BRAND NEW! HELP!

Beckyknapp

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Hey! I've always wanted a tropical fish tank, i want to do it properly though, i've looked into keeping tropical fish and have reserached some basics but i need help with whats the best tank to get, which water testing products are best, which fish go with which, heating in the tank, all the beginner basic stuff please!
 
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Hi and welcome to the forum and to the hobby! :)

Agreed with @PhantomCarp , it's best to break it down into stages and work from there. If you have your heart set on having a certain kind of fish, then that will determine what tank size is needed, which will determine what heating arrangement and filtration to use, etc. Most people have a limited space to put a tank, so measuring that space and deciding on what's the biggest tank you want to go for right now, will give you a place to start researching what you can keep in with it. Do you know what fish you like the look of?

Also agreed on the API Master Test kit being the gold standard water testing in the hobby. It's probably the only thing hobbyists won't debate about. It might look pricey when you compare it to dip strips, but it's far more accurate, and actually gives you a lot more tests than any of the dip strips. Dip strip tests can you give you a rough guide on if things are wrong in a pinch, but they can also be useless and inaccurate, and be frustrating when you're trying to cycle a tank or solve a crisis and need to know the right numbers to solve the issue.

Kudos to you for not just rushing out and buying a tank and fish, then worrying about research later! That's an understandable mistake that a lot of people new to the hobby make, and leads to most of the beginning mistakes that can be rough on fish and new hobbyists. You've done absolutely the right thing in waiting and wanting to learn more before going there, which is a sign that you'll be a great fish keeper :)
 

essjay

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The first piece of advice is ignore everything a shop tells you. You would think they should know but so many workers haven't a clue and make things up to get a sale.
Always do your own research. Ask on here or look at fish on https://www.seriouslyfish.com/knowledge-base/ Anyone can set up a website and sound like an expert, but this site is written by experts.

Most tanks in the UK come as a complete set with the tank, lighting, filter and heater. Get the largest that will fit and you can afford.


Think about whether you want live plants or fake ones. It makes a difference to the way a tank is prepared for fish.
If you choose fake plants, you need to do a fishless cycle the tank before you can get fish. If you choose live plants, and more than just the odd one or two, the tank is cycled differently. Rather than throw a lot of information at you now, we can discuss these once you have bought a tank.

Look on your water company's website for hardness. If they give it, you need a number and the unit of measurement (there are several different units) rather than some vague words. Hardness in important for fish and we should aim to keep fish which come from water with a similar hardness to our tap water.



Finally, my first piece of advice again. Don't listen to what the shop says.
 

Lajos_Detari

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I have no idea about UK aquarium size.

But to me, if you can start with at least a 20 gallons long [ 75 cm(L) x 30 cm(W) x 30 cm(H) ] or 29 gallons [75 cm(L) x 30 cm(W) x 45 cm(H) ] tank will be the best for any beginner.

Big tank will be easier to keep the water stable and prevent your fish from unnecessarily death.
Also, you can have more choices of fish where you won't regret later.
Never get a small tank where it will become of little use to you.
Small tank is only suitable for a single Betta fish.
 
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Beckyknapp

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Thank you! Ok api. Got it. Tank wise i've seen a 105 litre tetra starter line? Is this any good? I'm not set on getting any specific fish, maybe something colourful as i have young kids, i'll check the hardness of the water on our water website and come back to you! Thank you! In regards to plants, which one is more beneficial for fish? I'm assuming live but could be mistaken!
 

PhantomCarp

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Thank you! Ok api. Got it. Tank wise i've seen a 105 litre tetra starter line? Is this any good? I'm not set on getting any specific fish, maybe something colourful as i have young kids, i'll check the hardness of the water on our water website and come back to you! Thank you! In regards to plants, which one is more beneficial for fish? I'm assuming live but could be mistaken!
Good size tank you have a lot of stock options for it. Live plants are always better. Do you know what a tank cycle is?
 

Lajos_Detari

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Live plants will definitely be useful but you need to sterilize them first.
Look for fast growing plants like Hornworts, Cabomba and Anacharis which will be very useful.
 
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Beckyknapp

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So i've had a look at the hardness and it's telling me i'm in a medium/moderately hard area? I've looked into tank cycling yes, i have read about ammonia, nitrites and nitrates, am i right in saying between 5-6 weeks is a cycle on average. Depending on ammonia levels? Ok how do i sterilise plants?
 
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I know I'm a full noob to this but want to do it right and give my fish the best life! Sorry in advance for all the questions that may get asked all the time or seem basic!
Please don't apologise for having a lot of questions! That's awesome, and shows you're trying to set things up in the best way possible, so people will be very happy to answer them. It's so much easier to give information on all of this before you've set up the tank, than to try to fix the most common beginner crisis, which usually involves a beginner following advice from a fish store employee, buying a too small tank and filling it with too many of the wrong kinds of fish, and the fish have begun to die off. That's much harder to fix and more sad, but also incredibly common. That's why I'm giving you kudos for asking all of these things before rushing out to buy a tank and fish :)
 
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Beckyknapp

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Ok so look for pest free grown plants, I've added the API master test kit to my basket! i'm so interested in keeping fish and i would really like to do it the right way. I have kept goldfish before when i was younger and have realised recently whilst looking into it all that shopkeepers are not that clued up or atleast the majority as i was sold an albino cory catfish to keep as a goldfish, and of course, 11 year old me wondered why it died after a few weeks ‍♀
 

essjay

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Does your water company give hardness as a number anywhere? Words can be misleading - mine says my water is slightly hard but at dH 5 is it soft as far as fish keeping in concerned.


If you want lots of plants you don't need to cycle the tank, the plants will do that for you.
Look on Ebay at the seller k2aqua. He sells shrimp safe plants and a lot of them are grown in vitro so they don't need sterilising. The main trouble we have with plants in the UK is those grown outside the EU and imported because they have to be treated with a snail killing chemical which will kill any shrimps or ornamental snails you may buy.


The main thing about the Tetra Starter line tanks is the filter and heater.
The filter contains a carbon cartridge which is not needed. If you get this tank, before you do anything else replace this cartridge with some filter sponge, any make cut to the same shape. Then just was this sponge and the biofoam media that comes with the filter in old tank water which you take out during a water change.
The heater is preset to 25 deg C which sounds as though it cannot be altered. If this is the case, I would replace it with an adjustable heater.

To be honest, I know they're probably more expensive but I would look at the Juwel Primo 60, or maybe the Eheim Aquastar 54 as they have the same footprint as the Tetra tank but with better equipment. I used to have the older version of the Eheim Aquastar (pre LED lights) and I know that the volume they quote included the air gap you have to leave above the water so it actually holds less than 54 litre. Juwel tanks usually hold nearer the quoted volume. And both tanks come with adjustable heaters and filters which contain sponges, no carbon.
 
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