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Aquarium resources?

Old 01-06-08, 01:40 PM
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madfiNch
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Aquarium resources?

Hey, does anybody here have an aquarium? I want to buy one and get some fish and I'm wondering where I can get the best advice? I googled "aquarium forum" and it seems like there are a lot of them! I don't even know where to begin. I know it's weird that I'd go to the bike forums for this, but hey, I know this place!
I went to PetSmart today and was looking at their fish, and I liked the fancy goldfish, but it looks like you're only supposed to have like 2-4 of them in a 30 gal. tank! I was looking at the 20 gal. tanks, so maybe that's not the best fish to start with.. Also, how are those aquarium starter kits? Is it better to buy all the parts individually, or are those okay for a beginner?
Any resources, recommendations, etc you can offer would be much appreciated! Thanks!
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Old 01-06-08, 01:45 PM
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You could find aquariums complete with filter, gravel, food, etc for under $20 at a garage sale. There are tons out there. You will have to wait until spring for garage sale season, but you'll definitely find lots of aquariums.

The reason there are so many used ones available is that most people think aquariums would be nice aesthetic additions to the house. They don't realize it takes work to keep the tank clean and healthy. Make sure you know what you're in for.
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Old 01-06-08, 01:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Alfster View Post
You could find aquariums complete with filter, gravel, food, etc for under $20 at a garage sale. There are tons out there. You will have to wait until spring for garage sale season, but you'll definitely find lots of aquariums.

The reason there are so many used ones available is that most people think aquariums would be nice aesthetic additions to the house. They don't realize it takes work to keep the tank clean and healthy. Make sure you know what you're in for.
So true. If you want small, brightly coloured fish which are easy to keep, try White Clouds.

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Old 01-06-08, 01:53 PM
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Yeah, I'm definitely up for the work. I've read a little and I know that there are weekly and monthly cleaning/water changing routines to follow. I'm an animal loving freak, but my boyfriend is not. I know that fish are the only other pets (besides our 2 cats) he is going to (begrudgingly) let me get away with!! It's still going to be less work than the puppy I want that I'll never get..
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Old 01-06-08, 02:01 PM
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Originally Posted by madfiNch View Post
Yeah, I'm definitely up for the work. I've read a little and I know that there are weekly and monthly cleaning/water changing routines to follow. I'm an animal loving freak, but my boyfriend is not. I know that fish are the only other pets (besides our 2 cats) he is going to (begrudgingly) let me get away with!! It's still going to be less work than the puppy I want that I'll never get..
Get a puppy. Fish are nice to look at once in a while but they're not a pet. Is there a reason your BF doesn't like pets?
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Old 01-06-08, 02:07 PM
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Do a freshwater aquarium. Fishforums.com has a nice fresh water subforum that will give you alot of info.

Google: Cycling freshwater aquarium.

Cycling is a term used for the nitrification cycle, the build up of "good bacteria" that breaks down ammonia(fish ****/uneaten food,waste..ect). To ensure fish health A LOT of work/testing is needed during this cycle as Nitrite and ammonia levels will skyrocket. Water changes are a must to reduce nitrite and ammonia levels so it wont hurt your fish. Cycling takes about 6-8 weeks

You could do this a few different ways. Cycling is normally done with just a very few small "hardy fish". As smaller fish produce less waste it is easier to maintain the levels during the process. But it may take a little longer.

People also are doing fishless cycles with household ammonia. Google fishless cycling for more info.

Dont forget the test kits for ammonia, nitrite,nitrate,ph,chlorine... along with a thermometer, heater and all that good stuff.

After the cycling process you can stock the tank. I would recommend tropical fish, like black skirt tetras, gouramis, cory cats..ect..

if you have any questions let me know.
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Old 01-06-08, 02:11 PM
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Fishgeeks is a great place to find information.

https://www.aquaria.info/
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Old 01-06-08, 02:23 PM
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Thanks for the websites and the advice!

I can't get a puppy. I wouldn't be able to properly take care of one at this point in my life. I work part time, go to college full time and I live in a little two bedroom apartment (duplex). I wouldn't have the time or the space to dedicate to a dog.

My boyfriend says he doesn't like animals, but he's the one that fell in love with and wanted to adopt our second cat, so some of it is just a front, I think
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Old 01-06-08, 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Alfster View Post
Get a puppy. Fish are nice to look at once in a while but they're not a pet. Is there a reason your BF doesn't like pets?
You never met my piranha. It's got more personality than some cats I've met.
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Old 01-06-08, 02:30 PM
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Originally Posted by clausen View Post
You never met my piranha. It's got more personality than some cats I've met.
I had an oscar that I managed to train to jump out of the water and grab it's food on a string. Almost like playing fetch ... but not quite.
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Old 01-06-08, 02:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Alfster View Post
I had an oscar that I managed to train to jump out of the water and grab it's food on a string. Almost like playing fetch ... but not quite.
A friend of mine used to dangle goldfish over his. That stooped when it took a chunk out of his hand showing off one night. But was a good laugh for the rest of us.
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Old 01-06-08, 07:18 PM
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Get a bala shark fish.
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Old 01-06-08, 07:36 PM
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Alot of good information on this site about fish and equipment https://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/shop.cfm?c=3578
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Old 01-06-08, 08:23 PM
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If this is your first venture, I'd stick with a 10gal starter kit and some easy-to-keep fish: swords, mollies, and/or guppies. Keep it real simple at first- there are some beautiful varieties among these, and it's hard to go wrong. BTW, I'd add a pleco (plecostomous) to any freshwater tank- they're very beneficial to the ecosystem (keeping the sides of the tank clean) and they are quite humorous to watch to boot.

Also, I'd stay away from African cichlids. As absolutely drop-dead gorgeous as these freshwater fish can be, only experienced aquarists should mess with these- ask me how I know...
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Old 01-06-08, 08:26 PM
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Fish aren't very hard to take care of once you figure out what you're doing.

As far as number/size of fish, the general rule is 1" of fish per gallon... so if you have a 10 gallon tank, you can have 10 one inch fish, 5 two inch fish, etc.

Make sure you get a good test kit, and don't put ANY fish into the tank untill after it cycles... it's pretty much a death sentence to put fish in beforehand. Cycling takes about a month or so. Test your water regularly until you KNOW you're doing the right things and you've got your needed maintenance cycles set up (ie: you know exactly how often you need to do water changes, chemical adds, whatever)

If you want to have a tank that's as maintenance free as possible, here's the setup I recommend:

Set up an under gravel filtration system, but don't use the air-driven heads for it... get power heads or use an above the tank filtration system set up to suck the water from the under-gravel system (my preferred setup, as it provides multiple types and stages of filtration)

Also, pay attention to the types of fish you get... by combining the proper types of fish you can not only safely go over the recommended 1" of fish per gallon, but you end up with lower maintenance! Different fish live at different levels in the tank, and can coexist pretty well without crowding out fish in other levels... ie:

Cory cats and some other bottom feeders live at the bottom of the tank... they'll clean up leftover food and other stuff from the gravel.
Plecostamous (spelling?) eat algae off the sides of the tank... an active plecostamous can keep you from having to clean the sides of the tank
Keelies live at the top of the tank (mostly!)... so they don't crowd out middle-layer fish.
Add some neons, white clouds, Angel Fish, or something else that likes the middle layer and you've got a pretty well balanced tank.

I'd recommend some Angel Fish... they're very intelligent and curious fish... they'll come up to the sides of the tank to check you out and stuff.

Oh... and avoid the #1 newbie mistake that I see: DON'T OVERFEED YOUR FISH!

Good luck, and have fun!
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Old 01-06-08, 08:32 PM
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Originally Posted by bmclaughlin807 View Post
Make sure you get a good test kit, and don't put ANY fish into the tank untill after it cycles... it's pretty much a death sentence to put fish in beforehand.
What method of fishless cycling do you use/recommend?

I have done a cycle fishless. It worked out fine. I have also done a few with small hardy fish without losing any fish due to the cycle.
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Old 01-06-08, 08:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Cjzoller View Post
What method of fishless cycling do you use/recommend?

I have done a cycle fishless. It worked out fine. I have also done a few with small hardy fish without losing any fish due to the cycle.
Some fish can handle higher levels of ammonia and nitrates... but it still burns their gills and the fish are less healthy than they'd be otherwise. I'd never put fish through it.

Cycling is just establishing the necessary bacteria in the tank... I've use a couple different bacteria starters that did a good job... Just follow the directions. I just had to give away all my aquarium stuff or I could give you a couple of brand names that I've used.

Another thing that can speed the process is to use some gravel from an active healthy tank (Don't dry/rinse/clean it)... it already has some of the bacteria... but I'd recommend the starter cultures... they seem to work well... you just add a little every once in a while per directions and test the water regularly till things settle down.

Also: Every time you add fish there will be a small spike in ammonia and nitrates a few days later... due to the increased waste from the fish... more waste means you need more bacteria eating it. So it's best to add a few fish at a time. (and give them some time for the tank to adjust)
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Old 01-06-08, 09:03 PM
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LowCel would be tickled to see this thread. He has an awesome aquarium.
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Old 01-06-08, 09:53 PM
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The Minnesota Aquarium Society (www.mn-aquarium.org) is a very useful resource for aquarists in your area.
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