Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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cwolfman13 02-14-2012 10:19 AM

More Questions from the Newbie.....
First of all I just want to say WOW!!!! and THANKS for all of the great responses in my original thread "just getting started". Responses were very informative and helpful.

I am now leaning towards the larger 29 gallon tank vs the 20 gallon. I just need to convince my wife that it's a good idea......this thing has gone from a very small, Beta a 10 a 20 gallon....and now a 29 gallon. When I wanted to move up to the 20 (after discussions with my local fishy folks), she began to question whether this was really for the kiddo or if it was for me :lol: . I would love to have a 55 gallon, but the reality is that even the 29 gallon is going to be pushing us to the limit in RE to available space.

The plan here is to have the tank in my kiddo's new "big boy" room. It's going to be a birthday present for him (turning 2 end of next month.....I know, I'll be doing all the work here) and he'll be moving out of the "baby" room and into his "big boy" room in May to make way for the new baby in July. So, space is pretty limited....and frankly, even if we were to put the tank elsewhere, space would be very limited given the size of the house we live in.

Actually, that raises a question for a tank in a toddler's room just a truly boneheaded idea. The whole idea behind it is to have something fun and something he's absolutely fascinated with to help him along in his transition....and technically, they will be "his fish" as they are going to be a birthday present. I sorta floated the idea of putting the tank in the living room or something, by the wife scoffed a bit because, in fact, these are supposed to be "his fish".

At any rate, checked my tap water and PH is pretty high @ 7.9 and hardness averages 8.3 dKH with a 10 being the highest. I tested the PH last night and then left the water out overnight and tested again this AM.....7.9 all the way around.

Honestly, I'm a bit confused on some of the things I'm reading in RE to PH and water hardness. I have a book with a number of ideas for tropical fishes (BTW, I'm now considering a SEA tropical mountain brook theme) and all of the fishes I would be looking at to stock it say they're good to my PH level (but at the top of the threshold. Then I look around on line and I find some sites that agree with my book and others that say I should have a significanly lower PH for the fish I'm looking at. To make matters worse, I've read a number of articles now that both illustrate the importance of have the proper PH, while others say the PH doesn't really matter too much as long as you're not really over 8....and that perfect PH is really only necessary for breeding (which I won't be doing).

So, in a nutshell, I could use some clarification here I suppose.

Also, lots of comments in my previous post about planting live plants. This idea has crossed my mind on several occasions, but I have to say I'm a bit apprehensive about this. It seems to me that real plantings, while very nice, would ultimately be just an extra thing I have to worry about as a beginner, in terms of keeping and maintaining the plants and the aquarium itself. I've been fairly confident in my fake planting plan....with a real piece of driftwood or something. So, I guess I need convincing in this RE.

Sorry for the long post.....I'll post a couple other stocking ideas in another post as this has become a novel. :oops:

cwolfman13 02-14-2012 10:26 AM

Also.....I was wondering if it was better to buy my aquarium and equipment seperately, or go with a kit? I lean towards the kit because it seems I could save some money....but then I worry about the quality of some of the components/equipment.

Also, and in RE to live plantings......I was just tooling around the pet store this weekend and was looking at lighting.....some of these lights are incredibly expensive; would it be these types of lights I would be looking at if I did live plantings?

There is just so much to learn here, my head is spinning.

cwolfman13 02-14-2012 10:50 AM

20 vs 29 gallon....Am I really going to notice a difference
Hi everybody! Loving this forum!

I'm currently between purchasing a 20 gallon and 29 gallon aquarium. This is to be a birthday gift for my soon to be 2 year old son who is absolutely fascinated with fish. It doesn't hurt that I am also.

I know....and have had a number of comments in regards to "bigger is better"....but the reality is that anything larger than a 29 gallon would really put us in a bind in RE to available space. So here's my question, between the two, am I really going to notice a difference in RE to maintaining water quality, temperature, etc? I know I will have a little more room in the 29 to do some different things, but will there be a noticeable difference in RE to maintaining the water?


cwolfman13 02-14-2012 10:54 AM

Also......are the kits really worth it? It seems I could save a bit of scratch, but I'm somewhat worried that the equipment that comes with may be cheapo crap.

Is it better to purchase the tank and equipment seperately?

Byron 02-14-2012 11:24 AM

The short answer to your question in your first post is, yes; reason below. To your second post question, you are probably better to buy equipment individually.

I always buy the tank with the hood/light if I can, when it is a "small" tank like a 10g, 20g, 29g. I can save some money doing this at some stores. But the heater and filter I always buy separately so I get what works, and by that I mean, works for the fish I intend. I have planted tanks, so filtration is minimal and only serves to gently circulate the water and remove suspended particulate matter. For either a 20g or 29g I would get a sponge filter with a small air pump, or a small internal sponge-only filter. For heater, get the best you can. This is the single most important piece of equipment; a heater that fails overnight, whether it overheats and literally cooks the fish or goes off and freezes them, means you've lost the tank of fish. Cheap heaters are just that, cheap.

To the tank size. The more water volume, the more likely the water will be stable in parameters, temperature, conditions. There is to some extent more room for error with more water volume. Not that one can relax and not worry, but a minor slip-up such as forgetting to plug the heater back in after a water change will not be as disastrous with more water because it retains heat longer.

Another thing is the surface. If you do get a 20g, i wold recommend a long rather than tall 20g. The tall is 24 by 12 inches, the long is 30 by 12 inches. They hold the same volume, but the long will hold more fish due to the surface area being greater. And, since most fish in these smaller tanks will be small shoaling fish that need a group, they will have more swimming space. So that brings us to the 29g. This has the same surface area as the 20g long, but being a bit higher it has more water volume. So now, get the 29g.:-)


sterlinggirl 02-14-2012 11:26 AM


Originally Posted by cwolfman13 (Post 982208)
Also......are the kits really worth it? It seems I could save a bit of scratch, but I'm somewhat worried that the equipment that comes with may be cheapo crap.

Is it better to purchase the tank and equipment seperately?

Well the tank kits work well and the equipment was not cheapo on the marineland one i chose, the only thing i did purchse was a second filter to make sure i had more than enough filtration for the health of my cichlids.. but the kit came with everything and all works great,, but that IMO good luck with your choice.

Byron 02-14-2012 11:31 AM

I came across two near-identical threads so I have merged them together, in case anyone wonders what's going on.:lol:

It is always best not to duplicate post, as different members may respond and not see other members' posts so we duplicate or miss something when there is more than one thread.:gossip:


jeffnsa 02-14-2012 12:31 PM

Always go with the biggest tank you can get, if you go samall you will always wish you had bigger. Get the equipment seperatly, and a standard top and light combo for the aquarium will be more than enough light to grow many real plants.

thekoimaiden 02-14-2012 03:54 PM

Welcome to the hobby! It's great that you are doing this for your son. This is a very rewarding and informative hobby. I'm sure he will look back fondly on the times you and he spent together with the fish.

As to keeping the tank in your son's room. I wouldn't. Having the tank is a public area is best so you can observe your fish more often than just a few times daily. My greatest regret is positioning my 55 gal tank in my room instead of my living room. They may be my fish, but everyone enjoys seeing them. Also think: where do you spend the most time in your day? In your room or the public areas?

I second the 29 gal idea. I have a 29 gal, and it's a great starter tank. The 20 long is nice, but I don't think it's a great starter tank. A 55 gal would also be a good idea, but the larger the tank the more expensive the equipment will be. A 29 gal is kinda in the middle for equipment expense and ease.

1077 02-15-2012 04:24 AM

I have a 29 gal currently set up with plant's like vallisneria,anubias on wood,water sprite,crypt's, and some smooth stones.
After adding the plant's either real or artificial,,there is not a lot of swimming rooom in the 29 gal and Iwould opt for the 20 gal long were it me.
With afore mentioned 29 gal and decor, plant's , a dozen cardinal tetra's and perhaps 20 cherry shrimp, the tank looks a bit small to me. But fishes and shrimps are happy, (cept the small baby shrimps that cardinal's catch).:|
Am setting up a 20 gal High tank just for the shrimps this weekend.

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