Getting A Custom Tank In My Condo...beginner Questions - Please Help :)

Jordan Jacob
  • #1
Hello everyone thanks for having me on your board.

I am getting a custom tank built in my 7th floor condo in Toronto and have very basic questions. Any help is appreciated. The size will be 40" long x 22" wide and 36" tall.

I have no experience with fish or tanks. I want this tank for its artistic visual mainly, and am open minded to becoming an enthusiast eventually. I plan on paying a professional to maintain the tank for now, so please consider this when answering the following questions:

1) If I am not maintaining myself, and paying someone, isn't a salt water tank better? more colorful fish etc..Any downsides?
2) Should I go with glass or acrylic? pros/cons of each?
3) I want the tank as colorful as possible, is buying coral inserts form a company like LivingColor (.com) ok? Better places to buy?
4) How much should I expect to pay for this custom tank including all filters, parts etc? (So I know if I am getting screwed?).
5) Roughly what will be my maintenance cost per week or month for salt vs. fresh?

Anything else you guys recommend or want to warn me about ?

Thanks so much everyone.

Jordan
 
Discus-Tang
  • #2
HI Jordan,

I would highly recommend starting with a freshwater tank, even if someone is maintaining it for you. You'd need to feed the corals, fish, do top offs etc. Corals and saltwater fish are also ridiculously expensive, not to mention the extra equipment.

So, if you go down the saltwater path, consider these things.

In freshwater, you can still find pretty colourful fish. You will still need to feed them a wide range of foods, but it will be so much cheaper.

Your tank sounds relatively large, so make sure the floor is able to hold it. I don't think the people below you would want a tank bursting through the roof...

For that size of a tank, expect to pay $30-40 for a heater and $30-40 for a filter.

I would recommend these fish:
Guppies (5 males)
Rummynose tetras (8-10)
Corydoras (8-10)
These are all very common and easy fish.
 
Dawn Michele
  • #3
Welcome to fishlore Jordan!!!
 
Jordan Jacob
  • Thread Starter
  • #4
HI Jordan,

I would highly recommend starting with a freshwater tank, even if someone is maintaining it for you. You'd need to feed the corals, fish, do top offs etc. Corals and saltwater fish are also ridiculously expensive, not to mention the extra equipment.

So, if you go down the saltwater path, consider these things.

In freshwater, you can still find pretty colourful fish. You will still need to feed them a wide range of foods, but it will be so much cheaper.

Your tank sounds relatively large, so make sure the floor is able to hold it. I don't think the people below you would want a tank bursting through the roof...

For that size of a tank, expect to pay $30-40 for a heater and $30-40 for a filter.

I would recommend these fish:
Guppies (5 males)
Rummynose tetras (8-10)
Corydoras (8-10)
These are all very common and easy fish.


Hey DT thanks for all that.

When you say "extra equipment for salt water" - total price for this for my size tank?
When you say "so much cheaper to feed fresh water fish - how much cheaper?
The heater and filter sound very cheap.....cool, but how much should I expect to pay for the whole tank and all of its equipment if I go Fresh and what about Salt?
The fish you recommended are cool but what about BIGGER? Really cool fish? If price was not a factor, what are the craziest fresh water fish I could get?

Thanks again

Thanks DM
 
Discus-Tang
  • #5
Hey DT thanks for all that.

When you say "extra equipment for salt water" - total price for this for my size tank?
When you say "so much cheaper to feed fresh water fish - how much cheaper?
The heater and filter sound very cheap.....cool, but how much should I expect to pay for the whole tank and all of its equipment if I go Fresh and what about Salt?
The fish you recommended are cool but what about BIGGER? Really cool fish? If price was not a factor, what are the craziest fresh water fish I could get?

Thanks again
Well, if you could tell me the size of the tank (in gallons) I might be able to figure something out
 
SegiDream
  • #6
I'd recommend researching and learning how to properly maintain a tank. You can still have someone come out and help you maintain it no problem, I just think it's a good idea to understand what they are doing to your tank and the effect it has. I'd say glass over acrylic, the visibility is probably better and it holds up better. I have 1 rimless acrylic tank (tiny tank) but it scratches so easily and has warped a little over time. Larger professional tanks might be different but just me personally I wouldn't want to bother.

I agree with starting with freshwater. You can always convert to saltwater later. There are some absolutely amazing planted aquascapes that you can do with a freshwater tank. And depending on the fish you get and the location of the aquarium, you may not even need a heater for it.
 
Jordan Jacob
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
I believe it will be approx 130 gallons. thanks

I'd recommend researching and learning how to properly maintain a tank. You can still have someone come out and help you maintain it no problem, I just think it's a good idea to understand what they are doing to your tank and the effect it has. I'd say glass over acrylic, the visibility is probably better and it holds up better. I have 1 rimless acrylic tank (tiny tank) but it scratches so easily and has warped a little over time. Larger professional tanks might be different but just me personally I wouldn't want to bother.

I agree with starting with freshwater. You can always convert to saltwater later. There are some absolutely amazing planted aquascapes that you can do with a freshwater tank. And depending on the fish you get and the location of the aquarium, you may not even need a heater for it.


Thanks SegI Going for this kind of look:

or https://i.ytimg.com/vi/MZ5iz7ptYBE/maxresdefault.jpg
 
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Fashooga
  • #8


That is a community tank of African cichlids. I'm not sure which but that is a big group. They are very colorful fish. They require a higher pH and if you want that amount you'll need good filtration. As long as that pH is 8.0-8.6 they will thrive. You will see aggression. Don't mix the fish from different lakes.

The 2nd link https://i.ytimg.com/vi/MZ5iz7ptYBE/maxresdefault.jpg
Looks like a tank with a bunch of mollies...or a livebearer tank. It's a beginners tank as you can see everything in there can be purchased at a big box store that specialize in animals. Fake plants, fake decor but you get the colors you want. Mollies and platy fish are easy and hardy to keep.

While the 130 gallon is big the length is throwing things off a bit. A standard 120 gallon is 48"x24"x24"...that's 8 inches is a lot of room.
 
Discus-Tang
  • #9
I believe it will be approx 130 gallons. thanks
130 Gallons is big enough for an Oscar. Those are true beasts! Look them up.
 
Mom2some
  • #10
The first picture looks like a freshwater tank to me...
so 130 gallons, colorful & impactful. TexasDomer is excellent at stocking suggestions & may be able to help.

Also - a filter for this size tank will not be $30 - that must have been a typo. But I believe a salt water tank needs lots of extra equipment (ex protein skinner, UV sterilizer, etc) that a freshwater tank just doesn’t need.
 
FlipFlopFishFlake
  • #11
130 Gallons is big enough for an Oscar. Those are true beasts! Look them up.
But not the best for a tank meant to be beautiful, Oscars bulldoze any decorations wherever they want lol
 
aussieJJDude
  • #12
Salt water can easily cost up to the $1000's to setup up, and this doesn't include likely purchases such as corals or fish... heck, to start off successfully with saltwater you're looking at least 1 year of going extremely slow, such as waiting a couple months for a couple of fish, and if you happen to go down the reef route, couple of more months after that. You can't rush salt!

(That, and RO water, salt, reactors and protein skimmers aren't cheap, and if you want corals good lighting will set you back even more! Powerheads are another addition, while they won't cost the world - in comparison - it can all quickly add up.)

Like everyone else, stick with freshwater. It will offer the best choices and give you the best success!


The first tank that you linked looks like a MalawI tank setup, I'm particular an all male peacock tank. Definently colourful, and rivals even the marine aquarium in terms of colour!
 
Discus-Tang
  • #13
The first picture looks like a freshwater tank to me...
so 130 gallons, colorful & impactful. TexasDomer is excellent at stocking suggestions & may be able to help.

Also - a filter for this size tank will not be $30 - that must have been a typo. But I believe a salt water tank needs lots of extra equipment (ex protein skinner, UV sterilizer, etc) that a freshwater tank just doesn’t need.
I thought the tank was like, 20-30 gallons.
 
helpmyfishplease
  • #14
If I had 130 gallons AND someone else to maintain it...look into discus - they are so cool looking. They are not beginner fish, but if you're hiring a pro anyway.
 
aussieJJDude
  • #15
If I had 130 gallons AND someone else to maintain it...look into discus - they are so cool looking. They are not beginner fish, but if you're hiring a pro anyway.
They require almost daily maintainence... which from my understanding, maintenance is going to be mostly for waterchanges and such - weekly?

OP, do you know what the 'maintenance' will entail?
 
Goldiemom
  • #16
After watching “Tanked” if I could build and money was no object, I’d go for saltwater. Sea horses, star fish, sharks, live coral and rock, clown fish, blue tuna, etc. I would definitely do acrylic instead of glass.
 
Michaelk22
  • #17
I think you should start out with freshwater, there are also cool looking species of freshwater fish out there. It is also less expensive and easier for beginners, how many gallons would you plan to have in the aquarium? There are many combinations.
 
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wodesorel
  • #18
I am thinking through what a 125 would be, and that is a standard sized pre-made tank you can order. If you wanted someone to make you a custom tank I have no idea what that cost but I am sure they are a pretty penny!

Equipment and set-up are the worst part. Buying used and DIYing will save a fortune as compared to buying brand new. (Keep in mind I am in the US.) You could probably do freshwater for around $700 shopping classifieds and sales and taking your time to get the best deal. Smaller plants rhat would need to grow in, smaller fish that would need to get to size.

Hiring someone to do the work and having a finished product quickly, I would imagine the budget to be more like $2K or higher. I priced out a 125 new once and it was going to be around $1200 for all hardware and equipment. That did not include decor, plants or fish.

Definitely call around to any local companies that offer in-home services and find out where you can go in person to see examples of their work. A friend of mine offers this service and her tanks are just stunning. I have seriously considered hiring her to do a big tank for us since my back is so bad. It is not something I feel like I can tackle myself, but with the help of a pro to split the work with, it would be a breeze!
 
Michaelk22
  • #19
I think you should start out with freshwater, there are also cool looking species of freshwater fish out there. It is also less expensive and easier for beginners, how many gallons would you plan to have in the aquarium? There are many combinations.
Nevermind I saw the 130 gallon, I still recommend freshwater, but if you put the effort and money into it, saltwater could be an option.
 
Jordan Jacob
  • Thread Starter
  • #20
130 Gallons is big enough for an Oscar. Those are true beasts! Look them up.
LOVE the Oscar, will definitely get one.. any cool EEL suggestions ?

If I had 130 gallons AND someone else to maintain it...look into discus - they are so cool looking. They are not beginner fish, but if you're hiring a pro anyway.
Super cute fish..added to the list...ty

They require almost daily maintainence... which from my understanding, maintenance is going to be mostly for waterchanges and such - weekly?

OP, do you know what the 'maintenance' will entail?
no.. I just know I want to do as little of work (commitment) as possible. I will pay a pro to come in weekly if I need to...

I think you should start out with freshwater, there are also cool looking species of freshwater fish out there. It is also less expensive and easier for beginners, how many gallons would you plan to have in the aquarium? There are many combinations.
approx 130 gallons.///its a biggy

I am thinking through what a 125 would be, and that is a standard sized pre-made tank you can order. If you wanted someone to make you a custom tank I have no idea what that cost but I am sure they are a pretty penny!

Equipment and set-up are the worst part. Buying used and DIYing will save a fortune as compared to buying brand new. (Keep in mind I am in the US.) You could probably do freshwater for around $700 shopping classifieds and sales and taking your time to get the best deal. Smaller plants rhat would need to grow in, smaller fish that would need to get to size.

Hiring someone to do the work and having a finished product quickly, I would imagine the budget to be more like $2K or higher. I priced out a 125 new once and it was going to be around $1200 for all hardware and equipment. That did not include decor, plants or fish.

Definitely call around to any local companies that offer in-home services and find out where you can go in person to see examples of their work. A friend of mine offers this service and her tanks are just stunning. I have seriously considered hiring her to do a big tank for us since my back is so bad. It is not something I feel like I can tackle myself, but with the help of a pro to split the work with, it would be a breeze!


this is very helpful.. thanks, I will phone around for sure
 
Discus-Tang
  • #22
Don't keep discus with oscars. It won't end well.
 
aussieJJDude
  • #22
Don't keep discus with oscars. It won't end well.
I think the OP is listing potential fish to keep!


I would reccomend some kuhlI loaches, they pretty much eel like in appearence, and small - so you could have loads!
 
Discus-Tang
  • #23
I think the OP is listing potential fish to keep!


I would reccomend some kuhlI loaches, they pretty much eel like in appearence, and small - so you could have loads!
Good idea, though (obviously) not with Oscars or discus.
 
Meeko2690
  • #24
Yeah this isn't going to end well.
 
Danjamesdixon
  • #25
Welcome!

Regardless of how much maintenance you do or do not want to do; I strongly suggest you learn about all the processes involved in the hobby now, and as much about the particular fish you want as well.

Coming into a hobby like this with the mindset of wanting to do as little work as possible isn't a great start - it's very involved! Just my 2c.
 
Alexolotl
  • #26
Welcome!

Regardless of how much maintenance you do or do not want to do; I strongly suggest you learn about all the processes involved in the hobby now, and as much about the particular fish you want as well.

Coming into a hobby like this with the mindset of wanting to do as little work as possible isn't a great start - it's very involved! Just my 2c.
This right here. If you’re looking for a low maintenance pet, you could look into exotic pet rocks. The fish keeping hobby is far from low-maintenance, and if you look around you’ll see that our fish aren’t just decorations, they are members of our family who we must care for every day. It’s pretty much impossible to avoid any maintenance yourself, especially when you factor in disease-sooner or later your fish will get sick and it’ll be your responsibility to care for them. I would recommend not hiring those maintenance people, you’re simply paying loads of money for them to do stuff every week you could do easily yourself for much less money. It’ll quickly end up being the priciest thing you’re paying for.

If I were you, I’d start with a tank that’s loads smaller, at 30 gallons or so, so you can “get your feet wet” so to speak. Maintenance will be easy, and you still have plenty of options for beautiful fish. If you want to you can go for that 130 gallon, but I will warn you, if you decide to go with a large oddball fish such as an Oscar, you’ll only be able to keep one per tank, and it’ll probably be alone, because oscars will fight and attempt to kill pretty much everything smaller than them, and this can quickly lead to lots of money wasted.

Additionally, Oscars WILL end up ruining the aquascape of their tank somehow, so you won’t be able to have a beautiful planted tank. I myself wouldn’t mind this, but I thought I would let you know in case you were hoping for a tank that looks really good even without fish.

Whatever you do end up doing, I wish you good luck, and welcome to the amazing world of fishkeeping!
 
Jellibeen
  • #27
It’s important to remember that, even if your primary goal for your fish is as decor, that they are not objects. They are living, feeling beings.

You should find a few companies or people that offer this service, and talk to them. They can give you a better idea of pricing and should be able to guide you in the direction of picking fish. It would be unfortunate to settle on discus then not being able to find anyone who can take care of discus.
 
TexasDomer
  • #28
This tank is too small for an oscar - they can get over 12" long, and this tank does not provide enough swimming room and length for them.

I agree with Dan - if you're looking to do as little work as possible, a large fish tank probably isn't for you.
 
King o´ Angelfish
  • #29
Freshwater setup will be much easier to handle and WAAAAY cheaper. Go for a discus planted tank. HEavily planted.
 
sipec
  • #30
Hello everyone thanks for having me on your board.

I am getting a custom tank built in my 7th floor condo in Toronto and have very basic questions. Any help is appreciated. The size will be 40" long x 22" wide and 36" tall.

I have no experience with fish or tanks. I want this tank for its artistic visual mainly, and am open minded to becoming an enthusiast eventually. I plan on paying a professional to maintain the tank for now, so please consider this when answering the following questions:

1) If I am not maintaining myself, and paying someone, isn't a salt water tank better? more colorful fish etc..Any downsides?
2) Should I go with glass or acrylic? pros/cons of each?
3) I want the tank as colorful as possible, is buying coral inserts form a company like LivingColor (.com) ok? Better places to buy?
4) How much should I expect to pay for this custom tank including all filters, parts etc? (So I know if I am getting screwed?).
5) Roughly what will be my maintenance cost per week or month for salt vs. fresh?

Anything else you guys recommend or want to warn me about ?

Thanks so much everyone.

Jordan
1. Saltwater does tend to be more colorful, but there are pretty freshwater fish too
2. Glass is better imao because its cheaper and dosent scratch as easy where as acrylic is strong and lightweight but scratches very easy. I have an acrylic tank and wish it were glass. Another thing with acrylic is it bows slightly, making it difficult to clean with certain scrubbers, although you wouldnt have to worry about that. Acrylic also has better clarity than glass. My suggestion would be low iron glass which is clearer than regular but dosent scratch as easy as acrylic, although it does cost more than original glass.
3. Coral inserts are okay, but I personally enjoy real coral better than fake, as they are prettier, sway in the flow, and are a pleasure to feed. Idk where to buy inserts.
4. Idk I have never got a custom and it depends on where you buy
5. Depends on a lot of things.
Hope I could help

Also saltwater fish, coral and inverts are tend to be more finicky than most freshwater fish
 
Jordan Jacob
  • Thread Starter
  • #31
1. Saltwater does tend to be more colorful, but there are pretty freshwater fish too
2. Glass is better imao because its cheaper and dosent scratch as easy where as acrylic is strong and lightweight but scratches very easy. I have an acrylic tank and wish it were glass. Another thing with acrylic is it bows slightly, making it difficult to clean with certain scrubbers, although you wouldnt have to worry about that. Acrylic also has better clarity than glass. My suggestion would be low iron glass which is clearer than regular but dosent scratch as easy as acrylic, although it does cost more than original glass.
3. Coral inserts are okay, but I personally enjoy real coral better than fake, as they are prettier, sway in the flow, and are a pleasure to feed. Idk where to buy inserts.
4. Idk I have never got a custom and it depends on where you buy
5. Depends on a lot of things.
Hope I could help


Joey you rock... thanks dude
 
sipec
  • #32
Joey you rock... thanks dude
Yo
I tried saying my pleasure but spell check wanted “my plesiosaur “ lol
 
Andy S
  • #33
I would also recommend freshwater over salt for numerous reasons. You say that the main object of the exercise is visual appeal in which case I would say go for a heavily planted freshwater tank and forget the big fish. Yes, you could keep an Oscar, just about in that size tank but you would struggle to keep anything else with it. Anything smaller is going to get bullied and probably eaten.
I have a few tanks but my main display tank contains nothing but small fish. At 130 gallons you could keep half a dozen male guppies, a fairly large shoal of zebra danios, another shoal of neon tetras and yet another shoal of corydoras catfish. That is what is in my display tank - none of them disturb the decorations, none of them eat the plants and there is constant movement at all levels of the tank. They are all considered good beginners fish because they are generally easy to look after and can adapt to a fairly wide range of water conditions and will eat pretty much any sort of food so no messing about with special diets.
For visual appeal in my opinion a shoal of a dozen neon tetras beats a solitary Oscar hands down. You'll probably pay the same for all these fish combined compared with the price of a single large Oscar.
 
SegiDream
  • #34
I would also recommend freshwater over salt for numerous reasons. You say that the main object of the exercise is visual appeal in which case I would say go for a heavily planted freshwater tank and forget the big fish. Yes, you could keep an Oscar, just about in that size tank but you would struggle to keep anything else with it. Anything smaller is going to get bullied and probably eaten.
I have a few tanks but my main display tank contains nothing but small fish. At 130 gallons you could keep half a dozen male guppies, a fairly large shoal of zebra danios, another shoal of neon tetras and yet another shoal of corydoras catfish. That is what is in my display tank - none of them disturb the decorations, none of them eat the plants and there is constant movement at all levels of the tank. They are all considered good beginners fish because they are generally easy to look after and can adapt to a fairly wide range of water conditions and will eat pretty much any sort of food so no messing about with special diets.
For visual appeal in my opinion a shoal of a dozen neon tetras beats a solitary Oscar hands down. You'll probably pay the same for all these fish combined compared with the price of a single large Oscar.
Neons are not a hardy fish and many arrive with illnesses. So IMO its not a good beginner fish. I love smaller/nano fish in a big tank and will be doing nano fish in my 40b so there will be plenty of room for fish and plants and well who knows.. Lol.
 
Andy S
  • #35
Neons are not a hardy fish and many arrive with illnesses. So IMO its not a good beginner fish. I love smaller/nano fish in a big tank and will be doing nano fish in my 40b so there will be plenty of room for fish and plants and well who knows.. Lol.
OK, Maybe not Neon tetras, perhaps Serpae tetras, Lemon tetras or Head and Tail Lights would be better or maybe forget tetras altogether and go for another shoal of Danios, Pearl Danio for example.
 
FishWithTim
  • #36
Hello everyone thanks for having me on your board.

I am getting a custom tank built in my 7th floor condo in Toronto and have very basic questions. Any help is appreciated. The size will be 40" long x 22" wide and 36" tall.

I have no experience with fish or tanks. I want this tank for its artistic visual mainly, and am open minded to becoming an enthusiast eventually. I plan on paying a professional to maintain the tank for now, so please consider this when answering the following questions:

1) If I am not maintaining myself, and paying someone, isn't a salt water tank better? more colorful fish etc..Any downsides?
2) Should I go with glass or acrylic? pros/cons of each?
3) I want the tank as colorful as possible, is buying coral inserts form a company like LivingColor (.com) ok? Better places to buy?
4) How much should I expect to pay for this custom tank including all filters, parts etc? (So I know if I am getting screwed?).
5) Roughly what will be my maintenance cost per week or month for salt vs. fresh?

Anything else you guys recommend or want to warn me about ?

Thanks so much everyone.

Jordan
Fresh is cheaper and easier than salt period. You can't leave a saltwater tank unmaintained for nore than 2 days. Its a lot of work to keep those saltwater fish looking pretty. Freshwater is very easy to maintain and does not need as much maintence as a saltwater tank. Plus water changes are really simple to where you would not need a profesional. ALSO it is much more rewarding if you take care of your own tank and fish. Especially custom.
 
sipec
  • #37
Fresh is cheaper and easier than salt period. You can't leave a saltwater tank unmaintained for nore than 2 days. Its a lot of work to keep those saltwater fish looking pretty. Freshwater is very easy to maintain and does not need as much maintence as a saltwater tank. Plus water changes are really simple to where you would not need a profesional. ALSO it is much more rewarding if you take care of your own tank and fish. Especially custom.
+1 on maintaining it yourself. It is very rewarding imao to grow a nice tank, and the fish and even sometimes inverts tend to know that you’re the guy who takes care of them. I’m not sure if you’ll feed them everyday or if you’ll get an auto feeder, but I strongly suggest to feed your fish twice a day whenever you can for the above reason.
I also think its kinda fun maintaining my tanks, it isn't that difficult provided the right equipment/setup/cuc (clean-up crew)
I feel that I should also direct you towards the forums free e-books, I haven't read over them yet but I looked over the table of contents of the one and it looks very informative, and there is two of them: one for fresh and one for salt.
Whatever you want to do with your tank, that is up to you. I do agree that you should start with a fw (freshwater) tank before you get a sw (saltwater) tank because they usually are lower matinence, like bettafishkeeper said. Just do a lot of research and you should be good. You have come to the right place btw, the forums are a great place to learn and ask questions. Also there is more than one way to setup a tank, there are all sorts of different styles to chose from. Another good thing to do is before buying a critter research it so that you know if it will fit in with your current/future livestock.
 
IHaveADogToo
  • #38
Clown Loaches.

They're a fish every hobbyist wants but nobody keeps because they can get a foot long and need to be kept in groups. 125 gallons should do well for them.

They look fantastic with Tiger Barbs.

Here's an 800 gallon tank that has huge schools of Clown Loaches and Tiger Barbs in it.
 
TexasDomer
  • #39
Clown Loaches.

They're a fish every hobbyist wants but nobody keeps because they can get a foot long and need to be kept in groups. 125 gallons should do well for them.

They look fantastic with Tiger Barbs.

Here's an 800 gallon tank that has huge schools of Clown Loaches and Tiger Barbs in it.

While the tank has a large volume, the footprint isn't large enough to keep clowns, since it's such a short length tank
 

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