Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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DeMonZ 01-25-2007 02:53 PM

Fry needs input on aquarium size
Hello all,

I have been tossing around the idea of getting an aquarium for some time now and have recently decided to take the plunge. I have talked with a few aquarists (is that the right term?) that have said to read everything I can find on aquariums and the fish I intend to care for. Basic advise, but good advice I think. One also suggested joining a forum, such as this one, to help in my learning and quest for answers. Thus, I am here! :lol:

The first of what I am sure will be many questions is simple ( I think). However, I am sure there is a wide range of opinions for it.

Looking around my house, the largest tank I think would fit anywhere that I would even think about setting one up would be a 55 or 60 gallon. Any larger and I think it would cause problems with getting to the outlets and interfering with walkways, etc. Also, several of the fish that I have been thinking about need space requirements larger than the 20 gallon is capable of. At this stage though, I have not set my mind to ANY specific breed of fish. So, don't let that play too much in your opinion.

I know there is a fairly large difference in the cost of getting started between a 5 gallon and a larger 75 gallon (or larger) tank. However, is there a huge difference in the amount of time and experience required to maintain a larger tank? I have it in my head that I should start with a rather small tank (was thinking 20 gallons) and graduate to a larger one later on. But I have yet to read anywhere what one would consider a "typical" startup aquarium.

Any insight you folks can provide to help me make this decision is greatly appreciated.

Amphitrite 01-25-2007 03:02 PM

Hi DeMonZ, and welcome to the forum.

The first thing I can say is that you were given good advice - read as much as you possibly can before setting up the tank and making any decisions, and the forum is an ideal way of getting information.

There are some great threads on here for beginners, and lots of great advice.

To be honest, I would go for the larger tank. Not all that long ago, I upgraded from 15 to 45 gallons, and really don't find that it takes up much more of my time. I find it easier to maintain if anything.

One of the main time consuming factors is water changes. This is where something like a python or a powerhead comes in handy to pump water back into the tank.

Have you given any thought to how you will cycle the tank?

Katherine :)

herefishy 01-25-2007 03:16 PM

I have found that the larger the tank the less maintainence. The reason being that there is more water to pollute with organic waste. There is another factor, larger tanks have larger bio-beds which provides a home for bacteria. I have tanks ranging from 2 1/2g to 300g and I have to clean the smaller tanks more often - weekly. The larger tanks can go up to 3 months between major maintainence (gravel sweeps, ect). Of course, it all depends on bio-loading, the number of fish you have in each tank and the amount of waste they produce. The more fish/waste, the more often maintainence is needed.
Welcome to the forum. New members keep the site fresh. You will thoroughly enjoy yourself. Much information can be gotten from the membership. We also welcome your ideas, experiences, and input.

FDStation152 01-25-2007 03:29 PM

The larger the tank the better for beginners. While the cost is initially higher you may actually save money in the long run. Smaller tanks tend to have their water values change more often and rapidly causing stress to the fish and sometimes death. The larger tanks tend to be much more stable over the long run. Have you read up on cycling a tank? As a beginner its the most important thing for you to understand right away. Failure to cycle a tank properly causes more problems for new aquarium owners than most other aspects of fish keeping combined.

DeMonZ 01-25-2007 07:37 PM

Thank you all for the warm welcome.

Since the time of my posting this thread, I have read on this forum and in other areas of the web that a larger tank does indeed seem to be easier to maintain mainly for the reasons FDStation152 and herefishy state in their replies. Based on their input, and yours too, kateyoup, I have decided to get the largest tank I feel I can squeeze into the limited space I have available (and the largest I can get past my wife :twisted: ).

As for "cycling the tank"...

This is something that, up until a week ago, I had never heard about. I have since read several articles about it and see the reasoning behind it. It, now, only makes sense that one would need to create the conditions a tank needs in order to sustain quality life BEFORE adding the majority of the populous. I realize that atleast one fish will need to take the lead role in getting the tank cycled. My only hope is that I get it right the first time as to not have to put the little bugger through it again. When the time comes, I am sure to be back here reading up on the subject and asking questions of everyone.

As for now, anyone care to suggest a good book or internet site that gives detail about the cycling process? Most of what I have read, thus far, have given the basics on cycling but not much in the way of detail.

Thanks again folks!

FDStation152 01-25-2007 07:39 PM

You'd be able to find lots of books about cycling at pretty much any bookstore. I can't think of any particularly good sites at the moment though there are some good posts on here about it. If I come across something good I'll send it to ya in a pm.

DeMonZ 01-26-2007 10:39 AM

Thanks FDStation152!

Any titles out there that anyone would recommend?

Not sure why I didnt think of it earlier but I think I will see what our library has to offer on the subject as well.

FDStation152 01-26-2007 05:19 PM

Actually almost any book about aquarium fish will include a chapter on cycling. The most useful book I have at the moment is Discus Health by dieter untergasser. Covers most of the south american cichlids and has a whole lot of information on basic setup for aquariums and diseases and medications. About 500 pages long...cost 20 bucks over at HalfPrice Books. Worth every penny. Its practically a text keeping 101

DeMonZ 01-26-2007 06:35 PM

Picked up 4 at my local library...
  • Complete Encyclopedia of the Freshwater Aquarium by John Dawes
    Aquarium Fish, A definitive guide to identifying and keeping freshwater and marine fishes by Mary Bailey & Gina Sanford
    Aquarium Style, Imaginative ideas for creating dream homes for fish by Matthew Christian
    (And I couldn't resist) Aquariums for Dummies by Maddy and Mic Hargrove
The first seems to cover most everything about aquariums from selecting a tank right on through breeding. And of course, the second is all about fish and seems to be fairly detailed.

The book Aquarium Style has some unbelievable ideas for decorating a tank. Things that I wouldnt have thought of in a million years. One such idea, the "plastic playground", which appears to be made out of translucent colored hampster tunnels all connected together. Really neat! Not that I will do something like that, but neat none-the-less.

And of course the last one there. Ya just gotta get the "Dummy" book. How can anyone learn anything without the "Dummy" book?

Lupin 01-26-2007 06:40 PM

A free Sera article about diseases by Dieter Untergasser will also help. It has about 50-60 pages I think and it was given to me by my friend who owns an lfs. Very useful although the medications recommended are their own products.

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