Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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kn1985 05-03-2012 07:39 PM

New 10 gallon tank for beginner
I'm a beginner and have only had simple little goldfish and betta tanks that never really worked out. I'm interested in getting a 10 gallon community tank. I've looked at a few different kinds of fish and have been interested in getting: 1 sparkling gourami, 3-4 white cloud minnows, 2 otocinculus catfish (for algae control) and possibly a freshwater clam (cause i read its good for keeping the water clean and healthy for the fish). i thought that might be a cool set up but dont know if all those species would work well together. i'm looking for suggestions on that community tank idea as well as what type of set up would be best for them. id like a good community tank that will be easier to maintain (thats why i mentioned having otocinculus and a clam) and good hardy fish that would still be colorful or enjoyable to see. any words of wisdom would be appreciated. thanks!

Malakh 05-03-2012 10:38 PM

Hey Kn, I am also relatively new to this hobby after having had some fish when I was much younger. Addressing your questions, a 10 gallon is pretty small and as a result not very desirable for those of us that are inexperienced as slight changes can drastically affect the fish.

I just recently bought a few Oto's and you have to remember with them that they are fish that like being in groups so minimum should be three but even that I think is too few. They are also a really "delicate" fish, I have read that many die within the first month. The chances of this can be reduced by ensuring that your aquarium is well established and has a plentiful supply of algae. I have tried supplementing algae wafers in to the tank but the Oto's do not even go near them. I have heard others have had better success though.

About the white minnows, are those not a cold water species? If they are, which I believe they are, they would not be compatible with the other tropicals you listed which require temperatures usually above 70 F. Along this line, when you are deciding what fish to stock, you need to consider your tap water and if you do not want that to be a limiting factor you need to have a source of RO or DI water.

I have also been keeping serpae tetra. I have found them to be pretty hardy and colorful while being extremely active and fun to watch (and not to mention inexpensive). Just a suggestion, Im sure others will have more for you.

I hope I was able to be of some help. Oh and my last suggestion would be to have this tank of yours be planted. I can no longer imagine having a tank without live plants. Yes it requires more research and costs up front but it is well worth it, not only aesthetically but also by providing some leeway in terms of ammonia and such.

kn1985 05-03-2012 10:44 PM

thats good advice, ive looked into some things alittle more and agree with you that a 10 gal might be more difficult so i might go for something bigger like a 20 gal and hopefully thats a little easier. good advice on the white minnows and the others, i didnt really consider temperature and pH and all. i got a lot more learning to do, thanks for the help though!

Malakh 05-03-2012 10:47 PM

Absolutely, check the edit I added about plants.

There's also a wealth of information on here as well as elsewhere online so you can never learn enough. Thats another thing I love so much about this hobby, is that there is always something more to be learned.

thekoimaiden 05-03-2012 10:51 PM

Welcome to the forum! Betta and goldfish are actually much more difficult to keep that pet stores lead you to believe, so don't worry about them not working out.

As for a 10 gal as a beginner tank, I don't think it is a good idea. The larger the volume of water, the easier the tank is to maintain because the water parameters like temp, pH, GH, ect stay much more stable. A 29 gal is a great starter size.

For your stocking plan, I suggest you read our fish profiles (2nd tab from the left) on these specific fish. You will find that oto catfish aren't great beginner fish because they need an established (5-6 month old) aquarium, and white cloud mountain minnow need to be maintained in groups of 6 or more. Freshwater clams actually aren't great for cleaning up the water because they usually filter out all the particles in an aquarium and then starve to death because there is nothing else to eat. They require daily feeding like any other animal. If you want an invert to help with your cleanup look for Malaysian trumpet snails (sometimes called conical snails).

Better beginner fish are pristella tetra, bronze corydora, harlequin rasbora, lambchop rasbora, glowlight tetra, bloodfin tetra, cherry barb, flame tetra, cochu, and zebra danio. You can click on the highlighted name to see the fish and the size tank it would need.

DaisyMaisy 05-03-2012 10:58 PM

You must have great taste because sparkling gouramis are so beautiful! That's a fish I've been wanting to keep for a while. I'm glad you're setting up a 10 gallon and moving on to more fish!

It is true that the bigger the tank the more stable the water parameters are, but it's also more of an investment and you need more space to devote to it. So you have to decide what will work for you.

In terms of which fish, I would start with the more common ones that you see in pet stores. Platies, danios, tetras and such might not be as exotic as others, but they are commercially bred and adaptable to a wide variety of water types.

Also you'll want to have a general idea of whether you have hard or soft water. The people at the fish store should be able to give you a general idea and that will orient you in the best direction. I happen to live where the water is very soft and the pH tends to the acidic side. I have lots of fish that like that kind of water. On the other hand, if I wanted to keep African cichlids, I would have to buffer the water because they need hard alkaline water. If your water is at one extreme or the other, stick with fish that will be happy in it.

Of the ones you are thinking about, well, you'll have to make a couple of decisions. The white clouds want cooler water and will not be happy at tropical temperatures. The sparkling gouramis need warmer water as do the otos. I don't know much about freshwater clams, but I don't think they are a good choice. Most are filter feeders and there won't be much for them to eat. If it dies it will pollute the tank pretty quickly.

A good gourami would be a honey or a dwarf I would think. Instead of white clouds maybe some neons or glowlight tetras? Otos can be tricky. They are wild caught and fussy about their water and they need algae to eat. No plecos either, they get big!

What kind of filtration and such are you planning, and have you researched the cycling process?

Enjoy your fish tank!

Jayy 05-03-2012 11:00 PM

I agree with thekoimaiden a 29+ would much better. People think smaller tanks are easier to care for, when it's the other way around. They require more water changes, it limits the type and number of fish you can keep, etc. Also I wouldn't recommend Serpae Tetra, they can be very nasty if not kept in large enough groups and need space to swim. Not saying they're not a nice fish, I would stay away for now. Knowing your water parameters, hardness, ph, gh, etc is also needed so we can determine what kinds of fish you can keep.

kn1985 05-03-2012 11:57 PM

alright, thanks a lot guys! you have all given me some great advice and pointed out some things i need to consider. i think i will go with the larger tank size of 20 or 29. ill have to do more research and post again once i have a better idea of things. thanks!

kn1985 05-04-2012 12:23 AM

i do have another if i go with a 29 gallon community tank. is it better to buy a 29 gallon starter kit like Tetra that includes a filter and everything or to buy those things separate?

Malakh 05-04-2012 12:35 AM

Personal preference really. I think to buy everything separately would be more costly but would allow for customization to your specific needs in terms of what you want to stock. But I think the kit would be just fine.

I bought an Aqueon kit and just asked the store I bought it from if I could upgrade the filter but only pay the difference between the stock and new one.

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