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Tropical Fish for beginners...
How To Set Up An Aquarium In Your Home
Member Name: mcronix
How To Set Up An Aquarium In Your Home
Date: 08/08/03, updated on 08/08/03 (10373 review reads)
Advantages: relaxing, not much effort needed, cheap, just £300-£400 for a good setup
Disadvantages: can be messy
I have only kept tropical fish for around 3-4months but already feel I have a vast knowledge of the subject. I am writing this to explain how I got started, which may guide other people to do the same, as fish keeping is an excellent and very rewarding hobby!!
1) I started by going to my local libary, they only had 2 books on tropical fish but they were both on how to set up aquariums, types of fish, and loads of info.
2) The next thing to do was buy my tank and stand. I brought a tank 4ftx1.5ftx1ft, around 170litres which is a reasonably large tank. However this tank, although looking brilliant and almost new, was second hand, and i would not advise anybody into buying a second hand tank as I recently encountered a burst seal along the back which could have been disasterous. So make sure you buy a NEW tank! as these are 1) much safer and 2) you can get guarantees and what not on these!
3) Then I went to my local fish shop, Talai aquatics in a town called Haywards Heath in West Sussex if anyones local (the shop is good and the main owner/worker Matt is very helpful, but it is over priced considerably). I asked the guy how to setup, what I'd need, etc, (although the best idea is to probably talk to an expert before you buy the tank)!!! He advised me on everything which I will come to.
4) When I had saved up enough I brought my gear ...
a 200w heater
an Eheim internal "aquaball flter"
lots of gravel (give your local shop dimensions of your tank and they'll advise you on how much you need)
plastic plants, (as I felt more comfortable with them at this stage, just starting out and all)
a large castle (very decorative and beautifuyl, providing safe havens for nervous bottom feeders)
and some mopani wood, (as I feel this has mor eshape and beauty than standard bog wood)
5) Then I washed my aquarium and gravel and filled the bottom with a sloping layer of
gravel higher at the back sloping down so the dirt settles at the front and is easy to clean. Then I added loads of dishwasher salt any kind of that thing will do, and chucked everything in, nets, ornament, etc to sterilise them.
6) After leaving the salt in over night I emptied the water and filled the tank with standard tap water, setting up all of the ornaments, filters, and heaters, how i wanted and turned everything on. After leaving this for around a week I took a water sample to my local shop, where they tested it and gave me a computer print out (many shops are doing this now). This saves going straight out and buying a full kit, straight away. The results were good but ammonia and nitrites (bad bacteria) were high so "starter fish were added". Starter fish are hardy fish which as they poo the good bacteria feeds of this and develops, overcoming bad bacteria. This is called maturing the tank, so the water becomes suitable for fish.
7) After another 6 weeks(ish) of having these starter fish (which consisted of 6 zebra danios and 6 neon tetras by the way) and 2 further water tests, the water had finally matured and the bacteria in the filter had developed, so now i made my first water change. A few days later I brought 3 "ancistrus" which look like plecostomus, but only grow to around 6 inches where as most plecos grow to atleast 30cm+!!!!! unfortunately over a few weeks two of these died, in my oppinion due to tempewrature changes as most of you in the uk will know, it has been very hot, as the temperature (which should be around 77-79 degrees f for a community tank (tank with many species which live together)) was fluctuating to around 82-83 degrees f and then falling to 79 degrees f in a matter of hours.
Anyway. Now, a month later I have another ancisrus and my original one, as well as 6 corydoras (peppered catfish) which I highly recommend!!!
I now have a tank which measures 2.5ftx1.5ftx1.5ft with a
capacity of 125 litres as my other one leaked!! But I prefer the smaller, and deeper awaurium, for now anyway. And thats how I got started! Now I'll give you a few tips I have learnt!!
1) Dont rush anything, this includes the tank maturing or even releasing new fish! Stress can cause disease and so much care should be taken to prevent stress!
2) Buy large bottles of things like nitrivec, and aquasafe as they are quite expensive and many places do refils of your old bottles for cheaper prices.
3) Don't buy fish, or atleast be very careful about buying fish from garden centres, as most run on a system where the same water is used in all the tanks to save money on heateing appliances and filtration, meaning if one tank has a disease, it will be in all the tanks!!!
IN THE EVENT OF A LEAK...
4) In the most unlikely event of a leakage (this can come on very wuick my whole 200litre tank emptied in less than 5 mins) first buty a maller tank as an emergency tank, it can be plastic of watever and only needs to be small. If the tank starts leaking put buckets (used for fish only) and ank tanks under leak to collect some water. Then take the hood off and take out all ornaments and plants, believe my it is much easier to catch fish when there are no obstacles. Then (try and get someone to help you) fill a normal (or large if you have one) plastic fish bag and fill with water then put all the fish in, dont be fussy if you get gravel in the net or whatever, it is a race against time, to collect fish before the water goes! (Miraculously I only lost one fish when my whole tank went!) Then put any heater you even if not suitable really and any filter into the spare tank and fill with water you hav collected. The fish will be ok in the bag for an hour easily. Put a thermometer into the tank and let it go round for a few mins, maybe add some antistress stuff you can buy or whatever! and dont turn any light on the tank on, keep it dark = less stres
s for fish!!! then put bag(s) of fish in tank as if releasing fish from shop. then let them swim out, (you wont need to wait long for water to adjust). also an air supply would be good, so just a pump and tubing will do but airstones ean smaller bubbles and are specially designed! then worry bout your carpet! and anything else! we have to get a new ceiling downstairs but luckily the house insurance covered it. But doesnt cover the tank! So BUY A NEW TANK! with a guarentee!!! Then You'll need to buy a new tank and use whatever water you have as well as treated tapwater to transfer the fish. I feel sorry for you if this heppens to you! Its a horrible experience!
Anyways, thanks for reading any questions, comments or anything please email me @ firstname.lastname@example.org I'd love to hear from you!