how do you decide which fish to get? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 35 Old 05-29-2013, 11:32 AM Thread Starter
Question how do you decide which fish to get?

like it says! how do you folks pick on which fish you put in your aquariums?? im having such a hard time deciding and i want! i have a 55 gallon that needs to be filled with life!!
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post #2 of 35 Old 05-29-2013, 11:45 AM
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First consider your water parameters. It's much easier to have fish that work with your existing water than trying to make your water work with your fish.

-Kristen's tanks:

14g Tall:
Planted, eco-complete, Red Cherry Shrimp

16g Aqueon Bowfront:
Planted, eco-complete, 8 Ember tetras, 7 Green neon tetras, 6 Harlequin Rasboras

36 Aqueon Bowfront: Planted, sand, 10 Julii cories, 8 Zebra Danios
7 Cherry Barbs, Asst snails & Ghost shrimp
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post #3 of 35 Old 05-29-2013, 11:50 AM
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Stocking an aquarium requires some thought. I'll just run over some of the main points.

Water parameters. The GH, KH and pH of the source water (presumably tap water). Some fish have preferences, some are somewhat more adaptable, but there are limits in all species. Selecting fish suited to your water makes life much easier, is less expensive, and the fish will be healthier if they have suitable water. Temperature is another water parameter, and some fish need higher or lower temps.

Tank size. Some fish need to be in groups, some may need a special harem or pair relationship, some need to be on their own (thinking species here).

Tank aquascape. This can be crucial for many fish. Some have special needs, like chunks of wood, or rock caves (whether real or fake doesn't usually matter). Some need dim lighting, so floating plants of less overhead light. Some need a water current, some the opposite (the filter matters here).

Compatibility. The last thing to consider, because if any of the afore-mentioned needs have not been met, compatibility won't matter much as the fish will be weakened and in poor health from the start. But not all fish get along with all other fish.

Byron.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #4 of 35 Old 05-29-2013, 11:54 AM Thread Starter
yeah im having problems!! its either a cichlid tank or a dirted tank or a sand bottom planted tank with tons of bright lil fish. lol :/
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post #5 of 35 Old 05-29-2013, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by rexpepper651 View Post
yeah im having problems!! its either a cichlid tank or a dirted tank or a sand bottom planted tank with tons of bright lil fish. lol :/
Well, this is the first decision, and it is yours entirely.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #6 of 35 Old 05-29-2013, 12:07 PM Thread Starter
hahah for once byron youre no help :P
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post #7 of 35 Old 05-29-2013, 04:21 PM
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First consider your water parameters. It's much easier to have fish that work with your existing water than trying to make your water work with your fish.
As soon as I saw the topic this was the answer I was gonna give,lol.

But after thinking a bit, I think the hardest decision is deciding whether you want to go planted or not. Solve that and the decision is cut in half. Now you can consider your water parameters. For beginners it will be much easier to use your current water conditions from tap. Find fish that fair well with what you have. Get that experience under your belt before branching out to making water parameters fit the fish you want. Also for this I would recommend the largest tank that you can afford and fit within the space your placing your tank. Believe it or not, larger tanks are generally easier to deal with. Now it does depend on the complexity you make a larger tank due to the maintenance level you must provide. Last decision for a planted tank will be on the substrate. Sand, soil, aquasoil etc, are all substrates so the decision is derived from cost, plant needs and maintenance itself. Accessories and equipment are options and are generally not part of the core setup right away.
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post #8 of 35 Old 05-29-2013, 05:05 PM Thread Starter
yeah see im having troubles deciding cichlid tank or dirt planted tank and which fish to put in lol i know its all about opinion. just was curious to see how some people choose what they have ended up with
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post #9 of 35 Old 05-30-2013, 12:45 AM
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Well one thing that aided in my decision was the type of fish I wanted to keep. Docile community. Community tanks look stunning in a moderate-heavily planted setup. I had cichlid when I first got into the hobby and the aggression just didn't sit well with me. For one I started with a 10g trying to keep cichlid. I learned fast that was a mistake, lol. I then got turned on to planting a tank and the hobby really opened up for me.

Awhile back, I remember seeing a thread somewhere in one of these forums that did a poll on what type of system everyone liked and why. The poll was marine saltwater or planted freshwater and there were lots of good valid points made for planted. Those points opened up yet another dimension of keeping planted tanks for me. Currently I have been collecting and researching for a multi tank setup for the past year. Once I have 80% of my setup I will start posting my progress. This hobby can really grow on you once avenues starting opening up.
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post #10 of 35 Old 05-30-2013, 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by rexpepper651 View Post
yeah see im having troubles deciding cichlid tank or dirt planted tank and which fish to put in lol i know its all about opinion. just was curious to see how some people choose what they have ended up with
Don't get hung up on needing a dirt substrate for plants, sand works perfectly well and adding a comprehensive fertilizer and a few root tabs as needed is far far easier than going dirt for a lot of reasons. Even the "plant substrates" that are not dirt are not needed.

As has been mentioned, if you go with fish suited to your water parameters, it is easier and cheaper in the long run. That is what I did and I have very hard water so my fish options are more limiting than someone on a city water supply with soft water.

I started with a cockatoo dwarf cichlid as my fish of choice... that certainly changed but for the better.

Jeff.


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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