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  1. #1

    Default Lots of Questions

    0 Not allowed!
    Hi I'm new. We dont actually have any fish but are seriously considering. My daughter has great aspirations of becoming a marine biologist. So we would like to set up a tank for her. I was thinking 40 gallon. So I guess where do I begin. In the little bit I've read it seems a bit tricky getting started. So I was hoping for some recommendations. I would like to have live plants and as many different fish as possible. So I guess my questions are what type of filter? What kind of heat? WHat kind of light? What kind of fish and how many? I'm assuming some like to be with there own kind and others not so much and what kind of fish can coexist? What plants and other things should go in. We saw some fresh water jelly fish at a store that she really liked. Do they work with other fish? How about frogs can they go in with fish. Any snails or algae eaters? I think that is it for the moment. Any help would be appreciated. Anything else I am missing as well?


  2. #2

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    0 Not allowed!
    First, read about cycling the tank in my signature links. Also "as many kinds of fish as possible" is not a good idea. Many fish like to be in schools and others do not. Mixing up just a modge podge of different kinds of fish is never a good idea.

    Plants will require a light for plants. Hood lights that come with the tank are generally only good for viewing the fish and not for plant growth.

    You want to find fish that go together and fish suitable for your size tank. Many you see being sold are much too large for nearly all home fish tanks. You may want to have a fancy goldfish tank or you may want to have warm water varieties like larger schools of tetra's.
    Last edited by Lady Hobbs; 06-12-2012 at 06:18 PM.

  3. #3

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    0 Not allowed!
    +1 to everything Lady Hobbs said

    I would suggest reading this
    it should help with a lot of the questions you have.

    I would suggest a canister filter for a 40 gallon tank.

  4. #4


    0 Not allowed!
    Ok well that is good to know about the fish. COuld you be a little more specific about lighting needs and maybe recommend a few kinds a fish that can be mixed together. ANd how many in a 40 gallon tank.

  5. #5

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    Lightbulb Welcome!

    0 Not allowed!
    Here is another thread you may find to be a useful read.
    Gas mileage isn't everything OIIIIIIIO
    Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.
    Why pretend there are no stupid questions? Actually, There are many stupid questions: "Should I drink this bleach?" Is just one example.
    Having said that, Just because it's a stupid question doesn't mean that it shouldn't be asked. It's better to know.

    A warm beer is better than a cold beer. Because nothing is better than a cold beer, and a warm beer is better than nothing.

  6. #6


    0 Not allowed!
    Thanks I will read that book tonight.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Feb 2012

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    0 Not allowed!
    COuld you be a little more specific about lighting needs
    If you want to grow aquarium plants your going to need a special light...
    Flourescent lights are good because they produce a high amount of light for the amount of watts they use. Generally you want 1.5-2 watts per gallon for a standard planted tank. you cant just get any old flourescent light though...

    Plants need a certain light spectrum to grow properly, This is measured in Kelvins (K)... Generally between 6500-10000K is good, I like to use 6500K bulbs, some people like to use 6500K and 10000K with a ratio of 2:1. Normally it should say the light spectrum on the box, or it might Say 'Daylight' which is normally the correct spectrum but its good to make sure.

    You might see T5, T8, T12 written on some lights (Tube ones)... This is the size of the bulb... T5 high output lights are the most efficient... I use T8's on my tank and they work great.

    So if you want to grow some hardy nice plants and dont want to worry about nutrient rich substrate and Co2 id go for around 75W 6500K Flourescent lights for a 40gal. Remeber to use reflectors too... they make a HUGE difference to light output.

    Aquarium lights can be very expensive if they are an aquarium brand.... Iv seen 75W 6500K grow bulbs pretty cheap on ebay and its easy enough to get fittings for them. You would save lots of money.
    Last edited by -Alex-; 06-12-2012 at 07:22 PM.

  8. #8

    Default fish lover

    0 Not allowed!
    new to this site. love all types of fish & yes I am a catch & release bass
    fisherman. have small outdoor ponds 200 & 300 gal. with koi, shubunkin, comet & fantail but overwinter
    fish in a 100 gal. indoor tank. anybody out there with my neophyte but
    growing interests?

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Philadelphia Suburbs

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    0 Not allowed!
    Ahhh, kids as motivation. The exact same thing pushed me over the hump to start a reef tank 10 years ago. Flash forward, and my daughter is well on her way to a BS in bio-chem. I can't say if the reef helped, but it certainly didnt hurt.

    Anyway, a 40g is a great tank. I would go with a breeder vs. long. Wider tanks are easier to aquascape. You can do an aweful lot with an 18" wide tank.

    IMHO, the more natural you make it, the better. Find a species she loves and build the tank around that, trying to recreate the fishes natural environment the best you can. From there, add only compatable species in appropriate numbers. Biotope tanks are ideal. Seek hardy fishes and buy high quality equipment. Nothing will turn her off tofish keeping more than sick or dead fish. I would suggest neon tetras and cory cats, but there are many possibilities.

    I've had very good luck with canister filters and Hagen Aquaclear HOBs. For a 40 g tank, I'd probably go with two Fluval 206s and equip one with a surfqce skimmer intake.

    Lighting will depend on which types of plants you keep. I'd suggest those that require low light, which keeps you from needing to dose co2. Keeping complexity low is a good way to start.

  10. #10

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    0 Not allowed!
    It might be nice to find 1 or 2 kinds of tetras she likes and get nice size schools plus a group of cories (as mentioned above) so you will have fish in all parts of the tank - or a group of cherry barbs which are nice fish.

    As FPF77 mentioned, get good quality equipment, filtration for at least double the size of the tank, a heater, thermometer, siphon (for water changes), a bucket, liquid test kit, etc. and as Lady Hobbs stated, make sure you cycle it first - that is the best way to avoid fish deaths as a beginner.

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