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Re: I need advice for a new set up

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  • Patrick Timlin
    ... Actually, to nit pick that statement a bit, it is a bit of urban folklore than Goldfish are suitable for bowls or tiny aquariums. This is why all the
    Message 1 of 4 , Sep 17, 2007
      --- Lisa <lisa_lawless2004@...> wrote:
      > I only have access to freshwater aquarium suppliers. But
      > considering I am a complete beginner at keeping tanks
      > larger then one suitable for a goldfish I need help.

      Actually, to nit pick that statement a bit, it is a bit of urban
      folklore than Goldfish are suitable for bowls or tiny aquariums. This
      is why all the people who tell you how they used to keep a goldfish
      in a bowl usually end their story with how it died 6 months later. In
      reality, goldfish need a LOT of space to be kept properly. In fact a
      lot more space than most commonly sold tropical fish. Just so you
      know. Anyway...


      > At first I was considering a 20gal. But I've decided I want larger.
      > Maybe a 40 or a 45gal.

      Excellent! With fish keeping bigger is not harder and in fact,
      excluding really big tanks, usually larger tanks are EASIER to be
      successful with than small tanks. The maintenance you have to do for,
      as an example, a 10 gallon vs. a 40 gallon is about the same. Sure a
      little extra front glass to clean and you change more water during
      your partial water changes, but you would probably find that the 20
      minutes it takes to take care of a 40 gallon tank each week is
      probably only 5 minutes more than you would spend on the 10 gallon
      tank. But the 40 gallon with the larger volume of water is a more
      stable environment which will help resist types of sudden changes
      that can effect the fish the live in it.


      > I would like a pleco among other things.

      OK. Many common plecos get really big and over time (it will take a
      while, so no hurry, but) can outgrow a 40 or 45 gallon tank. Also
      most common ones are intolerant of other plecos so one per tank.
      However many of the smaller varieties get along with their own kind
      and won't outgrow the tank. Bristle Nose (aka Bushy nosed) plecos and
      Clown Plecos are two varieties that immediately come to mind.


      > From personal experience. What species would you recommend. I would
      > like to try and avoid things like neon tetras and minnow types. I
      > want the larger fish here.
      > Maybe a rainbow or silver shark, or a red tail black shark….
      > I've heard the sharks are quite hardy fish to keep.

      My experience, like the last poster, has been with Red Tailed Black
      Sharks. For the most part they are kind of grumpy fish who definitely
      do not get along with other red tail sharks and often chase other
      fish in the tank. However on the flip side, at least with the combos
      of fish I kept with them, they don't really have biting type mouths
      and so mostly it was just chasing and no actual damage done to the
      other fish who could keep out of the way. However if the shark
      decides it particularly likes to pick on one certain fish, even
      without biting, the constant chasing might stress that fish to the
      point of sickness and death.

      I also find them to mainly spend a lot of their time (when older and
      larger) hiding. I kept some PVC pipes as caves in the back of that
      tank where my Clown Loaches crammed into. The shark would often cram
      in with them and hide most of the time. On the plus side it made it
      sort of a treat when he would come out and parade around, but most of
      the time, not a very visible resident. But this is not to say you
      might not totally enjoy a red tail shark. You can always try one out
      and if after years and years it finally dies, you can just decide one
      was enough or run out and get your next one.

      Some of the other "Shark" species tend to get too large for your
      tank. For example Bala Sharks are often bought by people when they
      are cute little 3 inch fish but these fish get to be about a foot in
      length. They also like to be kept in a school (so several 1-foot
      fish) and also tend to be a bit skitterish (so several 1-foot fish
      smashing into the tank sides when you walk into the room).

      Anyway, be sure to research any "sharks" you find interesting very
      well. Many can get too large, some can be a bit aggressive, and often
      can only be kept one per tank (Balas being an exception of course).
      Most "sharks" tend to be some sort of Minnow type fish or some type
      of catfish. I think "Silver Sharks" are often Bala sharks. I think
      Rainbow sharks are a lot like Red Tail sharks in size and disposition
      and one per tank and not to be mixed with Red Tail Sharks either.


      > What other fish could I put in a community tank with them?
      > I would be using `non palatable' plants and a heater

      Hmmm, well Silver Dollars can be interesting fish with some species
      getting to be about the size of your hand. Schooling so you want to
      get 3+. One of my silver dollars was the fish my Red Tailed shark
      like to pick on but was not any worse from the experience. These tend
      to be shy and timid fish and can easily be startled, but when kept in
      large enough groups are not too bad. They will eat live plants! I
      feed mine a lot of thawed out frozen green peas. They go nuts for
      them as do most fish actually.

      As I said above, Clown Loaches worked well with my Red Tailed Shark,
      but like the shark tend to stay hidden most of the time so I didn't
      see them very much.

      If you like cichlids but still want a community tank setting, Kribs
      are a good choice or maybe Firemouths. Right now in a 30g I have a
      bunch of male kribs living with my last Silver Dollar, two Clown
      Plecos, some glo-light tetras, and some dwarf neon Rainbow fish.
      Everyone gets along very well. When they breed, they will keep the
      other fish away from their nesting site but that is about all, just
      keeping the other fish away, not really hurting any one.

      The rainbow fish are great fish, by the way. Super active but
      peaceful, very pretty, and they race to the side of the tank when
      ever anyone walks by begging for food, so definitely not shy at all.
      I only have 4 females and two males. The males are the nice looking
      ones. I recently read these do fine at equal ratios of males to
      females, so next time I run across them in the store, I plan on
      picking up another one or two males to add to the school. I can try
      and post photos of mine in the photos section of this group if you
      want to see what kind I am talking about.

      Have you seen anything lately in stores that you particular liked the
      looks of? It might be easier for you to visit your local stores and
      start putting together a list of fish you like and then running them
      by us for opinions.

      Hope that helps,
      Patrick
    • kstringer1974
      Lisa, Welcome to the wonderful world of fish keeping! It s a great hobby, that if you can bear with it past the initial learning curve and common beginner
      Message 2 of 4 , Sep 17, 2007
        Lisa,

        Welcome to the wonderful world of fish keeping! It's a great hobby,
        that if you can bear with it past the initial learning curve and
        common "beginner" mistakes, one that I've found to be extremely
        rewarding.

        It's a good idea to go as large as you can to start off as it is
        easier to maintain a large tank than it is for a small one. This is
        due to larger tanks because of the larger volume of water (assuming
        you are not overstocking of course) gives you more time to notice and
        then react to changes in the water chemistry.

        Anyhow, you had mentioned that you want to go with plants, which I
        heartily recommend. However, please keep in mind you will need
        appropriate lighting and nutrients to maintain those plants. There
        are a lot of great articles on the web, especially at
        http://www.thekrib.com/Plants/. But basically if you want a lush
        planted tank, keep in mind that you will need about 4 watts per
        gallon of light so approximately 160 watts based on your tanks size.
        Additionally, if you have the necessary amount of light, you will
        probably also need CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) injection of some sort as
        normal fish respiration usually isn't sufficient to provide this key
        macro-nutrient for plants. If you have a lot of light, excess
        nutrients, but not enough CO2, then it will create algae blooms. I
        suggest reading as much as you can on the subject of planted tanks
        before you get started though.

        I'm a big fan of the red tailed shark myself, having kept several
        over the years. They are hardy, have interesting personalities, have
        always been very peaceful in my tanks, and are striking in
        appearance. I have kept red tailed sharks with Gouramis, and just
        about every other kind of peaceful community fish. The only ones that
        may be a problem are the very small ones like neon tetras. I have
        heard that a fully grown red tailed shark may eat them if the
        opportunity presents itself (though I have never witnessed this).

        Also, please do your fish a favor and when you are ready to start the
        tank, look up information on "fishless cycling". "Cycling" your tank
        is the process where you kick start the nitrogen cycle. THis process
        basically entails creating a source of ammonia (which in nature is
        fish waste such as urine). Over time bacteria develop which consume
        ammonia (which is also highly toxic to fish, especially at higher PH
        levels) and convert it to nitrite (which is just slightly less toxic
        to fish). As time goes on, other bacteria develop that consume the
        nitrite and convert it to nitrate which is relatively harmless to
        fish at low concentrations (between 20 to 40 ppm is acceptable).

        Partial water changes on a regular basis are also extremely
        important! Make sure you have the ability, the time, and the
        willingness to perform 10-25% water changes on a weekly basis,
        sometimes more depending on the situation and your water chemistry.

        Last piece of advice is to buy a good test kit and test your tap
        water before you add fish. Know what your PH, your GH, and Ammonia
        levels are from your tap so you know what kind of fish will be
        easiest to care for in your water. Though most fish can adapt to just
        about any water conditions (regarding PH and GH) they thrive best
        when kept in conditions that are close or match their natural habitat.

        Anyhow, I imagine that is more of a response than you might have been
        expecting. I really recommend reading up on fish keeping at
        www.thekrib.com and other online resources before starting as having
        a solid understanding of what must be done to start and maintain a
        fish tank will greatly reduce the chance of you making newbie
        mistakes.

        If you have any questions along the way, shoot them out to the group.
        There are some really knowledgeable people in this group.

        Best Regards,
        Kevin R. Stringer



        --- In freshwateraquariums@yahoogroups.com, "Lisa"
        <lisa_lawless2004@...> wrote:
        >
        > Hello everyone.
        >
        >
        > For the last…6 months, maybe a little longer. I've been trying to
        > decide whether I want a dog or a tank when I move in to my new
        > place. And I have come to the conclusion, that given my working
        > hours. It's perhaps kinder to the both of us if I don't get a dog.
        > Especially considering that the dog in question was likely going to
        > end up being a puppy. And I'm just not going to be home enough in
        > it's early years for it to settle.
        >
        >
        > But I digress. Sorry.
        >
        >
        > I only have access to freshwater aquarium suppliers. But
        considering
        > I am a complete beginner at keeping tanks larger then one suitable
        > for a goldfish I need help.
        >
        >
        > At first I was considering a 20gal. But I've decided I want larger.
        > Maybe a 40 or a 45gal.
        >
        >
        > I would like a pleco among other things.
        >
        >
        > From personal experience. What species would you recommend. I would
        > like to try and avoid things like neon tetras and minnow types. I
        > want the larger fish here.
        > Maybe a rainbow or silver shark, or a red tail black shark….
        >
        >
        > I've heard the sharks are quite hardy fish to keep.
        > What other fish could I put in a community tank with them?
        >
        >
        > I would be using `non palatable' plants and a heater
        >
        >
        > Thanks in advance
        > Lisa
        >
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