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Thread: Newbie here!

  1. #1

    Default Newbie here!

    0 Not allowed!
    Hey folks!

    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 02:56 AM.

  2. #2


    0 Not allowed!
    Welcome! You definitely sound like you have done your research! You will get all the help you could ever need here from all these knowledgeable and generous members.
    46 gallon bow front planted - 6 Longfin Neon Rosy Barbs, 1 male Golden Sailfin Mollie, 6 Harlequin Rasboras, 4 Panda Corys, 1 German Blue Ram, 1 Apple snail.
    29 Gallon - mix of plastic and real plants - 1 Angel fish, 2 male fancy guppies, 2 German Blue Rams, 8 Neon Tetras, 2 Ottos.
    5 gallon Quarantine tank

    Read my journal here.
    Pictures of my 46 Gallon here.
    Picture of my 29 gallon here.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Gods Country, Eastern High Sierras, California

    Awards Showcase

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    0 Not allowed!
    Welcome to the forum.
    Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.
    Once you learn to quit, it becomes a habit.
    -Vince Lombardi

    Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are. ― John Wooden
    Sandy Hook Elementary......Lest We Forget
    See my profile for my tanks and what fish I keep

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    methuen ma usa

    Awards Showcase

    Merry Christmas! - Lab_Rat thank you for the birthday wishes - mommy1 Happy One Year AC Anniversary! - Rue For being understanding, thank you - Cliff (closest I could find to a catfish) Thanks for the nomination! - sheamurai 
    Thank you for the MOTM nomination - mommy1 I think you deserve a random gift. Yes, I think you do. - PhillipOrigami For being a fellow MA native! - Lolita Happy Birthday to you. - jeffs99dime Merry Christmas - Cliff 
    World Trade Center Victims and Heroes - Fireworks Safety - genocidex 


    0 Not allowed!
    welcome to the wonderful AC
    I wonder if i plant one of my tiger barbs would the demon seed grow to a full tree?
    gotta love them bunnies!
    I.R.S.: We've got what it takes to take what you've got!

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Sydney, Cape Breton Island, Canada

    Awards Showcase

    am sure I deserve a few of these... lol - Cyberra Thanks for sharing your X-stitch fish pillow project! - Aminax for being prone to computer problems - Cyberra happy birthday to me... August 29th - Cyberra earned ANOTHER one... siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh - Cyberra 
    I dub thee official greeter to the forum! - korith Happy Belated One Year AC Anniversary! - Rue You need another betta! - Pleco380 it birtha the birthday betta XD - genocidex A birthday betta for you. - mermaidwannabe 


    0 Not allowed!
    Welcome to the community

    The probability of being watched is directly proportional to the stupidity of the act

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Southern Ohio

    Awards Showcase

    Happy New Year - mommy1 Thank you for the birthday wishes. - mommy1 Thanks for the B-Day wish - Strider199 Thank you! Second round is on me : ) - mommy1 Thanks for spicing up the ban game! - pRED 
    Merry Christmas! - mommy1 And a happy new year !!! - Cliff Season's Greetings! - Rue Merry Christmas! - Slaphppy7 DT runner up-you deserve a cookie! - Boundava 
    Bone Marrow Donation - Childhood Depression - Depression - Environment - Eye Injury Prevention - Glaucoma - Kidney Cancer - Kidney Disease - Kidney Transplantation - Leukemia - Lyme Disease - Mental Retardation - Missing Children - Organ Donation - T - gadget228 Aphasia - Asthma/Allergies - Brain Cancer - Brain Tumors - Diabetes - Mental Illness - gadget228 Troop and Military Support - Amber Alert - Bladder Cancer - Endometriosis - Equality - Liver Cancer - Liver Disease - Missing Children - POW/MIA - Spina Bifida - Suicide - gadget228 World Trade Center Victims and Heroes - Fireworks Safety - gadget228 Alzheimer's - Crohn's & Colitis - Cystic Fibrosis - Domestic Violence - Fibromyalgia - Leimyosarcoma - Lupus -  Animal Cruelty - gadget228 
    Mourning - Anti-Gang - Melanoma - gadget228 Male Breast Cancer - Pregnancy Loss - Infant Loss - Sudden Infant Death - gadget228 Arthritis - Child Abuse - Colon Cancer - Colorectal Cancer - Dystonia - Education - Free Speech - Interstitial Cystitis - ME/CFIDS - Reye's Syndrome - Save the Music - Teens Against Smoking - Victim's Rights - Water Quality - gadget228 


    0 Not allowed!
    Welcome to the AC...
    You're getting old when you get the same sensation from a rocking chair that you once got from a roller coaster.

  7. #7


    0 Not allowed!
    Thanks for the warm welcome folks!

    Looking at all the beautiful tanks folks around here have is very encouraging. I know we all started somewhere.

    My tank is currently planted with artificial, and I think it's very pretty (in my humble opinion!).. But I can definitely see the draw of having a planted tank. Like everything about this hobby, I'm trying, very patiently, to take this one step at a time. I think trying to keep thriving plants is an added step I should take later. Possibly in my next tank.

    I was considering asking a LFS to sell/give me some filter material or substrate to help get my tank cycled... And then I remembered my coworker has several tanks. I might ask him if he has anything at all to spare. He has the small fluval tank at work (with a couple neon tetras, ghost shrimp, and some strange looking frogs!), and while it's too small for my tastes, I think it's pretty cute. I drilled him for information a couple weeks back, and he didn't seem to understand the point of fishless cycling. But I'm sure I can talk him into parting with something....

    Otherwise it's just the testing and waiting game!

  8. #8


    0 Not allowed!
    Love seeing an intro like this. Bravo for researching and planning your tank so thoroughly. Your future fish will thank you for it.

    I like AqAdvisor to a point, but I found out that some of the temps for their fish and other info listed are wrong. Now that you have narrowed it down to some specific types of fish that you like, you'll find the profiles at to be very detailed and they will help you better understand the environment your fish will thrive in the most.

    Watch a couple months time you'll have a wealth of knowledge about tanks and your coworker friend will be coming to you for advice :)
    120 gallon FW bowfront in progress

  9. #9


    0 Not allowed!
    Also, I know that real plants seem like quite an undertaking, but here's my two cents on that.

    When I first inherited my tank it had bright pink gravel, a fake rock cave and 3 or 4 plastic artificial plants. I thought it was pretty cool looking, but further reading made me realize that the bright pink gravel was not the preferred substrate of choice for my fish. I ended up swapping it out for black aquarium sand, which I liked much better. Then I went and got driftwood because I thought it was prettier than the fake rock cave. After making those two transformations I realized that I might as well just throw in some live plants and see how they did. I went to the fish store and bought an Anubias, Java Fern and an Amazon Sword and a bottle of Seachem Flourish fertilizer.

    I threw them all in the tank and they took off! The java ferns grew new baby plants and the sword got so big I had to cut it down for it to stay in my tank. I was pleased about how easy it actually was to plant!

    Here's the fish look 10x better with the real plants in there than they did with the fake. Their colors pop brightly against the green vegetation. I don't know why, my fake plants were green too, but it literally seemed like their colors became more vibrant and they really seem to enjoy the plants, as weird as that sounds.
    120 gallon FW bowfront in progress

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