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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay I've had a freshwater aquarium before and I bought one at a yard sale 20G for cheap. Okay the thing is a mess. I don't think it leaks and i'm going to clean it tomorrow and see where I stand. The person at Pet Depot told me to just use a little bit of dish detergent and rinse it very good.

So is there like a beginners site that has like step by step instruction on what to do? When I had my first one it was "Just add water" kinda thing but now i see um nitrogen cycles and fish cycles and the like it's all lost on me.

Also any tips on a very quiet Filter system i preferr the kind that sit on the top of the tank. But last one i had was noisy. That is all for now.

Thanks for reading my terrible writing

~Maruff
 

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Queen Platy
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Welcome Maruff.
I dont know if there is a beginners site or anything similar. You might have to find one. Understanding the nitrogen cycle helps prevent fish from dieing from toxin build up. Research Nitrogen cycle on google and it will go into depth. If you dont understand it or get confused about something, come back here and ask the forum in the General Freshwater section.

The filters I know that got good reviews are AquaClear and Marineland.
 
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I don't know of an instruction list, but I'll try to help you out answering your questions.

The first thing you need to do is rinse and scrub down the tank with a weak bleach or a vinegar solution and hot water should help clear your tank. A little dish detergent will help get any crust off. Rinse it very well and allow it to dry again fully.

Aquaclear filters are popular here for being well built and quiet. A good rule of thumb is to get a filter that's rated for ten gallons more than your tank size. So you would get one rated for 30 gallons for your 20 gallon tank.

Now, before we go any further and get into cycling, what kind of tank would you like?

1. Salt water or fresh water? (I'm assuming fresh, but wanted to be sure)

2. Do you want live plants or fake plants?

3. What kind of fish are you thinking of getting?

From there we can plan out how to cycle your tank easier.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
1. Fresh
2. Live plants.
3. like the normal stuff nothing fancy due to we just have Petco and Pet Depot in my town so nothing fancy. so i guess Neon's, a Plecostomus , some cory's maybe a Gourami or 2 <really like those> But Like i said all we have is a Petco, Pet Depot so what every they have (common stuff) prob what i have to choose from.

In my old tank from like 20 yr ago I had what the store called a "Grass Eel" and I can't find one I think they meant Glass Eel cause it looked alot like a small American Eel. Was a mom & pop place.
 

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1.) Ok, for live plants then you want to pick up 2 bags of Fluorite. It's expensive, but it's well worth it for healthy plants. You will want to wash it heavily to get rid of the mud and sediment. Then you can buy your decor like driftwood and rocks and sunken ships and things. :)

2.) Ok, you've listed several tropical fish for a community tank. So you will want to get yourself a good heater. A lot of people trust Hagen brand heaters here.

3.) Also get yourself a cheap air-pump with an airstone.

****Don't get any fish yet!!!****

The first thing we're going to need to do after you get everything in the tank and fill it is do the nitrogen cycle. In an established tank, there are special bacteria that break down the ammonia from the fish waste into nitrogen products. When you just start up a tank, that bacteria isn't there. So if you put fish in, the water will become very toxic very quickly and the fish will die from ammonia burns to their tender gills.

The old way of getting a tank cycled was to just throw some hearty fish in that you don't care about to provide the ammonia to feed the tank.

Most people nowdays do a "fishless" cycle. For many it's much faster than a fish-cycle and it doesn't cruelly sacrifice living beings.

Cycling is very easy, it just takes a good deal of patience because it takes time for the bacteria to grow. Here is a good article I've found on how to do it:

Fishless Cycling - Article at The Age of Aquariums - Tropical Fish

So things you will need for this:

- 1 bottle of 10% diluted ammonia with no surfactants or dyes or purfumes. It must be pure. You can usually find this at hardware stores. You will be able to tell if it's pure because it should look like a bottle of water, and when you shake it, it doesn't foam up.

- A baggie of gravel from an established aquarium. Your Petco or Pet Depot guys would probably be willing to give you a little bag from one of their tanks if you asked. You don't need much. Don't let it dry out on the way home or your bacteria will die!

- A good water test kit. API Master Freshwater kit. It's expensive. but well worth it for the accuracy you will be needing. It's very much worth the money. Don't scrimp and try to go for the test strips. They are bupkis.

I just finished cycling a new 29 gal. today and it only took 16 days doing it this way as compared to the 4-6 weeks it usually takes.

You can plant the tank if you want to before cycling, but it may take your tank longer to cycle because the plants will be taking the "food" away from the bacteria so it will grow slower.

Feel free to ask questions if none of this makes any sense.
 

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Queen Platy
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When you cycle a tank, you are basically "growing" 2 sets of bacteria. The first set is the ammonia-to-nitrite converting bacteria. After that, the second set kicks in called the nitrIte-to-nitrAte converting bacteria. The reason why you want to cycle your tank is because ammonia and nitrite are very hazardous to your fish. Thats why people wonder why all their fish die within 1-2 weeks after dumping it in the tank. After ammonia and nitrite get broken down into nitrAte, it is far less toxic to the fish and can tolerate this to quite a high amount before being affected. Weekly water changes also must be done to keep nitrAte levels at therapeutic level.

You must have a source of ammonia to cycle a tank, whether it be by fish, or by straight ammonia from hardware stores. In order to measure these 3 toxin concentration levels in a tank, you must have some sort of test kit. I prefer the liquid kind, test strips do not work. If you cycle with fish, you must do water changes to prevent the toxins from getting too high. If you cycle fishless, you dont need to worry about that. To cycle a tank faster, you can "seed" a tank by adding a used filter cartridge from another persons tank because this "used" filter, houses ALOT of benefical bacteria necessary for cycling.

If you decide to do live plants, you will need some sort of light fixture that gives off 6700K color or anything close it between 5000k-10,000K. Also, the appropriate watts per gallon, each plant has its own requirements. Also, some sort of high nutrient substrate such as Flourite that Longtail mentioned or Eco-Complete or Amazonian Aquasoil or etc. Or you can make your own with Top soil in the first layer and plain gravel on the top. The light fixtures and appropriate substrate will rarely be sold in Chain Stores. I know of only ONE petco within 50 miles of my area that sells Eco-Complete and good light fixtures. You might have to go to a store that works primarily with fish and planted tanks.
 
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Welcome to the forum.
 
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