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SubscribeIdeas for tank for church lobby
superlion
 
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Mega Fish
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Registered: 27-Sep-2003
female usa
Hi, I offered to set up and maintain an aquarium (for free) at my church. Exciting for me because I have MTS and no room for more tanks at home, plus I can have a tank where people will be able to enjoy it. Plus the pastors seemed really excited about the idea. Since I don't have a huge amount of money to spend on this, but want it to last, I would like to know what brands of equipment you would buy that aren't the high-end super expensive stuff, but still tend to be reliable. I'm thinking a 20-30 gallon tank would be about the right size (haven't looked into how much this will cost, just know the general idea because I've been in the hobby so long). What fish/type of setup would be the most crowd-pleasing or relaxing... I am thinking either planted community or tanganyikan cichlids. I will probably also need a stand for this tank too (don't know what this would likely cost as I've never bought a new stand before). So here is my equipment list, also let me know if I'm missing anything.

Aquarium with stand
Hood/light strip
Filter (I am thinking Aquaclear because I've had good experience)
Heater (definitely want recommendations on a heater, don't think I could afford a Jager, want something reliable, submersible would be good too)
Thermometer
Substrate
Decorations (rock, driftwood, plants, etc)

Do you think it would be worthwhile to purchase new equipment (bucket, siphon, dechlorinator, etc.) and keep it there, or just bring my own to do maintenance every week?

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Post InfoPosted 21-Jul-2008 00:17Profile Homepage PM Edit Report 
Babelfish
 
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female australia us-maryland
Having done the 'maintain the office tank' routine, I'd suggest buying separate bucket filter algae scrubber and net.

I agree with the aquaclear idea, generally the easiest to maintain, and if they're not used with sand they seem to last forever and a day.

Does anyone at the church know carpentry? If you're thinking of doing plants in the tank you might go for a home made hood, all glass lid and a dual tube light fixture from home depot (mine worked great for years and were $20). They could also do a stand, adams dad made one for his large tanks that holds two smaller tanks underneath.

If you go with the cichlids, get lots of holey rock to make sure they all have their own fight.

Substrate, look at home depot or your local garden center, they may have something suitable for much less.

Heaters, I didn't have reliable results from my Jager. Any submersible will be a little more than a HOB, but you reduce risk of water level going down without you noticing it and causing damage. That being said I had a Top fin HOB heater from petsmrt that lasted for YEARS, never had problems with it and usually had the water level below the recommended level!.

Fish, small bright barbs or rasboras would look good in a planted. I think they're activity level is much more attractive than tetras. You could get some yoyos for the bottom, they're fun and active as well.

Just a thought, but as you start working on this project, might want to ask around and see if anyone at the church happens to have a tank in the garage ect that they're not using and would like to donate to the church. Might also want to be ready to help others set up their tanks at home when they see what a great job you did!

^_^

Post InfoPosted 21-Jul-2008 01:51Profile Homepage AIM MSN PM Edit Delete Report 
Callatya
 
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What style of church is it and do they have heating for the building? Depending on the design, if it has high ceilings and stone walls and floors for example, you may want to consider cooler water species so they aren't trying to heat the room with the tank heater.


I'd also jump on your local Freecycle and tell them what you are doing and what you need, no doubt someone will provide at least part of your requirements, and this may free you up enough money to buy the top of the line electrical gear.

For animals, the entire universe has been neatly divided into things to (a) mate with, (b) eat, (c) run away from, and (d) rocks.

Post InfoPosted 21-Jul-2008 02:40Profile Homepage ICQ AIM MSN Yahoo PM Edit Delete Report 
superlion
 
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EditedEdited by superlion
Babel - thanks for all the suggestions. I wanted to go with a submersible heater also because they are easier to hide when aquascaping, IME. I bet my dad could make a stand, actually, he has the shop and all, it'd just take a little while and I should probably find plans for a good aquarium stand for him to start with (since it is such a heavy item to support). The $20 double light fixture sounds great! Is this the kind of thing you're talking about?

Calla - The office is heated/air conditioned, it's built a lot like houses around here (the sanctuary building is separate and does have a high roof and lots of windows with direct sunlight, but that's not where the tank would be.) The ceiling in the office does go up to the 2nd floor, and the whole front wall is a window, but it doesn't get any direct sunlight because there is a wide covered area outside. It's not a bad place for an aquarium, the only downside is a lot of people/kids/teenagers pass through the main office to go to other offices, the classroom, and the coffee shop.

I'm leaning toward the planted tank, because I think the greenness is nice and also I just got a copy of Nature Aquarium World and am drooling over the photos

I'm thinking cories for bottom dwellers (haven't had cories in a long time but they're sooo cute!), tetras, rasboras, or cherry barbs as a nice school, and a betta, dwarf gourami, or dwarf cichlid pair as centerpiece, ottos, maybe an SAE for algae control.

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Post InfoPosted 21-Jul-2008 03:35Profile Homepage PM Edit Delete Report 
Babelfish
 
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Good points on the heating calla, not only would you run the churches electricity bill sky high, but the water loss would be massive if the water is much warmer than the room. I've been coming out to steamed up or dripping windows every single morning cause of our tanks, and they're covered!

Yep, that's exactly the brand I had, they should have a dual tube fixture as well which you'll want if you're going planted. Double check that HD sells the bulb you want in 6500 Kelvin or 6700 K before getting the fixture. I'd gotten the 3' dual fixture for my 30 long at work only to find out they didn't have 3' bulbs Ended up using a 2' that looked kinda silly but made the tank bright enough.

You might also consider looking in the roofing section of home depot for large sheets of styro, I used those under and behind my tank in winter to help keep the heat in. For $6 or so if you can save a bit on the electricity it's a plus !

Will you be feeding the tank every day? If not make sure whoever you hand feeding responsibilities knows that too much food is a very bad thing. Any time tanks are in public areas I worry that people overfeed just for the fun of watching the fish eat. Or they feed the wrong food! I had a coworker that confused my feeding instructions, I came back to a betta container filled with soggy flake at the bottom !!!

I vote lamb chop rasboras and cherry barbs, the colors are Maybe even endlers? They'd look real good against a thick planted background.

^_^


Post InfoPosted 23-Jul-2008 00:47Profile Homepage AIM MSN PM Edit Delete Report 
superlion
 
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I am planning on leaving one of those daily medication planner things with food rationed out for each day so the secretary can feed the fish an appropriate amount (assuming I don't go there every day after work to check up on it!).

I think that if I was building a hood for the tank, it wouldn't be really difficult to install a couple bulbs like that in there.

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Post InfoPosted 23-Jul-2008 03:18Profile Homepage PM Edit Delete Report 
superlion
 
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Mega Fish
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Registered: 27-Sep-2003
female usa
EditedEdited by superlion
Looks like I will be getting a 10 gallon tank via Freecycle Apparently with "all the accessories" too! So plans are downsized a little, but at least I have a lot of experience setting up 10s (assuming it is a standard-dimensions 10), since I have two at home and have moved a couple times...

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Post InfoPosted 24-Jul-2008 06:50Profile Homepage PM Edit Delete Report 
Babelfish
 
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Smaller than you were planning, but should be easier to get a stand for, as well as cheaper equiptment!

You might try keeping your eyes out still though, I'm sure once people fall in love with the tank they'll be itching to keep this that and the other fish (which you can explain needs a 55 or a 75g) and you might find one!

^_^

Post InfoPosted 24-Jul-2008 09:50Profile Homepage AIM MSN PM Edit Delete Report 
brandeeno
 
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possibly ask arround, mybe someone handy in the church can help make a stand. also i woudl suggest you do something larger than a 10 or 20 in the long run as those will fluxuate too much in church buildings (not always being used all week so heating/cooling are shutoff? ) something along the lines of a 55g or larger would be ideal as it will also allow for more view and more appreciation (more kudos from peers ) another suggestion would be once a larger tank is retrieved look to put the small 10g one in with the little kids nursery or sunday school as it will be a bit better for small eyes

I have thought about doing the same thing at my church, but our foyer is always full of other things so the space available for one is always un available.

good fish would be cardianl tetras or tiger barbs in a school and a larger centerpiece fish. I would suggest you invest in a GOOD heater and also keep looking for bigger tanks (maybe start up a small fund raiser for it?)

aquaclear are good filters and if you look at walmart you might be able to find a fairly cheap or inexpensive kit (petco/petsmart kits are much more dinero $$ ! )



\\\\\\\"an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of the cure\\\\\\\"
Post InfoPosted 25-Jul-2008 02:31Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
superlion
 
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female usa
EditedEdited by superlion
Well, the Freecyclers around here are very generous! (Plus the moderators removed the intended purpose of the aquarium from my request, I think they may have figured I just wanted an aquarium and aquarium stuff for myself, which I do anyway.) Here's a summary of what they left on their porch for me:

10 gallon aquarium
3 filters (one small Whisper internal, two different HOBs one quite large)
2 heaters (100 W HOB and 50 W submersible)
2 hoods (1 20" black, 1 24" oak, both single-tube flourescent)
1 light strip (20" black, looks cheap :\ )
Siphon
Aquarium chemicals (dechlor, pH buffers, Cycle, pH test kit)
Fish food (brine shrimp and betta food)
plant-y background
various decorations (mostly pretty corny)

P.S. I don't know how much of this stuff will actually work, but some of it seems pretty new so I think it'll be ok.

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Post InfoPosted 25-Jul-2008 06:17Profile Homepage PM Edit Delete Report 
superlion
 
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female usa
I'm gonna go set the tank up with florite, driftwood, and Java fern this afternoon

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Post InfoPosted 02-Aug-2008 18:12Profile Homepage PM Edit Delete Report 
Callatya
 
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best of luck!

For animals, the entire universe has been neatly divided into things to (a) mate with, (b) eat, (c) run away from, and (d) rocks.

Post InfoPosted 03-Aug-2008 04:32Profile Homepage ICQ AIM MSN Yahoo PM Edit Delete Report 
superlion
 
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It looks lovely, I left a note saying that fish are coming soon so nobody will see the fishless tank and decide to put fish in it! I'll give it a week or two too cycle. I got Florite Dark for this tank and I have to say, it's my favorite kind of florite so far. It looks so natural and goes great with the driftwood and rocks I put in there.

Also did something I hadn't done before to prep the tank to go in the office and look a bit more professional. I painted the back of the tank black with blackboard paint. It looks great!

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Post InfoPosted 03-Aug-2008 05:55Profile Homepage PM Edit Delete Report 
brandeeno
 
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sounds like a great deal going on there!

that is your plan for the stocking?

\\\\\\\"an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of the cure\\\\\\\"
Post InfoPosted 03-Aug-2008 06:59Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
superlion
 
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Registered: 27-Sep-2003
female usa
I am planning on starting with a trio of cherry barbs I already have, then adding small cories (maybe pandas), then a pair of German rams.

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Post InfoPosted 03-Aug-2008 17:05Profile Homepage PM Edit Delete Report 
brandeeno
 
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good deal and that should look wonderful!
its nice becuse it isnt the common lobby set up with angels or tiger barbs (thats what most of the lobby tanks arround here seem to have).

\\\\\\\"an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of the cure\\\\\\\"
Post InfoPosted 04-Aug-2008 01:00Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
superlion
 
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Registered: 27-Sep-2003
female usa
Well everyone loves the tank and is ready for more fish! Since fishless cycling is impractical when I can't go to the tank every day, I started off my cycling with the trio of healthy hardy cherry barbs I already have. Next will be the cories, then rams after everything's good and settled. The barbs are doing well, the pastor's wife (who also does children's ministry) suggested that we have the Sunday school kids have a naming contest to name them.

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Post InfoPosted 15-Aug-2008 02:55Profile Homepage PM Edit Delete Report 
Babelfish
 
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I knew they'd catch on!

Sounds like everyone is excited, you might even get some of the kids interested in helping out. Younger ones could watch (and learn about the importance of water changes). Older ones might be willing to help carry water for you.

^_^

Post InfoPosted 15-Aug-2008 05:43Profile Homepage AIM MSN PM Edit Delete Report 
superlion
 
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female usa
Too bad there's no handy kids on Saturdays when I'm doing the water changes :-P

As for learning the importance of things like water changes, cycling, and whatnot, it seems like I'm educating the pastors... they're all eager for more and prettier fish and I have to explain why I won't put angelfish in a 10, and why I have to wait before adding more fish than the barbs, etc.

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Post InfoPosted 16-Aug-2008 08:23Profile Homepage PM Edit Delete Report 
superlion
 
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Posts: 1246
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female usa
The tank looks great, it's currently pretty stable with a crowntail betta, 6 cardinal tetras, and a longfin leopard danio. (I should take a picture for you guys!)

The big news is, soon we're going to be setting up a 130 gallon aquarium in one of the classrooms! That's going to be a major undertaking, and I'm hoping that it's not going to cost too much. I think most of the equipment is coming with it. It may need a heater still, but it has a filter (may or may not be big enough for the tank, I believe it's the largest Aquaclear HOB they make), lights (not strong enough for plants, but it will do for a rocky setup or fake plants), and a nice stand. I'm told there's more equipment that's not with the tank now that may also be donated (perhaps a UG filtration system that could be fitted with powerheads for reverse undergravel filtration?).

I think the main expenses to do with the tank are going to be the heater (which, looking into it, heaters aren't too expensive. One sufficient for that tank might only be about $30), gravel (which I would probably get at a hardware store and rinse in batches), and rocks (I'm fortunate that just down the road from the church is a local masonry supply/rock yard, but to decorate that tank, it would still cost money).

The pastors are wanting something low maintenance, because they don't want to do 40% water changes weekly like I do with the 10 gallon tank. I told them every aquarium needs some maintenance, but we can try to understock a little to minimize it. I'm thinking of running a really long siphon from the tank to a drain outside for water changes, and then refilling the tank with a hose. No dozens of trips with a bucket that way.

As for stocking, I'm thinking no plants at all, just rocks, gravel, and fish. Probably mbuna and a pleco (once the algae appears). Possibly central american cichlids and a pleco. A couple oscars, perhaps, or a colony of jewel cichlids. OR I could go for the really cool types of fish that the pastors like but probably wouldn't feed properly - a bichir or clown knifefish or something. They did like the idea of an eel. Can flame or tiretrack eels be kept with other types of fish? I think they'd either eat them or get eaten. I am leaning toward malawi cichlids. Colorful, interesting to watch, and comparatively low maintenance (not restrictively expensive either). Any other ideas are welcome! (If I had the money, and was maintaining the tank for myself, I would do a South American or Asian river community with plants and a diverse collection of fish, including large schools.)

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Post InfoPosted 07-Oct-2010 21:30Profile Homepage PM Edit Delete Report 
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