Aquarium Forum banner

1 - 19 of 19 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
126 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everybody, I'm new to the forums and as well as new to having an aquarium (properly).

I have had a 10 gallon tank when I was around 14, and didn't have any true understanding of the various needs of the fish, and pretty much had anywhere from 20-50 fish (had angels, neon tetras, bala/tri colored sharks, goldfish, zebra danios, tiger barbs, guppies, black neons, painted tetras, etc) inside it at any one point. Yup, very foolish.

However, I am 21 now, and have recently been desiring to restart this hobby. I intend to do my research now, but am ultimately having some trouble understanding what the various processes are, and what products I should get that are the best I can get for my money's worth (I'm still just a jobless college student in the end =P ). Thus, I am hoping that others that are more knowledgeable than myself such as you guys, will show me the way and ensure I do not make past mistakes.

Moving on, the first issue I have is finding an appropriate fish tank. I have thus far pretty much went to every fish/pet store nearby my area (about 6), and have spent many hours for several days trying to find the right tank, but the various and confusing pricing along with the deals and kits that I do not know if they are even good or necessary turned my brain to mush. Could any of you recommend or suggest some brands/specific tanks to start me off? Here is what I am looking for:
1. 20 - 40 gallon freshwater tank (ideal is around 30)
2. Though I am not sure, Acrylic sounds best? It is apparently stronger than glass, and far less heavier (I will have to move often at least every year since I am a college student living off campus). Any thoughts?
3. I find myself a little bored with the typical rectangular designed fish tanks, I've been looking around for something a bit more innovative such as Biube/Biocube/Biorb. Looks aren't big preference, but if you happen to know of any that may be what I need and have the looks, why not?
4. Budget for the tank is around 100-400$ depending on what is included along with the tank. 200 and lower if its just the tank, 200+ if its one of those fancy hi tech ones with preinstalled filters/yadda yaddas.


Next question would be what sort of filtration system/heater/other products that I should get (assuming you didn't recommend one of those all in one aquariums such as the BioCube)?


During my research within these past few days, I've come across this cycling method that I wasn't aware of back when I was young. It seems that I had missed a very important lesson because it seems to be mandatory. So far, I've read too many guides that have ultimately served to confuzzle me as to what the best method is, so could anybody give me a "Cycling for Dumbies" rehash? As much as I'd like to be patient and ensure the best for my fish (I am very meticulous with my interest and do care about doing things correctly), but I may not have the "up to 8 weeks" of cycling time that some of these guides keep suggesting. I would end up having midterms by then and I'd like to be able to accomplish this by then as a stress reliever =P. So what should I do or buy in order to ensure a proper cycling while shaving off some time?


As for fish, I have read enough now to know about the 1 inch of fish per gallon rule. However, I have also been told that I could possibly add more fish depending on the filtration that I have available. How accurate is this? I do admit that I'd like to have as many fish as reasonably possible even if it meant spending more money on better filtration. Any suggestions or thoughts?


Lastly (for now), the fish. This is what I am sure of getting so far unless some of you prove otherwise. Keep in mind that I am trying to stick with fishes on the leaner/smaller side in order to maximize the number of fish I can add to the tank (also because the wider/bigger fish tend to look more unattractive to me). Also, if I mention any fish that grow significantly larger and may thus ruin the 1 inch/gallon rule, please let me know. However, I don't intend to keep them once they exceed undesirable size, I will just return them back to the shop.
1. 3- 5 Glofish electric green/orange - These are apparently genetically engineered danios?
2. 1 Bottomfeeder? From what I've been reading around, a pleco seems to be one of the most popular choices?
3. 1 red tail shark or 1 rainbow shark
4. I've been searching everywhere for cardinal tetras, but I have had no luck.
5. I've absolutely fallen in love with the Black Ghost Knife fish, but I realized that it is beyond my caliber at the moment and thus I will likely wait till I have more experience (even if I do keep it, I don't intend to keep it past 8 inches or so since it apparently can grow up to 20 inches)

Other than those, I've looked at glolite tetras, clown coach, white clouds, gold sailfin mollies, and some rasboras, but I'm not too impressed. Any other suggestions?


Thanks for your time guys, I really appreciate any comments good or bad, I understand that there is much I need to learn. I also apologize in advance if I had asked any "stupid" questions, I just really need to make sure I'm going the right direction.
 

·
Inspired.
Joined
·
138 Posts
We have a very similar background in this hobby.
Anyways, if you think you'll be moving around a lot, keeping an aquarium might not be such a good idea. Many issues occur when you have to take the tank apart and put it back together.
 

·
"coffee" addict
Joined
·
12 Posts
Hello everybody, I'm new to the forums and as well as new to having an aquarium (properly).

I have had a 10 gallon tank when I was around 14, and didn't have any true understanding of the various needs of the fish, and pretty much had anywhere from 20-50 fish (had angels, neon tetras, bala/tri colored sharks, goldfish, zebra danios, tiger barbs, guppies, black neons, painted tetras, etc) inside it at any one point. Yup, very foolish.

However, I am 21 now, and have recently been desiring to restart this hobby. I intend to do my research now, but am ultimately having some trouble understanding what the various processes are, and what products I should get that are the best I can get for my money's worth (I'm still just a jobless college student in the end =P ). Thus, I am hoping that others that are more knowledgeable than myself such as you guys, will show me the way and ensure I do not make past mistakes.

Moving on, the first issue I have is finding an appropriate fish tank. I have thus far pretty much went to every fish/pet store nearby my area (about 6), and have spent many hours for several days trying to find the right tank, but the various and confusing pricing along with the deals and kits that I do not know if they are even good or necessary turned my brain to mush. Could any of you recommend or suggest some brands/specific tanks to start me off? Here is what I am looking for:
1. 20 - 40 gallon freshwater tank (ideal is around 30)
get the biggest tank you can afford. you will thank yourself later. look on craigslist. at times there are many great deals on used tanks. just make sure the tank you get holds water before you buy it.
2. Though I am not sure, Acrylic sounds best? It is apparently stronger than glass, and far less heavier (I will have to move often at least every year since I am a college student living off campus). Any thoughts?acrylic is lighter but does scratch much easier. just something to think about.
3. I find myself a little bored with the typical rectangular designed fish tanks, I've been looking around for something a bit more innovative such as Biube/Biocube/Biorb. Looks aren't big preference, but if you happen to know of any that may be what I need and have the looks, why not?
4. Budget for the tank is around 100-400$ depending on what is included along with the tank. 200 and lower if its just the tank, 200+ if its one of those fancy hi tech ones with preinstalled filters/yadda yaddas.


Next question would be what sort of filtration system/heater/other products that I should get (assuming you didn't recommend one of those all in one aquariums such as the BioCube)?
i usually recommend and use double the filtration on the tank. for instance if you get a 20g, get enough filtration for 40g's. the heater will depend on the size of tank.

During my research within these past few days, I've come across this cycling method that I wasn't aware of back when I was young. It seems that I had missed a very important lesson because it seems to be mandatory. So far, I've read too many guides that have ultimately served to confuzzle me as to what the best method is, so could anybody give me a "Cycling for Dumbies" rehash? As much as I'd like to be patient and ensure the best for my fish (I am very meticulous with my interest and do care about doing things correctly), but I may not have the "up to 8 weeks" of cycling time that some of these guides keep suggesting. I would end up having midterms by then and I'd like to be able to accomplish this by then as a stress reliever =P. So what should I do or buy in order to ensure a proper cycling while shaving off some time?


As for fish, I have read enough now to know about the 1 inch of fish per gallon rule. However, I have also been told that I could possibly add more fish depending on the filtration that I have available. How accurate is this? I do admit that I'd like to have as many fish as reasonably possible even if it meant spending more money on better filtration. Any suggestions or thoughts?

the one inch per gallon rule is not a good rule to go by. there are many other factors to consider when putting fish into a tank. things to consider are how big the fish will be when full grown. what is the bioload of the fish (how much does it poop). some fish require more room to swim around because they are very active. you could use the one inch per gallon rule and put 5 zebra danios in a 5g but since they are very active fish they really wouldnt have enough room to swim around like they would like to do.
Lastly (for now), the fish. This is what I am sure of getting so far unless some of you prove otherwise. Keep in mind that I am trying to stick with fishes on the leaner/smaller side in order to maximize the number of fish I can add to the tank (also because the wider/bigger fish tend to look more unattractive to me). Also, if I mention any fish that grow significantly larger and may thus ruin the 1 inch/gallon rule, please let me know. However, I don't intend to keep them once they exceed undesirable size, I will just return them back to the shop.
1. 3- 5 Glofish electric green/orange - These are apparently genetically engineered danios?
2. 1 Bottomfeeder? From what I've been reading around, a pleco seems to be one of the most popular choices?make sure you dont get a common pleco, they get way to big for a smaller tank and have a huge bio load. i would suggest a rubber lip plec or a bristle nose plec for a 20-30g tank.
3. 1 red tail shark or 1 rainbow shark these fish get huge some species can get up to a foot long, i wouldnt put them in anything smaller than a 150g
4. I've been searching everywhere for cardinal tetras, but I have had no luck.
5. I've absolutely fallen in love with the Black Ghost Knife fish, but I realized that it is beyond my caliber at the moment and thus I will likely wait till I have more experience (even if I do keep it, I don't intend to keep it past 8 inches or so since it apparently can grow up to 20 inches)

Other than those, I've looked at glolite tetras, clown coach, white clouds, gold sailfin mollies, and some rasboras, but I'm not too impressed. Any other suggestions?
glo lights are awesome little fish and you could have several in the tank you are thinking of. clown loaches are schooling fish you would need to get 3+ of them to keep them happy and they get too big for a 30g. white clouds are a type of minnow and are a cold water fish. the others you mentioned are tropical. it can be done but you would have to watch the temp of the tank carefully.

Thanks for your time guys, I really appreciate any comments good or bad, I understand that there is much I need to learn. I also apologize in advance if I had asked any "stupid" questions, I just really need to make sure I'm going the right direction.


as for the cycling for dummies. you will need a good water tester to start. i use the API freshwater liquid testers. and then you will need some ammonia. plain ammonia no additives, no dyes or perfumes.
after you set up the tank, put enough ammonia in it to test at around 5ppm. and leave it there until the ammonia level starts to drop. and nitrites show up. once the nitrites show up keep the ammonia levels about 2ppm. at this point you may need to test 2x a day. its important to keep the levels at 2ppm until both ammonia and nitrite levels are at 0ppm and you have some nitrates. when both ammonia and nitrates are at 0ppm and you have some nitrates your cycle is complete. also during cycling a tank it is important not to clean anything. dont change any water. no gravel vacuuming, just leave it to cycle. when the cycle is complete you do a large water change and get fish.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
126 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
as for the cycling for dummies. you will need a good water tester to start. i use the API freshwater liquid testers. and then you will need some ammonia. plain ammonia no additives, no dyes or perfumes.
after you set up the tank, put enough ammonia in it to test at around 5ppm. and leave it there until the ammonia level starts to drop. and nitrites show up. once the nitrites show up keep the ammonia levels about 2ppm. at this point you may need to test 2x a day. its important to keep the levels at 2ppm until both ammonia and nitrite levels are at 0ppm and you have some nitrates. when both ammonia and nitrates are at 0ppm and you have some nitrates your cycle is complete. also during cycling a tank it is important not to clean anything. dont change any water. no gravel vacuuming, just leave it to cycle. when the cycle is complete you do a large water change and get fish.
Ok so this is what I managed to get so far.

30 Gallon glass Marineland fishtank + Thermometer + Marineland Stealth 150 W/45gallon Heater + Aquaclear Power Filter 50 - 159.99
Stand - 139.99

So far, I rinsed out the tank, the gravel, installed the heater/filter. I also put in about 25 drops of some product called Genesis (not sure how good that is) to clear the chemicals. I'm letting the filter just run its course for now, I intend to get the ammonia/etc tomorrow or the day after. Anything else I should be aware of?
 

·
Inspired.
Joined
·
138 Posts
You should also buy a test kit for ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates. This will be needed for the cycling process. If you want to shorten your cycling time, go ahead and start searching for a product called SafeStart by Tetra. This will introduce the bacteria needed for cycling. If you have patience, you can just wait. Haha..it'll take a long time though. I'm on my 4th week and I suspect another week or two.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
89 Posts
Anything else I should be aware of?
if you're doing a fish-less cycle, be sure to let the tank cycle for a good two weeks. if you want to do a cycle with fish, i suggest you ask your lfs(local fish store) for "hardy" community typed fish, or goldfish.
 

·
"coffee" addict
Joined
·
12 Posts
You should also buy a test kit for ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates.
this is a good point, you definately want a good freshwater tester when you put the ammonia in your tank. i use and recommend API freshwater liquid testers.

Ok so this is what I managed to get so far.

30 Gallon glass Marineland fishtank + Thermometer + Marineland Stealth 150 W/45gallon Heater + Aquaclear Power Filter 50 - 159.99
Stand - 139.99

So far, I rinsed out the tank, the gravel, installed the heater/filter. I also put in about 25 drops of some product called Genesis (not sure how good that is) to clear the chemicals. I'm letting the filter just run its course for now, I intend to get the ammonia/etc tomorrow or the day after. Anything else I should be aware of?
when you are ready to put the ammonia in the tank, dont put in too much. start with maybe a capful, it doesnt take a lot, ppm stands for parts per million,you only want to start with 4-5ppm. then wait an hour or so for the water and ammonia to circulate and mix. then use the ammonia tester to see what the levels are. dont worry if it is a little over, but if not enough then add a few more drops and check it again once it circulates for a while.

also its important once you start a fishless cycle do not clean anything in the tank or filter, this will slow down the cycling process. test the water for ammonia each day, after a few days you will see the ammonia levels start to drop. this is when you bring them back up to 5ppm.

once the ammonia levels start to drop this is when you start testing for nitrites. once you start seeing nitrites only bring the ammonia levels up to 2-3ppm.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
307 Posts
You bought an excellent filter...I have that exact one for my 20L gallon tank and it's great. For a dechlorinator for tap water, I always use and highly recommend Prime by Seachem. It's a great product that a lot of aquarists use. It also is highly concentrated so you get the most bang for your buck.

Sounds like you're on your way! Congrats! *w2
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
126 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
if you're doing a fish-less cycle, be sure to let the tank cycle for a good two weeks. if you want to do a cycle with fish, i suggest you ask your lfs(local fish store) for "hardy" community typed fish, or goldfish.
Sigh...

So I decided to do the cycling with fish, I didn't trust myself to do it properly by adding the ammonia myself (I haven't been able to read the advice given towards it until after having gotten some "hardy" fish.

I bought 3 white clouds, and 3 neon tetras, recommended as hardy by the pet store. Since there, here is my sad sad report...

white clouds - 1 is no where to be found, tank has nothing in it except the gravel, I assume it jumped out (which I didn't think it could) - presumed dead.

neon tetras - 2 are already dead, one started distancing itself from the little trio and stayed towards the top making odd circular swimming patterns, I had it quarantined soon after because I've read about the Neon Tetra Disease, but it died. The other was found stuck about 30 minutes later to the intake of filter (even though it seemed healthy), and is dead. Just found the last one stuck to the intake as well but turned off the filter and managed to save it. I'm beginning to suspect if this AquaClear Power Filter 50 generates just too strong of a current for the little guys to handle.

-_- So far, I'm doing a terrible job guys, I don't get what I'm doing wrong, I've followed a nice medium of everybody's opinions including the pet stores on tank cleaning, filtering, quality of products... etc.

Edit: Ugh, nvm I guess I didn't save the third neon tetra on time from the grips of the evil filter, it's dying as we speak. The two remaining white clouds seem fine however. I wish I knew where the other one went to though...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
216 Posts
The pet store employee that told you that neon tetra's are hardy fish is completely wrong. They tend to be one of the more picky with regard to water quality and specifically ammonia levels than some other fish. I wouldn't trust them if I were you, and if you have the option maybe try a different store. White clouds are pretty hardy and may survive the cycling process. Cycling with fish is always a gamble.

The filter is not the problem. A healthy fish won't get stuck in the filter intake unless it's wildly overpowered (yours isnt). The fishes are being rendered ill by the ammonia and nitrite levels. Specifically ammonia at this point in the cycle, and close to death they get stuck to the filter intake, because they don't have enough energy to swim away.

With a fish-in cycle, you'll have to do fairly regular water changes to try and keep the ammonia levels down. Unfortunately, it may also prolong the cycle.

Alternately, it may be a good idea to get a mass of quick growing, nutrient sucking plants to complete what could be called a "silent cycle" because the plants can absorb ammonia before it becomes really harmful to the fish. Of course this requires enough light for the plants. The ones you want are anacharis, vals, or hornwort. Buy lots of them, bunches, and throw them in, the only ones that need be planted are vals. Another option is to ask a friend or a LFS if you can steal some biomedia-from and established tank to help the nitrifying bacteria colonies build in your filter/tank. It doesn't matter if it's ceramic balls, rings, or sponges. Anything that holds the bacteria, even decor can work.

Try not to get too frustrated. We all make mistakes in this hobby, especially when starting out. I'd wager a guess that most of us have killed fish due to our negligence or purely by accident. When I first started, I was transferring fish to a new tank and I didn't check the bag after I thought I had all the fish out. Turns out I left two little rasbora's in the bag and didn't find them until the next morning. I was so sad I almost quit right there, but I kept going and can now say that it's all been very rewarding. Just keep researching and learning from your mistakes and you'll have a happy established tank before you know it!

Did you get yourself a liquid test kit yet? If so, you should be checking ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels every day. Let us know what your results are.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
126 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Uuh, I found genesis in a local store of mine. Is it any good? One of the store guys told me that it also introduces the bacteria necessary for cycling, but I don't see any mention of it on the label.

I'm going to go get the water tested tomorrow, I'll post up the results.

For now, I have

5 White Clouds - Seems to be doing pretty healthy, though they don't school as much as I thought they would.
1 Rainbow Shark - So far it doesn't seem to be aggressive, even despite how small the white clouds are in comparison.

I've been thinking about giving back the white clouds after the cycling process is done, they aren't as attractive as some of the other fishes.

The next fishes on my list to consider:
5-6 Green Tiger Barbs - Any opinions? I know they are aggressive, but I've been reading everywhere that they won't disturb others if they have their own pack, anybody got experience with them in a community tank?
1 Reticulated Hillstream Loach - I haven't found as much info on this compared to others, are they fine on their own? They don't seem to grow that much in size so it seems fine.
5 Glofish - The genetically altered danios, I think they won't be much of a hassle?
1 Roseline Shark - It is just a consideration since I have another shark that is apparently territorial. It is also incredibly expensive, any idea why? I found only a few resources on caring for it as well. Is it hardy?
5 Glolight tetras - They are prettier than the white clouds so far, so I intend to swap them. But meh, they aren't that great.
1 Black Ghost Knife Fish - The younglings are around 4 inches, I don't intend to keep them past 6 inches or so, I'd be returning them and keep them small. I won't be considering this fish until way later on however.

Any other suggestions are always welcomed. Thanks so much everybody for the help
 

·
"coffee" addict
Joined
·
12 Posts
The pet store employee that told you that neon tetra's are hardy fish is completely wrong. They tend to be one of the more picky with regard to water quality and specifically ammonia levels than some other fish. I wouldn't trust them if I were you, and if you have the option maybe try a different store. White clouds are pretty hardy and may survive the cycling process. Cycling with fish is always a gamble.

The filter is not the problem. A healthy fish won't get stuck in the filter intake unless it's wildly overpowered (yours isnt). The fishes are being rendered ill by the ammonia and nitrite levels. Specifically ammonia at this point in the cycle, and close to death they get stuck to the filter intake, because they don't have enough energy to swim away.

With a fish-in cycle, you'll have to do fairly regular water changes to try and keep the ammonia levels down. Unfortunately, it may also prolong the cycle.

Alternately, it may be a good idea to get a mass of quick growing, nutrient sucking plants to complete what could be called a "silent cycle" because the plants can absorb ammonia before it becomes really harmful to the fish. Of course this requires enough light for the plants. The ones you want are anacharis, vals, or hornwort. Buy lots of them, bunches, and throw them in, the only ones that need be planted are vals. Another option is to ask a friend or a LFS if you can steal some biomedia-from and established tank to help the nitrifying bacteria colonies build in your filter/tank. It doesn't matter if it's ceramic balls, rings, or sponges. Anything that holds the bacteria, even decor can work.

Try not to get too frustrated. We all make mistakes in this hobby, especially when starting out. I'd wager a guess that most of us have killed fish due to our negligence or purely by accident. When I first started, I was transferring fish to a new tank and I didn't check the bag after I thought I had all the fish out. Turns out I left two little rasbora's in the bag and didn't find them until the next morning. I was so sad I almost quit right there, but I kept going and can now say that it's all been very rewarding. Just keep researching and learning from your mistakes and you'll have a happy established tank before you know it!

Did you get yourself a liquid test kit yet? If so, you should be checking ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels every day. Let us know what your results are.
i agree with this post ^^^^100%.

the hillstream loach is a social fish and needs more than one in highly oxygenated stream like environment. here is some info about them.
Hillstream Loach Care Poster — Loaches Online

i know you said that you will get rid of them before they get too big for your tank but the black ghostknife is more than likely going to be picked on by the barbs, regardless if you have a nice shoal of them or not. sometimes the flowing fins are too much of a temptation for the barbs.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
126 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
So it has been what, 4 days since I got fish. I had the water tested yesterday and everything tested for low (I went to the pet store to test it).

Currently it has:
1 Rainbow Shark (2-3 inches)
6 Glofish Zebra Danios
5 White Clouds
5 Green Tiger Barbs (1 removed to a separate tank)

What testers do you guys recommend? I feel as though those color strip ones aren't very accurate.

Any recommendations on what sort of foods? Right now I'm using Omega One Flakes and Brine Shrimp. I'm not sure how often the fish should get to have the brine shrimp though.

I currently have an injured Tiger Barb with it's fin nipped off. It's also the runt of the litter, so I had it removed to a clean (just had it dechlorinated) warmer (around 77 degrees) 3 gallon side tank. I'm not sure if this was wise, but the other barbs were picking at it when they would get in contact. Any way for me to be able to care for this guy? I'm not sure how fast fins grow back, if at all... I'm not sure whose the culprit of the fin nipping either, it was quite a huge chunk though. I would suspect the rainbow shark, but he's quite docile except when the tiger barbs come to its small territory, and even then it only just chases them.

Are there any other side products that you guys recommend I get?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
307 Posts
The API Master Kits for freshwater are great. I would recommend not using the test strips, they are not very accurate. Watch for ammonia carefully with all of those fish, it can spike quickly. If you see any traces of it, do a water change, enough to not have it show in a water test. Maybe 20% change or so. I would go get the liquid test kit soon and check the water parameters every day, maybe more if you're seeing ammonia.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
126 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
The API Master Kits for freshwater are great. I would recommend not using the test strips, they are not very accurate. Watch for ammonia carefully with all of those fish, it can spike quickly. If you see any traces of it, do a water change, enough to not have it show in a water test. Maybe 20% change or so. I would go get the liquid test kit soon and check the water parameters every day, maybe more if you're seeing ammonia.
But if I do a water change to the point that it wouldn't show on a water test, aren't I taking away the point of cycling because I'm always removing the Ammonia?

And I do a 10-20% water change every day for the moment because I'm aware I have a lot of fish so early.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
126 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Update:

I got the tank rechecked for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate levels again, and it is pretty much showing as zero. The pet store people are confuzzled as well.

My tiger barbs seem very stressed though, they are pointing nose down and breathing very heavily, and stay stationary instead of swimming in a nice pack all around the place like they used to on the first day.

I'm very baffled.
 
1 - 19 of 19 Posts
Top