New here!.. need some advice. - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 11 Old 03-25-2010, 10:14 PM Thread Starter
Thumbs up New here!.. need some advice.

Hello, I just bought my 3 year old son a 55 gallon fresh water tank and I need help setting it up since it has been awhile since I had an aquarium.

I have nothing but the tank, lights and the water heater,

I need to know what kind of filter, gravel, plants, etc is best and whatever other suggestion
Any help will be greatly appreciated.


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post #2 of 11 Old 03-25-2010, 10:34 PM
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Before you get too far, you should probably review some infor on cycling (I suggest you do a couple internet searches in addition to the following link):

Also, you may want to try some basic filter info (again, do not use just this source):

Here is a little checklist that can be helpful:

Water Chemistry:

Acclimating new fish:

These should get ya started, but they certainly are not the end of the matter. :)

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post #3 of 11 Old 03-25-2010, 11:07 PM
mollies's Avatar
Well For starters What kind of fish are you wanting?
What kind of a set up do you like?
That will Tell us what kind of gravle or sand you need.
Or plants or no plants. Filters ect.
If you could answer those questions we could better help you.

P.S. There are a lot of good people here on TFK that will be able to help you.


180 gallon, African cichlid tank
75 gallon, African cichlid tank
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30 gallon, Mollie tank
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post #4 of 11 Old 03-26-2010, 04:48 AM
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And one more thing you will have to realise also, it will take a few days before the aquarium will be ready for any fish. Just be patient and the reward will be worth it.
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post #5 of 11 Old 03-26-2010, 05:06 AM
iamntbatman's Avatar
Welcome to TFK! Hopefully you'll find us to be a good resource and a helpful community. Glad you found us!

Cycling the tank is the most important thing for you to understand when first getting your feet wet in the aquarium hobby (or are returning to it after a long hiatus). Have a read over this sticky:

As for fish...well, that depends on a lot of factors. You've got a decently sized tank there so you do have a fair number of options but there are lots of things to consider. Let me throw this other article your way:

Essentially, how heavily you filter the tank depends on what fish you stock it with. A heavier stocking list requires more filtration (especially true on a non-planted tank) but fish are tolerant of various amounts of water movement (some fish really need calm water while others are river fish that like lots of water movement) so I think you should wait on the filter until you decide on the fish you want. Same for other things like decor and substrate.

As for the fish themselves, the most important thing to consider is your source water (usually your tap water). As the stocking article states, it's always easier to get fish based on your source water parameters than to mess with your water to suit the fish you want. Luckily, most (all?) liquid master test kits come with a pH test so you can test your tap water. You can usually find out how hard your water is by contacting your local water board but usually acidic water is soft while basic water is hard (but that's not always true).

Plants. Plants, plants, plants. Basically, plants have a ton of benefits in a freshwater aquarium. It's not difficult to set up a low-tech planted tank with some of the easier plants but it is something else to juggle when first getting into the hobby (or back into it, in your case). Check out Byron's stickies in the planted tank section of the forum for some great information:

If you don't want to tackle live plants just yet, you can always get silk plants. Though, there are some types of fish that don't really do well with plants and will even uproot artificial plants so that's something else to think about. How you decorate your tank is up to you, but personally I prefer the natural look with a natural looking substrate, driftwood, rocks and plants.

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post #6 of 11 Old 03-30-2010, 08:48 PM Thread Starter
Thumbs up thank you!

I can't thank you guys enough for your replies/links.

I'm trying to make time to read up on the endless amount of info,.. so I can get it right.

I'm still trying to decide on what kind of fish and deco, I went out and bought the under gravel filter, gravel and filter, I just wish I could regulate the water flow on it, it seems to strong
TheSilentWizard is offline  
post #7 of 11 Old 03-30-2010, 10:33 PM
New Member
Remember before you decide which fish you pick out, after your tank has cycled, check your tank levels.

Main reason being you don't want a high pH level when the fish you buy need a lower level, and it ends up killing them.
I'd suggest a master kit for testing, however you can find smaller/cheaper ones. But I don't prefer those myself.
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post #8 of 11 Old 03-31-2010, 02:44 AM
iamntbatman's Avatar
What make and model of filter did you end up buying?

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post #9 of 11 Old 03-31-2010, 05:49 AM
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You should also invest in a liquid test kit to monitor the water parameter. Do not do like i did,not have one. We ended up losing all the fishes. It was devastating on my daughters.
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post #10 of 11 Old 03-31-2010, 07:40 AM
bearwithfish's Avatar
current is not always a bod thing. in fact it helps to keep the fish strong and healthy and is great for gas exchange keeping the environment great!! welcome and i hope you enjoy the new project... i know its a lot to get started and a lot to take in at once but remember that no matter what the hobby is enjoyable and that once set up regular small maintenance will give you a lot of long lasting enjoyment...

Back in the Game!!! Live Bearers in a 40 Breeder
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