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Old 01-31-2012, 01:37 AM
 
Location: West Michigan
654 posts, read 3,460,325 times
Reputation: 579

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I have always been partial to being a fish owner. I've gotten my first fish aquarium when I was 8-9 years old.

Living alone in a rented house, sometime has its challenges when people aren't around or available to talk to so, I decided to get back into fish again for my pet after about 17 years of not having an aquarium.

I went by a local fish store to look around and was thinking of going for a 20 gallon tank. Freshwater fish of course. They have kits where they have the tank and all the necessary gear to get up and running (minus the decor). The small space in the house I'm renting won't really allow a large sized tank.

First off, what kind of fish would be ideal for a 20-gallon tank? I may plan to get the tank and equipment this week, but may wait another week to get the fish to ensure that everything is up and running and to get the environment prepared for my new kids.

Any other tips that would be ideal? I have had experience in working with fish aquariums in the past including cleaning and maintenance but of course a little bit rusty. A good refresher course would be great.
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Old 01-31-2012, 10:09 AM
 
Location: North Western NJ
6,591 posts, read 24,897,594 times
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theres lots of options for a 20gal, depending on what your looking for and whether its a 20tall or a 20 long...
but honestly id upgrade and go with a 29/30 gallon itll open up a few more possibilites while taking up about the same amount of footprint space as the 20 long (its essentially a 20long and 20tall in one)

a 20 tall seems to be the favorite size for a pair of angel fish and a nice group of "dithers" (ie larger tetra, rasbora ect...
a 20 long makes a nice tank if you want a nice group of schooling fish as your focus.

both would work well for a mixed community or small species only tank (shell dwelling cichlids come to mind for a 20 long, where as a small group of the smaller south african cichlids could do well in a 20tall (were tlaking SMALL group, ie a trio) as a tall woudl give you alot of stacking space for rocks.

it realy all depends on what your looking for in a tank, something peacesfully gentle ect...something flashy colorfull and active? do you have a biotrope in mind or a particularly favorite species or even color scheme youd like to work with?

Id definatly look into upping that tank to a 29/30 gallon (they are often advertised as 30 gals but actually closer to 29) to give yourself that little bit of extra wiggle room, especially since fish are addictive lol
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Old 01-31-2012, 11:52 AM
 
5,064 posts, read 15,929,513 times
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You have a larger "footprint" if you go with a 20 long as opposed to a 20 tall. This means you have more options in what you choose, as some fish like to swim lengthwise across the tank and need a wider tank as opposed to a taller tank. The smaller the tank, the easier it is have problems with your water quality, so bigger is better. Angelfish get positively enormous when fully grown, and can be agressive, I really wouldn't put one in a tank smaller than a 29 unless you plan on re-homing it as it gets older. Plus they'll eat small fish like guppies and neons and need to be kept with larger fish, so again, bigger is better since you'd need a lot of space. But I agree with Foxywench about what is it you are really looking for, whether it's a community tank with a lot of different types of fish, or just one or two centerpiece fish. Figure out what kind of fish you want, then focus on the size needed. Since you have limited space, don't focus so much on large schooling fish. Then you need to be sure you read up on cycling a fish tank before adding fish. A lot of people think pouring some chemicals in a tank, or letting a tank sit for a week or whatever, will cycle a tank but that's simply not true. You need to build up the good bacteria in a tank in order to fight the ammonia and that takes time. If a tank is not cycled and you aren't doing regular partial water changes the ammonia build-up will eventually kill the fish. Here's a link on cycling:

A Beginner's Guide to the Freshwater Aquarium Cycle

My next bit of advice is research, research, research! Look at various websites to decide what kind of fish you really like, and learn what their requirements/tankmates/tank size are. And don't rely on advice from pet store employees, most haven't been trained and are just looking to sell fish. Before buying a fish, make sure you research it at home to learn how large it will get. As an example, in most pet stores you will see common plecos, and employees will tell you they'll be fine in a 20, but the reality is a common pleco will grow to more than a foot long, and it's a myth that fish will only grow to the size of their tank. So better safe than sorry. I like to look at several websites when researching. One of the easiest to use is Liveaquaria:
Freshwater Fish: Freshwater Tropical Fish Species for Tropical Fish Tanks

Once you narrow down what fish you are seriously considering, do even more research on them. Different websites will have differing advice, so the more you research the more you can get a basic idea of what sort of care is truly needed. These next websites will provide more detailed info on specific fish, for instance enter something like zebra danio in the search field, and it's info will pop up:

http://www.seriouslyfish.com/profile...s=rerio&id=206

Tropical Fish Profiles

Last edited by andthentherewere3; 01-31-2012 at 12:05 PM..
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Old 02-03-2012, 01:56 PM
 
Location: West Michigan
654 posts, read 3,460,325 times
Reputation: 579
I went ahead and got a 29 gallon tank since I have the proper space to place it in the area I have it designated for. I have a solid hickory wood cabinet that I gotten from a closeout store that I plan to use for the aquarium stand. Very nice doors too. I got some extra matching pieces to reinforce the stand further in the middle since I know once the tank is filled it will weigh close to 300lbs.

I'd like a blue color scheme as its my favorite color. I saw some blue-colored gravel at the local store that looks pretty nice, so that would be a good starting point. Next thing I would have to decide on is the decor, rocks and whether to get real or artificial plants. I read the info on cycling the tank too once everything is in place. Real plants from what I read can absorb the ammonia so I will have to look into some sort of testing kit for the ammonia and nitrates.

I'd like something soothing and peaceful looking, I had always enjoyed watching fish as a way to relieve the stress from a long day and such.
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Old 02-04-2012, 05:49 AM
 
5,064 posts, read 15,929,513 times
Reputation: 3579
Quote:
Originally Posted by AVTechMan View Post
I went ahead and got a 29 gallon tank since I have the proper space to place it in the area I have it designated for. I have a solid hickory wood cabinet that I gotten from a closeout store that I plan to use for the aquarium stand. Very nice doors too. I got some extra matching pieces to reinforce the stand further in the middle since I know once the tank is filled it will weigh close to 300lbs.

I'd like a blue color scheme as its my favorite color. I saw some blue-colored gravel at the local store that looks pretty nice, so that would be a good starting point. Next thing I would have to decide on is the decor, rocks and whether to get real or artificial plants. I read the info on cycling the tank too once everything is in place. Real plants from what I read can absorb the ammonia so I will have to look into some sort of testing kit for the ammonia and nitrates.

I'd like something soothing and peaceful looking, I had always enjoyed watching fish as a way to relieve the stress from a long day and such.
Congrats on the tank! That's a good size to start off with.

I never find many decorations that I really like in stores, you can find a lot more variety shopping online.

You would need a LOT of plants to make a big difference in ammonia, and would need better lighting than what you would typically find in a standard kit at pet stores. Often people dose a fully-planted tank with CO2, as well. A lot of plants have high light requirements. I just don't want you to think a few plants alone will cycle a tank and keep it cycled, as it just isn't true. They will help, depending on the plant, but not dramatically. I've read that you would need 75% of your tank filled with plants to cycle it, which doesn't leave much room for fish and decor. But there are a lot of low-light plants that will do well in a low-light tank, like java moss, java fern, and water sprite. Liquid test kits are more reliable than the strips, and last a long, long, time. Good luck!
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Old 02-04-2012, 03:47 PM
 
Location: North Western NJ
6,591 posts, read 24,897,594 times
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ive never had good luck with live plants, can get pretty much anything to grow outside, but once itcomes in the house lol...

in terms of color scheme, remember fish tend t show up better against a dark or natural substrate, so if you want to focus on the fish id forgoe the bright gravel and go black or natural and go color with the fish (neons, columbians, killis, some of the smaller africans all come to mind when i think "blue fish")

If you want to go with a blue decor theme in order for the fish to relay pop youll want to then go with contrast, orange/yellows come to mind in this case.

do you have a biotrope in mind or a favorite fish species...
(ie i based my current tank around angelfish, ive always loved them but this was my chance to go for it. i know the neons are at risk once the angels are full grown, but its a risk i was willing to take. because the angles are the "focal" i whent with a large number of small schooling fish to compliment, so neons and glowlights, then set it off with some brill rasboras for activity and flash in the top fo the tank)
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Old 03-27-2012, 04:28 PM
 
35 posts, read 97,570 times
Reputation: 66
Default Fishless nitrogen cycle

Quote:
Originally Posted by AVTechMan View Post
I may plan to get the tank and equipment this week, but may wait another week to get the fish to ensure that everything is up and running and to get the environment prepared for my new kids.

Any other tips that would be ideal? I have had experience in working with fish aquariums in the past including cleaning and maintenance but of course a little bit rusty. A good refresher course would be great.
I hope you have plan to do a fishless nitrogen cycle to the fish tank first, before adding any fish at all. If not, the fish will very likely die to ammonia poisoning.

Fish produce ammonia as waste, and it is toxic to themselves. By doing a nitrogen cycle, you "grow" enough good bacteria in your filter media to convert ammonia into less harmful form.
Read more on fishless nitrogen cycle with step by step instructions and tips
Fishless Cycle ( Nitrogen Cycle ) | Pets Keepers Guide


http://petskeepersguide.com/reasons-...eks-after-sold
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