I would love some advice. NEW FISH OWNER here! - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 7 Old 03-18-2008, 05:27 PM Thread Starter
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I would love some advice. NEW FISH OWNER here!

Im overwhellmed with starting my first fish tank and any advice would help greatly, because right now, im literally at ground zero. I know i have to decide between fresh water and salt water. whats the difference? And i dont want to have fish who will fight eachother. im looking to start with a small tank, with a few beautiful tropical fish maybe? THANKS FOR ALL YOUR HELP!
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post #2 of 7 Old 03-18-2008, 05:44 PM
The first question is money. Do you want to spend a good amount of cash (anywhere from 150-500) or not?

Since you are new, go with freshwater. This way, if you want to start a SW later, you will know what would be wrong and what would be right. There is little room for mistakes in SW.
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post #3 of 7 Old 03-18-2008, 11:10 PM
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I'd suggest beginning a freshwater fish tank before attempting a saltwater tank. You will learn hands on the basic concepts, and will gain the foundation needed to try a slightly more advanced method of keeping fish.

Just for the record, a lot of people I know that own SW tanks never had a freshwater, so I'm not saying you can't.

The initial investment into a saltwater tank is also far greater than freshwater setups. Lighting, potential sump/processing tank, additional powerheads, reef test kit, salt mix and the associated trinkets will run you a nice bill if money is a factor. Remember that you can always convert your freshwater tank to a SW later on, most pieces at your lfs will consist of units that just attach to the tank like mounted lights, etc., so there's no rush.

Tanks: 40 gal FW setup, 10 gal Reef tank.

Old BC8 setup: http://www.fishforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=10744
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post #4 of 7 Old 03-24-2008, 01:22 PM
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I second MattD... I kept freshwater tanks for about 5 years before getting my first saltwater tank (about 3 months ago), and I can definitely tell that knowing the basics from my freshwater experience is helping me learn the nuances of saltwater fishkeeping (as I'm still learning, and likely will continue to do so for a long time :)). Trying to imagine jumping successfully straight in to saltwater as my first tank makes my skin crawl

And aside from the amount of learning/things to keep track of, the price of saltwater tanks and fish are significantly larger than freshwater, both start-up cost as well as maintenance costs.

"To an optimist, the glass is half-full;
to a pessimist, the glass is half-empty;
to an engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"
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post #5 of 7 Old 03-24-2008, 01:51 PM
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i would strongly suggest a freshwater tank. once you decide let us know. and the next thing to do would be to learn about cycling and the kind of habitat that the fish you want to keep would live in. do you know what cycling is? and do you have any idea of what kind of fish you would want? do you want to have live or fake plants? all this should be considered before you buy lights, gravel, exc so you will waste as little money and time as possible.
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post #6 of 7 Old 04-11-2008, 11:22 PM
I'm pretty new myself, having started my first [freshwater] tank about a month ago. But I have done a lot of my own research and been given a lot of advice that I might could accurately relay unto others. First piece of advice is to start small and build it as you go. Of course you need a tank and stand that will hold the weight. From what I've seen, setup costs, maintenance and stuff rise dramatically once you pass the 30 gallon range. So I might suggest getting a 30 gal or less to start and gain some expertise. You should be able to find a upgrade when ready. Uh, my next step would be to research a few types of fish you like. Make sure they get along with each other and will not outgrow or dominate the whole tank. Make sure all species have similar environmental needs. And if you wanna maximize the fishes use of the tank, chose fish that will swim in all parts of it. It's called "stratosphising" or something; making sure you have certain fish that swim up top of the tank, middle level and bottom swimmers. This makes for better display of the fish and less space conflict. Also make sure you get schooling fish in numbers of more than one or two. Now don't go buy the fish for a five sided blank tank, just research them and see what kind of community you wanna build. Then build their environment. Usually the tank and accessories are the expensive part; you can build the environment as you go if you start slowly. I've read it's best to introduce fish just a couple/few at a time. I made the mistake of buying all my fish at once. I lost one or two a day for a couple days before they all settled in. If your first ones are small fish or really calm, they require very little maintenance as they produce less waste and stuff. Some lightly populated setups with the right plant-life don't even require filters or aeration. The plants do most of the filtering and provide sufficent oxygen for small fish populations. I'd still recommend scheduled water changes and bottom cleanings though. From there, add a couple fish at a time, a filter here, and heater there, some decoration wherever. And before you know it, you're ready to expand or get a second tank or specialize in some area of aquariuminism. That's my newbie input for what it's worth.
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post #7 of 7 Old 04-13-2008, 07:42 AM
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i agree with most of what intelligentdesigner said. except i would get a filter and heater as soon as you get your tank setup. tropical fish need a heater and almost all fish should have a filter.
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