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Old 08-06-2011, 07:10 PM   #1
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Help me get started?

Hi all! I am hoping to get some advice before making the plunge into aquarium owning. My six year old has been begging for a fish, and I want to make sure we provide a happy, safe environment.

I've poked around a bit, but if there is a "how to get started" link I missed it. Please direct me there if this is something you've already answered a million times!

My questions are:
1) What size tank to get? I was looking at 5 gallon tanks, but after reading here, that seems too small. I don't want anything too large, but I want the fish to be happy. Any recommendations on which brand/type?
2)What fish would be good beginner fish? I was thinking of perhaps a male betta, a few tetras and an African dwarf frog.
3) Plants for the tank? Are they easy to maintain?
4) What other supplies do I need?

Thank you in advance! I'll keep looking around the site and try to learn more, as well.
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Old 08-06-2011, 07:21 PM   #2
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Just a note - I did read the links at the top, but was hoping for something more specific.

Also, is a heater needed?
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Old 08-06-2011, 07:27 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by odenata
Hi all! I am hoping to get some advice before making the plunge into aquarium owning. My six year old has been begging for a fish, and I want to make sure we provide a happy, safe environment.

I've poked around a bit, but if there is a "how to get started" link I missed it. Please direct me there if this is something you've already answered a million times!

My questions are:
1) What size tank to get? I was looking at 5 gallon tanks, but after reading here, that seems too small. I don't want anything too large, but I want the fish to be happy. Any recommendations on which brand/type?
2)What fish would be good beginner fish? I was thinking of perhaps a male betta, a few tetras and an African dwarf frog.
3) Plants for the tank? Are they easy to maintain?
4) What other supplies do I need?

Thank you in advance! I'll keep looking around the site and try to learn more, as well.
1. Tank size is up to you, a single betta can be kept in 5 gallons. If you want a school or other fish you need at least 10 gallons. You could go with a kit, or you could buy he supplies separate. Buying separate allows for better quality.

2. A betta can be kept in 5 gallons, but if you want tankmates you need 10 gallons. If your doing a betta with tankmates I would do neons or cardinal tetras.

3. There are easy plants to maintain, if you decide to plant it mosses, ferns, and anubias are easy to maintain. You will need fluorescent lighting.

4. All supplies you will need are a tank, filter, lights, and heater as necessities. I'm sure you will want to add plants, gravel, and airstone.
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Old 08-06-2011, 07:28 PM   #4
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First off, to AA!

Here's an article you always want handy: The (almost) Complete Guide and FAQ to Fishless Cycling

I would reccomend twenty to thirty gallons for your first tank, but bigger is always better. A betta, a school of tetras or other fish of your choice, and something for the bottom of the tank like catfish (cories are an excellent option) would look good. I believe african dwarf frogs are sometimes clumsy and run into fish and can't be outcompeted for food so are best by themselves, though someone correct me if I'm wrong. Yes you will need a heater as these are all tropical fish. Easy plants include java fern, java moss, anubias, anacharis, hornwort, pennywort, and crypts. All need no special lighting and can be kept without CO2. I would also reccomend a gravel vaccuum, a good filter and an API Master Test Kit, that will help you very much. But before you do anything read up on the fishless cycle! Good luck
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Old 08-06-2011, 07:37 PM   #5
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First off, to AA!

Here's an article you always want handy: The (almost) Complete Guide and FAQ to Fishless Cycling

I would reccomend twenty to thirty gallons for your first tank, but bigger is always better. A betta, a school of tetras or other fish of your choice, and something for the bottom of the tank like catfish (cories are an excellent option) would look good. I believe african dwarf frogs are sometimes clumsy and run into fish and can't be outcompeted for food so are best by themselves, though someone correct me if I'm wrong. Yes you will need a heater as these are all tropical fish. Easy plants include java fern, java moss, anubias, anacharis, hornwort, pennywort, and crypts. All need no special lighting and can be kept without CO2. I would also reccomend a gravel vaccuum, a good filter and an API Master Test Kit, that will help you very much. But before you do anything read up on the fishless cycle! Good luck
Great advice, I was going to say pretty much the same thing but he beat me to it! Good luck with your new tank, we're happy to help along the way.
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Old 08-06-2011, 07:43 PM   #6
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Thanks so much for the advice!

Saw this 20 gallon with accessories on Craigslist and wondered if it is a good start?

If I do a 20 gallon, then a betta, a school of cardinal tetras and a few cories would work? Could I add a snail?

Off to read the guide on fishless cycling!
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Old 08-06-2011, 10:37 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by odenata
Thanks so much for the advice!

Saw this 20 gallon with accessories on Craigslist and wondered if it is a good start?

If I do a 20 gallon, then a betta, a school of cardinal tetras and a few cories would work? Could I add a snail?

Off to read the guide on fishless cycling!
Yes it should work! A snail as well is a fine option.
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Old 08-06-2011, 11:33 PM   #8
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So, I got the 20 gallon tank with "accessories", but, unfortunately, I didn't notice he had left out the test kit until I got home, and the filter seems to be missing parts...ugh! I hope the light works okay.

The filter included is an undergravel filter, and it has the bottom tray-like part and a motor? (labeled Whisper 400, a white box that plugs in and says "not to be submerged" on it), but is missing tubing and everything else. Should I try to get parts for it, or just buy a new one (I was looking at the Aqueon Quiet Flow Power Filter)?

There are several random plastic pieces that may or may not be part of the filter, something that looks close to what is labeled a "Pleated Micron Cartridge" on a site I looked at, and two air pumps (well, I think they are air pumps).

I'm thinking I should just scrap everything but the tank, air pumps, and the light and buy a power filter, test kit, and heater. Does that sound right?

Thanks again for the help!
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Old 08-07-2011, 10:07 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by odenata View Post
So, I got the 20 gallon tank with "accessories", but, unfortunately, I didn't notice he had left out the test kit until I got home, and the filter seems to be missing parts...ugh! I hope the light works okay.

The filter included is an undergravel filter, and it has the bottom tray-like part and a motor? (labeled Whisper 400, a white box that plugs in and says "not to be submerged" on it), but is missing tubing and everything else. Should I try to get parts for it, or just buy a new one (I was looking at the Aqueon Quiet Flow Power Filter)?

There are several random plastic pieces that may or may not be part of the filter, something that looks close to what is labeled a "Pleated Micron Cartridge" on a site I looked at, and two air pumps (well, I think they are air pumps).

I'm thinking I should just scrap everything but the tank, air pumps, and the light and buy a power filter, test kit, and heater. Does that sound right?

Thanks again for the help!
Yeah that's sounds like a safer option to me. I've heard different things about undergravel filters anyway. A good HOB filter would do nicely. Instead of the Aqueon you might consider an AquaClear, I really like mine. There's different sizes, one says it's for 20 gals, but I would get the next size or two up (getting one rated for 50 gals should be sufficient.
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