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450L Tropical Tank

(66 Posts)
Carmex Mon 07-Sep-15 19:25:39

My DH has got a 450L tank which we will begin cycling tomorrow... I know this will take ages BUT.. what would you stock it with and why??

I really love neon tetras and discus, would they live happily together?

Carmex Mon 07-Sep-15 19:32:40

I've been looking it up and most people are split about if they do or not.

TBH i'd REALLY love a reef tank

MrsFring Mon 07-Sep-15 20:42:49

Reef tank! Reef tank! It's the best thing in my life! ( tragic old git alert) it's a bit spendier with the live rock and coral but so very rewarding.

.... Discus are lovely too though.

TreeSparrow Mon 07-Sep-15 21:52:13

For discus you'll need soft water and be really, really strict with your maintenance and water changes. They'd not be my first choice fish, not because of that, but because they're not very exciting to watch in my opinion. Get the lighting, plants, sand and woody tannins right though and a wild-type set up can look immense.

I've got a densely planted 350 litre with cherry barbs, otocinclus, penguin tetra, celestial pearl danios, corydoras, red cherry shrimp, and amano shrimp. I love big tanks with active small fish in proper sized schools. :-)

What's your water hardness in your area (assuming you'll be using tap water)? Do you want plants? Peaceful or aggressive? How experienced a fish keeper are you? What's the filtration and lighting?

TreeSparrow Mon 07-Sep-15 21:53:45

Neons can live with discus but may get picked off if they get hungry. You'd be safer with cardinal tetra which are a bit bigger (and look so much better anyway).

Carmex Tue 08-Sep-15 09:32:15

Tree - I love Corydoras. I think they're lovely to watch, always do busy.

Carmex Tue 08-Sep-15 09:37:38

Water in my area is classed as Medium to moderately hard. 100-200 ppm as calcium carbonate.

TreeSparrow Tue 08-Sep-15 20:07:08

That's pretty hard so if you want discus you won't be able to use tap water without first running through a reverse osmosis filter to soften it. Or you could buy RO water but for that sized tank it'd cost you a fortune.

For my stocking I considered my water hardness, substrate, and planting. Then selected fish that were known to tolerate a wider range of water conditions than other species. The penguin tetra have no faired as well as I would have hoped but everything else has thrived.

Have you considered an aggressive set up with Malawi or Tanganyika cichlids? They love hard water.

Carmex Tue 08-Sep-15 21:57:24

We did talk about cichlids but i'm not a huge fan. Maybe i just need to look into it a bit more... We're just throwing ideas around at the moment tbh. What would you stock with?

Carmex Tue 08-Sep-15 22:00:39

I just love tetras and corydoras but i know DH will want a kind of center piece fish

TreeSparrow Tue 08-Sep-15 23:28:40

Do you want a planted tank? Or sand/rock?

Hmmm, so many options with a blank canvas like that. I'm not sure what I'd stock. I actually really like my own tank as every addition was carefully planned and researched. I've always fancied trying apistogramma cichlids but I don't think they'd do well in my water. I've also considered getting a pair of kribensis but the aggression concerns me in my peaceful tank so I'd probably never do it. If be sure to lose my cherry red shrimp colony to them. I've also really liked the look of rams (German blue ram, or the more natural Bolivian ram) but again - my harder water really wouldn't suit them without a softener.

I've been toying with the idea of getting a small group of pearl gourami (one male to three or four females) once the penguin tetra die off. They are relatively peaceful and are quite beautiful centrepiece fish when they colour up. The blue opaline gourami is a stunner too but I feel it's a bit aggressive and big for my tank.

Harlequin rasbora are very attractive in a school. As are black neon tetra (more interesting than regular neons I find). Lemon tetra are also tempting and look stunning in a densely planted tank.

Whatever you go for, plan carefully and look at compatibility. Consider where the fish swim (top, middle, bottom) and if they school or not.

Cycling a huge tank doesn't take any longer than a small tank btw. Are you going to do a fishless cycle? Quickest and kindest method for sure. You can be ready in 2-3wks.

Carmex Wed 09-Sep-15 00:14:50

DH was talking about a planted tank. We had a german blue ram before and he was lovely. Do far we've agreed on Corydoras. Tetras and a German blue ram.

Yes cycling without fish... so cruel otherwise. DH read somewhere that some people pee on the tank for the ammonia spike confused

Do you have any pictures of your rank? Sorry for all the questions. Just gathering ideas. We've never had a tank this big before!

Carmex Wed 09-Sep-15 00:19:10

We had a blue gourami and he was really grumpy. Just used to shoot out and attack the other fish. We also had a few Danio that were absolutely off their rockers. SO hyper active, used to dart about all over the place. Used to swim against the filter current then when it was up close it used to stop swimming and go flying across the tank grin

TreeSparrow Wed 09-Sep-15 09:41:33

Check out the Celestial pearl danio, sometimes called Galaxy rasbora. They have the same activity as normal danios but they are micro fish. I had a few in a 30 litre tank with my shrimp colony but sold that and moved them to the big tank. I now have about 20 in a school and I feel terrible for keeping them in the small tank now as they're so active and look amazing with so much space. I'll try and dig out a photo.

TreeSparrow Wed 09-Sep-15 14:09:08

Here's a snap

Carmex Wed 09-Sep-15 15:18:31

Blimey your tank is amazing, it's exactly what DH wants, heavily planted. He's asking me to ask you what tank it is.

He's re-sealing our tank at the moment, we've not even started cycling yet. I think i may well have lost him for a good few months grin

The ONLY thing that puts me off a planted tank is the bloody snails, we had a few plants in our old tank and had a really bad snail outbreak, we had to get assassin snails in to sort them out but then they bred and we had eggs EVERYWHERE.

KitKat1985 Wed 09-Sep-15 15:25:30

Carmex if you get snails again can I recommend some Yo-Yo loaches. They love to eat snails and they are really fun to watch.

TreeSparrow Wed 09-Sep-15 18:32:19

I have assassin snails in this tank to eradicate pest snails. They have bred a lot but the babies are tiny (although numerous) and grow very slowly. They don't lay visible eggs on surfaces; they bury them, so I'm surprised you found them a nuisance. None of mine have reached adult size yet, nowhere near but I find them useful as they hoover up excess food in the grasses.

The tank is a Juwel Rio (350 litre) and I'm running it with the standard filter it came with + an Eheim Pro 3 external filter. The internal box filters on Juwel tanks are ok but some people cut them out and have two external filters instead. I'm happy with mine but have modified it slightly to prevent small fish and shrimp from getting pulled in through the vent. I have a square of foam fitted to the inside of the vent held in place with a cable tie. Works a treat and easy to refit when you need to remove the filter media.

It's been set up about three years now and is pretty low maintenance now it's established. The first year or so will always see some algae issues of course but I have found good fixes for them over the years.


Carmex Wed 07-Oct-15 13:04:47

What carpeting plant do you have Tree ? We've just got some dwarf hair grass.

So anyway, after a month we've finally got our first fish (15 cardinal tetras) and 2 red claw crabs :O

We spent ages in the aquatics shop a few towns away, it's all just so tempting isn't it. The guy was trying to talk us into a small ray!!

They had some lovely fish, silver dolla fish and a puffer fish were my favs, we wouldn't have those but they are nice to look at.

I also fell a bit in love with a tiny stink pot turtle.

They had German blue rams and electric blue rams, which is what we will get but want the tank to be a bit more established first.

TreeSparrow Wed 07-Oct-15 13:14:14

The carpeting plant isn't conventional at all. It's vallisneria. My fish store are amazed it's grown like that and stands up to trimming. It wasn't exactly planned, it just took over so I let it.

Rays are not a good idea, they will outgrow your tank and don't suit planted bottoms. They're also super sensitive to water conditions so tend only to thrive in systems where the water is on a continuous feed (change) so it's pristine.

Silver dollars look awesome but will eat all your plants.

Good luck with the dwarf hair grass. I've grown it but it's greedy on light and ferts so never really thrived in mine. I never got complete coverage.

Let's have a photo!

Carmex Wed 07-Oct-15 14:46:28

I wouldn't get a ray, i can't help thinking it's cruel.

I really like christmas moss, i wonder if that would take?

We're having a delivery of plants later today, i'll snap you a picture tomorrow when they're all in, it looks a bit bare at the mo, just 2 bits of bogwood and some java ferns.

We've got fertilizer then on top eco complete and in a 3rd of the tank there's some sand because we plan on getting some corys.

Carmex Wed 07-Oct-15 14:48:53

Here's a picture of my little crabby friend though grin

TreeSparrow Wed 07-Oct-15 14:50:59

Corys will love the sand. Christmas moss should take easily. I'm overrun with plants if you want any cuttings of anything. Easy to bag and post (rather than bin).

TreeSparrow Wed 07-Oct-15 14:51:55

What species of crab? Don't you also need dry land for them?

Carmex Wed 07-Oct-15 16:08:02

My DH is so excited you've said that haha. If you don't mind that would be great, we'd pay postage and for a drink smile

They do like dry land occasionally, we are getting reedy plants and then some floating ones so they can get on there, the guy at the aquatic place said that most of the crabs that come from there are pretty much adapted to staying in water, they don't NEED air, they just like to come up once in a while. For the mean time we've got a bit of bogwood sticking out the water and taken a couple of bucketfuls of the water out so he can get up there.

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