Starting My First Fishtank

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yancho

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Hi,

some months ago I was thinking of buying a small fish bowl - 4 liters and get a goldfish. Basically was going to do what I came to realise is the worst mistake ever. After exchanging some emails with actiongirl22 (if thats her nickname here), I came to realise that I need to do some research and get my stuff together.

So after some research, I have the following ideas:

- Aquarium -> http://www.elitefloristsupplies.co.uk/glassware/cylinder-vase/cylinder-vase-18cm-dia/glass-cylinder-vase-80cm - (basically an 80cm by 18cm - giving 20 liters of water)

-Heater -> http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Aquarium-Submersible-Adjustable-Auto-Heater-25W-H-555-/180537242347?pt=UK_Pet_Supplies_Fish&hash=item2a08dbb2eb#ht_4918wt_1008 - (it will not be stuck just almost at the bottom - since the cable is a bit shorter than the height of the cylinder - shouldn't be a problem?) Set to: 24 degrees

-Filter -> http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ApesX-2300-Filter-Live-Aquarium-Plant-Fish-Tank-SI-/250445509048?pt=UK_Pet_Supplies_Fish&hash=item3a4fb731b8#ht_3483wt_911

- Air Pump -> http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Fish-Aquarium-Tank-Power-Air-Flow-2W-1-2L-Pump-AT13-/360297096338?pt=UK_Pet_Supplies_Fish&hash=item53e3616492#ht_3232wt_1086 - (will the filter connect to the air pump without any problems? do they all use the same connection kind of?)

-Pipe to connect Air Pump with Filter -> http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Silicone-Aquarium-Air-Line-tubing-pipe-filter-/250688892996?pt=UK_Pet_Supplies_Fish&hash=item3a5e38f044#ht_500wt_1154

-Gravel -> http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ZEOLITE-200g-FILTER-MEDIA-Aquarium-and-Ponds-/220621616624?pt=UK_Pet_Supplies_Fish&hash=item335e12b5f0#ht_3551wt_911 - (looks like this provides also extra filtration - is it needed?)

-Plant (Vallisneria Spiralis)-> http://www.aquaessentials.co.uk/aquafleur-vallisneria-spiralis-bunch-p-3958.html?zenid=iqeij4ik9vs56jt4e8jv5j8mf1 - (looks like the guppies love to play hide and seek)

- LEDs -> http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/White-8-LED-Aquarium-Fish-Tank-Light-Bulb-Moonlight-/360299268599?pt=UK_Pet_Supplies_Fish&hash=item53e38289f7#ht_4188wt_912 - (Will switching on / off the LEDs causes stress on the fish?)


Anything you would add / change please?
--------
Once I have all the equipment in place, I'll do a 4 week empty aquarium cycle. After that it's time for FISH!

After alot of research, I guess I'm going for guppies. As a start they seem quite cool - so was thinking 3 females / 1 male so I keep the ratio of 5 liters per fish (they will struggle a bit since it will be 19liters after adding all the gravel / filter / heater)

Food: after reading http://www.aqua-fish.net/show.php?h=guppy it looks like they do eat alot of things. How about a mixture of pellets / flakes ? Is that good? Should I also give them some lettuce from time to time?!

Light / Music: Will 8 x 5Watts = 40Watts LED be too much light for the guppies? Should I go for 4? I'd like to have this aquarium as a nice decoration too, and we lack a side lamp in our living room - was thing using it as a side lamp so the led's will be switched on for lets say 3 hours and then off for the rest of the 24 hours. I'm just afraid the poor guppies are not going to like having to adapt to our time schedule. Also the aquarium is taught to be next to the TV. Is that a good place? We do have a surround system, and during Saturdays normally we play loud house / techno music. Is that ok for the fish or they will end up raving to the beat? :p

Is this a good plan please? Sorry for the long post but I really would like that my guppies do live!

Thanks again for reading!
 

Assaye

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It's great that you've come on here and done some research! If only more newbies would find us instead of just getting a goldfish bowl.


As to your ideas -


TANK:

It's a cool idea to use a pretty vase as a decorative aquarium but I forsee some problems. Namely, it is very tall but without a lot of what we call lateral swimming room (i.e. the ability for the fish to swim along rather than up and down). This is a pretty big problem for most fish that will want room to swim around and explore instead of just swimming up and down the tank. This may cause stress to the fish and stress = sick fish. It is also going to make it very difficult for you to maintain the tank (e.g. cleaning the gravel) and it may cause 'deadspots' in the tank where the filter can't properly circulate the water. I very, very strongly suggest you go for a more traditional tank that is designed for fishkeeping. If you look around you can get some bargains on Ebay, Freecycle and Craigslist, as well as local pet shops and second hand shops. If you want to buy new there are loads of excellent tanks that come with extras like filter and heater. For guppies I would recommend 20 litres minimum for a trio of males.

HEATER:

That's exactly the sort of thing you need!

FILTER + AIR PUMP:

You've chosen to go for an air-powered rather than motorised filter. This is a fine choice for simple biological filtration as it provides a huge surface area for the friendly bacteria to grow on and is not the kind of filter that small/young fish can get sucked into. A warning - it may be noisy but you won't know until you try it. It should simply connect to the air-pump via the air-line you've got.

The filter you have chosen is quite big - the blurb says ideal for over 20 gallons. I think it will just be too big for a 20 liter tank. The air pump is also very big and powerful. Look for something that says it is suitable for 5-10 gallons or 20-40 litres.

GRAVEL:

That isn't gravel. It is a compound called Zeolite that is used to chemically remove certain contaminants (namely ammonia) from the aquarium. It is not designed to be used on the floor of the tank. I would look for a real aquarium safe gravel.

LEDS:

Not a great light for starting with. You'll need to find ways of setting up a fitting and it won't be a good light for growing plants. Fish need a regular day-night cycle so having a lamp on sometimes and LEDS on at other times isn't great for them and can cause stress. I'd strongly suggest getting a pod light (such as the Arc Pod) or a tank with a built in light fitting, and a timer. That way you can have the lights on for a proper day for the fish and grow plants, and the lights will turn off at night. Sorted!

SOUND:

It's always best to keep pets (especially fish) away from TVs or stereos. They don't appreciate the vibrations, especially if you are playing loud or bass-heavy music.

STOCK:

I would not recommend getting female guppies. If anywhere near a male, they will breed and for someone starting out with a small tank, babies are not a good idea. You'd need extra tanks for them and then you'd have to find someone to buy/take them off you and this would go on every few weeks for potentially years. Not a good plan. Stick with a trio of males if you want a 20 litre tank and guppies. On the up side, males are smaller and with brighter colours :good:

FEEDING:

I would get a quality tropical micro-pellet such as Hikari and some decent flakes/crisps (I like Tetra Pro). I would supplement that with a pack of frozen foods (see if you can find a mixed pack with bloodworm, brineshrimp, tubifex and daphnia) that I would feed from 2-3 times a week. They don't need to be fed 3x a day - a small amount morning and evening is fine. Only feed as much per-fish as the size of their eye. Fish can eat a LOT of food in 2-3 minutes so I don't know why people keep repeating that nonsense, especially for small fish.

_____________________________________________________________


There are a few extras I'd also urge you to get.

TEST KITS:

These are essential to measure water quality, especially when first setting up a tank when it hasn't had time to settle. They'll also be essential for your pre-fish cycle. You'll need kits for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH. A hardness test is always a good idea as well. Always check to see if your water is suitable for the fish you want *before* buying the fish. Guppies like harder water with a higher pH - around 7.0-8.5. If your water is soft and has a low pH (under 6.8 I'd say), they won't be very impressed and may suffer.

AMMONIA:

If you're going to cycle without fish (great choice, btw), you'll need some ammonia to kick start the biological cycle. This can be found in Boots. Look for something with just ammonia and water, and no perfumes or surficants. Most people use 9.5% ammonia solution from Boots.

WATER CONDITIONER:

Get a good quality, long lasting brand such as Prime. You want something that can be used in small quantities (saves you money, woo!) and that removes chlorine, heavy metals and chloramine from the tap water. Some also add things like aloe vera and have other benefits.

GRAVEL CLEANER:

Effectively a glorified bit of tube with a hose attached. Essential for the weekly water change where you will also 'hoover' the gravel for poo and uneaten food. Yum.


Check out the articles in the Resource Centre for detailed info on setting a new tank up and cycling.
 
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yancho

yancho

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Thanks a lot for your reply. As to the choice of the tank, the idea of having a tall thing was more of space problem and also wanted something nice looking kind of. Is there any fish [maybe which can live by itself - say the Betta] who does not mind swimming vertically or its such a bad idea that I have to scrap it altogether and start looking at more conventional things?

Heater - Ok buying it :)

Filter / Air - Is that good that its biological? Should I get something else? A bigger pump / filter isn't it better? So it cleans the water better? Taught of buying big since if its going to be a vertical aquarium it has more force to create pressure kind of.

Gravel - OK. Oops cheers for pointing.

Sound - noted.

Stock - 3 males it is then ;) no breeding for the fellas :p



Light - Wrt to the LEDs I was thinking, during the day they will have (sun)light - well the sun light u get in London (Gray light) and when we're there in the evening, we switch it on rather than switching on the living room main light kind of. So it will act as the light of the room. Then switch it back off during the night. Is that better?

All the rest of the suggestions noted. Thanks!!
 

Assaye

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Thanks a lot for your reply. As to the choice of the tank, the idea of having a tall thing was more of space problem and also wanted something nice looking kind of. Is there any fish [maybe which can live by itself - say the Betta] who does not mind swimming vertically or its such a bad idea that I have to scrap it altogether and start looking at more conventional things?

Heater - Ok buying it :)

Filter / Air - Is that good that its biological? Should I get something else? A bigger pump / filter isn't it better? So it cleans the water better? Taught of buying big since if its going to be a vertical aquarium it has more force to create pressure kind of.

Gravel - OK. Oops cheers for pointing.

Sound - noted.

Stock - 3 males it is then ;) no breeding for the fellas :p



Light - Wrt to the LEDs I was thinking, during the day they will have (sun)light - well the sun light u get in London (Gray light) and when we're there in the evening, we switch it on rather than switching on the living room main light kind of. So it will act as the light of the room. Then switch it back off during the night. Is that better?

All the rest of the suggestions noted. Thanks!!

I wouldn't put any fish in a tank with those dimensions. Bettas would have a real problem as they need shallower tanks due to their need to come up for air. If you want something with a small base, try a 30 litre BiOrb. Would be great for a small group of guppies and has a filter and air pump system built in. Here are some very pretty tanks that would suit guppies:

BiOrb

BiOrb Life

Fluval Edge

AquaLampe

Arcadia Arc

If you have so little spare space, maybe go for a small shrimp tank instead of fish. Something like the Dymax IQ3 is tiny and beautiful. I wouldn't use it for fish but it would be a beautiful tank for a colony of brightly coloured freshwater shrimp such as cherry shrimp.

With filtration, more is often better but you can get too big. Something for a 20 gallon in a 20 litre tank would just be too large and splash water everywhere. For a small number of guppies, a small filter will be fine.

As for biological - biological filtration is excellent! Read up on cycling in that link I gave you and you'll see what I man. Howver, you might also want to use mechanical filtration and air powered filters are not amazing at that.

Lighting - the LEDs probably won't be bright enough for you to use instead of a proper light. I would always recommend giving fish a stable day and night cycle with a good quality sunlight/daylight lamp or bulb, an evening period (eg with room lights on but tank lights off) and a dark period. If you want LEDs as well, that's cool but just be wary of suddenly changing the light levels near the tank.
 
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yancho

yancho

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Thanks alot for your replies.

I have asked on freecycle and am waiting for a reply from a guy who got one he used for a snake - checking the dimensions and capacity. In the mean time I also found what I'm seeing as my budget - 20lt. Is this good? On your confirmation I buy it :)

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Algarde-20-Litre-Fish-Tank-Pump-Bulb-/380271130309?pt=UK_Pet_Supplies_Fish&hash=item5889ecf6c5#ht_1070wt_911

New Filter -> http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Aquarium-Biochemical-Sponge-Filter-Fish-Tank-Air-Pump-/130429133181?pt=UK_Pet_Supplies_Fish&hash=item1e5e2ea17d#ht_2954wt_1137

New Air Pump -> comes with the tank ;)

On your confirmation i will buy it :D
 

Assaye

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Thanks alot for your replies.

I have asked on freecycle and am waiting for a reply from a guy who got one he used for a snake - checking the dimensions and capacity. In the mean time I also found what I'm seeing as my budget - 20lt. Is this good? On your confirmation I buy it :)

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Algarde-20-Litre-Fish-Tank-Pump-Bulb-/380271130309?pt=UK_Pet_Supplies_Fish&hash=item5889ecf6c5#ht_1070wt_911

New Filter -> http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Aquarium-Biochemical-Sponge-Filter-Fish-Tank-Air-Pump-/130429133181?pt=UK_Pet_Supplies_Fish&hash=item1e5e2ea17d#ht_2954wt_1137

New Air Pump -> comes with the tank ;)

On your confirmation i will buy it :D

That's OK, yeah. It has an undergravel filter (which is what that "gravel tray" is) which attaches to the air pump. Basically turns the gravel into a massive filter by pulling the water through the gravel and out a pipe, which is good if you don't use sand/very fine gravel and don't want live plants. A second filter would be good for chemical/mechanical filtration so I would get a little internal power filter if you have a tank with an undergravel filter. Something like the Elite Mini, Fluval Mini or Stingray 5.

If you're on a budget, have you thought about test kits? You'll need liquid test kits for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH. Something like this.

These are very important!
 
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yancho

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Hi,

Small changes, actually big ones! I managed to get a 4ft aquarium from freecycle! This obviously makes all the other plans bust. Need to start thinking bigger now.

Can I go again through the items and ask your kind advice again please?


- Aquarium -> basically a 122 x 31 (4ft) - giving 172 liters / 40 gallons of water
- Aquarium stand - steel -> http://www.aquatics-warehouse.co.uk/acatalog/FISH_TANK_STANDS.html - Are they a good company? Anyone can recommend them pelase? I really dont ant 40 gallons of water floating in my living room! I prefer dry environments :p
-Heater -> 100W Heater - http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/100W-Aquarium-Suction-Cup-Heater-Marine-Plant-Fish-Tank-/320592877073?pt=UK_Pet_Supplies_Fish&hash=item4aa4d31611#ht_1694wt_911 Set to: 24 degrees -- Should I buy 2 of these and switch them both to 24degrees? Like that if one of them goes bust there will be the other one working. I think that if the water reaches 24 degrees they should stop heating no?
Feeder -> Automatic feeder to make sure they get their food daily and regularly - will keep one type of food in it and then will mix manually - http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Aquarium-Automatic-Fish-Food-Feeder-Timer-w-Suction-Cup-/320594029354?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4aa4e4ab2a#ht_1710wt_911
-Filter -> 2 x ApesX-2300 - http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ApesX-2300-Filter-Live-Aquarium-Plant-Fish-Tank-SI-/250445509048?pt=UK_Pet_Supplies_Fish&hash=item3a4fb731b8#ht_3483wt_911 (each is over 20 gallon so 2 will be over 40 gallon - good?)
-Air Pump -> http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/RESUN-Aquarium-Silent-Two-Way-Air-Pump-180L-H-AIR-3000-/370393119727?pt=UK_Pet_Supplies_Fish&hash=item563d267bef#ht_4558wt_1041
- T connector to cut the air pipe so will have a filter on each side -> http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/T-Connector-Air-Hose-Pipe-Fitting-Aquarium-Joint-6mm-/110547874964?pt=UK_Pet_Supplies_Fish&hash=item19bd2ab494#ht_1203wt_911
-Pipe to connect Air Pump with Filter -> http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Silicone-Aquarium-Air-Line-tubing-pipe-filter-/250688892996?pt=UK_Pet_Supplies_Fish&hash=item3a5e38f044#ht_500wt_1154
- Extensions so the water comes out from the air pump - 6 x http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Aquarium-Air-Pump-Stone-Diffuser-Adaptor-Tube-Hose-AU42-/250701672996?pt=UK_Pet_Supplies_Fish&hash=item3a5efbf224#ht_2607wt_1044 will keep them at 20 cm difference. Should also help the fact that they have an air pump stone diffusor no?
-Gravel -> Dorset Pea Pre Washed Aquarium Gravel Medium 20kg-> http://www.netpetshop.co.uk/p-17625-dorset-pea-pre-washed-aquarium-gravel-medium-20kg.aspx + Dorset Pea Pre Washed Aquarium Gravel Small 20kg http://www.netpetshop.co.uk/p-16450-dorset-pea-pre-washed-aquarium-gravel-small-20kg.aspx -- is 40kg too few / enough / too much?
-Plant (Vallisneria Spiralis)-> 10 plants -> http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/10-Vallisneria-spiralis-Tortifolia-Tropical-Fish-Plants-/260666430177?pt=UK_Pet_Supplies_Fish&hash=item3cb0ee12e1 (looks like the guppies love to play hide and seek)
Water tests -> http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/API-Freshwater-tropical-Master-Test-Kit-PH-tester-/150495694622?pt=UK_Pet_Supplies_Fish&hash=item230a3e0f1e
Fry net -> http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/PPI-Aquarium-Net-Breeder-plus-Digital-Thermometer-FREE-/280502594102?pt=UK_Pet_Supplies_Fish&hash=item414f41ea36#ht_500wt_928 - it also comes with a thermometer - so its a good bargain. and for my new big tank a thermometer is really needed ey?

Ammonia -> http://www.boots.com/en/Boots-Household-ammonia-500ml_923908
Primer -> http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/SeaChem-Prime-100ml-Marine-Tropical-Water-Conditioner-/370363386146?pt=UK_Pet_Supplies_Fish&hash=item563b60c922#ht_2660wt_911
Gravel Cleaner -> http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Fish-Tank-Aquarium-Siphon-Gravel-Vacuum-Cleaner-AQ15-/190439656037?pt=UK_Pet_Supplies_Fish&hash=item2c57168a65#ht_2914wt_1086

Fish - Should I still stick with guppies? Can I mix something else with guppies now that I have space? Will 2 males 6 females be good or i can put a bit more? or best i start with few so in case something goes wrong at least i wouldnt have killed many? And like this they should start breeding soon ey? I read that guppies mix well with other live bearers such as platies. Looks like some ppl suggested against guppies + mollies? Whats your take on it?According to my calculation of 5 liters x fish I can have a maximum of 30 fish no? so if I go 2 Male Guppies / 6 Female Guppies / 4 male Platies will be good ? That gives me a lot of extra space for babies, and a good turnover for fish who will die etc until I get used to properly take care of them.

Is it crazy that we buy another those fry hatchers and we put a betta siamese fighter there by itself? Or it will still try to attack the guppies?

Since guppies are not good jumpers, if say I fill the aquarium to 2/3's with water, can I go without a hood / roof? Instead I have a roof which was used for a vivarium, has a decent sized net in the middle, and two big glass windows which I was thinking that if I can use it instead of my hood I will stick two small neons on it. Pic of it is here: http://tinypic.com/r/34o5yxv/7 - Since the Arc Pod seems heavy should I put them on the gravel bed? http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ARCADIA-ARC-POD-9W-WATT-AQUARIUM-FISH-TANK-LIGHT-UNIT-/180504396628?pt=UK_Pet_Supplies_Fish&hash=item2a06e68354#ht_3688wt_1002

Food: http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=250501112960&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT#ht_2394wt_911 <- I already bought that before - can I give it to them? I had also bought this before: http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=160359945116#ht_1358wt_1137 Shoul I NOT use it?


Sorry for my even longer post! But since the change is a huge one, and I managed to get my flat mate involved now, we are really looking forward to have our colony of guppies!
 

Assaye

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I'll help you out tomorrow =) hang in there!

Sounds good, but I've not read your whole post.
 
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yancho

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Thanks a lot!!

I'm thinking of going ahead and buying the test kit which you recommended and also the stand. Until the stand arrives I can't start anything.

Thanks again!
 
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yancho

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PS: That kit is sold. Is this one good? : http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/API-FRESHWATER-MASTER-TEST-KIT-RRP31-00-/260668031854?pt=UK_Pet_Supplies_Fish&hash=item3cb106836e#ht_500wt_1154
 

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Yes, that's the one most people recommend :)
 

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You're very welcome; I've liked reading this thread; you've gone from a 4 litre to a 40 gallon, and you haven't even got any fish yet! I think the fish-keeping bug has well and truly got you :lol:

It's great though; it seems nonsensical to beginners, but big tanks really are easier than tiny ones; you'll be glad you went that route, I'm sure :good:
 
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yancho

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Heh, the thing was that I made an ad on Freecycle and got offered this one. You can't say no to such a big aquarium no? Even my flat mate he said yeah let's go for it! And now sharing expenses etc so should be good. Have made a google document with all the items. 230quids. ouch! but well should be nice ;)

and that is without fish! will start with some guppies first and then walk my way to what i said earlier in the thread. adding platies / maybe a betta in the fishnet later on. For the time being 1male / 3females and hopefully they make children :p when I see they are living happily and going on a nice cycle I'll add accordingly to the space! Should I try to get the females from different sources so at least I start with 3 different families to avoid DNA screwups?

this is the spreadhseet: https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0AlPQOlWNes5hdGMyaUFtQ2JCd2dvc2N3d3BHRy1NYXc&hl=en&authkey=CK2b4_QF
 

Assaye

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As I said, I'll respond more in the morning when I have more time but please don't get a breeding trap and put a betta (fighter) in there. They really do need more space! Some people keep them in tiny pods but I don't think this is ethical. They still need plenty of room to swim for exercise and mental stimulation.

The rest sounds good. I'll double check all your links and gear tomorrow =)
 

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