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RE: Eclipse System 12 - help a newbie

Chet asked:
"My questions are:  Would I benefit from a Seachem substrate (sand or
gravel? and a dark color to enhance tetra colors)?  Will this shallow a tank
have enough room for sufficient substrate depth?  What depth? Do Corys need
a sand type bottom to protect whiskers? Will this size tank support enough
Corys to make a school? (Beginner FAQ's suggested 6 or 7!)  Are other bottom
feeders better? If poss. I'd like to keep plants and fish from one
geographical area, but not essential...."

Matt responded:
"...wait a few weeks then add whatever fish you want till you think it looks
crowded if the plants or fish die then get technical with it and see what
went wrong with the water."

This is that, a 12 gallon tank? With substrate and driftwood, you'll have
maybe 10 gallons of water. Not a heck of a lot, but still very workable.
Seachem Onyx Sand would be a very nice choice as a substrate for this - one
bag would probably do it, you'll want about 2" of substrate. You could also
use Flourite, if you wanted dark brown instead of dark grey - but the dark
grey will enhance the brilliant colors of some tetras. Again, one bag ought
to be sufficient, so it won't break the piggy bank.

The "low light, slow growing plants" ought to work fine, but I take
exception to Matt's advice about adding fish until it looks crowded. These
may only be fish, but they are living creatures and there is no need to
inflict unnecessary discomfort on them. The "standard rule" of 1 inch of
fish per 1 gallon of water ought to be followed, especially for the first
few months in a new tank. It takes a while for the bacteria to develop to
sufficient numbers to deal with the waste produced and if you overcrowd the
fish you are asking for trouble.

There are many species of Corys available, some are very small. If you can
find Pygmy Corys (Corydoras pygmaeus grow to 2.5 cm in length, C. hastatus
to 3 cm, C. habrosus to 3.5 cm) you might want to get between 3-5. Go with
an ODD number of fish.

Neither Onyx nor Floruite will hurt the whiskers of the Cory's.

For your tetras, there are LOADS to choose from, or you could go with small
Pencil Fish, just ensure that their ADULT length is not going to me much
over 3-4 cm. In a tank this size, try a school of maybe 5.

DON'T OVERSTOCK and DON'T buy something that will outgrow the tank. this is
only asking for trouble. A small tank can be really beautiful but requires
some thought in advance.

Good luck.

James Purchase