Newbie needs help with tank upgrade!!!


So I've been wanting to upgrade my tank for quite a while now and with all these stores turning "Black Friday" into "Black-Week", I figured now might be a good time to finally get one. I really want something between 20-30 gallons, but there's just so many brands and kits and different lighting and filters (and those prices.. geez) that I'm just feeling . I'm a newbie fish owner who's still trying to figure out what's best for my fishy friends and I really wanna give them the best home possible. So if any of you could help me out in figuring which tank, filter, and lighting system would be best ​(and not having to make my fishies pay rent to afford it all) , I would really really appreciate it


Welcome! You said you are upgrading, what size tank and what type of fish do you currently have? That will go a long way in determining what type of setup you want. A few questions you should ask yourself:

1. What type and number of fish do I want?
2. Do I want a planted tank?
3. What kind of maintenance am I willing to do?
4. What's my budget?


A 29 gallon tank is a really nice size. You could buy it as a kit and slowly upgrade to better equipment (filters, etc). Or a 40 breeder size is really nice, especially for plants.


I currently have a 10 gallon with a Dalmation Molly and a Red Flame Dwarf Gourami and I'd like to have some Rummynose Tetras, a few Sterba's Cory, and maybe some female bettas (but i've been reading that they could get aggressive even in sororities so I'm not too sure about those).

I'd love to get a couple of more plants in there too.. Currently I have an Amazon Sword and the rest are just silk plants (can't really find too many places around here that sell a nice variety of live plants and I'm not sure of any reputable online sellers).

As much maintenance necessary to have happy, thriving fish friends

and I'd prefer not to have to go over $100.. but if necessary I'd be okay stretching my budget to $150. Walmart has a 29 gallon Aquaculture aquarium kit for around $100.. but my concern is that the light fixtures, filter, and heater will be garbage and I'll have to spend more buying replacements. It says it comes with LED lighting and a Tetra internal filter, doesn't say anything about the heater, but I'm guessing it'll also be a Tetra heater. Do these sound okay?

Thanks for the help!


Bigger is better! Stores brands and name brand are still typically one of two manufacturers. Both are just fine.

Filters seem to run to personal preference. I like hang on the back *HOB filters. My preference is for the aqua clears. Many like the biowheel marineland. Etc. Flow rate is the important part. I'm not a fan of internal filters. More often than not you'll probably upgrade the filter at some point anyway for better filtration.

Once you go planted, you'll never go back!
Dolfan here on the forum sells some really great plants!

Lighting....I use what my tanks come with and get by just fine with planted tanks. Just aI'm more for low light plants, though I have a sword that absolutely thrives with the led lighting the kit came with. If you want to get into fancier planted tanks, it's a little more extensive cost and time-wise.

I use the heater that came with my 20 gallon and it's adequate. No issues.

Hope my input helps!


I think that kit will work nicely. I've actually had pretty good success with the kit LED lights and plants. The other pieces will work fine for now. Sometimes the cheap filters can be a bit noisy but until you can afford to upgrade the kit filter will work fine unless it drives you nuts. If you do decide to upgrade I like the Fluval AquaClear HOB (hang on back) filters for a tank that size but there are several others people on here like.

For plants check out Peabody's. The owner is a regular contributor on this forum and I've been satisfied with purchases from him. I believe the member Dolfan also sells plants and others that have bought from him speak highly.

On stocking I would avoid the betta sorority idea as you have read. I don't have any experience with it myself but I've read many of the same things you have and I'm not sure it would be worth the trouble. That and the dwarf gourami may not like any betta. For the cories go for at least 6. I have 6 sterbas in my 20 long (same footprint as a 29) and I might put a few more. I think the rummynose tetras would look good in there as well. Again probably a group of 6 or more.

Do you know if your molly is a male or female? Yours would likely enjoy a couple of friends but get the same sex otherwise they will breed and you'll soon have dozens to get rid of.

New Fish in Town

Agreed on the bigger is better. I bought a top fin 20 gallon starter set 2 months ago because that is the biggest I could go. PetSmart lists Goldfish at 29+ gallons. There are a lot of other fresh water fish that require 29+ gallons too. I already find myself wishing I could add a few more fish, but I have no more room.

I bought a quieter Fluval 106 canister filter because the HOB filter that came with my starter kit was too loud. It cost over $100 though. You might want to price buying your own setup vs a starter set. That way you won't end up investing in filters and heaters that you won't use in the future.

Also, if you would ever want to convert it into salt water, you would need a minimum of 30 gallons to do anything cool from what I have read.


Hard to Improve on any on the above advise, or be either more witty nor accurate than is Delaneyw, so I just add a bit of both a compliment and some either advise/observation.
To the latter bit, you seem already to have what you need do down just fine, and I therefore do expect you to succeed without any undue trouble--------you are doing your research, approaching things gradually, and intending to set up a perhaps understocked, to just a wee degree, tank, the far more healthy approach in short, you remind me of my Daughter just now down South on two well earned vacations with her Mom--if that sounds Patronizing, , well, I am guiltly of incorrect phrasing, just trying to say that you seem to have the right approach.
I cannot disagree with Delaneyw on the aquaclear advise-occurred to me today that I am currently using a 500, now known as a 110, that my late brother handed down to me----still works great, BTW, in accordance with delaney, and against the words of my wife, Eliz. Jane-[- seems that size does matter, in the 500 still seems to push the same gallonage per hour as it did when new, Lord how I wish that was a common trait of aging.
No, worry, we are now metric now, and 500 liters per hour is more attainable, and means fewer late night wanderings., hopefully not in the direction of the tanks
Welcome and glad that you are with you here, and enjoy yourself--someone here, accuracy Delaney and Co. already have done, will be here to help, and listen---always--best to you, rick.


Thank you all so much for the advice And as for buying plants from sellers on this forum, I've been looking all over to find their stock with no luck. Sorry for sounding like such a cave person, but where do I have to go to see what they're selling?


It would probably be best to private message them. I think you have to get to 50 posts first. (No spamming) I hope you find what you need.


Thank you all so much for the advice And as for buying plants from sellers on this forum, I've been looking all over to find their stock with no luck. Sorry for sounding like such a cave person, but where do I have to go to see what they're selling?

You'll need to PM Dolfan as mentioned. Peabody's Paradise has a website that shows available stock.


Again I do agree with both of the above, and do need a quick moment to apologize for the somewhat(?) rambling nature of my prior post.
Batching it is a difficult adjustment for a guy who's best kindergarten buddy was a guy called Ralph, known now Principally for having invented the wheel, much less remaining coherent without someone to govern your sleep.
In short, no one here to keep pick picking up the mess I intend to avoid by saving ahead of--to be shorter, a quick visit to youtube and a good listen to Arlo Guthrie's Alice's Restaurant will advise you both of my age and the mess I do intend to stay ahead of.-----fifteen minutes well spent.
Shipping live matter across the U.S.-[ Canada border is a way beyond my ken, but I have heard nothing but good things about the site mentioned above, and I think that there is a part of this site devoted to buy/sell, which does include live plants.
Best to you, and really looking forward to your posts, as you seem to have your matters quite in order------rick


Bahamut - You won't be able to participate in buying or selling on the forums until you have 50 posts. At that point you will be able to see the separate forum with threads posting what we have available etc. Peabodys paradise is a good option if you don't want to wait for the 50 post rule. You also won't be able to use private messages until you have 50 posts.

New Fish in Town

Also, I bought my stuff on sale at PetSmart in October. All of the chain pet stores are constantly having fish tank sales. Since you only have two fish and a 10 gallon tank, you could probably fit one more small fish in there that requires 10 gallons or less. That could maybe satisfy you until you save the money to buy a tank and all of the nicer equipment that you will eventually buy anyway.

Oh and someone I know bought a 50 gallon tank on craigslist for $50 because the person needed it moved out that day. Maybe wait to find a deal like that and then you will have more money to invest in heaters, filters, plants etc.


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