My Guide to Starting a Fresh Water Tank

  1. cameronpalte Member Member

    Hello Everyone,
    Welcome to the Ultimate Guide to Starting a Fresh Water Tank. There are many people on this forum who probably have more knowledge than me, but for the past few weeks I have been researching freshwater fish, so I decided to write a guide based on my knowledge for you all to save you time researching. I hope you enjoy:).

    Please note, any conditions are assumed when writing this guide. If your conditions do not meet this, you can change things out as you wish. Everything here can be molded based on your conditions. We will assume you have a $1000 budget and a place for your tanks. Your tank should be a freshwater, tropical, community tank. You should also shop and petco, and have pals rewards. If you want some extra help, feel free to post a question or comment, and I, or another member will reply to the best of our abilities. There is no such thing as a bad question.

    Also, I normally wouldn't have time to write this, but I'm going to Lake Tahoe today, so I opened it in a new tab, and began typing, and then published when I got internet. This means that it may take me a day or two to reply to your questions, because I don't always have this much time.

    Ok, so you have, for a variety of reasons, been introduced to fish keeping. You have fallen in love with it, and as a result, came to this forum to learn more about your hobby. You then set aside a budget of $1500 (we probably won't use all this), and decide to go with a 55 gallon tank. With that, you begin your venture in the fish keeping hobby. Please also note that prices may not be exact and can vary based on location.

    The first thing you need to do is get a 55g tank, and equipment for it. I recommend heading of the pet co and buying a 55g kit. The kit costs $120 w/ pals rewards, and $200 w/out, so make sure to sign up for it. You just need to fill out some basic information, and your done, you get discounts for that purchase also! For this guide we assume you have pals rewards.

    -Current Costs-
    $120= 55 gallon tank kit

    Next, you want to plan for the future. Fish keeping is all about working in the present, yet planning for the future. Fish keeping is rewarding, yet not an overly fast hobby. Your fish can take years to mature, yet interesting things can pop up in the moment, part of what makes fish keeping so exciting.

    With that introduction, the next thing you need to do is buy a 2(10g) kits from pet co. The reason you need these 2 tanks are for being quarantine tank and a fry tank. The quarantine tank holds new fish so if they have disease(s), they can show them before being introduced to the rest of the aquarium, while the fry tank holds baby fish.

    -Current Costs-
    $120= 55 gallon tank kit
    $100= 2(10) gallon tank kit.

    Great, you now have your tanks the filter, and basic supplies all provide in your kit. Your hobby is truly on its way to being established. Now, we need to give your tank a bit of look. To start, we will need some gravel. Gravel is essential to all tanks in my opinion, besides possibly a fry tank (though we will get gravel for our fry tank). It holds food, which can be sucked out by a gravel vac (we will get this later.), and provides a nice solid surface for the fish. Plus, it also give surface for your plants to adhere to.

    You have 75 gallons tanks to put gravel to put in. From my experience you should generally purchase around 1 pound of gravel/gallon, even though the backs of the gravel bags say you should purchase 2 pounds of gravel/gallon. So you need to purchase 75 pounds of gravel. Gravel also costs ~$0.75/pound, which comes out to around $60 of gravel

    -Current Costs-
    $120= 55 gallon tank kit
    $100= 2(10) gallon tank kit
    $60= gravel

    Now we need some plants. For new fish keeper's I highly recommend fake plants, just because live plants can present a variety of costs and problems. Fake plants, look nice and work great. So, now we have 2(10) gallon tanks and a 55 gallon tank we need to plants. We shouldn't need a very large number of plants since we will also be putting in decor.

    For the 55 gallon, we want 2 large plants, $6.99/each. 2 medium plants, $3.99/each, and 12 small plants, $3.99/6 pack. That comes out to $30 in plants for your 55 gallon. For your quarantine tank, you will want 4 medium plants, and 6 small plants, for a total of $20. Plants are great at making your new fish feel safe.

    And lastly, your fry tank. This is where we begin to rack up some costs in plants. The entire bottom 4-6 inches of your tank should be planted to provide hiding for your fry to keep the parents from eating them. Try to put about a half an inch of room between plants so your fry have room to hide and shade. Try to make it look a little uneven though, so it looks natural. You will want around 90 small plants, or 15 packs at $3.99 each. That comes out to $60

    -Current Costs-
    $120= 55 gallon tank kit
    $100= 2(10) gallon tank kit
    $60= gravel
    $110= plants

    Now, to finish up one of the most expensive categories of your tank, the decor category. All tanks need some decor, and nice objects. You now need some ships, or clay items. For the most part prices here are assumed based on what I have purchased in the past, as there are no exact prices for separate decor items. Try to stay in these guidelines and not overcrowd the tank. Since some fish in your tank will like hiding spaces, which generally happens in a community tank, I recommend getting some caves.

    Here are our assumed prices. $60 for the 55 gallon tank in various object. This should be enough to get 2 large objects and one small-medium one. $30 for each 10 gallon, or $60 total. This should be put mainly towards caves in the fry tank, and various nice objects in the quarantine. The total for decor, is a nice even $120.

    -Current Costs-
    $120= 55 gallon tank kit
    $100= 2(10) gallon tank kit
    $60= gravel
    $110= plants
    $120= decor

    Ok, now we need to make sure your tank has good temperature. The kits come with heaters, but we want to be able to measure that temperature, so just take 3 thermometers and toss them in your cart. This really should only be about $10, or a fraction of the total amount you are spending.

    -Current Costs-
    $120= 55 gallon tank kit
    $100= 2(10) gallon tank kit
    $60= gravel
    $110= plants
    $120= decor
    $10= thermometer

    Last section was a bit short, wasn't it:). Now, what you need to do is get a way in order to test your water quality. A major portion of fish keeping is reducing the stress that your fish need to go through, and with poor water quality your fish can develop some serious stress. Many people, including me, consider this item a necessity in all fishing tanks. This is the API Freshwater Master Test Kit. It costs around $30 at pet co, so make sure you get it. Generally you will want to purchase a new one every year, yet I'm just going to add a 1 time, $30 cost to our kit;).

    -Current Costs-
    $120= 55 gallon tank kit
    $100= 2(10) gallon tank kit
    $60= gravel
    $110= plants
    $120= decor
    $10= thermometer
    $30= API Freshwater Master Test Kit

    Well, now we need to keep our filters running. Filter bags should be changed every 2 months, so we will plan on buying a 6 month supply of filter bags. You will obviously need to get more later. Your filter should come standard with its first filter bags. Your 55 gallon kit at pet co uses 2 large filters, so a 6 pack, or enough for 6 months is $17. Your 10 gallon filter should use one bag, but you have 2 tanks, which means again another 6 pack for 6 months. We can assume this will cost around $17, so $34 for your filters.

    -Current Costs-
    $120= 55 gallon tank kit
    $100= 2(10) gallon tank kit
    $60= gravel
    $110= plants
    $120= decor
    $10= thermometer
    $30= API Freshwater Master Test Kit
    $34= Filter Bag

    Now, the second last part before you take your fish home. Notice how we haven't bought any fish or fish food yet, as we will not be buying that this trip, though that will be explained later. You need to get yourself some water conditioner to treat your water, which most certainly will be tap water, though it is easier if you put the bucket under the shower, and fills up faster. We want to buy 2 good size bottles of water condition, which should cost us around $20, and will last at least a few months, because the kits come with a little water conditioner to start. Make sure you use this every time you add tap water to the tank.

    -Current Costs-
    $120= 55 gallon tank kit
    $100= 2(10) gallon tank kit
    $60= gravel
    $110= plants
    $120= decor
    $10= thermometer
    $30= API Freshwater Master Test Kit
    $34= filter bag
    $20= water conditioner

    Last thing before we go home. Almost there:). You need to buy 2 gravel vacs, which suck up gravel from the floor of your tank, and aid in cleaning. It lifts the gravel, and removes dirt, though can be a little hard to get started. Instructions are generally included on the container. A large gravel vac for your 55 gallon is around $20, while a small one for your 10 gallon, you should only need one for both of them is around $10. That's $30 for gravel vacs.

    -Current Costs-
    $120= 55 gallon tank kit
    $100= 2(10) gallon tank kit
    $60= gravel
    $110= plants
    $120= decor
    $10= thermometer
    $30= API Freshwater Master Test Kit
    $34= filter bag
    $20= water conditioner
    $30= gravel vac

    Great, you are now ready to go home. This trip cost you $634, which is a good portion of your budget. When you get home open your kits and set things up. To help I will include the steps needed to get everything going, but please note it is best to normally follow the instructions that came with your kit. Set aside a few hours for doing all this.

    1) Open everything up, and place the tank wherever you want it, should it be a table or stand. Remember that your 55 gallon tank will weigh about 700 pounds, and each of your 10 gallons will weigh around 100 pounds. This also means, something I can not stress enough, put your tanks exactly where you want them to be. With the exception of possibly the 10 gallons (which I don't recommend moving), your tanks will not, can not remove after being set up. This may mean you have to carry water from the sink to the tank, but so be it. You may also need some help with the 55 gallon, as the tank by itself is pretty heavy.

    2) Empty your bags of gravel into a bowl, a little bit at a time, and rinse it. After this dump it all in your tank. It will probably be slightly less than 2 inches deep assuming you bought the recommended amount, I told you. Only use water, no chemicals.

    3) Plants/Decor. Take all your plants and decor, and rinse them out, clean them with water. Only use water, do not use some, detergent ect. After this, take it to your tanks, and arrange it in any fashion you want. The fry tank doesn't need to be 100% covered, but with those 60 small plants make sure to have nice clumps of grass. Put your decor as you like.

    4) Add water. This is generally the longest and most boring step. You have to carry water in smaller buckets from one place to your tank, 75 gallons of it. This will generally take the longest time. Make sure not to fill up your tank, and then attempt to move it. Make sure to fill it far enough, so that when you look at it from the side, you can not see the water line without bending down.

    5) Filter. Adding your filter is the next step. Take your filter bags, and rinse them out with water and then put in the filter. Your filter should also come with a longer piece from the kits, that you should attach to the bottom to help its reach.

    A very important warning note for the 55. The filter that comes with the 55 processes several hundred gallons an hour, which means that the suction is extremely strong. Make sure to add the extra piece that comes with it on the bottom (I figured this out recently for my tank, but thank fully I hadn't put any fish. This means that if a fish were to swim within several inches of it, under it, which is bound to happen, it can suck up your fish into it, or if your fish are too small, attach your fish to the bottom until they die. Make sure to add the extra piece, even though it will reach down into the gravel.

    6) Add heater. Tropic tanks should be maintained at 80 degrees. This generally takes 12-24 hours to warm up, so you can sleep on this some. Insert your thermometers to help. Once you see your tanks maintaining 80 degrees, it is time for the next step.

    Great, you now have things set up. Now is the time you have been waiting for, adding fish. Generally you should wait several weeks to let your water cycle, testing water, until you get good bacteria growth, but with this method, you can add fish immediately. Drive over to pet co, and purchase 4 bottle(s) of tetra starter for your 55 gallon. Also purchase an 2 bottles for your 2 (10) gallon tanks. They are generally, low or out of stock on this, so you may be disappointed, though they will probably tell you when their stock will replenish. You can also try to order some online. The price for the 6 bottles is ~$60 (assuming you get the small bottles that can treat up to 15 gallons of water.).

    -Current Costs-
    $120= 55 gallon tank kit
    $100= 2(10) gallon tank kit
    $60= gravel
    $110= plants
    $120= decor
    $10= thermometer
    $30= API Freshwater Master Test Kit
    $34= filter bag
    $20= water conditioner
    $60= tetra safe start

    Next purchase 8 peaceful schooling fish, like neon tetras, which will go in your 55g community. Normally you will have to put fish in the quarantine tank first, but because you have no current fish in the 55, you can add the fish right away. Also, purchase 6 red cherry shrimp to go in your 55, though pet co doesn't normally have this, you probably have to get this online. An online store, like pet solutions.com is good for this, as you will also be purchasing other fish from them. Your shrimp will probably be sent with overnight, so you may have to wait a day till you get this. The price for your 8 neon tetras will be ~$20, and your 6 shrimp should be around $25

    -Current Costs-
    $120= 55 gallon tank kit
    $100= 2(10) gallon tank kit
    $60= gravel
    $110= plants
    $120= decor
    $10= thermometer
    $30= API Freshwater Master Test Kit
    $34= filter bag
    $20= water conditioner
    $60= tetra safe start
    $45= first batch of animals

    Lastly, before you can leave the fish store you need to get some food + treats. Get around 3-4 oz of flakes and 2-3 oz of 2-3 treat types (bloodworms, brine shrimp, ect.). Also make sure to get some sinking pellets, that you can put in, so that your shrimp will have some food without waiting for it to float on the top, and then sink during which time, your fish can eat it. Your shrimp can live off of your fish, but this is best for them. You can also buy 2-3 slow releasing pellets for when you go away for some time. For food we can assume $40 for now, though you will obviously need to buy more later.

    -Current Costs-
    $120= 55 gallon tank kit
    $100= 2(10) gallon tank kit
    $60= gravel
    $110= plants
    $120= decor
    $10= thermometer
    $30= API Freshwater Master Test Kit
    $34= filter bag
    $20= water conditioner
    $60= tetra safe start
    $45= first batch of animals
    $40= food

    Now go home, and add your tetra safe start. 1 bottle to each 10 gallon (as stated above assuming you get the bottle that can treat up to 15 gallons), and 4 bottles to your 55. Wait an hour for the 55, and than add all 8 neon tetras. Make sure you follow the proper way to add fish. Wait a day for your red cherry shrimp, and then add them following the proper way to add fish.

    A fair warning, red cherry shrimp are known to breed profusely. Make sure to either sell these off, or find another way to take care of this to prevent your tank from becoming overloaded. Try not to put them in the fry tank, as this can hurt the fry. Another way to handle this is get all males or all females, though I don't know places that sale male and female shrimp individually.

    The proper way to add fish is as stated. There are many ways to do this, yet this is my preferred way. When the fish arrive, let them sit in the bag for around 10-15 minutes, get things settled. Then make sure to put the bag in the tank, remaining closed. Let it sit there for 15 minutes, and then open the top of the bag, and let them float for 30 minutes. After that feel free, to release them into the tank.

    Great, now that your done all you need to do is increase your fish count. Try not to overcrowd, and keep the adult size of fish in mind. Also try to get different levels of fish, from ones that swim at the top to catfish on the bottom. Get peaceful fish that can live well with others. A few recommended ones are neon tetra, glow light tetra, and guppies (guppies are sold separately male and female on pet solutions.com, and are great for getting your fry tank started. We can assume $200 for the rest of fish.

    -Current Costs-
    $120= 55 gallon tank kit
    $100= 2(10) gallon tank kit
    $60= gravel
    $110= plants
    $120= decor
    $10= thermometer
    $30= API Freshwater Master Test Kit
    $34= filter bag
    $20= water conditioner
    $60= tetra safe start
    $40= food
    $45= first batch of animals
    $200= rest of animals

    Now, you have probably spent some time reading this so if you are jumping up and down in your seat to get started, this is the last part of this guide. The last part of the guide is feeding fry, or baby fish. After that is a conclusion of prices ect., and then your free to go:)! Please leave a comment.

    Baby fish don't eat what adult fish do. You generally want to feed them brine shrimp for the first 2-3 weeks, and then crushed flakes for the next few weeks/months. After that you can begin to feed them regularly. We will be adding the cost of brine shrimp to our list. You need a hatchery plus some eggs, which we can assume is $30.
     
  2. cameronpalte Member Member

    -Current Costs-
    $120= 55 gallon tank kit
    $100= 2(10) gallon tank kit
    $60= gravel
    $110= plants
    $120= decor
    $10= thermometer
    $30= API Freshwater Master Test Kit
    $34= filter bag
    $20= water conditioner
    $60= tetra safe start
    $40= food
    $45= first batch of animals
    $200= rest of animals
    $30= brine shrimp equipment

    Phew, were done now. You can run to your car and go to pet co now:)... I hope you enjoyed this guide. Make sure to not overstock your guide, and follow this guide carefully, however much patience it may require. If you have questions, or comments, just type them below. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed!

    Total Cost: $999/$1000:). This is a bit on the upside, but will leave you totally prepared. I hope you enjoyed.

    *Sorry I couldn't include it all in one post, there is an 18000 character text limit, and mine was 18484.... Sorry again!
     

  3. Jaysee Fishlore Legend Member

    1000 for a 55 gallon?? ?? I've got some 29 gallon tanks to sell you :D


    Fish keeping can be an expensive hobby, especially if you are spending $10 for a thermometer. But it's not THAT expensive.
     

  4. cameronpalte Member Member

    If you read the post and see the break through, than you can see why you need that much. There are also 2(10 gallon) tanks being purchased and tons of other things. The actual 55 gallon + kit (kit includes cap, filter, ect.), is $120:)...

    I hope you enjoyed. Actually how much would you offer the 29 gallons for?
     

  5. Jaysee Fishlore Legend Member

    $400 ;)
     
  6. cameronpalte Member Member

    If your willing to sell me 10-15 tanks for that price...:)

    OMG! In the car, leaving to lake tahoe in 5-10 minutes:)... excited to go skiing.
     
  7. sirdarksol Fishlore Legend Member

    My initial issue with this thread is that you call it the "ultimate" guide, yet it is far from it. I have a $15 book with over a hundred pages that is built specifically for beginners to set up a successful tank, and it is far from "ultimate."

    Beyond that, the cost you're looking at is far more than I would spend setting up any tank short of a reef tank or a giant planted tank. I'm not saying that it's wrong to spend that much, just that it's not a necessity. I have seen some awesome budget tanks out there.

    Tropical tanks should not necessarily be kept at 80 degrees. Some of the fish that live in shallow water in tropical areas prefer that temp, but 76-78 is where I keep my tanks. 80 will shorten the life of many tropical fish.

    Two pounds of gravel per gallon? Is that number for tall tanks, or for long tanks, or for standard tanks, or for hex tanks? You see, two pounds of gravel per gallon will fill each of these tanks quite differently. It will be several inches deep in the hex tank, while one or two inches deep in the long tank.

    You must have picked some difficult plants when you tried them. I have some Christmas moss, Java moss, Java fern, Anubias, and crypts that I all but ignore, and they grow wonderfully. In several tanks, this means no special lights (or almost no special lights), fertilizers, substrate, or anything of the sort. They absorb nitrogen from the fish waste, CO2 from normal gas exchange, and get enough light from a simple, cheap plant bulb you can get at any hardware store. I know others who have amazing luck with anacharis and other floating plants. I had a sprig of water wysteria take over a tank for over a year. In other words, there are plenty of plants that incur no extra costs beyond the initial plant (which is likely to be the same as a decent-looking plastic plant), and are extremely easy to grow.

    Filter bags don't necessarily have to be changed every two months. That's only if you're using activated carbon; something a lot of people don't like to do. Personally, I have my filters running on floss-only (or the bags filled with ceramic beads), and I haven't changed a filter bag in well over a year.

    Cherry shrimp will never overload a tank. For most purposes, they have a neutral bioload.

    There are other ways to cycle a new tank than pure ammonia. My favorite is to get my hands on stuff from already-cycled systems. Another advantage to buying real plants. ;D

    Many different methods of acclimating fish to your tank. If you do the floating bag method, it's important to leave off the lights, as they can cause the temperature to spike in the bag. Personally, I do the "float the bag and slowly replace the water with tank water" method. Also important to note that it's usually best not to dump the pet store water into the tank, but to net out the fish. Dumping the water can introduce more parasites/infectious agents than would be on/in the fish themselves.

    My post here probably sounds harsh. It's not meant to be. However, by referring to this as the "Ultimate Guide," you have drawn particular attention to it. Other new aquarists are going to see it and not know how to pick through the information. Therefore, many members here are going to be sure to weigh in on the errors and such. It's the same thing we do with every bit of offered information. We examine it and respond to it with our thoughts.
     
  8. cameronpalte Member Member

    Ok, thank you for the help, I appreciate it. I have chained the name to 'my guide' It doesn't change the thread title at the very top, so how should I do that?

    When I bought my 55, I spend ~$350, and I haven't bought fish or fish food yet, but thats slightly steep. I understand the steep price, that is why I explained the price as I went, because you can cut a lot of it.

    Interesting, I was told to keep my tanks at 80 for tropical, so when I get back home in 3 days, I'll drop the temp down to 76-78.

    No, I recommend only 1 pound of gravel, a gallon, and in my 55 (48*13*21), it fills around 1-2 inches deep. I was just saying that 2 pounds/gallon is what it says on the back of the gravel bag, but you shouldn't follow it.

    Interesting, I can go and try some of your listed plants. Thanks for the advice.

    The bags that come from the kit at pet co, are activated carbon not ceramic beads, and because I said tat you are buying stuff from pet co, and getting the kit, the kit comes with activated carbon.

    Interesting, I have currently planned 4 shrimp for my 55, so could I add some more. Also, I was a bit worried, becaue I heard that shrimp rapidly reproduce which can overcrowd the tank.

    Actually tetra safe start contains bacteria not pure ammonia. The bacteria grow and the fish that you add after the hour produce ammonia to provide food for the bacteria. We already talked about real plants, but I have never tried to get stuff that have already been cycled, interesting idea.

    Many different methods of acclimating fish to your tank. If you do the floating bag method, it's important to leave off the lights, as they can cause the temperature to spike in the bag. Personally, I do the "float the bag and slowly replace the water with tank water" method. Also important to note that it's usually best not to dump the pet store water into the tank, but to net out the fish. Dumping the water can introduce more parasites/infectious agents than would be on/in the fish themselves.

    Ok, I understand, thank you for this
     
  9. ryanr Moderator Moderator Member

    I'm with you SDS. Ultimate is a strong word, and it certainly got my attention.

    Hi Cameron - it's a great write-up, and kudos for putting in the research, but like SDS, I believe there are many (cheaper) alternatives to your guide.

    One aspect that stands out to me is the use of Tetra Safe Start. Please be aware that TSS is not available in all countries (esp Australia).

    A note on Neon Tetras - I would not (IMO) add Neons to a new tank. Neons are sensitive to water parameters, and require a mature, well established system (my 16G was about 12-15 months old before adding Neons - FWIW, Cardinal Tetras look pretty much the same, and are more hardy).

    Some questions about your suggestions:
    Which kits are you recommending? (Brands)
    What gravel ? and why?
    What water conditioner ? and why? and when do I use it?
    What currency are you talking? (remember fishlore has members all over the world)
    What parameters am I looking for? How do I know the tank has cycled.


    Acclimation techniques - personally - I'm with SDS on using the 'bucket' method [that is, slowly replacing the water].

    As Jaysee has said, fish-keeping can be expensive, but a 55 shouldn't need to cost $1000, unless, as SDS spoke of, you're talking a heavy planted or reef setup.

    Cameron, I don't want to discourage you, it's a great write-up. I think you just need to elaborate a little on the specifics, and also appreciate your audience. I would consider removing "ultimate" from your subject, and adding links to topics you haven't covered (nitrogen cycle, acclimation techniques etc)

    I don't think there's a member on FL that could claim to write the "Ultimate" guide to anything.......... ;)

    Just my 2c
     
  10. sirdarksol Fishlore Legend Member

    I understand what TSS is. I actually missed any reference to it. The part I was referring to was "generally you would add ammonia every day..."
     
  11. cameronpalte Member Member

    Working on that:)

    Ok, thank you!

    Is it possible to order this online.

    Thats what the person at the pet store told me. I assumed if they told me that, than I should do the opposite:)... no but really, thanks for the advice, so should I switch it to cardinal tetra's?

    I think its the Deluxe 55 gallon Master Kit, when you go to any pet co from what I've seen (I've been to 3 so far), its easily noticible in the aquatic section.

    I don't really recommend a certain type of gravel. I never knew there was a difference, I just go to the acquatic section, pick a nice colored bag and load it up on the cart.

    Tetra Water Conditioner. Prime is good for reducing ammonia levels, but should generally be used in emergencies when you have very high ammonia levels in my opinion, because if you are removing ammonia, it can be hard to test and tell how well your bacteria and others are doing.
    USD, the united states basic currency (I know this is a bit on the up side.)
    You want to have 8-10 cardinal tetra's or a fish like that. Feed them regularly so they are contributing to the bioload. You then want to be to test the water conditions with the API Freshwater Master Test Kit, and you want the ammonia level to remain 0. You can begin to add more fish with a larger bioload on top of that and test regularly to make sure your ammonia level remains at 0, which means your bacteria are working.

    Ok, thanks.

    This is a bit on the expensive side I know. That is why I included the price as I went so you could mold it to your own needs.

    Ok, thanks for the tips!
     
  12. cameronpalte Member Member

    Oh, ok, thanks! I didn't mean to post, that, I'm going to edit that.
     
  13. ryanr Moderator Moderator Member

    Not to nit-pick - The reason I singled out TSS is because TSS is not available in Australia. You cannot order it online here, you cannot get it past Customs :(

    In my signature, there's a link to FL references, that has a thread about TSS in Australia. (if you're interested)

    The reason I asked the quesitons I did is for clarification to other readers - when you quote a price, you should always refer to the product you are quoting.

    If it were me writing this guide, I would include What/How/Why - it allows readers to understand the advice/guidance you are giving. I would also provide options, as there is no one "right-way" in fishkeeping.

    Specifically on your stocking suggestion (my morals aside, as I would cycle fishless) - I wouldn't suggest any species, let the reader decide for themselves. That said, cardinals are a better option than neons - assuming the reader wants cardinals - one should only ever stock what they want to keep long term.

    Prime - IMO and IME - gets used for EVERY water change I perform (in my FW). Not just emergencies. It is one of the most highly concentrated water conditioners on the market, and one of the most effective (Tetra is also good).

    On cycling - remember to include Nitrites and Nitrates (Ammonia is only step 1 of the cycle)

    Cheers.
     
  14. iZaO Jnr Well Known Member Member

    IMO, with a bit of looking around, half that wouldve been saved.

    2 10 gallon tanks with hoods i can find for $30

    $60 on TSS? I'd leave the TSS and use ammonia. You wait but you save.

    $120 on decor? Never ever... not even for half that

    ...

    Keeping this in mind, i live in South Africa, where glaziers, petstores and stores who have cheaper stuff are few and far between... If i can find ways to bank the cash and not spend so much so can anyone
     
  15. James95 Well Known Member Member

    A better rule when buying substrate is to buy 2.5 pounds of gravel per square foot of tank bottom. That's the rule I use. Much more accurate than a "pounds per gallon" guideline :)
     
  16. sirdarksol Fishlore Legend Member

    Figuring most substrates have similar densities, about how deep of a gravel bed does this give you?
     
  17. James95 Well Known Member Member

    Typo. I meant 10lbs per square foot. Not sure where I got 2.5 from(?).

    This guideline usually gives me a gravel bed 1.5 to 2 inches deep.
     
  18. iZaO Jnr Well Known Member Member

    I just calculated it for 3 of my tanks (PFS). Thats a very good guide :)
     
  19. James95 Well Known Member Member

    Glad I could help :)

    It's much more accurate than the traditional per gallon guidelines. Footprint is the most important variable when buying gravel. I came up with it when I first filled my 29g. I added gravel until it was about 2 inches deep and compared that to the tank footprint/how much gravel was leftover. I later tried it on my 10g and it worked well there also :)