Hello ! newbie questions and lfs advice

ahkiu

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hello people !

found you guys through google.
i really want to have me own little tropical tank but before i even open my wallet, i want to know pretty much everything i need to know and be confident i can handle my own environment efficiently so fish and me can both be happy.

So please bare with all my newbie questions :p

first things first, i'm living in the kent (medway) area
anyone recommend me a lfs?

2) i have in my mind a small community tank, with lots of foliage (to immitate the natural environment) and shoals of small fishes like neon tetra and maybe one or two larger fish like a plec. However i am very keen on non-fish life. I read about some algae eating shrimps? it was this non-clawed variety from japan which sounds kinda neat to me.

as you can see, i have an idea what i would like in general but not specifics,

i heard undergravel filters are better but not for lots of plants? also any recommendations on tanks? I was thinking only 5 gallon ish... how big a community can i support in this size?

thx a lot


ahkiu
 

Feargal

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Hi ahkiu!  First welcome to our forum!  The friendliest fish forum there is!

BTW You can tell us more about yourself by posting in our newbie forum section.  We like to get to know everyone!  :)

On to your questions...

Congrats on making the first right decision... find everything out that you need to first!  If only everyone did that.

The Kent lfs... Don't know.  I'm sure someone will be able to point you in the right direction though.

That 5 Gallon tank is a bit on the small side...  a 24 inch by 12 by 12 tank is just over 12 and a half UK gallons.  Don't know if you realised that or not.

You would be best getting as big a tank as you can afford/have space for.  This is because smaller tanks are much harder to keep in a stable condition and require more maintenance.  A large tank will cope better with any 'mistakes' you make.  Oh, and you can't keep as many fish in a small tank!  :D

Seems stange I know but a larger tank is better for beginners.

A general rule for the amount of fish you can keep is approx 1 inch of fish body length per gallon of water.  This is the amount you can keep when the tank is fully stocked, after building it up gradually (over about six months).

So in your 5 gallon tank you would only be able to keep a couple of neons!

Plants are a good idea... but I'll leave that for Rose our resident specialist.  (Check out Roses 'How does you Garden Grow' section for some interesting reading)

Hope that's helped you out a little anyway!  ;)
 
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ahkiu

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thx feargal :)

actually i did underestimate the volume a little :p
the tank i'm planning on will be located in my room and 24" is manageable.

right now i'm trying to decide on the hardware first, i.e. tank and filter. I have seen a few ad's of "tropical starter tanks" for about 80 pounds with everything like light, heater etc. Would they be ok or am i better buying separate and be more fussy with each part.

Also what's people's opinions in internal cannister filters? are they sufficient? I'm quite keen on them at the moment as they will save me space and are easy to clean etc.

once i've decided on the equipment, i'll bother people about planting themes and tips :D

I'm trying to design a tank to be as low maintenance and self sufficient as possible, kinda like a semi bio-sphere :p
 

mrV

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Feargal said:
... approx 1 inch of fish body length per gallon of water...

I think this is one of "rule of thumb" :thumbs:

I use this method (1cm=0,4" and 1 liter=0,26 us gallone):

fish size 2-5 cm:  1 cm / 0,5 liter water
fish size 5-8 cm:  1 cm / 1 liter water
fish size 8-12 cm: 1 cm / 2 liters water
fish size 12- cm : 1 cm / not less than 5 liters water

And now, if you like to keep for example Angel Fish (pterophyllum scalare), you need 75 liters water/each Angel. BUT you cannot keep any Angels in 75 liters tanks. Minumum tank size is 200 liters for couple Angels, and what is important tank must be high, minimum 40-45cm because Angels has great fins!

So, you always have to use common sense when buying big fish.

Bacause you have quite small aquarium like "feargal" said, you can only keep small fish in it.

ahkiu said:
i heard undergravel filters are better but not for lots of plants?

Well, those undergravel filters are ancient history :) If you read good books for beginners, you will find answer for this issue. Undergravel filters use to cause more problems than advantages. They used to go blocked and it's hard to wash them. You can't put sands in your aquarium if there is undergravel filter. And some bottom fish can swim under the filters (like pangio kuhlii)..

I recommend Eheim filters: They are silent, easy to wash (just pick up the filter unit, 2008/2010/2012) and what is important the motor has been built in this way: the rolling article is fastened to motor in both sides. And you will find easily spare parts for Eheim. I have only good experinces of those filters.

Plants are very important in aquarium, especially in small tanks.
 

Great Lakes

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Ahkiu, First off, welcome!

You have received good advice. I just want to chime in to express the importance of getting the largest tank you can, as Feargal has said. Then, most filters are rated for liters or gallons per hour. Get one that is at rated at least Five times the volume of your tank, ie; 100 liter tank=500 liter per hour filter. From there, the rest is patience.

Two good tips from me.
1) Go to stores and see what kind of fish you like. You may see a tank you want to duplicate to a degree. Most reputable stores have nice displays for this exact reason.

2) Look for a used tank! Great deals can be had doing this. You rarely run into problems, and save over half the money you could expect to spend at a lfs. I am a great supporter of the lfs, but I love rescuing old tanks too. :thumbs:
 

mrV

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Great Lakes said:
Get one that is at rated at least Five times the volume of your tank...

Good point! This is really important too. Internal filter should circulate water volume 3-6 times/hour and external 3-4 times/hour.

And this isn't enough yet, there should be enough filtration area too. Bigger area gives better results :)
 

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