What do we really need? - Page 2 - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #11 of 154 Old 12-27-2012, 07:13 PM
Originally Posted by Olympia View Post
Filter- Just want to make a note that if the filter has carbon in it, I'd recommend taking it out. The general consensus is that these days carbon is no longer needed (except when removing medication from water). Especially if you are planning on live plants-- the carbon will suck up any plant fertilizers you will use.
This is good to know, thanks. I knew carbon wasn't recommended anymore, (and I only use the one that comes with the filter, I have never bought and added one after that) but I did not know it would kill my ferts. I knew it would kill medication, but not the fertilizer. I'm lucky once I added plants my carbon was already spent.
Fishybusiness likes this.

Canadian Fish is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #12 of 154 Old 12-27-2012, 07:28 PM Thread Starter
New Member
We get maybe a week (split up) of "winter" weather outside which is about 60F. In the house, the coldest it ever gets is 75F. We run an A/C unit 24/7/365.

Okay, so I calmed down a little and took a look at the filter... It's a Tetra PF10. Now I'm assuming that the 10 means it's meant for a 10 gallon, not a 20? Please tell me I'm wrong because now it would mean we'd need a filter... * I googled it and it's this: Tetra Whisper PF10 Filtration System at PETCO

BTW... it DOES have a separate carbon filter next to the white filter. I will take it out and will also get a thermostat just to monitor the temp.

Now, thanks for the explanation...and calming me down a bit Canadian fish. I had started feeling overwhelmed and I don't want him to kill any poor fish but it was a lot of info.

With the testing, what do I need to test for if I buy the tests myself? I'm assuming it depends on the type of fish we get?

Regarding the plants, my hubby (and actually me too) really like the look of real plants. Hopefully we can manage to keep them alive! I don't really want to run a fish less cycle because I'm tired of staring at the empty tank myself so I'd be happy to get some starter fish.

My issue is now convincing him which fish he SHOULD get vs what he wants to get. There is just so much crap online and on youtube about being able to keep angel fish in small tanks. He did like some of the neon tetras and sharks...Sorry forgot the name of them.

I wish I could say last question but I can't...lol I know I will have more. What can I use to safely clean the tank before we start this ? He cleaned it but it's got scum still on some areas (from sitting water I'm assuming) but I don't want to use something that will leave residue.

BTW...nice tank!!!

Last edited by Fishybusiness; 12-27-2012 at 07:33 PM.
Fishybusiness is offline  
post #13 of 154 Old 12-27-2012, 07:42 PM
TFK Moderator
SeaHorse's Avatar
Vinegar and a clean scrubby, the no soap kind, and NOT the metal kind. plastic fiber kind.
Keep it with your tank supplies, you will need it again when you get some algae.
Vinegar works wonders on calcium build up... then rinse, and rinse.
Don't waste your money on water that is dechlorinated already unless you find your water to be really bad, extremely hard or has high ammonia out of the tap... we can decide that later once you get to testing your water.
A Liquid Freshwater testing kit is the best, it comes with instructions, little test tubes, and you can test your tank's situation any time you need to, or regularly in those start up weeks. Test strips can become very unreliable especially when you live in humid climates and the container gets left open or not closed properly, false readings occur in them. My experience is cycling takes a big longer,... more to 6-8 weeks but this is all shortened to nil if you have a lot of live plants as the plants take up the Ammonia in their processes. And any water change needs De-chlorinator to take out or neutralize the Chlorine in the tap water. Prime is an excellent product, costs a bit more, but you use less of it.

Every kid, regardless of what they are going through, is ONE caring adult away from being a success story. ~ Josh Shipp, Teen Behavior Expert
SeaHorse is offline  
post #14 of 154 Old 12-27-2012, 07:57 PM Thread Starter
New Member
Okay so I am reading on fish profiles. There are SO many options. I think we need to go to the fish store, write down some of the ones we find interesting and then come home and look them up. Otherwise I'm going to be reading about fish for weeks.

So far I think I like (hubby is not here for input) platies, tetra, zebra danio.... I especially like the
Electric Yellow Cichlids but the suggested tank size is 55 so that option is OUT!If you guys had a 20 gallon...what fish would you recommend? Something colorful...
Fishybusiness is offline  
post #15 of 154 Old 12-27-2012, 08:49 PM
JDM's Avatar
Welcome aboard!

"We live in South Florida and the house temp is about 75F so do we need a heater? "

Probably yes. It depends upon the fish as some are not tolerant of low temperatures. We had one fellow post here not long ago that he lived in Florida and they and a cold snap, he lost some fish due most likely to the cold over a weekend. He had no heater. Even just setting it slightly below your normal water temp it is a backup.

I started looking at tanks, 20 gal was an early thought and I wanted angels... They do not fit as others have said already.

The route I am going is to set up the tank with plants and sand, letting it mellow, then testing to see what the water is going to be like. That will determine what sort of fish are likely to do well and let me just use untreated tap water for water changes. I got myself off of the idea that "I want this fish and that fish and maybe some of these". We'll end up going with what works.

My trials and tribulations in setting this tank up are over here if you want to see how it goes. It's a 37 gallon which isn't too far off the 20 gallon considerations.


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
JDM is offline  
post #16 of 154 Old 12-27-2012, 09:04 PM
If you want live plants, add them right away, and that will really help with cycling.

I'm assuming the "10" in your filter name means it is for a 10 gallon. I would get a 20.

I just ask my LFS which plants are low light, as I do not have any fancy lighting. I use Flourish Comp liquid fertilizer twice a week (when I remember). Decholinator kills the ferts so add them the day after a water change, not the day before or the same day. Also, you can get fertilizer tabs that go in the substrate next to your plants' roots. They last a few months.

I had never kept live plants before September and they are super easy. Now I'm changing all my tanks over, including my 20.

Just for the record, I have never had a tank take 8 weeks to cycle (I'm sure it does happen), usually 3 to 5. But like Jakie said, live plants will cut this down significantly anyway.

Good luck! Looking forward to seeing how this progresses. Once you get it set up, it's a piece of cake. Water changes on a 20 are quick and painless.
Fishybusiness likes this.

Canadian Fish is offline  
post #17 of 154 Old 12-27-2012, 09:19 PM
Originally Posted by Canadian Fish View Post
Nobody here is going to recommend a fishless cycle
Nobody here is going to recommend cycling with fish, is what I meant to say, surprised no one called me on it, haha.

EVERYBODY here is going to recommend a fishless cycle. Except me. I recommend it too, but if you're overwhelmed, throwing in 3 platies is easy, and with live plants, should be fine.

Without live plants will work too, if you go that way. The plants make it easier on the fish.

Canadian Fish is offline  
post #18 of 154 Old 12-27-2012, 09:27 PM Thread Starter
New Member
Originally Posted by Canadian Fish View Post
Nobody here is going to recommend cycling with fish, is what I meant to say, surprised no one called me on it, haha.

EVERYBODY here is going to recommend a fishless cycle. Except me. I recommend it too, but if you're overwhelmed, throwing in 3 platies is easy, and with live plants, should be fine.

Without live plants will work too, if you go that way. The plants make it easier on the fish.
OH! We do want live plants and since it seems better for the fish, then we'll do that... started a new thread about fish recommendation (trying to narrow questions down).
Fishybusiness is offline  
post #19 of 154 Old 12-27-2012, 09:51 PM
Nilet699's Avatar
Live plants are definitely the way to go. They really are very easy to keep and the benefits are many.

As everyone has already pointed out a thermometer would definitely be worth the purchase, for the sake of 10/30 $ in a cold snap it'll save your fish.

Now, and this is normally a problem of mine and it gets me in trouble. I just tell it straight. But if I were you, I'd tell your husband unless he's willing to learn what you have about the nitrogen cycle/cleaning etc etc etc then he'll just have to accept the fish you pick, as this looks like its becoming your tank very quickly. I'm a big kid at heart too and this tank really is my fire truck, soon to be fire fleet , and normally I dive into stuff headfirst and worry later, but tbh the more I learn in this hobby the more I want to.

As for the cycling and work involved, my new tank has been up now for around 5 weeks and I kind of miss all the work. Early days I was on daily 120ltr water changes to keep nitrite levels down and it was a bit of graft but I loved it, whereas now I have to sort of force myself to just let it be for 7 days till the next change etc as once tanks start to stabilise they really become almost no work. It's all about them first few weeks where you work hard and fall in love though for me (probably why tank 2 is set up already!!!)

As another thing you have said about putting substrate in now- what is your substrate? Certain fish like cories and loaches require a much finer gravel, or sand to busy themselves in and protect the delicate barbells on them as they do so it's worth considering if any of these are on your shopping list before you do put it in. Changing later would be harder, but then there's other things to consider like ease of cleaning and water clarity that come with these too, e.g sand is a lighter and more likely to hang water espec early on and also what type- playsand is the recommended if you want it and much cheaper too. I yabbered on a bit there and want to continue to but I'll stop now.
Nilet699 is offline  
post #20 of 154 Old 12-27-2012, 11:12 PM
jentralala's Avatar
Hey! I live in Florida too, so happy to find a fellow Floridian! Most of these people are Canadian, it seems ;)

On the topic of the heater - My house is kept at a toasty 82 degrees most of the time. I have a heater in my tank, to keep the water as stable as possible. However, a few weeks ago said heater broke, and I could not afford a new one. The water dropped to about 72 degrees, from the 79 its set at. Luckily I didn't lose any fish, but as you can see the water can get much colder than the outside air :/ I recommend a heater just to keep the temp stable, although you can get away with a smaller heater, say for a 10 gallon, since your house isn't kept very cold.

On fish - I know it seems SO tempting to just get what you like, but when you really think about it, how fair is that to them? I know your husband is probably really temped by those angels, but those babys can get about 8inches high. I've seen full grown adults at the petstore in 10gallon tanks, and those poor things can't do more than just sit there. They get positively massive.

I also just got into the hobby a few months ago. It is SO overwhelming, I know. I still haven't mastered it. I do suppose I had a bit of a jump though, I eased myself into it, and here you are thrown into it. It can sound daunting and hard and to be honest it can be, there have been times where I just want to throw in the towel and cry. But as I can see your an animal lover, I am positive you will fall in love with your fish and strive to do good by them.

I have a 35 gallon, not much larger than yours. There are so many options for us, of fish that will thrive and be happy in tanks our size. The site aqadivsor can be very helpful for you in giving you a 'rough sketch' of fish that will enjoy your tank.

I did a very similar thing to what you said. I went to all my fish stores and wrote down the names of every fish I even remotely liked, went home, and googled as much info as possible. It's a very good start. :)

I live in Central FL, I'm not sure if we're close or not. I'm more than willing to lend a hand :)
jentralala is offline  

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome