Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Bcarr 12-06-2008 12:57 AM

My First Tank! (20G)
 
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Hello everyone! I'm new to the fish tank hobby, it seems you all know a lot about fish and aquariums. I'm very excited to get my new 20 Gallon tank started, but I was searching for some suggestions from the community.

At the moment, I have 3 Guppies in my tank, in addition to 1 Red Wag fry. I am in need of some suggestions of what fish I could add to the tank. Please suggest fish that are easy for beginners and are easily purchased at your local store. In addition, I have only 4 plants, a volcano and a plastic rock structure. I will be adding more plants and fish after I get some good suggestions!

Also! I'm new to the siphon tool, but when I was explained how to use it at Pets Mart I just didn't get it. So can anyone explain to me how to use this tool?

A picture of the tank! (Background soon to be purchased!)

kritas 12-06-2008 01:23 AM

First of all, get rid of the guppies, IMO. They are breeding machines, and will quickly over-run your tank by the end of the year....
Get maybe 10 or so Tetras(of your choice, except Congo Tetras). Maybe you could try some Corydoras(5-8), and a sparkling gourami.... All these can go together in the same tank, provided they have enough cover from each other...
Are those plants real? If they aren't, maybe you should get 2-3 real plants, maybe some Java Fern, And maybe an Amazon Sword, some Corkscrew Vallisneria or something.....

Bcarr 12-06-2008 01:32 AM

Thank you much for your suggestions! I wasn't sure what fish to purchase, so I just went ahead with the small guppies. The plants in the aquarium are plastic, but I've been thinking about adding real ones! Would I be able to purchase live plants from my local Pets Mart or stores like it?

Kim 12-06-2008 12:49 PM

Ok, first I need to know if you know about cycling a tank. If you don't I will be happy to explain it to you, because it really is the most important thing to know about fish keeping.

Stocking: Once the tank is cycled you really have a number of options. Corydoras catfish are really cute, but would not work in your tank unless you switched to a sand bottom, which could be hard if you are a beginner (the substrate is where bacteria form and taking it out incorrectly could cause a mini-cycle). Non-nippy tetras, platies, rasboras, and maybe a bristlenose plecos are some fish that could work (not altogether of course). I would suggest going online and finding some that you like, then posting it here so that we can make sure it will work for you. Do you have all male guppies, or a mix of male and female? They do breed like crazy, but if you have enough other fish in there they will eat the babies and keep the population under control. Other than that, they are very hardy and a good beginner's fish. Platies are the same way, but if you get all males (females are usually pregnant when you get them) you won't have this problem.

Decorations: Live plants require a number of factors to grow, and will probably cause you more stress than you want. You will also most likely have to spend more money including upgrading your lighting fixture, buying fertalizers, and probably a carbon source as well. I recently dove into the live plants thing, and even my low-maintenance tank has cost me quite a bit. I am not trying to discourage you, just I think it is better for someone new to the hobby to do one thing at a time. Remember, you want this to be a pleasant experience, and not doing too much too soon will keep it that way. I would get some nice silk ones instead. They look almost real anyway, but have all the convenience of fake.

If you have any more questions feel free to ask :-).

Bcarr 12-06-2008 01:31 PM

Thank you for the response Kim! I need to know more about cycling a tank, and would appreciate you telling me! I was thinking about getting some Tetras, Platies, and one Pleco. But I would need a recommendation on how many I should get. I'm also going to stay away from the live plants until I gain some more experience and feel comfortable with what I'm doing. About the guppies sex, I would not be sure, is there a easy way to tell?

I'm going to the store today to buy some more plants, a better thermometer, and a bubble wall. I'm going to get rid of the bubbles that flow out of the volcano and just use it as a decoration. My Red Wag fry did not make it, so the plastic container is out of the tank.

So I guess I would really want to know how to use the gravel tool, the guy at Pets Mart did a horrible job telling me how to use it. Also I would like to know how to take care of Fry a little more.

Cody 12-06-2008 03:24 PM

For the siphon/vacuum, the easiest way is to just put the bigger part in the tank (the actually vacuum part), with the tubing pointed in a bucket. Then suck on the end of the tubing untill it has a siphon.

Not the cleanest way, but defianatley the easiest.

Also,
Is your tank cycled yet?

Nudist 12-06-2008 06:01 PM

to me the easiest way is to stick the entire thing including the hose under water and get it filled then put your finger over the end of the hose while its still under water and then stick it in the bucket. that way you dont have to take a chance on sucking any of the nasty water into your mouth.

Steve

aunt kymmie 12-06-2008 06:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nudist (Post 156253)
to me the easiest way is to stick the entire thing including the hose under water and get it filled then put your finger over the end of the hose while its still under water and then stick it in the bucket. that way you dont have to take a chance on sucking any of the nasty water into your mouth.

Steve

Yes, this technique works very well! Works great in my display tank.
(It does not work too well in my 6gl....small tank, big vacuum... )

Highland lake13 12-06-2008 07:07 PM

If you do want to ever get live plants an easy starter plant is water sprite. Reguarding the siphon i just usually stick the big part in the tank then quickly suck the other end and stick the end in the bucket. The stocking i would try some neon or cardinal tetras, a gourami and some cories and otos.

To pull off a previous post..

"Cycling" a tank is the process of culturing colonies of beneficial bacteria in your tank. Fish waste (urine and feces), decaying plant and animal tissue and decaying fish food all create ammonia in your tank. Ammonia is highly toxic to fish and can kill them even at low concentrations. In order for your fish to survive in a fish tank, they can't be exposed to ammonia. Luckily, there is a type of bacteria that converts the harmful ammonia into another chemical called nitrite. As ammonia is introduced to your tank (either by adding fish or another ammonia source) these bacteria multiply. Eventually, there are enough of them to completely convert any ammonia that is introduced to the tank into nitrite. Unfortunately, nitrite is just as toxic to your fish as ammonia, if not moreso. However, there is a second type of bacteria that converts this nitrite into nitrate, a chemical that is only harmful to fish in very large concentrations. As the first type of bacteria convert ammonia to nitrite, the second type of bacteria begins to grow in number. After more time, there are enough of these bacteria present to convert all of your nitrite into nitrate. After both types of bacteria are established, your tank is "cycled." At this point, you should never have detectable levels of ammonia or nitrite in your tank and you only need to do water changes to keep the nitrate levels in check.

There are two ways to cycle a tank, fishless and with fish. When cycling with fish, the fish you add act as the ammonia source during the cycle. However, because the ammonia and nitrite that are produced during the cycle are toxic, you need to do water changes frequently when cycling with fish to keep them alive. The second way is to cycle without fish and use some other ammonia source, such as pure ammonia, fish food or even an uncooked shrimp. This is the preferred method as it allows you to stock the tank as you please (instead of with the fish you cycled with) and also doesn't subject any fish to ammonia or nitrite poisoning.

The best way to monitor the progress of the cycle is to get a good liquid test kit like the API Freshwater Master Test Kit. It contains tests for pH as well as ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. Testing the water lets you know exactly how far along the cycle is and when it's over, and therefore when it's safe to add fish.

Since the bacteria that you grow during the cycle aren't waterborne (they live on surfaces in the aquarium like the gravel, decor and especially the filter media) you can transfer some of these items over to a cycling aquarium from an established tank to help speed up your cycle.

Hope that helped!

Bcarr 12-07-2008 01:36 AM

Thanks all for responses! I now know how to use the gravel tool, thank you everyone for your explanations. Yes my tank is cycled for those of you who asked, and thanks for the explanation of "Cycling" a tank. It really helped me understand it more.

But today I went out and purchased 3 plastic plants, 14" bubble wall, gourami, tetra, and corie. I did a little bit of re-arranging and I really like my new setup. I started with just one of each fish to see them in action, and will buy more according to which ones I like best. I will provide new pictures of my tank, and some of my new fish!

How many fish do you think my tank could hold? I only want to put a few more in there and want to know what would be to many.

--Corie
http://i427.photobucket.com/albums/p...orie_Dec_7.jpg
--Gourami
http://i427.photobucket.com/albums/p...rami_Dec_7.jpg
--Tank
http://i427.photobucket.com/albums/p...Tank_Dec_7.jpg
--Tetra
http://i427.photobucket.com/albums/p...etra_Dec_7.jpg


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