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Aquarium Advice Newbie
Mar 1, 2024
Hello everyone, I appreciate the opportunity to become a member of this community. I recently retired and decided to get back into the hobby after a long absence. In college, I studied Zoology and had a couple of tanks so I’m not a complete newbie but it's been so long, that I feel like I am learning all over again. I plan to have multiple tanks so that I can (over time) set up different themes based on the needs of the fish and have a variety in terms of beginner-friendly fish vs. advanced-level fish . Last September, I set up a 75 gallon freshwater with 5 Black Skirt Tetras, 5 Red Serpae Tetras, 5 “Blonde” Tetras, 4 Chinese Algae Eaters and 1 Bristlenose pleco. It is also has live plants with various common species. I live in northern Arizona and there are no local fish stores other than Petsmart and Petco so that is where I bought these fish. The Chinese algae eaters were labeled “algae eater” and at the time, I didn’t know what I was buying. Turns out I was able to identify the species by their markings and understand the difference between the Chinese AE and the Siamese AE. So far they are doing fine with the other fish and I am keeping them well fed so they do not become as aggressive as their reputation purports them to be in the fish forums, but I understand they may become more aggressive as they mature.

Here is my set up to date (all freshwater and planted except for a 10g quarantine tank and a 10g isolation tank):

(1) 75g – beginner friendly community fish (tetras, etc.)
(1) 29g - beginner friendly community fish (mollies and one Angel, 3 otocinclus)
(1) 75g – empty but fully planted and cycled ready for fish
(1) 40g – empty but fully planted and cycled ready for fish
(1) 29g – empty but fully planted and cycled ready for fish
(1) 10g - empty but fully planted and cycled ready to be a shrimp / nano fish tank

So here is my dilemma. Having spent the last 5 months reading, researching, watching YouTube videos and watching my current fish develop, I am very reluctant to buy new fish from Petsmart / Petco. I have been looking at various online sellers which also have much more variety than the local chains.

I am not ready to get Cichlids and deal with the aggression and different tank setups required. But after a lot of reading, I would like to get groups of “peaceful” community fish with the common species in all tanks being a kind of Rainbow Fish. i.e. Melanotaenia boesemani coupled with various types of similar-sized schooling fish and of course an assortment of bottom dwellers. I think I can populate these three empty tanks with all different species so I have more variety and get more exposure to different species and their needs. So I have a few draft stocking ideas for the different tank sizes and am ready to start ordering fish but this is the dilemma --- what to buy first, second, third, etc and how many at a time to introduce to the tank? These online retailers require minimum quantities so I could get as few as two or as many as 10 per species.

I look forward to your feedback and contributing to the forum. Also, I can post my draft stocking ideas in a new post under the Getting Started sub forum if you think that would be helpful.
Welcome to the site. :flowers: You live in a beautiful part of the country. :) I've been to Sedona multiple times and just love it there. Listening for the Coyotes up by the Church, Snoopy rock ( my Daughter is a big Peanuts fan so she flipped for Snoopy rock. :lol:), The glow of the mountains at sunset.... Just lovely!!! :love: If I could have Florida weather year round there, I'd move and join you. ;) ;) (y)

Regarding your 3 empty tanks, how are you keeping them cycled? If there is no ammonia present, the tanks will not be cycled anymore. The biological filter bed needs ammonia almost daily to survive.

Things to keep in mind going forward:
No matter where you get your fish from, all new stock should be quarantined for at least 60-90 days. Some of the new " bugs" the farmed fish carry do not instantly show up. Bacterial and fungal issues usually show within the first 7- 10 days but there are parasites ( internal and external) that may not show for months or have a life span of 90 days +/- ( I'll have to dig out my old disease book to name this one as it's slipping my mind at the moment. :( ) So you want to be more careful than back in the old days. :(

There are also new viruses in some farmed fish species that have no cure so you really want to careful of not adding any carriers or common carrier species to your main tanks.

FYI, Angelfish are Cichlids. They are not called Angels for their behavior, it's for their shape. They are far from Angelic. ;) Just sayin' :whistle:

With the rainbowfish, you want to keep multiple females for each male. Males will knock each other around for breeding rights so you want to keep them as distracted as possible. (y)

Feel free to post any potential stock lists and we will be glad to help guide you about questionable fish you may have chosen.

Once again, Welcome. :flowers:
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