View Full Version : Small tank setup advice needed

09-10-2009, 08:36 PM

I'm a college student, and having grown up on a farm, I'm going absolutely NUTS having no animals to care for! At home we have several tanks of goldfish and turtles, but things that can crawl away are forbidden and I'd like to try something new!

I've got a pile of tanks to choose from; a few 10 gal and a couple of what I THINK are 2 gal, but I'm leaning towards believing more in the realm of 1.5 gal.

Whatever I get, it'll need to be hardy enough that I can leave them to their own devices for a couple days if needed. Nothing that needs to be kept at a very precise temp/pH/etc or that will take hours a day to care for. Also, paying $60K ayear for school means I don't have money to buy a $200 fish and spend $20 a week feeding it. I'm willing to set up lights / heaters / etc, but again, nothing TOO elaborate. Since I have a bunch of tanks, I can have a tank set aside for breeding fodder for the main tank if needed. The filters I have are just your basic charcoal ones, but I'm willing to do water changes.

I'm looking at setting up one 10 gal with something fun and colorful.
I'll be psyched to get some plants and species diversity in, and something on algae duty would be sweet (less for me to clean!).

Also suggestions on possibilities for the 2 gal - I've read about Betta, guppies, red cherry shrimp, but would like to know if there's other options beyond just plopping a few fish in there. Plants?

My housemate has been clamoring for a frog - any suggestions for a 10 gal setup? (Fishie friends and plants and all that?)

I feel like I'm asking a lot, but everywhere I look there is information on ONE type of fish / plant / etc, or something specific about DON'T do that.... making it hard for me to find out what TO do....

Thanks in advance!

09-10-2009, 08:46 PM
go with the 10 gal.dont mess with plants right now.Unless they are growing very well they add nothing but headaches.for a fun colorful fish I recomend glo fish,for a frog,get an african dwarf.The frog will like frozen blooworms fed twice a week.The glo fish will like hikari micro pellets fed once a day.For algae ,after your tank actually has some algae,get a few oto cats
4-6 glofish
1 frog
3-4 oto [after a month]
filter ac-20 [aqua clear]
any light
plastic plants
coco cave for the frog.You sould also stock some cherry shrimp after your tank is cycled,they will eat the micro pellets.

09-10-2009, 09:09 PM
WOW, glo fish are colorful. *rubs spots from eyes*

A few questions:
How warm should this setup be kept?
How many cherry shrimp?
Any pH / hardness / whatever requirements?
Should I be cycling the water - how much, how often?

I would assume any zebrafish/Danio would be ok in place of the glo fish - any others?

09-10-2009, 09:41 PM
I would do a tank like this:

20 cherry shrimp (algae controllers, but you might still have to scrape the front of the tank)
group of 6 schoolers (pygmy cories, neon tetras, harliequin rasboras, dwarf rasboras, ember tetras, von rio tetras)

if you do simple live plants like jave fern, java moss, anacharis, anubias,wendtii then it wouldn't be too hard I think

Girl Got Mojo
09-10-2009, 10:35 PM
zebra danios are very cool, hardy, and active fish. African dwarf frogs are fun too.

You will need to cycle the tank. Then do weekly 20-40% waterchanges depending on nitrate levels.
The link is fishless cycling

I keep my tanks at 77 and 78 degrees but that varies with the fish.

09-10-2009, 11:03 PM
WOW, glo fish are colorful. *rubs spots from eyes*

A few questions:
How warm should this setup be kept?
How many cherry shrimp?
Any pH / hardness / whatever requirements?
Should I be cycling the water - how much, how often?

I would assume any zebrafish/Danio would be ok in place of the glo fish - any others?
read this first,do nothing else till you read this and understand cycling.

09-11-2009, 01:45 AM
I was in the exact same position when I was in college -- grew up in the country with critters galore and went nuts without pets. I got a 10-gallon tank and did guppies (5 males) and corys. I got two of the larger corys, but knowing what I know now, I'd opt for a school of pygmy corys instead if I were doing it over again (they like to be in schools). The guppies were a lot of fun because I got five that I could tell apart, so they all had names and felt more like pets.

As far as other options, a betta is always great for a small tank. I have one in a 5-gallon here on my desk and he's a lot of fun. He always comes up front to see me when I'm at the desk, and he practically jumps through the glass any time my hand moves near his food container. I don't think you'd want to go smaller than about 5 gallons for a betta because I understand that any smaller makes it hard to keep the tank cycled. You'd want a filtered, cycled tank to be able to leave the fish for a few days without negative consequences.

09-11-2009, 01:28 PM
Get your reading done in the ebook. Cycle the tank with-out fish. BE PATIENT lack of was almost my undoing

I recommend the Zebra danios to start as they are friendly, constantly in motion, hardy, and can be kept with most anything (except really long fins) ghost shrimp are cool in the "where the hell are they" factor. 1-2 Otos will help the cleaning as well.

GET A TEST KIT!!!!!!!! do not go for the cheap strips. I got most of my decorations form here (http://www.bigalsonline.com/) as well as the API (http://www.bigalsonline.com/BigAlsUS/ctl3684/cp18538/si1380887/cl0/aquariumpharmaceuticalsfreshwatermastertestkit)fre shwater master kit.

Good luck and keep asking these guys (and gals) know their stuff and have really helped in my process.

Lady Hobbs
09-11-2009, 02:01 PM
Most colleges only allow 10 gallons so stick with that and really you should probably ask them first so you aren't having to get rid of it "just incase."

You do need to cycle your tank tho since you won't have the time to monitor the tank constantly. Links in my signatures may help some. Much easier to do a fishless cycle than add fish and have them die due to the toxins.

09-11-2009, 02:13 PM
I like the Guppies(male) and a school of small Cories idea! Guppies have beautiful colours, and with males you won't have to worry about fry. Cories are very endearing little fish...you'll love them!:19:
If you're doing a smaller tank, you can't beat a Betta for personality!thumbs2:
All of the above are easy care fish, and not expensive to buy or keep!