Getting My First Fish, Need Advice.

  • #1
Hi, I'm currently in the looks for a fish. This would be my first real fish, not just a family goldfish. I've visited several stores near my home and most of the workers don't know much about fish, and other websites contradict each other on life-spans and gallon requirements. Hopefully, you guys with personal experience could assist me? In my house, I have a slot inside my wall for a small aquarium, originally used for an in-wall safe. I can fit up to a 5-gallon fish tank within the wall. All I need is a fish. I want to get one really beautiful and preferably exotic fish. I have no budget for the fish or its setup, just a few requirements. It must be okay with being alone and in a 5-gallon tank and feel comfortable and happy with its space, I don't want it becoming depressed and sad. It must also have a long lifespan, I don't want to buy an expensive fish for it to die of old age within the first 2 years. I'm looking for a friend that will last. It's preferable if the fish is low maintenance, but I don't mind getting my hands dirty to keep him happy. Thank you!
  • #2
You just described a Betta fish, perfect for a 5 gallon and prefer to be alone.

First off, you should cycle the tank. Luckily, I just typed all of this out for someone else, so I can just copy and paste what that means for you.

Cycling just means you have a colony of different bacteria living in your filter, breaking down waste.

When your fish poops, the poop turns into ammonia. That ammonia is toxic to fish, so a group of nitrifying bacteria will colonize inside your filter and start eating that ammonia. This bacteria has a byproduct called nitrite, which is also very toxic to fish. Finally, the second group of nitrifying bacteria colonizes in your filter to eat that nitrite. The byproduct from these guys is nitrate. Nitrate is only toxic to fish at 40+ ppm, though 30 and above is stressful so you want to aI'm at 20 or below nitrates. Nitrates can simply be removed by water changes. A cycled tank will read 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, and 5+ nitrates.

There are bacteria that are classified as DEnitrifying and turn nitrate into atmospheric nitrogen, which basically means that these guys fart the nitrate out. However, it’s hard fo support enough of these in the tank, so water changes are the best way. Plants can also absorb the nitrates, to an extent.

Ammonia and nitrite are also removed in an uncycled tank with water changes, which is why it’s crucial to do them often to keep those toxic levels down. Once you have enough bacteria to support your bioload, you’ll no longer have to worry about ammonia and nitrite.

Fish poop—> ammonia—> nitrite—> nitrate—happy fish—> repeat

Things to note:
-This process takes a month to complete on average
-Don’t replace all your filter media at once
-dont rinse filter media in tap water
  • #3
Second that it sounds like a betta is a good candidate for you there's are some other options, quite a few actually, but don't think you'll be able to beat a healthy bettas personality or low maintenance requirements with the others.
  • #4
I would go a step up and recommend a betta imported from thailand or indonesia, or a betta from a breeder in your country. maybe even a wild betta from thailand. a lot of bettas from pet stores have health problems and might be old, limiting their lifespans. these days a pet store betta's lifespan might only be 1-3 years. a high quality betta would probably live longer, since they sell them when they're still relatively young (like 3 or 4 months). they're also absolutely gorgeous.

but, they are expensive, especially if you get them imported. it'd be great if you could find a local breeder.
  • #5
HI & welcome, I agree with all the above, you described the perfect habitat for a male betta (I say male because they're more colourful than females & are quite happy to live alone). There are many different morphs of betta so do your homework & research loads before buying one, you'll have plenty of time while your tank cycles. Good luck & welcome to the hobby.
  • #7
I would recommend neon tetras or cherry barbs. They are both happy, hardy fish.
But are not suitable for 5 gallon tanks. There's a 5 gallon nano tank stock list around here if you want to look for something different than a betta. Please keep in mind that a betta would require a heater.Stocking List For 5 Gallon Nano Aquariums
  • #8
I would recommend neon tetras or cherry barbs. They are both happy, hardy fish.

Sorry, have to disagree on tetras or barbs for a 5 gallon tank, they're both schooling fish so need a group of 6+ so 20 gallon tank minimum plus the OP has said he only wants 1 exotic looking fish.
  • #9
Welcome to FishLore! I hope you enjoy the site.

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