Just bought a 55 gal aquarium and stand...now what?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Drew Bethel, Jan 19, 2003.

  1. Drew Bethel

    Drew Bethel Screenwriter

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    It's one of those kits, so all I need is about 50 pounds of gravel, decorations, and the fish. We're looking for fish that offer colour,dazzle, and entertainment...any recommendations?

    Any suggestions, web sites for beginners, etc would be appreciated.

    PS. I won't be doing salt water fish - from what I've heard theyr'e too high maintenance.
     
  2. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    A good beginning:
    http://faq.thekrib.com/
    Check out "your first aquarium" and get reading! Learn the nitrogen cycle, learn from the mistakes of others before you and the most important thing is don't get stressed out, be patient and enjoy! [​IMG]
    As far as fish, ONCE you are cycled and everything is happy, I am a lover of loaches, they're colorful, very entertaining and have lots of moods. I have a bunch of kuhlis and a handful of clown loachs running around my aquariums. However, do not use loaches or any bottom dwelling catfish as your starter fish. I wouldn't recommend fish at all but fishless cycling:
    http://www.aaquaria.com/aquasource/cycle2.shtml
    More good articles:
    http://www.tomgriffin.com/aquasource...articles.shtml
    Platties are generally very colorful and easy to maintain and also very easy to breed... Careful though, they may be too easy. A whole school of neons or cardinals are absolutely gorgeous but they can be very picky on water conditions...
    If you've ever seen some planted aquariums, it is simply awesome but live plants can be very very high maintenance, as much or even more than a saltwater tank but the results are spectacular.
    Don't put down saltwater as being too much maintenance, if you get a fish only saltwater tank it isn't too bad, it's the live coral and stuff that can be expensive and hard to keep.
    Jay
     
  3. Shayne Lebrun

    Shayne Lebrun Screenwriter

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    Go buy a copy of 'aquariums for dummies.' It is an EXCELLENT primer; you'll finish it with the basics down pat, and a solid idea of where to go next.
     
  4. Peter Kline

    Peter Kline Cinematographer

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    "What do I do now?"

    Get rid of the cat.
     
  5. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    I was about to suggest beer, but I read your post. Nevermind.

    You should get those Japanese fighting fish...they're quite hardy and have interesting personalities, or so I've been told. They look cool too.
     
  6. Ryan Wright

    Ryan Wright Screenwriter

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  7. dogpoundmike

    dogpoundmike Auditioning

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    aqualink.com
     
  8. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    I would second Ryan's advise, with a few revisions:

    1. While I don't support dyed fish, they aren't injected for the color, they are bathed in it. Still not good for the fish, but my two tetras have been the hardiest fish I've owned. They do lose their color over time.

    2. Pay attention to this one. Fish are extremely territorial, and have no problem killing each other for tank room. Even if they don't kill each other, elevated stress levels are a quick way to introduce disease.

    3. While I don't know about 30% every week, changing water regularly is very important. The water must be treated to remove chlorine and heavy metals, and should be the same temperature and pH as the existing water. Don't just top up the tanks from evaporation, and make sure to get a gravel vacuum to suck up the sludge that clogs up the gravel.

    4. Buy plastic plants.

    5. Introduce fish slowly. Even if the tank is cycled, it needs to adjust to the bio load. A few fish at a time is the best way to do it.

    6. Over filter. Your kit probably came with a mechanical filter that hangs off the tank. I would suggest supplementing it with an under gravel filter / powerhead, and depending how many fish you want, an additional sponge filter. These need cleaning on a regular basis by rinsing them in used tank water. This cleans out the crap, but doesn't kill off the bacteria bed.

    7. Find a local fish store (LFS) and observe their tanks. Make sure the fish look healthy, and aren't being over medicated (colored water). Watch how the fish interact with each other, and how aggressive they are. Also, do some research on how big the fish will grow. Many fish stores will sell fish that are way to big for your tank. That 2" Plecto can grow to two or three feet in a couple of years.

    Be aware that many of the flashier/popular fish are overbred in Asia, and tend to be very disease prone. Neons are notorious for this, being bred by the millions in huge, highly medicated tanks. As such, expect a fairly high mortality rate. The stress of moving into your tank will kill off a number of fish, especially if the tank has other fish in it. Since fish will eat each other, one infected fish can take out a whole tank in a matter of days. Learn the signs of disease, and what to do about it.

    Fish keeping is great, but expect to lose fish. Maintaining a healthy environment for them is the key.
     
  9. Bry_DD

    Bry_DD Second Unit

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    I say get Cichlids after you properly cycle your tank.
     
  10. Ryan Wright

    Ryan Wright Screenwriter

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  11. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

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    If I were getting an aquarium now I would go one of these two ways....

    1- African Cichlid freshwater tank with tons of rocks, caves etc, no plants. I would choose Ps. Demasoni, L. Caeruleus and maybe even throw in a few Clown Loaches and one Red-Tailed Black Shark. These fast swimmers can hold their own against the aggressive Mbuna Cichlids.

    2- A saltwater tank with one coral and a couple (2-4) nice but expensive fish. I like the Koran Angels, Golden Butterfly fish, Percula Clownfish and Clown Triggerfish. I would probably opt for the P. Clowns and Koran Angels together which is a nice colour combination of orange/white and blue/black/white.
     
  12. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Producer

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    My betta lives quite happily with the neons and the other fishes in the tank. He occasionally flares up if one of the flame groumies comes to close but that's pretty rare.
    As for the plants being hard to keep I don't have any issues at all with the onion plants nor the other few plants I have growing in my hex tank. I didn't do anything special with regard to extra lighting or CO2 just planted them in and watched them grow. Some of the plants I had were growing so quickly you could almost watch them move[​IMG] Besides looking nice real plants also add O2 into the water and suck up nutrients that otherwise might start an algal bloom.
    BTW if i were to start over today I'd likely go for an african tank instead of my tetra tank
     
  13. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    Regarding plants, I haven't had much luck with the few I've tried. They are good at regulating nitrates, but I've killed off every plant I bought.

    I primarily have convicts, and they loved my onion bulb - for dinner. I had a floating banana thing, and it died in a short while.

    Plants don't like UGF (under gravel filters) or coarse gravel. Catfish also like to feast on plants, so they may not get along well.
     
  14. DwightK

    DwightK Second Unit

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    If your tap water is basic out of the tap, go for african cichlids. That way you never have to treat your water when doing your changes. Just vacuum out and add back in. easy as pie. Over filter.

    I have 2 african cichlids tanks, one with only a male Red Empress and a pl*co. Will add a couple females once I know what my little ones are in the other tank.

    The other tank has one male Red, grown females, 2 youngins, a male and 2 female of another species and a pl*co.

    You cannot have more than one male in the tank of the same species as they will fight.
     
  15. Drew Bethel

    Drew Bethel Screenwriter

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    Man, thanks so much for the information...keep it coming [​IMG].
    Are there any all-in-one water testing kits that I will need as well?
    Should I filter my tap water first (example, Pur, Britta) before filling the tank to help remove some of the impurities?
     
  16. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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  17. Clinton McClure

    Clinton McClure Casual Enthusiast

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    Whenever you add fish from the LFS, remember to "float" the baggie they are in for at least 15 minutes with the aquarium lights off. This will allow the water temp in the baggie to match the water temp in the aquarium so your fish do not go into shock upon being released into the tank. Also, never pour the water out of the baggie into the aquarium. This opens the door to all sorts of potential fish ailments.

    It's also a good idea to feed your existing fish before adding new fish. If your existing fish have a full belly, they will be curious about their new tank-mates but will be less likely to attack and attempt to eat them.

    With the help of this forum, I've been running a 29 gallon barb tank since last fall. Aside from a case of Ich which struck overnight and killed off most of my fish before I could treat the tank, I have had no major mishaps. Currently I have 2 tiger barbs, 2 long-finned rosy barbs, and a 4" pleco. My next additions will be a bala shark (my last one died during the outbreak), 2-3 green barbs and a fiddler crab.
     
  18. GaryP

    GaryP Second Unit

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    Clinton,
    Watch out for those Fiddlers. No matter what kind of tank I've had, they have always found a way to escape. I'd usually find them the next morning 3-4 feet away from the aquarium, all dried up [​IMG] I even had a few in an Eclipse tank in which the hood completely covered the frame of the tank and even went so far as to tape over the heater/accessory openings in the back. They had nothing to crawl on except the intake tube (which I thought was too big for them to hang on to) and still those little SOB's managed to get out. I've finally given up on Fiddlers and turned my attention to dwarf claw frogs, which are pretty damn neat in their own right! YMMV [​IMG]
    Back on topic, a 30% weekly water change seems a bit much. 25% a month is what you'll find to be recommended the most.
    Gary
     
  19. Drew Bethel

    Drew Bethel Screenwriter

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    So, should I start of with just two fish in a big-ass 55 gallon tank?
     
  20. Robert G

    Robert G Stunt Coordinator

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    www.oscarfish.com
    It's been awhile since I have frequented it but there used to be some pretty knowledgeable folks there.
    One thing I have learned in over 15 years of fish keeping. Once your fish & filters are established you cannot change too much water. When I had my 135 gallon I changed 50-60% every week. Previously I would only change 10-15% a week. Once I increased the water changes I never had any illnesses or water related problems. Fish will actually grow much faster as well without having to be over fed. The size and number of fish will also determine how much water will need to be changed.
    Keep in mind the cycle in a fish tank. Fish poop and left over food turns to Ammonia(very toxic). Ammonia is consumed by bacteria and turned into Nitrite(also very toxic). Nitrite is consumed by bacteria and turned into Nitrate(much less toxic but dangerous in large amounts). Also remember that there is NO other way to effectively get rid of Nitrate other than regular water changes. Live plants will consume small amounts but not enough to keep the tank healthy.
    And yes, the fewer fish that you start with the less stressful it will be on them. The survival rate will be higheras well while the tank goes through it's intial cycle.
     

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