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Old 05-03-2006, 02:33 PM   #1
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Need help with new tank

I just bought a 29 gallon tank yesterday. It came with a filter, water conditioner, and a few other things (the tank is at my parents, they are going to have to help me bring it in today- Today I will buy the stand, gravel, plastic plants (as a beginner I don't want to mess with real plants) I've done some research as to what fish are easy to keep together. I am thinking a live bearer tank with some of the following fish: mollies, swordtails, barbs, and tetras, with maybe a pleco or two for the bottom. Which of these are easy for beginners? I'm not THAT much of a beginner-I kept oscars for a while, but in retrospect I realize the tank was very overcrowded and its a miracle they lasted as long as they did. I've kept goldfish for quiet a while, and had a tank full of feeder guppies that multiplied quite a bit. I am very new at tropical fish like the types listed above. I have a couple questions.

1. The site I read said that these fish like to school together, especially the tetras. Can I combine different types of tetras- get five of different kinds instead of five of the same kind?
2. I have never used a tester kit before. Which kind should I get and how often should I use it? Is it hard to use?
2. Are weekly water changes enough?
3. All these fish I have been looking at are small. Are there any bigger fish (mabye up to 6 inches) I could put in there that won't eat them?
4. How long should I let the tank sit before putting the fish in?
I've gotten a few different answers on this.

Thanks so much!
Sarah
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Old 05-03-2006, 02:41 PM   #2
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1. Tetras will mostly only school with their own kind.

2. Get the AP master test kit. This one

2. After your tank is cycled once a week is fine.

3. a gourami or angel fish would work nicely.

4. Do a fishless cycle easier on you and the fish. Here is an article about it. Fishless Cycle

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Old 05-03-2006, 02:50 PM   #3
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I would drop the barbs...they can be a little more agressive then the rest of the population imo.

With the pleco,just be sure to get one that stays small,many will outgrow your tank.There are many options...scroll though the pages of the main freshwater forum and you'll find many posts on this very subject.

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Old 05-03-2006, 09:24 PM   #4
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Thanks for the advice. I noticed on another thread someone told another newbie that you could use media from a friend's established tank. I have a friend with an established tank. What is media?
Thanks.
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Old 05-03-2006, 09:35 PM   #5
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The media is part of the sponges etc. in his filter. You could also use some of his gravel.
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Old 05-03-2006, 10:55 PM   #6
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If you use filter media from your friend's tank, make sure that he or she has a healthy tank so you don't introduce any diseases into your own. You can use a filter pad, or some gravel like Rich311k said, and you can put the gravel in a new nylon stocking and tie it up if it doesn't match your own gravel. You will still need a test kit, as this will not instantly cycle your tank, but it will make the process a lot quicker and will probably cycle it within days. I've started a lot of tanks this way and it works great for me, just be prepared for small ammonia or nitrite spikes and be ready to change some water when it happens. Remember, when you cycle a tank in this way, you will need a source of ammonia for the bacteria, otherwise it will die and you will be back to square one. You can either add pure ammonia as you would for a fishless cycle, or you can stock lightly with a few hardy fish, and then continue to stock slowly once your ammonia and nitrite are at 0. I'd personally start with the tetras, as long as you pick a hardy species like black skirts, pristellas, glowlights, etc. Some other species like neons and cardinals are much more sensitive and should only be added to an established tank.

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Old 05-05-2006, 09:42 AM   #7
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I think Australian Rainbows are absolutely beautiful fish to have in a community tank like yours. They don't get huge, maybe 5 to 6" but they'd make a nice display if you get 3 of 4 of them. Even kinds of Gouramis are very pleasant to look at too. Such as : Moonlight G, Opaline G, Gold G ect. ect.

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Old 05-05-2006, 05:50 PM   #8
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I think I'm going to do what Severum said about cycling the tank - I already asked my friend and he said he'd give me gravel in a plastic bag. His tank seems healthy enough. No fish haved died recently or anything. I'll call and see which fish store has the tetras you mentioned. When should I put them in- the day I put the gravel in or after that?
Also I have a question about PH. The guy at the fish store told me that's really important. He says I have to raise it for a community tank. He tried to talk me out of the tank I wanted. He suggested African Cichlids, but I really want a community tank. He said that the Ph may become wrong again over time. How often do you need to test for ph? And do you have to take the fish out when you add the stuff to change it? I'm not sure I trust this guy or not- he kept putting stuff in my cart saying I needed it. I'm not sure.
I have to admit, I'm getting a little daunted. There is so much more to keeping tropical fish than I realized. I'm really afraid I'm going to mess up and all my fish are going to die. Part of me thinks I should give up and go back to goldfish. But I really want to try tropicals. Goldfish are so boring and messy. They were fine when I was a kid, but I would just love to have a tropical fish tank. Is it really as impossible as it sounds? Sorry, I'm just a bit stressed about all this. My poor Oscar. I just put him in a tank with no chlorine and never checked anything and somehow he survived. Fortuntely, I had a big tank and a good filter. I hope he was happy. Oh well.
Thanks so much for all the help!
Sarah
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Old 05-05-2006, 09:15 PM   #9
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Stable PH is more important than a perfect PH. What is your PH? Those PH stabilizers your LFS wants to sell you are no good and will just make your PH bounce. As far as when to add you fish you may want to read this article about fishless cycling. Much easier on you and the fish. The gravel your are getting will make it go much easier.
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Old 05-05-2006, 10:51 PM   #10
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The fishless cycling idea with a piece of shrimp is great, but I don't think its an option for me. I live with a roommate, and she's made it very clear to me that if the fish tank smells, it's gone. I can't let something rot in my tank if its going to stink, and I think letting shrimp rot would stink. I need to do something that won't smell up the whole apartment. I think I'm going to try with the tetras, but if you don't think this is a good idea, I could use those feeder goldfish that the pet store sells. I don't like the thought of putting any fish through distress, but I've fed a lot of those little guys to my oscar when I had him and that's where most of them are going anyway. With the gravel my friend is giving me, do you think it would be ok to start with the tetras? I could probably return the feeders back to the pet store in a few days when the bacteria starts growing. Let me know, and I'm really sorry the shrimp thing doesn't seem like an option.
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