Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Inga 06-08-2010 10:57 PM

Wow! I am so overwhelmed!!!
 
So I thought I might get a fish tank and a few fish so that I could enjoy the soft bubbling sound and the peaceful feeling one gets while staring blankly at fish swimming around their tank. Man oh Man, I didn't think it was so difficult.

First the tank... What size? I settled on a 60 gallon (bigger then I intended) I had originally thought I would just get a few tetras or even save a few feeder goldfish. Then in looking at the fish I began seeing fish I would love to own (to stare at, blankly) but they required larger tank, hence the 60 gallon instead of the 20 gallon I thought I would start with.

Now it seems even a 60 isn't big enough to get the fish I thought I might like. PH levels, temperatures, tank size, food to feed, sand or rock, live or plastic plants, toys, cycling? What??? Am I the only one that feels overwhelmed by the options? There is so much to learn, my head is spinning. I read more about fish today then I thought I would in a life time. I still know NOTHING.

I thought I had settled on Jack Dempsey's but now I find my tank is not big enough. I think I will just begin to set up my tank tomorrow by adding the rocks and maybe get a few simple decorations and fill it. Anything special I need to think about in decorations? How long should I run my tank before I need to make a decision on what kind of fish? I think I am going with plastic plants because I am really still leaning toward Cichlids of some type and I understand they will ruin live plants?

I know this is supposed to be fun but right now my head is spinning. One day at a time right?

iamntbatman 06-09-2010 04:21 AM

I think a 60g is fine for a Jack Dempsey. I wouldn't get more than one as they wouldn't have enough room should they decide to breed or fight (or both). In a 60g, you could probably have a Jack Dempsey and one or two other cichlids like maybe a convict and a salvini. These fish are all very aggressive, but if you buy them young, keep them well-fed and have plenty of decor to break up lines of sight you might be able to keep a group of fish like this long-term without issue. However, every fish is different and this holds especially true for cichlids, so when keeping aggressive fish like this together you need to keep an eye on them and watch for potential problems. You would need some substantial filtration with a tank stocked like that, though, as cichlids are messy fish.

Inga 06-09-2010 08:08 AM

Thanks, I am already thinking I should have held out for a 150 gallon tank. MY house isn't that big though and I wanted something that fit more comfortably in my office. I spend most of my time in my office and I want to be able to watch my fish a lot.

The tank is here so now I will have to deal with that and settle on fish that will fit comfortably within the tank. In all of my research this far, I have mostly come out feeling sorry for fish. I never realized how ill-equipped most folks are for caring for their fish.

With over 23 years in canine rescue, I figured as much but haven't seen it first hand. Now, it is hitting home. I want to do right by my fish, even if it is only 5-6 of them. I would still prefer a few larger fish to a dozen small ones, if that is possible.

joe1992w 06-09-2010 08:46 AM

In regards to cycling i would highly recommend "Tetra safe start" if you can get your hand son it, i've just finished cycling my second tank on it, the latest success being an axolotl tank and had great results even in cold water, with safe start there was no ammonia peak just a small nitrite one after 5 days or so and now it's been running for 3 weeks without a problem, you might want to bear in mind my axolotl tank is a mere 80L and there is only one juvenile in the tank so minimum ammonia is produced anyways, but still i think it's a good product.

In the same tank i have just had a bad experience with sand for a substrate, i bought a bag from my LFS which was intended for freshwater aquarium use, i rinsed it for what seemed like an eternity and it still turned my water extremely cloudy, i stuffed my filter with the finest filter floss i could find and it's sorted itself out but just a heads up, also when using a gravel vac to clean it all gets sucked up and is becoming a real pain :(

in respect to plants i personally prefer live ones, they can help keep water parameters in good check and help to oxygenate the water as well as providing a natural feel.

If you go ahead with a planted tank Byron from these forums recomended i use "Flourish Comprehensive" as a liquid fertiliser, but unfortunately i haven't been able to get hold of any, but i'm sure if Byron's recommended it it'll be a good product

another good product that was recommended to me on this forum was "Seachem's Prime", for de-chloronation and removing ammonia/um and such, really is great!

Inga 06-09-2010 08:56 AM

Thanks Joe. So far all I have is the aquarium. I plan to go get some rocks and decorations today. I am sort of avoiding live plants at this point because I am thinking about Cichlids for my tank and I understand that they tend to kill the plants.

I am already over the budget I thought I would spend since my original plan was a 20-30 gallon tank with a few feeder fish to brighten up the room. lol I went with a 60 gallon with the thought of getting a few larger fish. The one thing I am sure of is that I am going to take this slowly and one step at a time so I don't kill any fish by my ignorance. I am a wimp and would feel horrid if I did that. ;)

I have a few stores around here that carry the tetra good start and I will pick some of that up also. I first will have to get a water test kit and see where my natural water levels are. Also need to do that before I determine which fish will best work in my situation.

I appreciate all of your help. :)

joe1992w 06-09-2010 09:50 AM

Generall consensus on this forum seems to be That the API master test kit is your best bet, and it hasn't done me wrong, although there is no test for any type of hardness, also you may find that your LFS offer tests for free.

i can't offer any advice on cichlids as my only experience is with tetra's, mollies, guppies, dannio's and such, i'm just a sucker for the the little ones, don't get me wrong if you have a wad of cash and patience some of the best looking tanks i have ever seens have been the bigger cichlids, but unfortunately that's just not me at the moment.

i can't remember reading anything about hardawre (other than the tank) in your earlier posts, my experience has been that for most of the electronics the net, mainly ebay, is as ood a place as any, so that's always worth a look.

as for a cycling method after the tetra safe start there are tonnes and it's up to you to decide which you think would be best, there are a few experts here so advice shouldn't be far away.

redchigh 06-09-2010 09:57 AM

I'm really glad that you're testing your home water supply before you choose fish- it's so much simpler that way.

I set up a livebearer tank before I realised I have soft water...I've regretted it ever since.

Just wanted to mention one thing- cichlid tanks are the farthest thing from 'peaceful'.
Even with lots of hiding places, they will chase each other fairly often. I'm not sure I'd reccomend doing cichlids, since even according to iamntbatman,

Quote:

Originally Posted by imntbatman
I think a 60g is fine for a Jack Dempsey. I wouldn't get more than one as they wouldn't have enough room should they decide to breed or fight (or both). In a 60g, you could probably have a Jack Dempsey and one or two other cichlids like maybe a convict and a salvini. These fish are all very aggressive, but if you buy them young, keep them well-fed and have plenty of decor to break up lines of sight you might be able to keep a group of fish like this long-term without issue. However, every fish is different and this holds especially true for cichlids, so when keeping aggressive fish like this together you need to keep an eye on them and watch for potential problems. You would need some substantial filtration with a tank stocked like that, though, as cichlids are messy fish.

There are large fish options that are less agressive than tetras... Like a female betta sorority for example- Could throw in some tetras even (as long as they don't nip)

Inga 06-09-2010 03:55 PM

Wow! I don't even want to know for sure what I have into this already and it has only been a few days AND I don't even have any fish yet. ha ha Here is what I have so far as far as tank set up.
http://i619.photobucket.com/albums/t...ishtank002.jpg

I have it set up, sort of. I have to run back to the store to ask questions about this very loud filter. It also seems to be missing something. I have to find out for sure. It works, but it is LOUD. So much for peaceful, quiet fishtanks.

I added rocks, do you think this is enough? I have 2+ inches. 3 inches in some areas. I also bought a large piece of driftwood but that has to soak for awhile before I add it. I think it said for 2 weeks. I also need a heater and thermometer, I forgot about them. Anything else obvious that I am missing, other then fish?

http://i619.photobucket.com/albums/t...ishtank004.jpg

redchigh 06-09-2010 04:30 PM

What kind of sound is it making?

If it's a "growling" noice then you might need to take the filter about- might be something in it.

If it's trickling, then just raise the water level.

Keep in mind woods will typically lower the PH.

Inga 06-09-2010 06:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by redchigh (Post 400775)
What kind of sound is it making?

If it's a "growling" noice then you might need to take the filter about- might be something in it.

If it's trickling, then just raise the water level.

Keep in mind woods will typically lower the PH.

The trickle sound is nice but it is like a fast running creek at this point. It also is vibrating. I will have to work on that a little.

As far as the PH levels... I am not sure what exactly that means. Are there some fish that will do alright with higher PH levels or should I have not gotten the wood? I just thought it would look nice, give the tank a bit more natural feel (if you don't notice all the plastic plants and fake log) and also a good place for algae to grow for a Placo some day in the future.


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