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Discussion in 'New to the Hobby Questions and Answers' started by CamG369, Jun 6, 2019.

  1. CamG369

    CamG369 New Member

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    Hi,

    I'm new to fish keeping and am looking for any tips and advice anyone can give. The plan is to keep tropical fish, in a 90L tank starting small and gradually introducing more.

    Is there anything I definitely should or should not do starting off? Any information is appreciated. I have done a bit of research myself but this may be a better source of information. For example, the best kinds of fish to start with etc.

    Thanks in Advance
     
  2. Deanasue

    Deanasue Moderator
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    Yes! So glad you asked. Please study about the aquarium nitrogen cycle and be sure to get your aquarium cycled first. This short video will help explain things. Most people don’t bother to ask questions first and kill their first group of fish. Please watch and then we are here to help you!. After watching the video, here are steps to cycling your tank. Don’t feel overwhelmed, we’re here to help.

    https://m.wikihow.com/Cycle-a-Fish-Tank?amp=1
     
    #2 Deanasue, Jun 6, 2019
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  3. FishFinatic77

    FishFinatic77 Fish Crazy

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    Guppies, mollys, and platies are always great beginner fish.
    Tiger barbs are nice and hardy, but they are major fin nippers so you would really have to think about tank mates.
    Harlequin rasboras are pretty, and are also really hardy fish.
    Since you're just starting out, I would stick to hardy, easy fish. Just remember to get fish that all need the same water temperature, ph, gh, and kh.

    Do you know about cycling? If not, put a lot of research into it or ask how to do it. If your tank is not cycled, you can lose a lot of fish.
    I just wanted to mention too, incase you don't know, there are two ways of cycling a tank. There is the fish in cycle, and the fishless cycle. I would recommend doing a fishless cycle. There is a lot less work and worry involved than if you do a fish in cycle.

    This one technically isn't exactly advice about fish keeping, but it is useful all the same. Don't listen to any advice you get from the saff at petco or petsmart. They have no idea what they are talking about, and their ultimate goal is to get you to pay them more money.
    Also, if possible, don't get your fish from them because their fish are usually sick.

    My final bit of advice is that you should research EVERYTHING. Do as much research as you can including how to identify and treat fish diseases and things like that, because you will need that information eventually.
    When I first got fish, I didn't research as much as I should have and a lot of fish died because of it.
    I think it's great you started this thread. It really shows that you want to take care of your fish properly and that you care about the lives you are going to be taking care of.
    Good luck!
     
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  4. CamG369

    CamG369 New Member

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    I saw some stuff about gallon to fish ratios etc. that recommended around 1 inch of adult fish to every gallon of water. Does the same apply in metric or is this information just not true?
     
  5. CamG369

    CamG369 New Member

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    So, cycling is probably my biggest obstacle. Is this something that you do once to create bacteria and then carry out water changes?
     
  6. FishFinatic77

    FishFinatic77 Fish Crazy

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    Well, this is generally a good rule of thumb, but it is not always 100% correct. You also have to take into consideration the fish's activity level as well as what the minimum tank size is that they require. When you have all of that figured out though, the one inch per gallon method does help to prevent over stocking.
    90L is a little over 20 gallons, so you can have about 20 inches of fish in the tank. (I would not recommend getting a 20 inch fish for your 20 gallon tank though :D)

    Yes, cycling is something you only have to do once. Cycling is really just the process of getting bacteria to grow that will eat the ammonia in your tank, and turn it into nitrites. Then you have to grow bacteria that will eat the nitrites and turn them into nitrates. After that, you simply have to do regular water changes to get the nitrates out of the tank.
     
  7. CamG369

    CamG369 New Member

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    Perfect, thanks! A cycle with an empty tank is recommended as opposed to one with "hardy" fish in?
     
  8. Deanasue

    Deanasue Moderator
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    Sorry for the delay in reply. Had to do some household things. I would not go by the inch per gallon rule. It all depends on the size of the fish, their bio load, and how many top level, mid level, and bottom level swimmers you have. Research your breeds and see how many inches or gallons they need. For instance, my fancy goldfish need 20 gallons for just one fish because they poop a lot. So do bristle nose Plecos. You can use AqAdvisor to help gage your stocking. It tells you if you choose fish that are not compatible too. I do find it a bit conservative but it gives a general idea. We’re here to help too!
     
  9. Deanasue

    Deanasue Moderator
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    Yes, if possible, it is always better to do a “fishless cycle” as opposed to a “fish in” cycle. See, you’re already learning the ropes.
     
  10. CamG369

    CamG369 New Member

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    My plan then was to do that with say a 90L tank which I believe is around 20 gallons. And then gradually add some of the fish mentioned above. Have you any recommended types that live well together? and whether I should put one type in first then add the next and so on?
     
  11. Jan Cavalieri

    Jan Cavalieri Fish Crazy
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    LONG POST First I would read several books on keeping freshwater aquariums - you'll find some contradict the others but overall the more you research the better off you'll be. I did two months of research before I started my aquarium (I too am a newbie).

    Substrate and chemicals: I bought 3 bags of Seachem black clay substrate - very expensive but softer (a little) than gravel) and MUCH better for plants and ground eating fish. I had to rinse portions of a bag at a time through a very fine colander to get all the excess black out. I mean REALLY rinse - like 10 times per portion. It took forever but there was NO cloudiness in the tank as reported by Amazon reviewers. The little pieces killed my garbage disposal so I used the key to unlock the blades and then turned it off and back on and it started back up. I used mostly Seachem products - Prime to remove the clorine, Stability to help support the biofilter, Pristine to get rid of excess junk (it does seem to clear the water faster) and PHdown as well as a test kit and Flourish to support my plants and Flourish pellets to bury in your tank as a long acting fertilizer. My plants still look kind of crummy and many haven't rooted fully yet so they keep coming out of the water. But the 3 bags of substrate gave me about 2 1/2-3 inches to plant in - much, much needed if you are going to have live plants.

    As far as fish - I wanted a peaceful community fish tank with no aggression issues and you'll find that even within the same species (ie., barbs) there are peaceful ones and ones that are more aggressive. Here is how I am stocking my first tank (technically I need at least 2-5 more of the schooling/shoaling species but I don't want to risk over populating my 29 gallon tank - so far they all school beautifully) 4- (one died day one or I'd have 5) long finned zebra danios (cheap, hardy fish that are so fun to watch- they play tag, swim super fast and generally annoy the slower fish in the tank), 5 Cherry barbs (so far the most peaceful fish in the aquarium, I even have a couple of them hanging out with the Danio's, playing tag or maybe the Danio's just annoy them LOL), 5 -Julii Corydoras - they are just too funny. competitive but not at all aggressive with each other. The Danio's keep wanting in on their action but one look from the Cory's and the zebra's take off. I can have a bunch of food on the floor of the aquarium - plenty to share but the Cory's all have to be together trying to eat the limited amount of food, while other places in the aquarium have PLENTY of sinking pellets I am having overnighted (should be here today) 5 Harlequin Rasbora's and 2 Dwarf Powderblue Gourmi's (for dramatic effect!) and then I am done. I hope I am not overstocking - most of these fish won't get bigger than 1 1/2 inches. Some as large as 2-3 inches.
    Originally I was going to have 5 less fish but I just couldn't resist when I saw their pictures. They all look so tiny now it's hard to believe I could overstock but imagining them 2-3x larger and I hope I don't have a problem.

    Also ordered some additional plants. I had to remove a couple of plants from my aquarium because they were a MESS - looked healthy but continuously dropped off little pieces until my entire aquarium was covered in little spikes - kept clogging my filter. Don't get any plants with little tiny spikes - they look lovely but are a mess. If you want to keep it simple, just purchase fake plants (I would recommend silk rather than plastic because they look more natural and won't scratch the fish). My acrylic aquarium (much lighter and stronger than glass but about 3x the cost of glass) came with a cheap light fixture. I took that off the top of the aquarium and purchased some full-spectrum LED lights that fit on top of the tank (there are various width ranges to select from) - you don't need full-spectrum if you don't have real plants. I put it on a timer.

    Get a test kit to measure Ammonia, Nitrites and Nitrates and PH. I haven't messed with water hardness yet, but probably should - NONE of the books I read mentioned water hardness so I didn't buy a test kit that measured it. According to our city website we do have hard water but so far it hasn't affected my fish. This forum is the only place I've seen make an issue of it so they will have to give you that advice.

    Make sure your aquarium is fully cycled before you add any fish - even the hardiest ones. I used pure ammonia (not any kind with other ingredients) to start the cycle. The PH in my water was too high to register - so I looked on our City Water website to find that the PH is about 10. My kit goes only to 9.9 - so I added about 150 drops of PHdown and got the PH down to 7.0 - which works for all my fish. NO fish went into that tank until Amonia, Nitrites and Nitrates all registered zero and my PH was close to 7. It took about 2 1/2 weeks. Whenever I do a water change of any significance I have to lower the PH again - I'm getting so good at it I can guess the number of drops needed the first time. Add them slowly - you don't want to stress the fish with a huge PH change. Luckily it only takes about 25-100 drops depending on the amount of water change.

    Overfeeding - I am SO guilty of that. This is why I had a fat dog and currently my adopted cat is getting fat - I just can't deny them anything. Plus I'm trying to find something they like. They are all still so small I have to crunch up flakes - they eat them but half the time spit them back out. They won't touch big flakes. They will sometimes eat micropellets. I have some dried bloodworms that I soak in a vitamin solution called "Nourish" - at first they wouldn't touch them (what a mess of leftovers - I had to scoop them all out) but now they seem to enjoy them. I feed sinking pellets to my cory's but they are too hard and too big for their baby mouths - but they do nibble on them until they are gone and seem to eat ANYTHING so they are my tank cleaners and are getting fat and bigger. I still have too much food in there - hence a lot of algae on the walls of the aquarium that makes the tank look really dirty. If I clean off the algae it stirs everything up and my aquarium looks like a mess for the next 24 hours and the algae comes right back. So I need to feed less of everything plus I ordered some algae eating snails that can live in fresh water but can only reproduce in salt water - so no risk of them overrunning my aquarium. About two weeks after I got my plants I suddenly started seeing tiny but beautiful snails. I had checked the plants for snails before I put them in my aquarium but these must have been eggs and even rinsing the plants didn't get them all off. They eat plants so they have to go - but they sure are beautiful little things - it's a shame they are so destructive.

    Decorations - I went a little overboard on rocks - with about 45 pounds of them. But it makes a lovely natural statement and I was able to build in little caves all over which the fish love - if only to explore. I have one branch of driftwood which must be soaked until it sinks all all the tannins are rinsed out of it (unless you like brown water). It works with the rocks to make more little caves. I bought a couple of fake ornaments that gave them more hiding places. I spent some bucks and bought good looking ones that appear almost real.

    Now that everything has been stable for a while I only check the water every 2-3 days. Water changes - did once when the tank was cycling (that got the Nitrates down to zero real fast) and I've done one since - so about 2 a month. I keep feeling like I should do one almost daily, but it's just the algae I'm scraping off the wall that stir up plant gunk. All my water values remain zero and the tank settles quickly.

    Water Changes: I've read books from guys that do recommend a daily water change (crazy) and others monthly (also possibly crazy). I'm thinking every 1-2 weeks depending on how bad I've overfed everyone. I have something called the python which is a ridiculous pain in the butt in some ways but brilliant in other ways. You attach it to a sink and set the connector a certain way then turn on the water - that water acts as a siphon to keep the python emptying your tank (almost too fast) while you use the other end (which is too wide in my opinion) to suck up all the debris in the tank - being careful around plants. Then once you have the amount removed that you want, you switch the position on the phython so that it ADDS fresh water - now before you do that you want to add a clorine removal product AND you want to set the water temperature on the Phython so that it closely matches the water in the tank (that's a trick). I also had the problem that my sink would fill up before I was done cleaning the tank and removing water, so I'd have to stop the process about every 5 minutes - so I'm running back and forth between sink and aquarium. Finally I ordered too long of tubing (50 feet) because I wasn't sure which sink I would use - now I find I have a bathroom in the same room so I only need about 15 feet. Oh and before you're done you want to take the end out of the water and put the hose in suction mode to get the water out of the hose. On 50 feet that can take forever - far longer than the entire water change. PLUS I'm on oxygen 24/7 - and it keeps getting tangled up with my oxygen hose - pretty comical to see me running back and forth then getting caught dead(almost literally) in my tracks when my O2 hose tangles on me. Next time I'll use a portable O2 tank with no long hose and I'll run my 50 foot hose to my kitchen sink instead of the bathroom sink and hope I don't fill it up too (I've draino'd all my sinks). The idea of running too and from the length of my house is a little worrysome for someone in bad health but it beats moving water with a bucket.

    Finally I was frustrated with the Python because the suction end was so wide it was meant for 100 or 1000 gallon tanks - not my little one. It would not get into the crack and crevices, plus I don't seem to have sufficient water pressure to really suck out all those little pieces. So instead I bought something that looks exactly like a Turkey baster with an extra extender on it. I plan to use it DAILY to suck up all that left over food and plant debris BEFORE it causes more algae and dirty water. It should be well within my exercise tolerance and I'll just dump it into a bucket. I think this will reduce the number of water changes I need to do significantly and when I do need to do a water change, I'll clean the tank with an algae scraper (made especially for acrylic tanks) and with my turkey baster to get the junk the Python was missing. I'll use the Python for the actual water change and return (remember to add declorinator and get that temperature right). Also purchase the Python holder - it's priced ridiculously high but it wraps around your tubing and holds it together with Velcro so can just stick it under your sink when you're done.

    Well I can't think of anything else other than to mention that I have had MORE problems with various pieces of aquarium equipment then I have on anything I've bought on Amazon. Yes there are a lot of Chinese knockoffs but even the "real" things keep breaking (being also made in China). Today my thermometer registered -188 degrees. At first I thought it said 88 so I freaked and added a pitcher of cold water (with antichlorine stuff in it). Then used my other thermometer to find the temperature was only 77.2 degrees (I try and keep it at 78). So that will be the SECOND thermometer I've had to return. My filter also suddenly started leaking last night (at first I thought it was the aquarium and had visions of running to Walmart in the middle of the night to buy a 20 and 10 gallon glass aquarium and see if I had the strength and energy to set it up. Then when fixing my filter - I would think all was well and put in the primer water and have it promptly fall off the back and spill about 2 cups of water on my beautiful hardwood floors. Eventually I found the little part I was missing to help hold the filter level but it kept coming off - dumping more water on the floor. Horrible design for a filter assembly to rely on one part that easily falls out to keep your filter level. Cost me about 2 rolls of paper towels and extreme fear of electrocution since it spilled all over the plugs. I finally got it fixed at 3 am but was way to wired to sleep so I didn't go to bed until 6 am (the cat wanting to be fed even though I NEVER get up that early). So I haven't decided if I'll return the filter - probably not but I may glue that little piece of plastic in place at the setting I need it on so it doesn't happen again. Oh and WHY do they mark an aquarium thermometer adjuster in Celcius but display it in Farenheit? I want it at 78 degrees farenheit. Not 78.6 or something. I keep a table of conversion on hand but it celcius never matches what I want it to be. That may be going back too. The time is also a pain in the neck to set but I already sent the first one I bought back - this is a different model but again - it's settings are in Celcius when I need Farenheit and it's not particularly accurate. I've also gone through 2 thermometers for quitting after a couple of days of use. The python will also get returned if the water that creates the suction makes my KITCHEN sink overrun. It's an extra deep sink so that should NOT happen like it does in the smaller bathroom sinks. But I won't believe it until I see it. Plus it's already been plugged by my little algae balls and caught fish in it twice - the suction end is TOO BIG, and there is NO screen to stop things from going through, The algae ball wouldn't have fit but my little zebra fish would have so I'm glad I caught it - I think they thought they were having the time of their life - crazy little fish.

    So signing off - your friend and future novelist : Jan
     
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  12. Deanasue

    Deanasue Moderator
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    Wow! That was a lot to read! In answer to OP’s last question, I would start with platy’s, mollies, or guppies. All of these are live bearers though and will have babies. If you don’t have room for a bunch of babies then I recommend getting all males. It is easy to tell male platy’s and guppies from females. A good fish store should be able to help too. Google how to sex them and look at pics. Neon tetras or glo light tetras are another good one but need to be kept in groups of 6 or more. Good luck!
     
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  13. PheonixKingZ

    PheonixKingZ Fish Herder
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    Lol, I agree, a lot of reading, but a lot of good information! Bravo @Jan Cavalieri! :good:
     
  14. CamG369

    CamG369 New Member

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    Thanks! I don't plan on having a tank for another couple of weeks so by the time it comes to putting anything in it I'm sure I'll know what to go for! Any other tips would be great, other than that if I have any questions I know where to come

    Thanks
     
  15. Naughts

    Naughts Fish Crazy

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    Hi CamG369,
    I am new to this forum. I had fish years ago but consider myself a beginner.
    Great idea to get a 90 litre, larger tanks are easier to control. Also fabulous that you are doing your research. Now the main thing is your water quality (pollutant free) in your tank so here's my top 5 tips:-
    Tip 1- don't forget to dechlorinate water before adding to the tank (I have nearly forgot this on doing water changes)
    Tip 2- do use a test kit so that you can spot problems before the fish are showing signs of distress
    Tip 3- don't overfeed (I read their stomach is the same size as one of their eyes - tiny!)
    Tip 4-don't overstock (as mentioned by others it is hard to resist fish but we have to let the head rule the heart here)
    Tip 5- don't overclean (this is so that you preserve the good bacteria in your system. I've cleaned my filter sponge just because it gets dirty but probably washed off a lot of helpful bacteria).
    Good luck!
    Naughts
     

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