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Old 05-18-2005, 03:01 AM   #1
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Wanting to start an aquarium

Hello everyone. I have been looking onto this site for about 2-3 weeks now and i am completely fascinated by some of your work. I would like to try my own,but don't want to dive in head first without making sure i'm in it for the haul. I was looking at investing into a 29 gal wal-mart kit for now and settling with that for a while. What is everyone's opinions on how and where to start. thanx
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Old 05-18-2005, 04:23 AM   #2
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My girlfriend and I just started an aquarium about a month ago. So I can tell you only what I have learned so far. Hopfully some others will chime in too.

When you get the aquarium talk to a local store about what you can put in as far as decorations go. And I mean a local fish store, not a random pet store. Believe it or not: wal-mart and other places carry decor that is actually bad for your water.
It takes around six weeks to fully establish the aquarium. That is after you put in the starter fish. Goldfish and a certain type of tetra (can't remember which type) work as starters. You can only use a certain breed in the first six weeks because the water is stabilizing and only certain fish are tough enough to survive it. Other fish will usually die during that process.

The best advice I can give (it definately helped me): READ!! As much as possible. I have been reading every night. There are some VERY good books out there that will educate you.

Good Luck. It's very addictive!
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Old 05-18-2005, 05:11 AM   #3
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would like to try my own,but don't want to dive in head first without making sure i'm in it for the haul
You can do all the research, but theres still only one way to learn
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Just Do It.
Start small and expand...
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Old 05-18-2005, 08:08 AM   #4
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Start small and expand...
thats the way to go everyone of us started small
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Old 05-18-2005, 08:11 AM   #5
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if you get a 20gal dont do what i did and get a 20 high, get a 20 long...
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Old 05-18-2005, 09:01 AM   #6
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Like every1 said, just get started on it. I'd say start with a 10-20g, and work from there. As long as you remember these things (and a bit more), you should be right:

Cycling the tank (NB. I'd say plz try fishless. After all, you are poisoning the poor fish when there is a humane way to do it that achieves the same results), keeping an eye on water parameters (though honestly , I don't really. After I know it's cycled, I just keep my PWC to make sure nitrates don't get too high), don't overstock, correct temperature, 1-2 PWC per week, correct lighting (and maybe CO2) depending on plants.

Think that's around it for the main things to look out for.
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Old 05-18-2005, 09:30 AM   #7
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Some practical gear acquisition advice if you don't mind used equipment: check out your local classifieds (or better yet a craigslist if there is a nearby city that applies), you'll find a lot of people who are either moving or decided that the hobby just wasn't for them. Do some price comparison shopping online or at your LFS and you'll see people regularly selling their gear at way less than half the price you'd pay. Look out for relatively new complete setups, ie with hoods, lights, stands, gravel, heater, etc. Get the seller to fill the tank and show you there are no leaks. Just be sure to disinfect (1:20 bleach followed by 4x overdose of dechlor) and rinse, rinse, rinse!. I still bought a canister filter and in-line heater seperately though with the money I saved. I hear local aquatic society auctions are good places too, but I've never found one near me.
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Old 05-18-2005, 11:14 AM   #8
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A 29 gal tank is a good starter tank. The smaller the tank, the harder it is to keep near-perfect water quality. It is much easier to maintain our 150 than it is out 10 gal. First, of course, get the tank, stand, hood, lights, filter, and heater. The filtration unit will depend on what type of fish you want to keep. If you are going along the lines of a community tank with Tetra's, Rasbora's and so on, you really don't need to worry about having a larger filter. Fish like Goldfish and Cichlids need extra filtration. You will need to get a Master Test Kit. Do not buy the strips. They are a waste of money. I recommend an Aquarium Pharmacuticals Freshwater Master Test Kit. They are a highly reputable brand. The gravel and decor really depends on what you want.

I second the recommendation above regarding a fishless cycle. THe fish won't have to suffer through the cycling process which can cause damage to the fish and shorten their life span. If you need info on fishless cycling, just post.

A good "med" to have on hand is Aquarium Salt. You will also need a gravel vac. I personally use the Python Gravel Vac. It hooks directly up to your kitchen sink and the water drains from the tank into the sink. Then all you do is set the water temp correctly coming from the faucet, turn the twist thing and the water starts to refill. Also, you will need a dechlorinator that removes Chlorine, Chloramine, and Heavy Metals.

Unless you have a really low pH, don't put seashells, coral, or argonite (sp) in the tank. You may want to check out some of the lfs. They can help you more than Wal-Mart will on fish selection.
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Old 05-18-2005, 07:38 PM   #9
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well welcome to AA by the way.

the fishless cycle is nice all you have to do is got to the store a buy a piece of seafood and let it decay in your tank. to start the cycle of your tank.

my 10g is from walmart and is doing great 7mths old tank now.

fish choicing is a big think. read read read. not all fish will get along with each other some will out grow your tank too.

Go with the 1" per gallon rule for your fish until you get more exp. 29 gallon tank mean you can get 2" and only 14 fish.

HTH
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Old 05-18-2005, 07:49 PM   #10
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Welcome to AA!

I'll agree regarding starting small. I did just that. I started with a 30gal and just recently set up a 75gal planted tank.

It is a wonderful hobby and you will learn at lot about fish keeping. Of course, you will learn other skills as well:

Plumbing
Carpentry
Chemistry
Biology
Botany (If you ever decide to go with live plants)
Patience
Photography (You gotta take pics of tank and fish)

Good luck!
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Old 05-18-2005, 08:09 PM   #11
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The 29gal kit comes with a decent filter, hood and a craptastic heater. My first piece of advice is to buy a new heater because the Wal-mart ones are known to not work (i have first had expierence with that)

You can go the fishless cycle route, which I suggest, because then you have time to read up on what fish you can get and research everything. That way you don't have to hassle with taking back the fish you bought to cycle.

Never trust fishstores, even the mom and pop places. If you are ever hesitant with a buy (fish/meds/water treatment/whatever), take note of what it is and hop on here and ask questions. Most lfs want to make money, or they just don't know what they are talking about.

You have a good amount of options with the 29gal and I wouldn't suggest going any smaller than that
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Old 05-18-2005, 08:17 PM   #12
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I don't know if you are as compulsive and addictive as I am, but small wasn't enough for me. I started with a 25 gallon octagon tank. And within 3 months I had an 80 gallon tank. 3 months after that and I had a 120 gallon tank. For me, it is a very addictive hobby. If you are like me, buy the largest tank that you can afford. A 55 gallon is usually only $20.00 to $30.00 more that the 29 gallon tank. This will save you from wanting to buy another tank sooner than later. Another good point for the larger tank is the larger they are, the easier they are to maintain.
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Old 05-19-2005, 03:15 AM   #13
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thanx for everyones advice. Yes i do plan on going fishless cycle from what i've read on here. My biggest fear is not going big enough. I see so many fish on here that i want. Everyone's tank here that i have seen i love. Most have nice decor in them and it looks awesome. I want to give props to everyone for running a stand-up forum.
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Old 05-19-2005, 11:20 AM   #14
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A 29 gal is a great starting tank size. Most of the fish that become large require more care. It's best to start with easier fish until you learn the basics of fish keeping. My rule of thumb has always been if I can keep a tank up and goign for 3 months without having a fish die and I keep up with the weekly maintenance and proper care, then I will allow an upgrade in tank size. BUT, going from a 55 gal to a 150 gal was a rather large upgrade so that time will definately be extended before getting a larger tank. Although, we did find a 265 gal tank that I absolutely LOVE. Chrome and maple stand. But I do love what I have. You will never be satisfied with what you have. There are always improvements that you will want to make. Others will praise that your tank looks AWESOME but in your mind you will think- Hmm, If I could get a certain piece of driftwood or a larger plant or ....... It's a disease called MTS.

Post some pics when you have it up and going and ask as many questions as you need. no question is a dumb question.
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Old 05-23-2005, 09:28 AM   #15
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I'm still fairly new to fish keeping (about 2 years) and I'd side with getting a little larger tank to start (29 vs 10/20). Also, I'd add what nobody else has said - make a deal with yourself to give it a couple years or that you won't quit.

Setting up the aquarium will require some work and taking it down will mean you'll lose money and time, so don't get involved on a whim. You will undoubtedly have some tough patches - fish dying for no reason, chemical spikes, algae blooms, etc. It's all part of the hobby so just plow through it, learn more and remember that it's all worth it!

You might find some fish do better in your tank than others - even though you want that type - it just may not be best suited for your water (without a lot of fuss).

I've learned so much from the folks here and my tank seems to be doing well.

Welcome to AA and never be afraid to ask
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