted and still have a low tech tank if you choose plants carefully. Plants Alive show all the requirements of their plants on the web site so is a good place to look. There's a discount voucher for FK members in the members' lounge.
Before choosing plants or fish, find out what the pH, gH, kH and nitrate levels in your supply are as these directly influence which species' can be kept.
Where abouts in County Durham are you? if you get an external I would be more than happy to meet half way somewhere and trade you new filter media for seeded filter media, should help your cycle come along a lot quicker.
First you need to cycle the tank. You will need a bottle of pure household ammonia to do this and it will take around 4-6 weeks. This article explains how to do this and why it's necessary.
You can't add any fish until the cycle is complete, but to advise on species' that might be suitable we need to know the pH and hardness of your tap water. Test the pH of the tap water straight from the tap and leave a cupful to stand for 24 hours and test that too. Let us know the results. You can find a rough idea of hardness in your supply by going to your water supplier's web site and looking for "Water Quality in Your Area". There should be a form to type in your pot code for a report on the supply in your local area. Let us know what that says.
As fish vary in how much swimming space and territory they need, the length and width of the tank need to be considered so let us know what those are please. Are there any species' of fish that have caught your eye?
Thanks for your reply, I read that article last night very informative & I'm going to add the ammonia today.
I think this has been said before, but why don't aquatic shops tell you about fishless cycles, if it was for this website I would have a tank full of fish, probably the wrong type & suffering because the water want cycled
There is a Maidenhead Aquatics not too far from you. The bit on Stockton where all the car garages are near Preston Park, there is a big Garden Centre with a Maidenhead Aquatics there. if and when you want some media drop me a PM and we can arrange to meet there. Bring a bucket so I can puour water and media in and Ill take your new media and put it in my filter.