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Old 07-24-2013, 05:38 PM
Location: Raleigh, North Carolina
791 posts, read 1,154,198 times
Reputation: 191


Getting a 10 or 20 Gallon Fish Tank. Need all kinds of advice.
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Old 07-25-2013, 01:29 PM
Location: North Western NJ
6,591 posts, read 24,858,669 times
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my first piece of advice go as big as you can afford, this is for 2 reasons...
1: this hobby is highly addictive
2: the larger the tank, once "started" the more stable the tank and the less liley you are to loose everything should your paameters fluctuate...
(ie 1 drop of chlorine in 1 gallon vs 1 drop of chlorine in 100 gallons...)

second, look into fishless cycling...its the ost cost effective, kind (fish are ot sacrificial) and effective metod of starting your tank, if you've got frineds with tanks ask for some of their gravel and put it in your tank (or filter) to help "seed"
and BE PATIENT when cycling, its all too tepting to look at aigempty bo of waterand want to add your fish, but test test test and don't rush..youl be glad you waited.

3rd, when adding fish, go slow, when you have a stocking plan, start with the hardiest species on the list, and add no more than a few at a time. agai this goes back to the 1 drop making big changes, the more fish you add at once the oreit will effect your ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite levels thus essentially starting a new mini cycle, if you add a lot of fish all at once youll risk throwing your balance way out of whack and essentially starting fro scratch.

now that being said, in terms of what fish to get...
1: do your homework...you wnt to stock your tank based on the fishes ADULT size, and compatibility...

do you have a "theme" in mind...them could be "I want it simple" or "lots of color" to "id like it to look lika an amazon jugle" or "peacefull"

perhaps youv been to a fish store and seen a type of fish you just would LOVE to have and want to base your tank around that fish?
liveaquaria.com is a good place to get some ideas of the ore common fish available in the pet industry....I wouldn't order from them...but it s a good place to go to see pictures to see "ooo I realy like that one" from there we can easily help plan your tank.

general rule of thumb, for tropical fish 1 inch of ADULT sied fish per 1 gallon...
for cold water fish (goldfish, koi ect) 10 gallons per goldfish is about your bare minimum.

and "zone" your tank...
ideally you want fish that inhabit different zones of the tank...
bottom dwellers like corydora, shrimp, pleco and cats/sharks (pleasenot most pleco and cats/sharks are NOT suitable for tanksunder 55gallons, there are soe dwarf species of pleco that will do ok in 10-20 gals but generally they are special order)

the theres the midground, typically schooling fish like barbs, tetras and rasbora occupy this area since this tends to be the eyes focal zone this is typically where people want their "flash"

then theres the top, this tends to be home of the goramis, livebearers like guppy and molly and the danios.
for me the goal of the tank is to have activity in all zones, but to also balance that activity...

for example in my tank I have angelfish who primarily occupy the upper to mid level...these guys are south American cichlids, and WILL eat anything that fits in their mouth if not kept well fed., because of their tendency towards being territorial and occaisonaly aggressive I decided to leave the top level primarily as their territory, with plenty of tall broadleafed plants to caim as hiding/territory.

for my middeground I whent with a LARGE group of neon tetras, in the wild the neon is the angel fish's natural prey..my angels are ept VERY well fed and after 2 years weve had no incidents (and yes my angels are adults) Because I love the neon so much I decided to primarily focus on them as the middle ground fish, they are flashy and active and do best in arge groups anyway...

for my bottome dwellers I whent with another favorite, julli corydora, and again becaue these little clowns like to live in larger groups I dedicated the bottom of the tank pretty much to them and got a nice sied group.

oce my tank started growing algea I also added a group of ottos, tiny little algea eaters who are amazing! they go anywhere the algea is...

hope that give you an idea
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Old 07-25-2013, 04:24 PM
Location: Raleigh, North Carolina
791 posts, read 1,154,198 times
Reputation: 191
foxywench: Thank you for the advice.....
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Old 07-26-2013, 03:32 AM
Location: Texas
44,254 posts, read 64,358,815 times
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I like cories on the bottom, and faster fish (neons/danios) up top.
Start slow. Add one or two fish at a time, max.
Watch your chemistries.
Change the water often!
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Old 07-27-2013, 11:06 PM
Location: North Western NJ
6,591 posts, read 24,858,669 times
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Yellowstone your VERY welcome, my dad got me started in the hobby very young and I don't think I couldever have a house without at least 1 fish tank....in every room...LOL!
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Old 07-28-2013, 06:26 AM
5,064 posts, read 15,899,308 times
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The biggest mistakes people make starting out is not cycling their tank properly, overstocking their tank, and mixing incompatible fish. Most pet store employees are not properly trained and don't care about the fish, they just want to sell them. I also recommend liveaquaria for researching fish. Before adding fish, google cycling a fish tank to become familiar with what's necessary. It can take several weeks to cycle a tank, and will require frequent small partial water changes as deadly ammonia builds up. You'll need a water testing kit, the liquid ones cost about $30 and last a long time, paper test strips are cheaper but unreliable. And the bigger the tank the better, 10 gallons won't allow many fish. Don't rely on the old wives tale of 1 inch of fish per gallon, research. Another old wives tale is that fish will only grow to the size of the tank. Not true, the fish will be stunted and eventually die. The spine will curve, the intestines will continue to grow, although the body cannot grow to the size it's meant to, it will die. Good luck!
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Old 07-30-2013, 01:11 PM
Location: Raleigh, North Carolina
791 posts, read 1,154,198 times
Reputation: 191
Going to buy a 10 gallon fish tank kit at pets supermarket. I will start out with five fish. Any additional thoughts? Buying this week July 29.
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Old 07-31-2013, 02:49 PM
5,064 posts, read 15,899,308 times
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Five fish all depend on what kind of fish you are getting, and how large they will ultimately get. That's why research is so important, you'll need to plan ahead. A 10 gallon tank is small, so five fish may be the maximum for that size tank, ever. Some fish do better in schools of 6 or more. You could get a nice school of something for that tank. Zebra danios are very hardy. So are White Clouds, I can't think of any other hardy fish to use for cycling. Since you are using live fish to cycle the tank, the fish need to be VERY hardy, and you'll need to test the water every few days, as ammonia levels will quickly start to rise once you add the fish. To keep the ammonia level under control you should do small partial water changes at least a few times a week, such as around 20% of the waterf\ each time. Ammonia will kill fish, it damages their gills. It's not clean water that makes a tank "cycled", it's the development of the good bacteria, which takes time. Did you get a liquid test kit? I hate to keep harping on the cycling issue, but you'll be amazed how quick fish will die if the tank isn't cycled.


Here is a discussion of cycling a tank, to better help you understand why it is so important:
Freshwater cycling

Editing to say, research fish before buying, as again as I stated in my earlier post, the pet store employees don't know what they are talking about. They will even try to sell you a common pleco (some call them sucker fish) which ultimately grow over two feet long. They will say "oh yes, 10 gallons is plenty big enough for a pleco"....or "oh yes, 10 gallons is plenty big enough for goldfish", which all grow 8-12" in length....

Last edited by andthentherewere3; 07-31-2013 at 02:59 PM..
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Old 08-01-2013, 09:47 AM
Location: Tejas
7,599 posts, read 18,407,960 times
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The smaller the tank the harder it is to control infections and deal with amonia spikes too. From my experience the bigger the better and the easier it is to catch things going wrong.

Some pet store employess are brutal at giving advice due to lack of training but some are good. I have one girl that gives sound advice (I research before I go in) but another girl said it was Ok to have a pleco instead of a filter to a customer :|
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