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Thread: Fish Tank Questions

  1. #1
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    Default Fish Tank Questions

    My 3 year old daughter has a beta fish, and she honestly does a great job feeding it, helping clean the tank etc. She has asked for a big fish tank for Christmas. I am on the fence about getting one. I know nothing about them, and itís a bit overwhelming to just walk into petsmart without a plan. I am not going huge if we do it, so something in the 30 gallon range would be max.
    Any advice on what to get tank wise, fish, filter lid thingy, plants etc is appreciated. Iím clueless.

  2. #2
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    Any rectangle tank would be fine. If I was going to spend my money somewhere it would be on the substrate. Gravels and sand will need more upkeep and cleaning. I would recommend an aquasoil or literally plain dirt soil as the substrate. Get a healthy amount of live plants. Easy growing and readily available plants would be something like java fern, bolbitis, amazon swords, ludwigia, and valisneria. Once the plants take off they will clean the tank for you and you can pretty much just top the tank off with water as needed. Go with small tropical fish of like-species. Hardy but nice looking fish would be rainbows, cory cats, skirt tetras, or danios. If you are going to put the beta in the tank you will be more limited on adding other fish. You could try maybe 15-20 rainbow tetras.

    Filter wise I like external can filters but you could go with an internal filter as well. I would rather plant the tank heavily, do regular water changes early on, use a water pump to create movement and skip the whole filter.

    If you want, feel free to PM, I can help you pick all this stuff out.
    Last edited by Rodney; 11-27-2018 at 08:41 PM.

  3. #3
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    I've got one at the beach you can have if you can get it.

    I put a new pump and filter on it last year, it's 20gal.

    I set it up to use as mud minnow storage during flounder season but want a bigger set up. It's 20gal, black iron stand included.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rodney View Post
    Any rectangle tank would be fine. If I was going to spend my money somewhere it would be on the substrate. Gravels and sand will need more upkeep and cleaning. I would recommend an aquasoil or literally plain dirt soil as the substrate. Get a healthy amount of live plants. Easy growing and readily available plants would be something like java fern, bolbitis, amazon swords, ludwigia, and valisneria. Once the plants take off they will clean the tank for you and you can pretty much just top the tank off with water as needed. Go with small tropical fish of like-species. Hardy but nice looking fish would be rainbows, cory cats, skirt tetras, or danios. If you are going to put the beta in the tank you will be more limited on adding other fish. You could try maybe 15-20 rainbow tetras.

    Filter wise I like external can filters but you could go with an internal filter as well. I would rather plant the tank heavily, do regular water changes early on, use a water pump to create movement and skip the whole filter.

    If you want, feel free to PM, I can help you pick all this stuff out.


    Is that you, Deuce...?

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    Last edited by wskinner; 11-27-2018 at 08:53 PM.

  5. #5
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    Rodney is right. I've had a few and external canisters are the way to go. Try to find an aquarium store or local pet store. Disease is a pain and hard to correct.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by wskinner View Post
    I'll take the snails at the bottom of the tank please.

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  7. #7
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    SCDiver, heck of an offer, but I won’t be anywhere close between now and Christmas.

    Rodney, that gives me way more to go on! I will take what you gave and go from there. I may pm you if I get to the store and get overwhelmed. Appreciate it!

  8. #8
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    The easiest way to go would be getting a Top Fin starter kit tank from pet smart.
    Yea there’s nicer tanks out there but a 29 gallon for $130 is hard to beat.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by SWAMPLIFE z71 View Post
    The easiest way to go would be getting a Top Fin starter kit tank from pet smart.
    Yea there’s nicer tanks out there but a 29 gallon for $130 is hard to beat.
    This. I bought my 6 year old the 20 gallon a month ago. Had everything you need unless you have high chlone city water. Then you need to de-chlorinize the water

  10. #10
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    Get a ľ" mesh cast net too and you can stock your new tank with some really interesting local stuff. There are tons of darters, killifish, sunfish, etc. that are easy to keep in a tank for a month or two. Most seem to die if you try to keep them too long (diet issues, I guess). You can feed them with frozen brine shrimp or blood worms that you get from any pet store.

    Here is a tank LR had for a while with black-banded sunfish, fliers, pumpkinseeds, golden topminnow, and a bluegill.

    Last edited by Rubberhead*; 11-27-2018 at 09:56 PM.
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  11. #11
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    I go the Rubberhead route with a Craigslist $100 55 gallon tank. Local fish and plants. Iíve had a redbreast for a year and a half now. Crawfish lasted almost that long, but he was hard on plants.
    Last edited by WNM; 11-28-2018 at 08:31 AM.

  12. #12
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    If you put crawfish in, don't give them a way to climb out. Your woman finding one crawling across the kitchen floor in the morning dragging a half pound of dust bunny is not the kind of scream you wanna wake up to.

  13. #13
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    I've got a 55 gallon tank and stand I'll give you if you can get to Gaffney. It'll need cleaned up and the back repainted but it held water when I took it down. If you're interested I can test it out tonight. plantedtank.net is a good resource for starting out.

  14. #14
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    It's not that hard to keep fish alive. Cleaning it regularly is the biggest thing.

    One thing I'll throw out there if you are planning to have it with fish in it on Christmas morning is that you need to set the tank up and have it running a few days before you add fish. Not a big deal if Santa puts the tank and box under the tree. But he has to get creative if he plans to have it setup with fish in it. Such as setting the tank up somewhere else. And moving it the night of. Just remove the water, move the tank and put the water back in it. Make sure you use something clean to move the water with. It takes some planning, but it will blow her mind. At least it did for mine when they were about the same age.

  15. #15
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    JW, appreciate the offer. 55 gallon won’t fit in her room where we plan to put it. I’m going to head out and look today with the recommendations above. Thanks gents!

  16. #16
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    By nature of the thread I assume you are going with freshwater. Without getting into a ton of detail you want to be sure you get fish that get along, get only as many fish as your tank can hold based on living requirements (or less), and the bigger/better filtration system you have the easier it will make your life. It is best to set tank up and let it run for a bit. Mine is a saltwater and I believe it took me 4 weeks for the water/tank to properly cycle and then I added a few fish at a time from a local fish store and not one of the large chains as their fish are often not healthy and can make existing fish sick too if you do not properly quarantine fish. There are a few great forums that have more info than you will ever need on aquariums and generally very helpful/knowledgeable moderators.


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  17. #17
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    I'll add a little to the previous posts... I'll also assume you're talking freshwater.

    It's all about the quality of the water to the keep it clear and refund your maintenance efforts. Buy a good pH test kit and a "sucker" fish. You know, the ones that cling to the glass with their mouth. They'll keep the walls clean. But if you have natural plants like rodney said that shouldn't be much of an issue. They'll grow as big as their environment allows. If you keep the tank too clean with no mold for him to eat he'll get aggressive when it comes to food cause He'll be starving.

    As for the beta fish, I'll assume for the sake of the thread he's a male. They have a tendency to get aggressive with other fish when they're running stag, so to detract his attention, get a female beta. Not 1, but 2 of them. Once again, he'll get aggressive with just 1 female. So to keep him honest you'd be best served to get 2. Your daughter should enjoy picking out two colorful females to keep him company.

    Other friendly/social fish that are hardy (aka hard to kill) that you can find at any pet store are black mollies, tetras, neons, guppies, swordtails and gouramis. Strongly encourage you to get your a cory catfish also! They'll keep the bottom clean and reduce time between tank cleanings.

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    Last edited by willyworm; 12-02-2018 at 10:08 PM.

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