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Old 12-28-10, 11:57 AM   #1
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OT: Tropical Fish

I'm thinking of getting back into the tropical fish hobby, which I left behind about ten years ago. My GF has gotten me thinking about it again, when she surprised me with a Christmas gift that has yet to be purchased - she wants to buy me a tank, accessories, etc. so I can "dive in" again.

Wondering if there are any other 50+ers who are into tropical fish (freshwater) who have any suggestions, links, etc. as I do my research. As we may move in the next few months, I may not actually start for a while since I don't like moving tanks, but then again, I might.

Initially, I'm thinking of a 55 gallon tank and perhaps some larger fish than what I'm used to. I'm guessing there's been some technological improvements in things like pumps and filters and such, and I no longer remember which ones were considered the best back then.

Any ideas, suggestions, etc.?
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Old 12-28-10, 12:32 PM   #2
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i've got a 44 gallon tank in my office. I love having it, its a pretty cool conversation piece, but it can be a royal pain.

The biggest piece of advice that I can give is this: If you need all the equipment and fish go to a tropical fish store not a pet store. The tropical fish people are much more knowledable. They will steer you in the right direction regarding what kind of fish to start out with and which fish are compatible with each other. After you get more educated you can get stuff and fish from anywhere. Make sure you get a big enough filter. My filter cost almost as much as the tank but it is well worth it. Get a gravel vacuum for cleaning. Get all the proper chemicals and learn how to use them.

I'v had my set-up for about 5 years, but I have had some trouble with keeping some of the fish alive. It seems to go in spurts. Just this morning I had to flush a tiger barb. I've also gone months without any issues.

I have not really looked for any online help so I can't steer you anywhere, but I would suppose that if you googled something, I'm sure that its out there. There seems to be a forum for every hobby/vice etc.

Good Luck
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Old 12-28-10, 01:45 PM   #3
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55-gal is big enough to go Malawi Ciclids. Much more entertaining than the little cutesie tetras and the like.

Any decent aquarium store will have a good package with all the stuff - but you always need more gravel.

If I were to get into it again, I'd design a PVC under gravel drain that I could siphon off of and leave in place. Siphoning off the old water was always the worst part.
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Old 12-28-10, 04:13 PM   #4
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Butter lightly (drawn butter) and grill very quickly over a mesquite fire. Them's good eatin'.
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Old 12-28-10, 04:24 PM   #5
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Butter lightly (drawn butter) and grill very quickly over a mesquite fire. Them's good eatin'.
Back in the day(ahem), some of us(not me of course), would just pluck one, and down the hatch! Glad those days are well over.
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Old 12-28-10, 04:39 PM   #6
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Yummy ...

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Old 12-28-10, 05:34 PM   #7
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Freshwater "Planted Aquariums" is a new branch of the hobby. The tanks are designed around aquatic plants and generally groups of smaller size fish that won't wreck the landscape. Here are some pictures. Here's the guy that started it all. Lot's of work but stunning results if you put in the time.
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Old 12-28-10, 05:36 PM   #8
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Yummy ...

Whitebait?
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Old 12-28-10, 06:06 PM   #9
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Thanks for all the on topic responses so far, and raspberries to the thread hijackers!
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Old 12-28-10, 08:19 PM   #10
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DG, I have a 150 gallon in the wall tank. Some of the Ciclids are 4 years old now and even have names. I do not do 1/4 the recommended maintenance. Meet Misters Troy Polamalu and Hines Ward.


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Old 12-28-10, 08:31 PM   #11
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Go big. A guy in Utah had a 10'x7'x6'. Left a 65high and an 80 bowfront when I moved. The 65H had great porportions. The 80 made a great saltwater tank.
I will avoid saltwater in the future. I prefer the lower maintenance of freshwater.
The thicker the better.
Health benefits for you.
Find a home with a large built-in aquarium. They are not uncommon.
The larger the tank, the easier the maintenance.
Back in my place in Colorado where the square foot cost of a home is high. Could sell the piano, I suppose and put a large one there.
Have a 40 and a 6. May get going with larger again.

Hope your new place is built on a slab. Few limits to size that way.
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Old 12-28-10, 08:53 PM   #12
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Your best bet, if you're considering a 55, might be to consider raising a large chichlid, like an oscar, along with a pleco. For this, Penguin makes a real nice power filter, as does Tetra.

If you want to raise smaller fish, I'd strongly advise against livebearers, like mollies and guppies, unless you want a kazillion fish. Consider angelfish, tetras such as neons, cardinals, or perhaps tigers, barbs, maybe a male betta. Good scavengers for this set up are corydoras of any variety.

For this setup, an undergravel filter, powered by two large pumps, is adequate.

You will, of course need a lighted hood, background, live or artificial plants, heater, and I'd spend the bucks for a Python system to make cleaning it/changing part of the water on a bi weekly basis easier.

If you don't have well water, you will need some chlorine remover/conditioner. In case of the dreaded disease Ich, remedy in either tablet or liquid form.

Find a small, locally owned pet shop to get your supplies, if possible. This will cost you a bit more, but you will get personalized service from people who really CARE, and who will want you back, often. They'll know about your local situation, and can advise you, as well as providing quality fish at reasonable prices.

Have at it, and good luck!
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Old 12-29-10, 05:20 AM   #13
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That's a heck of a GF you have there DG.
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Old 12-29-10, 07:48 AM   #14
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The last and only time I had an aquarium was in 1963 when I was a squadron commander of a training squadron at Lowry TTC in Denver.

The First Sergeant and I found a plexiglass trainer cockpit in the salvage yard, turned that baby over, had some troops build a stand, added a filter, pump, gravel, etc., and - voila - a GIANT aquarium in the squadron day room. It was even admired by the base commander - a General something or other.

Besides that, I like them grilled over mesquite.
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Old 12-29-10, 08:02 AM   #15
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Thanks for all the on topic responses so far, and raspberries to the thread hijackers!
Uh - if you want on-topic, how about a Gary Fisher poster with the fish on a bicycle?
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Old 12-29-10, 10:53 AM   #16
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DG: Are you sure you want to do this? My experience, as confirmed by the late children's TV show host, Fred Rogers, is that large fish tanks are very soporific. Could it be your girlfriend has ulterior motives?
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Old 12-29-10, 11:15 AM   #17
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Both my sons are in the hobby. There tanks are any where from 40-300 gallons. Peacock bass are the big fish in there stable. They are members of Monsterfishkeepers.com. Cleaning these becomes quite a chore. Feeding quite expensive.
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Old 12-29-10, 11:45 AM   #18
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I was in the hobby years and years ago.

Cichlids are about the most interesting fish from a behavior point of view. I had a dwarf cichlid who recognized me because he knew I fed him.

The bigger the tank the more stable it is.

Fresh water is far better than marine. Freshwater fish tend to be pretty tolerant of changes in temp and water conditions. Marine critters are not subject to that sort of thing and can be rather intolerant.
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Old 12-29-10, 11:52 AM   #19
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Thanks for all the on topic responses so far, and raspberries to the thread hijackers!
You post an off-topic subject and you expect on-topic responses to an off-topic post?
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Old 12-29-10, 01:06 PM   #20
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Forget the fish--Get a dog instead.

Fish don't take to leads in San Diego.
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Old 12-30-10, 05:28 PM   #21
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Dogs are nice but much much more expensive than fish. Fish don't have vet bills, only flushes.

What do you want to know about fish? I've had one for 30+ years and I hate maintenance.

Current setup:
90 Gallon
freshwater
undergravel filter with two powerheads
have canister filter but haven't activated it in about a year
fish: {angels would work, but get aggressive during mating**
5 gouramies, nice blue color
one red tail shark, still small, about 5 inches long
chiclids: yellow and blue and yellow
normal cats
amazon swords I have to pull out about every 3-6 months
media is about 2 inchs deep all around.

The chiclids are great, nice size, about 3-4 inches so can be easily seen. the yellow
is a bright yellow and blue is a nice bright blue. These are shy fish so need hiding places.

Maintenance is a snap. No more bucket hauling. It's connect up the python to the faucet, 50' hose, remove 1/3 of water, add water conditioner at 2-3x directions, feel temp with hands, and away you go.

A big sponge makes cleaning the glass easy and with all the plants there is not much opportunity for algae.
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Old 12-30-10, 07:57 PM   #22
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Forget the fish--Get a dog instead.

Fish don't take to leads in San Diego.
Puppies are Great chick magnets much better than fish.
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Old 01-03-11, 12:58 PM   #23
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DG,

You're a trouble maker. I ended up with too many fish this weekend. Hopefully about 1/3rd won't survive and then all will be well again.
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Old 01-03-11, 01:07 PM   #24
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DG,

You're a trouble maker. I ended up with too many fish this weekend. Hopefully about 1/3rd won't survive and then all will be well again.
You could always have sushi!
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Old 01-03-11, 08:22 PM   #25
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You could always have sushi!
Seriously, can you raise your own food fish in a set-up like that? I believe there is a hugh difference between fresh and frozen fish.
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