Total newbie here. - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
  • 1 Post By Nilet699
  • 1 Post By SeaHorse
  • 2 Post By AbbeysDad
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post #1 of 7 Old 01-07-2013, 09:48 PM Thread Starter
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Total newbie here.

Okay, I am a complete newb when it comes to aquariums. I had one when I was a youngster, but that was 20 plus years ago.
I'm considering getting a 40 gallon tank, but I have no idea how to proceed after that haha
I would appreciate some tips on what brand of tank to purchase.
Plus, I would, ideally, like to have real plants instead of fake ones. Are real plants too much for a newb like me?
I don't know what type of fish I would like to have either other than that they be tropical. Any suggestions?
I suppose I'll leave it at that until I get some replies.
Thank you for reading and all the best!
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post #2 of 7 Old 01-07-2013, 11:26 PM
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Ok, so i just literally typed this out once 10 mins ago - so i copy/pasted for you

I'm fairly new to this myself and so i'll try and explain in the simple terms that i understand to help determine your fish.

What we really need to know in order to properly suggest the correct fish for your community is your water conditions. Fish can't really just go in any tap/well water etc and everybody s water is different. Levels of Kh, carbonate harness, and Gh, general hardness of your water, along with the ph, are very important in determining what fish you can have.

The best thing for determining this is to, if your haven't already, is to ring/google your local water supplier to find out or most display these levels on websites etc.
You could also buy the test kits to determine these yourself.

Once you know these you can determine whether you have soft or hard water etc and therefore determine the fish that are best suited to your water. Trying to do it without knowing these levels can often lead to long term problems with your fish, and can make them quite unhealthy.

Read more:
As for your other questions - where are you? As this will obviously play a part in good tank etc. Though i would personally say brand not a big issue- more what suits your needs. And IMO i would definitely go for the Biggest tank you can have. Apart from the water, i would say the biggest limitations people find after getting a tank, is size, it makes a big difference!!!

Live plants are an absolute winner over fake. Forgetting how much better they look, they also have great benefits like taking up ammonia and nitrites from your water keeping the levels much more cleaner/safer for your fish and tbh- a lot of aquarium plants out there hardly require anything - theres low/med/high light plants and most low - med just require decent lights and some fertilizer once/twice a week.
Its only when you move onto high light plants really that things get more complicated with Co2 diffusers etc......... But even if you wanted to go that way, its not overly hard to learn about.

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post #3 of 7 Old 01-08-2013, 01:52 AM
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TheProcess....Hmmmmm... Hey Pro. See that sounds like you know what you are talking about. I'm on my first live planted tank and it is so different than a fake planted tank. We are here to help you along the way. And I LOVE it by the way. It is so beautiful and the fish love it too.
My first suggestion is to say, if you can afford it, go for a bigger tank. More water is more stable. Smaller tanks are more difficult.
If you can do a 40 or 45 I think they are 36 inches long. I have a 75 and it is 48 inches long.... this makes a huge difference in what you can have. Fish range in tank lengths, 36, to 48 to 72 inches. So get the biggest you can afford. Take a trip to the local fish store... in fact take a few there to research long before you buy your first fish. ok.?? Welcome!!
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post #4 of 7 Old 01-08-2013, 04:16 AM
yeah go with a large tank. much easier and theres room for you to get creative and lots of room for your new buddies. check out craigslist or local fish forum for good deals. i got my 55 gallon for 40 dollars at a garage sale. but if you like new things and dont want to worry just go to your local petco,petsmart fish store and see what you can get! been going about the same thing here with plants. low light plants are easy to care for. just research low light plant care. heres a good site to checkout some low light and beginner plants Beginner Plants also watch alot of "dustinsfishtanks" on youtube. very informative videos. as for fish find ones you like that are easy to care for. mollies, tetras, corys, platys.. ect are easy to care for. whatever fish you do pick gotta make sure the fish live in similar water like ph level and temp. avoid putting aggressive fish together. check out this site an look at all the kinds of fish find ones you like and see if they are able to live together. you can even just google it to see like for example " angelfish tank mates" youll need a good filter! hang on the back ones work good on smaller tanks with few plants but if you want a planted tank ive read that canister filters are the only way to go. hang on the back filter you want it to turn the water over at min 5 times an hour. 500 gallon per hour filter for a 50 gallon tank. now canister filters are different an if you have a 50 gallon tank i was told to get a filter for a 100 gallon tank. then theres substrate . sand is going to be easiest to grow plants in. im going to be using pool filter sand since its extra cheap 12 dollars for 50lbs. 1.5 inches of sand per gallon . example 50 gallons= 75lbs substrate. pretty much all i can think of right now hopefully this helps. but the most helpful thing anyone can tell you is research! search and search till you think you cant learn anymore then research some more!!!
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post #5 of 7 Old 01-08-2013, 06:34 AM
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As large as you can afford... But make a good list so you don't go over budget there are lots of peripherals that crop up afterwards and they add up quick. If you have a "hard top" budget this is an important step.

I'd suggest going at least 36" as it is sort of the "next" size up. I went to. 37 gallon with 30" length and I wished I had gone to the 36" for a few reasons, lighting is one, just more gallonage two and more fish options and quantity the last. The move from 40 to 50 is not that large a leap.


Total years fish keeping experience: 7 months, can't start counting in years for a while yet.

The shotgun approach to a planted tank with an LED fixture

Small scale nitrogen cycle with a jar, water and fish food; no substrate, filter etc
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post #6 of 7 Old 01-08-2013, 09:14 AM
Welcome to TFK! You'll find a great bunch of folks here (just ignore the few crazy people )

I agree with others....get the biggest tank you can afford that will fit nicely where you'll keep it. Bigger tanks are more forgiving and easier to manage.
You'll need a stand, hood(s) w/lights, a heater and filter as basic equipment. You will also need substrate, plants and fish.

You just might find a good deal on an ensemble which is stand, tank on hoods/lights.

Heater - For the heater there are many. I use a couple of Aqueon Pro heaters. I like them because they have green/red indicator lights and instead of glass, they are plastic covered aluminum - nearly indestructible. I use two, although each has sufficient wattage to maintain the tank at room temperature. This gives a redundancy if one was to fail or the room temperature was to drop significantly.

Filter - I'm a fan of Aquaclear HOB (Hang On Back) filters as unlike cartridge filters, we can control the type and volume of filter media. (Mine right now just use sponge material. If you get a large tank (55g or more) you might want to consider a canister filter. There are many to choose from but the top three brands seem to be Eheim, Rena, and Fluval.

Substrate - Gravel or sand. For s zillion years, I always used gravel....sometimes even with under gravel filters. Nowadays, I use (pool filter) sand and like it much better because uneaten food and detritus (plant and fish waste) stays on top instead of settling into the gravel.

PLANTS - Living plants (even if you just use floating plants) offer a huge advantage in water purification, supplemental food and resting/hiding places for fish.
(shhh...I cheat and have plastic 'rooted plants' with lots of living, floating Anacharis plants.)
For some rooted plants, you may need more powerful lighting. In any case, you want bulbs in your lights that produce 6500k lumins.

Fish - I can't recommend specific species as everyone is uniquely drawn somehow to particular fish. HOWEVER, I can recommend that you use this boards 'TROPICAL FISH PROFILES' (top of forum page) to ensure you select the correct species quantity and mix.
Don't get many fish at first, just a couple. You'll need to (nitrogen) cycle tank which is easily done if you have plants, but still better done with just a few fish to begin with. (The cycle is the conversion of ammonia to nitrites and nitrites to nitrates which you should read up on in the articles section).

So there is the tip of the iceberg in tropical fish keeping. Of course you should have a test kit for testing water parameters (API Freshwater Test Kit is preferred) and you should do weekly water changes so you will need a gravel siphon or hose and buckets or a Python like hose device that hooks to your sink. If you have chlorinated water, you will need a conditioner to remove the chlorine. There are many, but I like Seachem Prime.

Okay, that's the basics off the top of my head. Hope it helps in some small way. Keep us posted of your progress and again, welcome to the forums.

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Last edited by AbbeysDad; 01-08-2013 at 09:19 AM.
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post #7 of 7 Old 01-08-2013, 07:03 PM Thread Starter
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Wow! I'm totally shocked by the number of replies I've gotten. Thank you so much everyone for sharing all of your tips. I greatly appreciate it!
I have to admit I'm even more overwhelmed now with all the information provided.
I will definitely consider a larger tank. I'll just have to see if there are any deals to be had in my area, like one of you suggested.
I'll keep you guys updated on my progress and hopefully post some photos eventually.
I'm sure I'll be asking even more questions soon...!
Thank you again.
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