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Old 02-23-2012, 01:27 PM   #1 
jaela
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Setting up a 15h -- any advice appreciated!

I recently purchased a 15h tank second-hand from another hobbyist. For those who don't know, it means it has the same footprint as a 10-gallon but is taller.

I was amazed that it's still in very good condition because it's 15+ years old. It's a little dusty and has some superficial scratches, but seems to be a great tank and the sealing has been redone. I'm really excited to get it set up.

I have a few things I'd love some feedback and advice on. I might ramble a bit because there's a lot going on in my head, do please bear with me. =]

1. First, the lamp doesn't work. I'm not sure if it just needs a new bulb or if the whole lamp is shot, but I plan to take it in to an LPS this weekend to have it looked at. The bulb that's in here isn't the right temperature anyway, so I guess we'll see. So, my first question would be, is there a particular brand/place online to buy 5500-6500k bulbs for a 10-gallon size, and/or an entirely new lamp if that ends up being necessary?

2. I'm looking to have live plants in my tank for the first time ever. I don't have any experience with them at all, so I'm doing a lot of research and I think I definitely want anacharis in the tank, along with a few other things. I'd love recommendations for good beginner's plants that can be kept in the same conditions as anacharis and my betta. I'm also assuming I'll need a different substrate for plants, since what I have now is a very basic gravel with an epoxy coat. Or can plants grow in this?

3. I want to try cycling this tank with pure ammonia, but like a lot of people, I've had trouble tracking it down. It's not at the local hardware store, and I live in an area that doesn't allow a lot of chain stores so there is no Ace. I did find this online: http://www.boilerandcoolingwater.com...p/AH1000-P.htm
Can anyone tell me whether this is the right thing? If it's not, I might just have to do the ram shrimp method. This is what I've done in the past, I'm just a little hesitant because of the smell -- I can handle it, but I have two other girls living in a res hall suite with me and I'm sure they wouldn't appreciate it, haha.
Luckily I do have fake plants and gravel from my betta girl's current tank which I can use to seed. She produces a LOT of ammonia to where she's started to need two water changes per week in her 2-gallon. Would it be helpful to put water from her changes into the new tank, too?

4. I'm kind of hedging on my betta's possible tank mates, once the tank is all set. I kind of love the idea of a sorority, but since they require a lot of observation and such I'm not so sure, since I have classes during the day Mon-Thurs. For those of you who have sororities, do you think it would be just too much for a full-time student to try to make this work?
My other option is for the betta I already have to share the tank with some otos -- probably three of them. I have experience caring for otos and I really love them, and think my girl would just ignore them and live peacefully with them. I'd be really happy with this option, too, if I can't do the sorority.
Additionally, do you think it would be better to put the otos in first, and then move my betta in? Or the other way around?

5. Is there a particular filter anyone would recommend for a tank this size which doesn't distrupt the water too much? My girl really doesn't seem to like much water current at all, and I ended up taking the filter out of her tank after the last water change because even with a filter baffle on, it was stressing her out. It might not be as much of a problem in a bigger tank, but I would really like something that's both effective and doesn't disturb the water hardly at all, if possible.

6. I'd love heater recommendations, too. I like the one I have in my girl's little tank, but it's just way too small for a 15-gallon so I'll need to get a new one. It really needs to be adjustable, too, not automatic, because the heating/cooling in this building is really temperamental and the room temp can be really unpredictable.


Sorry about the huge wall of text! Really looking forward to getting this new tank going so my girl can have more room. I'd really love any input on any of these points, even if you can't answer them all.

Thanks so much!

Last edited by jaela; 02-23-2012 at 01:29 PM.
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Old 02-23-2012, 01:58 PM   #2 
Geomancer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaela View Post
I recently purchased a 15h tank second-hand from another hobbyist. For those who don't know, it means it has the same footprint as a 10-gallon but is taller.

I was amazed that it's still in very good condition because it's 15+ years old. It's a little dusty and has some superficial scratches, but seems to be a great tank and the sealing has been redone. I'm really excited to get it set up.

I have a few things I'd love some feedback and advice on. I might ramble a bit because there's a lot going on in my head, do please bear with me. =]

1. First, the lamp doesn't work. I'm not sure if it just needs a new bulb or if the whole lamp is shot, but I plan to take it in to an LPS this weekend to have it looked at. The bulb that's in here isn't the right temperature anyway, so I guess we'll see. So, my first question would be, is there a particular brand/place online to buy 5500-6500k bulbs for a 10-gallon size, and/or an entirely new lamp if that ends up being necessary?
Single bulb, or two? Can you squeeze a regular spiral CFL on it? I know you can on new hoods (I do it) but no idea on an older one.

If you can, I use the 10W GE 6500K Daylight bulbs and I got them off Amazon (I'm a Prime user, so 2-day shipping is free no mater the price). Otherwise, look at a hardware store for a 6500K Daylight bulb that will fit, brand does not matter. Don't go to a pet store, they'll charge you more for the same thing.

Bulbs must be changed yearly, while they won't look any different to your eyes, they do loose intensity over time and the plants will notice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jaela View Post
2. I'm looking to have live plants in my tank for the first time ever. I don't have any experience with them at all, so I'm doing a lot of research and I think I definitely want anacharis in the tank, along with a few other things. I'd love recommendations for good beginner's plants that can be kept in the same conditions as anacharis and my betta. I'm also assuming I'll need a different substrate for plants, since what I have now is a very basic gravel with an epoxy coat. Or can plants grow in this?
Plants will grow in any substrate, fine gravel or sand is best, but the coated epoxy gravel you typically find in pet stores works just fine (I use that in my planted 20g).

I highly recommend a floating plant, Water Sprite is a good one. Floating plants are generally fast growing, which means they suck up nutrients (ammonia) very quickly. They also provide shade which all fish enjoy.

Some really easy plants are Anubias, Java Fern, and Amazon Swords. The first two are slow growers and like to be shaded under other plants. They also do not get burried in the substrate, the rhizome must stay exposed. Usually people tie these onto rocks or driftwood using cotton thread or fishing line. The Amazon Swords are heavy root feeders and like to have a root tab, but isn't required.

With all plants, use of a liquid fertilizer is a very good idea. Flourish Comprehensive is ideal, the smallest bottle you can find will last you a very long time. The dosing is 5 mL per 60 gallons so for a 15 you won't use much at all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jaela View Post
3. I want to try cycling this tank with pure ammonia, but like a lot of people, I've had trouble tracking it down. It's not at the local hardware store, and I live in an area that doesn't allow a lot of chain stores so there is no Ace. I did find this online: Ammonium Hydroxide, ACS Grade
Can anyone tell me whether this is the right thing? If it's not, I might just have to do the ram shrimp method. This is what I've done in the past, I'm just a little hesitant because of the smell -- I can handle it, but I have two other girls living in a res hall suite with me and I'm sure they wouldn't appreciate it, haha.
Luckily I do have fake plants and gravel from my betta girl's current tank which I can use to seed. She produces a LOT of ammonia to where she's started to need two water changes per week in her 2-gallon. Would it be helpful to put water from her changes into the new tank, too?
I wouldn't buy it unless I can see it. You have to make sure it is not dyed, scented, or has surfactants in it. "Ammonium Hydroxide" is, however, exactly what you need.

There is no point putting water from another tank in this one, the bacteria isn't free swimming. It will be all hard surfaces.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jaela View Post
4. I'm kind of hedging on my betta's possible tank mates, once the tank is all set. I kind of love the idea of a sorority, but since they require a lot of observation and such I'm not so sure, since I have classes during the day Mon-Thurs. For those of you who have sororities, do you think it would be just too much for a full-time student to try to make this work?
My other option is for the betta I already have to share the tank with some otos -- probably three of them. I have experience caring for otos and I really love them, and think my girl would just ignore them and live peacefully with them. I'd be really happy with this option, too, if I can't do the sorority.
Additionally, do you think it would be better to put the otos in first, and then move my betta in? Or the other way around?
I can't speak to the sorority as I have no experience with that, other than hearing advice that it generally is not a great idea.

For the otos they are a schooling fish, so 3 is the minimum number on these guys (but 6+ better). These guys need algae to survive, best to be added to an established aquarium. Planted is very good for these guys.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jaela View Post
5. Is there a particular filter anyone would recommend for a tank this size which doesn't distrupt the water too much? My girl really doesn't seem to like much water current at all, and I ended up taking the filter out of her tank after the last water change because even with a filter baffle on, it was stressing her out. It might not be as much of a problem in a bigger tank, but I would really like something that's both effective and doesn't disturb the water hardly at all, if possible.
Try a sponge filter, you can find them on Amazon and they are not very expensive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jaela View Post
6. I'd love heater recommendations, too. I like the one I have in my girl's little tank, but it's just way too small for a 15-gallon so I'll need to get a new one. It really needs to be adjustable, too, not automatic, because the heating/cooling in this building is really temperamental and the room temp can be really unpredictable.


Sorry about the huge wall of text! Really looking forward to getting this new tank going so my girl can have more room. I'd really love any input on any of these points, even if you can't answer them all.

Thanks so much!
Look for a 75W heater, if you can't find one go with 100W. I have an AquaTop one I got off Amazon that has worked pretty well for me in my 20g.

Here is a photo of my 20g, it has a HOB filter (Hang on Back) and the heater mentioned above. It also uses the epoxy coated gravel for a substrate. The floating plant you see is Brazilian Pennywort (which is also easy).


Last edited by Geomancer; 02-23-2012 at 02:01 PM.
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Old 02-24-2012, 08:10 PM   #3 
jaela
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Wow, thank you so much for all the info!!

I don't think a spiral bulb will fit in it, no. It's a smaller lamp and a single-bulb one. In the end I just purchased an entirely new lamp that's the same size, because it wasn't much more expensive and I have all my bases covered if it's not just the bulb that needs to be replaced.

In total, purchased all of the following for the new tank from Amazon:

-Sponge filter
-New, quieter air pump (+tubing, check valve, air stones in case I want/need them in conjunction with the sponge filter)
-New thermometer (have a little glass one in the smaller tank but it's not always the most reliable -- there seems to be a delay in the readings)
-Root tabs
-75w AquaTop heater, as per your recommendation
-Small bottle of Flourish comprehensive
-The new lamp, same make as the one that's already in it, but in the right colour temperature

I also purchased a bottle of the Ace brand janitorial strength ammonia from their direct online supplier, since I know for a fact other people have used that exact product for this purpose so I felt confident that it was the right thing.

Wow, I didn't realise I'd need that many otos -- 6+ seems like a lot, but if they'll be comfortable in this size of tank, I'm glad to do it! The more the merrier, I'd say, because I really love otos.

I'll be off to the LPS sometime this week to look at plants, bringing a list of your recommendations with me! Thank you! =]
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