Before you start shopping for a fish tank, there are a number of things that you need to take into consideration.
What Is Your Budget?
Fish keeping can be a pretty expensive hobby… so one of the first things you need to do, is work out your budget. You not only need to take into account the cost of your aquarium and the fish, you also need to consider all the special equipment needed and ongoing maintenance costs.
What Size Fish Tank Do You Want?
You need to take quite a few things into consideration, when choosing the size of your fish aquarium. You may be limited by space, if you live in an apartment or a small dorm room.
You also need to take into account the weight of the tank, once filled with water and gravel. For example… a very large aquarium may be too heavy for the second floor of a house and it would be much more difficult to move, should the need arise.
Also… the bigger the tank, the greater your start up costs and ongoing costs will be.
How Much Time Can You Devote To Caring For Your Tropical Fish Tank?
Caring for your new fish aquarium can be quite time consuming. Large fish tanks don’t need to be cleaned as frequently as small ones, because it is easier to maintain a stable environment in a big tank. However when you do need to clean a large aquarium, it is a much bigger job.
You also need to take time to do things such as testing your water, checking that all the aquarium equipment is running properly and keeping an eye on the health of your fish. And of course feeding your fish.
What Sort Of Fish Do You Want?
Tropical fish are those which are found in tropical environments around the world. They include both freshwater and saltwater species.
When Fish keepers use the term Tropical Fish, they are generally referring to the freshwater species. The saltwater Tropical Fish are normally referred to as Marine Fish.
Saltwater aquariums are generally more difficult to maintain and the fish are more expensive. As a result it is usually the more experienced fish aquarium owners who choose to go with saltwater tropical fish tanks. Saltwater fish aquariums can be exceptionally beautiful, due to the extremely colorful and beautiful corals and fish.
Freshwater tropical fish tanks are easier to maintain and the fish are less expensive and more readily available. This is the option that most people choose.
When it comes to choosing a fish aquarium, there really are no right or wrong choices. It’s more a matter of choosing the right one for you. You need to make sure you choose a tropical fish tank that you have the space, time, energy and budget for.
Posted By Debbie
Photo By : © Oksana Shatshkova | Dreamstime.com
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After you’ve made the basic decisions regarding your tropical fish tank, such as budget, size and where you are going to put it… the next thing you need to do, is decide what sort of fish you want for your tank.
As mentioned in my previous post, Things To Consider Before Buying A Tropical Fish Tank, most beginner aquarium owners go for freshwater tropical fish because they are generally easier to look after, less expensive and more readily available.
If you are new to fish keeping, it also pays to choose fish that are easy to look after. It is very disappointing to excitedly set up your first aquarium and fill it with fish, only to have them all start dying shortly afterwards.
This often happens, when the new owner has bought fish that just aren’t that easy to care for. So in this post I’m going to suggest a few beginner friendly fish, that are great to start out with.
Danios are great starter fish for a freshwater aquarium. They are hardy, inexpensive and not too fussy about temperature. Zebra, Leopard and Giant Danios are all good choices. They are fast swimmers and like to race around, so are best suited to longer tanks.
Barbs are good tropical fish for beginners. Tiger, Cherry and Rosy Barbs are some of the most common ones and are hardy and easy to care for. They are quite territorial though and will pick on other fish if given the chance. If you have a very small tank, under 20 gallons and you want to keep Barbs, it would pay to stick with all Barbs. If you have a large tank, then buy at least half a dozen of them and they will tend to stick together and leave the other fish alone.
Tetras are hardy and easy to look after as well. Especially the larger, round bodied ones.
Angelfish are another great choice for beginner fish keepers. They are easy to look after, friendly and great to watch. They are graceful, slow swimmers. Angelfish prefer tall tanks.
Platies are very hardy fish and perfect for starter aquariums. There are many different color strains and they are peaceful, friendly fish that are very easy to look after.
Swordtails are also very easy, come in many color varieties and are nice and friendly too.
Guppies are another popular, friendly, easy fish.
Gourami including Dwarf, Honey and Kissing Gourami are another easy, friendly choice for beginners.
Plecostamus (suckermouth catfish also known as plecos) are easy to care for and inexpensive. Another great reason to have plecos is they eat algae and will keep your aquarium glass fairly clean. It pays to wait until your tank is fairly well established, 2 to 4 months old, before you introduce them as they are sensitive to high ammonia and nitrate levels found in new aquariums. Also, there will be very little algae for them to feed on until the tank is established. You can also supplement their diet with shrimp pellets, algae wafers or spirulina discs. Make sure there is a cave or similar hiding area for each pleco to call its own, they feel most secure that way.
This list gives you quite a few choices of easy fish to start with. There are more varieties for sure. You can always search on the internet or buy a really good book for ideas. It’s wise to take either a list or a good book with you, to your local aquarium store, so you go armed with a good idea of what to look for.
Also, it pays to start slowly. Buy a few fish to begin with, then add more later. Don’t over crowd your tank. And always make sure you buy healthy fish. Don’t buy anything from a tank that has even one unhappy looking fish in it.
Do your research before you buy and will be more likely to be able to set up a healthy tropical fish tank full of compatible, happy fish.
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Step By Step Instructions – How To Set Up A Freshwater Tropical Fish Tank :
Setting Up Your Fish Tank :
1. Clean The Tank
Clean the tank with tap water and a clean cloth. Do not use soap or cleanser.
2. Rinse The Gravel And Decorations
plan to use, such as rocks, driftwood, or plastic plants.Only use gravel and decorations sold specifically for aquariums. Driftwood may need to be specially treated before use in an aquarium.
3. Set Up The Filter And Air Pump
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to install the filter and air pump. Filters remove
harmful bacteria and waste and air pumps circulate and oxygenate the water.Some filters must have an air pump connected, while others work independently.
4. Add The Gravel And Decorations
Spread the gravel evenly over the bottom. Then anchor decorations and plastic plants in the gravel.
5. Add Water
Fill the tank with fresh, clean water. The water must contain no chlorine. If you are using
tap water, you will need to use a dechlorinator.
If you’re adding live plants, fill the tank halfway and then add the plants.
pour the water into it.
6. Cycle Your Tank
Run the heater and filter for several days and then cycle the tank to get a healthy balance
of ammonia and nitrate. Check the temperature on the thermometer and adjust the heater.
7. Test And Add Fish
Add fish slowly, preferably just a couple at a time. Add the most hardy fish first. Test the water daily, until you have achieved an optimal balance of ammonia and nitrate. Now you
can add less hardy species if you wish.
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The most important factor in maintaining a successful and healthy Tropical Aquarium is tank stability.
As long as everything is running properly and your fish are healthy, there is no need for any major changes.
Here is a checklist of things you need to do on a daily through to monthly basis :
Make sure all the equipment is running properly.
Watch your fish during feeding. Behavioral changes are a good indicator of a potential problem. Also make note of their appearance. Do they look different? You can often tell when a fish isn’t feeling it’s best.
Count your fish. In case of fish death, smaller species can decompose quickly, resulting in ammonia and nitrite spikes and eventually high nitrate levels. If this occurs, you’re going to want to change the water as soon as possible.
Test your water for the vital parameters: pH, KH (carbonate hardness), nitrite and nitrate.
pH – pH in the range of 6.5 – 7.5 is suitable for most species, but they can adjust if slightly out of range.
KH – KH (carbonate hardness) is the indicator of pH stability. It should be kept under close observation. If it comes close to 4.5 dH (degree hardness) or 80 ppm, you must take action if it decreases any further. Half a teaspoon of baking soda per twenty-five gallons of water will raise the kH by about 1 dH (17.8 ppm).
Nitrite – Nitrites should be undetectable at all times (except during cycling). If you detect nitrites make sure you check on ammonia as well.
Nitrate – Nitrates should be kept below 10 ppm in freshwater and 5 ppm in marine and reef (preferably 0 ppm).
Change 10-15% of the water .
Vacuum the gravel .
Clean the aquarium walls. Filter floss is fairly cheap and very efficient. Start from the bottom upward and rinse out often.
Rinse filter inserts (cartridges) with the extracted water.
Replace filter inserts, cartridges, floss, carbon, and Algone.
Inspect tubing, connections, airstones, skimmers and other parts for proper operation.
Clean aquarium top.
It’s also important to check the expiration dates printed on the boxes and bottles of the fish aquarium supplies you use. Do not use after the imprinted date. Expired test kits will give false readings and may prompt you to take unnecessary action.
If you stick to this basic schedule, your tropical fish tank and the fish in it should last you for a very long time.
Posted by Debbie
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Step By Step Instructions – How To Cycle A Fish Tank :
How To Cycle Your Tank :
1. Set Up The Fish Tank
Set up your fish tank and filter system, then fill it with water.
If you are using tap water you will need to use a dechlorinator.
2. Stock Your Fish Tank With Hardy Fish :
3. Limit The Number Of Fish To Begin With :
Put in just a few fish. Three 1 inch fish are sufficient,
if your fish tank is between 10 and 20 gallons.
Adding too many fish will result in excess waste and stress the fish.
4 : Change The Water :
Change 10 to 15 percent of the water every few days.
5. Test A Water Sample :
Test a sample of the water after a week.
It should test high in ammonia with a trace of nitrate at this time.
Ask the pet shop where you bought the fish, if they will test it.
Many stores will do this for free or charge a small fee.
Or you can purchase a test kit and do it yourself
6. Continue With Moderate Water Changes :
Continue moderate water changes every two weeks.
Cycling a fish tank takes up to eight weeks.
Your goal is to establish a healthy colony of bacteria that live in the filter,
removing ammonia and other toxins from the water.
7. Gradually Add More Fish :
Add more fish gradually and enjoy watching them thrive as a result of your diligence.
Posted by Debbie