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Old 02-12-2011, 09:17 PM
 
Location: Mountains of middle TN
5,244 posts, read 16,497,578 times
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I've had aquariums before that were given to me by other people, complete with fish. I just put it in my house, plug everything in, feed them once a day and bury them as they die off. But I've never been able to replace them and have them survive and I've never been able to start a tank successfully.

We've got a 29 long aquarium that was given to my daughter about five years ago with a beta in it. The beta died a couple years after it was given to her and we never replaced it. The aquarium and pumps and all have just been sitting, collecting dust for the last few years.

Now that our kids have moved out and we're finally able to get the house back in order, the rescue has closed down and the number of dogs in the house is a quarter of what it used to be, I'd like to bring it downstairs and set it up. However, before I do, I want to know how to set it up the best way and the easiest fish to keep. I don't want to set it up and wind up killing poor unsuspecting fish. Are there any easy keepers? I'm about as good with fish as I am with gardening.
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Old 02-12-2011, 09:37 PM
 
Location: Up on the moon laughing down on you
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Livebearers are easy to keep. They are quite hardy and don't require much fine tuned care.

Mollies, platties, guppies etc should do well for beginners.

I would also add corydoras to keep the bottom of the tank clean. Corydoras are hardy little cleaning crews and they don't get huge like plecos.

you could also get easy to care for plants like anacharis to help with water quality.

the requirements for anacharis to be kept alive seems to be just add water.
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Old 02-13-2011, 06:51 AM
 
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Just be sure to research "cycling" the tank, that's very important in keeping a successful aquarium. Some people think adding a de-chlorinator is "cycling", but that's not the case at all. You want the "good" bacteria to develop. New tanks are particularly susceptible to ammonia spikes which is lethal to fish, you'll need to monitor the water quality for several weeks and do frequent partial-water changes for a while. Get a water parameter test kit so you can check ammonia/nitrates/nitrite levels. I have the liquid API testing kit, and while it's initially $25-$30, I've had the kit for years, and I have five fish tanks and a goldfish pond. They last for a long time. Once your tank is established, a weekly gravel-vac and 10-20% water change should be fine, depending on how many fish you have, and what types. Livebearers are generally hardy, but pet stores often sell sickly ones. I don't often buy livebearers from pet stores anymore, I buy them from people on various fish forums I belong to. Don't buy any fish that are "shimmying", that are really skinny, have white spots, or are "flashing". (rubbing themselves against tank objects) The fish could be flashing because of high ammonia, but it's also another symptom of exterior parasites. I've bought numerous fish with those parasites, and it's highly contagious to other fish.

I think some of the hardiest fish are danios and minnows. People often use Danios to cycle their new tanks, since they are so hardy. They are schooling fish, and there are many types. Just keep in mind that with schooling fish, if you don't have enough of them some types can be nippy. Just to give you an idea of what's available, here's a great link so you can compare fish. A large, colorful school of fish can be pretty and fun to watch:

Danios/Minnows

Most freshwater fish require a heater, but not all. You could keep a pair of "fancy" goldfish in a 29g tank and no heater. Just avoid the more common Comet or "feeder" goldfish, as they will reach over a foot in length. Goldfish are really hardy, but they are big waste producers, so you don't want to go weeks without vacuuming their gravel.

As for plants, I agree that anacharis is easy to keep. Although, when I used to have standard lighting that came with my aquarium "kits", I couldn't keep the anacharis alive, they eventually just disintegrated. I had the same problem with hornwort. That's not always the case though, so you shouldn't be afraid to try those plants. Some good low-light plants to consider are also java fern, and java moss, you couldn't kill those if you tried.

I hope I didn't hit you with too much info all at once, I've just known so many people who didn't know all this and they became so discouraged after a lot of fish-deaths that they eventually gave it up.
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Old 02-13-2011, 07:13 AM
 
Location: Up on the moon laughing down on you
18,495 posts, read 33,095,009 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andthentherewere3 View Post


As for plants, I agree that anacharis is easy to keep. Although, when I used to have standard lighting that came with my aquarium "kits", I couldn't keep the anacharis alive, they eventually just disintegrated.
really? when I last moved I had forgotten my anacharis in a covered bucket for about 10 days, when I opened it up they were still alive. I just dropped them in the tank and they took off.

They even anchor themselves to the substrate.

In my experience anacharis is the hardest thing to kill .

Mine thrive in all mu tanks, even the ones with substandard lighting (the 17W lights that come with tanks).

you can't mix anacharis with gold fish though. they love love love that stuff. it is like cat nip for them so they will destroy fields of anacharis in days
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Old 02-13-2011, 07:34 AM
 
Location: Mountains of middle TN
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Not too much info at all, thank you!

I knew about the feeder goldfish. Found that out the hard way ages ago. My kids caught a slider in the road after a hurricane blew it in the yard when the water levels rose. We kept it in a big aquarium, but as it grew, keeping it fed with tiny minnows from the river behind us just wasn't possible. I went to the store and they sold me feeders. Went home and dumped them in and held my breath. I have a hard time feeding any creature to another; the food chain is a toughie for me.

My daughter was about 2 or 3 years old and loved watching the turtle swimming around. When I dropped in the feeders and he started chasing them she was laughing like crazy and bouncing around. He caught one and I thought she was going to pass out from laughing so hard. And then he moved his claws up and basically cut the poor thing in half. My daughter freaked out and was crying like crazy, yelling 'no no no no'. I felt horrible. Poor kid is almost 18 now and I'm shocked she doesn't need therapy.

I felt so bad that I pulled the turtle out of the aquarium and went to the store and wound up switching him to a mix of minnows and pellet food. And we had 11 feeder goldfish for pets that got MASSIVE. I wound up giving them to a family member that had a huge koi pond outside and he said they got even bigger after putting them out there.

Yeh. We won't be doing feeders again. Lesson learned!

I did have a super huge fancy goldfish once. The longest my aquarium had ever lasted so I went to the store and saw this stunning white goldfish with an orange cap on his head and gorgeous long veil looking tail. He was $65 and my husband at the time had a fit that I even mentioned I wanted him. I left without him, but when hubby decided to be a jerk the next day I used it as an excuse to go buy the goldfish I wanted. LOL That thing lived quite a while until we went through our divorce and I moved into an apartment. Wound up giving the tank and 'Dumbo' to a friend at work. I loved Dumbo.
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Old 02-13-2011, 07:50 AM
 
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Ohmygosh Mrs1885, what a story about the turtle! But I laughed about your $65 goldfish and your husband being a jerk.


Quote:
Originally Posted by HtownLove View Post
really? when I last moved I had forgotten my anacharis in a covered bucket for about 10 days, when I opened it up they were still alive. I just dropped them in the tank and they took off.

They even anchor themselves to the substrate.

In my experience anacharis is the hardest thing to kill .

Mine thrive in all mu tanks, even the ones with substandard lighting (the 17W lights that come with tanks).

you can't mix anacharis with gold fish though. they love love love that stuff. it is like cat nip for them so they will destroy fields of anacharis in days
I know, it was very strange! I actually threw some in my goldfish pond, and it grew prolifically in there, so much so that they never did eat all of it. I ended up with a LOT. I don't know why mine died indoors. I have heard that some plant fertilizers can kill it, and I do fertilize since I have a lot of plants, maybe that's what did it. I was planning to try it again this spring, if any survived in my pond over the winter. I like it free-floating in my tanks.
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Old 02-13-2011, 08:24 AM
 
Location: North Western NJ
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personally i think the easiest fish will depend on your water...
i think the best way to keep a fish tank is to not have to worry every water change about messing with ph...

but fish that seem to do well no matter what your ph, livebearers: mollies, guppies, platies...but they will breed prolifically and even without any special care for the fry, you will eventually end up in over your head.
danios particularly zebras, they seem to be able to take ANYTHING, i joke that they are pratically impossible to kill and will survive a nuclear holocaust, but realy, ive seen them survive harsh cycles, temperature and power outages, lack of food ect...
they can be fin nippers though especially giant danios.

as of right now, my water, out of the tap (of course with chlorine treatment) is not suitible for MOST fish, i tried for 2 years to keep a pretty community tank and it never flourished, (and ive been keeping tropicals since i was a young kid) i tried to mess with ph and keep things balance but there was honestly just too much varibales and our city water was just too hard and alkaline for keeping most fish...
so i did some reaserch and found african cichlids, they thrive in hard alkaline water! i decided to go with an all male tank, and its been 3 years and i havent looked back, ive lost 1 fish in 3 years and 2 moves! tank maintenence is simple because i dont have to mess with ph anymore, all i do is a 10% water change once a week with dechlorinated tap water, clean carbon once a month and feed them every other day. there fat, there sassy, there active and they have tonns of personality.

under "normal" circumstances cichlids are supposed to be mid range on the difficulty scale because they need the harder alkaline water and tend to be agressive...but because my water is perfect for them out of the tap (aside from the chlorine) ive found them to be incredibly easy to keep...infact for our house theyve been easier to keep than any of the livebearers or danios...

so my suggestion, invest in a good water testing kit (not the strips) and test your water right out of the tap if thats how youll be filling your tank and doing maintence (some people buy bottled water, but it would cost a fortune on anything more than a 10 gallon tank to do fill and waterchanges) so knowing your tap numbers will help...
out of the tap your more interested in pH and hardness than anything else.

then look into fish that will better suit your parameters...
for example trying to raise african cichlids in soft water will be incredibly difficult, trying to raise angels in hard water and your in for frustration...
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Old 02-13-2011, 08:37 AM
 
Location: Up on the moon laughing down on you
18,495 posts, read 33,095,009 times
Reputation: 7752
Quote:
Originally Posted by andthentherewere3 View Post
I know, it was very strange! I actually threw some in my goldfish pond, and it grew prolifically in there, so much so that they never did eat all of it. I ended up with a LOT. I don't know why mine died indoors. I have heard that some plant fertilizers can kill it, and I do fertilize since I have a lot of plants, maybe that's what did it. I was planning to try it again this spring, if any survived in my pond over the winter. I like it free-floating in my tanks.
oh yeah, anacharis will take over an outside pond even though there are goldfish/ koi in it if the anacharis gets established.

I think yours will comeback this spring if there is any fragment of anacharis left.

it is fun watching them in aquariums release so many air bubbles.

I fertilize my tanks too and in the summer I don't need to turn on my air hose in the day because the plants release so much 02 into the water.

an air hose is counter productive in a planted tank anyway.

the air hose depletes the water of CO2 which the plants need to thrive.

since the plants produce enough oxygen and the air hose is depleting carbon dioxide, I just switch off the air hose during the day.
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Old 02-19-2011, 06:04 PM
 
Location: San Antonio, TX
11,495 posts, read 27,025,738 times
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I had a hard time with livebearers, because I wanted to try to keep the babies alive. It seemed like the other fish would hang around the one giving birth and eat the fry as they were halfway out of the mother.

I have really hard water where I live, and cichlids do great with it. I've got two blood parrots. One of them has been with me through four moves, and the other I've had for about two years. I've got a couple of smaller fish that I've had for three years...don't know what kind because my neighbor was throwing them out and I rescued them. I don't change water very often...probably once every two months I'll change five gallons. If the tank isn't crowded and it's already cycled, then it doesn't take a lot of upkeep. If you add live plants, then you'll have to do more water changes.

You can buy bacteria to add to the tank, or ask a friend with a fish tank if you can have some crud from their filter to get your tank cycled faster.
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