Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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fishywannabee 11-04-2009 04:36 AM

Newbie question about...
I know it's only November, but I'm looking at buying an aquarium for Christmas and was looking at maybe getting on of these aquarium products, aquarium accessories, from The Giant Pet Store

I'm hoping it's going to be an aquarium that my children will easily be able to manage. The prices look very appealing.

thanks in anticipation


Lupin 11-04-2009 04:49 AM

Welcome to TFK!

I am glad you found us. Hopefully you will find us helpful for any questions that you may have related to fish.:wink: My response may be a tad overwhelming so please bear with me!

That's really expensive to me. You could buy larger tanks than that at a possibly cheaper rate than those novelty tanks. And I wish they stop advertising those tanks with goldfish in them because goldfish are not even suitable for those type of tanks especially as they grow to an excess of 8-12 inches.

If I were you, I'd get a 75g as a starting point. It may seem too large for someone new to the hobby but in the long run, it makes your options much more flexible and you get to choose your fish much better. Please be sure to ask first for assistance here in this forum before you buy any fish because some fish that may seem smaller will eventually outgrow particular tanks especially if space is inadequate.

The water parameters must be given of utmost important so pay attention to this as this may seem complicated to those unfamiliar about it. Nitrogen cycle must be considered when starting a tank setup. Why is that? To explain this, the wastes produced by the fish serve as ammonia source. Without the Nitrosomonas bacteria that converts the ammonia into nitrite, the ammonia will simply elevate dangerously thus the fish suffers ammonia intoxication as indicated by listlessness, gill burns, “peppering” or development or black spots, clamped fins, gasping for air on the surface, red streaking on the fins and extreme flashing around due to burns suffered. The next thing that will develop after Nitrosomonas bacteria, is Nitrobacter bacteria. This other strain of beneficial bacteria helps covert nitrite into nitrate, although nitrate itself is not the final byproduct of the nitrogen cycle yet. Nitrite is another dangerous substance that can also cause the fish to become intoxicated. Usually, most references will cite the use of sodium chloride to battle the nitrite intoxication as chloride ions can inhibit the toxic effects of the nitrite however dechlorinated clean water will help equally as it reduces the nitrite thus preventing possible intoxication. In the end, you want to make sure you have zero ammonia and nitrite with nitrate not exceeding 40 ppm if you are keeping fish in your tank. Ammonia and nitrite exceeding 0.25 are highly toxic especially if the pH is alkaline (more than 7) as the ammonia’s toxic effects were not deactivated by converting it into ammonium which only happens when the water becomes acidic (lower than 7). High nitrate level is a result of wastes building up and is extremely dangerous as it can push the fish’s immune system to a breaking point that they become susceptible to health issues and become easily stunted as well.

It has already been noted that nitrate is not the final byproduct yet. This is especially true as most of us tend to forget the nitrate will simply remain in the water elevating dangerously if not for the anaerobic bacteria (anaerobes) that help convert nitrate into the last byproduct, nitrogen cycle. So how do we culture the anaerobes? Simple. In freshwater setups, we do not whereas in saltwater setups, we do using deep sand beds. Why not? Anaerobes form best in dead areas of the substrate and filtration (especially during long power outage periods). Once the organic matter has accumulated and bound tightly where the anaerobes thrive, hydrogen sulfide also forms. Hydrogen sulfide is an extremely powerful acid capable of performing pH steep dives which is extremely dangerous to the fish. As it also reeks of rotten egg odor, the acid can also pose a health hazard to the owner himself and thus is best avoided. A safer way to utilize the anaerobes is by using denitrators where the anaerobes colonize. The water containing high nitrate content is passed through the system where the anaerobes then convert the nitrate into nitrogen gas. The use of denitrator however is not necessary as water changes and use of plants will help reduce the nitrate which is why the use of plants and water changes is widely encouraged. More options and information are covered here.

To be able to determine the exact ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels, please be sure to invest yourself in a liquid test kit (Aquarium Pharmaceuticals in particular). From this point, biased views will be displayed towards the use of particular test kits. Why? Unfortunately, most test kits manufactured by some companies are none to reliable especially test strips and we are hoping as responsible hobbyists to point everyone new or returning to the hobby in the right direction and as much as possible, minimize the probable issues that may happen. Although, in some cases, test strips have shown their reliability, in general, they tend to be rather misleading and do not give assurance to the owner that the water conditions are within expectations, therefore, these must be avoided altogether. If you can trust your stores to test the water sample for you, this is fine but be sure you understand what they are talking about. Purely comments such as “fine” are very vague. You need to make sure their test kit is a reliable brand, within expiration date and in good condition (albeit not contaminated or tampered with).

Hope this helps!


Fishin Pole 11-04-2009 05:39 AM

Very good and informative post by Lupin......I agree with it all!............Good Luck!

JohnnyD44 11-04-2009 05:42 AM

yeah! awesome post Lupin!!

welcome to TFK!!!

aunt kymmie 11-04-2009 09:24 AM

Welcome to the forum, Mark! I agree with everything Lupin says, especially about going larger. What sounds huge at first always ends up feeling so much smaller once you get it home and set up. Looking forward to following your progress. :-)

Twistersmom 11-04-2009 07:38 PM

Nothing to add, but welcome to the forum!

Byron 11-05-2009 11:53 AM

Ditto on all the foregoing. Enjoy your fish and enjoy the forum.


Romad 11-05-2009 07:38 PM


Originally Posted by aunt kymmie (Post 268637)
Welcome to the forum, Mark! I agree with everything Lupin says, especially about going larger. What sounds huge at first always ends up feeling so much smaller once you get it home and set up. Looking forward to following your progress. :-)

Right on about what sounds huge at first. I have a 45 gal. hex which sounded like tons of room only to find that my fish are rapidly outgrowing it. I'm going to upgrade as soon as we move (building a house) and it can't happen soon enough.

kenbeme 11-05-2009 10:02 PM

great info I to Am restarting A new tAnk old sAltwater tAnk converted back to fresh water

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