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New Tank for the First Time

Discussion in 'New to the Hobby Questions and Answers' started by Austin Burgess, Sep 13, 2019 at 8:40 AM.

  1. Austin Burgess

    Austin Burgess New Member

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    Funny story,
    That 20 gallon someone was giving me ended up getting broken before i could get it.
    So long story short, I have the flexibility to get any tank I want.

    What tank is good for a complete beginner?
    Is there a kit I should get, or get the tank and equipment separately? If so what equipment?

    What interesting, unique but relatively easy fish would be good to stock that tank with?
    My water has pH 7.2 and gH of 45ppm according to my city's website (http://www.mlgw.com/images/content/files/pdf/WQR 2018-sm.pdf)

    I appreciate it!
     
  2. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    Go to the local pet shop and make a list of fish and plants you like. Post the list here and we can make suggestions for good fish that will be fine in soft water. A GH of 45ppm is very soft water and suitable for tetras, barbs, danios, rasboras, gouramis, angelfish and Corydoras catfish.

    I like 3 foot tanks because they have plenty of room for a variety of different fish but aren't excessively large and can be easily moved by two people.

    If you don't have room for a 3 ft tank, then get a 30 inch tank. It won't have the same space but is big enough for a few groups of small fish.

    Don't waste your time or money on any tank smaller than 24 inches (2ft) long. They just don't have the room for anything except a Betta or some small fish.
     
  3. Deanasue

    Deanasue Moderator
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    I agree with Colin. I have (2) 20 gallon longs which I love. If you want something higher a 29G is great too and has the same footprint as the 20G long. However, my favorite tank is my 55G. I find the larger the tank, the easier it is to clean. It’s a great size without overpowering a room. (Of course, my dream tank is 125G). Lol!
     
  4. seangee

    seangee Member

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    Bigger tanks are indeed easier to clean and keep stable.
    125G is getting into the territory where re-decorating the room is a major headache. I not only re-decorated the room but re-purposed it, ended up downsizing to a 55G :)
     
  5. Deanasue

    Deanasue Moderator
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    That depends on how many tanks you already have. If I got the 125G I could actually get rid of my 55G and my 45G. I could put my end tables back in the den! Lol
     
  6. seangee

    seangee Member

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    Yeah of course you could ...
    Back in a mo - just off to watch the pigs flying past my window :rofl:
     
  7. Deanasue

    Deanasue Moderator
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  8. Byron

    Byron Member

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    So far, members have been commenting on the tank size, but I'll go beyond that to your other question about equipment. But first, I agree with others, larger is better than smaller in general. I have or have had 5-foot, 4-foot, 3-foot, 30-inch, 24-inch and 18-inch tanks. Depending upon your space limitations, I would say the 3-foot and 4-foot tanks are probably the most useful. I now have two 3-foot tanks, one a 40g "breeder" and the other a 33g. Of these two, the former is without question much superior due to the additional width (front to back) of 18 inches compared to 12 inches. I recently moved and had to downsize my tanks (sizes and numbers) due to my fish room being smaller now, but if I had to pick one I would go with the 40g which has a footprint of 36 inches length by 18 inches width. The same footprint in a taller tank would be a 50g which is a very good size. And a better tank than the 4-foot 50/55g which is the narrower width (depending of course upon intended fish species, as active swimmers would fare better with the longer tank).

    I do not like "kits" because you usually get stuck with less effective equipment. Decide on the fish species you intend (the tank size will obviously factor into this as well). Then look for a filter that provides what these fish require in terms of water current. This is the prime task of the filter, to move the water around and through media. Some fish need more current, others little if none, so this is a big factor in healthy fish. Live plants factor in too, as they negate the need for biological filtration.

    The heater is the single most important piece of equipment; a faulty heater can cook or literally freeze the fish overnight. Tanks up to and including 3 feet length can use one heater or two, tanks over 3 feet definitely two unless you have a canister with built-in heating unit (another option for heating). Higher wattage heaters tend to last longer and are more reliable. You/we would need to know the tank size before going further with this.

    The light is very important for fish and plants. Plants will mean specific lighting of the appropriate intensity (depends upon plant species) and spectrum. Most forest fish have a light phobia, so the brightness must take them into consideration. Floating plants help here. The very soft water means forest fish like those groups Colin mentioned, so light is a very important aspect of their well being.
     
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  9. Austin Burgess

    Austin Burgess New Member

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    I really appreciate all the advice. Definitely thinking one of those 3ft tanks would fit my available space and price.
    As for fish that we can work from, I honestly would love an Amazon Puffer community tank and my water allows that. But I feel that is far beyond the scope of a beginner.
     
  10. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    Puffer fish are not community fish and should be kept in a single species tank. They are fin nippers and will eat anything, including other fish, shrimp or snails. The shrimp and snails are actually good for puffers because it helps keep their teeth short.

    Puffer fish can release toxins/ poisons into the water if they are stressed and this can kill them and any other fish, shrimp or snail in the tank. If you want to keep puffer fish, then have some carbon (activated or highly activated carbon) in the filter and replace it every 2-4 weeks.
     
    #10 Colin_T, Sep 14, 2019 at 2:07 AM
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2019 at 10:29 AM
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  11. Austin Burgess

    Austin Burgess New Member

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    Noted noted. I'll cross that off the list. Any cool oddball ideas for beginners?
     
  12. Byron

    Byron Member

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    Depending what one means by "oddball" there are some fish that may fit your interpretation.

    Thinking single species fish for the tank, African Butterfly fish are interesting, though many find them boring because they just sit at the surface motionless until prey appears then they jump into action. Any fish approaching the surface will be eaten or bitten into, and these fish have enormous mouths. I had a pair for many years in one of my several tanks then, but if this was the only tank I had had, I doubt I would have found them very interesting. Except when feeding, or interacting, they are much like "pet rocks," lol.

    Thinking more of community-acceptable fish, I am very fond of the whiptail catfishes. There are two types, the smaller common Whiptails in the genus Rineloricaria such as R. parva, and the much larger "Royal" species in Sturisoma. The Rineloricaria [some sources may have these classified in the genus Hemiloricaria] remain at or under five inches (11-12 cm) and as they are not active swimmers they suit smaller tanks like 3-foot quite nicely. You could have one, two or three. There is also the Red Lizard Whiptail, scientifically classified as Rineloricaria sp. L010a, which is just a tad smaller at 4.5 inches max, and an interesting brick red colouration though over time this seems to become less intense and more brownish-orange. All are peaceful and get along nicely.

    Of a similar "prehistoric" appearance are the Twig catfish. The smaller species in Farlowella are again better than the "Royal" species which get much larger and can make quite a mess. These are true vegetarians; the genus was named by Carl and Rosa Eigenmann (1889) in honour of the American botanist from Harvard, William Gibson Farlow (1844-1919), who specialized in algae plants. And this is certainly one of the finest algae-eating fish, excellent at eating common green algae and diatoms, much the same as otos and Bristlenose plecos, but will not touch "problem" algae like black brush/beard, hair, etc.. But one caution, this fish with its continual grazing of all surfaces including plant leaves can damage fine-leaf plants. It is fine with hardier plants like the large swords, but my chain swords developed holes in the leaves and there was no doubt it was due to the Farlowella vitatta.
     
  13. CV26

    CV26 Fish Fanatic

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    I completely agree that larger is better. You can have greater variety, or you can have more space for a few choice fish. I love the variety in our main tank and having fish swimming in different ways, using the environment.

    However, having started out with a 100l tank we wish we had gone smaller and then upgraded once we had gained our confidence. Ours is an unlucky tale and I wont bore you with the details but utimately we've learned an awful lot in the last 12 months and if we could go back in time we would do things very differently.

    Our hindsight tank would be a manageable 30-50l with a few guppies. Basically single species, with a smaller amount of water to look after. Find our feet and go from there.

    This forum has been tremendous for advice so make the most of it and enjoy your fish keeping journey whatever route you decide to go down.

    P.s a recent addition to our tank is Norman's Lampeye. Lovely little fish, look like a bit like large fry but with bright blue eyebrows. Very characterful if small. Only ever saw them in one particular LFS so took a chance on them and have been very pleased. Have another batch in quarantine at the moment to add to our main tank as we like them so much.
     

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