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Old 03-24-2004, 11:23 PM   #1
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Starting out

I am getting ready to start a small aquarium. Low maintenance is the ideal. I am getting a Eclipse System 12 (12 gallon) tank as it meets the budget and appears low maintenance. Any suggestions on the other requirements?
Test kits? What should I definitely test for?
Suggestions for the fish mix
Best beginner book?
Things I don't know enough to ask about?

Any and all contributions are appreciated.


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Old 03-24-2004, 11:50 PM   #2
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What kind of fish are you interested in? A community tank, species only tank? Plants? etc. A bit of an idea of what kind of look or "feel" you are aiming for would narrow the topic a bit....

Also what kind of water you have - hard, soft? That would dictate fish choice (assuming you won't want to doctor the water - which is HIGH maintanance!)

I would also suggest you read the KRIB FAQ. A copy is found here:


IMO, understanding the cycling process is the most important thing in having a successful aquarium. Good info at the KRIB site & also check out the articles section at this site as well.

Test kit - try to get a liquid kit - more accurate. Minimum - NH3, NO2, pH. Nice to have - NO3, KH, GH.
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Old 03-25-2004, 01:11 AM   #3
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[center:dfcdea0624] Welcome to AA, Nuke_Spook!! [/center:dfcdea0624]
Low maintenance is the ideal.
For a 12 gal, that shouldn't be too hard. However, it the beginning, there will be lots to do while cycling the tank. Great article found on this board, under articles. After the cycling process (assuming all goes according to plan ), there will be weekly 1/4 water changes while vacuuming the gravel to keep your fish and tank healthy and clean
You'll want a heater for tropical fish. Check out www.liveaquaria.com under the fish section, click on freshwater and research some fishes. Post what you think will be a good mix and we can help. The more knowledge you have, the better your aquarium experience will be.
As for books, I don’t know of any, but all Qs you have can be posted here and someone will help

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Old 03-25-2004, 02:10 AM   #4
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I liked the Eclipse 12 and I would have gotten it if I had the room for it (I had to go with the AllGlass Minibow 7 gal instead).

Tank maintenance really depends more on the type of fish you have rather than the size of the tank. I find that my 55 gal takes less of my time per week than my 7 gal - the larger volume just helps the water parameters remain more stable.

Regardless of what size tank you have, a Python ( http://www.pythonproducts.com/ )will make those weekly water changes much easier. I highly recommend getting one.

Get a good heater - avoid the cheapest ones, they'll cook your fish. A 75W heater will be more than sufficient.
Jsoong mentioned the liquid test kits.
You'll also need a dechlorinator (e.g. Amquel, Aquasafe) and a good thermometer.

Everything else (substrate, decor, food) should be planned after you have decided what types of fish you want. We can help you once you generate a list of fish that catch your interest

I was helped immensely by these two books:
This book has some good fish mix suggestions.

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Old 03-25-2004, 12:27 PM   #5
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It doesn't seem to be a great tank for growing plants. (I'm having trouble with that now) I also find that I need to keep the lid open (well the hinged flap) in the summer to keep the tank from getting too hot. It seems that the light heats the water up a good 4-6 degrees, but that is casual observation, there may be other factors at work...

It sure looks a lot nicer than a standard rectangular tank tho.

I do water changes with a siphon and bucket (it holds a bit more than 3 gallons, so I can do the water change in one trip w/out spilling the water everywhere. AND it has a padded foam handle, because I'm a wussie). I use old water jugs to fill the tank (I leave them out overnight to let the temp match the room temp - the tank is approx room temp b/c I don't use a heater). I guess my thing against the python was that it was expensive and wastes water... (I think that you have run water in the tap to get the python to draw out the water from the tank?) Once you get the hang of the siphon thing it's not too bad. I just have to make sure I put the end of the siphon inside the bucket rather than let it dangle outside.

You could probably hit the library for books. Tho some of them might be dated... I seemed to find as much good info online (or better, especially as you can talk to people) as I did in books.

Don't look at any of Amano's books. You'll want a planted tank and start hating yourself when you attempt one (especially with the eclipse ).

BTW It kinda scratches easily. I've got a nice deep scratch from a wirebound notebook that I tossed on the desk that accidentally hit the tank along the way. It can be buffed out, but I fear I might do more damage that way....

I purchased the Aquarium Pharmeceuticals Master Test Kit and a separate NitrAte kit (Master Test kit doesn't have NitrAte test). I think it will expire before I run out of tests...

Sorry if this post is overwhelming, I seem to be overly talkative today
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Old 03-25-2004, 06:32 PM   #6
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I just recently bought the 12 gal Eclipse and think it looks awesome. It's too early to tell on maintenance as I've only had mine for about 1 week. If you haven't bought yours already, try http://www.drsfostersmith.com. I found it costs $18 cheaper (including shipping) than any retail stores around.

I do, however, have fake plants and decor. I have tried the real thing and have had no success.

Good Luck!
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