What would you do different if you could start your aquarium all over!?

Fisch

I am a newbie, investigated on the Internet and forums, started with a 5 gl tank that morphed to a 55gl tank and into a MTS, cycled and learned the hard way that quarantine is a must. I am starting to think that I got carried away. If I could start over I would get a 125gl from the start and do North American cold water fish. No heater, no fuss, simplicity.
 

Teahaus

I'd run a sponge filter in my cycled tank and and have a spare tank that's established so I can do a fishless cycle instead of the headache I have right now...........don't like stressing the livestock!!
 

Pfrozen

So much. I'd source my fish by ordering online, not PetSmart since I introduced disease into my tank on day 1. I'd go dirted tank with live plants and run my cycle fishless. I did fish in and my colony of BB will probably never be able to process 4ppm of ammonia in 24 hours because of that. It just processes whatever the bioload of my tank happens to be and I know my 7 rasboras aren't generating much. I'd also go larger than 10g obviously. Luckily I just picked up 3 new tanks so I actually can do it over

Edit: Oh yea, and all my tanks are going to be sponge only from now on!! I hmmed and hawed over it for a bit but there's no way I'm buying a hob again with so many options for sponges. Half the price and some have stages for ceramic beads
 

Leeman75

I would have made the substrate deeper. Sand is difficult enough to plant in, but it would be easier if I had made the substrate a bit deeper.
 

SnookusFish

I would have done a far easier and low maintenance scape. Like a few big stone and some anubias. Still looks amazing but so much easier. Maybe in a few years ill swap over
 

Fisch

I'd run a sponge filter in my cycled tank and and have a spare tank that established so I can do a fishless cycle instead of the headache I have right now...........don't like stressing and livestock!!
I know exactly how you feel...moving fish into uncycled separate tanks is a major pain.

So much. I'd source my fish by ordering online, not PetSmart since I introduced disease into my tank on day 1. I'd go dirted tank with live plants and run my cycle fishless. I did fish in and my colony of BB will probably never be able to process 4ppm of ammonia in 24 hours because of that. It just processes whatever the bioload of my tank happens to be and I know my 7 rasboras aren't generating much. I'd also go larger than 10g obviously. Luckily I just picked up 3 new tanks so I actually can do it over

Edit: Oh yea, and all my tanks are going to be sponge only from now on!! I hmmed and hawed over it for a bit but there's no way I'm buying a hob again with so many options for sponges. Half the price and some have stages for ceramic beads
I have a canister and am thinking the same.
 

jkkgron2

I would have made the substrate deeper. Sand is difficult enough to plant in, but it would be easier if I had made the substrate a bit deeper.
How deep would you recommend? I’d like to make mine deep enough before I add fish in
 

BotsTheBetta

There’s a bunch of stuff but I would look into loaches more instead of putting all of my trust in my sister’s advice, my first betta would probably still be here if I had done just a bit more research
 

Teahaus

So much. I'd source my fish by ordering online, not PetSmart since I introduced disease into my tank on day 1. I'd go dirted tank with live plants and run my cycle fishless. I did fish in and my colony of BB will probably never be able to process 4ppm of ammonia in 24 hours because of that. It just processes whatever the bioload of my tank happens to be and I know my 7 rasboras aren't generating much. I'd also go larger than 10g obviously. Luckily I just picked up 3 new tanks so I actually can do it over

Edit: Oh yea, and all my tanks are going to be sponge only from now on!! I hmmed and hawed over it for a bit but there's no way I'm buying a hob again with so many options for sponges. Half the price and some have stages for ceramic beads
Sponges are great but look lousy (imo)........I have more of an aquascape tank so the canisters work well to keep the tank clean looking w/o all the 'machinery'.......I guess you could hide them but a thermal canister with glass outflow/inflow tubes looks great. Yes, I am picky!!!
 

Fisch

There’s a bunch of stuff but I would look into loaches more instead of putting all of my trust in my sister’s advice, my first betta would probably still be here if I had done just a bit more research
What was your sister's advice, and why loaches?
 

Teahaus

How deep would you recommend? I’d like to make mine deep enough before I add fish in
I have about 2.5 inches of Tropica soil......the only thing I just learned is that it releases some ammonia and lowers ph..........
 

Pfrozen

Sponges are great but look lousy (imo)........I have more of an aquascape tank so the canisters work well to keep the tank clean looking w/o all the 'machinery'.......I guess you could hide them but a thermal canister with glass outflow/inflow tubes looks great. Yes, I am picky!!!

I just love the simplicity of sponges. They work well are probably the easiest to maintain, just squeeze them every few weeks lol. I've never used a canister before but I know how they work.. I would probably choose a canister over a HOB now for sure
 

ProudPapa

. . . I did fish in and my colony of BB will probably never be able to process 4ppm of ammonia in 24 hours because of that. It just processes whatever the bioload of my tank happens to be and I know my 7 rasboras aren't generating much. . .

Why is that a problem? If you did a fishless cycle, and stocked it with 7 rasboras after it would process 4 ppm of ammonia in 24 hours, wouldn't the excess bacteria eventually starve out anyway? If you add more fish your bacteria colony will quickly grow to adapt to the increased load.
 

BotsTheBetta

What was your sister's advice, and why loaches?

advice probably isn’t the right word but she said it’d be okay to have a golden zebra loach in a 10 gallon with a betta
The loach ended up becoming stressed due to the small tank and having no other loach friends so he attacked my betta
the loach in question now lives with my sister in a 55gal with other loaches
I don’t really blame my sister for any of this since I definitely should’ve done more research but I can’t really change the past and I definitely learned from it
 

Pfrozen

Why is that a problem? If you did a fishless cycle, and stocked it with 7 rasboras after it would process 4 ppm of ammonia in 24 hours, wouldn't the excess bacteria eventually starve out anyway? If you add more fish your bacteria colony will quickly grow to adapt to the increased load.

Eh maybe, I just assumed that any amount of BB would be able to survive on the slightest bit of ammonia. I still get the odd minute spike, not enough to cause any sort of issues and easily resolved but still, I feel like I wouldn't have to be so on the ball if I built up a massive colony first
 

Fisch

I just love the simplicity of sponges. They work well are probably the easiest to maintain, just squeeze them every few weeks lol. I've never used a canister before but I know how they work.. I would probably choose a canister over a HOB now for sure
Sponges are relatively easy to hide as well.
I have an inline heater, so at least I can keep that additional equipment out of the tank.

advice probably isn’t the right word but she said it’d be okay to have a golden zebra loach in a 10 gallon with a betta
The loach ended up becoming stressed due to the small tank and having no other loach friends so he attacked my betta
the loach in question now lives with my sister in a 55gal with other loaches
I don’t really blame my sister for any of this since I definitely should’ve done more research but I can’t really change the past and I definitely learned from it
so you don't have the loach anymore, nor the Betta. What do you have now?
 

Leeman75

How deep would you recommend? I’d like to make mine deep enough before I add fish in

I think it probably depends on the size of the tank. In my 55, I have an inch showing, which means there's probably at least half an inch covered by the faux wood panel. If I had it to do over, I'd probably double that. It's a big tank, so 3" of substrate with a little over 2" showing wouldn't look bad at all. If it were a 10 gallon, that may be different, but I'd probably still go over 2" of substrate at the bare minimum in a 10.

In my 20 Gallon Hex tank that I recently planted, I thought that I had set up a good amount of substrate, but I also have a large piece of driftwood with slate in there. The slate makes the sand much shallower, so I wish I had thought that through a little better.
 

jkkgron2

I think it probably depends on the size of the tank. In my 55, I have an inch showing, which means there's probably at least half an inch covered by the faux wood panel. If I had it to do over, I'd probably double that. It's a big tank, so 3" of substrate with a little over 2" showing wouldn't look bad at all. If it were a 10 gallon, that may be different, but I'd probably still go over 2" of substrate at the bare minimum in a 10.

In my 20 Gallon Hex tank that I recently planted, I thought that I had set up a good amount of substrate, but I also have a large piece of driftwood with slate in there. The slate makes the sand much shallower, so I wish I had thought that through a little better.
Mines roughly the same, but in some places there’s about an inch and a half instead of an inch. A few places there’s about 2 inches showing. Think that’s good enough?
 

Bettybrown922

I would've gone with a 20gl tank over a 10gl. I'm an apartment dweller & we're not allowed to have aquariums of ANY size. I was too paranoid to go bigger than 10gl 'cos the maintenance men are narcs who already told the office I have dogs (which they already knew!). Anyhow, I realize now that a 20gl isn't really that much bigger & it might be less of a hassle than a small tank when it comes to changes in water parameters - the 10gl is a pain in the ass 'cos if the nitrates get high-ish, it happens like BOOM. At least it's my understanding that the larger the tank, the slower it is for changes in water to take place.
 

Frank the Fish guy

I would use undergravel filters in all my fish-only tanks. I have some that don't and wish they did now.
 

Leeman75

Mines roughly the same, but in some places there’s about an inch and a half instead of an inch. A few places there’s about 2 inches showing. Think that’s good enough?

If you have the ability to, I'd add a little more. I have all sorts of aquascaping, plants, fish, etc. so I can't do it...but would if I could. Planting is just so much better into 3" of sand than 1.5".
 

BotsTheBetta

so you don't have the loach anymore, nor the Betta. What do you have now?
The betta passed away back in December
Currently the 10 gallon holds 4 nerites, some amano shrimp, and one male betta
I realise that 4 nerites is a bit too much but I make sure to clean up after them and after a year with them the cycle is staying strong
 

jkkgron2

If you have the ability to, I'd add a little more. I have all sorts of aquascaping, plants, fish, etc. so I can't do it...but would if I could. Planting is just so much better into 3" of sand than 1.5".
Ok! I measured and the deepest area is around 3” but the rest is around 2 so I’ll add in some more. Thanks!
 

Leeman75

Ok! I measured and the deepest area is around 3” but the rest is around 2 so I’ll add in some more. Thanks!

Part of what makes the deeper helpful is also to put in root tabs for appropriate plants. I've struggled with uprooting plants, that I took forever to plant, once I tried to put in the root tabs. Good luck!!
 

jkkgron2

Part of what makes the deeper helpful is also to put in root tabs for appropriate plants. I've struggled with uprooting plants, that I took forever to plant, once I tried to put in the root tabs. Good luck!!
Thanks!
 

iEristyl3

I would have gone all black or all white gravel instead of salt n’ pepper—UGH it bugs me how indecisive I was because I hate the look
And I would never have tried a divided betta tank but instead had gone for ADFs first. It would’ve saved me a whole other 5G setup and expenses/space.
 

Rockymountainstream

I would've gone with a 20gl tank over a 10gl. I'm an apartment dweller & we're not allowed to have aquariums of ANY size. I was too paranoid to go bigger than 10gl 'cos the maintenance men are narcs who already told the office I have dogs (which they already knew!). Anyhow, I realize now that a 20gl isn't really that much bigger & it might be less of a hassle than a small tank when it comes to changes in water parameters - the 10gl is a pain in the ass 'cos if the nitrates get high-ish, it happens like BOOM. At least it's my understanding that the larger the tank, the slower it is for changes in water to take place.
On a side note. I am not a lawyer, however look into your local laws in your area. You may be able to get a exemption for a companion animal. With all the insanity going on in the world, my fish keep me sane. It worth looking into.
 

Fisch

I would have gone all black or all white gravel instead of salt n’ pepper—UGH it bugs me how indecisive I was because I hate the look
And I would never have tried a divided betta tank but instead had gone for ADFs first. It would’ve saved me a whole other 5G setup and expenses/space.
What stops you from scraping up the surface and redoing it dark or light colored?

On a side note. I am not a lawyer, however look into your local laws in your area. You may be able to get a exemption for a companion animal. With all the insanity going on in the world, my fish keep me sane. It worth looking into.
I believe that fish are more of a emotional support animal than a dog...I am sure a doc will provide a letter.

And landlords should be happy...no barking, no destruction of carpet, doors and walls. Maybe some water damage, but that is small in comparison.
 

Dippiedee

I am a newbie, investigated on the Internet and forums, started with a 5 gl tank that morphed to a 55gl tank and into a MTS, cycled and learned the hard way that quarantine is a must. I am starting to think that I got carried away. If I could start over I would get a 125gl from the start and do North American cold water fish. No heater, no fuss, simplicity.

I would have soaked my live plants in a bleach/water solution before putting them in my tank.. I'm now cursed with a tiny snail infestation that I cant seem to get rid of without emptying the whole tank and bleaching everything.
 

KribensisLover1

Imho it’s quite easy to add more sand into a tank. Done it twice. Washed it so much and then the idea is to use PVC pipe and pour the sand down into it so you can place it without it clouding up. I of course did not do this. I used a funnel and it kicked up a lot of sand tho it settled within days.
 

Bettybrown922

On a side note. I am not a lawyer, however look into your local laws in your area. You may be able to get a exemption for a companion animal. With all the insanity going on in the world, my fish keep me sane. It worth looking into.
It's funny you should suggest that because the whole reason I set up a shrimp/snail tank was to have something calming during the lockdown. I'm not sure I'd even have gotten back into the hobby while still an apartment dweller if it wasn't for the shear anxiety I was feeling at the beginning of the pandemic. Not a bad idea, not at all, having them classified as emotional support.
 

Rockymountainstream

I believe that fish are more of a emotional support animal than a dog...I am sure a doc will provide a letter.
That is the word I was looking for. I have a rental and I have had to deal with this with cats. Not that a hate cats. I just could not change a pet deposit or a monthly fee.
 

Fisch

That is the word I was looking for. I have a rental and I have had to deal with this with cats. Not that a hate cats. I just could not change a pet deposit or a monthly fee.
Same here, renters snug in a 50lbs dog when the HOA allows only 20.
 

Bettybrown922

Same here, renters snug in a 50lbs dog when the HOA allows only 20.
Lol, that's great. I once told a landlord that my dog was 20 pounds when he was actually about 45 pounds. I'd gotten away with it for about a year when I ran into the landlord while walking my dog & it was the first thing he noticed. Luckily, I was about to move anyway. At least I found an apartment that accepts, for extra fees, dogs up to 100lbs & you can have up to 2 dogs.
 

iEristyl3

What stops you from scraping up the surface and redoing it dark or light colored?
I’m a college student and I’m on a tight budget I’ve already way overspent on all my tanks. If I could sell my current gravel to afford a completely black or white substrate I would
 

jake37

I'd make the substrate deeper and not use eco-complete on one my tank and put plants in different positions now that i have a better feel for how they grow. Also i would not have put kribs in the 40B. They are too aggressive.
 

Koenig44

I'd plant all my plants before I fill the tank with water.
 

Fisch

I would have soaked my live plants in a bleach/water solution before putting them in my tank.. I'm now cursed with a tiny snail infestation that I cant seem to get rid of without emptying the whole tank and bleaching everything.
[/QUOT
I feel with you...
 

Captain Birdseye

I'd have gone for a dark substrate.
 

StarGirl

I should have looked for a forum long before I did. Endless help.
 

BigBeardDaHuZi

I am a newbie, investigated on the Internet and forums, started with a 5 gl tank that morphed to a 55gl tank and into a MTS, cycled and learned the hard way that quarantine is a must. I am starting to think that I got carried away. If I could start over I would get a 125gl from the start and do North American cold water fish. No heater, no fuss, simplicity.
When I was young, we had tanks with Green Sunfish, Pumpkinseed sunfish, and Rock bass. The pumpkinseed were a bit delicate (probably my fault for not giving them a good enough home), but the green sunfish and the rock bass were a blast. A lot of personality, beautiful colors and a lot of fun to feed.

Now that I live far from home, I really wish I could have some of those again.
 

fishyfriends876

I am a newbie, investigated on the Internet and forums, started with a 5 gl tank that morphed to a 55gl tank and into a MTS, cycled and learned the hard way that quarantine is a must. I am starting to think that I got carried away. If I could start over I would get a 125gl from the start and do North American cold water fish. No heater, no fuss, simplicity.
I would have gotten a larger tank XD
 

Cooperman411

It's funny you should suggest that because the whole reason I set up a shrimp/snail tank was to have something calming during the lockdown. I'm not sure I'd even have gotten back into the hobby while still an apartment dweller if it wasn't for the shear anxiety I was feeling at the beginning of the pandemic. Not a bad idea, not at all, having them classified as emotional support.
I'm in the same boat. Unemployed as of April with a birthday in June I asked for and got an aquarium. I'd never been successful with plants and had given before because I didn't have the time. Now I've got nothing but time so I'm happy to report flora and fauna are doing well. And my anxiety is only up because I've tried 3 different hang-on-the-back filters and haven't been happy with any of them, though I've had plenty of time to research.

If I could start over - I'd have gone bigger - and I'd have done a canister filter and scratched up the money for glass lily pipes.
 

Bettybrown922

I'm in the same boat. Unemployed as of April with a birthday in June I asked for and got an aquarium. I'd never been successful with plants and had given before because I didn't have the time. Now I've got nothing but time so I'm happy to report flora and fauna are doing well. And my anxiety is only up because I've tried 3 different hang-on-the-back filters and haven't been happy with any of them, though I've had plenty of time to research.

If I could start over - I'd have gone bigger - and I'd have done a canister filter and scratched up the money for glass lily pipes.
I keep seeing people who don't like hob filters. I haven't tried anything but the hob filters out of sheer laziness - they came with the aquarium kit. But, now that I'm much more emotionally invested in this, I'd like to have the best tank I can. Why do think canister filters are the best option?
 

MomeWrath

Get the FX4 and the goldfish I wanted to start with instead of having to set up three tanks before I figured out that was what I wanted in the first place!

I keep seeing people who don't like hob filters. I haven't tried anything but the hob filters out of sheer laziness - they came with the aquarium kit. But, now that I'm much more emotionally invested in this, I'd like to have the best tank I can. Why do think canister filters are the best option?
I was an HOB user only...just bought an FX4 for my 75 gallon tank. It is DEAD. SILENT. That alone makes me want to switch all my tanks to canisters. I hate noise.
 

Fisch

Get the FX4 and the goldfish I wanted to start with instead of having to set up three tanks before I figured out that was what I wanted in the first place!
I can relate. For me it is worth to get good equipment, and have the patience to save the money to get it. It is kind of rewarding when it all comes together.

I was an HOB user only...just bought an FX4 for my 75 gallon tank. It is DEAD. SILENT. That alone makes me want to switch all my tanks to canisters. I hate noise.
I always was afraid that the HOB are leaky...
The canister is more quiet than my air pump...figures.
 

86 ssinit

If doing over I would go bigger! Instead of the 125 I should have went with a 225. Live and learn! Always go bigger .
 

Ismene

I wish I had started with a bigger tank! I wish I had used dirt capped with gravel! I wish I was a little bit taller!
So just dated myself
So much. I'd source my fish by ordering online, not PetSmart since I introduced disease into my tank on day 1. I'd go dirted tank with live plants and run my cycle fishless. I did fish in and my colony of BB will probably never be able to process 4ppm of ammonia in 24 hours because of that. It just processes whatever the bioload of my tank happens to be and I know my 7 rasboras aren't generating much. I'd also go larger than 10g obviously. Luckily I just picked up 3 new tanks so I actually can do it over

Edit: Oh yea, and all my tanks are going to be sponge only from now on!! I hmmed and hawed over it for a bit but there's no way I'm buying a hob again with so many options for sponges. Half the price and some have stages for ceramic beads

Oh so true about stocking with anyone other than Petsmart/Petco
I love sponge filters, will never go back to canisters! If I had unlimited funds I’d use it to make a paludarium.
It's funny you should suggest that because the whole reason I set up a shrimp/snail tank was to have something calming during the lockdown. I'm not sure I'd even have gotten back into the hobby while still an apartment dweller if it wasn't for the shear anxiety I was feeling at the beginning of the pandemic. Not a bad idea, not at all, having them classified as emotional support.
Betty, I started a shrimp tank with my stimulus check
 

StarGirl

I would have got a couple shoals instead of a bunch little ones. Black sand.
 

Osse

I'd of done it slow, with the long term end state in mind.

I'd introduce new plants like they were new fish in a community. First get the slow growing lower layer established, then mid, then upper. I'd select the plants for their climax state- not for what would grow quickly/look nice right away. I'd let that go a long time, maybe even a year, to get the vegetation to a point that I no longer need to mess around with 'scaping, but could just trim a little every once in a while, all while introducing the livestock slowly.

For the fish I'd plan the species all out ahead of time, through research and actually going and looking at them, and then source them from places that take the species seriously.
 

Similar Aquarium Threads

Replies
108
Views
3K
Dave125g
Replies
44
Views
1K
mrsP
Replies
3
Views
670
Dark Sky
Replies
13
Views
366
LouPey
Top Bottom