I'm an absolute noob to the forums as well as to the hobby.
I recently became interested in aquariums after seeing some different setups (giant saltwater reef... small fluval planted desktop). I tend to jump into things I'm very interested in, but considering the amount of research and work that goes into a healthy aquarium environment, I've been taking my time. I did research for a few weeks, and finally purchased an aquarium Friday after work.
I have a Marineland 20 gallon setup. I have it set up and running -- filter, heater, gravel, airstone, some decorations and artificial plants for now. I set this all up last night, took me three hours! I wasn't expecting that!!
Anyway, everything seemed to be working well so I tested my water and began my fishless cycle today (with ammonia from Ace). The heater is set warm (low-mid 80s) and the air stone is on full blast (air pump rated for 40g). I'm keeping an Excel spreadsheet with my test results so that I don't lose track of what happened and what's going on now.
There are still small things I need to do ... put a background on the tank, install a new thermometer (I don't trust the sticky one on the side of the tank). I actually have a floaty (mercury?) one and a digital one on the way. I ordered from Amazon for some of the less time-critical items, so I will have a little bit to do each day as the deliveries start rolling in.
Fish? Man. That's where I'm really stumped!
pH tested at about 7 today, and the water was "soft" .. not hard, not very soft, just a nice middle ground.
I'm trying to avoid the tendency of beginners to want to overstock their tank. Already I see the allure of having a larger tank, and I can see my next step being a 55 gallon. (My friend has already called dibs on my 1-day-old 20 gallon tank... Like I'm going to give it up!)
I've been using aqadvisor to generally look at temperature, pH, and other compatibility with different species of fish.
My thoughts so far:
- Start with a small school (~6-8?) of Cherry Barbs
- Introduce a couple (~4?) ghost shrimp
- Introduce a couple (3?) Silver Mollies (2 female, 1 male)
- Introduce 2 German Blue Ram (my "showcase" fishies)
And that's pretty much capacity. Filtration should be sufficient, but I can always pick up a second filter if needed. Introducing the species one at a time should help me prevent overcrowding. Aqadvisor says I'm fine, but I'd really like to see it for myself. Better than having to return fish to the store.
There is a great local shop (not a petsmart or petco) where I can source all of those except the ghost shrimp. I will be stopping by to check them out -- see how well they maintain their tanks and how the interact with their customers as well as their fishies.
And eventually, yes, I'll be upgrading to a larger tank. I just want to make sure 1) I have time for this; 2) I like it; 3) I'm good at it. So far though, I'm mesmerized by my fishless tank... So that probably covers the "liking it."
Pretty sure I'm already an addict! When I find new hobbies I tend to latch on and go bigger and better. Thankfully the cycling process will keep me in check for the next month or so... :D
Well, that was a novella. Thanks for reading!
Also, I've been lurking for a while, reading, soaking it all in. I must say this seems to be the friendliest and most knowledgeable forum around for this type of community. Thanks for that!
Last edited by adeline; 03-24-2013 at 03:56 AM.