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New Fish Tank Considerations/Questions

Posted By: Wight <Wight@mindspring.com>
Date: Saturday, 14 August 1999, at 12:31 p.m.

This didn't post last time. I refreshed to 0 new posts, closed my browser, reopened and revisited -- 3 new posts. But not mine. Odd. But I wanna try and make sure it gets up here... And thankfully I edited it as text before posting :)


Okee. For those of ya that've seen my posts (and more those who haven't), I was waiting for today's check to go out and purchase a new tank for my beloved beasties. The LFS just across the street is horrible, dead fish, ignorance over disease, annoying "service" -- I've never bought *ANYTHING* from them, and likely *won't*. But I checked them out, mother noticing a 120$ 55 gallon tank with nice hoodage. That their sale ended, and with the light fixture I'd prefer, both drove the price to 170$. Given the conditions/etc. in that store, if they offered the same tank 5$ cheaper than PetsMart I'd be buying from PetsMart anyway. Suffice that I am intending to purchase a tank from PetsMart.

The particulars:

50 US Gallons. 48"x13"x19" (lots of large-growing bottom feeders -- They should love a wide tank!). Comes with glass panels for a top, and a fluorescent bulb housing that stretches across the top, 48" flourescent bulbs required (yanno, writing this, I wonder. The *tank* is as wide as the bulb is long. Doesn't make sense to me right now...). This tank looks essentially to be the equivalent of 2 standard 25 gallon tanks, end-to-end, of course with the center panels of glass not present. Even the top is divided to facilitate 2 individual aquarium hoods; with glass panels (mentioning they can somehow be trimmed for filters, etc) and the bulb housing these should not prove immediately necessary (if at all).

Given the particulars, and that I've only ever had 10 Gallons in any one tank of my own in my life, I have several questions. Please answer anything you feel capable of, usefully answering all would be an even happier notion:

Lighting - This tank facillitates the use of 1 48" flourescent bulb. I noted today the prices of flourescent bulbs of all sizes; I now grok that a 24" bulb costs *almost* as much as a 48" -- the key price seems to be to get a flourescent bulb *at all*. With at most a 5$ difference seen in any LFS I've visited, I like the one-bulb idea better. If it dies, I can always let my fish suffer darkness for a day, etc. Lacking experience, do any of you have objections to large bulbs like this for some reason I don't forsee? Further, what bulbs do you suggest? I have several (and plans for several) lower-light bottom fish, but also wish plants, etc (think "planted Clown Loach tank" -- I do). I've noted bulbs of all different types in terms of life-encouragement, also I've seen in pet stores how differing bulbs often bring out the color of fish in spectacular ways (enough to fret they don't look *near* as good when ya get 'em home!) Plant bulbs tend to seem dimmer (at least the non-flourescent ones), and I do want plants. I have no idea of color(s) for fish beautification. And father's suggested flourescent bulbs from places like Wal-Mart or Home-Depot would be much cheaper (but are they as good for the life forms of the tank?) -- this seems likely. I remember, needing siphon hoses, mother took us to the Home Depot *next* to the PetsMart. A few dollars for a tube is a joke when compaired to $.16/ft. I've noted going to the places where you "should" buy the stuff has an added charge for that "convienience"; one should go to Home Depot for plastic tubing, and go to PetsMart for collars and leashes (can you believe bondage equipment retailers charge 30-50$, even sometimes more, for stuff like this?!)... Anywho, any advice on lighting, bulbs, types, colors, forseen problems, etc, will be appreciated.

Filtration - My tank is "2 tanks wide" -- This posed a curiosity for me in filtering the system. Should I get one 50 gallon-ish filter, or should I get 2 30-or-so gallon filters? On the advice of the utterly respected LFS (PetsMart) employee "William," I should get 2 30's, as this will grant much better flow of water/filtration in the tank. Pesky to have to change 2 filter cartridges, but this does seem like it would be a decent filtration setup. Do you folks agree? Further, what's your thoughts on filters? I've had one of you respond with a URL to filter products for online purchase, it was mentioned that the URL did *not* happen to have much (and later explained, any) information on these filters. I know *dick* about filters. I have a Regent Aquatech for a 5-15 gallon tank now, on a 10 gallon tank, and it seems to do it's job rather well... So well that I get to scrape sludge off it from overfeeding my fish, far too often in my opinion. But have you folks listened to yourselves? Stuff like, "I have the PowerMAX SuperPRO SCSI 513 Ultra-quiet Pine-Scented Diet Caffine-Free Steam-Cleaning/1 Hour Martinizing Filtration system -- you know, the one with the kung-fu grip!"... *YIKE*. My thought, a tube, an impeller, an area fillin' with water, and water goin' thru a pad out to the tank. But there's so much variety, and I know little. Advice? Mother got a new tank first, grabbed a BIO-Wheel and lots of plants. The plants seem fine, except for fish-nibblin'; Just yesterday I read the BIO-Wheel is such a good filtration system it robs the CO2 from plants. Throw me some ideas folks, I wanna make mah fishies happy 'n schtuff.

Heating - Given the "2 tank wide" nature of this tank as noted in "Filtration," I'm not sure how to approach heating the tank -- ONCE IT'S NECESSARY. I'm quite warmly-tanked right now, but in a few months this might matter. I note if I have 2 filters for proper water flow, perhaps the flow of water past just one heater for a large tank might be enough? (*right*, things could *ever* be this simple). I've also received the suggestion that 2 heaters would be too hard to properly maintain simalar heats upon, and would perhaps best be avoided.

Bubbles - Bubbles are good. Supposedly they let fish breath easier, they look pretty, and damned if my Clown Loaches don't seem to actually *LIKE* sitting in them. Who knew? I moved a bubble screen into the back of the tank, behind a piece of wood, to encourage them to actually come out and play... Nah, they spite me. They *like* bubbles, or just maliciously pretend for my frustration. BUT -- should I have 2 bubble screens/pumps (or more?) -- or can the same be accomplished with a stronger pump and a chain of bubble screens/airstones/whatever, all linked to eachother via the same air-tube set?

Power - Last, but not least. Probably the most annoying question I'll ask, has little to do with fish past... I dunno... making *EVERYTHING* else possible? I note for my 10 gallon tank, with filter, lighting, and bubbler, I use 3 power cords. I have one power splitter cord handling these, and all is good. On the wall I wish to put my new tank, I already have my TV, Radio, and CD player. These are handled by the same sort of splitter (3 sockets). I need another splitter, or I'm stuck with *ONE* plug on that wall. Just today I found a 6 socket splitter, which has me thinking ("worst" case): light, filter, filter, heater, bubbler, (heater/bubbler) -- but will I need another (heater/bubbler) socket? 2? an 7-8 socket splitter maybe? the fire department for using too many power splits and causing an overload? As far as I know, this tank is NOT meant to use two walls, set fire to my house, etc -- Even with a love of fresh water, I've got a sneaky suspicion a crowd of Loachies are gonna be a smidge happier in a overstocked 10 gallon tank than a 50 gallon one bathed in flame and firemen's hose-spray. Those damn firemen just don't ever seem to decholrinate their water! Anywho, just a consideration I have. If any of ya know "the rules" about these funky power cords, please spill 'em.

Anywho, I think that covers the *big* considerations I'm uncertain about. The money's burnin' mah pocket, I intend to go get the tank itself sometime tomorrow or the day after, start testing it's water-tight capacity, etc -- after this is certain, I'll move on to getting the "goodies" that will make everything else possible... By then, perhaps you'll have enlightend me.

Thanks for the time.


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