The BEST beginner fish
For good beginner fish there are bettas and what else? I think guppies, glo-fish, cories and certain tetras? This is for my freind, you wants a tank sooo bad. She emailed me 3 times about what fish to get :) She'll know A LOT more then me when I started.
You know. . . it all depends FIRST on the type of water she has out of tap, and secondly - what size tank does she want to start with? :) Wonderful of you to help a friend do it right from the start!
I have no idea for either. I just need fish in general. So far I have told her bettas in a 5 gallon heated filtered. Her list of fish she wants is:
Pleco (the big kind)
Red tailed shark
Water does play a big role. There are some fish that are easy, but only if you have the right setup and water. Take goldfish for instance. They are some pretty hardy fish, but they need large tanks and hard water to really thrive. The would not do well in a 20 gal setup with really soft water, but something like kuhli loaches might.
Personally, if I had to pick the best fish for a (let's say 29 gal tank) I would say choose between Von Rio tetra (Hyphessobrycon flammeus), X-ray tetra (Pristella maxillaris), Bronze Cory, Bloodfin tetra, and Cherry Barb. Betta are good, but most people don't want to start out with one fish.
I think the tank going to be less then 20g. I am just getting a general idea, then you have the list and narrow it down. I chose the fish I liked by looks, then tank size, then water stuff.
Say water didnt matter at all, what would you get? I think she might be joining, I'l email her.
Try to encourage her to get a 20 gal or a 29 gal. So many more options with these sized tanks.
Frankly if water didn't matter and it was a 29 gal tank, I would get a school of cories on the bottom, a school of glowlights. I really like those little guys and they're pretty hardy. That setup could even work in a 20 gal tank but with few number of fish.
Platies would be a better choice than swords if the tank is shorter. Swords are speedy fish and a longer tank is preferable for them.
The Redtail shark is the only fish on her list that is a confirmed troublemaker. Definitely a no on that one, unless she is intent on getting a bigger tank. These are not large fish, but they are territorial and sometimes downright aggressive for reasons that defy explanation.
Why on earth put Large Pleco on this list!? These fish get huge (16")! Smaller loricarids like ancistrus or peckoltias are far better choices for medium sized tanks. Bear in mind, too, that alleged algae eaters and bottom feeders are not mandatory additions. There is no good reason to have them unless you want them. Really really want them. Your tank will not be cleaner, you algae problems will not be fewer, and you will not get a pass on having to do just as much maintenance.
I see it this way:
If the water conditions are softer/neutral/ acidic, concentrate on tetras, cories and possibly even dwarf cichlids.
If water is harder and more basic, livebearers would be the better choice. And probably zebras could be combined here as well.
I would stick with normal shaped and less fancy varieties of mollies, platies and guppies if this is her first tank, and remember that these fish will breed, cross-breed and reproduce with amazing speed, so selection of all males may be a good plan.
What an exciting project! Good luck!
Glass cats are delicate little things whose needs should be considered carefully. They must be kept in shoals and are easy victims to more rambunctious and nippy tank-mates. I imagine a redtail shark would have these little guys completely cowed and terrorized within a few minutes.
I would discourage her from including these unless they are carefully researched, water conditions are favorable and tankmates are selected with utmost care.
Most fish are equally easy to keep provided the tank is cycled.
I gotta do something I rarely do, Jaysee: disagree with you! I know! I can't believe it either!
You're a pro, that's number one, with a wide experience with all kinds of fish. I mean, look at your resume' down there at the bottom of your post! Things that for you are now second nature are completely foreign to a newbie. Let's face it: lots of novices don't even know how to pick out a healthy fish in the first place. Novices also aren't very well attuned to how their fish "look" when something is becoming a problem. Those two factors alone allow you to avoid and prevent myriad problems that all too often affect people new to the hobby.
Second, water really is an issue in some areas of the country more than others. I can get away with quite a lot given the water I have, but not everyone can say that. There's one thread where this lttle gal is dealing with pH 9 well water. She shouldn't be attempting tetras, but she'd do great with Tanganyikans!
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