Clueless Newbie!!
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Clueless Newbie!!

This is a discussion on Clueless Newbie!! within the Introduce Yourself forums, part of the Welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping category; --> Hey folks! I decided to get an aquarium for my 17 month old daughter!! :) She absolutely loves the tank at daycare and other ...

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Old 07-09-2011, 08:27 AM   #1
 
Clueless Newbie!!

Hey folks! I decided to get an aquarium for my 17 month old daughter!! :)
She absolutely loves the tank at daycare and other ones we see occasionally at work!
We stopped at a couple pet stores yesterday and she enjoyed the other animals, but not near the same reaction as she does for the fish!!! So, I'm gonna see what I can come up with!
I've got a co-worker who may give me a 70 gal tank, she has to check with her husband, but odds are pretty good! It used to be a saltwater tank, guy at local shop said clean it because its been sitting but previously being saltwater is fine... Hopefully all the accessories are still good...

I have NO idea what I wanna put in my tank, but I guess I kind of have an idea what I want it to look like...
I think I'd like to have some plants and a decent variety of colorful fish... We browsed yesterday... the guy at the local shop knows his stuff but didn't seem to be an aggressive salesman (not totally a bad thing!) and of course the big chain place I didn't expect any advice... So, I'm still at square one for types of fish, how many, etc.

Home theater stuff is my thing, so I'm WAY out of my element here!! That's why I'm here!! I'd love to hire an aquarium expert and just have em load the thing up, but I've got a super small budget... (free tank helps tremendously!)

Looking forward to learning and having fun with my daughter and a new aquarium!!

Thanks!
Kevin
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Old 07-09-2011, 11:09 AM   #2
 
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Welcome to the forums For researching different type of fish a good place to start is the tropical fish profiles, at the top of the page second tab over you will find the link. Once you have an idea of the type of fish you would be interested in, we can help you on here to figure out what will work together, and also what will work with the type of water that you have. Are you familiar with the nitrogen cycle? If not here is a good link
A Beginner's Guide to the Freshwater Aquarium Cycle I would definitly advise in getting plants, they are benifical to both the fish and to the tank, and if heavily planted will help with the cycling process. Plants are simple to do and Byron has a good guide for doing a planted tank, which can be found in the aquarium plants section.

Also knowing the ph and the hardness of your water will help to determine the type of fish that you will best be able to keep. Also a note most of us have learned that you can not always trust the advice given at the pet store. This is why it is important that you make sure to do your research on the type of fish that you are interested in getting.
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Old 07-09-2011, 06:33 PM   #3
 
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Originally Posted by BarbH View Post
Welcome to the forums For researching different type of fish a good place to start is the tropical fish profiles, at the top of the page second tab over you will find the link. Once you have an idea of the type of fish you would be interested in, we can help you on here to figure out what will work together, and also what will work with the type of water that you have. Are you familiar with the nitrogen cycle? If not here is a good link
A Beginner's Guide to the Freshwater Aquarium Cycle I would definitly advise in getting plants, they are benifical to both the fish and to the tank, and if heavily planted will help with the cycling process. Plants are simple to do and Byron has a good guide for doing a planted tank, which can be found in the aquarium plants section.

Also knowing the ph and the hardness of your water will help to determine the type of fish that you will best be able to keep. Also a note most of us have learned that you can not always trust the advice given at the pet store. This is why it is important that you make sure to do your research on the type of fish that you are interested in getting.

I'm clueless about the water cycle, but that link was very informative! I would like to get some fish in soon, but I'm thinking (thanks to this info) I'll get my cycle going before adding. I would like to have some plants, but this article made it sound intimidating... I'm thinking if I just put plants in and still use a test kit, that the plants will help but I still need to adjust... Am I correct??
I'm hoping I'll hear about my possible tank this weekend, or monday at the latest...

As far as the ph, should I put some water in a bucket and test it? Does it need to sit any amount of time?


Also, a general FYI, I'm in Western KY.
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Old 07-09-2011, 07:02 PM   #4
 
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Plants help but you still need to add fish slowly. Filling the tank with plants wouldn't mean you could add 20 fish at once. I envy your ability to have a 70 gallon. If I had one I still wouldn't have anywhere to put it. The classifieds section is a great place to check as members often sell well cared for fish and plants cheaper than the pet stores do.
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Old 07-09-2011, 08:00 PM   #5
 
Yes as others have pointed out. before you start adding fish you want to make sure the environment is livable.

I'm researching plants myself and hoping to get some soon. Really wishing I had done more research when I was at your stage... before I had a tank :) They can make things very pretty

BTW.. Huge Kudos on having the forethought to come research before you buy.


Perhaps a basic checklist before even considering looking at fish.

-Aquarium (you seem to have that one already.. make sure you wash it out good, dont use soap though.)

-lights (dont know if you are getting a hood with lights with the aquarium or not. This is especially important if you want to get plants. Even if you put plants off for now, it makes things much easier if you have the lighting already to go for them.)

-Filter (Again dont know if you are getting one with the aquarium, you want to make sure it has a decent filtration. Be aware that the water flow will affect which fish can live comfortably in your tank, most dont like much flow, a few however love it.)

-Heater/Thermometre (Most aquarium fish require water in the 70's. A few must have coldwater but those are quite few. Goldfish and white water minnows are the most common.)

-Air pump (This provides extra air into the tank, especially useful if your filter is a little under recommendations.. which is not recommended. Again.. some fish really shouldn't have an airpump in the tank. I forget the offcial name for it but you can get a tube to lay along the back bottom of the aquarium and it provides a pretty reverse waterfall effect.)

- Safe area free from possible contaminants. (I recently picked up a 20g tank from a family. They were selling it because the kids were throwing toys into it and they were concerned they might push it over eventually. One of my wifes friends lost over 300 fish, from multiple tanks, when their little boy decided to add some "special water" called vinegar. As important as keeping stuff out, is keeping the fish in. I go with the assumption that all fish can and will jump. With the aforementioned 20g they commented that they used to have a pleco in it, but it had dissappeared when they went out of town for the weekend. It was discovered on the floor behind the tank. Also anything with legs(shrimp, lobsters and snails.. yeah I know they dont have legs lol) will climb out if it can.

You will also want to get a test kit right away, before the fish. You will need an ammonia (Nh3, ammonium a detoxified ammonia is Nh4. Most kits will pick up both, which can be good or bad. Just need to be aware of that.) Nitrite(No2) Nitrate(No3) and you will also need to find out the PH and hardness of your tap water. You can get a test for those as well, or you may be able to look it up on the towns water supply website. Many people use the API master kit, this will include all the mentioned tests except the hardness one, and it will go for about $25.

Well... I'll leave you with that to start with lol. :)
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Old 07-09-2011, 08:11 PM   #6
 
Glad to meet you. BarbH has started you off on the right track. Most of us have tap water and pH of your water does partly determine what fish will do better with it.

Start slow. You want to enjoy your new hobby, so taking your time will help to make your experience successful and positive.

Some of us (me included) have real plants in our tanks and others don't. It's kind of a preference.

The one thing that you need regardless, is a good water conditioner to clear the tap water of chlorine/chloramine before every water change. The test kit is used to keep an eye on the water parameters of your tank - pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate levels. These parameters help you to determine when water changes are needed and when your tank has completed the cycling. And, yes, take your time to allow the tank to cycle (4-8 weeks) before adding the fish...the test kit will help you to know when your tank has cycled.
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Old 07-09-2011, 08:49 PM   #7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheaterGuy View Post
I'm clueless about the water cycle, but that link was very informative! I would like to get some fish in soon, but I'm thinking (thanks to this info) I'll get my cycle going before adding. I would like to have some plants, but this article made it sound intimidating... I'm thinking if I just put plants in and still use a test kit, that the plants will help but I still need to adjust... Am I correct??
I'm hoping I'll hear about my possible tank this weekend, or monday at the latest...

As far as the ph, should I put some water in a bucket and test it? Does it need to sit any amount of time?


Also, a general FYI, I'm in Western KY.

There is a lot of information in the plant article to try to digest at once, but don't let it imtimidate you. Keeping plants basically comes down to having a balance between light and nutrients. The fish will produce much of the nutrients through the waste that they produce, and a fertilizer like seachem comphrensive complete, and root tabs (for rooted plants like amazon swords) can be used to provide nutrients that are needed that may not be able to be gotten from the fish waste or from the water. On the lighting with using fluorescent bulbs you want a bulb that is rated around 6500 Kelvin. There are a lot of plants that are available that are easy for starting with. Such as amazon sword, water wisteria, floating plants water sprite, pennywort which can be floated and I believe placed into the substrate, are just a few to name. Some people use substrates that are specific for plants, but I have had success in using a regular gravel substrate with my tank. Once you get the tank you will want to figure out what type of lighting was used on it, if you have any questions feel free to ask.

On testing for your water I would recommend that you invest in a liquid test kit, like API master test kit, which many of the people on here use. For testing your tap water you can put some into a bucket or cup. I believe that most suggest letting the water sit for at least a few hours. When you test your tap water on the ph, if you can at the time also test the water for the presence of ammonia and nitrites. Some people do have this present in their tap water, and if it is it will determine the water conditioner that you use.

Also when cleaning the used tank make sure that you do not use any types of soap, if any residue is left this will be poisionious to your fish. I have heard of people using white vinegar and water to help in cleaning a used tank or equipment, but you want to make sure that you rinse everything well after doing so, and I would rinse a few more times again. Someone else may have better tips on cleaning the tank especially since you mentioned that it was used as a saltwater tank.

Hopefully this helps some, and does not become too confusing There is a lot to learn with this hobby, but feel free to ask questions as they come up. We will try to help answer your questions
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Old 07-10-2011, 07:17 AM   #8
 
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Since everything to get you started has already been covered here by these helpful members, I'll just say welcome to TFK

Kudos to you for doing the research first. You'll be glad that you started off right so that your fish will thrive and be healthy.

Good luck with your setup. Keep us posted on your progress :)
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Old 07-10-2011, 03:25 PM   #9
 
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Welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum. Glad to have you join with us.

Don't be intimidated by my articles on planted tanks. It is not really very complicated if one remembers the basic--good light and minimal for the plants. And sufficient plants will eliminate the "new tank syndrome" that comes with the cycling and be safer for the fish and you.

On selecting fish, first sort out your water parameters from the tap. It is easier to select fish that will manage in your water than trying to adjust water to suit specialized fish. Find out the hardness and pH; this you can from the water supply folks, many now have a websiyte with water data. When this info is posted, we can better direct you to fish possibilities for a 70g tank.

Byron.
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Old 07-11-2011, 12:19 AM   #10
 
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Originally Posted by Byron View Post
Welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum. Glad to have you join with us.

Don't be intimidated by my articles on planted tanks. It is not really very complicated if one remembers the basic--good light and minimal for the plants. And sufficient plants will eliminate the "new tank syndrome" that comes with the cycling and be safer for the fish and you.

On selecting fish, first sort out your water parameters from the tap. It is easier to select fish that will manage in your water than trying to adjust water to suit specialized fish. Find out the hardness and pH; this you can from the water supply folks, many now have a websiyte with water data. When this info is posted, we can better direct you to fish possibilities for a 70g tank.

Byron.

Messaged a buddy who works for the local water company... come to find out he's the guy I needed to talk to anyway! Getting my water info tomorrow! :) Glad y'all suggested contacting them!! Might save me some testing $$!!
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