Matt90 Matt90
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  • Posted on: 20/8 21:55
Beginner #1
Hi all,

I am new to fish keeping (only ever owned goldfish), but I am very interested in setting up a nice freshwater tank in my living room (either coldwater or tropical).

I have lined up a second hand Juwel Trigon 350, hoping to collect it in about a month's time. It currently has a single Ocean Free Hydra 50 (Internal HOB filter - 1000lph), and I plan to buy an additional 1000lph HOB filter, maybe the Interpet PF4. I'll have the two filters setup together, alternating the cleaning to ensure good bacteria remains in the tank at all times.

I have never used external or canister filters - I have heard these are more hands on with maintenance, ideally I am wanting to reduce the physical effort required to maintain the tank wherever possible so thinking about avoiding these unless told otherwise. I am currently aiming to maintain the tank by performing regular water changes, using a gravel cleaner and maintaining the 2 internal filters.

The water GH in my area is reasonably hard. The PH always seems to be around 7.0.

I would like a community tank with a few breeds that swim in schools, whereas my wife would like a few larger fish that can be easily identified and named like normal pets... As mentioned previously I would like to reduce the effort required to maintain the tank as much as possible, so aiming for fish that produce little waste to keep bioload low.

I am aiming for a planted tank with a gravel base, so far I have looked into Java Fern, Java Moss, Anubias and Amazon Sword. I have never had a planted tank so know next to nothing about them unfortunately, I would plan to have these planted first and allowed time to grow while performing a fishless cycle.

Once cycled, I would then add Zebra Nerite Snails (approximately 7) as well as Red Cherry Shrimp (starting with 10 and allowing to colonise - I will ensure plenty of hiding places for the shrimp).

Once the shrimp have colonised, if going for coldwater, I was considering adding Buenos Aires Tetra (school of 7), Zebra Danio (school of 7) and Variatus Platy (2 Male, 4 female), not all at the same time obviously. Although as my wife says... there are no options there for her to name... and she finds the Zebra Danio a bit plain to look at.

If going for tropical, I was considering adding Cardinal Tetra (school of 7), Guppies (2 Male, 4 female), and something slightly larger that could be alone or in a pair and would be peaceful with the tetra and guppies... female Dwarf Gourami sound ok, my wife can name them... but it seems only the males are colourful and they may attack the guppies.

What are people's opinions? I have no experience and would be very grateful to hear what you have to say. Even if you tell me everything I have said is wrong and my ideas are terrible haha. I'm happy to change anything - a nice colourful tank that is easy to maintain and perfect for beginners is what I'm needing.

Looking forward to hearing your replies,
Matt
fcmf fcmf
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  • Posted on: 21/8 16:46
Re: Beginner #2
Firstly, you're not a beginner if you've been keeping goldfish [which I consider the top of the pecking order :)]. The same principles apply about maintaining excellent water quality, etc. It's good to see that you've been doing research in order to ensure all is set up suitably, and there are certainly no "clangers" that I can see.

I have no personal experience of external/canister filters but others may be able to help in that respect, as might this thread https://www.fishkeeping.co.uk/modules/ ... wtopic.php?topic_id=33884 and this article https://www.practicalfishkeeping.co.uk ... osing-an-aquarium-filter/ I've heard very positive reports about the filter brand you mention the tank comes with, and the Interpet PF4 or an Eheim or Fluval equivalent size might be an option (although haven't checked to see if they have HOB filters) as the latter two brands have particularly good reputations.

A few points re your proposed suggestions (and Fishlady or others may be able to provide much more detailed suggestions on your choices):
* you ought to be able to get shoaling/schooling fish and some 'feature fish' or larger fish in your tank, but there's a general rule-of-thumb that, if a fish can fit in a fish's mouth, that will happen;
* easily-identified fish that can be named are not necessarily large - often individual fish have their own quirks e.g. my smallest harlequin rasbora can easily be identified and has her own name whereas her slightly bigger species-mates are more difficult to identify, and each of my species have got/had fish with names because of particular quirks in their behaviour;
* java fern, java moss and anubias are usually grown on rocks/wood, so the gravel base would be fine with that - if you're thinking of other plants, though, then you may want to consider a different type of substrate under the gravel (or, if you were thinking of having corydoras catfish, then you might want to consider sand instead of gravel);
* not crucial but you might be better to add the zebra nerite snails and red cherry shrimp after the tank is more mature and has had time to develop a biofilm and algae - perhaps several months down the line;
* as for your particular species of fish, it would be worth checking each species' requirements at https://www.fishkeeping.co.uk/modules/caresheets/ and the regularly-updated http://www.seriouslyfish.com/knowledge-base/ to ensure that your water hardness for each is suitable (ideally your water should be in the middle of their suitability range rather than at the extreme - and it's unlikely that your water will be suitable for cardinal tetras AND guppies which prefer soft and hard water respectively) and that there's a specific temperature that would work for all of your proposed fish;
* the more fish you have per shoal, the more natural behaviour will be displayed and the schooling effect much more effective (so you could easily double the numbers you suggest for each) - and there's a golden version of zebra danio if your wife would be interested in that.

Hope that helps as a starter for ten, but, in the meantime, let us know your water hardness from your water company's website in CaCO3 or German degrees hardness, and we may be able to provide more specific suggestions on potential species.
Matt90 Matt90
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  • Posted on: 22/8 7:31
Re: Beginner #3
I have been looking at canisters as advised by others, apparently they require cleaning less frequently and the maintenance on them is much easier than on an internal. I have been looking at second hand options, I've seen a Fluval 406 for £60, or two Eheim Professionel 3 2075's for £160. I really don't know much about external filters, but I don't really want to run two canisters... so if it's viable to run my tank with a single I may do that and sell the additional one.

I am leaning towards a tropical tank, I have identified my water hardness to be 13.63 German degrees. As a result I would like to look into two shoaling/schooling breeds that would be suited to hard water, suitable for a beginner (I know I have kept goldfish but I am still new to this). I'd like them to be very low maintenance, producing minimal bioload, but also be colourful and attractive to watch.

I think my wife would be happy with fish a similar size to the shoaling/schooling (which is the actual term?), maybe slightly larger, but definitely not large enough to eat the others. As long as they are colourful, fun to watch and can easily be identified and named she will be happy!

I've only considered these plants at the moment so will stick with gravel, I wasn't looking into corydoras catfish as I'm hoping the zebra nerite snails and cherry shrimp will do a good job at keeping the bottom of the tank clean. If people don't think they will I can happily look into the corydoras catfish and an alternative substrate.

I hadn't heard about the golden version of zebra danio, thanks for the tip! I'll do a bit of reading into them!
fcmf fcmf
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  • Posted on: 22/8 14:35
Re: Beginner #4
Your 13.63 German degrees hardness corresponds to 243.27 ppm. Having looked up a few species' profiles, your suggestions of buenos aires tetra, zebra danios, guppies and dwarf gourami would all do well in your water as it's in the middle of their required range, but the cardinals would not do well (unless you were prepared to use reverse-osmosis water and have all similar soft-water fish - but I wouldn't recommend that route and instead advise you opt for fish that match your water hardness).

Other possibilities for temperate fish ideal for your water hardness, besides buenos aires tetra and zebra danio, might be barbs (e.g. odessa, golden, rosy), white cloud mountain minnows (two different colours), rainbow shiners (https://www.fishkeeper.co.uk/help-and- ... /cyprinids/rainbow-shiner), or paradise fish. Someone else might be better placed to discuss potential compatibility.

A separate option altogether is to have a tank purely of tiger barbs (best housed without other species) - they come in 3 colour variations so it is almost like having 3 separate shoals, and are very interactive with humans.

As for tropical fish, congo tetra, rainbowfish (e.g. celebes, bosemani), cherry barbs (the least aggressive of the barbs), false penguin tetra, red-eye tetra and x-ray tetra would suit your water well.

Shoaling .v. schooling - check out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w0h2qvkqVn4

If your wife doesn't get what she's looking for from the above, then perhaps a separate small tank for a betta or else the cute dwarf pufferfish (but which require a diet of snails to crunch on) would be of interest?
Matt90 Matt90
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  • Posted on: 25/8 8:06
Re: Beginner #5
Hi again, thanks for your advice! I've done some reading for breeds suitable for a community setup with 13.63 degrees german hardness.

I am not wanting to overstock my Jewel Trigon 350, those listed below are just potential ideas - I don't have to get them all... although maybe I could if it works haha. I was originally only looking at 2 breeds of shoaling/schooling fish and 1 breed for a pair that my wife could name so happy either way.

7-9x Zebra Nerite Snails
10x Red Cherry Shrimps
4x Sterbai Corydoras

Shoaling/Schooling:
7x Glowlight Tetras
7x Harlequin Rasboras
7x Zebra Danios (4 standard, 3 golden)
7x Male Platies
7x Male Guppies

Nameable Pair:
2x Female Honey Gouramis

Any thoughts on the above species? Any that are not compatible with the others? Many thanks in advance!
fcmf fcmf
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  • Posted on: 25/8 15:55
Re: Beginner #6
It's always best if your proposed fish are in the middle of each species' softness/hardness range. The harlequin rasbora fish, while beautiful, unfortunately require softer water than you have - your water is harder than the range they can tolerate. The honey gourami (a better choice than the dwarf gourami which is prone to the iridovirus), sterbai cory and glowlights generally prefer soft water but your water does just fall within the upper range which they can tolerate (268ppm, 15 dH, 15dH respectively .v. your 243.27 ppm and 13.63 dH). The zebra danios, platies (maculatus rather than variatus, the latter requiring harder water than you have) and guppies would be ideal for your water hardness as it's in the middle of their range.

A few points, though:
* if you opt for cories - and the sterbais are gorgeous - then you'll need to consider sand rather than gravel substrate;
* take note of the temperature ranges e.g.: zebra danios, platies, guppies require lower temperatures and therefore would be better together; honey gourami, sterbai cory and glowlight tetras require warmer temperatures and therefore would be better together.

Hope that helps.
Matt90 Matt90
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  • Posted on: 26/8 12:13
Re: Beginner #7
Hey! Thanks for getting back to me, which site are you using for their hardness? I have been using multiple sites and put together the following:

Zebra Nerite Snail
20-30°C
7.0-8.0 pH
7-15dGH

Cherry Shrimp
22-28°C
6.5-8.0 pH
4-14dGH

Sterbai Corydora
24-26°C
6.0-7.6 pH
1-15dGH

Glowlight Tetra
24-28°C
5.5-7.5 pH
2-15dGH

Harlequin Rasbora
22.5-27°C
6-7.8 pH
2-15dGH

Golden & Normal Zebra Danio
18-24°C
6.5-8 pH
5-20dGH

Male Platy
22.5-24°C
6.8-8 pH
10-28dGH

Male Fantail Guppy
24-27.5°C
5.5-8.5 pH
10-30dGH

Female Honey Gourami
22-27.5°C
6-7.5 pH
4-15dGH

I have been advised not to put the sterbai cory or honey gourami into my 13.63dGH water as they won't survive longer than a year.

I was only getting the cory to add to the clean-up crew for any food that drops to the bottom of the tank (if cories are in the tank the substrate will be sand), although I think having the zebra nerite snails and red cherry shrimp should do a good enough job on their own while looking amazing.

I would definitely like to find a species of fish suitable for my tank that are easily identifiable so my wife & kids can name them, the species needs to be happy when kept as a pair and must not eat my shoaling fish, shrimp or snails (eating fry/eggs is acceptable to prevent overstocking, although it does sound horrible).

I haven't heard that harlequin rasbora need to be in soft water before, I'll carry on reading and hopefully identify a perfect balance of shoaling fish suited for the tank, plus a pair that will fit in nicely.

Many thanks,
Matt
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  • Posted on: 26/8 15:01
Re: Beginner #8
When a range of temperatures/hardness is given, it's best to keep fish roughly in the middle of that range, not at the extremes (other than short term).

A lot of the information on the net is either incorrect or out of date (especially any American sites) so we usually recommend this site for fish profiles as it's very accurate and is kept up to date: http://seriouslyfish.com/knowledge-base/