First Aquarium Photos!

fishjamin

New Member
Joined
Aug 5, 2020
Messages
15
Reaction score
18
Location
Cheshire
Hi all, new member of the forum here, sharing my first tank set up. I've found it really hard to know which way to go with this because after being in 6 different aquatics stores, watched countless YouTube videos and scoured forums I've found I've been told something completely different every single time, all very confusing!

Anyway, the tank is a small 40L, currently with 5 neon tetras as the first inhabitants. The current plan is to put a couple more neons in and maybe a couple of dwarf gouarmis or a fighter, although again jury is out on that pending further advice.

Don't worry about the radiator, it's never switched on!
 

Attachments

Retired Viking

Fish Connoisseur
Joined
Nov 22, 2019
Messages
5,541
Reaction score
5,980
Location
north woods
You have a very nice looking tank but @Salty&Onion is correct neon tetra need a larger tank and at least 6 to properly shoal. I keep my neon in my 55 gallon tetra tank. They come from South American Jungle streams so they like floating plants and shade. Bright lights can stress them. They are also a soft water fish, do you know the type of water you have?
 
OP
F

fishjamin

New Member
Joined
Aug 5, 2020
Messages
15
Reaction score
18
Location
Cheshire
Yes it's definitely soft water, I've been taking water samples to the aquatics store during the cycling progress to make sure I'm doing it right and they're advising on what fish are best for my water type.

Interesting the comments about the tetras, it's another thing I've had a lot of conflicting advice on - generally I've been told that other tetra types prefer a longer (if not necessarily larger) tank so my square one is no good for them but I've been told in quite a few places now this one is fine for the neons.

Most places sell them in 5s and claim they are happy in this number, although I know from the care sheets they're better with at least a couple more friends with them.
 

Salty&Onion

Fish Aficionado
Joined
Apr 16, 2020
Messages
3,162
Reaction score
2,100
Location
Bristol, UK
Never trust stores, they never know what they are talking about.
We will need your exact number on your pH, GH and KH to determine if your water is soft, moderately hard, hard or very hard.
Neons need a school of 6 or more and your tank is too small for them. They need a 20 agllon long tank where you could add about 12 of them, but first we will need to know your pH, GH and KH.
 

Retired Viking

Fish Connoisseur
Joined
Nov 22, 2019
Messages
5,541
Reaction score
5,980
Location
north woods
Interesting the comments about the tetras, it's another thing I've had a lot of conflicting advice on - generally I've been told that other tetra types prefer a longer (if not necessarily larger) tank so my square one is no good for them but I've been told in quite a few places now this one is fine for the neons.

Most places sell them in 5s and claim they are happy in this number, although I know from the care sheets they're better with at least a couple more friends with them.
[/Q
A good place to check online for information is Seriously Fish, it is a site that most forum members go to for accurate information.[/QUOTE]
 
Last edited:

AdoraBelle Dearheart

Fish Gatherer
Joined
Jul 22, 2020
Messages
2,193
Reaction score
3,156
Location
UK
Welcome! :friends: That's a lovely little tank, I can see you've put a lot of thought and effort into the scape, and it looks so much better than most first time tanks, believe me! Wish my first one looked that good when I first set it up.

I found all of the conflicting information out there overwhelming at first too, and still do at times. There are some places online that people will really shout out and humiliate newbies to the hobby for any mistakes they made or info they didn't know, which doesn't help matters. The best way I found to wade through it all is to look for the reasoning behind the rules you hear repeated. Like why bettas should live alone (which is still up for debate for some people, who have had success with them in community tanks). It's not easy to find real research, and a lot of myths persist about bettas, but you have to dig for real sources. Your reading material makes me believe you'll have no problem doing that ;)

So for example, in the wild, bettas live in large but relatively shallow waters, and we've designed the domestic varieties to have large colourful fins which create a lot of drag, and make it harder for the fish to swim easily. They also a labyrinth organ to breathe from the surface, as well as taking air from the water. So when people talk about having a tank that has a good amount of swimming space horizontally for them, but not too deep of a tank, and to use some large leaved plants close to the surface for them to rest on- that makes sense. They like to rest and sleep on leaves near the surface where they can easily go up to breathe, and they can't cope with a heavy flow on a filter because of those big fins, and they evolved to live in very still waters without a lot of flow to battle against.

They also rarely encounter other fish in the wild, since not many other species can cope in those water conditions. Males stay in one territory, while the females travel looking for males. They'll court, or fight, but if they court successfully, they'll place the eggs in the bubble nest and the female goes on her merry way, leaving the male to guard the nest and the fry. This makes them fiercely territorial fish, and although some have had success keeping them with other species, it usually means the right mix of fish in a big enough tank for them to get away, and fish that won't nip the bettas fins. And we don't know whether having other fish in "his" territory will cause a low grade, chronic stress to the betta, so is it worth forcing it? A single betta could work in your tank, but not with neons too.

Neons like in massive groups in the wild, and they're a slender, delicate, darting fish. Seeing a school of hundreds swimming in a huge tank is a show stopper. Check out this video. It's cardinal tetra here, but they're so similar, they'll even school together, so it's the same as neons. Check out the schooling and how fast they move when they eat[warning, obnoxious loud music, might want to mute or lower volume first]:

So personally, I wouldn't want to keep neons in a small group in a small tank, where they can't really express this behaviour without hitting into the side of the tank. I don't know whether a single gourami might work, but it's definitely too small for two of them - they can be a territorial fish too, and do some real damage.

Consider some nano species. Nano tanks have really taken off in recent years, and some new, very small but beautiful species have been discovered that can work beautifully in a nano tank, like celestial pearl danios. Gorgeous little fish that would thrive in a small group in that tank. Check those out and tell me you wouldn't want some :D

There's a section in the forum for nano tanks, which yours is, why not search for some nano tank inspiration there and elsewhere, make a list of things and ideas you like, then research, research, research. If you'd still like to have neons and maybe gourami and other types of fish together, you'll really need to get a bigger tank. Bigger tanks are also easier to maintain than smaller ones, believe it or not, since the water conditions remain much more stable and things can go wrong quickly in a nano tank with not much water to dilute ammonia/nitrites/nitrates.

Sorry for the essay, but I hope some of it was helpful and didn't come across as critical
 

Retired Viking

Fish Connoisseur
Joined
Nov 22, 2019
Messages
5,541
Reaction score
5,980
Location
north woods
I agree with @AdoraBelle Dearheart you have to be careful with small tanks, make sure you wash your hands before reaching into the water and try not to over feed. I have 27 neon tetra in my 55 gallon tetra tank along with 14 glow light tetra and 5 little ember tetra. I would have more ember tetra which also need 6 or more and I hope to buy more when the LFS has them .
 

ClownLurch

Fishaholic
Joined
Apr 21, 2020
Messages
476
Reaction score
658
Location
North London
Hello. Welcome to the forum. That tank looks amazing. As good a nano type aquascape as I’ve seen for a first time. It’s seriously mind bogglingly good.
Tough crowd eh?
They mean well. They want the best for your fish and thus for you. They’re not lecturing or picking on you en masse. Though it may sound like the Spanish Inquisition at times its done out of love for fish and the hobby. Too many people quit fishkeeping after a few in tank deaths/ disasters. They don’t want you to go the same way.
Me for instance, I quit for 23yrs after badly advised buys from a LFS that valued getting their hands on my money over their, their fishes and my long term interests.
I’d stick around if I was you. You’ve obviously got an eye for aquascaping. A different fish selection in there and no one else would bother entering the Tank Of The Month competition. It’s that good. Seriously.
Now about your water hardness and Ph......
 
Last edited:
OP
F

fishjamin

New Member
Joined
Aug 5, 2020
Messages
15
Reaction score
18
Location
Cheshire
Thanks for the comments guys.

In terms of the hardness, the honest answer is I don't know. I used the test strips and got some nonsense answers out of them, the store used the chemical/liquid testing method and just advised that the water was very soft (I was looking at guppies at first and was warned off them because it was too soft) but I wasn't given the answer in the form of a number. Plan is to get a propper testing kit and do it myself - have to go with the shop advice though (for now at least!).

I understand the sentiment about advice from shops when it's a generic pet shop (P@H gave me some very questionable advice) but when it's an aquatics specialist is this still the case?
 
OP
F

fishjamin

New Member
Joined
Aug 5, 2020
Messages
15
Reaction score
18
Location
Cheshire
So interestingly the website says it's 'slightly hard' and the general UK wide maps suggest the same, however I had already checked it this way and the one bit of consistent advice I have had from all the stores when questioning this exact issue (all within 10 miles of my house, two within 3 miles) is that the water in the area is actually soft which has been 'confirmed' by the store doing the test.

You can see why I'm puzzled!
 

Salty&Onion

Fish Aficionado
Joined
Apr 16, 2020
Messages
3,162
Reaction score
2,100
Location
Bristol, UK
So interestingly the website says it's 'slightly hard' and the general UK wide maps suggest the same, however I had already checked it this way and the one bit of consistent advice I have had from all the stores when questioning this exact issue (all within 10 miles of my house, two within 3 miles) is that the water in the area is actually soft which has been 'confirmed' by the store doing the test.

You can see why I'm puzzled!
And what is the number?
 

AdoraBelle Dearheart

Fish Gatherer
Joined
Jul 22, 2020
Messages
2,193
Reaction score
3,156
Location
UK
Thanks for the comments guys.

In terms of the hardness, the honest answer is I don't know. I used the test strips and got some nonsense answers out of them, the store used the chemical/liquid testing method and just advised that the water was very soft (I was looking at guppies at first and was warned off them because it was too soft) but I wasn't given the answer in the form of a number. Plan is to get a propper testing kit and do it myself - have to go with the shop advice though (for now at least!).

I understand the sentiment about advice from shops when it's a generic pet shop (P@H gave me some very questionable advice) but when it's an aquatics specialist is this still the case?
Go to your water providers website as @Salty&Onion said, and look for a water quality report. I think they have to provide that information that they gather by water testing several times a year, and you can enter your postcode and get the info for your specific area. In fishkeeping, we use the measurement usually given in german degrees, or hardness given in parts per million (ppm), but there are also values that can determine the KH, so probably easiest to screenshot the results and @essjay is our chemistry and water hardness expert who can tell you what values are important. No real need for your own testing kit for KH and GH if you're sticking with tapwater. :)

What a water company considers hard, is what a lot of soft water species consider soft. That's why we need hard numbers, since the scale is very soft - soft - medium soft - medium hard - hard - super hard. Numbers help pin down the ranges that specific fish prefer.

Many LFS are great.. but not all. Depends on the person running it, and whether their staff really know what they're talking about, or are blagging it ya know. There's another thread going right now where a new hobbyist was given terrible advice by a small privately owned fish store. He told her she shouldn't add a single live plant to her new tank, an anubius "because too many changes could kill your fish". I think you already know enough (as did she) to know that that's nonsense of the highest order! Always best to research on your own, look at the store, seek advice from a variety of sources, then do a bit more research before finally buying.
 

trending

Staff online

Most reactions - Past 7 days

Top