Starting Out - Newbie Needs Help!
I'm a total newb and I need help getting started. Last aquarium I had was in jr. high, two (or three) decades ago.
How do I start?
I've been to a couple local shops, but with mixed results. In one, the guy was pretty helpful but only deals with saltwater which I don't want to start with. In the other, the girl was polite but too rushed, and basically stuck a (rather poorly-written) flyer in my hand and pointed out some things I might need.
I did decide, from those visits, that I want to start with a 40 gal tank. Big enuf to be more forgiving and with room to grow. A 30gal might be ok but not quite what I want, and a 55gal is too big and too much an investment to try to decide if I like the hobby or not.
I've also read a bit here and other forums about the nitrogen cycle so I understand a bit more when they talked about letting it run for a few weeks with only a couple fish in it.
But that's the extent of my knowledge.
-Is there a downloadable guide to get started, thorough, well-written, lots of pictures?
-Is it best to get a starter kit that has medium-quality parts, or to buy higher-quality parts separately?
-What should be gotten from a local store, and what can be gotten from (hopefully much cheaper) online stores?
-What are a couple of the best online stores?
-What do I need to know that I don't even know I don't know? (perhaps covered in the guide?)
Thank you much!
Telling u everything u need to know might take too long. When i started out, i studied this site for hours and learned everything i needed to know. Then I asked advice for specific situations and the ppl on this forum were always helpful and knew what they were talking abt.
Things to consider are ure budget, what kind of fish u wanna keep, theme of the tank and so on. Maybe u shd pass on the fish for which taking care is difficult, like chocolate gouramis, to start off.
One tip i can give u is that no matter how big a tank u buy....it'll never be big enuf. Well, that was the case for me anyway. Any other tips or knowledge u'll find here, in the different posts, on this site.
Hello there Monarch1st, welcome to the forum and back to the hobby after all these years.
One of the first things you'll need to get is a test kit for testing your water paramaters frequently during the cycle. Make sure and get a liquid test kit that includes tests for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate (API make a good one). The cycle can be done either with or without fish, and there's a good article stickied at the top of this forum which will help you along.
I've found a pdf that looks like it's what I'm looking for (informative, well-written, pictures), but I'd like people's opinions before I take it as gospel.
Here are a some specific question before I go much further:
-Is it better buy a full start-up kit (with probably mediocre parts) or buy separately, probably from an online store?
-What are a couple good online stores you guys like to frequent?
-Some say under-gravel filters, some say use a filter that sits on the side of the tank. What are the issues and what's best/easiest?
-Some have aerators in the water, some don't. A pet store person I talked to says it's not necessary unless you have an overstocked tank, as long as your filter is working. Who's right?
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