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This section I will use to explain some of the equipment that I have gotten. Click on any thumbnail for more and larger pictures.
  • Otto 450 canister filter: 450-gal/hr. pump. 30 watts of power consumption. As you can see the impeller is easy to get to. I will use clay pipe in the bottom section. The middle section I think I will use another sponge or maybe a material that will not need replaced as often as activated carbon. In the top section as you can see will be a sponge. The Clay Pipe has two purposes. First it helps remove large particles or debris. Second it is a place where beneficial bacteria can attach and help with Ammonia (NH3-NH4) removal. Also bacteria that removes the waste of Nitrite (NO2) which is produced by the bacteria that removes the Ammonia. Nitrate (NO3) is produced by the Nitrite bacteria and is harmless at low levels. Water changes will dilute Nitrate levels and if you have a planted tank plants use this as fertilizer. Price: around 90-110 dollars.

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  • Emperor 280 box filter: These have two functions as well. First the filters have removable filters filled with 2oz. Activated Carbon with a Polyfiber mesh. This Mesh helps to remove waste and the Activated Carbon helps in the remove Ammonia and metals such as copper. Since I have decided not to put Carbon in the canister filter I decided on these filters to contain this needed material since they are easier to change than is the canister filter. The filters come with a reusable filter, which can contain whatever you would want to put in them. They hold 4oz of Activated Carbon if you want more filtration or can contain Peat if you want to use this. They are rated for 280 (as the name implies) gal/hr. . Two of these will give me 560 gal/hr. (Which I should have mentioned: you want at least 3-4 times gallon filtration flow than you have water. E.g.: 75 gallons water needing 225 - 300 gal/hr. filtration in the system. But as I have been told there is no such thing as over filtration. Price per unit around $30 - $50 dollars.

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  • Sand: is less expensive and you do not need a complete bottom filled with Flourite. Also I like and want to keep a lot of Cory Catfish of all kinds and they love to play in sand. I will probably make a few sand piles on top of the Flourite for them to play in. Go to Toys R Us for this as it cost around $3.99 for a 50-lbs. bag of Play Sand (plus tax if it is as my state law is). Pretty cheap!

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  • Flourite: Fractured Porous Clay Substrate. This material is the gravel I am using. It is a good gravel to use when doing a planted tank. It is clay based and has a good supply of iron content to it as I understand. It has good nutrients for good plant growth. I wasn't real happy with the color of it as it is different shades of brown, tan, and colors in between but I guess it will grow on me and it does look a lot more natural. I guess I can't get the fish bowl look out of my head. Price wise it is not to bad if gotten from a large dealer. I priced at a pet shop in my area and it was priced at $24.95 per 15.4 lbs. Bag. On the net you can get for around 12-14 bucks plus delivery. I found a new place in my area that had it for $13.95 plus tax. This I thought wasn't to bad since delivery is at least that from the net but certainly better than 25 bucks plus tax at the pet store. Pay no more than this. Regular gravel from the store comes in 5 lbs. Bags and runs $3.99 a bag. 3 times that much in the 15.4 lbs. Bags of Flourite it is nearly the same price. The four bags you see here are the four I bought from the net. I bought one more from the other store for the price I mentioned. I'm hoping that 77 lbs. Will be enough with the sand.

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    Mail order supply houses.
    That Fish Place
    Drs. Foster and Smith

 

tank and supplies
  • Fluorescent Lights: Important to have light to see your fish as well as they can see their food. Also the plants will need this light so they can make food for themselves and grow. The lights shown are 2-24" light housings. They did not come with and I still need to get the bulbs I need for good plant growth. I have decided to use 2 Sun-Glo's and 2 Power Glo tubes. The light housing came with bulbs and look good when turned on, but unless you have fake plants they won't do. Real plants (well Java Moss I understand will grow with a Lightning Bug light, and will probably be some of my first plants to go in since the bulbs mentioned will not be in place for awhile). Prices on these housings with bulbs I'm afraid are less than what I paid but I was a little stupid on prices before I bought these but pay no more than 60 bucks for 24" light housing and no more than 120 bucks for a 48" light housing with bulbs.

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  • Bulbs: The Sun Glo's and Power Glo's I mentioned are different spectrum bulbs. I don't know the spectrums they both represent but I know I need full spectrum bulbs for good plant growth and it was suggested to me to use these bulbs. I'm afraid that the amount of light that will be produced by my two 24" lights might not be enough light. I will have to see but may need to purchase other housings. Price for the bulbs should be around 5-12 dollars for the Sun Glo's and 10-20 dollars for the Power Glo's ---24 inch tubes per tube. These tubes should be replaced at least once a year at least as they lose their light output generating ability after this time. I have heard others say to replace them every six months. Even if they look no different lit up.

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  • Heater: Sorry for the delay on this very important item but it took me 3 months to get the replacement for the one I first bought. The first one worked but the display did not. Hard to tell what temp you set when you can not see it. This is a very important part of any aquarium. No matter where you live almost you should own one and use it in the tank. Unless you live in the tropics but then keeping tropical fish wouldn't seem so fun since all you had to do is go down in the back yard! A little silly tonight but cold winter nights can drop a tank's temperature. Even if you keep your house warm fluctuations in the temperature can occur. For this reason a heater of proper size for the amount of water in the tank should be used. General rule of thumb should be no lower than 2 watts per gallon of water and no higher than 5 to 6 watts per gallon. Depending on where you live and at what temperature your house sits at normally during the winter months. Also during the summer months if your home is air-conditioned as ours is and you're a sweatbox like me. We keep the house at around 70 to 75 degrees in the summer. This is to cold for most fish and a good chance you will see the dreaded Ick! in the tank. I purchased a 250-watt Rio heater the first time because that was the highest wattage they had at the time of purchase. When they got the new replacement I noticed that they were all the same price and asked to have a 300-watt to replace it. I had wanted a 300-watt from the beginning because this would give me 4 watts per gallon. In the ten gallons I have 50-watt heaters. This is 5-watts per gallon. So keep your self in that ballpark. If you have a 20-gallon tank a 100-watt heater will do well. 30 gallon use 150-watt heater and so on. Heaters are fairly cheap (except this fancy one I got). Should run you anywhere from 10 to 40 bucks for a rod type heater. You can purchase in line heaters that runs off a pump line or by themselves but expect to shell out big bucks for them. Around 150 to 300 dollars. Not bad I guess if you have the man with everything and a big budget. They work well from what I have heard but the cost is very high.

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  • 75-gallon tank: ALL GLASS Aquarium. This is important for new people. Cleaning tanks of algae and dirt can be tough to get off. Plastic tanks scratch easy and although you can see better through them try seeing through a big gash in one. Expensive to repair as well. Metal razor blades can be used in a glass tank but need to be used on plastic with extreme caution. Glass is also cheaper. You will pay almost double for a Plastic (Acrylic tank). The only draw back to glass is that is heavier. About twice the weight of Acrylic tanks. My 75-Gallon glass tank weighs 100 lbs. Just by itself. Get one with glass covers on top. My light set says on it "To be used on glass covers only!" Plastic tops get cloudy and restrict light traveling through it as I found out with my two 10 gallon tanks. Price for 75-Gallon tank around $120 - $190 dollars. Depends on the glass your getting. I got the temperate glass bottom one, which I heard, was stronger but can't be drilled. I didn't care to have a drilled bottom and did care about the stronger bottom.

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  • Rocks: You can pick rocks right out of your yard, which you clean well to put in the tank. But you have to know about rocks. Rocks with Calcium content can change the chemistry of your water. You want to keep rocks such as Granite, or sandstone, or any rock that won't leach out and dissolve itself in your water and change the pH level or hardness of your water. Also pet stores and places like this have some really nice interesting looking rocks which you can be sure that most (you can ask to be sure) won't leach into you water. Although it's pretty funny going to a counter to have them weigh and pay for rocks. These prices can vary according to the type of rocks you buy. The expensive pet store has one price for all and I have a discount card for there but they have the best rocks and run $1.89 a pound. I get 10% off but when buying rocks the pounds and cost go up fast. I have roughly 30 lbs. Of them I bought. So do the math it can get a little expensive. I have also gotten some around my work place. I want to build a few caves and cover with Java Moss so don't care what they look like.

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  • Stand and Canopy: This I was lucky with. These things are expensive. For a particleboard one the pet store wanted 100 dollars for the Canopy and 200 dollars for the Stand made out of particleboard. 300 dollars total. This isn't too bad from what I have seen. A solid oak one can run around 1000 dollars and better. This is something you do not want to skimp on. A 75-gallon tank with water and rocks and gravel is heavy. Water alone is 8.8 lbs. Per gallon. This will weigh around 1000 lbs. Fully loaded. Not something you want on a cheap table. I know even less about wood and woodwork than I do about fish but I do know that you should never get particleboard wet. It warps and loses its strength. That is definitely going to happen with a tank full of water. My brother-in-law is Bob Villa. Well not really but good for me because he is better than that. I told him I would make him famous and take his picture by the stand, which he just made for me. It looks better than any stand I have seen. It looks unbelievable. Well see the pictures of it when I get them on here. I will go to the pet store and try to help him sell some of them. Also if any one here would like to have him make one E-mail me and I will give prices and he's lucky because he works for a trucking company. I had to put that little commercial in there for him because I just saw the stand for the first time today it looks better than I thought it would (and that is saying something because I knew it would be great). But look around some for good prices but remember like the foundation of a house. You don't want to skimp here.

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  • Driftwood: Driftwood will add that natural look to your aquarium. Also driftwood will add more hiding places for fish. Also they make nice hiding places for equipment. Some driftwood setup like a tee pee and some Java moss and you have a nice cave for fish or that nice cover for that heater. In nature trees fall in the water all the time and this is a natural part of most tropical fishes life. Most driftwood is expensive and this is something that really should not be dug up in your back yard. Driftwood needs to be well dried out. Most of the time it is made up of roots not tree branches. This driftwood needs proper drying time and it also needs to be soaked in water for several days. That sounds a bit strange but that is how it is to be done. Buying driftwood will most often be a proper piece of wood that has been dried properly. Why you must re-soak it is because as you can see by the pictures driftwood leaches a brown substance into the water. This brown water will dirty and cloud your tank water. Also this substance is an acid. This will change the pH of your water to a possible undesirable level. Driftwood is kind of expensive and the price differs from piece to piece store to store. The pieces here range from $4.95 to 16.95 a piece. Some I got at a per pound price. Picking apiece is an individual preference. Find pieces that will fit in your tank and still leave swimming room and plant and rock room. Also remember to soak it for several days. Keep changing the water until you see that it is not brown any more.

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