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Stocking Tank Tips Information for stocking your tank.

 
 
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Kathryn Kathryn is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 13
Default Helpful Information for beginners: What fish to buy

Hi everyone. I am a new member here but I have been a fishkeeper for some time.
I just thought I'd share some of my knowledge (if you could call it that!) with you all.
Hopefully it will help beginners decide what fish to choose.
Here we are (long lecture alert! lol)

What fish to buy and how to choose them for a beginner

So, you’ve bought your very first fish tank, brought it home, and are now wondering what fish to put in it? Well, firstly you need to decide if you’re going for a tropical tank, a brackish tank, a saltwater tank, or a coldwater tank. Marine (saltwater) tanks are more expensive and can be more difficult to keep.
If you have chosen to go for a tropical community tank, read further to find out what fish could be suitable for your tank!

Firstly, before even considering stocking your tank, you must complete the Ammonia Cycle. You can do this with fish, or without. For a beginner, a fishless cycle is usually the better option, as you do not have to be concerned by fish dying. While cycling the tank it is best to monitor the water with ammonia, nitrite and nitrate test kits. The ammonia and nitrite will rocket, then slowly reduce. Do not add fish until your nitrite and ammonia are both 0.0, and the nitrate is under 20ppm.

Right, you’ve completed your Cycle, and are ready to buy fish.

A very helpful thing to do would be to buy test kits (the liquid ones are often more accurate) for pH, and hardness of the water. The lower the pH, the more acid the water is, and the higher the pH, the more alkaline it is. Quite simple. A pH of 7.0 is the neutral mark; anything above it is alkaline, below is acidic. Most fish can become accustomed to slightly different water parameters to that which they prefer. It is certainly best to be aware of your pH and hardness, to reduce the likelihood of deaths or some diseases relating to the water parameters of your tank.

You also need to calculate the volume of your tank (width x height x length), so you understand which fish are happy with the size of your tank. It is a common myth that a smaller tank is easier to maintain and look after, but in fact, toxins and other harmful elements are diluted in larger bodies of water, making your fish less likely to become ill. Basically, buy the biggest tank you can afford. As well as being easier to maintain, you can obviously buy more fish, which is something every fishkeeper likes doing! You should not buy a tank smaller than 25 litres, as that severely restricts the variety, and number of fish you can keep in it.
As a general guide, a tank between 25 and 100 litres is considered small, 100 litres to 200 litres is normally classed as medium, and a tank with a capacity of 200 to 300 litres is considered big. You can buy far bigger tanks than that for species and community tanks, but most beginners start off with something in the region of 100 litres. It is entirely personal opinion, and more importantly, how much money you have, that dictates the size of tank you can buy.

Please be aware that some of these fish are not suitable for completely new tanks. Some of them like to be in more mature, and stable tanks.

Here are some lists of fish suitable to different tank sizes and water statistics.

25 to 45 litre tanks:
heterandria formosa
microrasboras
pygmy corys
sparkling gourami (1 single or 1 male+harem)
peacock gobies (1 single or 1 male+harem)
endlers
group of 5-6 male guppies
single betta
shrimps
African dwarf frog
Neon Tetras
Dwarf Pencilfish

45 to 100 Litre Tanks
(Please note, all the fish in the previous section are also suitable for this size of tank)

Cardinal Tetras
Glowlight Tetras
Lemon Tetras
Bleeding Heart Tetras
Rummy Nosed Tetras
Black Neon Tetras
Red Phantom Tetras
Black Phantom Tetras
Emperor Tetras
Pearl Danios
Harlequín Rasboras
Pentazona Barbs
Blind Cave Fish
Guppies
Platies
Blue Ram
Gold Ram
Bolivian Ram
Honey Gourami
Dwarf Gourami
Congo Tetra
Black Molly
Dalmation Molly
Peppered Corydora
Albino Corydora
Panda Corydora
Bronze Corydora
Other Dwarf Corydoras
Golden Barb
Cherry Barb
Diamond Tetra
Silver tip Tetras
Kuhli Loaches

100 to 150 litres

Sailfin Mollies
Pakistani Loaches
Zebra Loach
Bristlenose Catfish
Pearl Gourami
Three Spot Gourami
Tiger Barbs
Albino Tiger Barbs
Rosy Barbs
Zebra Danios
Ruby-headed Barb
Marbled Hatchetfish
Silver Hatchetfish
Flag Cichlid
Agassiz’s Dwarf Cichlid
Kribensis
Angelfish (150 litres minimum)


Note: There are thousands of different fish, these are merely a small fraction of the total number of fish. Never buy a fish using the information solely from here. Find out more information about the needs and requirements of the fish you like, and ensure you can meet them BEFORE buying the fish.

Acclimating. Many employees tell new fish owners to float the bag of water in the tank for 10ish minutes to equalize the temperature, then open the bag and let the fish swim out. However, this only acclimates your fish to one aspect of the differing waters. You still have gH, pH, water quality, and unseen minerals etc that the poor little guys are not used to. Instead, get a bowl or small bucket and gradually add more tank water to the bag water. Once the pH is equal to that of your tank everything else should be too. Net the fish and put him in the tank, careful not to let a lot of yucky store water into your healthy new aquarium

Many other factors also come into what fish to buy, such as compatibility with the other fish in your tank, sensitivity to water quality and ensuring you are not overstocking the tank.
If you have seen a fish you like, to guarantee it is suitable for your tank, follow these steps:
1) Check the hardness and pH preferences of the fish, and make sure it is similar to the parameters of your water
2) Make sure it does not grow too big for your tank, by checking the adult size of the fish
3) Find out if your fish is compatible with the other fish in your tank
4) Especially if you are a beginner to fishkeeping, make sure the fish is hardy and not too sensitive to water quality.
5) Do research into finding out if your fish prefers company, and likes to be in a shoal, or is more of a solitary fish. Most fish like the company of at least one more of their species, but some do not. Tetras are a good example of shoaling fish; you should always keep them in shoal of 6 or more. The more, the better.
6) Find out what the fish eats. If they are carnivorous ordinary flake food shall not be substantial, or indeed suitable, for them. It is best to feed your fish a varied diet anyway. Every week give them small amounts of live 9and frozen) bloodworms, brineshrimp and daphnia. Also, be aware that some fish will eat, or uproot, your plants in a matter of days.

A very common mistake that beginners make is cleaning the filters out. Most filter companies actually tell consumers to regularly clean out the filter and replace filter cartridges monthly. This will wipe out your nitrogen cycle and possibly kill your fish since almost all the beneficial bacteria resides in the filter media. These filter companies just want your money. Instead, if your filter is very dirty, gently swish the media, cartridge or sponge in a bucket of freshly syphoned dirty water.

A good book is always recommended, as it is almost guaranteed to have accurate, detailed information about a variety of fish and their needs.

Ultimately, fishkeeping is a hobby, and the most important thing is to enjoy it. And, if you do everything correctly, you will. A beautiful, colourful tank will catch anyone’s eye, and drop many a jaw in awe.
There is one last warning though: If you could not live without TV, I do not recommend buying a tank, as you will definitely be watching your tank more than television, in many cases, you never use the TV remote ever again!

THE END lol

Thanks for reading.

P.S. Thank you everyone for suggesting ways to edit this.

Last edited by Kathryn : at . Reason: more info kindly suggested by LittleHippyGirl. thanks.
  #2  
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Kathryn Kathryn is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 13
Default Re: Helpful Information for beginners: What fish to buy

Anyone got anything to add or edit? Thanks.
  #3  
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LittleHippyGirl's Avatar
LittleHippyGirl LittleHippyGirl is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 916
Default Re: Helpful Information for beginners: What fish to buy

Great info Kathryn

A few things popped out at me that I think should be in there:

1) Along with the test kits you mentioned, it is also almost imperative to have kits for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. Without those, you can't tell when your cycle is complete and it's a good idea to double check every once in a while to make sure everything is going smoothly.

2) A very common mistake that beginners make is cleaning the filters out. Most filter companies actually tell consumers to regularly clean out the filter and replace filter cartridges monthly. This will wipe out your nitrogen cycle and possibly kill your fish since almost all the beneficial bacteria resides in the filter media. These filter companies just want your money. Instead, if your filter is very dirty, gently swish the media, cartridge or sponge in a bucket of freshly syphoned dirty water. My sponges and cartridges last years this way

3) Acclimating. Many employees tell new fish owners to float the bag of water in the tank for 10ish minutes to equalize the temperature, then open the bag and let the fish swim out. However, this only acclimates your fish to one aspect of the differing waters. You still have gH, pH, water quality, and unseen minerals etc that the poor little guys are not used to. Instead, get a bowl or small bucket and gradually add more tank water to the bag water. Once the pH is equal to that of your tank everything else should be too. Net the fish and put him in the tank, careful not to let a lot of yucky store water into your healthy new aquarium.
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  #4  
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Kathryn Kathryn is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 13
Default Re: Helpful Information for beginners: What fish to buy

Thank you. I completely fogot about putting in the nitrite, ammonia + nitrate tests! Thanks for reminding me. I'll do the other changes you suggested too.
 


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