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Discussion Starter #1
I'm a beginner and have only had simple little goldfish and betta tanks that never really worked out. I'm interested in getting a 10 gallon community tank. I've looked at a few different kinds of fish and have been interested in getting: 1 sparkling gourami, 3-4 white cloud minnows, 2 otocinculus catfish (for algae control) and possibly a freshwater clam (cause i read its good for keeping the water clean and healthy for the fish). i thought that might be a cool set up but dont know if all those species would work well together. i'm looking for suggestions on that community tank idea as well as what type of set up would be best for them. id like a good community tank that will be easier to maintain (thats why i mentioned having otocinculus and a clam) and good hardy fish that would still be colorful or enjoyable to see. any words of wisdom would be appreciated. thanks!
 

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Hey Kn, I am also relatively new to this hobby after having had some fish when I was much younger. Addressing your questions, a 10 gallon is pretty small and as a result not very desirable for those of us that are inexperienced as slight changes can drastically affect the fish.

I just recently bought a few Oto's and you have to remember with them that they are fish that like being in groups so minimum should be three but even that I think is too few. They are also a really "delicate" fish, I have read that many die within the first month. The chances of this can be reduced by ensuring that your aquarium is well established and has a plentiful supply of algae. I have tried supplementing algae wafers in to the tank but the Oto's do not even go near them. I have heard others have had better success though.

About the white minnows, are those not a cold water species? If they are, which I believe they are, they would not be compatible with the other tropicals you listed which require temperatures usually above 70 F. Along this line, when you are deciding what fish to stock, you need to consider your tap water and if you do not want that to be a limiting factor you need to have a source of RO or DI water.

I have also been keeping serpae tetra. I have found them to be pretty hardy and colorful while being extremely active and fun to watch (and not to mention inexpensive). Just a suggestion, Im sure others will have more for you.

I hope I was able to be of some help. Oh and my last suggestion would be to have this tank of yours be planted. I can no longer imagine having a tank without live plants. Yes it requires more research and costs up front but it is well worth it, not only aesthetically but also by providing some leeway in terms of ammonia and such.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
thats good advice, ive looked into some things alittle more and agree with you that a 10 gal might be more difficult so i might go for something bigger like a 20 gal and hopefully thats a little easier. good advice on the white minnows and the others, i didnt really consider temperature and pH and all. i got a lot more learning to do, thanks for the help though!
 

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Absolutely, check the edit I added about plants.

There's also a wealth of information on here as well as elsewhere online so you can never learn enough. Thats another thing I love so much about this hobby, is that there is always something more to be learned.
 

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Welcome to the forum! Betta and goldfish are actually much more difficult to keep that pet stores lead you to believe, so don't worry about them not working out.

As for a 10 gal as a beginner tank, I don't think it is a good idea. The larger the volume of water, the easier the tank is to maintain because the water parameters like temp, pH, GH, ect stay much more stable. A 29 gal is a great starter size.

For your stocking plan, I suggest you read our fish profiles (2nd tab from the left) on these specific fish. You will find that oto catfish aren't great beginner fish because they need an established (5-6 month old) aquarium, and white cloud mountain minnow need to be maintained in groups of 6 or more. Freshwater clams actually aren't great for cleaning up the water because they usually filter out all the particles in an aquarium and then starve to death because there is nothing else to eat. They require daily feeding like any other animal. If you want an invert to help with your cleanup look for Malaysian trumpet snails (sometimes called conical snails).

Better beginner fish are pristella tetra, bronze corydora, harlequin rasbora, lambchop rasbora, glowlight tetra, bloodfin tetra, cherry barb, flame tetra, cochu, and zebra danio. You can click on the highlighted name to see the fish and the size tank it would need.
 

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You must have great taste because sparkling gouramis are so beautiful! That's a fish I've been wanting to keep for a while. I'm glad you're setting up a 10 gallon and moving on to more fish!

It is true that the bigger the tank the more stable the water parameters are, but it's also more of an investment and you need more space to devote to it. So you have to decide what will work for you.

In terms of which fish, I would start with the more common ones that you see in pet stores. Platies, danios, tetras and such might not be as exotic as others, but they are commercially bred and adaptable to a wide variety of water types.

Also you'll want to have a general idea of whether you have hard or soft water. The people at the fish store should be able to give you a general idea and that will orient you in the best direction. I happen to live where the water is very soft and the pH tends to the acidic side. I have lots of fish that like that kind of water. On the other hand, if I wanted to keep African cichlids, I would have to buffer the water because they need hard alkaline water. If your water is at one extreme or the other, stick with fish that will be happy in it.

Of the ones you are thinking about, well, you'll have to make a couple of decisions. The white clouds want cooler water and will not be happy at tropical temperatures. The sparkling gouramis need warmer water as do the otos. I don't know much about freshwater clams, but I don't think they are a good choice. Most are filter feeders and there won't be much for them to eat. If it dies it will pollute the tank pretty quickly.

A good gourami would be a honey or a dwarf I would think. Instead of white clouds maybe some neons or glowlight tetras? Otos can be tricky. They are wild caught and fussy about their water and they need algae to eat. No plecos either, they get big!

What kind of filtration and such are you planning, and have you researched the cycling process?

Enjoy your fish tank!
 

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I agree with thekoimaiden a 29+ would much better. People think smaller tanks are easier to care for, when it's the other way around. They require more water changes, it limits the type and number of fish you can keep, etc. Also I wouldn't recommend Serpae Tetra, they can be very nasty if not kept in large enough groups and need space to swim. Not saying they're not a nice fish, I would stay away for now. Knowing your water parameters, hardness, ph, gh, etc is also needed so we can determine what kinds of fish you can keep.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
alright, thanks a lot guys! you have all given me some great advice and pointed out some things i need to consider. i think i will go with the larger tank size of 20 or 29. ill have to do more research and post again once i have a better idea of things. thanks!
 

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i do have another question...so if i go with a 29 gallon community tank. is it better to buy a 29 gallon starter kit like Tetra that includes a filter and everything or to buy those things separate?
 

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Personal preference really. I think to buy everything separately would be more costly but would allow for customization to your specific needs in terms of what you want to stock. But I think the kit would be just fine.

I bought an Aqueon kit and just asked the store I bought it from if I could upgrade the filter but only pay the difference between the stock and new one.
 

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i do have another question...so if i go with a 29 gallon community tank. is it better to buy a 29 gallon starter kit like Tetra that includes a filter and everything or to buy those things separate?
What kind of fish do you have in mind? Maybe we can give you a few points in the right direction to make researching easier for you? Like schooling fish? Centerpiece fish? Single larger fish? Lots of small fish? Or a single school of larger schooling fish? Lots of options. Also planting your tank speeds the cycle process and makes it easier to care for (ntm IMHO they look a lot better then non planted).
 

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Welcome to TFK!

You might look into an ensemble deal that [only] includes tank, hoods and stand. This allows you to select a good filter. Of course you'll also need a heater, gravel/sand, decor, conditioner (and a fat wallet!)

Larger tanks are better if you have the space and can swing it. The reason is that larger bodies of water are more forgiving when it comes to water chemistry.
Don't rush the setup, cycling and stocking. This hobby requires and teaches patience to be really successful.
There is a good article here about cycling a new tank: http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/freshwater-aquarium/beginners-guide-freshwater-aquarium-cycle-38617/
When you do get to the point of adding fish, only add a couple at a time, waiting a week for the tank to settle before adding more.

Keep us posted - we're here to help.

AD
 

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i do have another question...so if i go with a 29 gallon community tank. is it better to buy a 29 gallon starter kit like Tetra that includes a filter and everything or to buy those things separate?
I would get everything separately because the filter and accessories that come with the starter kits are usually a lower quality. You don't want to get a cheap heater. This is one of those hobbies where the start-up costs are huge, but if you set everything up correctly, the continueing costs are rather low.

It might be a good idea to go to the store and price everything before you buy, but don't let the sales associates talk you into anything. They are just there to sell things and most people at the large chain retailers know little to nothing about fish.

And as AD said, patience is everything in this hobby!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
im realizing it will cost a lot for the start up, but it does seem like once you have it all then it might not be too much to maintain. im going to look for a tank, stand and hood from local people selling them on craigslist or whatever and see if i can get something for cheap. then i can do what you guys said and buy a quality heater, filter, and whatever else i need. any recommendations on the type of filter, heater, etc. to get? i heard a canister filter is best??

heres my idea of the fish id like to do and then you guys can give me some more advice from there. ive changed it since i looked into a little more and since i first posted yesterday.

1 bosemani rainbow
1 red platy
1 pineapple platy
1 topsail platy
6 zebra danios
1 albino bristlenose

i looked at their optimal pH, Kh and temperature levels and i think that should all work if i kept the tank to like 74 degrees, pH of 7, and KH 10. they all were compatible. this is all according to www.liveaquaria.com

i might take out the red platy though and just have the 2. i really like the potential of that setup, look and all. i figured id be able to do it in a 29/30 gallon tank. any advice would be appreciated! ive learned a lot already so ive enjoyed this forum.
 

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I like to get my tank stuff separate because I like to look for tanks on craigslist.. I also prefer to use a sponge filter as it is much much cheaper and easier to maintain.. But, it also sits inside you tank so it takes up room and unless you can hide it somewhere you may find it ugly Mine is behind driftwood and can hardly be seen from the front and I don't really notice it from the sides.

I don't really think a rainbow fish would work in your tank.. If I'm not mistaken, I believe they need to be kept in a group of 5+ and would be too big for your tank. I'd instead suggest something like a dwarf gourami.. just keep in mind with a gourami it's best to have some plant cover at the top, and a pleco will need driftwood.

Also, keeping live-bearers such as a platy, with your other fish concerns me.. platys do best with aquarium salt added to the tank, which will not be good for your other fish. I'd recommend switching them out with something like harlequin rasboras.. they look sort of boring at first, but once they're home and happy in a tank the silver on them turns this beautiful orange/pink (think sunsets) colo that looks so pretty.

I may be completely wrong about this, but I also think you could add something like male guppies if you're looking for some fish with some color. They're also livebearers, but I don't think they require aquarium salt like platys do.
 
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