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Old 01-05-2009, 04:17 PM   #1
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New as new can be... advice



OK... I know it says only dumb questions are ones not asked... but you havent heard my questions.

1st let me give u the rundown on what I would like to get.

roughtly 15-25 gallon tank (more towards 25-25 I believe)
A school on Neon Tetra
A Plocostomas (I poked thru some old threads here and got a little info on the different types
At least 1 catfish (should they at least be in pairs?)
A Snail (my g/f is driving me nuts about getting a snail)

This as im sure you can tell... will be a freshwater tank

Now here are my questions

1.) What type of food and is a single food going to work well here. I know the Pleco will be more of a bottom feeder and help keep the rocks clean but the catfish I am not very knowledgable about. (the snail I dont hav the faintest idea.)
2.) Does this seem Like to many or too few fish.
3.) I don't wnat to go the live plant route yet as I am VERY inexperienced.
4.) I don't wnat to sound cheap but... I'm cheap. let me know the places you can get by by cutting corners (fish food or rocks or something like that) and can you let me know when its important to make sure to but the "name brand" stuff

I was going to just google for results but I would rather get all my info from 1 place and after looking around here it DEFINATLY looks like people around here know their stuff. I can see I will be getting the tank this weekend and letting it cycle over the weekend (at least). I was hoping to get the fish asap but I'm glad I found this place because they all probably would have been dead

Thanks ahead of time for all your help.
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Old 01-05-2009, 05:04 PM   #2
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Hi Nameless.

Be sure to review the stickies in this forum regarding cycling the tank. Basically, your fish's waste, excess food, and things of that nature will break down in the tank. To keep your water from being poluted, you need to build up the bacteria that will break down the waste to keep your water clean. Cycling is nearly FREE just takes a little time.

As for your questions:

- The neon tetras will like a tropical flake, not real picky, but buy a good brand to bring out their brightest colors. The catfish (yes many are schooling fish and would be better off in pairs) need food on the bottom. Most likely, your neons will feed on the top and trying to get flakes through them will be tough. Instead, invest in some wafers which are designed to sink that your bottom feeders can get to.

- Plecos can get extremely large, so be sure to pay attention to the size of the type that you get and keep in mind your tank size. Most places will tell you the recommended tank size, and usually these are a little low too (they want to sell the fish). You would probably be ok with a couple small catfish, one small breed pleco, and a small school (maybe 8-10) tetras in 25 gallons.

- Don't go planted then yet... you will eventually :P

- Aquariums can be somewhat of an expensive hobby, but there are definately ways to cut costs. Not having live plants is one of the biggest ones. Buy a good heater, cheap ones that short our are never good. Buy a decent filter (not undergravel type). Things like substrate can be done cheaply depending on the type of material you buy. Decorations can be found very cheap too if you know where to look.
www.drfostersmith.com is a great site as far as saving money. You can also find some good stuff on www.aquabid.com

Welcome to the forum, and if you need any other help, be sure to let us know.
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Old 01-05-2009, 05:24 PM   #3
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AWESOME thank you very much

8-10 is the exact size i was looking to get for the Neons
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Old 01-07-2009, 07:28 AM   #4
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I agree with not skimping on the filter, the heater and the most important thing, the tank itself. Glass is better than plastic or acryllic and the thicker the glass, the better IMO. Cheaper glass tanks (here they tend to be Chinese imports) have quite thinner glass than standard tanks and will be more prone to defects. Can you see where this is going?! A light bump or knock the wrong way won't matter on a good quality tank. On a thin one, you might only end up paying more in the long run when you need to replace your carpet.

Also, check the Buy/Sell forum. People are always getting rid of things you can pick up for far less than the shops.
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Old 01-07-2009, 08:46 AM   #5
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Thanks for all the advice guys

I saw this kit in the store By Red Sea for $50 that tests pH, Alk, Nh3 and NH4, No2, and N03. its just called marine lab. That shoudl be all I need for testing all the water right? of course the hardware store I wanted to get my Ammonia from closes to early so Ill have to go friday on mt b-day happy b-day to me with a new fishtank.

Ill be gtting my new 20 gallon with stand either tonight or tomorrow night and will be setting everything up probably tomorrow. I will take pics. probably wont be that interesting but at least ill have them for myself
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Old 01-07-2009, 11:11 AM   #6
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...I saw this kit in the store By Red Sea for $50 that tests pH, Alk, Nh3 and NH4, No2, and N03...
API makes a Freshwater test kit that includes PH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate for about $20.


Don't be afraid or real plants. There are plenty that are easy to care for (basically don't do anything) and they can help work as a filter in your tank. As an example, they will compete with the alge for NitrAtes. The only real key to getting started with plants is making sure you have the right light source. Basically, get a hood with a flurecent light fixture and basically get a grow light (NOT a "Soft White" or "Warm White" tube normally used for home/office lighting). You don't have to specifically get a "grow" light, you just want a light source that has a color temperature of 5000K or greater (Soft White and similar home/office lights have a color temperature closer to 3000K). Beyond that, just stick with plants that don't need LOTS of light (because the basic flouresent hood will have "just enough" light for plants, but not enough for plants that need BRIGHT light).
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Old 01-07-2009, 05:39 PM   #7
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API makes a Freshwater test kit that includes PH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate for about $20.


Don't be afraid or real plants. There are plenty that are easy to care for (basically don't do anything) and they can help work as a filter in your tank. As an example, they will compete with the alge for NitrAtes. The only real key to getting started with plants is making sure you have the right light source. Basically, get a hood with a flurecent light fixture and basically get a grow light (NOT a "Soft White" or "Warm White" tube normally used for home/office lighting). You don't have to specifically get a "grow" light, you just want a light source that has a color temperature of 5000K or greater (Soft White and similar home/office lights have a color temperature closer to 3000K). Beyond that, just stick with plants that don't need LOTS of light (because the basic flouresent hood will have "just enough" light for plants, but not enough for plants that need BRIGHT light).
lol well now I have to 1 up my roomate since she just got a tank, so maybe ill go planted . What would it take just to have easy plants and do I put them in while I cycle it?

Also based on my fish choices... what would be the best type of plant. I alos will be putting in a snail (maybe named speedy )

Would it be a bad idea to put neon AND glowlight tetra's in the same tank?
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Old 01-07-2009, 06:02 PM   #8
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...Also based on my fish choices... what would be the best type of plant...
I just finished setting up a planted goldfish tank, and I'm working on a planted betta tank. Based on what I'm learning, it's not so much what plant goes with which fish, but what plants would be best for your lighting, tank size, what is available local (so you're not paying huge shipping costs buying plants online), and what is cheap.

Now there are some exceptions. Certain fish have an affinity for plants, and for those, you'd have to make sure you're getting plants that are not appitizing for that particular fish. The other thing to look out for is some pet stores sell plants that really are not ment to be submerged in an aquarium.

Here's at least one resource I've found is PlantGeek.net - Plant Guide. They don't have much of anything on what plant is best with which fish. But they have lots of information on lighting requirements and diffiuclty level of the plants, as well as a list of some non-aquatic plants frequently sold as aquatic.
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