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New tank help

Hi all

Looking forward to having some fish to brighten up my unit.

Starting my 1st tank in over 20 years
30L. 38x40cm front glass. 26cm front to back.

Trying to work out how many fish I can have.

So far is like this.

4 neon tetras
2 green neon tetras (hoping these guys with get on ok)
2 kuhli loaches
A few glass shrimp (will the loaches eat these) otherwise I'll still with a sucky catfish
2-3 penguin/hockey tetras

Would like some swordtails but worried about space.

A few questions,

Will a 25w heater be ok for these?

Planning on these from the store
Anubias Nana - Mini Driftwood
5x Assorted Aquatic Bunches.

Planted in Gravel Ice White 4.5kg

Any big issues here?


  • animal_expert01animal_expert01 Member Posts: 380
    Male swordtails can be very agrresive so
    I would recommend only getting females. Also green neon tetras and penguin tetras both require a school
    of at least 6 individuals, why not just get a big school of one of the species instead of a little school for both.
  • TetraterrorTetraterror Member Posts: 40
    I might leave the swordtails for now then.

    I was hoping to have a mix of fish in the tank

    Might look at a few more neons and replace the penguins with something that is happy with 1 or 2.

    Thanks for the reply
  • RainbowsRainbows Member Posts: 243
    I agree with what animal-expert said. I'd probably stick with just the normal neon's and the green's. Swordtails will also take over your tank through numbers as they breed like rabbits.

    On another note, even the neon's will eat the baby shrimp and will probably harass larger ones so if you want shrimp numbers to build you're going to have to densely plant the tank.

    Keep us posted with how you go.
  • TetraterrorTetraterror Member Posts: 40
    Thanks guys.

    Didn't realize the shrimp were so tasty :smile:

    Will give them a go and see what happens. Britslenose catfish may go better with the loaches though.

    I'll be sure to post a few photos
  • TetraterrorTetraterror Member Posts: 40
    Testing out the pump etc. Wasn't sure this was a submersible pump :o

    Still a bit confused where air hoses should connect. To I need an air pump as well?

    At least it's not leaking.
  • RainbowsRainbows Member Posts: 243
    I don't think you need an air pump. Usually if there is enough water movement along the surface from the filter there will be sufficient gas exchange for the fish.
  • TetraterrorTetraterror Member Posts: 40

    I discovered there is an air siphon and outlet so should all be fine.

    Plants and things arrived today so will get things all set up and cycling tonight.

    Will have to wait and see if I have enough UV for the plants or a better light is needed.
  • TetraterrorTetraterror Member Posts: 40
    Well, i hope it's ok for the incoming inmates.

    I "think" the pH is ok. Looks to be about 6.5 by the test i have.

    How hot is too hot for tetras, platys? Tank temp is about 28. It was ~40° outside today
  • TetraterrorTetraterror Member Posts: 40
    Inhabitants in place.

    Tetras coloured up fast and are Schilling about. A few game individuals are exploring solo, The platys are fairly docile so far and lurking at the back of the tank.

    Loaches are hiding under the driftwood

    Unfortunately, my shrimp didn't arrive. But starting to think some bristlenoses might be better suited in here.

    I hope turning off the light on the tank is the right thing at night.

    May take a day or 2 before feeding them the right amount.
  • Heintz.GHeintz.G Moderator Posts: 1,363
    Your platys will welcome the shrimp with open fins when they do turn up lol, you're probably off better getting a Bristlenose just keep in mind Bn's are a pooping machine.

    As for your lights, yes turn them off at night.
    Sometimes when I reflect back on all the beer I drink I feel ashamed. Then I look into the glass and think about the workers in the brewery and all of their hopes & dreams.
  • TetraterrorTetraterror Member Posts: 40
    edited February 2018
    Yes that's what I was afraid of.
    I'll add another loach and try for some viewable hiding spots
    2 bristles should do ok instead of the shrimp
  • BobBob Member, Classifieds Posts: 708
    Hi TT,

    Tank looks good but a few things to be mindful of. The Tetra will love the soft acidic water but platies, swords and guppies need a higher mineral content as they are giving up calcium to developing fry when pregnant. Keep a watch on the kuhli as they like to burrow and your gravel looks a little heavy/large and may cause injuries.

    Amboulia is a similar shape to Cabomba which is a good spawning media for tetras, the eggs don't seem to stick to amboulia though.

    The Anubius look good, healthy and well bonded to the driftwood but will need liquid fertiliser and light to grow well. Just be careful as they are also susceptible to black beard algae.

    The purple waffle is not an aquatic plant so expect it to die off. Unfortunate because I do like the look of it.

    The java moss is another plant I like but it will take of on you and can be difficult to control or remove. I have had rock and driftwood which has been well covered and looking very good, just be careful with it. Some of the wood/rock I have removed and stored (dry) over many years have regrown the moss when immersed again.

    Keep posting pics.


  • TetraterrorTetraterror Member Posts: 40
    Thanks Bob,

    Thanks for the feedback.

    I'm taking the fact my tetras are really bright now as a positive sign. They seem happy enough.

    The 2 Platys seem to be a good colour but will keep watch if they look like making babies.

    The kuhli are my problem children. I really like them but hope they are ok hiding under the wood. Can only hope they are finding food left on the floor by the others.
    Only have 2 but getting some more so they have company.
    If they look like any issues I may move them to a tank just for them with a sand base. I have seen them digging, but look to be doing ok so far. Would like to see them a bit more. They do move like lightning though

    Are fish affected by infra red? I may have to option of a camera to record at night, may get a picture or too of the loaches, but obviously don't want to effect any of the fish.

    Shame the purple may due off. Looks nice in there. And the tetras seen to like it.

    I do have some left over plants in a bucket so may yet do some extra "gardening" or will add to another small tank.

    Want to add a rock or 2 when the bristlenoses arrive.

    Liquid plant food also on it's way

    Hoping I don't get fish spawning just yet
  • BobBob Member, Classifieds Posts: 708
    Love the Kuhli, had a school of 6 many many years ago, much more active/visible in bigger groups. More active at night but not necessarily nocturnal.


  • TetraterrorTetraterror Member Posts: 40
    Have 3 more kuhli on their way so they will hopefully have a bit of a community and a little more adventurous.

    Will hopefully get some new pictures once everyone is settled in.

    Thanks again.
  • TetraterrorTetraterror Member Posts: 40
    Must be time for a water change.

    Tetras are rather pale this morning.
    Hope they are ok until I get home this evening
  • TetraterrorTetraterror Member Posts: 40
    Do they fade over night?

    Back from work and tetras are as bright as can be. Light on all day.

    Hadn't noticed that before?
  • BobBob Member, Classifieds Posts: 708
    Most fish colour up under light, can be very pale in the mornings when lights first turned on.

    What test kits do you have? Essentials, ph, ammonia, nitrAte and nitrIte. Once your tank is cycled regular checks rather than daily. If you are intent on softwater tanks kh and gh are also good to have handy.


  • TetraterrorTetraterror Member Posts: 40
    Thanks again Bob.
    Was hoping this was the case.

    ph test so far... the others arriving this week :)
    ammonia, nitrite and nitrate i need to get a handle on.

    My local water supply is fairly soft so not to much worry there at this stage. Obviously still test it though

  • TetraterrorTetraterror Member Posts: 40
    Look who came out to say hi.
  • FraykFrayk Member Posts: 1,009
    Great to hear from Heintz and Bob. The best advice you can get. :)
  • TetraterrorTetraterror Member Posts: 40
    Have had a bad run with plants. Might end up getting 1 or 2 pre potted things the war these are going.

    Fish are looking ok though.

    Loaches still hiding, but I see 1 or 2 in the evening once the tank light goes off.

    Any suggestions on food for them?
    So far just using tropical pellets that all the fish seem to like, plus have a small can each of blood worm and brine shrimp on the shelf.

    Trying not to over feed even if I think some fish are missing out
  • TetraterrorTetraterror Member Posts: 40

    Actual issue.

    How do I clean a filter like this? Seems to get very mucky very fast.
    Or is there something better to use?

    So far I've been rinsing in fast moving water, but it looks to be rather a losing battle.
  • BobBob Member, Classifieds Posts: 708
    Hi TT,

    Very little media in that filter which is likely to cause you problems in the long term. Only rinse your media in aquarium water that you are changing out. Chlorinated tap water will kill off your bacteria colonies, even water at markedly different temps can do the same thing. Just squeeze and release the material in the change out water. You won't remove the stain but that won't impact on your bacteria.

    When you change out the media prime it by "seeding" it in the water you have rinsed out of the old media. This will transfer some of your bacteria to the new media.

    Most of the staining will be as a result of the breakdown of the plant materials you have lost.

    As you say, fish are looking good, use that as the indicator for the health of your tank.


  • TetraterrorTetraterror Member Posts: 40
    Thanks again Bob.
    Yeah I'm planning on getting some more substantial filter medium this week.

    Looks like my pH is a bit high, 7.8 or just under by the api test kit. So will take some steps to slowly lower it. I think about 6.8 -7.0 is good for the fish I have.

    Water temp is 26
    Will do all the other tests tomorrow and see how things are.

    Even my loaches are getting a little braver with some venturing out in the day time... Need to get some photos one day.

    The fact I haven't lost any fish yet tells me I've got something right, or they are all hardy little fish
    I do wonder if the Platys are getting a bit bossy with the tetras, as the tetras have gotten very shy. But that also may be due to loss of plant cover. Well see how they are with some new plants soon.

    Thanks again for the advice
  • BobBob Member, Classifieds Posts: 708
    Go slowly slowly with your pH changes, .1 or .2 every couple of days max. Try to prep your new water to match tank water as much as possible.


  • TetraterrorTetraterror Member Posts: 40
    Yep. Going to test some tap water and see what is needed to get the right pH

    Once I know that I'll increment down at water changes
  • TetraterrorTetraterror Member Posts: 40
    edited February 2018
    Nasty case of nitrite poisoning

    Both Platys died while I was testing pH to see what was wrong

    Changed water, it's a lot better but still high. Hoping I can get in under control

    Rest of the fish appear to be ok.

    Tetras are bright
    Loaches are getting larger and more playful
    Catfish are... Catfish
  • TetraterrorTetraterror Member Posts: 40
    edited February 2018
    Some pics post disaster.

    Survivors are looking good (to me) but I think another water change tomorrow will help with the nitrite levels.

    Levels at disaster were:

    pH. >7.2 Struggling to get this under 7. Might get a kit to set it at 7 or less.

    NH3 ~0.25ppm
    Nitrite 2-5ppm now about .5
    Nitrate ~30ppm now about 10

    Still be too High but will see how it is again tomorrow

    I suspect there were too many fish. Sadly the Platys paid for that.
  • BobBob Member, Classifieds Posts: 708
    Not overcrowding, not properly cycled.

    There should be no ammonia or nitrIte in a properly cycled tank.

    NitrAte is generally okay for most fish up to 20 ppm, with some being used by your plants. The Anubius look okay but the rest of your plants seem to be struggling. How are your temps?

    Maker sure you only rinse your media in tank water. Do not change out all your media in one go.


  • TetraterrorTetraterror Member Posts: 40
    Hi Bob.

    Temps at 26.

    Have learned a bit today. Filter now has some ceramic beads as well as the wool stuff. Other than the 1st time, have been washing media in drained tank water.

    The other plant has been growing like crazy. Lots of extra roots etc. May have suffered a bit with the high levels too.
    The Anubis do apoear to be thriving though. The loaches are using them as a home.

    Will do all the tests again tonight and so looks see how things look

    Thanks again for your help.
  • TetraterrorTetraterror Member Posts: 40
    Things are a bit better.

    Ammonia is slightly reading but less then .25
    Nitrite still an issue at 1ppm. Have done a water change today. Confirmed tap water is 0 do have a known baseline.
    Nitrate is almost negligible.

    Looks like the filter media might be doing its job. But getting bacterial in the will be a slow task.

    No signs of fish distress.

    The war on snails continues.
  • GooeyGooey Member Posts: 24
    The joys of fish keeping.

    Glad to see your getting the params under control. Sorry to hear about the platys.

    If you find you need something to soak up Nitrate you could try planting Ambulia. I have this in my tank and it grows like .. well a weed.

    I have seen this stuff grow 3-4cm in a day and I have to give it a haircut each weekend. As such it will use up of excess nitrate.

    If you don't want it permanently its cheap enough to use as a for a short time till you get things under control.

    Also I'd register support for the snail.. if its a non-hermaphroditic species one will never cause a population explosion.

    I love watching my snail zoom around the tank (surprisingly fast) and am very glad i included it in the menagerie.

    Anyways keep up the good work.

  • TetraterrorTetraterror Member Posts: 40
    edited February 2018
    Thanks Gooey

    Currently nitrate is ok... Nitrite is my enemy. But another plant is needed for tetras to hide in.

    Has been a lot of snails... So unless I'm sure, they may be on the endangered list

    Hoping to get some nitrite absorbent filter media to help until biofilter gets going
  • TetraterrorTetraterror Member Posts: 40
    Another water change, nitrite is still high, ammonia is almost 0, and nitrate is about 10ppm.

    pH is now under 7 so happy with that.

    Added a nitrite/nitrate absorbent filter media
    Planted some more. Tetras like the new green.
  • TetraterrorTetraterror Member Posts: 40

    Levels are now good!

    Now just have to keep them that way.

    Ended up getting a water conditioner that assisted in nitrifying. Did its job, tank is clearer and fish seem very happy.

    Thanks to all for the advice.
  • FraykFrayk Member Posts: 1,009
    Good news :) User beware when it comes to conditioners, IMHO, treating symptoms is easy, but rarely the solution. Praps a water change every 10 days, better filtration, less fish, more cycling etc,
    will help.
    The smaller the tank, the more problems your gonna have.
    Don:t mean to dampen your spirits or enthusiasm, please no.Cheers.
  • TetraterrorTetraterror Member Posts: 40
    All good Frayk,

    I was changing water each day while the nitrite was high but will be each 5 days until I know this is totally under control.

    I understand about the conditioner, I'm hoping I can use much less once the tank has settled and achieved some form of equilibrium.

    My big mistake was not cycling tank fully.
    Didn't understand that when I started, and also didn't have any filter media as such.
    Since this started I've got some decent filter medium, have had the water running through that while treating the situation so I have fingers crossed, the filter will have a positive affect on things.

    If nothing else I know how to test water now.

    I think I have enough fish in b there now. Any more will have to wait until I decide to get a 2nd tank
  • TetraterrorTetraterror Member Posts: 40
    edited March 2018
    Current tank stock

    2 bristlenose catfish
    5 kuhli loaches
    10 neon tetras
    2 green moss barb's

    Haven't seen a snail for 3 days now. ;)
  • TetraterrorTetraterror Member Posts: 40
    1 dead barb... :'( his mate killed him so not bad water this time.

    Also have an upgrade. Bye bye internal drip filter, hello little canister. Its small but will also work as a free filter when i get a bigger tank.

    Came with all foam, so removed 1 layer and replaced with glass noodles. Some of these were used in the previous filter so hoping the bacteria made it across as well.

  • FraykFrayk Member Posts: 1,009
    Good stuff m8, much better filter than internal types, tank looking great. What brand is it? What are the specs and where did you get it from? Cheers.
  • TetraterrorTetraterror Member Posts: 40
    Thanks Frayk,
    I'm liking my little fish TV :)

    Filter is a cheap eBay special
    Labelled as SunSun or Dynamic power.
    Pump is fairly quiet

    For under $30 delivered I thought it was pretty good

    As I mentioned it came with all foam filters but I've swapped some out for glass noodles.

    Probably added another 3-4 litres to the tank once all cycling.
  • FraykFrayk Member Posts: 1,009
    For 30 bucks delivered, thats good. I find with cheap ext. filters is the seal or o- ring failure , the impeller aswell, but for that sort of money you are doing alright if you get 12 months out of it. Cheers :)
  • TetraterrorTetraterror Member Posts: 40
    Thanks everyone for your help

    have been checking tank levels and everything is steady for the past few days

    Ammonia and Nitrite at 0
    Nitrate wavers between 5-10ppm.
    Plants seem to be doing well :)

    Already looking at a bigger tank for these guys and a few new friends. Something in the 120-150L range.
    Will probably keep the current tank for some shrimp and pygmy corydoras
  • BobBob Member, Classifieds Posts: 708
    Be watching with interest, a standard 4’ will give you 200ltr, easy number to work with if you are calculating dose rates for conditioners, frets, etc.


  • TetraterrorTetraterror Member Posts: 40
    Thanks again Bob,

    Looks like it will be 3'x18"x18". 4' is just too big for my space. I'll just have to adapt doses to suit.
    Will be doing setup and cycling BEFORE adding in fish this time. :)

    Will post new things when it gets that far.

    Meantime, I'm loving my little setup.
  • FraykFrayk Member Posts: 1,009
    Hey m8, i bought a SunSun ext. filter, like yours for my 90 ltr. Rainbow tank, how ever much to my chagrin the plug pins are straight, not angled, if you get what i mean,was yours that way? and if so can i get an adaptor? CHEERS. :'(
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