View Full Version : New member hopefully returning to the hobby; making plans

03-07-2013, 09:53 AM
As the title says I'm a new member *waving* I found you all via /r/Atlanta on Reddit. Shout out to the folks that pointed me this way! *shout* I've been an on again off again hobbyist going all the way back to childhood.

About 8 years ago I had a wife, nice home and a good job and a couple nice tanks. Unfortunately the marriage melted down (no drama...just melting), We moved, sold the tanks...you know the drill.

Just over a year ago I found a wonderful woman and, if all goes as planned, we will buy a house and get married this year. *applause* I wanted to share that as, to me, this isn't just a hobby but it's symbolic of being in a stable place in life.

So...after 8 hard years and a lot of whacky adventures I still have a good job *more applause* and this time, as a bonus, the support of my soon to be spouse who said, "baby, I want you to have your aquarium." <--Love. This. Woman.

That said she said if we can make it look good in my office we could put one out in the regular living area!

In my soon to be office I have room for a 6' (freshwater) tank I think, so here's what I am researching:

Tank and stand. Going to check out a place this weekend that sells them up near Woodstock just to get an idea and pricing. Any other places, either local or on-line, to see options and check prices?
Lighting. I think I'd like to try LED lights this time as my last attempt with live plants didn't work well (not enough light). Any FAQs or guides to help me find something? I've been scouring here and learned a LOT (1w/gallon vs. PAR was an interesting read)
Filtration. Canisters. I'm thinking I want two of them for redundancy so if one fails I'll at least have "some" filtration. Thoughts on how you'd size this?

Thanks in advance to any guidance and help you can provide. Is there an "I'm new and stupid" FAQ that I could go through?

Assuming life doesn't make another hard left turn I am looking forward to returning to the hobby!

03-07-2013, 10:26 AM
glasscages.com is an online tank maker. Good for getting a baseline price. They are usually cheap, but you'd have to drive to TN to fetch or wait for one of their periodic delivery runs and meet the truck. They do custom, so a good option if you need a strange size.

There are a couple of cabinet makers on this site if you want a pretty custom stand for it. If you can mail-order a stand, it is usually one of those "some assembly required" ones. But you can also have builder put in cabinetry that matches the rest of the house or cover an ugly structural stand with panels that match your office furniture.

6' tanks are about where its is common to switch from canisters to a single, large sump, usually in the 40-60 gallon range (you can usually hide a 4' tank under a 6' one). For canisters, my rule of thumb is to add up to 10 times the number of gallons in the tank per hour. That may be overkill for lightly stocked tank, though. And the larger the media container, the less flow-rate you need. What do want in it?

Join the club as well as the forum, some of our LFS give a club discount. A lot of stores can order tanks and stands of many sizes and styles so ask at a few good stores.

If your shopping gives you sticker shock, consider used. A lot of tanks are sold online as this area is full of people and businesses moving in and out.,

03-07-2013, 10:59 AM
Wow! Great info! Thank you! A custom built stand may not be a bad way to go. I just need to explore options. I'm not familiar with the sump vs. canister solution so I will dig in and do that research. I think your math is good. I'd much rather have too much than not enough. As far as stock...I've not decided really. Honestly, I've always loved the look of a shoal of neons or cardinals but they are so very finicky that I'm not sure it'll ever happen. I'd like a big "school" of something though. A big tank should support that. Then just a few big guys, something in the middle. Cichlids are ones I've enjoyed in the past so I may go for them as the middle ground.

Another thought I had was...ugh...I can't remember what it's called but where the environment is very similar to the natural habitat of the fish and the fish naturally live together.

I think that's the fun of the hobby for me though. Having an idea then executing it in the best way I know how.

I've not had good luck with used equipment but I will keep my eyes open! Thank you!

03-07-2013, 07:29 PM
First welcome to the thread!

I have to agree with Demonfish about the 6' tanks. If you can get one pre-drilled with overflows they are really the way to go. I have 3 x 135's / 6 footers, but only one has the overflows and I'm running a 75G sump below. The second one I have has two Magnum 350's running and the third one has a Emperor 400 and a Sun-Sun 304B with UV light. The one with the overflows is an older Oceanic and the maintenance on this one is minimal. It is by far the best in my opinion and this is the one I have in the wall. What I have found on the other two that works the best is to run power-heads in addition to the filtration. The Maxi-Jet 1200's work well and keep most any sediment off the bottom. All of these tanks are planted and the extra current doesn't seem to bother the plants or fish. As a matter of fact the fish love this extra current and pretty much hang out there all day.

As far as finding the tank just keep a look out on CL. I saw an Oceanic the other day 135G, Oak Stand and Hood, filters, pictures looked good etc., with corner overflows for $350.00. Had I not committed to the one I purchased the week before I would have been all over that deal. Just be patient and the deal will come to you.

Best of luck on your renewed interest in the Aquatic life it is my favorite hobby and I am just getting back in this as well.

First 135


Second 135


Third 135 which has no fish in it at this point. Waiting for the Spring Auction??? Discus anyone??? :)


03-07-2013, 07:32 PM
While LED's are the newest technology, and continue to improve in performance, their very newness means that there aren't many people with established LED aquariums that can give you advice on what number of LED's will give you a specific light level. Florescent lights can produce up to very high light levels, so don't think they can't light up your aquarium sufficient to grow even high light plants. If you do decide to go with LED's I suggest finding someone that is successfully using that type of LED and find out what plants they are able to grow (pictures of the setup are good, too).
My experience is that neither neons or cardinals are finicky in a planted aquarium and they will school together.
Fluidized sand filters are another new technology. http://www.americanaquariumproducts.com/aquarium_filtration.html

03-07-2013, 07:39 PM
Welcome aabacus:

Just keep your eye out here, and I'm sure you'll find the tank/filter system you'd like.

I currently have about 15 tanks, 5-125 gal...and use either HOB or Canister filters on all of them. Just read through some of the forums here and you'll get some good ideas on filters. When you're ready, I have some hardware for sale (no tanks right now though), so let me know what direction you want to go in and I'll let you know if I have anything to fit your needs.

Welcome again, and good luck!

03-07-2013, 10:17 PM
Cardinals and neons do well in our Lake Lanier water. They tend to die when you first bring them home, but live for years once they settle in. Though with 6', I'd go bigger with congo and/or emperor tetra.

03-08-2013, 06:06 AM
Thank you! I really would like to experiment with the overflow solution. I've never used them but I think they sound like what I'm looking for. The only way I'd be allowed to put a tank in the main living area is if there wasn't a lot of "crap" hanging off of it so I think the overflow is the best way to do that. That said there are options. Your tanks are great! I hope you get your discus! I told my girlfriend about the discus' propensity to eat their young (because apparently I think that's appropriate dinner conversation) and she was horrified. I have to admit, "WHAT WAS THAT? Oh CRAP! Quick honey! Eat the kids!" Is a little horrific...and funny.

03-08-2013, 06:11 AM
I will check in to fluidized sand. Why not? It's fun to experiment. I have no ideas what the LED options are but I think it sounds like it is the easiest way to pump the most light at the least cost/heat. Combine that with my previous lighting failures and it may just be worth the experiment. I am heartened to hear about your experience with Neons and Cardinals! I suspect my chemistry was wonkey to be honest but who knows? That said my supplier could have had a bad batch as well. Or...they may just secretly hate me. Perhaps I was an angelfish in a previous life? Thank you!

03-08-2013, 06:16 AM
Hey! Thanks for the nice welcome (from you and everyone!)
Wow, 15 tanks. I am, at present, wandering around the forums with a clipboard and confused look. Lots of great stuff to learn. I'm not normally one to buy used equipment. To me it's like bike helmets and baby carriers. You never buy those used. That said I will keep you in mind! I'm certain if I have a big tank I'm going to need a smaller one eventually as a breeder and probably a third for a hospital so used equipment might be just the trick for those! I miss the hobby and really hope I can get back into it. (C'mon life...do me a solid...)

03-08-2013, 06:20 AM
Thanks! I will check out the congo and emperors. I was thinking that might be some better options so I will add these to my short list! Thanks! Maybe that was my issue as well...they were a bit fussy at first but the ones that lived were fairly hardy.

03-08-2013, 12:17 PM
I got 25 tanks 10 - 125G over the last 18 months or so, all used. Maybe got lucky, but happy how they are holding up. ... Correct that, i got one new 55 at the Petco $1 SALE.

03-08-2013, 01:14 PM
I got my 130 tank used and matter of fact all my tanks and stands with p
Basic pumps and stands. Never paying over a $1 a gallon. Then over time replacing items i don't like.

I have an angelfish community in mine.

03-08-2013, 10:35 PM
I will check in to fluidized sand. Why not? It's fun to experiment. I have no ideas what the LED options are but I think it sounds like it is the easiest way to pump the most light at the least cost/heat. Combine that with my previous lighting failures and it may just be worth the experiment. I am heartened to hear about your experience with Neons and Cardinals! I suspect my chemistry was wonkey to be honest but who knows? That said my supplier could have had a bad batch as well. Or...they may just secretly hate me. Perhaps I was an angelfish in a previous life? Thank you!

I think you will have to do some research as what gives more light at less cost. I suspect that T5 or even T8 fluorescents will still prove to be cheaper. Even the HOT5's run cool enough that an exhaust fan or splash guard is not needed for many models. If you are concerned about heat, stay away from the halide fixtures and you should be okay. Also, you don't really want to pump the most light, just enough of the right spectrum to grow the plants you want. I have medium to medium high light tanks lit with T12 bulbs for example and T12's have been around a very long time.
A dual tube shoplight with a decent warm white/cool white bulbs is the least cost/heat option I know of and can work very well, creating medium low to medium high light conditions depending upon the depth of your tank.
I have had good luck with cardinalsand neons from Petland in Athens. I recommend other forum members for Angelfish.

03-08-2013, 10:40 PM
I purchased a used 135 gal Oceanic Systems tank off of Craig'slist along with a stand for $350 a few years ago and it has held up very well. So that might also be a place to check out for used aquariums.