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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am not really an Aquarist but I do enjoy seeing other peoples' fishes at their places. The main reason for me not having fish is that it seems all too complicated: water skimmers, pumps, oxigenizers, water temperature... in terms of simplicity a cat would be ideal, only that a cat doesn't provide the soothing relaxation an aquarium does. So I guess I'm here to let you convince me to take the frist step and get an aquarium of my own instead of anoying friends and relatives by sitting in their living rooms all day and emptying their refrigerators!

Any idea where I can start looking for equipment and prices online?
 

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A freshwater aquarium can be a very simple setup. When you hear of people with very complex systems it is because they keep more challenging livestock an aquarium can be as simple as a tank a filter and a heater with water changes once every 2 - 4 weeks. I don't think there is anything more enjoyable than coming home from a stressful day and seeing your fish swimming about. Tank size is something you will have to consider, bigger the better, but it will ultimately come down to your budget and the amount of space you have to put your aquarium.
 

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Keeping an aquarium is not really more difficult then keeping a cat.
The startup is more involved, but once you get it up and running it is no more difficult then keeping a cat.
 

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Well I would start with at least a 29 gallon with a 55 being ideal IMO. I would just get a nice hang on filter like the AquaClear filters a qaulity heater and enought gravel for about 2 inches+ and a Python gavel vac and like was said water changes every 2-4 weeks at about 20%. The cost will vary but please dont skimp on the filter and heater and also the relaxation you will get from it is kind of hard to put a price on or at least for me it is. I hope when you do setup your first tank :) you will come back here and ask questions before you buy things so you dont waste money on things you dont need and fish that wont work for you and your tank. Oh and watch out for MTS (Multiple Tank Syndrome)
 

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Sounds like you have a good starting point with knowing fellow aquarists! Your friends and family can offer up great advice, especially if they've been in the hobby for a while. I've had great experience with AquaClear filters, and I've purchased a lot of my equipment from fosterandsmithaquatics.com. I find that their prices are much better than my local stores, and if you buy a good bit from them, the shipping cost doesn't matter because you've saved SO much more that locally.

I say if you're intrigued by the tanks you see at your friends and family's houses, why not try it yourself!?! Always do heavy research on keeping aquariums, and ASK QUESTIONS! We're all here to help :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for your help! A cat... or a Fish... the doubt remains....

How often does a filter have to be updated/changed, there are so many brands and prices...I checked the AquaClear filters you recomend and also I found this one and wanted to know your opinion:

Rio Hang On Back Wet/Dry Filter [FI-TM110] - $9.99 : Aquariums and Aquarium Supplies , FishPetLove.com

This fishpetlove.com has different brands from fosterandsmithaquatics.com but it seems to me they are overall cheaper.

Please let me know, I do not want to be buying stuff from 50 different places.

Thanks!:)
 

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Queen Platy
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In my opinion, theres only 3 things you need if you want to keep it simple. *Do partial water changes every week to prevent toxin build up. And start with a small amount of fish to let your tank cycle*

FILTERS:
Ive never heard of that Rio filter before. And it looks like its for 10 gallon tanks. To be safe go with either Marineland or Aquaclear filters. I bought a cheap filter, it broke down and had to buy another. Rather start safe. Get one that is rated higher than your tank capacity. Like 30 gallon rated filter if you get a 20g tank. 40-50 gallon rated for 30g tank. Most filters have overflow outlets which usually tells you to its time to change filters.

HEATERS:
Goldfish are cold water fish that dont need heaters if you dont want a heater. Tropical fish need heaters.

GRAVEL:
Any. But you must get to help build a bacteria base in the tank.
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks again for the replies!

I am learning a lot I had no idea that gravel was necessary to bulid up bacteria. [by the way why does a tank need bacteria?]. Thanks nurseplaty.

About partial water changes: how much is necessary for the different tank sizes? is there a percentage, say change 20% of the water every week?

I called a couple of places including fishpetlove.com where Fred, who happens to be the owner, told me that in aquariums to keep it simple and big, meaning the larger the tank the better as long as i start simple with the equipment necessary and then build up from there, i also learned recently that cichlids are very resilient and that i should start with this species.

About the filters: seems that any brand will do since they are simple enough gadgets, so brand names, i guess are not much better.

I understand there are water issues that i will get into in future posts but i for now I would like to know of a kit or the chemicals that would be needed and how much would they cost all together per month. and also how toxic they can be to humans.

Thanks again
 

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Well all living things will create ammonia (very toxic) and when this happens bacteria breaks that down to nitrites (toxic) and then that gets broken down into nitrates and that is the least toxic to fish and inverts but still needs to be removed by WC's. I personally would not cut corners on filters or heaters unless you already have a backup so please buy name brand quality filters and heaters as this will save you head aches and problems IMO. I think about the only thing you would need is Prime ( Aquarium Water Quality & Conditioners: Seachem Prime Water Conditioner ) for setup and WC's, not sure on the toxicitty to humans. I wouldnt get any fish unless its what you want and will coexist with the rest of your fish and when your tank is setup properly most fish will be hardy IMO. I would do 10-20% WC's every 1-2 weeks depending on the size of the tank, filtration and stocking, getting a API master test kit will allow you to keep track of parameters and that can help to determine how often WC's are needed.
 

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Yea like archer said, theres types of bacteria that are beneficial to the tank and it breaks down the toxins that the fish produce. The last end result of the product is nitrAte and it cna only be removed by water changes. Brand filters break down less easily. I bought a cheap filter and it broke down within a month.
 

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When I first considered setting up a FW (freshwater) aquarium, I bought a couple of books that cover everything you need to know from start to finish: the "nitrogen cycle" (very important to learn), aquarium size, heater/filter requirements, amount of gravel needed, and a few profiles on common tropical fish.

After having 3 tanks (thanks MTS!), I've learned what every seasoned hobbyist will tell you: the larer the tank, the easier to maintain. I have a 10g Betta tank, 28g bow front community (taken down now), and a 55g, planted angelfish community. The 55 is more stable in terms of toxin levels, especially with a good filter.

Also, patience is key in setting up any aquarium. Most will debate on the cycle period before adding fish or plants, but in my first tank, the 28g, I filled it w/ 2" of gravel, treated water, and let the filter run (no fish or plants) for 7-14 days. Then I went to a local chain store and bought 6 comet goldfish at $0.27/ea, and a couple wisteria plants since I really don't like fake plants.

Goldfish make great cycling fish for their massive waste production. Once my ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels were acceptable, I posted an ad on Craigslist for 6 goldfish, free to a good home. They ended up going to a local hobbyist that was in the process of building a pond (the perfect place for goldfish/koi).

Then I let the tank settle for another week before adding 6-8 longfin zebra danios. As the weeks/months went by, more fish and plants were added.

As a recap, definitely check your local bookstore for a beginner's guide to freshwater aquariums. It will help you learn the nitrogen cycle and give you an idea as to how you want to stock you tank, once it's ready.

Still being fairly new to the hobby, I can give you some equipment suggestions for the newbie aquarist. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Ok. I think from your opinions and others this is what I should do:

-go freshwater
-get a 30 to 40 galon tank
-get a filter
-put it close to a sink/water hose
-put it on a sturdy table [actually get a stand]
-cycle [or get 'water conditioner': is this one good? AquaScience Ultimate Water Conditioner 4 oz [AD-ARULTIMATE-4] - $3.99 : Aquariums and Aquarium Supplies , FishPetLove.com
-get fish food
-get fish cichlids seem to be a good option

I'm still inclined to buy my tank new though it is true that I could get cheapr prices at local garage sales and craiglist.

Any recomendations on online stores if i decide to buy new? I've visited:
drsfosters&smith.com, fishpetlove.com, marinedepot.com, biglsonline.com...

About the gravel/sand any ideas?

I would also prefer to buy everything i need from one place, any recommendations?

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I am looking to buy my equipment and support online mom n pops. In browising fishpetlove's www i found this:

FishPetLove Jingle : Aquariums and Aquarium Supplies , FishPetLove.com

They're a small company, I called around to ask some questions about start up aquarium systems. And though some have them, Fred at Fishpetloce, who is the owner told me he can work with me to put together a personalized set, he did tell me that he was going to get new tanks, including the "penecort" [?] ones soon, so I've decided to wait until he gets them to give him the chance to get my business.

Still any tank brands you can resommend?

Thanks again!
 

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My simplest aquarium set up is a 1.5 Gal. tank with a tiny filter, gravel, a small decoration, and 1 betta all by himself. Cleaning and taking care of this tank takes me all of five minutes weekly. Bettas are wonderful beginner fish, very beautiful, hardy, and easy to take care of.

If you want a really nice tank of many fish, then the others have given you what you need to know. If you can get a 55 gal. or bigger, that would be ideal. Cichlids would be good if you want a Species Tank. Which means you could have ONLY cichlids as they are very aggressive and will attack anything else. If you want more than one kind of fish, then you would want a Community Tank. Guppies, platies, mollies, tetras, Endler's livebearers, Danios, Corydoras, and Rasboras (and maybe a centerpiece fish like a single gourami) are all wonderful, hardy, easy to care for, and colorful fish that can live together. You could put a bunch of those fish into a 55 gal. along with a lovely garden of plants and have endless hours of watching the flashes of color and activity.
 

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You have mentioned that you have friends with fish tanks, when you finally get yours, or even a week or 2 before you get the actual tank, get a filter or a sponge (I bought an AquaClear foam sponge for $1.50 at petco) and set it in your friends tank. That way it can build up some bacteria. Then when you get your tank filled with water, go get your sponge and bring it home in a bag of water (to keep it from drying out) and put the filter in your tank. If you do this, it will jump start your cycling process since the sponge will be full of bacteria from your friends tank.
 

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Be careful of the advice you get from your friends though. When I got back into aquariums after a 15 year hiatus, I learned so much I didn't know the first time around, thanks to the internet. I have shared all my new found knowledge with some people who also do aquariums and they just look at me confused and skeptical. One guy at work has a community 75 gallon tank that he says he only changes the water in once a year. Then when he does, he changes and cleans everything. I tried telling him about the necessary bacteria and more frequent water changes, but he just kinda looked at me funny and nodded his head, completely uninterested. Another girl at work has 8 tanks and tells me she changes the water all the time, but what she meant was she adds new water as the water evaporates. I tried once again to explain and she told me she already knew all about it and because she was adding clean water into the tank, she never had problems. Maybe she doesn't. Still, you should always do your own research instead of relying completely on word of mouth. I have found a whole lot of info on all the fish I wanted to purchase before I purchased. Google makes it easy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
OK. Sponge in friends tanks... check!

Ok. I don't remember if I mentioned that Fred the owner/operator of fishpetlove.com is putting everything together for me.... he just got a bunch of new tanks so I am going forward..

Complete Aquarium Sets : Aquariums and Aquarium Supplies , FishPetLove.com

He asked me what i thought of downloadable browser bars... told him tha thtey don;t bother me... what do you think?

Also, any subscription magazine you could recommend?

Thanks!:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Hi everyone.

Just an update: I am ready...

Let's see if the credit card doesn't burn!

I'll be buying almost everything within a couple of days, I'll keep you posted!
 
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