Costs of a 30 - 40 gallon tank with some neon tetras.

fastzander

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In light of the responses to my first post (https://www.fishforums.net/threads/...ld-like-estimates-of-the-likely-costs.480202/), as well as some further research, I've been able to nail down what I might start with if I get into fishkeeping slightly more precisely. I've vetoed the prospect of a saltwater aquarium and have decided that, if I do this, I'll at least start with a freshwater aquarium instead, because these seem to be repeatedly cited as cheaper, less difficult/time-consuming to maintain, and as requiring less equipment than saltwater aquariums. I've also decided what fish I might start with---neon tetras, because, again, these seem to be repeatedly cited as a cheap, easy-to-care-for beginner fish.

In light of the above, I'd like to re-ask the questions from my first post. What do people here think the approximate initial monetary cost, ongoing monetary costs, and ongoing time commitment of a 30 to 40 gallon tank containing maybe 20 - 25 neon tetras might be? Would this require any further initial big-ticket paraphernalia other than a tank, a cabinet, a hang-on-the-back filter, a heater, a light, fake plants, substrate, a smaller quarantine tank, and the stock itself? (I know that I'd need ongoing supplies such as food, water purifier, water testing kits, etc. too, but I'm just trying to get a handle on the things I should start shopping around for and looking into the prices of).

Basically, could this be done competently at between $1,000 and not much more than $2,000 dollars initial cost, and not much more than 1 hour per week?
 
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AmyKieran

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In light of the responses to my first post (https://www.fishforums.net/threads/...ld-like-estimates-of-the-likely-costs.480202/), as well as some further research, I've been able to nail down what I might start with if I get into fishkeeping slightly more precisely. I've vetoed the prospect of a saltwater aquarium and have decided that, if I do this, I'll at least start with a freshwater aquarium instead, because these seem to be repeatedly cited as cheaper, less difficult/time-consuming to maintain, and as requiring less equipment than saltwater aquariums. I've also decided what fish I might start with---neon tetras, because, again, these seem to be repeatedly cited as a cheap, easy-to-care-for beginner fish.

In light of the above, I'd like to re-ask the questions from my first post. What do people here think the approximate initial monetary cost, ongoing monetary costs, and ongoing time commitment of a 30 to 40 gallon tank containing maybe 20 - 25 neon tetras might be? Would this require any further initial big-ticket paraphernalia other than a tank, a cabinet, a hang-on-the-back filter, a heater, a light, fake plants, substrate, a smaller quarantine tank, and the stock itself? (I know that I'd need ongoing supplies such as food, water purifier, water testing kits, etc. too, but I'm just trying to get a handle on the things I should start shopping around for and looking into the prices of).
Cost could vary from place to place, and where you get things from (new or preowned) just be careful when buying preowned as it might come back to bite you. If the previous owner has not cleaned equipment properly it could water parameter issues and hence issues with fish health. In terms of time; again depending on setup. Ide recommend water changes at least once a week of at least 30% maybe more aswell as 3 monthly filter cleans for external and 1 month filter cleans for internals. It’s your opinion obviously but I would personally aim higher than just neons. Having 25 neons in a 40 gallon tank is gunna be extremely boring but up to you. I own African cichlids in my 40 gallon and I love it, other than Africans tho I don’t know much about other fish. Feel free to ask any questions and I’ll try my best to answer :)
 
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fastzander

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Cost could vary from place to place, and where you get things from (new or preowned) just be careful when buying preowned as it might come back to bite you. If the previous owner has not cleaned equipment properly it could water parameter issues and hence issues with fish health. In terms of time; again depending on setup. Ide recommend water changes at least once a week of at least 30% maybe more aswell as 3 monthly filter cleans for external and 1 month filter cleans for internals. It’s your opinion obviously but I would personally aim higher than just neons. Having 25 neons in a 40 gallon tank is gunna be extremely boring but up to you. I own African cichlids in my 40 gallon and I love it, other than Africans tho I don’t know much about other fish. Feel free to ask any questions and I’ll try my best to answer :)
Eh, at this stage I don't really care if a given fish will be "boring". Before I think about which fish I find "interesting" I'd prefer to verify that I can perform the basic tasks of setting up a tank, circulating a tank, checking the chemical levels, introducing the fish, feeding the fish, performing water changes and cleaning the paraphernalia in such a way that I can avoid killing the poor critters in the first place. For that, I'd prefer the peace-of-mind of the cheapest, most idiot-proof fish there is. Understand that these will be my first pets, and that I'm a somewhat neurotic, unconfident person in general. After a few months, when/if I feel reassured that, yeah, I can take care of some damn fish, then I'll start considering what I find interesting.
 

Colin_T

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You should be able to set up a basic 3 foot tank on a metal stand with an AquaClear HOB filter, light, some gravel, plants, heater for around $1000.

Neons aren't necessarily the toughest fish, it depends on the batch. Some are good and some are not.

Before you get any fish you should find out what the pH, GH & KH of your water supply is. This information can usually be obtained from your water supply company's website or by telephoning them. If they can't help you, take a glass full of tap water to the local pet shop and get them to test it for you. Write the results down (in numbers) when they do the tests. And ask them what the results are in (eg: ppm, dGH, or something else).

Depending on what the GH of your water is, will determine what fish you should keep.

Angelfish, most tetras, barbs, Bettas, gouramis, rasbora, Corydoras and small species of suckermouth catfish all occur in soft water (GH below 150ppm) and a pH below 7.0.

Livebearers (guppies, platies, swordtails, mollies), rainbowfish and goldfish occur in medium hard water with a GH around 200-250ppm and a pH above 7.0.

If you have very hard water (GH above 300ppm) then look at African Rift Lake cichlids, or use distilled or reverse osmosis water to reduce the GH and keep fishes from softer water.

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Time wise, if set up properly, you might spend 5-10 minutes a day feeding the fish. You can spend more time feeding if you like but most people simply add a bit of food and walk away. I used to sit in front of each tank and feed a bit at a time and watch the fish eating.

Then once a week you could spend 1-2 hours water changing and cleaning the tank. With practice you can reduce this time. For example, when I had a fishroom, I used to be able to water change and clean 40 tanks in half a day. But when first starting out most people spend a couple of hours water changing and cleaning the tank, and over time they refine their process and reduce the time taken.

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If you have artificial plants, you won't need the light on much and it can be on for a couple of hours in the evening. If you have the light on all day and there are no live plants in the tank, you will get lots of algae growing in the tank.

Live plants aren't that hard to grow and floating plants like Water Sprite (Ceratopteris thalictroides/ cornuta) will grow rapidly on the surface and this plant can even be planted in the gravel.

Ambulia and Hygrophila polysperma are also good plants that do well in most tanks.
 

AmyKieran

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Eh, at this stage I don't really care if a given fish will be "boring". Before I think about which fish I find "interesting" I'd prefer to verify that I can perform the basic tasks of setting up a tank, circulating a tank, checking the chemical levels, introducing the fish, feeding the fish, performing water changes and cleaning the paraphernalia in such a way that I can avoid killing the poor critters in the first place. For that, I'd prefer the peace-of-mind of the cheapest, most idiot-proof fish there is. Understand that these will be my first pets, and that I'm a somewhat neurotic, unconfident person in general. After a few months, when/if I feel reassured that, yeah, I can take care of some damn fish, then I'll start considering what I find interesting.
What are you then going to do with the tetras after a few months then? Also if you do that you may be leading yourself into a false sense of security. Taking care of a fully stocked tank of cichlids with bottom feeders if much different to taking care of an under stocked neon tank. Taking care of the neons alone will probably be very easy and not require much maintenance / water parameter issues at all due to the fact there aren’t enough fish to change anything drastically.
 
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fastzander

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What are you then going to do with the tetras after a few months then? Also if you do that you may be leading yourself into a false sense of security. Taking care of a fully stocked tank of cichlids with bottom feeders if much different to taking care of an under stocked neon tank. Taking care of the neons alone will probably be very easy and not require much maintenance / water parameter issues at all due to the fact there aren’t enough fish to change anything drastically.
I'm certainly not going to abandon the tetras after a few months, if that was the impression I gave. I'll absolutely keep them for as long as they survive. Just making the point that I don't care if the tetras would be "boring", because I'd be rearing them more for the sake of learning the basics of the activity than for fun unto itself (again, don't take this as meaning that I wouldn't try to care for them to the best of my ability for as long as they survive---I would). If I were to branch out to other species, I'd do the research re. how to care for them, first---I'd never assume that care for any one species would be the same as that for any other.
 

AmyKieran

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I'm certainly not going to abandon the tetras after a few months, if that was the impression I gave. I'll absolutely keep them for as long as they survive. Just making the point that I don't care if the tetras would be "boring", because I'd be rearing them more for the sake of learning the basics of the activity than for fun unto itself (again, don't take this as meaning that I wouldn't try to care for them to the best of my ability for as long as they survive---I would). If I were to branch out to other species, I'd do the research re. how to care for that, first---I'd never assume that care for any one species would be the same as that for any other.
Ahh okay :) well are you familiar with actually how to clean filters, glass, gravel etc? Or any other questions you would like to ask about actually how to actually do things? Sorry if I seem condescending I don’t know how much you know/ don’t
 

wasmewasntit

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Fishkeeping can be as expensive (or inexpensive) as you want it to be.

If you go for the best/most well known manufacturer of the aquarium and its ancilliaries, then expect to pay more than if you go with a lesser known manufacturer.....

For example...my current set up.

I have a 200 litre aquarium, with stand, hood and lighting. It has artificial silicone planting and ceramic rock caves and other aquascaping with a mix of micro gravel and sand substrate.

The aquarium, stand and hood are Diversa....which is a subsidiary of Aquael. total cost was £290
The gravel, plants, substrate came to around £100
The filtration....1 x Aquael Turbo 2000 was £35.00 and the Aquael UviFilter 750 was £49.00
Heaters are both Eheim preset 200w, each costing £27.00

If I had bought an identical size aquarium, stand and hood from one of the bigger names such as Fluval or Juwel or even Aquael that entire set up would have cost at least double what I paid for the lesser known manufacturer.

In regard to ongoing costs, I don't use water conditioners or medications since I only use bottled water (due to lousy tapwater), I buy food in bulk and that lasts months when stored in airtight containers. Other one-off purchases like substrate cleaning, glass cleaning, again you can spend as little or as much as you wish.

The fish have been with me for a few years now and they were upgraded to the 200 litre aquarium a couple months ago, prior to that I had 5 x 60 litre aquariums. The single larger aquarium is a lot less time consuming maintenance wise, but you still should set aside at least one hour each week for that maintenance for a larger aquarium.
 
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fastzander

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Ahh okay :) well are you familiar with actually how to clean filters, glass, gravel etc? Or any other questions you would like to ask about actually how to actually do things? Sorry if I seem condescending I don’t know how much you know/ don’t
I'm starting to learn these tasks via short online instruction pages and YouTube videos (mainly to verify that none of it looks too difficult or time-consuming), but I'm not going to go into this in-depth until after I'm sure that I can afford this at all and am going to do it---otherwise, doing so could just turn out to have been a waste of time. (I certainly don't know very much about the hobby as a whole yet. Only read one book plus a few webpages and forums, and watched a few YouTube videos).
 

AmyKieran

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I'm starting to learn these tasks via short online instruction pages and YouTube videos (mainly to verify that none of it looks too difficult or time-consuming), but I'm not going to go into this in-depth until after I'm sure that I can afford this at all and am going to do it---otherwise, doing so could just turn out to have been a waste of time. (I certainly don't know very much about the hobby as a whole yet. Only read one book plus a few webpages and forums, and watched a few YouTube videos).
well good luck :) once the initial prices are paid for and your fish are stocked, apart from price of water and water conditioner (which is pennies), the running cost is relatively low
 

GaryE

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In Canada, I can get a 32 gallon cube tank with lights and filter online for $449, CAD. If I don't have a sturdy table (wood, not presswood, solidly made) and have to buy a stand, the sales site I randomly chose wants $249 for one. If my house ranges between 21-24 degrees and I want neons (that species likes around 23), no heater. If it's colder indoors, a heater is around $50.
Most filters and LED light set ups use very little power. heaters cost a bit more, but it's relative.
Pool filter gravel for a tanks that size = $15.
I don't know the price of plastic plants.

If your goal is the look, neons are great.

So you will need to change 25-30% weekly. Depending on how you do it, maintenance like that will take about 30 minutes. You spend more time getting what you need out than using it. 5 minutes a day feeding.

In time, you will probably opt for easy to keep low light plants as they reduce cleaning needs and look way better.

I buy food, and dechlorinator. That's all.

So in Canada, you would be up and running for $600 with a table, $850 with an overpriced stand.
 

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