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A very BIG new tank for a complete NOVICE

This is a discussion on A very BIG new tank for a complete NOVICE within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> +1 on the Discus if your water parameters are well-suited. They are a very calming fish to be around, and I'm assuming that's what ...

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A very BIG new tank for a complete NOVICE
Old 01-06-2010, 11:56 PM   #11
 
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+1 on the Discus if your water parameters are well-suited. They are a very calming fish to be around, and I'm assuming that's what you want in the office setting. IMHO your plants will "make" your tank. Aesthetically and for the health and welfare of the fish and whole tank environment.
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Old 01-07-2010, 03:18 AM   #12
 
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The most important question, I think, is this: what's your budget?

For a tank that size, I would rank the expense as follows, from least to most expensive:
1) Large American Cichlids
2) African cichlids
3) Community tank with artificial plants
4) Community tank with live plants

And, nowhere in particular because of the huge disparity in prices, goldfish.

Of course, this rules out saltwater tanks but if this is your first tank, even with an unlimited budget I would be wary of telling you to try saltwater right off the bat.

Here are my reasons for the above list:

American cichlids: most of these are diggers, meaning you won't really be able to have plants (real or fake). Your decor, then, is mostly going to be big rocks (which are cheap so long as you use ones you find or buy from a landscaper or something rather than a fish store) and driftwood (which might be available locally but also from your supplier in Bangkok). The fish themselves are going to be pretty cheap as you'll only need a relatively small number (since many of these grow pretty darn big). Buy them young and within a year or so, you'll have a tank full of large, neat looking fish. Not having live plants really cuts down on costs but with these large fish you'll need some pretty substantial filtration.

African cichlids: Like their American counterparts, African cichlids generally don't mix with plants. You'll probably want an African cichlid-specific substrate and you'll need some pretty big rock heaps, plus the same strong filtration you'd need on an American tank. Add to this the fact that the fish stay a bit smaller and are generally more expensive anyway and you're looking at a tank that's going to be more expensive to set up than American cichlids. Some of these fish (especially the Lake Malawi fish) have incredibly vibrant colors and are, in my opinion, second only to saltwater species when it comes to that "wow! look at those fish!" factor.

Artificial plants community: Community tanks just don't look right without lots of plants, so for a large tank like that you'd need quite a lot of artificial plants, which would add up. You could have some large, docile fish as centerpieces (geophagus and angels would work really well) along with huge schools of smaller species. The problem is that all of those fish are going to add up to quite the large bill.

Planted community: this has all of the cost issues of the artificual community paired with the expense of the plants themselves, appropriate substrate and, most importantly, high cost (and high-wattage) lighting to keep those plants green and healthy. Really nice planted tanks are absolutely stunning, however.

Goldfish: You could get away with some cheap artificial decor and some feeder fish and, since you wouldn't need a heater, you'd have pretty much the cheapest possible tank of that size. Or, you could do some more expensive decorating and get some of the higher-end ornamental goldfish varieties and end up spending a pretty penny. It's up to you.

Tossing the budget out the window, it would be hard for me to choose between the American cichlids, African cichlids and a planted community tank. However, despite the urge, it's hard for me (as it seems to be with you, as well) to look at such a big tank and not want to have big fish in it. This being the case, I would strongly recommend either the African or American cichlids, depending on your budget and tastes.

Last edited by iamntbatman; 01-07-2010 at 09:50 PM..
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Old 01-07-2010, 02:12 PM   #13
 
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Originally Posted by stephanieleah View Post
+1 on the Discus if your water parameters are well-suited. They are a very calming fish to be around, and I'm assuming that's what you want in the office setting. IMHO your plants will "make" your tank. Aesthetically and for the health and welfare of the fish and whole tank environment.
ive been warned to stay away from discus as a noob, so why is everyone suggesting them here?
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Old 01-07-2010, 08:26 PM   #14
 
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Originally Posted by PRichs87 View Post
ive been warned to stay away from discus as a noob, so why is everyone suggesting them here?
Very good point, except that with a tank that big, do you want to restrict to only "easy" fish? Although I like iamntbatman's insights about cichlids...not being a cichlid person myself I hadn't considered this.
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Old 01-07-2010, 10:27 PM   #15
 
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Originally Posted by PRichs87 View Post
ive been warned to stay away from discus as a noob, so why is everyone suggesting them here?
Based on my experience: as long as you provide them with the water parameters they require, religious weekly water changes and purchase them at a size no smaller than 4", to me they are like any other cichlid. I actually find them quite hardy. I hesitated on keeping them based on all the negative rap they receive about being *delicate* but I'm sure glad I made the decision to "go for it".
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Old 01-08-2010, 12:05 AM   #16
 
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Based on my experience: as long as you provide them with the water parameters they require, religious weekly water changes and purchase them at a size no smaller than 4", to me they are like any other cichlid. I actually find them quite hardy. I hesitated on keeping them based on all the negative rap they receive about being *delicate* but I'm sure glad I made the decision to "go for it".
i like to hear this from other people. in the future i was hoping to upgrade to about a 125 gallon tank and get some discus because they are so gorgeous! 8)
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Old 01-08-2010, 12:35 AM   #17
 
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They're definitely something you'd want to do a lot of research on first, though. Because of their very specific water parameter requirements and general behavior, you're pretty limited in terms of things like plant species and tankmates to keep with discus. For example, only certain plecos do well at those higher temperatures and of those, some are known to try to feed on the discus' slime coat while others will leave them be. Considering the expense of the fish, it's definitely something I'd want to know before making that kind of investment.
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Old 01-08-2010, 01:32 AM   #18
 
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Originally Posted by iamntbatman View Post
They're definitely something you'd want to do a lot of research on first, though. Because of their very specific water parameter requirements and general behavior, you're pretty limited in terms of things like plant species and tankmates to keep with discus. For example, only certain plecos do well at those higher temperatures and of those, some are known to try to feed on the discus' slime coat while others will leave them be. Considering the expense of the fish, it's definitely something I'd want to know before making that kind of investment.

I agree . When I decided to try my hand at caring for discus, I poured over all information I could find with regards to their care. They are in my view, not all that difficult to care for once you have understood what is involved with providing proper care and the different types available (ie) Wild caught,or tank raised, Adult 's as opposed to juveniles.
I researched for months before purchasing the group I cared for.
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Old 01-08-2010, 04:14 AM   #19
 
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ive been warned to stay away from discus as a noob, so why is everyone suggesting them here?
as a friend and a partner of a pet store owner, we have bought many type of fish through auctions and many other sources, but never discus, from the pet store owner's point of view, it is a hard maintained fish, and not worth the time selling it due to it's high level of care, in a pet store fish tank, and most likely in many beginner's tank also.
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Old 01-08-2010, 10:48 AM   #20
 
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Originally Posted by iamntbatman View Post
They're definitely something you'd want to do a lot of research on first, though. Because of their very specific water parameter requirements and general behavior, you're pretty limited in terms of things like plant species and tankmates to keep with discus. For example, only certain plecos do well at those higher temperatures and of those, some are known to try to feed on the discus' slime coat while others will leave them be. Considering the expense of the fish, it's definitely something I'd want to know before making that kind of investment.
i wouldn't want something that expensive that wouldnt survive, so when i make that leap, i will do reasearch, thanks for the heads up!
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