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  1. #1

    Default Wolfgang's First Aquarium Adventure


    3 Not allowed!
    Hello all. I am very new to this website, just signed up a little while ago. Also new to aquariums. My parents had an aquarium when I was younger, and I've always thought they were awesome and very fun to look at/enjoy, but never had my own. I don't really have any hobbies and decided a few weeks ago that I wanted to start my own aquarium. I just work 5 days a week and enjoy time with my family. I feel like it would be very rewarding to see your very own fish/plants thrive if given the proper time and care. An aquarium would look great in my living room and my family would love it.

    I started doing my own research a few weeks ago as to what type of fish I'd like to have, along with compatibility. I have also done a little research on live plants and substrate, but still not sure what type of substrate to go with. I have read some threads on here and also on other websites about people not even using fertilizer or CO2 and their plants still thriving, so I'm getting mixed messages regarding the live plants.

    I have put together a generic list of supplies that I will need and would like to share these with the experienced aquarium enthusiasts to get some suggestions and advice. I thank you all in advance!! I also apologize for the length of my post and complete lack of knowledge, I'm just very excited to get this started!!

    -29 gallon aquarium kit with stand, filter, pump, lid, and lighting (I found a kit at my local PetSmart/PetCo) I feel like a 29 gallon would be a great size for a community tank.
    -Heater with thermometer
    -Vacuum (found this one on Amazon... http://www.amazon.com/25-Foot-Python...quarium+vacuum) Would this clean my substrate AND handle the weekly 25% water change?
    -Dechlorinator and water conditioner (found on Amazon... http://www.amazon.com/Tetra-16163-Aq...+dechlorinator) I also found a Tetra EasyBalance PLUS, and Tetra SafeStart Plus... would these be ideal to jump start the cycling process? (more on cycling later)
    -Test kit
    -Net
    -Substrate (again, not sure yet which kind I should get, gravel? rocks? sand?) I do intend to have a few live plants, not sure if fertilizer would be required. I have found some hearty plants that require low maintenance as per other people's setups.
    -Plants (Anubias, Java fern, Java moss, Crypt) I don't want to go overboard but these are the ones that have been mentioned as easy to maintain (especially with lighting, I don't want to go overboard on lighting)
    -Fish food (start out with the flakes and then once I know I can handle the maintenance I will give them the "treats" that I've read about.)

    Fish that I'd like to have:
    Angel fish
    Dwarf gourami
    Tetra
    Barbs
    Danios

    Obviously I wouldn't introduce all of the fish at once, but gradually over time. I don't want to overstock the tank and I'm not sure what all I can fit into a 29 gallon tank.

    I do want to cycle the tank for a good bit with just the substrate and plants before introducing the fish, so I can get the ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH levels up to par. Or... if those Tetra products can be used to help speed up the cycling process I could do that, but I'm not sure about those products. Does anyone on here use those for first time tanks?

    Again, sorry for all of the questions. I'm just very anxious to get this started. I wasn't sure to post this in "tank setup" forum or the "beginner's" forum so forgive me if this is the wrong forum.

  2. #2

    Default


    2 Not allowed!
    Welcome to the AC.

    It will be best to buy all of your components seperately, the "kits" usually come with sub-par lighting and hoods that you will probably want to replace later anyway.

    For the test kit, get this: http://www.amazon.com/API-Freshwater...kit+freshwater

    For your water conditioner, buy this only, don't waste your $ on the other stuff: http://www.amazon.com/Seachem-671043.../dp/B00025694O

    The Python will work great for vacuuming the substrate, and is perfect for water changes.

    Read as much as you can in the Beginner section of the forum, especially the "cycling" stickys.

    Good luck!
    10 Gallon Beginner Tank... Journal
    40 Gallon Breeder: ... Journal
    29 Gallon: ... Journal

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    A little further from sanity
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    Default


    4 Not allowed!
    You might want to consider upgrading the filter, the ones that come in the kits aren't the best. I recommend a Fluval C-series or a small canister filter. But any filter with media that doesn't need to be replaced monthly is what you are looking for.
    The Python is perfect.
    The declorinater you mentioned is fine and all you will need. Most of us here use Prime only because it is the most economical in the long run, but any dechlor that takes care of chlorine and chloromines is fine. The other stuff you mentioned are not necessary.
    I recommend the API test kit because it's what most here use and what most here will understand. Just don't buy the strips, they are good at first, but degrade quickly. The API test kit is much cheaper in the long run.
    Your choice of plants is great and the substrate you choose might depend on your fish selection more than the plants. Plant substrate is not necessary but if you choose a non-plant substrate you might have to fertilize.
    I know a lot of people say angelfish are ok in a 29g but it has been my experience that it is not a great idea. It works for a while, but as the angel matures you run the risk of it becoming very territorial and killing everything else in the tank. Tetra, barbs, and danios all depend on the species, some will work in a 29 and some will want more room.

    For now I suggest you read up on fish-less cycling http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/aqua...ead.php?t=5640 and finding a bottle of plain ammonia.
    If it's called tourist season why can't I shoot them?
    Everything happens for a reason. Sometimes that reason is you are stupid and make bad decisions.

    I think my fish is adjusting well to the four gallon, He's laying on his side attempting to go to sleep on the bottom of the gravel.
    A moderator on a fish forum should be able to identify an oscar... Don't you think?
    Dear naps, sorry I hated you so much when I was a child... Love me

  4. #4

    Default


    3 Not allowed!
    Hi!
    I will answer just a couple questions from my limited experience, and I'll leave the rest to the experts here.
    Yes to the Python, and I know that most members will be in agreement. :)
    For a water conditioner - Seachem Prime is a popular choice.
    For water testing - API Master Test Kit
    I had a bad experience trusting the Tetra SafeStart to "jumpstart" a cycle, and based on that, I wouldn't recommend it.
    I could try to answer the rest of your questions, or address some of your points, but I think you'll get better information from other members.
    Good luck to you!

  5. Default


    6 Not allowed!
    Skip the kit if you have not bought the 29g yet.

    Petco has a $1/gallon sale, you can get 40b (no lights or lid) for $40 if you really want the angel.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Whitmore Lake, MI
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    2,472

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    Happy Friday, Deb! - BluewaterBoof Thanks for the nice compliment on Spardas's thread ;-) - steeler58 Good luck with the testing! - Slaphppy7 No endlers but have a guppy for all your hard work ;-) - steeler58 Happy Easter and thanks for the Rep! - Silbar 

    Default


    4 Not allowed!
    So far you are getting great advice, I concur with the Python, you will love it. Both water conditioners will do the job but the Prime has some added benefits so I mark it for a better choice. I agree to skip the jump start stuff for the cycle. Also, if you haven't bought the kit yet as others have indicated you'll do better to get individual components of which the filter is the most crucial. If you get a hang on the back (HOB) filter, Aqua Clear is one of the better ones as you can customize the media you put in it and in the long run that is more economical because you don't have to buy those cartridges that get expensive.

    I agree that your first order is to get the cycle down pat first and then you can research plants, substrates and fishes while it's cycling. Your plant selection sounds great and should be easy to care for and grow.

    I also agree that if you want angels that a 40b or greater is a good choice. Be careful if you get them as to what kinds of barbs you choose, some are a bit aggressive and nip fins of the Angels or Gouramis.

    Good luck and keep on asking questions!
    46 Gallon tank cycled.
    18 Cardinals 1 Pearl Gourami, male, 9 Pristella tetra, 5 Endlers + unknown number of fry, 5 otocinclus and 5 sterbai cory.


    Deb' 46 Gallon Peaceable Kingdom
    Deb's 10 Gallon Endler and Shrimp Farm

  7. #7

    Default


    3 Not allowed!
    Welcome to the AC! Great job on starting your research before impulse-buying fish.

    It might prove helpful if you could tell us what you've already purchased from your list. Also, many stores are good about taking returns back if they can be re-boxed in the shelf condition. (Mentioned just in case you did buy that tank kit and might be open to returning it)

    Many members have thriving plants and do not dose anything, just keeping fish in with the plants. Your plant choices are fine for that.

    I'm looking forward to seeing you around and watching you put together your family's tank!
    Last edited by RiversGirl; 04-25-2016 at 05:21 PM.

  8. #8

    Default


    4 Not allowed!
    Quote Originally Posted by Wolfgang View Post
    Hello all. I am very new to this website, just signed up a little while ago. Also new to aquariums. My parents had an aquarium when I was younger, and I've always thought they were awesome and very fun to look at/enjoy, but never had my own. I don't really have any hobbies and decided a few weeks ago that I wanted to start my own aquarium. I just work 5 days a week and enjoy time with my family. I feel like it would be very rewarding to see your very own fish/plants thrive if given the proper time and care. An aquarium would look great in my living room and my family would love it.


    Welcome to AC and fish keeping.

    I started doing my own research a few weeks ago as to what type of fish I'd like to have, along with compatibility. I have also done a little research on live plants and substrate, but still not sure what type of substrate to go with. I have read some threads on here and also on other websites about people not even using fertilizer or CO2 and their plants still thriving, so I'm getting mixed messages regarding the live plants.

    I have put together a generic list of supplies that I will need and would like to share these with the experienced aquarium enthusiasts to get some suggestions and advice. I thank you all in advance!! I also apologize for the length of my post and complete lack of knowledge, I'm just very excited to get this started!!

    -29 gallon aquarium kit with stand, filter, pump, lid, and lighting (I found a kit at my local PetSmart/PetCo) I feel like a 29 gallon would be a great size for a community tank.

    Agree with everyone, kits aren't the best as they give you poor filters and lights, you can get a better deal putting it together yourself, and until May 7th Petco has the $1/gallon sale. A 40 breeder tanks is a very good deal and you can work with a variety of filters that will either hang off the back (HOB) or are canisters that sit under the tank.

    -Heater with thermometer
    -Vacuum (found this one on Amazon... http://www.amazon.com/25-Foot-Python...quarium+vacuum) Would this clean my substrate AND handle the weekly 25% water change?

    Python is awesome have had mine for over 15 years and has made water changes a dream instead of chore...matter of fact I have 2 as I have tanks on two stories.

    -Dechlorinator and water conditioner (found on Amazon... http://www.amazon.com/Tetra-16163-Aq...+dechlorinator) I also found a Tetra EasyBalance PLUS, and Tetra SafeStart Plus... would these be ideal to jump start the cycling process? (more on cycling later)

    Like many have said-I recommend Prime because it is concentrated and along with neutralizing the chlorine/chloramine/ heavy metals it will also render ammonia/nitrite and nitrate not toxic to fish for a 24-48 hour period of time. As for chemicals/bacteria that will "speed" a cycle-there really isn't any as bacteria is what cycles a tank, and bacteria has a shelf life so you cannot know if the stuff you buy is alive or very, very dead

    -Test kit

    Second the API Freshwater Master test kit, got mine off Amazon.

    -Net
    -Substrate (again, not sure yet which kind I should get, gravel? rocks? sand?) I do intend to have a few live plants, not sure if fertilizer would be required. I have found some hearty plants that require low maintenance as per other people's setups.

    this will depend on how much you want to spend. I use a product for plants called Eco Complete (they also have a product called Floramax) but many get away with pool sand in their tanks, it a lot more economical. Play sand isn't recommended. Others go for the black blasting sand which can have a bit of oily residue so need a little pre cleaning before going in the tank. Carib-sea has a nice line of sand and fine gravel products as well, I like to stay away from large gravel because you can loose a lot of food and waste in it, that stuff sits on top of more compact substrates like fine pea gravel or sand.

    -Plants (Anubias, Java fern, Java moss, Crypt) I don't want to go overboard but these are the ones that have been mentioned as easy to maintain (especially with lighting, I don't want to go overboard on lighting)

    Great choices for plants, they do well with lower-medium lighting and with enough fish you get free fertilizer. You can add micro nutrients to the water column with a product called Seachem Flourish-the plants will appreciate it and it is very easy to use, and lasts a long time as well

    -Fish food (start out with the flakes and then once I know I can handle the maintenance I will give them the "treats" that I've read about.)

    Many feed flakes but IMO and experience flakes lead to more waste and more issues with swim bladder problems. I prefer to feed pellets, and something like New Life Spectrum community pellets would work well for many sizes of fish. Either way you always want to pre-moisten your foods, and you can feed fresh vegetables as well-many fish appreciate that too. I don't consider frozen food as treats, but an important staple of my fishes diet. Mine get it 2-3 times a week, they also have a day or two of fast in the week and get shelled pieces of peas on a monthly basis

    Fish that I'd like to have:
    Angel fish
    Dwarf gourami
    Tetra
    Barbs
    Danios

    That's a great selection of fish but come in multiple sizes. I have never had angels but have read about difficulties with them when they mature. In a 29 you will be hard pressed to fit all of these fish in, but many tetras, barbs and danios come in smaller sizes so you can fit a school or two of each (6-8 at least). Many fish show their best in larger schools where they feel the most comfortable, so you may choose to go with a couple large schools of on or two types of fish (10-15 in a school) instead of lots of fish variety in small schools (6-8)

    Obviously I wouldn't introduce all of the fish at once, but gradually over time. I don't want to overstock the tank and I'm not sure what all I can fit into a 29 gallon tank.

    If you cycle the tank you could actually add most of the fish at once as a fishless cycle allows you to grow enough bacteria to sustain a stocked tank. Just have to wait on fish that need established tanks, like otos and corys

    I do want to cycle the tank for a good bit with just the substrate and plants before introducing the fish, so I can get the ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH levels up to par. Or... if those Tetra products can be used to help speed up the cycling process I could do that, but I'm not sure about those products. Does anyone on here use those for first time tanks?

    Those products don't really work IME and others, doing a cycle with just ammonia (100% ammonia with no fragrance and surfactants) is your best bet.

    Again, sorry for all of the questions. I'm just very anxious to get this started. I wasn't sure to post this in "tank setup" forum or the "beginner's" forum so forgive me if this is the wrong forum.
    Good luck to you and we are here and have been there, done that, regretted doing that, and hope we never do that again. So don't hesitate to ask anything.

    I had a 29 gallon for many years and transitioned from having goldfish to freshwater fish. If you stay with the 29 it is a nice size for a community tank.
    Last edited by Boundava; 04-25-2016 at 05:48 PM.
    75g. heavily planted/DW. Stock: tetra, gourami, cory, oto, Dojo loaches, pleco, nerite/mystery/mts/assassin snails, and amano shrimp
    Two 5.5g. planted, each with a female Betta,
    10g. planted, with a female Betta
    20L. Orange shrimp, and Chili rasboras
    20L Blue Pearl Shrimp, 2 African Viper shrimp, Pygmy Cory, Espei and CPD

    75g:
    10-20L Shrimp tank
    Future 40B Goldfish tank
    Probiotic trial


  9. #9

    Default


    2 Not allowed!
    Thank you very much for all of the great advice so far!! I read the fish-less cycling post and it's very thorough!! I have some follow-up questions...

    1. For the fish-less cycling, I add the ammonia and prime to the water and let the filter and heater run for however long it takes to get the readings to 0 (for nitrites and ammonia, right?) BEFORE I add the plants? but I'm struggling with this comment.... "You should began to very soon see nitrites, perhaps after only dosing the tank once or twice. When that happens, now only add ammonia of one/half of your original dose when you started. Ammonia is only redosed when previous dose has dropped to 0 and only one time a day." Only one time a day, for how many days?? And then it says to do a "large" water change to bring the nitrates down to under 20, what's a large water change?
    2. I'm looking at this Python maintenance system and have a question... My tank will be in my living room... I know this comes with a 25 foot hose, so the only way to use it would be to attach it to the faucet to drain the water as well as fill it? When I'm doing my weekly 25% water change, do I need to add prime everytime I do a water change? And how much of it if so?

    Edit: I have not purchased anything yet. There will be no impulse buying from me until I have done all of my research and it looks like I have come to the right place for that!! :)

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    A little further from sanity
    Posts
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    Happy Christmas! - Slaphppy7 Thanks so much for everything. - metweezer Thanks for the rep friend :) - Compass Merry Christmas! - rebecca_finny Thanks for the rep! - AmazonJoe 
    Happy Holidays. - gadget228 Merry Christmas & Happy New Year! - Plecos Happy Holidays! - Boundava Merry Christmas! - Anders247 Merry Christmas! - Slaphppy7 

    Default


    3 Not allowed!
    You can add plants right away or wait, it's your choice.
    You redose ammonia at half doses once a day for how ever long it takes for the nitrites to also drop to 0ppm. For some it's only a few days and for others it takes longer. Each cycle is different and there is no textbook answer to this question.
    A large water change is enough to bring the nitrates down to below 20ppm. Again, no textbook answer. For some it may mean 20% of the water for others it might mean 80% or more. It is best to change as much of the water as you can after the tank is cycled, the fish will appreciate fresh water.
    Yes, add Prime every time you add water. Follow the instructions on the bottle. If you are adding water by bucket, add enough Prime to dechlor that bucketful of water. If you are using the Python from the faucet use enough Prime to dechlor the whole volume of the tank before you add water.
    If it's called tourist season why can't I shoot them?
    Everything happens for a reason. Sometimes that reason is you are stupid and make bad decisions.

    I think my fish is adjusting well to the four gallon, He's laying on his side attempting to go to sleep on the bottom of the gravel.
    A moderator on a fish forum should be able to identify an oscar... Don't you think?
    Dear naps, sorry I hated you so much when I was a child... Love me

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