Early fish keeping mistakes

armadillo

HI everyone

I've been learning by trial and error (am still learning loads), and I figured it would be nice to show my early mistakes/near-misses, so you can avoid them yourselves. Other newbies and more experienced aquarists, could you also post your experiences so we don't fall in the same traps? (please do try to keep it species-generic)

Thanks guys!

Fish are high maintenance: Please don't buy fish thinking they're low maintenance. They're a very challenging pet with water changes, babies, vacuuming, bullying, disease, water testing, medicating dosage, compatibility research, etc. Not for the light-hearted. (Armadillo)

Cycling, cycling, cycling: Do read about the nitrogen cycle () before getting any fish for your tank. If you don't, you could have a nasty surprise and find all your fish dead one morning, when they seemed fine the night before. Ammonia and Nitrite spikes can kill in a few hours. 2 dead angels and a balloon molly would testify for me if they were still alive. (Armadillo)

Main tank - go big: Do not buy a tank under 15G, even if it's your first tank (especially if it's your first tank). Aside from when it comes to vacuuming, bigger is easier. This is because a larger volume of water will have your fish less tressed hence less prone to disease. It will also buffer from unwanted fluctuations in pH or temperature. It will also slow down toxic spikes. (Armadillo)

Spare tanks:Always have at least 1 small spare tank handy (I would recommend 2) so you can:
  • quickly quarantaine sick-looking fish and treat them without affecting your other fish.
  • quickly re-house newly hatched fry
  • quarantaine new fish (for about 4 weeks)
The tank will need to be equipped with the following:
  • Heater
  • Hiding places: All fish need shelter from stress, especially sick fish.
  • Fake plants: That way, you can thoroughly clean them from pathogens once the treatment is finished and the fish has returned to its permanent home. Also, real plants aren't always resistant to medication. Fish do need the look of plants to relax them.
  • Thermometer
  • Air pump
  • Filter
You will need to make sure the hospital tank stays cycled even when there are no fish in it. One way to do this is to keep dropping fish food every day, and to vacuum excessive mess. Test your water for Nitrates before adding the fish and do a water change if necessary. Do monitor your water for Ammonia/Nitrite in the first few days after introducing the fish to the tank.

You will need to also test the water's temperature and pH to make sure these levels closely match those of the main tank before introducing a fish to your hospital tank. (Armadillo)

Spare heater: always have a spare heater handy. They're not that costly, and they could really get you out of trouble if one of your heaters fails. (Armadillo)

Unreadable thermometer: Spend the extra money and go digital. I bought one, recently, for my 55, and I'll never own another type of thermometer.... These things ROCK!!!! (DarkWolf29a)

Water test strips: Consensus seems to be to buy the liquid tests immediately, and not bother with the paper test strips. I found the paper type quick and cheap, but badly inaccurate. (Armadillo)

Overcrowding: It's worth overstating: please start with very few fish. You'll have a much more individual relationship with each of the fish, and it's so much nicer to see happy, comfortable fish, than to wonder what's wrong every 2 minutes because they suffer from the overcrowding. The rule of thumb is: 1 inch of fully grown fish per gallon. This will make maintenance (fish can poop for England) much more manageable. Of course, do read up on your fish' individual requirements in terms of companionship. Some are schooling fish. (Armadillo)

Pet shop advice...: Do not always trust what the pet shops are saying. Please do some independent research first. It's a petshop who told me it would be perfectly OK to house 3 common plecos in a 50L (10G) tank! I can't emphasize this enough. You could test them by saying you want a common pleco. If they don't advise you to get a huge tank, you're in the wrong place. (Armadillo)

Don't listen to your local fish stores' peoples' advice, unless you know they know for sure what they are talking about.
A friend of our worked for one of the major lfs chains. He wasn't allowed to tell the customer not to buy a fish. Even tho he knew that the fish the customer wanted couldn't go with what they had. I once over heard someone talking about having piranha in with Oscars and other SA cichlids. They store clerk just nodded & smiled. NOT ALL SA American fish can go together lol.
So research on your own time before you go to a pet/fish store. All you have to do is Google the name of the fish you like or tropical fish...and all kinds of good info pops up (Allie)

Male - females: Plan in advance whether you want a male-only, female-only, or mixed tank. Read up on the species to see what is recommended. If you want a mixed tank of livebearers, make sure you have 3 to 4 females to each male.

Research how to tell the difference between male/female yourself, as the pet shops actually can get that wrong! That's how I ended up with an extra male which I had purchased as a female to deal with my original male's aggression problem. (Armadillo)

Overfeeding:? Many people say that a fish's stomach is in general as small as his eye. That should help you visualise the necessary food quantities. Many fish will just go on eating as long as there is food, and will gorge themselves sick. Fish will die from overeating sooner than from starvation, and they'lll keep begging even if they don't actually need anymore food.

I feed them small amounts several times a day (2x for the adults, 3x for the fry). During each feeding time, I feed them a small pinch of food, then wait until they've eaten it. Then I give them another pinch, etc. About 3 to 4 times.?

I also have a large piece of vegetable that they can pick from in the tank if they get peckish. Be sure to remove any uneaten food after 2 days or so, to avoid rotting.

Not feeding them at all one day a week would do them good, but am too much of a softie to do that. (Armadillo)

Veggies:? If your fish is omnivorous or vegetarian, do experience with vegetables. Boil a piece of cucumber/zucchinI for example, and cut it lengthways before putting in the tank. Might take a few attempts for them to understand its' food but after that, it's fish fiesta baby!

If they're constipated (poo stays stuck to the fish for a long time), try peas. It's hilarious when you give them unpeeled peas. They behave like seals! Again, don't overfeed them. Drop one pea in there and see what happens. Remove any uneaten remains. (Armadillo)

Water conditions of each fish species: If you're going to mix fish of different species, please find out what their requirements are in terms of pH, temperature and salt at least, not just their compatibility in terms of aggression. You could be in for a nasty surprise and discover that they need drastically different conditions. (Armadillo)

Water changes: Do regular (weekly at least) and small (25% at most, unless you have a disease/toxin problem) water changes. This will keep your water in reasonable conditions in terms of nitrates/nitrites. Do condition the tap water before putting it back in. Best tip I found from this forum on pouring the water back in is to use a jar to pour the beginning of a heavy bucket back in. Then, use the bucket but place your hand under the stream so as to create a small waterfall rather than a knocking hurricane. Oh, and another small one: keep your water conditionner and salt (if you use any) next to the sink rather than with the rest of your aquarium stuff. It will save you a lot of backing and fro'ing! I am also going to try a watering can. (Armadillo)

Oxygen bubbles: Do buy an airpump. My fish love it and it's really good to oxygenate the water (so good for your bacteria) and to stir up the water (against algae/stagnation). (armadillo)

Hiding places: Always provide lots of hiding places in the tank. They'll really be more relaxed as they'll come out when they want. Having lots of hiding places will also help with bullying. Stress causes disease, so lots of hiding places is a good preventive measure. Avoid solely decorative ornaments. as room will soon become an issue in your tank. One hiding place is often not enough as if a fish is dominant and territorial, it's submissive counterparts will need some place else to hide. (armadillo)

New ornaments in the tank: Please boil them several times if possible (some melt if you boil them!). Do not wash the ornament with soap.

For driftwood, soak in water and rinse off any excess dye. This could take days by the way, but keep doing it (boiling, rinsing, boiling, rinsing, etc.) until no more dye comes out.

Please do not use something you've found on the beach/in the forest. May contain pathogens, and may rot in the water. (Armadillo)

Net: Always have a several nets handy. You never know when you might need to transfer a fish to the quarantaine tank. Make sure you have nets of the right size for all your fish. I have a huuuge one, and a couple of small ones. (Armadillo)

Maternity section: Buy a floating maternity section for your tank so that you can isolate aggressive fish for a little while or females about to give birth. Do choose the soft fine-net type rather than the hard plastic type (if you were going to use it to hold fry, gaps in the plastic type are sometimes too big and fry can escape). I also heard horror stories about the section falling in the water (thus releasing the fry in the main aquarium). (Armadillo)

Aquarium diary: I log (with dates) things like the number of fry I've found, symptoms/behaviours that worry me,? improvements on old symptoms, changes to the aquarium (e.g. new oxygen pump, new ornament, new food, etc.), etc. I also log water parameters so I can detect trends. (Armadillo)

Leaving algae wafers in the water too long A friend did that and the whole 29 gallon tank died of nitrite poisoning.? The effect is amplified in a tank of distilled (rather than treated tap) water, like she was using. A few days is enough to start the deadly spike, maybe even as little as one.? That's why the package says remove uneaten portions after 12 hours.? In treated tap water, they seem to grow hair and the effect isn't as bad, but in distilled water, they swelled to mammoth size and killed everything. (BettaCouple)

Aerate your substrate: (whether sand, gravel, etc.). I almost lost every fish I had in a 20 gal. long tank because I failed to vacuum under decorations in the tank. The gravel collected pockets of anaerobic gasses, and when one of those bubbles seeped out of the gravel, it poisoned my tank within a couple of hours. I think only about 2 or 3 of my fish survived. Now I clean all the gravel in the tank by lifting rocks and decorations, and the tank I have with sand is kept airated by MTS (malaysian trumpet snails). (Gunnie)

Too many fish at once after cycling: When I set up my 55, it took 20 days to cycle initially.? Despite having read to only add a couple of fish at a time to avoid overwhelming the bio-filter once cycled, I immediately bought 4 angels for the tank.? That touched off a mini-cycle that took nearly another month to get through.? Besides teaching me to limit the number of fish being introduced at one time, it also taught me that the term "mini" cycle is dumb...there was nothing "mini" about it!? (SGould)

Two heaters in the tank: I've come to the realization, one heater isn't enough...buy two smaller ones. If one goes crazy, the other will, pretty much, quit working so you won't roast fish.? Boiled fish is bad. (DarkWolf29a)

Acclimation I lost 2 out of 5 male guppies in one batch then I bought anothr 5 and lost 4 of them. Both times they died off within a week. It must've been too fast acclimation. The first time I was quite careful, but maybe not slow enough, 2nd time I floated the bag and asked my sister to add about a cupful of water to the bag and she accidently tipped the fish into the tank! Too late then to do anything so just hoped for the best. What I learned....dont get someone else to do it for you (especially a clumsy sis ) and do it s-l-o-w-l-y. What I do is float the bag for about half an hour, then add a cupful of water every 20-30 mins until the bag is full THEN release the fish. since the guppy incidents I haven't lost any more fish in the first week, but i'm always nervous for them during that first week . if not acclimated slowly the fish get stressed which inevitably leads to disease which can not always be cured despite our best efforts. (Tan B)

I really like this link on acclimation: . It shows various methods. Be very careful with Oto cats (drip acclimation recommended for them). (Armadillo)

Additional filter in every tank Keep a cheap, small, foam pad filter in every tank. That way, your water is more filtered and more agitated. The main advantage is that you can take the foam pad from the spare filter to put it in a filter in a new tank to kickstart cycling. (Armadillo)

Vacuuming the gravel When I started, I didn't even know I had to vacuum the substrate! You can imagine what state my tank floor was in after a month. Vacuuming can be done using very cheap equipment: a hose and a bucket. You can also buy a special hose from your LFS, that has ends in a larger, hard plastic funnel.

Creating a vacuum in your tube and ensuring your bucket is placed under the highest water level of the aquarium, you can place the vacuum cleaner on the substrate and shake the substrate slightly so that any unwanted matter gets sucked up the tube.

Avoid vaccuuming your whole gravel area at once to leave the bacteria a chance to resettle. I would vacuum 1/2 your tank every week if the surface is not too big. (Armadillo)

Juveniles will grow. A LOT! A Small pleco in the pet store will grow much larger. The same with pretty much any fish that has a (SM) next to its name. This doesn't mean that this is a smaller breed of fish. It just means that it's a juvenile. (Sabi)

Water = wet! When adding things to external filter e.g bio spira after filter has been on take the filter out of the water I just flooded my living room (luckily I got laminate flooring). (Honeyg)

I've made some floods going into a tank to get something out when it was full - water in every direction and of course under the tank. :'( (BettaCouple)

Only buy aquarium gravel, not garden stuff Don't buy regular gravel for your tank, buy aquarium stuff! Garden gravel may be cheaper, but it is really dirty and may contain stones which will There is also loads of sand and little particles in it... no amount of washing will stop it from making your tank cloudy. Guaranteed inert pea gravel from your LFS is a much safer bet... I learned this the hard way! (Bill)

Cleaning the tank with detergent Never clean your tank with bleach or any other cleaners. Clean with a scrubber/sos pad type and water. If you don't rinse it properly the chemicals could kill the fish. A friend of ours cleaned the outside her tank with Windex...but then used the same cloth to wipe the inside. All her fish died. (Allie)

(part II)

Fish from tank with diseased fish Never ever buy fish from a tank with dead or diseased fish in it. Trust me you will fight it forever. (Beeboy)

Fish and salt Contrary to popular belief, The immediate threat of salt to fish and plants is greater then that of any potential long term benefits that may or may not be gained by its use.

Scaleless fish, particularly corydoras, are very sensitive to salt. Even a small amount could harm them. Tetras are also fairly sensitive to salt.

It is not advisable to add salt to your aquarium on an ongoing basis unless the fish require brackish water conditions.

Remember, "If its not broken don't fix it."

In fact,your fish are much better served by leaving them alone and allowing them to regulate their own osmotic balance ... something they have been doing without your help for thousands of years. (Skyline)

Always read meds dosage instructions CAREFULLY A couple months back I had a beautiful 175 gallon tank with about 30 huge goldfish about 5-8 inches in length, a beautiful butterfly koi, and two iridescent sharks measuring about 5 inches. It was a great aquarium until I went on vacation and didn't clean my tank for about a two weeks. When I came back to my surprise (/sarcasm) the tank was completely green. So I decided to do a 50% water change and completely block my tank of sunlight for about 3 days.

The algae never went away so I decided to buy some algae medicine called AlgaeFix. Now since I was used to using 5 ml of liquid (one teaspoon) for every 10 U.S. gallons of water, I added 17.5 teaspoons of algaefix for my 175 gallon. I also decided to cover my tank to further clear my algae problem. I woke up in the morning and found all my fish completely dead. Every single last one of them. I was horrified. Anyway, I re-read the directions for use and it said: Add 1 teaspoonful(5ml) for each 50 U.S. Gallons. I felt soo bad for not reading the directions carefully.

The morale of the story: ALWAYS CAREFULLY read the directions for use of every medicine you use on your tank even if you think it might be a specific dosage amount. Also, be careful when using algae medicine as it is very stressful to your fish and can kill them if too much is used for too long or you could end up like me, with an empty 175 gallon tank. Oh and have some trustworthy person to take care of your fish while your away, and don't use those vacation feeders as they will dirty up your tank. (Skyline)

Don't trust driftwood until it's been there a while NEVER trust a piece of driftwood until it's been in a tank for a LONG time. I just went thru this, I did everything I was supposed to: boiled it for hours on end, let it dry in the sun, etc... Didn't matter. I set up my tank, everything looked beautiful. 3 days later my angelfish are dead and there's this horrific slimy stuff oozing out of my driftwood. (Jim)

Overflowing bucket! As a new fish mama, I learned when doing a water change don't watch the fish, even if thay are the cutest things ever, your bucket will over flow. (MelyBu)

I've seen a gadget on sale at a fish store: it beeps when it touches water. It's meant to be attached to the top of the bucket! At the time, I thought: "Pfffff... What a useless gyzmo". Now, after having flooded my living room so many times, I wish I'd bought it, LOL. Somebody on this forum always say that we should all have a water vacuum cleaner. (Armadillo)

Sucking up fish while water changing: A little of a contradiction to MelyBu's advice above, but do watch the fish when you vacuum the gravel, or at least be very aware of their position in relation to the hose. I've sucked up so many fry unawares! No biggie, as I always check the bucket before chucking the water away, but this could be fatal to a larger fish. (Armadillo)

They need friends! Always remember to keep schooling fish in numbers of six or greater! Otherwise you will have sad, miserable fish who may nip fins! They look so much better and are so much happier in numbers. So - before you buy - check if they school (Hatchet Heaven)

Shocking! Electricity and water are a dangerous mix. Throw glass in there and your playing with fire instead of water. Always allow enough slack for a drip line in your wires and watch that those lights are secure and the connections good. Periodically take a look at the floor under your tank you might catch a leak before it's a rupture. And make sure when you set up the tank it is on a level surface, first you really don't want it to fall, second if it is leaning it can cause unequal pressure on the glass and increase your chace of a leak.

I've been shocked enough and seen enough leaks to throw that : in (Trio123)

Gravel-eating fish: Be sure your gravel cannot fit into your fishes mouth.
(I was lucky enough to catch this in time, and had to use a toothpick to pop it out of the goldies mouth) (Lucy)

Make up your mind: Be sure you are happy with the way your tank looks before cycling and adding fish, it's a pain to change it later. (Lucy)

Close off those filter tubes: Close the filter tubes before cleaning the filter! And don't leave the tubes open when rinsing media in the filter. Result: A wet floor and socks! Well, not that 90% of the time something is wet. Socks, arms, shirt, floor, carpet, (MelyBu)

Plan your fish: To prevent disaster occurring in your tank, plan out all the fish you want to keep and how many of each species and ask us about it. That way - we can stop problems happening before they happen (HatchetHaven)

Thanks, Neville. It's all in the name of fish. That's why I love the forum. We can learn from others' mistakes, and as there's lots of others, hopefully, there won't be that many new mistakes to make! Oh, and thanks for the remak on species. Very good point. Research, research, research, research, research, ...

To keep it lively, could you all give some examples of your early lessons? Am sure we could all learn a lot.
 
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Gunnie

My hardest lesson learned is to make sure your substrate (whether sand, gravel, etc.) is airated routinely. I almost lost every fish I had in a 20 gal. long tank because I failed to vacuum under decorations in the tank. The gravel collected pockets of anaerobic gasses, and when one of those bubbles seeped out of the gravel, it poisoned my tank within a couple of hours. I think only about 2 or 3 of my fish survived. Now I clean all the gravel in the tank by lifting rocks and decorations, and the tank I have with sand is kept airated by MTS (malaysian trumpet snails).
 

sgould

When I set up my 55, it took 20 days to cycle initially. Despite having read to only add a couple of fish at a time to avoid overwhelming the bio-filter once cycled, I immediately bought 4 angels for the tank. That touched off a mini-cycle that took nearly another month to get through. Besides teaching me to limit the number of fish being introduced at one time, it also taught me that the term "mini" cycle is dumb...there was nothing "mini" about it!

I have a yoyo loach that disappears for days at a time, then makes a sudden reappearance for a day or two, then disappears again. I don't know what the aliens are doing with the little guy, but they can't seem to get enough of him!
 
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armadillo

My hardest lesson learned is to make sure your substrate (whether sand, gravel, etc.) is airated routinely. I almost lost every fish I had in a 20 gal. long tank because I failed to vacuum under decorations in the tank. The gravel collected pockets of anaerobic gasses, and when one of those bubbles seeped out of the gravel, it poisoned my tank within a couple of hours. I think only about 2 or 3 of my fish survived. Now I clean all the gravel in the tank by lifting rocks and decorations, and the tank I have with sand is kept airated by MTS (malaysian trumpet snails).

That's awful, and so good to know. Thanks for that. I don't like to move their decorations as that's where they go when they want peace. Looks like a change of policy is coming on. I guess if you only do it once in a while it's OK (like once a month?)

I have a yoyo loach that disappears for days at a time, then makes a sudden reappearance for a day or two, then disappears again. I don't know what the aliens are doing with the little guy, but they can't seem to get enough of him!

Ah haaa! That's not fish aliens. Your fish simply kept stumbling in a rip in the aquarium's space-time continuum. I'll bet he kept coming in and out of the middle ages.

Do others have precious lessons to share? I find so interesting to read about the things that happened to your fish in the past. I hope that way my little guys can avoid some well-known pitfalls.

Oh nooo. My ambitious thread falls in the pits of oubli! :

No matter, I will keep attempting to drag it back from the dead!

So, any stupid mistakes like... Giving them chocolate biscuits as a treat?
 
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COBettaCouple

Oh nooo. My ambitious thread falls in the pits of oubli! :

No matter, I will keep attempting to drag it back from the dead!

So, any stupid mistakes like... Giving them chocolate biscuits as a treat?

You can put down leaving algae wafers in the water too long. A friend did that and the whole 29 gallon tank died of nitrite poisoning. The effect is amplified in a tank of distilled (rather than treated tap) water, like she was using.
 

armadillo

Thanks, BettaCouple!!!

OMG, really? Too long as in 2 days or 2 months?
 

COBettaCouple

Thanks, BettaCouple!!!

OMG, really? Too long as in 2 days or 2 months?

a few days is enough to start the deadly spike, maybe even as little as one. That's why the package says remove uneaten portions after 12 hours. In treated tap water, they seem to grow hair and the effect isn't as bad, but in distilled water, they swelled to mammoth size and killed everything.
 

darkwolf29a

Spare heater: always have a spare heater handy. They're not that costly, and they could really get you out of trouble if one of your heaters fails.

Unreadable thermometer: I bought a thermometer with which the space between the bars are so small that you can't read what the temperature is. Now when I buy a new thermometer, I always make sure the bars are nicely spaced out.

EXCELLENT article. Thank you for this one.

I'd like to add...I've come to the realization, one heater isn't enough...buy two smaller ones. If one goes crazy, the other will, pretty much, quit working so you won't roast fish. Boiled fish is bad.

Unreadable thermometer....no, no, no....Spend the extra money and go digital. I bought one, recently, for my 55, and I'll never own another type of thermometer....these things ROCK!!!!
 

armadillo

Thanks for your really good suggestions. Just added them to the first post.

Any other stuff you've learned from experience, and you know where to find me to share it!

Thanks again for that: here's hoping you've just saved 1000s of fish from frying with your suggestion!
 

tan.b

I've just stumbled across this thread from your signiture! what an excellent idea and even more excellent having it in your sig AND stickied!! not seen anything on the importance of acclimation (I may have missed it as multitasking at the mo!) but if not just to note how vital acclimation is. I lost 2 out of 5 male guppies in one batch then I bought anothr 5 and lost 4 of them. both times they died off within a week. I think it must've been too fast acclimation. the first time I was quite careful, but maybe not slow enough, 2nd time I floated the bag and asked my sister to add about a cupful of water to the bag and she accidently tipped the fish into the tank! too late then to do anything so just hoped for the best. what I learned....dont get someone else to do it for you (especially a clumsy sis ) and do it s-l-o-w-l-y. what I do is float the bag for about half an hour, then add a cupful of water every 20-30 mins until the bag is full THEN release the fish. since the guppy incidents I haven't lost any more fish in the first week, but i'm always nervous for them during that first week :-\. if not acclimated slowly the fish get stressed which inevitably leads to disease which can not always be cured despite our best efforts :'(.

would you mind if I printed this off and gave it out when I sell my fish? I was going to try and write something like this up as I want to make sure they go to a good home and get looked after! but if I can just pinch yours...all the better!!
 
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armadillo

You're kidding? I'd be honoured!

Just entered your acclimation note in the first post. Thanks a lot for that!

Spare heater: always have a spare heater handy. They're not that costly, and they could really get you out of trouble if one of your heaters fails.

Unreadable thermometer: I bought a thermometer with which the space between the bars are so small that you can't read what the temperature is. Now when I buy a new thermometer, I always make sure the bars are nicely spaced out.

EXCELLENT article. Thank you for this one.

I'd like to add...I've come to the realization, one heater isn't enough...buy two smaller ones. If one goes crazy, the other will, pretty much, quit working so you won't roast fish. Boiled fish is bad.

Unreadable thermometer....no, no, no....Spend the extra money and go digital. I bought one, recently, for my 55, and I'll never own another type of thermometer....these things ROCK!!!!

DarkWolf, I've bought digital thermometers and ... THANK YOU! They are accurate, quick, cheap and I can read them from meters away. Another step in my fish world, thanks a lot for the suggestion.
 
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COBettaCouple

DarkWolf, I've bought digital thermometers and ... THANK YOU! They are accurate, quick, cheap and I can read them from meters away. Another step in my fish world, thanks a lot for the suggestion.

Yea, they're the best! and a great way to monitor the temp of tap water that you'll be treating and adding to the tanks.
 

tan.b

You're kidding? I'd be honoured!

Just entered your acclimation note in the first post. Thanks a lot for that!
thanks, you're a star! yours is better than what i'd do anyway!! as well as my email I'll put fishlores website on it too, so if they have any probs with my fish or their tank they can get information and advice.
 

armadillo

You have a shop or you breed from home? Do you do it on a large scale?
 

tan.b

You have a shop or you breed from home? Do you do it on a large scale?
I wish !! I have 9 guppies (4 boys and 5 girls-wrong ratio I know.....cos the acclimation lost a few, so need to sort that out! no rush as they are all fine) and they have just started producing fry. my first batch of 15 are a month old and tetra sized and so I guess ready to flee the nest, but i'm struggling to part with them :. I can't possibly keep them as I have no space, and have about another 40 or so in the fry tank growing up . so if I give the new owners plenty of info I'll hope they'll get looked after!! i'm like a nerotic mother protecting her young!! they are on ebay, so should be re-homed next week. if not they'll be off to the lfs and exchanged for galaxies?!
 

sirdarksol

You touched on this mistake in your post, but I want to make it more obvious.
A Small pleco in the pet store will grow much larger
The same with pretty much any fish that has a (SM) next to its name. This doesn't mean that this is a smaller breed of fish. It just means that it's a juvenile.
 

armadillo

Thanks a lot for that, Sabi. Adding it now.
 

Newtankdude

Hey, Armadillo
I'm going to sticky this in the saltwater specific species and misc. so that if someone starts with SW, like I did, they will know this. They would automatticly go to the Saltwater part of the Forums, so they would never see it. I hope this isn't a problem, If you do have a problem with it, tell me and I'll remove it. Thanks.
-FLcracker94
 

armadillo

Of course. No problem. That's cool. But it can be stickie'd in 2 places at the same time, then?
 

Arvenohx

Great idea!

I don't have much, just the usuall REASERCH YOUR FISH BEFORE YOU GET THEM!
But I'm sure you guys know that allready.

Oh, something random, don't keep ghost shrimps with amano shrimps. The amano will kill them. R.I.P Silvester.
 

armadillo

Thanks a lot, Arvenohx. Yep, lack of research has really been what's got us all into trouble at the beginning. Thanks for the note on Amano shrimps. Am trying to keep it species-generic, but I think this would be a great thread on the shrimp species section. How about creating a early mistakes document for these too? I'd find it really interesting as am about to get shrimps.
 

tan.b

Oh, something random, don't keep ghost shrimps with amano shrimps. The amano will kill them. R.I.P Silvester.

I never knew that! that's exactly why I love this site.....always learning something new!!
 

Howeyg

you should mention when adding things to external filter e.g bio spira after filter has been on take the filter out of the water I just flooded my living room (luckily I got laminate flooring)
this is the noobiest thing I have ever done
 

COBettaCouple

you should mention when adding things to external filter e.g bio spira after filter has been on take the filter out of the water I just flooded my living room (luckily I got laminate flooring)
this is the noobiest thing I have ever done

clean-up on aisle 7! hey, i've made some floods going into a tank to get something out when it was full - water in every direction and of course under the tank. :'(
 

armadillo

you should mention when adding things to external filter e.g bio spira after filter has been on take the filter out of the water I just flooded my living room (luckily I got laminate flooring)
this is the noobiest thing I have ever done
Good one! ;D!! Adding it.
 

Bill

Don't buy regular gravel for your tank, buy aquarium stuff! Garden gravel may be cheaper, but it is really dirty and may contain stones which will There is also loads of sand and little particles in it... no amount of washing will stop it from making your tank cloudy. Guaranteed inert pea gravel from your LFS is a much safer bet... I learned this the hard way! :-\
 

tan.b

Don't buy regular gravel for your tank, buy aquarium stuff! Garden gravel may be cheaper, but it is really dirty and may contain stones which will There is also loads of sand and little particles in it... no amount of washing will stop it from making your tank cloudy. Guaranteed inert pea gravel from your LFS is a much safer bet... I learned this the hard way! :-\
I used lfs gravel for my first tank, then builders grade gravel for the subsequent tanks. they were all equally dirty and needed a lot of rinsing, and the lfs gravel was 10 times the price and limited in variety. the builders merchants have a huge variety of gravel to choose from. in all the tanks, they were clear in a week, and as they are cycling though that time the water clarity is the least of your worries! even if you put fish in cloudy water....they don't mind. i'm sure its a bit murky in the wild!!!
 

zeddy

you wanted to see expensive freshwater fish look through this sight there are some ridiculous fish in there
 

armadillo

Thanks a lot for sharing that one, Bill. That sounds REALLY annoying. I've added it to the lsit.
Don't buy regular gravel for your tank, buy aquarium stuff! Garden gravel may be cheaper, but it is really dirty and may contain stones which will There is also loads of sand and little particles in it... no amount of washing will stop it from making your tank cloudy. Guaranteed inert pea gravel from your LFS is a much safer bet... I learned this the hard way! :-\
 

giordanopg

Thanks a lot!
Man, I've made a lot of mistakes.
But after my first fish died, I've been studying a lot. The more I learn, the more interesting it gets.
 

JenniferDawson23

I'm very new at this and firstly made the mistake of taking on an overcrowded 64litre tank that was having water problems even before I had it. I think the biggest mistake was listening to the guy in the store who told me my best bet would be to change all filters/pads/sponges and make daily water changes with tap water :'( I am in process of solving overcrowding problem but my water hasn't been clear since :'(
 

armadillo

I'm very new at this and firstly made the mistake of taking on an overcrowded 64litre tank that was having water problems even before I had it. I think the biggest mistake was listening to the guy in the store who told me my best bet would be to change all filters/pads/sponges and make daily water changes with tap water :'( I am in process of solving overcrowding problem but my water hasn't been clear since :'(
Oh Jennifer, that's such a shame. Of course we listen to fishstore people, as we know it's their job and we therefore assume that they give good advice. I think petstores should be a protected profession, that requires a degree or at least a certificate in animal husbandry. Well done on all the reading up and sorting out the problem. Am sure you'll have generations of happy fish.
 

armadillo

Thanks a lot!
Man, I've made a lot of mistakes.
But after my first fish died, I've been studying a lot. The more I learn, the more interesting it gets.
That's how it goes, isn't it? I started out really lazy and trying to find out as little as possible, until I started having lots of problems with the fish (didn't know about cycling) and the more I read, the more engrossed I became. Now am a total fish addict.
 

Haze_Betta

This is awsome ill keep the link!
Thanks Armadillo!!
 

armadillo

Wow, thanks, Haze_Betta. How 'ya settling in on Fishlore? Finding lots of good info?
 

Haze_Betta

Wow, thanks, Haze_Betta. How 'ya settling in on Fishlore? Finding lots of good info?
Yea its very nice and there's awsome people here^.^
 

armadillo

Cool. Hope you keep enjoying it.
 

Haze_Betta

Thank you! I will
 

COBettaCouple

Wow, thanks, Haze_Betta. How 'ya settling in on Fishlore? Finding lots of good info?
Yea its very nice and there's awsome people here^.^

It's a great community. we've learned so much since march on here. ask all the questions that you want, it keeps us out of trouble.
 

Haze_Betta

Wow, thanks, Haze_Betta. How 'ya settling in on Fishlore? Finding lots of good info?
Yea its very nice and there's awsome people here^.^

It's a great community. we've learned so much since march on here. ask all the questions that you want, it keeps us out of trouble.
;D Will do!^.^
Thank you
 

Howeyg

I like that honeyg bloke he sounds cool
 

armadillo

Oh totally. And that Armadillo girl! She's such a cracker. I'll bet she must have gone to comedy school or something.
 

COBettaCouple

Oh totally. And that Armadillo girl! She's such a cracker. I'll bet she must have gone to comedy school or something.

you mean crackers, right? just like flbettacouple.
 

Jimold

OMG, I when I decided to start up a tank again I think I made every mistake it's possible to make. That's how I found all you crazy fishheads. If it wasn't for this site I would have most likely chucked the thing out the window and given up.
 

Angelgirl

When I was much younger my family started an aquarium. It was only 10 gallons and it quickly became overstocked. I think we had 13 fish at one point.....I have no idea how many inches of fish that was!!! We eventually worked our way up to 15 and then 35 gallon tanks but I never forgot how special that first tank seemed.
 

Gunnie

My hardest lesson learned is to make sure your substrate (whether sand, gravel, etc.) is airated routinely. I almost lost every fish I had in a 20 gal. long tank because I failed to vacuum under decorations in the tank. The gravel collected pockets of anaerobic gasses, and when one of those bubbles seeped out of the gravel, it poisoned my tank within a couple of hours. I think only about 2 or 3 of my fish survived. Now I clean all the gravel in the tank by lifting rocks and decorations, and the tank I have with sand is kept airated by MTS (malaysian trumpet snails).

That's awful, and so good to know. Thanks for that. I don't like to move their decorations as that's where they go when they want peace. Looks like a change of policy is coming on. I guess if you only do it once in a while it's OK (like once a month?)

Once a month is fine. You can also take the stick end of a wooden spoon or knitting needle, and poke around the substrate to keep it airated.
 

Allie

No kind of goldfish can go in a small tank for too long...they get really big. I had 8 fancy goldfish in 20g...they were tiny but once I learned more I realized with amount of goldfish I had at the time...we needed the 120 gallon we have now. So I sold them...I really didn't want a huge goldfish tank.
 

armadillo

Thanks, Allie. I'll add this to the goldfish caresheet. I try to keep this one species-generic. Thanks for your input!
 

Allie

Thanks, Allie. I'll add this to the goldfish caresheet. I try to keep this one species-generic. Thanks for your input!
YOu are welcome...a lot of people don't realize how big goldies get...we had one here as big as our piranhas it was their xmas dinner....I haven't ever seen a goldfish that big....we do have a feeding video but it's kinda nasty.
 

armadillo

Yeah, I feel so sorry for goldfish. Because they are treated like commodity most times. Like, given away at a fair or something, in a bowl.
 

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