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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
like it says! how do you folks pick on which fish you put in your aquariums?? im having such a hard time deciding and i want! i have a 55 gallon that needs to be filled with life!!
 

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First consider your water parameters. It's much easier to have fish that work with your existing water than trying to make your water work with your fish.
 

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Stocking an aquarium requires some thought.:) I'll just run over some of the main points.

Water parameters. The GH, KH and pH of the source water (presumably tap water). Some fish have preferences, some are somewhat more adaptable, but there are limits in all species. Selecting fish suited to your water makes life much easier, is less expensive, and the fish will be healthier if they have suitable water. Temperature is another water parameter, and some fish need higher or lower temps.

Tank size. Some fish need to be in groups, some may need a special harem or pair relationship, some need to be on their own (thinking species here).

Tank aquascape. This can be crucial for many fish. Some have special needs, like chunks of wood, or rock caves (whether real or fake doesn't usually matter). Some need dim lighting, so floating plants of less overhead light. Some need a water current, some the opposite (the filter matters here).

Compatibility. The last thing to consider, because if any of the afore-mentioned needs have not been met, compatibility won't matter much as the fish will be weakened and in poor health from the start. But not all fish get along with all other fish.

Byron.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
yeah im having problems!! its either a cichlid tank or a dirted tank or a sand bottom planted tank with tons of bright lil fish. lol :/
 

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yeah im having problems!! its either a cichlid tank or a dirted tank or a sand bottom planted tank with tons of bright lil fish. lol :/
Well, this is the first decision, and it is yours entirely.:)
 

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First consider your water parameters. It's much easier to have fish that work with your existing water than trying to make your water work with your fish.
As soon as I saw the topic this was the answer I was gonna give,lol.

But after thinking a bit, I think the hardest decision is deciding whether you want to go planted or not. Solve that and the decision is cut in half. Now you can consider your water parameters. For beginners it will be much easier to use your current water conditions from tap. Find fish that fair well with what you have. Get that experience under your belt before branching out to making water parameters fit the fish you want. Also for this I would recommend the largest tank that you can afford and fit within the space your placing your tank. Believe it or not, larger tanks are generally easier to deal with. Now it does depend on the complexity you make a larger tank due to the maintenance level you must provide. Last decision for a planted tank will be on the substrate. Sand, soil, aquasoil etc, are all substrates so the decision is derived from cost, plant needs and maintenance itself. Accessories and equipment are options and are generally not part of the core setup right away.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
yeah see im having troubles deciding cichlid tank or dirt planted tank and which fish to put in lol i know its all about opinion. just was curious to see how some people choose what they have ended up with
 

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Well one thing that aided in my decision was the type of fish I wanted to keep. Docile community. Community tanks look stunning in a moderate-heavily planted setup. I had cichlid when I first got into the hobby and the aggression just didn't sit well with me. For one I started with a 10g trying to keep cichlid. I learned fast that was a mistake, lol. I then got turned on to planting a tank and the hobby really opened up for me.

Awhile back, I remember seeing a thread somewhere in one of these forums that did a poll on what type of system everyone liked and why. The poll was marine saltwater or planted freshwater and there were lots of good valid points made for planted. Those points opened up yet another dimension of keeping planted tanks for me. Currently I have been collecting and researching for a multi tank setup for the past year. Once I have 80% of my setup I will start posting my progress. This hobby can really grow on you once avenues starting opening up.
 

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yeah see im having troubles deciding cichlid tank or dirt planted tank and which fish to put in lol i know its all about opinion. just was curious to see how some people choose what they have ended up with
Don't get hung up on needing a dirt substrate for plants, sand works perfectly well and adding a comprehensive fertilizer and a few root tabs as needed is far far easier than going dirt for a lot of reasons. Even the "plant substrates" that are not dirt are not needed.

As has been mentioned, if you go with fish suited to your water parameters, it is easier and cheaper in the long run. That is what I did and I have very hard water so my fish options are more limiting than someone on a city water supply with soft water.

I started with a cockatoo dwarf cichlid as my fish of choice... that certainly changed but for the better.

Jeff.
 

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If you are thinking Cichlids are you thinking African with lots of rock... or South American that can be in a planted tank? (I may be wrong but I do believe these need 2 different water parameters and should not be mixed) The African prefers the high ph in the 8's.
 

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Once you have sorted all that out.... I make a trip to the LFS and wander either ... the Cichlid aisle.... or the Community Fish aisle, ie... platies... or mollies... etc. The whole darn store.... sigh.... Green stickers, yellow stickers, red stickers....gotta mind that sort of thing too. I make a list of what I like, price etc. Then I go home and research again! I don't take the LFS staff's opinion unless you have someone you have worked with for a long time and trust their judgement. (I actually have a guy like that, he actually talks me out of stuff, and so... I go back and spend more money at that store, funny how that is.) I respect them at this particular store.
And finally... when I've made a decision... I WANT "XXX"... I go to the store... Shoot!! they don't have any left... or they've just come in and they won't sell them yet. I don't live close. :evil: Or they only have 2 and I need a group 6 to 8. That sort of thing. I would phone ahead but what fun would that be?
 

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ugh i know but i look and i want every fish lol. i dont trust a damn think my pet stores say. shoot i asked one lady the other day if they ever get in white cloud minnows or german blue rams an shes like " i dont even know what those fish are so no we dont"
 

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You can always consider purchasing ur fish online...usually online shops provide brief write ups of each fish (and this site is just a click away)... Most online stores come with a guaranteed shipping/arrival and offer a larger variety of selection than LFS. While it will take some days to receive ur fish order, if u haven't done so - you'll need quite a few additional days (preferably weeks)to get your tank cycled, up and running. Fish selection should never be a hurried choice, which generally happens when dependent on LFS and the excitement to start.... Please take ur time, start cycling ur tank, and smartly add fish.... Ultimately, your fish will be a great deal healthier and you'll be a great deal happier.... Congrats on starting by the way.... :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
i have media ready for the new tank just chillin in my filter as we speak :) i picked up some nice rocks yesterday on my lunch break. now its down to substrate and then plants n fish
! ive wanted to try dirt for a while now. i have a sand planted tank that is working out rather well. its not growing so crazy i have to trim them all the time. hmmmm its a hard choice! haha which i know it shouldnt really be
 

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... ive wanted to try dirt for a while now. i have a sand planted tank that is working out rather well. its not growing so crazy i have to trim them all the time. hmmmm its a hard choice! haha which i know it shouldnt really be
OK, I won't try to downplay the dirt, it has it's advantages and disadvantages, BUT I think that there needs to be a "why?" behind the decision. "Just to try it" works, but is a weak argument for going away from something that is working for you already.

I'd vote for the sand.

Jeff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
yeah i know man only reason i got lol is cuz i havent done it but i think youre on the right track here with the if it works use it idea. im starting to like this idea of using black sand blasting sand. black diamond is a company local to my city and its very cheap but im a lil concerned of what else would be in this sand besides coal slag
 

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I don't recall that you decided on fish yet, you might want to do that and let it help with your substrate decision... to me the idea of blasting sand sounds like it is abrasive (that's what it is for after all) and if you are going to have any bottom dwellers you might do better with a softer sand.

Jeff.
 
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