First Aquarium

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by DC_2099, Mar 26, 2006.

  1. DC_2099New MemberMember

    Hello I've been considering getting a fish tank for a while now,and finally decide to do some research.
    I have a few questions that I was wondering if you guys could answer.(actually a lot,sorry.)
    1) Will my fish do well together? Here are some I've been considering.
       a)Cobalt Blue (Powder) Gourami
       b)Pygmy (Sparkling)Gourami
       c)Cardinal Tetra
       d)Bleeding Heart Tetra
       e)Black Phantom Tetra
       f)True (Banded)Rummy Nose Tetra
       g)Neon Tetra
       h) Orange Sunshine Guppy
        i)Lyretail Guppy
    The Bleeding heart tetra is the biggest right?Will it eat/attack the smaller ones?
    2) I've read most of those fish prefer schools of atleast 6 fish,do they have to be the exact same species ex. 6 neon tetras or can I have similiar species in a school ex.3 neon tetras 1 bleeding heart tetra and 2 black phantom tetras?
    Also,once my aquarium has completed the cycle,I'm only supposed to add around 2 fish at a time won't this bother the schooling fish?
    3)How many fish of those sizes(2-3") can I keep in a 20 gallon tank;a 30 gallon?
    4)What type of filter would you reccomend?
    5)What type of heater?
    6)Live plants or fake plants?
    7)Most of those fish prefer pH levels between 6.8 and 7.0,except for the cardinal which prefers 6.0,will all of those fish be okay with a pH of around 6.5,or should I not get cardinals?
    8 ) How do I change pH levels will it occur naturally like ammonia and nitrite during the cycling process?
    9)Are there any other chemical levels I need to worry about?
    Thanks,and I'm really sorry for all the long questions.
    P.S. I got most of the info on pH levels and fish sizes from aquahobby
    EDIT: BTW those fish aren't for the cycle,I plan on doing a fishless cycle.
  2. atmmachine816Fishlore VIPMember

    answers to questions
    1.) I am thinking that unless the gouramis are dwarf that they will become aggresive to the other fish as they get older
    2.)I don't know
    3.)a good rule is 1" per gallon
    4.)canister if you have money if not it's your choice, penguin bio-wheel or aquaclear would be my first choices
    5.)5w per gallon is a good rule, fully sumberible is nice, and definatly try to get one with a pre-set heater choices, not the type that you have to figure out where to set it
    6.)Live plants
    7.)cardinals are finicky fish and should only be put in mature tanks perferably6-12months old
    8.)you can put in things that you can buy at a lfs to raise or lower it or certain ornaments make it go up or down
    9.)not a good person for that

    Another good place to look for help is here on fishlore


  3. DC_2099New MemberMember

    Thanks for all of the help.Yeah,I forgot to mention the gouramis are a color variation of dwarf gouramis.

  4. atmmachine816Fishlore VIPMember

    Ok then one might be ok but two males I think would fight, not sure on the combination though wait for somebody elses advice, I know you can get one.


  5. GunnieWell Known MemberMember

    First off, you need to decide what size tank you want to get.  That will determine if a lot of the fish you are asking about can go in your tank or not.  Usually gouramis don't do well with more than one in a tank, but you may be okay with a male and female of the same species.  

    The tetras really need to be with other tetras of the same species to be happy, and your tank will be more interesting because they will show schooling behavior instead of looking like a bunch of lost fish in your tank.  If you add 2 fish to the tank at a time later on, once they are in the tank, the other tetras will usually except them right away.  If you are doing a fishless cycle, you can add all the fish you are planning to have in that tank from the very beginning, so you wouldn't have to add more fish later.  Once you've completed your fishless cycle, you do a massive water change and add the full bio load all at once.

    The general rule is 1 inch of fish per gallon, but if you have a tall fish like an angel, this rule doesn't really apply, and those fish would need more than a gallon per inch.  If you stick with with small fish like neon tetras, you could have 20 of these in a 20 gallon tank.  

    As far as filters go, it's really personal preference and something you learn as you get more and more into the hobby.  A lot of folks like hang on back (HOB) filters which I personally hate.  I use them sometimes, but do not prefer them.  I really like the sponge filters because they are cheap, work well in community tanks, and they don't kill baby fishies.  For bigger tanks, I really like canister filters.  Mine (filstar XP series) are super quiet, you don't have to clean them very often, and they move large volumes of water which is especially good when you have big messy fish.  When researching for a filter, check the gallons per hour (gph) rating for the filter, and try and have enough filtration to be 10 times the gallon size of your tank.  So for a 20 gallon tank, look for 200 gph in filtration.  Your tank should stay crystal clear with this type of filtration as long as you don't overfeed, and your bio load is not too high.  

    Live plants are preferred and prettier in a tank in my opinion.  However, fake plants are usually cheaper, and they are looking more and more real.  Live plants actually help keep the nitrates down and will consume some of the ammonia and nitrites if you have a mini cycle.  You can really have a beautiful tank with live plants if you stick with the low light plants which require little maintenance, and you don't have to buy special lighting or CO2, so they are pretty inexpensive to have in your tank.  It will also depend though on your choice of fish.  Fish like silver dollars and many of your african cichlids will mow your plants down like locusts, so make sure your fish are not voracious plant eaters.  

    I personally prefer a titanium or stainless heaters.  My experience with the glass heaters has not been good.  I've broken quite a few of them when doing water changes and the water level gets low enough the heater gets exposed to the air and overheats and breaks.  Plus, the metal heaters usually have temperature controls that are outside of the tank so you don't have to pull the heater up to adjust the temperature on the top of the heater, which is usually the case with the glass ones.  You are also better off with metal heaters with tankbuster fish like oscars and some of your other large cichlids which can get quite rough and break a glass heater in a heartbeat.  I've had this to happen also.  Whatever size tank you get, a good rule is to figure 5 watts per gallon of water.  And if you get a 20 gallon or larger, split the watts between 2 heaters so you have better heat distribution in the tank by placing 1 heater on each side of the tank.  

    Stable ph levels are much more important than trying to adjust them to what their ph level is in the wild.  Chances are the fish you are gonna get are not wild caught, and because they have been tank raised, there's a good chance that they have lived their whole lives in the same ph or close to what yours is.  Unless you are buying wild caught fish, or are trying to breed fish like discus, ph is not really a big deal.  Your ph sounds fine for most of the fish you have mentioned, and if you want to raise it naturally, you can place a piece of Texas holey rock or crushed coral to your filter or tank and let us rise on its own.  Raising or lowering ph with chemicals is dangerous because it doesn't stay stable and the fluctuations are bad for your fish.  If it's still a big concern, ask the store where you are buying your fish what the ph is in the tanks, and compare it to yours.  If they are pretty close, you have nothing to worry about.  If there is a big ph difference, then you must acclimate them slowly by floating the bags on top of the water, and add about a tablespoon of tank water to the bag every 15 minutes or so for a few hours to let them adjust slowly.  When you add the fish to the tank, net them out of the water in the bag and gently place them in the tank.  Throw away the water they came in.  It could be full of disease.

    All you really need right now is a good water conditioner when you get ready to add your fish.  I prefer those that are basic water conditioners without additives like aloe.  Others like the additives, and I will not tell you they are bad.  I just don't like to add anything to my tank that is not necessary.  

    Welcome to FishLore!  We will be here to help you every step of the way, so come back often and let us know how your tank is doing!  Also, near the top of the screen where it says:  Tropical Fish Information, click on that link and read some of the beginners articles to get more insight on what to do in the hobby.  We also have many profiles here for you to look at to help you decide what fish you want for your tank.   ;)

  6. OsirisNew MemberMember

    If this is your first tank, my advice is to start out with fake plants. After a few months, if you decide that you still want live plants, you can replace your fake ones a few at a time. But wait to do the live plants until after you've gotten the hang of taking care of the fish first.
  7. DC_2099New MemberMember

    Thanks for all your help Gunnie.
    I was thinking of getting a 30g and stocking it with...
    1 Neon Blue Dwarf Gourami [Male] (about 2")
    1 Pygmy Gourami [Female] (about 1 1/2")
    4 Bleeding Heart Tetra (about 3")
    6 True Rummy Nose Tetra (about 2")
    1 Lyretail Guppy (about 2")
    1 Orange Sunshine Guppy (about 2")
    That adds up to 31 1/2".
    Is that a little bit overstocked?
    For plants I was thinking about Java Fern,Java Moss,and some sort of floating plant(I read that the gouramis and guppys would like these.)
    I think that might be too many fish,once I consider rocks and plants.I'm going to try and check out the prices of some aquariums tommorow,maybe I can get something a little bit bigger.
  8. atmmachine816Fishlore VIPMember

    take out the bleeding heart tetras and make sure the guppys are both males and the plants sound good and throw in some crypts and anubias's too
  9. ButterflyModeratorModerator Member

    I think you should be ok with your wish list, you just have to be sure and keep up your water changes. If you decide to cut your number of fish cut one kind of schooling fish not a few from each school(does that make sense?)
    The more plants the better, your fish will feel more secure with them whether they are live or fake. I do prefer live and thats the first thing I add to a tank when I'm setting it up.
    If you don't want fry get male guppys. If you get a male and female, the other occupants will most likely eat them. HTH
  10. newbie101Well Known MemberMember

    oh wow gunnie, that must have taken you quite a llong time :D
  11. DC_2099New MemberMember

    Thanks for the advice.What are some good floating plants?Are Crypts and Anubias's floating plants?
  12. atmmachine816Fishlore VIPMember

    No they are heavy root feeders, java moss, hornwort, and anarchis can all be left floating that I know of that can be good for your tank.
  13. DC_2099New MemberMember

    Sorry one more question,I was reading this article
    This question is really stupid but,Do I need to take the fish out when using the python vacuum,I thought I read somewhere not to,but can't the vacuum suck up the fish?
  14. jim55379Valued MemberMember

  15. vinWell Known MemberMember

    Crypts are rooted plants. Anubias are rhizomes. Don't plant the rhizome below the gravel level, just the roots. If you plant the rhizome you will suffocate the plant. Plant the crypts like you would any other rooted plant.

    I have a mix of fake and real. The newer fake plants are made of fabric and look very realistic when underwater.

    Oh - and I would consider two of the same species of gouramis - either male & female dwarf or male & female pygmy. If you mix the species, they may butt heads regardless of sex.
  16. 0morrokhFishlore VIPMember

    I would either get more Guppies or more Bleeding Hearts, and cut the other one. 4 fish isn't really a big enough shoal (school), and Guppies like more friends. If you do get more Guppies instead of the Bleeding Hearts, beware that a bunch of males may fight. If you don't want to breed, I recommend all females. I have 4 of them, and they're just as cool as the guys. Also, Rummy Noses are very sensitive fish. Some more hardy tetras are Lemons, Black Widows (Black Skirts), and Glowlights.

    And no, you don't have to remove the fish during water changes. It is not strong enough to suck up the fish, even Guppy fry. They usually stay away from the siphon.
  17. DC_2099New MemberMember

    Thaks for the suggestions.
    I can't find a 30" fluorescent light bulb.
    Does anyone know of a company that makes 30" bulbs,preferably around 60 watts?
  18. 0morrokhFishlore VIPMember

    You should be able to find one. If you have a Petco ar Petsmart, they will sell 30" fluorescent hoods. Oh, just kidding, you're looking for the bulbs. They should sell those at Petco/Petsmart too. :)
  19. vinWell Known MemberMember

    You should be able to find them at your LFS.......

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