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New Tank - First Timer

gmc1

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Dwarf neon rainbows?.from what I can gather these fish can adapt OK to harder water as can other rainbows.Bosemani are lovely too but I think may be around 50 gallons.I haven't kept these so someone else may know different.
If doable a school of dwarfs would look great in there.
Pair of kribensis.(Kribs)
 

essjay

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Did you test the water yourself to get the hardness of 11 degrees? And if you did, was that reading from a strip tester or a liquid reagent tester?
 
 
Dwarf rainbowfish (Melanotaenia praecox) would be OK if the hardness really is 11 degrees, but 15 degrees - your earlier level - is right at the top end of their range.
Kribs, despite being African, are not hard water fish. Their maximum hardness is 12 degrees. [figures from Seriously Fish]
 
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GlennStretton

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I did them myself with a strip test and the Tetra app.  I know its not quite as accurate as the liquid test, but I'm getting consistent results now so I'm going to use them instead of the ones I got from the water company (15).
 

essjay

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I'd believe the water company over a test strip.
 
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GlennStretton

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They are cool.  I like!  I think 2 of those should be ok in a tank my size right?
 
Just need to find some tank mates now.
 
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GlennStretton

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Or maybe one firemouth and one blue acara?
 
And then some barbs and a bottom feeder?
 

Akasha72

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I'll be honest ... I don't know much about them. I've never kept them because my water is sooooo soft my pH has been as low as 4 recently. I keep all soft water fish for this reason.
 
If you want the best advice on them either wait for someone to come along that keeps em or make a fresh post with their name as the header and wait for some advice :)
 
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GlennStretton

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Well after a long eventful journey (note: remember to remove shrink wrap from filter media sometime before 3rd week of cycling, doh!), my tank is cycled, settled, populated and all seems to be well my little aquatic world. In the end I went for a school of 7 green tiger barbs (was 8, one didn't make the first night). Followed a few weeks later by a pair of blue acara. For all of the frustration, mistakes, expense and wanting to give up and sell it all as a job lot on eBay... I love it! During the cycling process, there were times I wondered if it was actually worth all of the hassle... it was! They are mad little creatures! each with their own unique personalities and habits, now my only regret is not getting a bigger tank so I could have more!

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GlennStretton

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So while I'm in the neighbourhood...

Things I learnt (the hard way) when setting up my first freshwater tank. Probably already noted in posts from far more knowledgeable people than me, but these are the problems I either ran into, or things that affected my decisions during my setup.

1. Pick fish that suit the water that you have readily available. That angelfish may look really pretty in the store, but if you have hard alkaline water (like me), you really don't want to have to keep purchasing packaged water or a reverse osmosis machine to be able to perform the required regular water changes. If you're thinking (like I did initially) that using chemicals to alter the PH balance of your water (like PH up/down) will solve this particular problem, it wont. It will just introduce a whole new set of problems.

2. Open your filter and check that theres no shrink wrap around the pads/filter media. This is not something you want to discover at week 3 of your cycle!

3. Strip tests are good for checking if there is anything drastically out of balance in your tank, but during the cycling process, use liquid tests, they are far more accurate!

4. Python/Alternate brand no spill water changing devices are a godsend, buy one! But make sure you have decent water pressure in the tap you intend to use or else it wont create enough of a vacuum to empty your tank.

5. 3D backgrounds look great, but be prepared to have to rescue fish from behind them. No idea how, but they occasionally find their way behind them, and getting them out without having to move all your tank decorations/plants is a nightmare! They will learn not to do it eventually, but do daily headcounts for smaller fish for at least the first few weeks after their introduction to your tank.

6. Aqua pure bacteria balls speed up the cycling process... a little.

7. No matter how good you think your plants look. Your fish know better and will redecorate accordingly.

8. Your fish will generally eat less than you think they will, what ever is left floating around after 15-20 mins, get rid of or prepare for algae and murky water.

9. Keep on top of your tank maintenance, stressed fish tend to be aggressive fish. They take it out on each other which can have nasty consequences.

10. Patience, patience and more patience. It will be worth it in the end. Don't cause yourself problems by trying to rush the cycling process.

11. This should probably be #1, but anyway. If you haven't already purchased your tank. GO BIG! Get the biggest tank you can fit/afford. Fish require much more tank space than you would expect. You have to think about the long-term comfort of your fish, always think in terms of full grown sizes, not how big they are when you buy them. Its not just about their size, but the waste they produce. Over stocking while unfair to the fish also creates a maintenance headache for you. The more overcrowded, the more frequently you have to perform water changes to keep the chemical balances in check.

12. Until you find a good knowledgeable local fish store, don't take their word as gospel. While I'm sure the majority are above board and will give reasonable advice, some are either clueless or just out for a sale and really don't give a damn about the health of your fish once it leaves their store. I received some really bad advice from one in particular. Fortunately there are plenty of sites/forums/people online that will give you solid advice, but again cross check that against a few sources before committing.

13. If you're reading this, then you've probably already seen this advice 50 times because you've actually taken the time to do some research before getting started, but just to reiterate... a fishless cycle is the way forward. Its tempting to go with a 'fish in' cycle so you can introduce some fish straight away and not be stuck with an empty box of water in the corner of your room for a month+ and the constant answering of 'wheres the fish' type questions. Reasons fish in cycling isn't worth it: #1 It sucks for the fish, yes they may survive, as would you in a room of tear gas, but it would not be pleasant and it amounts to the same thing, #2 you tend to choose fish which will survive the cycling process over fish you actually want to keep in the tank long-term, the goal is for them to survive to complete the cycling process and then you're stuck with them instead of the species you actually want to keep. #3 once its cycled you have to introduce fish slowly so the filter can catch up with the increased biological load. Ultimately it takes longer to fully stock your tank. Alternatively after you've completed a fishless cycle, you have a bomb-proof, I'll eat whatever you throw at me filter, so you can fully stock your tank all at once. It'll only take ~6 weeks, suck it up buttercup!

14. Question anything you don't understand. This cannot be stressed enough. There are so many factors to get your head around... PH, KH, GH, Nitrates, nitrites, Chlorine, Co2, water temps, compatibility, habitat, school sizes... Its better to ask than get it wrong. Mistakes cost time (during the cycling stage) and money. There is a wealth of information out there and a community of people who are more than happy to help.
 
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