Noob essentials

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betheboat

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Hi all, I had a tank about 20 years ago and have just bought a Fluval Roma 240 to set up as tropical. I’ve got 2 ASD kids so hoping it will be a nice calming sensory experience for them, plus I’ve wanted one again for ages, just had to wait until they were a bit older.

I’m wondering what the essential gadgets are that make life easier?

Are pythons still the best way to do easy water changes or are their good cheaper alternatives? I seen this on Amazon that looks decent https://amzn.eu/d/dAPju7P

What are the tools and accessories you wish you’d got earlier or can’t live without?

It’s currently cycling, can’t wait to get fish in there
 
  • Either get lights with a timer built in or buy an electrical timer so that the lights go on an off the same time every day. Before I got the former, I relied on the latter because there was no way that I would be able to turn them on and off on a constistent basis.
  • A turkey baster. You'd be surprised how useful one of these is. From spot cleaning the tank to drawing a small amount of water to test or thaw frozen food in, I am constantly using mine.
  • An oral medication syringe. This is good for measuring out liquid fertilizer doses.
  • Eyedroppers. I use these for measuring out drops of dechlorinator or small amounts of liquid fertilizer.
  • I have small fish so I also got some use out of a mortar and pestle to grind up dry food to be small enough for the small fish to eat.
 
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Water siphon with long hose so that water can be sent down the drain or run into the garden or lawn.

Water filling hose with valve on end so water can be turned off at the tank. This can be a garden hose or combined with the water siphon as in the Python systems. I don't find much use for the venturi syphon mechanism because it uses too much water.

Water buckets - Here the Rona hardware center buckets are the best because they got a nice lip about 4 inches from the top that has a slight depression that your fingers can fit in, without trapping your fingers like the Canadian tire ones do. Multiple uses from transporting sand and gravel to temp storage of plant and fish when major maintenance is required.

10 ml Syringe for measuring out water treatment (for chlorine treatment)

Medium and small net for capturing your fish, small net is for scooping out small items, medium for catching fish, you can use the small net to encourage your fish to go to the medium. I find most of them time I never use my large nets except in the pond.

Thermometer - used to measure the temp of the water before filling the tank mostly, but use it for other issues as well

Sponge with the non-scratch scubbing pad on it, many brands available, just make sure it does not have soap or detergent. Rinse it heavily in warm water before using. When cleaning the glass ensure you don't have sand or gravel embedded in the pad or you will scratch up the inside of the tank.

Water test kit, if you are starting. Ideally a API Master Freshwater, but I also have used strips, which are easier.
 
Thanks for the suggestions, I bought a python as i don’t want my wife having any excuses why she can’t change the water too, it’s a family fish tank 😁

The setup we bought came with Bluetooth lights and the filter and heater, it seems to be good but im a bit clueless to what is and isn’t good. I remember jewel make good tanks and fluval good filters. Other than that who knows??

I’ve had to delay getting fish, the guy at the fish shop said I could this Sunday, because I’ve got Covid, and it’s wiped me out
 
Thanks for the suggestions, I bought a python as i don’t want my wife having any excuses why she can’t change the water too, it’s a family fish tank 😁

The setup we bought came with Bluetooth lights and the filter and heater, it seems to be good but im a bit clueless to what is and isn’t good. I remember jewel make good tanks and fluval good filters. Other than that who knows??

I’ve had to delay getting fish, the guy at the fish shop said I could this Sunday, because I’ve got Covid, and it’s wiped me out
Just as well. In this hobby, it's usually better to wait than rush.
 
It’s currently cycling, can’t wait to get fish in there
I’ve had to delay getting fish,
Has the tank finished cycling? If you've only just bought the tank, can you tell us how you have cycled it as cycling usually takes several weeks?

There are two ways to cycle a tank - plant it with a lot of fast growing plants and wait until you are certain they are growing, or by adding ammonia and waiting until enough bacteria have grown.
 
  • Either get lights with a timer built in or buy an electrical timer so that the lights go on an off the same time every day. Before I got the former, I relied on the latter because there was no way that I would be able to turn them on and off on a constistent basis.
  • A turkey baster. You'd be surprised how useful one of these is. From spot cleaning the tank to drawing a small amount of water to test or thaw frozen food in, I constantly using mine.
  • An oral medication syringe. This is good for measuring out liquid fertilizer doses.
  • Eyedroppers. I use these for measuring out drops of dechlorinator or small amounts of liquid fertilizer.
  • I have small fish so I also get some use out of a mortar and pestle to grind up dry food to be small enough for the small fish to eat.

Brilliant isn't a good enough rating to show how hard I agree with all of this.
Only thing I would add is to sort out something you can use as a quarantine tank when needed - because in this hobby, it's always likely it will be needed! This could be a cheap second hand ten gallon tank that you store away and bring out when needed. The worst is when you need one and don't have a back up in an emergency! I keep a spare heater and a spare internal filter at all times too.
 
Has the tank finished cycling? If you've only just bought the tank, can you tell us how you have cycled it as cycling usually takes several weeks?

There are two ways to cycle a tank - plant it with a lot of fast growing plants and wait until you are certain they are growing, or by adding ammonia and waiting until enough bacteria have grown.
I bought some bio boost when i got the tank. The guy said to leave it setup a week and then add the boost. He said on the 3rd day to get fish
 
I bought some bio boost when i got the tank. The guy said to leave it setup a week and then add the boost. He said on the 3rd day to get fish
One of the things we learn in this hobby is that fish store employees often give bad advice. That's not nearly long enough for a tank to cycle, even with a bacteria starter.
 
One of the things we learn in this hobby is that fish store employees often give bad advice. That's not nearly long enough for a tank to cycle, even with a bacteria starter.
To be fair I got three different pieces of advice from three different staff there. I thought the manager would be reliable though. I guess it’s as bad as someone from curry’s trying to advise you about tv’s..
 
To be fair I got three different pieces of advice from three different staff there. I thought the manager would be reliable though. I guess it’s as bad as someone from curry’s trying to advise you about tv’s..
 
Thanks I will do some reading. I’ve read up in the different methods, but every website has a different way of doing it so it’s hard to know what’s best.
 
Start basic, API test kit, sponges for glass cleaning, water conditioner, the normal, net, buckets, thermometer, etc. Make sure your substrate is washed totally clean when rinsed. The API master test kit is one main thing you need to test water whatever way you go. All of the above are good tips. Start slow, patience is the key. Nice and slow, the tank will go through the “process”, it takes time.. Keep us posted!
 
every website has a different way of doing it

A lot of fishless cycling methods tell you to add so much ammonia that the cycle stalls. A lot of ammonia makes a lot of nitrite and when nitrite reaches around 15 to 16 ppm (which is too high for our test kits to read) the cycle stalls. The method on here was written so that ammonia is only added when specific targets have been reached which stops nitrite getting high enough to reach stall point.
 

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