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Old 05-13-2010, 11:34 AM   #1
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Smile Do I want an aquarium?

I am not really an Aquarist but I do enjoy seeing other peoples' fishes at their places. The main reason for me not having fish is that it seems all too complicated: water skimmers, pumps, oxigenizers, water temperature... in terms of simplicity a cat would be ideal, only that a cat doesn't provide the soothing relaxation an aquarium does. So I guess I'm here to let you convince me to take the frist step and get an aquarium of my own instead of anoying friends and relatives by sitting in their living rooms all day and emptying their refrigerators!

Any idea where I can start looking for equipment and prices online?
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Old 05-13-2010, 11:42 AM   #2
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Welcome to the forum!

Craigs List is a good place to find a tank and stand. Depending on were you live there are great places to buy new. You will get more aquarium for the $$$ if you buy used.

Check out these sites for equipment prices:
www.thatpetplace.com
Pet Solutions | Pet Supplies, Aquarium Supplies & Live Fish

I have bought off of each and never had any issues.
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Old 05-13-2010, 11:56 AM   #3
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It's not all as complicated as it seems. If you are just wanting to start a freshwater tank, there is no need for skimmers or anything fancy, all you really need is a filter, heater, possibly an air pump (very cheap and cool looking with bubble wands), and of course the light, and substrate and decorations. if you find a tank on craigs list, chances are it's going to come with the hood and light, and sometimes it will come with all the other stuff too. one word of advice, research all you can before diving into something. oh, and starting off small isn't the best idea, in fact the bigger you go the better. in small tanks the water chemistry will change much faster and more dramatically, so in a bigger tank there is a little more forgiveness. remember, research, research, research, and get yourself a good test kit (may be a little pricey but well worth it, and it's pretty much a one-time buy). and personally, with no experience (like me) i would start off with fresh water. hope this helps to sway you a little, we don't even have fish yet and we are already loving the calming effects of our tanks running. (yea, we have no fish but 3 tanks!! MTS hits hard and fast! beware!)
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Old 05-13-2010, 11:59 AM   #4
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oh, and welcome to AA! it's a great place to start out, everyone on here is wicked helpful and knowledgeable. take a look at the articles, the pictures section can help you figure out what kind of setup you want.
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Old 05-13-2010, 12:02 PM   #5
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Welcome to AA!

An aquarium can be very simple or highly complex. It all depends on what you're trying to do with it.

There are a few questions you need to ask yourself first:

1. Are you willing to do some weekly maintenance on your aquarium? Weekly partial water changes (PWCs) are a minimum for a healthy aquarium. Compare it to cleaning a cat's litterbox.

2. Are you willing to learn how to care for your finned friends? There's a wealth of knowledge available here, but you have to be willing to listen to answers.

If you're willing to give an honest effort at an aquarium, here's what I'd recommend:

- Start with a freshwater tank. They're much cheaper and easier to learn with than saltwater.

- Start with a 29-40 gallon tank. Medium-large tanks are easier to maintain. It's a little counterintuitive, but it's true. More water volume dilutes problem chemicals.

- Get a VersaTop hood and a fluorescent light fixture. The VersaTop will allow you to upgrade lighting later if you want to go planted.

- Get an AquaClear 50 or 70 filter. It's a solid filter that doesn't use cartridges. Not using cartridges makes the filter more flexible and easier to maintain.

- Get a Marineland Stealth Pro or Fluval Tronic heater. 150-200 watts should be adequate.

- Get the API Freshwater Master Test Kit or another liquid reagent test kit. This is critical to the health of your aquarium. Strip tests are unreliable at best.

- Get a gravel vacuum and a dedicated aquarium bucket. The dedicated bucket prevents you from contaminating your tank with bad chemicals.

- Research the "Fishless Cycle" here on AA. I really recommend cycling without fish. It takes a little while, but it's actually less work and you don't have to worry about your fish dying.

- Decorate your tank with a natural-colored gravel and some silk plants. Maybe some driftwood or slate if it interests you. The clown-puke gravel will wear on you after while.

- After you've done the fishless cycle, start with just a few fish that will grow to an appropriate size for your tank. Many fish sold in the stores get much too large for most aquariums. Some, like irridescent sharks, can reach several feet in length.

The key is starting with the right equipment, asking questions,and taking baby steps. Most people here on AA are knowledgeable and willing to answer questions. We'll do our best to help you out if you decide an aquarium is for you.
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Old 05-13-2010, 12:03 PM   #6
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IME the research seemed more overwhelming than the actual doing when I set up my first tank but I'm more of a doer than a thinker so take that with a grain of salt. The hardest part was the cycling and since you have already found this forum your golden someone on here will know the answer to about any question you might have and they are all the nicest people you will ever meet so don't be shy to ask.

Check craigslist a lot of people here have found great things on there (I'm yet to be so lucky) and if your thinking a 10 gallon go 20 or 30 everyone wishes they went bigger.
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Old 05-13-2010, 12:09 PM   #7
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+1 on EVERYTHING Bigjim said, well done.

You have to remember though that keeping an aquarium is a steady stream of care, but can be very little more than the pwc's and feeding. If you listen to the advice given here you will soon find yourself with numerous tanks (MTS multiple tank sydrome).
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Old 05-13-2010, 04:03 PM   #8
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once the tank is up and running it is easy. many can require just feeding and a water changes. really its something you should read up more on and see if its something you wish to do and take responsibility for.
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Old 05-20-2010, 12:46 PM   #9
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Thanks for the repiles! Thanks Big Jim for the DETAILED info.

In terms of my ultimate goal the Aquarium I look forward to having in the future would look like this:
Aquariums and Aquarium Supplies , FishPetLove.com => see the tubular tank? is that a reef in side?

I guess that is considered high end... patience... so for now I am going to look into what BigJim says. As a beginner I would like to keep it simple until i get ahold of things... many recommenc i start with FW, but i think myself capable of handling SW.

I would like to buy everything new, do you have a place you can recommed? apart from the established companies, there are simpler and smaller ones [fispetlove.com or americanquariumproducts.com for example] any thoughts on that? I just wnat to buy everything from one place to keep it simple.

Thanks!
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Old 05-20-2010, 01:31 PM   #10
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First, I'll suggest staying away from cylindrical or hexagonal aquariums. Fish generally like to swim side to side and these shapes limit that.

Reefs are the pinnacle of high end aquariums. I've seen some reef tanks that have six figures sunk into them. It's generally the cost, not the difficulty, that keeps people from SW.

I'd recommend Craigslist, but if you're set on buying new, there are options. I'd recommend finding a good LFS that can order stuff for you. You may be able to work a custom package deal with them and you can establish a pretty good relationship with the LFS for the future. If you want to go the online route, you might want to get the tank locally and order the rest from a bigger distributor online.
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Old 05-20-2010, 03:04 PM   #11
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Aquariums and Aquarium Supplies , FishPetLove.com => see the tubular tank? is that a reef in side?
That looks to be a fake reef, probably plastic. Just look at how little space the fish actually have to swim in that picture. A majority of the water volume in the tank has been displaced by that HUGE fake decoration. Steer clear of those type of tanks, like BigJim said.
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Old 06-14-2010, 01:13 PM   #12
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Thanks for your recommendations!

I think from your opinions and others this is what I should do:

-go freshwater
-get a 30 to 40 galon tank
-get a filter
-put it close to a sink/water hose
-put it on a sturdy table [I believe they make specialized furniture]
-cycle
-get fish food
-get fish cichlids seem to be a good option

I've heard that I would have to get chemicals, is this true? or will it depend on something like overstocking or understocking or other?

I've visited petco and from i've seen on the web there prices are overall higher and do not have knowledgeable staff, I have not gone to a local aquarium store lately, but for what I recall unless they want to get rid of something their prices ara also higher, they do have fish though...

Any recomendations on online stores? I've visited: drsfosters&smith.com, fishpetlove.com, marinedepot.com, bigalsonline.com... I aslo would like to buy everything from only one place.

Also, any resommendations on tank brands?

Thanks again!
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Old 06-14-2010, 02:06 PM   #13
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The only chemicals you should need are dechlorinator and a liquid reagent test kit. Prime or AquaSafe would be my choices for dechlorinator and API Freshwater Master for the test kit.

The big box stores are hit or miss. I have two Petsmarts, a Petco, and a Petland nearby. One Petsmart is very good. The people know what they're talking about and the fish are pretty good. The others aren't so hot. I either get people who are clueless or they tell me what I'm doing is wrong. The prices are usually pretty good though.

The LFS is where I go for most of my fish. Their fish are usually healthier and the LFS carries fish you'd never find in the chain stores. They're also more willing to order something for you.

I'm hesitant to order fish online due to the cost of shipping. I have too many good LFSs nearby. I've ordered stuff from Big Al's with no problem. UPS smashed the box and Big Al's took care of me.
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Old 06-14-2010, 02:30 PM   #14
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i've ordered from drsfosterandsmith.com and was very pleased. fast delivery and my glass versa-top was in perfect condition as well as the box it was shipped in. next time i need to order something that is where i plan to go.
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Old 06-24-2010, 01:00 PM   #15
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Hi again!

While researching i called some places to get advice, Fred at fishpetlove.com was very helpful, he just got some new aquariums he was waiting for, any suggestions?:

Complete Aquarium Sets : Aquariums and Aquarium Supplies , FishPetLove.com

I decided to get 2 or 3 cichlids to start. Any suggestions on ohter resilient species?

Thanks again!
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Old 06-24-2010, 01:14 PM   #16
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What type of cichlids are they?
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Old 06-24-2010, 01:44 PM   #17
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It can be difficult to upgrade or replace equipment on a non-rectangular aquarium. Just something to think about.
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Old 03-30-2012, 10:00 PM   #18
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I replied to this so I can have a copy of bigjims hardware suggestions

I just started a 10 gallon which was a gift and I already want a bigger tank
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Old 03-30-2012, 10:15 PM   #19
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You could research what you want to buy on on websites that were listed above but buy from amazon.
I found it to be much cheaper when I built my 150 planted.
Hope you find keeping a tank enjoyable!
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Old 03-30-2012, 10:16 PM   #20
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Depending on the cichlids you may be in for a little bit more work you need to figure out what type you want (i.e. south american, african exc)to figure out what type of water chemistry you will need. For the beginner I would suggest a nice community tank with good hardy fish. I would suggest platies swordtails or tetras if your going that route pretty easy to take care of. Barbs are a nice semi aggressive fish that are pretty fun to watch and would go well in a 40 gallon breeder. But don't let me sway you from the cichlids if you'd like definately worth the work.
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