First time ever tank - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 9 Old 05-21-2008, 04:10 PM Thread Starter
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First time ever tank

My friend's tank has inspired me to get one of my own.

I have a couple of questions however. Since I'm thinking about a 29g or 55g, I will organize the questions :D

How many fish can I fit in it?
How often should I expect to do water changes?
How much gravel will I need?

How many fish can I fit in it?
How often should I expect to do water changes?
How much gravel will I need?

What are benefits of either?
Should I use real plants?
What are good starter fish?

Thanks all!
yosseeppii is offline  
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post #2 of 9 Old 05-21-2008, 04:25 PM
Welcome to Fish Forum! Aquarium keeping is an awesome hobby, I'm sure you're going to enjoy it!

The amount of fish you can keep in either one of those tanks depends on a couple different things: the type of fish you wish to keep, your maintanance schedule, & the filtration your using.

How often you do water changes also depends on certain things, like how many fish you have, the filtration, ect. A good rule to start with is 25% weekly. Some people do it more often, some people change more or less water, and others don't do it every week. It will depend on your tank.

The benefits of a 29 gallon: Sometimes smaller tanks are a little less maintanance, less cost, take up less space.
The benefits of a 55 gallon: You have more options when choosing fish, you can keep some fish in a 55 that you couldn't fit in a 29, & a larger tank is more stable.

If I were you, I would go with the 55 gallon tank if you can afford it.

Whether or not you keep real plants is completely dependant on you. I really like the look of real plants opposed to plastic, and it gives the fish a more natural enviroment, but it's your choice. Real plants are obviously going to be a little more work than plastic, but I think it's a good choice. Keeping real plants can also cost more - you'll need more expensive lighting, substrate, and maybe fertilizers. Don't let that turn you off of real plants though, because it can be a great investment.

It's hard to say what fish would be good for you without knowing a little about what you like. Maybe go to your lfs and write down names of the fish you like, and we could tell you which would be good to start with. Are you looking for more active fish, colorful fish, lots of small fish, a few larger fish, ect.

Make sure you read up on cycling your new tank if you haven't already.

Hope this helped a bit.
It'sJames is offline  
post #3 of 9 Old 05-21-2008, 04:42 PM Thread Starter
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I like active fish and colorful. Not necessarily small fish but I like fish in schools. Just a bunch of fish that swim together :)
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post #4 of 9 Old 05-21-2008, 05:37 PM
Well, these are a couple stocking options that I might choose. There are tons of different kinds of fish you could keep, so don't limit yourself by any of my suggestions.

For a 55 gallon:
1) A couple angels and a large school of cardinal tetras, as well as some corries, which are bottom feeders. Maybe some amano shrimp and/or ottos if you choose to keep live plants. (Cardinal tetras are known to be somewhat touchy, but I've had great success with keeping them in less than ideal water conditions, like 8.2 ph and super super soft water.)
2) Cichlids (I've never kept these before, so someone else may suggest otherwise.)
3) Livebearers like platies, swordtails, or guppies with some bottom feeders.

Some other fish that would be good are German Rams, loaches, rasboras, tiger or cherry barbs.

Most of those fish would be good in a 29 gallon also, except the cichlids & angels.

There are so many options, those are only a couple that I quickly thought up. I suggest going to your lfs and finding fish you like, and then asking if they would be good for you. But, one word of caution: Don't ask the people at the pet store. They'll sell you just about anything, whether or not it is right for your tank.
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post #5 of 9 Old 05-21-2008, 06:48 PM
Rasboras, danios, white clouds, stuff like that. They all do best in groups and they're fun to watch.
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post #6 of 9 Old 05-22-2008, 06:08 AM
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:D Be sure and get good quality test kit for water. You will need one very soon.API master test kit is a very good one . Test strip style kits are not accurate and will cause false readings. Good Luck.

The most important medication in your fish medicine cabinet is.. Clean water.
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post #7 of 9 Old 05-22-2008, 07:10 PM
Rainbow fish make great shoals!
okiemavis is offline  
post #8 of 9 Old 05-23-2008, 12:08 AM
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One thing that hasn't been mentioned yet:

Whether or not live plants are a good idea also depends on what sort of animals you keep in the tank. Many fish and certain snails can be bigtime plant eaters. There are a few plants that most fish won't eat (i.e. hornwort, java moss, java fern). Also, if you decide to go with cichlids, many of them will either eat your plants or uproot them. Should you decide on live plants, this will limit your fish stocking options. Again, don't let this discourage you from getting live plants. They're definitely great to have in any tank where they'll live.

I suggest looking at a list of fish and getting some ideas as to what you'd like. Whatever you decide, you can always ask on here whether it'd be appropriate to house the fish in whatever size tank you decide to get, and whether certain species are compatible with one another. Here are some links to two sites that are helpful for browsing around:
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post #9 of 9 Old 05-27-2008, 07:35 PM
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I see that lots of people have already given you suggestions on specific fish so I'll mostly avoid that. One that is often overlooked is the real fun that 6 to 8 suitable corydoras can lend to a tank.
On the subject of a 55 vs a 29, the really big advantage of the 55 is the length of the tank. Its more stable and that's good but it also is the size of many cheap and readily available fluorescent lights. It may not be important to you when you are starting out, but when you decide to get into plants and realize that the lights that came with the tank are almost useless for plants, you will be glad to have a size that most any place carries and you can get a whole new light fixture for about 10 bucks. I just ordered some lights to improve the lighting over my 29. They cost about $70 to upgrade a single tank for plants. To me the value of the 55 is its 4 ft length.
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