Haven't purchased a tank yet, unsure about which size to start with

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by annewaldron, Apr 19, 2012.

  1. annewaldronValued MemberMember

    Hi all,
    I'm the beginners' beginner here! I have a 22" W x D corner (inside wall) area that would be perfect for a 24 gallon NanoCube, so at this point, that's where I'm leaning. My game plan is to build a sturdy cabinet (not crazy about the one that comes with the 24 Nano), then purchase and cycle the cube, then add espei and harlequin rasboras, then add a few dwarf gouramis and eventually a cora. I'd also like to keep live plants, which I know will add a certain level of difficulty to this, but I'm a very particular caretaker and will be rather hawkish about care & cleaning, so maybe, just maybe I can do this! I'm doing TONS of research before I jump in.

    I've heard the warning that beginners tend to start small and then regret not going bigger, and my eyes are already straying to a 48 gallon tank/stand setup someone's selling on craigslist. This one is also in a cube-like size: 20"w x 18"d x 31"h.

    If I'm a beginner, should I stay away from the lure of a 48 gal cube tank? Does the size of this tank change the scenario of the type of fish I can keep? The type of plants I could keep? Or would I still be limited by the type of fish that could thrive in a tall/square environment?

    If this type of tank will limit me in the same way as the Nano because of its cube-ness (and I'm realizing that it might be that much harder to clean) then maybe I ought to stick with my 24 gal plan.

    Any newbie cautionary tales and advice would be welcome.

    (p.s. I'll be working with the experts at Aquarium Adventure to get me set up, so I'm not totally on my own with this!)

  2. Akari_32Fishlore LegendMember

    Get as big as you can start with. Larger tanks are easier to maintain ;)

  3. DinoFishlore VIPMember

    Welcome to Fishlore.
    Get the largest that your floor will hold and that you can afford.

    The larger the tank the more section in what you can keep will be.

  4. ucdcrewValued MemberMember

    I started with a 50g tall aquarium - it was 30" x 24" x 18" I believe. I replaced it with a standard 55g tank because I wanted the tank to be longer to allow for more swimming room. Also, if you're going to keep plants you'll want to think about tank depth and lighting requirements of the plants you want to keep. The deeper the tank, the more powerful the lights will have to be (read, more expensive). If you're limited on space though, I'd get the bigger tank off craigslist and then you can use the money you saved to invest in proper lighting for your plants.
  5. Canadian FishValued MemberMember

    I have to agree that the larger the tank, the easier it is to maintain. I started with a 20 gallon tank, then went to 35 and 55 gallon My 55 gallon is by far the easiest to maintain consistent water parameters. The smaller tanks require more maintenance. Also, high tanks are not as practical as long tanks (they're more practical because they have a smaller footprint and take up less space) but other than that, you can keep larger and more active fish in a longer tank.

    We just bought our fourth tank today, and we went with a 55 gallon long again. Not because we want huge fish, but because they are so easy to look after. I do one small water change a week and my 55 gallon is always 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites and 5 nitrates. It never fluctuates.
  6. annewaldronValued MemberMember

    Thanks for the feedback so far!

    Right now my apartment is tiny, and I don't have any logical places to keep a long tank, so my thinking is that I'll do the 24 cube for now and use it as a quarantine tank when I move to a bigger place and have room for a longer tank. Trust me, I'd love a bigger/longer tank to start out with (I fantasize about having a little school of silver dollars!) But I'll take what I can crowbar in here right now! ; )
  7. jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    Welcome to FishLore!

    I just wanted to mention that Dwarf Gourami's do not play well together, so I'd advise having only one.
  8. annewaldronValued MemberMember

    Is there a third fish I could put in with espei / harlequin rasboras and one dwarf or blue gourami? If its just rasboras/gourami, how many rasboras in a 24G?
  9. jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    A blue gourami (also known as a three spot gourami) will probably be too large for your tank. A blue dwarf gourami would be fine. If you really want more than one gourami in the tank, honey gourami's are very similar to DG's, but get along with one another.

    I'm not sure about the number of rasboras you could put in there, but you need to be a little careful with stocking the tank. Since it is a cube, it has less horizontal swim space than a standard tank. Sorry I couldn't be more help.
  10. cameronpalteValued MemberMember

    I would recommend getting the largest tank you can purchase (and your floor can support0. The larger the tank, the more fish, even if its tall but you can design it accordingly with us to help you. Best of luck and make sure to try to verify fish choices here so members can help you!
  11. davebowdenValued MemberMember

    Hi, and welcome. Go large !!!!:p
  12. annewaldronValued MemberMember

    Okay, I'm doing a BIG reconsider here.

    This is the reason I'm not doing a 30 gallon long (Which is what I really want):
    A) This area doesn't have any seating in front of it- the best I'd be able to do is turn while sitting on the couch and look (it would be behind and perpendicular to the couch- on an outside wall- I'm in Ohio) It would definitely be a focal point when walking into the room, just not really for sitting and watching
    B) I would have to remove a relatively new table from the location I'd be putting it- I kind of have that area designed right now- not that it wouldn't be newly designed with a beautiful tank (!) but I feel a little guilty about undoing what's already done

    This is the reason why I'm settling for a 24 cube:
    A) There's a corner in front of the couch where I could sit and watch, albeit from a greater distance than if I was seated and turned on the couch looking at the 30 long
    B) Interior wall

    The kind of fish I love:
    - silver dollars
    - gold german ram
    - those barbs that have big beautiful fins like goldfish (I forget the name)

    I'm settling for rasboras/gourami. Not that they're not beautiful and wouldn't be good as beginner fish, but they weren't my first choice (although the DGs are gorgeous)

    I'm admitting here that 24 cube and the fish that go in it aren't my dream choice, but I'm also trying to be practical space-wise and as a beginner.

    Oh- also: I'd really like to have live plants, but maybe that would be harder in a 30 long??
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2012
  13. Wendy LubianetskyWell Known MemberMember

    Top of the substrate

    Fundulus_auroguttatusm killifish.jpg

    You might want to consider some killifish for your tank. They are long, flattened, very colorful fish that do not get too large (depending on the species). They live primarily at the TOP of the substrate and leave the rest of the tank to the other fish. If you have a tall tank, they are perfect, because they take up some swim space that is otherwise not really used by the other fish. I have killifish in all of my tall tanks and really enjoy them. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Killifish This website and I am sure there are others gives an overview of killifish. This picture comes from this website and is the killifish I have in my tanks. It is no more than an inch long and very thin. Something for you to look into and possibly consider.
  14. jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    I think that "settling" for anything other than what you really want is a mistake. If you do settle, eventually you'll end up buying the 30 long, getting the fish you really want and moving the table. So spending all that money on the cube is an expensive way to get "seeded" filter media for cycling the 30 long.
  15. annewaldronValued MemberMember

    Fair enough! Questions:
    Should I be concerned that this 30G long would be next to an outside wall?
    Can I do silver dollars in a 30" long? Or Gold German Rams? Or Longfin rosy barb? (those are my 3 favorite)
  16. Wendy LubianetskyWell Known MemberMember

    I have three of my biggest tanks sitting next to an outside wall with no problems at all. In a 30G Long for sure you can do Gold German Rams as I have RAMS in my 30 tall. I believe there is not a problem with the rosy barbs, but I can not say yeah or neah on the silver dollars, since I have no experience in that area.
  17. LupinusValued MemberMember

    My advice is get the biggest you can afford that will fit in the space you have and that you have the time to maintain.

    Smaller tanks are harder to stock properly and more prone to swings in temp, ph, etc.

    So bigger the better, within reason. I'd say 20-30 and above are ok for a start.
  18. JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    Silver dollars, no, but rams and rosy barbs yes.

    Wait, is the tank a 30 gallon (36" long) or a 29 gallon (30" long)?
  19. annewaldronValued MemberMember

    I've decided against silver dollars- they just get too big- I like 'em when they're little :) Going for the Gold German Rams and something else to go with (I was told that rosy barbs are leaf nippers, so I'm not going with them. I'm as excited about the plants as I am the fish!)

    The tank is a 36" long 30 gallon (I see above where I wrote 30"- that was incorrect!)

    Went back to Aquarium Adventure and spoke with the manager. This is what I've decided on:
    30G (long)
    glass hinged hood
    light fixture w/ 2 fluorescent plant bulbs (this was picked out for me by the manager for use w/ planted tank- not cheap :eek: )
    fluval 206 filter
    Elite 150 heater

    My level of excitement is 1000% greater now that I'm going for what I wanted in the first place!
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2012
  20. pirahnah3Fishlore VIPMember

    glad to hear things are coming along well, please post some info on the light fixture, want to make sure they are not selling you bunk.

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