yes or no? What's your advice

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by dfish, Aug 11, 2015.

  1. dfish

    dfishNew MemberMember

    I've been thinking a long time to about starting aquarium (never kept fish in my life!) and reading a lot of things while contemplating.

    (So far I'm thinking 180L tank (47 gallons?) with lots of plants, 20-30 neon/cardinal tetra's, one suckerfish and shrimp)

    With terms like: GH, pH, Kh, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate etc. everything feels overwhelming. It seems so complex to have right balance of everything (and keeping it in right balance) that fish have bigger change of getting killed than actually having a well balanced tank with natural acting fish. I don't want to be responsible for killing any living thing and it's suffering, because I have some urge. I respect life too much.

    So, yes or no? Is this hobby really complex and maybe rethink this or does it just sound complicated on paper and it's not that difficult.

    I'd like to hear your thoughts, please.

    Thank you for your time!
  2. junebug

    junebugFishlore LegendMember

    It's not that difficult, especially since you've already done a lot of preliminary research. To begin with, you won't need to know everything about gH, kH etc unless your tap water is unstable, or unsuitable for the fish you want to keep in some way.

    Most of the information you will need about your water can be obtained by testing it with a drop kit. Then just reference the same requirements for your potential new fish and make sure they're close to what your tap water reads.

    I will say though, that neons or cardinals aren't a good choice for your first fish. They're extremely sensitive due to inbreeding, so unless you can get healthy wild stock, you may want to select another fish. Ember tetras, green neons, or glowlight tetras would all be more viable alternatives.
  3. OP

    dfishNew MemberMember

    Thank you for your thoughts. Good advice on fish! :)
  4. Coradee

    CoradeeModeratorModerator Member

    Welcome to Fishlore :)
    Setting up your first aquarium can seem daunting but it isn't as difficult as it may sound.
    Click the link in my signature for some useful beginner information & any questions you have just ask, we're all here to help.
  5. OP

    dfishNew MemberMember

    Great, thank you!
  6. King IV

    King IVValued MemberMember

    It's not that complex when you understand the basics because they are the most important things you need to know.For most of the time, the only water parameters you will need to measure are Ammonia,Nitrite and Nitrate and pH.Monitor Phosphate levels if you have plants and pH especially when you have community fish that require a large range of pH.

    I recommend reading the Fishlore Freshwater Aquarium book because it's the one that made me hooked on this hobby and it's free.I've started an aquarium after I thoroughly read that book and since then I haven't had a single fish death.( I have one missing fish though and up to now I don't know who the culprit is.)
  7. OP

    dfishNew MemberMember

    Great, thanks! :)
  8. amydeb

    amydebValued MemberMember

    I set up my own tank (son already had one) just a few months ago. Do your research and go for it! :) I have found that if I start reading TOO much (like the advanced topics on forums) it seems overwhelming but these are questions and answers from people who have been keeping fish for a long time and are now keeping more delicate, "advanced" fish.

    Start with hardy, compatible fish like Junebug suggested and don't stress. It's not a "set-up and done" kind of thing but it doesn't have to be an everyday all consuming thing either.

    A few things I learned over the last few months:

    If you don't want to spend hours every weekend messing with your tank, have a good plan before you start. I didn't think I wanted live plants. Ooops, changed my mind. lol So just about every weekend, I am removing an artificial one and adding a live one or two (I'm not good with house plants so I'm taking this one slow!).

    Think hard about what fish you really want, what kind will "fit" your tank and plan around them. I'm happy with my tiger barbs but because they are fin nippers, my choices of what else I can keep are limited. Also, take the number of fish you think you can keep in your tank and cut that number almost in half. Better to under stock than over stock.

    Take what most employees at the LFS tell you with a grain of salt. I see a lot of people posting on here with problems that say "But the people at the fish place said...." when it doubt, ask here. There are a lot of experienced posters here. :)

    I'm still learning a lot but I researched things I needed to know for my tank and my chosen fish. Even with my inexperience, I haven't had a fish die on me yet.

    Good luck and enjoy!
  9. ricmcc

    ricmccWell Known MemberMember

    I believe that you have the potential to be an excellent aquarium keeper as you already have two qualities that are difficult to teach: you research a subject prior to, rather than after, getting into it, and you respect any potential fish enough to worry over their well being should you get into it.
    So my answer to your question would be an emphatic, Yes.
    All the best to you, and I do hope that you give the hobby a chance, rick
  10. OP

    dfishNew MemberMember

    Those are nice words! Thanks for that, Rick!
    @amydeb: Great advice, thanks.
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2015
  11. BornThisWayBettas

    BornThisWayBettasFishlore VIPMember

    Welcome to Fish Lore!!! Nice to have you here! :)

    It does sound daunting, doesn't it? But in reality it really isn't! :D I don't monitor my GH/KH (right now), and I have an API Freshwater Master Test Kit (liquid test kit) for keeping an eye on my water parameters. Just remember this, no ammonia, no nitrite, a little bit of nitrate, and a pH between 6 and 8 (I've heard most fish will adapt to a different pH). Basically, when you test your water, you want it to look like this ("ppm" meaning "parts per million"):
    Ammonia: 0ppm
    Nitrite: 0ppm
    Nitrate: 5 to 20ppm (some say as long as it's under 40 it's good, but I like to keep mine lower)
    pH: Somewhere between 6 and 8.
    I think the whole thing sounds much, much more complicated when you're learning about it, it did for me. But it's actually a lot simpler once you get into it.

    On the other hand, I wouldn't start with neons. They are delicate fish. What I would do is add up all the fish you'd like to have, research them all, and find what will work out in your tank. Members on here will be more than happy to help you with this step. :)

    Well, good luck! :D
  12. tyguy7760

    tyguy7760Fishlore VIPMember

    I wouldn't sweat it too much. I recently got into the hobby a few months ago and have been pretty successful. Like BornThisWayBettas I do not monitor Gh/Kh. I bought the test at the beginning to just to see if i had soft or hard water. Once I had my tank cycled (took me about 2 and a half weeks) I test my water every week and do a water change about every 2 weeks. It takes me about 30 minutes to do a water change but there are certain things you can buy that would make it even quicker.

    It's really a fun and rewarding (tad bit expensive) hobby. Enjoy
  13. ChristyFishMom

    ChristyFishMomValued MemberMember

    I am just starting out too and had the same thought/ question. Great reassuring answers here. My kids really really dont want to see any fish die! (and to the original poster, LFS stands for "local fish store")
  14. OP

    dfishNew MemberMember

    That's another thing....the prices are quite shocking if you add up all the necessities. It's also one major part of my decision on starting this project.

    Bwahahahahaha, everybody here is talking about LFS making me think it was some big chain in USA :D

    Thank you! Very nice of you to say!

    I love those neon and cardinals! I've heard a lot of people saying it's not good idea to start with these. Such a shame. But yeah, maybe I can find something equally interesting that's more for beginners.Thanks!
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 11, 2015
  15. Anders247

    Anders247Fishlore LegendMember

    Welcome to fishlore!
    You are starting out well, with such a large tank, gives you more room for error. Good job!
    I will add though, that a "suckerfish" is usually a CAE (chinese algae eater) or a common pleco, which are too big or aggressive (CAEs are) for this size tank.
  16. ClearEyes

    ClearEyesWell Known MemberMember

    I started with guppies. They can be really colorful and fun, especially males!
  17. happygolucky

    happygoluckyWell Known MemberMember

    It's awesome you wish to join the fish hobby! I started recently, and as an obsessive, paranoid (try not to get too obsessed) person, I have tried to make everything absolutely perfect. It can be somewhat difficult in the beginning, and you don't know what to do, but I think it's actually really awesome, learning to care for such cool creatures.

    Remember to buy a GOOD (maybe AquaClear) filter, and an API Freshwater Master test kit. They're very important for good water.

    Don't forget about the nitrogen cycle! It's important to cycle your tank before adding fish, unless you want to cycle with fish using a bacteria product(Seachem Stability or Tetra SafeStart) AND using Seachem Prime. Seachem Prime is the most recommended water dechlorinator/conditioner because it neutralizes nitrite and ammonia for the most part, protecting your fish from harmful water spikes.
  18. tyguy7760

    tyguy7760Fishlore VIPMember

    The start up costs are expensive. And the mistakes are expensive. But if you do it right on start up, you can limit your costs going forward.

    The expense comes in when you get your first tank stocked and you decide you want that awesome new canister filter. And then you decide that your tank could benefit from an awesome LED light instead of the stock halogen. Then you think, well I have this stocked but wouldn't it be awesome to start a new tank....That's where the real expense comes in. All of the upgrades
  19. aliray

    alirayFishlore VIPMember

    I cycled my 10 gal tank with TSS and 6 neon tetras over a year ago. They are still fine, I bought them from my local Pet Supermarket. which is a southern chain pet store. This was my first ever time with neon tetras. However I have my whole house on a water softener and the water comes out of my tap at a PH of 7.6, and 0,0,0, for ammonia , nitrites, and nitrates. The hobby can be overwhelming at first, but really doesn't take that long to get into the swing of things. If you decide to get a sucker fish, My preference is a bristle nose Plecco. They don't grow that big and will not outgrow your tank, I have one in each of my three tanks and they are my favorite fish. The albinos usually grow from 3 1/2 to 5 inches while the common pleco can grow up to 2 feet. Give the hobby a try and you will be hooked no pun intended. Welcome to the forum and hope you enjoy it here. Alison:;hi1
  20. DrSahl

    DrSahlValued MemberMember

    The first time I got a tank I didnt think about much.. I let the tank cycle with fish in it and didnt ever test anything. The fish I had survived for 5 years until I had to give them away.

    Its become more complex after I started a new tank 1½ week ago, because now I over think most stuff.
    If you have a good water change/cleaning cycle and don't overfeed the fish, then the hobby is not that complex tbh.

    That becaise said I am still very new to many aspects of the hobby, for instance its my first time with a planted tank. But my advice would be to buy the tank and start it up, be sure to research the fish you want and what temp/ph they like.

    If all the neon fish you get survives getting home into your tank you are lucky, so are most people... im0 you could go for some hardy fish along with the neon schooling fish. (I did this myself. IE I am getting keyhole cichlids)

    When you set up the tank, be sure that its even "in vater" with a spirit level.