I'm a total newb and I need help getting started. Last aquarium I had was in jr. high, two (or three) decades ago.
How do I start?
I've been to a couple local shops, but with mixed results. In one, the guy was pretty helpful but only deals with saltwater which I don't want to start with. In the other, the girl was polite but too rushed, and basically stuck a (rather poorly-written) flyer in my hand and pointed out some things I might need.
I did decide, from those visits, that I want to start with a 40 gal tank. Big enuf to be more forgiving and with room to grow. A 30gal might be ok but not quite what I want, and a 55gal is too big and too much an investment to try to decide if I like the hobby or not.
I've also read a bit here and other forums about the nitrogen cycle so I understand a bit more when they talked about letting it run for a few weeks with only a couple fish in it.
But that's the extent of my knowledge.
-Is there a downloadable guide to get started, thorough, well-written, lots of pictures?
-Is it best to get a starter kit that has medium-quality parts, or to buy higher-quality parts separately?
-What should be gotten from a local store, and what can be gotten from (hopefully much cheaper) online stores?
-What are a couple of the best online stores?
-What do I need to know that I don't even know I don't know? (perhaps covered in the guide?)
Thank you much!