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Old 02-15-2014, 02:54 PM   #1
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Hello, everyone! New aquarist here.

Hello all!

My name is Laurie and I'm pretty new to the hobby. I caught the aquarium bug after stumbling across some YouTube videos of Red Cherry Shrimp and fell in love, haha.

I had a tank or two when I was very young, and after researching all I can about the nitrogen cycle these past couple weeks, I feel horribly guilty for all of the fish that my mother and I brought home to an uncycled tank when I was a girl. I suppose you could say I'm hoping to make amends this time!

Perhaps this is too personal, but I'm nothing if not honest... I suffer from mental health problems, and as a result I'm currently on medical leave from work. I struggle with both anxiety and depression, and I find watching fish to be very soothing and distracting when my thoughts are running away with me. Just spending this last week watching videos and doing research has done a ton to brighten my mood. I can see this hobby being very beneficial to me.

I'm very much looking forward to planning and building my first successful aquarium. I go to pick up my new empty tank on Monday, and tomorrow I'm going to scope out my LFS for the first time. So excited!
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Old 02-15-2014, 03:17 PM   #2
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Welcome Laurie! You've come to the right place! This hobby should provide you with some very uplifting little friends if you're feeling a little down. I know it helps me any questions, start a thread! There are tons of extremely knowledgable, friendly aquarists on here that love helping out new comers! So aside from RCS what kind of fish are you thinking?
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Old 02-15-2014, 03:41 PM   #3
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Thanks for the welcome, Brookster!

I've made a list of some fish that I'm interested in and that I think I can handle as a beginner. I've been using AqAdvisor to try and figure out some suitable combinations. Some of the fish I like are:
- Dwarf cory cats
- Tetras, rummynose, neon, etc.
- Platies (preferably all male to avoid too many fry)
- Rasboras (I saw some tiny green ones that I really, really like - microrasbora kubotai? Though I don't know how readily available they'll be where I'm located.)

Eventually I think I want to get a small school of Marbled Hatchetfish too, but not until I know my water quality inside and out. I read that they can be pretty sensitive to water conditions.
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Old 02-15-2014, 03:54 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by captaincritical View Post
Thanks for the welcome, Brookster! I've made a list of some fish that I'm interested in and that I think I can handle as a beginner. I've been using AqAdvisor to try and figure out some suitable combinations. Some of the fish I like are: - Dwarf cory cats - Tetras, rummynose, neon, etc. - Platies (preferably all male to avoid too many fry) - Rasboras (I saw some tiny green ones that I really, really like - microrasbora kubotai? Though I don't know how readily available they'll be where I'm located.) Eventually I think I want to get a small school of Marbled Hatchetfish too, but not until I know my water quality inside and out. I read that they can be pretty sensitive to water conditions.
how do you plan in cycling the tank? I have experience with most of those fish, but first things first. Tank size? Heated? Lights? Substrate? Plants (if any)? These details will all help determine which fish will thrive in your setup!
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Old 02-15-2014, 04:44 PM   #5
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I'm planning on doing a fishless cycle. I haven't decided yet if I'll use SafeStart or something similar to speed up the process. I'm currently reading through different views on the matter. What's your take, if you don't mind my asking? I'm happy to wait the full length of time necessary to do a fishless cycle with plain ammonia, but if there are no ill effects I wouldn't mind speeding the process.

The tank itself is a little less than 40 gallons (36" x 12.5" x 19"). It will be heated and well-filtered. I'm picking it up on Monday, and it comes with an AquaClear 300, which I read is adequate for up to 70 gallons. Another canister filter comes with it, but the seller was unable to determine the brand so I'm not counting on it.

For substrate, I'm planning on using a very fine black gravel or sand (it depends what my LFS sells, really). I really like the look of Caribsea's Tahitian Moon sand, but I'm concerned it won't be smooth enough for corys, if I get them. I plan on searching for more reviews.

I'll be going with artificial plants, only because I've never dealt with live ones and I don't want to overwhelm myself at first. I might be talked into something incredibly low-maintenance like Java Moss if it will be beneficial, but I'd really like to keep things simple at the beginning.

As for lighting, the tank I'm getting comes with a light hood. I'm not sure what sort of bulb it has currently (if any), so that remains to be determined. What would you suggest for a freshwater community tank done mostly in dark colours?

Thank you for the help!
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Old 02-15-2014, 05:05 PM   #6
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I'm planning on doing a fishless cycle. I haven't decided yet if I'll use SafeStart or something similar to speed up the process. I'm currently reading through different views on the matter. What's your take, if you don't mind my asking? I'm happy to wait the full length of time necessary to do a fishless cycle with plain ammonia, but if there are no ill effects I wouldn't mind speeding the process. The tank itself is a little less than 40 gallons (36" x 12.5" x 19"). It will be heated and well-filtered. I'm picking it up on Monday, and it comes with an AquaClear 300, which I read is adequate for up to 70 gallons. Another canister filter comes with it, but the seller was unable to determine the brand so I'm not counting on it. For substrate, I'm planning on using a very fine black gravel or sand (it depends what my LFS sells, really). I really like the look of Caribsea's Tahitian Moon sand, but I'm concerned it won't be smooth enough for corys, if I get them. I plan on searching for more reviews. I'll be going with artificial plants, only because I've never dealt with live ones and I don't want to overwhelm myself at first. I might be talked into something incredibly low-maintenance like Java Moss if it will be beneficial, but I'd really like to keep things simple at the beginning. As for lighting, the tank I'm getting comes with a light hood. I'm not sure what sort of bulb it has currently (if any), so that remains to be determined. What would you suggest for a freshwater community tank done mostly in dark colours? Thank you for the help!
well it sounds like you've done your homework I did a fish-in cycle myself (with the help of established media) so that's what I know and am comfortable with. Fish less seems to GE the growing trend, there are many on here that swear by it and know much more about the batter than I. With that tank size (35 long maybe?) you have some good options, it's true you should have a smooth substrate with Cory's, you could do a tumbled smooth gravel, I'm not familiar with Tahitian sand but if it's a fine grade than I'm sure it will do, I have plants on all my tanks, I started out with fake deco and now I can't stand it haha, I'm actually in the process of removing it all, huge pita. Java fern and anubias are great low light plants, anarchis too, all help with water quality by feeding on nitrates. If it's a stock hood with I'm guessing to be a 20-24" t8 flourecent than you could do all those plants. I like cardinal tetras over neons only because of health issues I've had with neons. I'd say a nice school of either with some Cory's and than a nice centerpiece fish like a gourami. Or if you're set on platys than a few of those, rainbow fish are also nice!
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Old 02-15-2014, 05:18 PM   #7
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I've certainly tried to do my homework, haha. I'm a big nerd and I love learning new things, so it's actually been a lot of fun for me!

I'll look into low-light plants and see if I think I'll be able to maintain them. I'll also have to see what's available to me locally.

I have this silly notion that if I get a single gourami as a centrepiece, it'll be lonely. Is there any type that's relatively simple to care for that would do well in a pair? Honeys, maybe? I've also read that a lot of the gouramis available in stores are ill from the get-go. Any advice on looking for some in good health?

Thanks again for all your help! I really appreciate it.
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Old 02-15-2014, 05:28 PM   #8
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I've certainly tried to do my homework, haha. I'm a big nerd and I love learning new things, so it's actually been a lot of fun for me! I'll look into low-light plants and see if I think I'll be able to maintain them. I'll also have to see what's available to me locally. I have this silly notion that if I get a single gourami as a centrepiece, it'll be lonely. Is there any type that's relatively simple to care for that would do well in a pair? Honeys, maybe? I've also read that a lot of the gouramis available in stores are ill from the get-go. Any advice on looking for some in good health? Thanks again for all your help! I really appreciate it.
I hear you! I've soaked up more knowledge in the last 4 months! Gouramis can be tricky yes, if you don't mind aggression than a pair of apisto's could work, I love mine, great personality and as you can see look amazing!


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Pleaee excuse the red gravel, another rookie regret! On sale is not always a good thing :hangsheadinshame:
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Old 02-15-2014, 05:36 PM   #9
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That is a beautiful fish! I'm assuming it's a male based on the colouration? His fins are stunning.

And hey, I'm not immune to a sale myself. I was planning on only getting a 20g long but then this aquarium popped up at the right price and I was sold.
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Old 02-15-2014, 05:39 PM   #10
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That is a beautiful fish! I'm assuming it's a male based on the colouration? His fins are stunning. And hey, I'm not immune to a sale myself. I was planning on only getting a 20g long but then this aquarium popped up at the right price and I was sold.
yah he is a sharp looking lil fella, his tail used to look better but my killi had a midnight snack on it:/ if I could only go back... I'm liking the black sand too, I'm waiting for my gf to go away for a night so I can tear it down haha. But enough about me. Does your Lfs offer a wide variety? Is it a big box store or specialty feesh place?
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