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starting new fish tank


Christine140
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hi i was given a 56 gallon tank i currently have 8 male betta fish in seperate housing 6 are housed in 1.5 gallon and 3 and 4 gallon i was going to move them in there but was told the height might be too much it is 23 inches we made dividers for the tank  with holes but were unsure wether to move because i am not sure how to cycle a tank or if i can just do water changes  i also had bought a air pump?  magnetic vibration air pump ? and was unsure how to use and als heater they currently have their water changed and their temp is 70 in my house and water so my questions are many but should i live bettas be or start a new tank 

Edited by Christine140
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Hi! 56 would be huge for guppies so in all honesty you could probably put as many as you want in there. (I had a 20H with an endler breeding project in it and had about 60ish adults in it when I broke it down with no issues). As far as filtration a sponge is Great the Coop sponge would be great. Depending how many fish you are thinking to put in it it may change how big/how many to put in it. I would probably put two 40G sponge filters in but I like to heavily stock my tanks so I need a little more. 
 

As far as the cycling goes everyone does it different but I like to set it up and plant it. Then either put used filter media in it or get some fritz turbo start. The. I’ll let it sit for a week or so then slowly start adding fish while testing the water to make sure everything stays under control.

 

hope this helped a little!! Have a blessed day.

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Is this your first tank or do you have another already running with something?

Sponge filters are pretty easy to deal with so can't see why you'd not like it.

If I'm setting up a tank I typically run the new filter for a few weeks in an already cycled tank and if possible either take hardscape from another tank or again let it sit in one for a few weeks.

Then I get it all set up and fill it with water from one of other tanks (that is ready for a water change) . I will then monitor it for a couple of weeks with ghost feeding to build up the cycle and then add my fish  a small number at first then build up leaving a few weeks between each addition.

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Welcome to the community!

How long have you had your Betta?

You can help the cycle by adding the mulm from your betta tank when you vacuum the substrate. Congrats on the epic tank gift!

Sponge filters are great. I run one in every tank I have, even if it has other filtration. In a 50G tank you can do a lot! Have you thought about how you want to decorate the tank? Maybe do live plants and such? Depending on how you plan to set up the tank, you can cycle it different ways. Also. there are some substrates that you should let cycle before you add fish. So depending on the route you want to go with your decorations you may have a while before you add fish to get it all cycled and healthy.

When you do add guppies, I would say you can easily add 5 at a time, every three weeks, up to 30 of them, depending on how often you want to change water. I also highly recommend adding some diversity since they tend to hang out near the top of the tank unless it's feeding time. A schooling fish is always fun and there are so many options that get along with guppies! Then you can have a few corydoras in the bottom as well.

Guppies do tend to come in with issues from pet stores, so I recommend quarantining them before you put them in the big tank. They are notorious for columnaris, ich, and fungal issues. Setting them up in a plastic tote that holds 5 gallons of water with an air stone and heater is always a good idea. Treating a small volume of water with medications is much easier than treating a big display tank.

I hope you stick around! We're all happy to give advice and answer questions. There's no such thing as a dumb question around here! This is the best group of fish keepers around. I tell ya!

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This article is amazing for learning about the nitrogen cycle and how to cycle a tank:

https://fishlab.com/how-to-cycle-aquarium/

 

I encourage you to also look into other articles and YouTube videos about the cycle as its important to understand. Sometimes it's best to have it explained in many different ways. 

As others have said, 56 gallons is gigantic for guppies. You could do a colony including females if you wanted or just buy A TON of males. You could also include other species. I would recommend looking into bottom dwellers like cories or bristle nose plecos and possibly some snails like mystery or nerites.  Regardless of what you pick, make sure you do not add too many fish at once. Each time you add fish you add stress to the cycle. You need to let the tank stabilize to the increase before adding even more. 

 

 

Edited by Cinnebuns
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ty for that i had thought about doing female bettas so that i wouldnt need to cycle because they go to the top to breath? i then thought female  bettas male guppies but i found the guppies need a oxygen thing i have 8 nale bettas that i were going to put in i made bividers but then i heard they cdont like to swim up high so im confused will they still breathe from the top ty for all your help just trying to do right by the fishies 

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On 12/4/2022 at 10:20 PM, Christine140 said:

ty for that i had thought about doing female bettas so that i wouldnt need to cycle because they go to the top to breath?

No that's not true. The nitrogen cycle is about removing toxins from the water not supplying oxygen. Yes, ammonia can cause symptoms similar to low oxygen levels but the cycle is about getting ammonia and nitrite to not exist in the tank at all. 

I also caution you to do a ton of research before trying a betta sorority. It is not easy and take the right setup and introductions and such. 

On 12/4/2022 at 10:20 PM, Christine140 said:

i then thought female  bettas male guppies but i found the guppies need a oxygen thing

What oxygen thing?  You mean an air stone?  Those benefit any fish period. Even fish who breath air like bettas also have gills and get oxygen from the water. Are you saying you want to stay away from having an air stone?  There are ways to get oxygen in to the tank with your filter if it is a hang on back or sponge filter. 

On 12/4/2022 at 10:20 PM, Christine140 said:

have 8 nale bettas that i were going to put in i made bividers but then i heard they cdont like to swim up high so im confused will they still breathe from the top ty for all your help just trying to do right by the fishies 

You currently have these 8 bettas?  Where did you hear they don't like to swim high up?  They swim all over the tank but especially up top. I'm not sure how 8 dividers would work with a 56 gallon honestly tho. I'm sure there's a way but it would take some skills I don't have lol

Edited by Cinnebuns
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Ok. I've had more thought on this. 

Before you think AT ALL about what fish will go in there you NEED to research the nitrogen cycle. It's the entire center of fish keeping and highly important to understand before you do anything. Watch many videos and read many articles. The one I linked you includes step by step instructions on how to cycle your tank. Start doing that. 

After that we can talk types of fish. First thing tho is I need to clarify your tank size. Is it 56 gallons?  If so, you have A LOT of choices. Keep in mind that stocking it will go slowly. You cannot add all the fish at once or you will overload the system and crash the cycle. This is a slow process. Patience is needed. Cycling the tank alone will take 4-6 weeks and possibly longer. 

I do have some ideas to suggest you try for fish once you get cycling down. But we have time for that. It's very important you understand the cycle and cycle the tank first. 

Some things you can prepare while you are cycling is the decor setup. What items do you want in there?  Are you doing live plantsLive plants can be very beneficial to the fish and even make some.parts of your job easier. If you don't get live plants, I highly encourage you to look into silk plants. They will provide the fish a place to hide and swim around, look very pretty and nice and unlike plastic plants are safe for the fish's fins. Plastic plants can be dangerous if they contain sharp edges. Consider both what will serve the fish and will be pleasing for you to look at. My favorite setups are ones that do both! Have fun with it!  Be creative!  

Keep in mind this is a long term project, not something you do over the weekend. It's an ongoing living painting in your own place that you will never be finished creating!

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On 12/5/2022 at 12:28 AM, Cinnebuns said:

No that's not true. The nitrogen cycle is about removing toxins from the water not supplying oxygen. Yes, ammonia can cause symptoms similar to low oxygen levels but the cycle is about getting ammonia and nitrite to not exist in the tank at all. 

I also caution you to do a ton of research before trying a betta sorority. It is not easy and take the right setup and introductions and such. 

What oxygen thing?  You mean an air stone?  Those benefit any fish period. Even fish who breath air like bettas also have gills and get oxygen from the water. Are you saying you want to stay away from having an air stone?  There are ways to get oxygen in to the tank with your filter if it is a hang on back or sponge filter. 

You currently have these 8 bettas?  Where did you hear they don't like to swim high up?  They swim all over the tank but especially up top. I'm not sure how 8 dividers would work with a 56 gallon honestly tho. I'm sure there's a way but it would take some skills I don't have lol

hi ty for that the pet store had tolb me they dont like to go up high tank is 23 inches tall and the dividers were made by my husband so i originally was going to put my bettas in their they are in tanks bow where i only do water changesi did not know that about air pumps for them i do have one that came with the tank i will forego a female betta tank so i am trying to figure out if i should move my bettas in there or start a new tank ty for your help

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On 12/5/2022 at 8:32 AM, Christine140 said:

hi ty for that the pet store had tolb me they dont like to go up high tank is 23 inches tall and the dividers were made by my husband so i originally was going to put my bettas in their they are in tanks bow where i only do water changesi did not know that about air pumps for them i do have one that came with the tank i will forego a female betta tank so i am trying to figure out if i should move my bettas in there or start a new tank ty for your help

It's important to keep in mind how air stones work. They do not put air directly into the water. Oxygen is exchanged into the water from the surface. Any surface agitation will encourage this exchange to happen. All air stones do is create bubbles which break at the surface and create this surface agitation. The surface agitation can also be created in other ways using a hang on back or sponge filter. Where this discussion comes in with bettas is that these filters also create a flow.  Bettas need a low flow. For this reason, people usually do not use air stones with bettas because it's creating too much of a flow. In addition, like you said, bettas can breathe air at the surface so require a lower level of oxygen in the water. They still use the oxygen in the water but don't need as much and therefore can deal with less surface agitation putting oxygen into the water. It's a trade off thing and meant to lower the flow in the tank. I hope this helps. I tried to explain it as best I could but I feel I got a little wordy haha. 

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On 12/5/2022 at 8:32 AM, Christine140 said:

 i am trying to figure out if i should move my bettas in there or start a new tank ty for your help

I could be off base here but it seems to me like you might be biting off more than you can chew if you try to put the bettas in the 56g. The dividers could work but it seems like a huge hassle for not a lot of gain when the bettas all already have tanks.  If you wanted to put 1 male betta in a community tank in the 56g that could definitely work with the right tank mates.  Or you could go a completely different direction. @Cinnebunshas made a some very good points about where your starting place should be, I would just like to add a question to think about before you start buying stuff for your new tank.

What part of the hobby brings you the most joy?

Find your spark of joy and aim to create that because if your tanks don't bring you joy, you won't be inclined to look at and maintain them.  So Is it the fish themselves, the plants, the ambiance of a slice of nature? What's important to you? Maybe you just love your 8 Bettas and putting dividers in a 56g so they all have a little more space is what would bring you the most joy. And even though that's not what I would do or what @Cinnebuns would do, it could still be perfect for you. Thats what makes this hobby so enjoyable to such a wide variety of people, there is a million ways to do things you just need to find what works for you and what brings you happiness.

Some people love BIG fish and they have huge tanks with almost nothing in them but one (or a few) 12 inch+ fish. The tank is bear because those fish could injure themselves on hardscape and eat plants.spacer.png

Some people love COLORFUL fish (I feel like you might fit this category given your choice of male bettas) these people keep things like bettas in nano tanks or they keep African cichlids in larger tanks (like your 56g). These tanks will have lots of hardscape but no plants. The hardscape gives the cichlids places to hide from aggressors and there are no plants because these will also eat them.spacer.png

And some people don't care much about the fish at all and love the plants. These are true aquascapers. Most of the time they do have fish in their tanks but the fish are more decorations similar to the plants to them. 

spacer.png

The type of tank you set up should be what is best for your fish so that's why it's important to keep in mind what brings you joy. If you love plants, then you will not have feel happiness when your African cichlids or goldfish eat them all.  On the flip side, if you don't care much for plants, you won't want to make time to trim and fertilize them so better not have them.

I personally love planted community tanks. Right now I have a 75g low tech community tank based around my German Blue Rams. I get joy out of creating a little fish paradise and watching a slice of nature exist in my living room.

In conclusion, I also urge you to research the nitrogen cycle and air stones and heaters and all the other questions you might have a lot more before you go forward with anything.  You can definitely use this board as a resource for specific questions like you have with this thread but when I started, I found Youtube videos (specifically Aquarium Co-Op videos) to be the best source of information for the general information.  Getting into this hobby can feel like an information overload (and it is at times) but learning about the Nitrogen cycle is definitely step 1. There is only one way to eat and elephant and that's one bite at a time. 

Edited by NOLANANO
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I just wanna 2nd all that @NOLANANO said, and very well said. It's important to figure out what part brings you joy and plan accordingly. It's different for everyone and honestly it can change too! Either way, I think it's important to remember It's an ongoing project and doesn't have to be complete immediately. Take it a step at a time and enjoy it!!

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