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DPChallenge Forums >> General Discussion >> Freshwater Tropical Fish Aquariums
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01/13/2010 10:27:06 PM · #1
Does anyone out there keep tropical freshwater fish?

My kids got a tank for their birthdays, and my husband has some experience, but what fish have you all found work good in tanks. .
01/13/2010 10:57:33 PM · #2
I can send you a couple of spare gators, but they will turn the water green.
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Seriously, angel fish are pretty, but a little aggressive, territorial. It's fun to get a sucker shark or catfish that will clean the tank sides of algae while you watch.
I think that we had fresh water when we had the rock shrimp, or barber pole shrimp. They are interesting and colorful, plus they help keep the tank clean.
01/13/2010 10:58:05 PM · #3
In the beginning go with zebras to bring the tank up to speed. Then angels and cardinals are decent for beginner fish. How big is the tank? 20 gallons? more? less?
01/13/2010 11:05:19 PM · #4
Zebras as mentioned are a very hardy fish. Kuhli Loaches are alot of fun to watch also very hardy, However they tend to disappear under the gravel for days at a time, Angel Fish are ok but wouldn't suggest putting them in the tank for a couple of weeks until you get a culture built up. They are pretty hardy but known to not live long in brand new tanks. Plecostomus aka Sucker Fish are also good for the tank. You should have 1 per every 5 gallons of water. If you Go to a fish store and ask them for hardy fish they will point you the right ones. until you get your culture built stay away from the pretty fish like Neon's because they will not survive.

ETA: You will need to decide if you want a community tank or not. Community fish are less agressive, If you wish to have an agressive fish in your tank then avoid community fish, You also should avoid buying fish from places like Walmart, I have had several community tanks over the years, Then I had some Piranha's after they died I had some African Cichlids then Discus, The Discus were my favorites but not the easiest fish to keep. You have to have a very balanced tank to ensure their survival. But worth the effort.

Message edited by author 2010-01-13 23:22:13.
01/13/2010 11:14:56 PM · #5
Donít go to Petco or Wal-Mart, Find a small aquarium store, the fish will be healthier, and the people involved will know how to get your tank started right.
01/13/2010 11:34:40 PM · #6
thanks! I knew i could count on ya'll.

i did find a little store near here and he pointed out that all of his tanks are individual filters whereas wal-mart, petsmart etc. typically have central filtration so if one tank is sick, eventually all of them are. it made sense, but i could also see it being self-preservation for his business.

i would rather do business with the guy, if possible.

our tank is 29 gallons.
01/13/2010 11:57:59 PM · #7
We used to have tank and kept Black Mollys. They were very easy to care for. We actually bred the fish too. Mollys are community fish, so get at least 2. If you are lucky to get a male and a female, the spawning process is one incredible thing to see.

Freshwater aquariums are generally very easy to care for, much easier the salt water. As long as you adhere to these guidelines, you'll have no problems at all. You don't need expensive equipment, just continuous care.

1) Feed the fish regularly, but not too much
2) Change the filter regularly. Use a carbon filter. Clean the entire apparatus once a month.
3) Do NOT use tap water under any circumstances (unless you have a non-chlorinated well). There are conditioners out there and they work ok. Best, just use bottled water at the start.
4) Do a PARTIAL water change regularly. Never change more than 20 % of the tank volume at one time. Partial water changes can use conditioned tap water.
5) Vacuum the tank regularly. Fish poop. It collects on the bottom. An inexpensive vacuum siphon works well and is used during the water changes.
6) Keep the tank out of direct sunlight. Otherwise, algae will form. A little algae is good because most fish will eat it. But, once too much forms you will run a risk of suffocating the fish. Furthermore, don't keep the light on the tank more than 12 hours a day.

I'll probably think of more. But, if you have any questions, let me know. My wife and I because experts at this (with Black Mollys).

Last piece of advice:

Breeding fish, as I mentioned, is an incredible experience. If you can get fish and supplies from a local pet store that is NOT run by a corporate chain, you may be able to sell the babies for credit. We did this, and once we got established with the store and had a reputation for good stock, we never had to pay for any supplies ever again.

Paul
01/14/2010 12:20:28 AM · #8
He definately was telling you the truth, Those big chain stores are in the business to sell product, They do not put much thought into the care of the fish and could care less if they sell you sick fish that will in turn infect your tank and anything living in it. What type of filter system are you going to be using? under gravel is one of the most common. Probably easiest and cheapest to maintain also.

Originally posted by karmat:

thanks! I knew i could count on ya'll.

i did find a little store near here and he pointed out that all of his tanks are individual filters whereas wal-mart, petsmart etc. typically have central filtration so if one tank is sick, eventually all of them are. it made sense, but i could also see it being self-preservation for his business.

i would rather do business with the guy, if possible.

our tank is 29 gallons.
01/14/2010 01:18:38 AM · #9
You have a good size tank. Put some thought into where you set it up. 29 gallons of water is is about 250 lbs. as water weighs 8+ lbs per gallon. Avoid direct sunlight, unless you like watching algae grow. Avoid cold drafts from open doors, sudden changes in temp can cause the fish to get sick. Think about siphoning 10 gallons of water out every so often & disposing of it & adding 10 gallons of fresh water. The sound of the water bubbling thru the filters is very soothing. I had two 75-gallon tanks at one time. They're more fun to watch than TV. It's fun to figure out how to decorate them--live plants or plastic, what color gravel, etc. Live plants make a huge mess, plastic ones get covered w/algae.

Cichlids are hardy & interesting. It's fun to watch them court, fight, mate, build a nest, raise their young. It's interesting to read up on where the fish come from, how they are caught for sale. They come in as air cargo, double-bagged in plastic, just enuf water to keep them alive, most of the bag is air. They arrive cold, hungry, & desperate. We used to go visit the big fish importers, on the coast. Warehouse sized buildings with rows and ranks and tiers of fish tanks.

What everyone else said about balancing the community is true. It's no fun to watch an aggressive fish slowly kill a more peaceful one. And you want to slightly underfeed, rather than overfeed. Fish poop is icky but uneaten food...yuck. The little fishies are fun, they eat fish food. Some of the bigger, more carnivorous ones you have to buy goldfish to feed, or bring them earthworms from the garden. We had a freshwater eel for a while. The fish can see you, and they can see you coming with fish food in your hand. They can tell one person from another, too.

If you get tired of fish, you can always try a terrarium for a while. Hermit crabs are hilarious good fun!
01/14/2010 01:33:44 AM · #10
My dad has several freshwater tanks, and to me they are as pretty as any saltwater tanks.
I cant answer your questions, sorry.
But I managed to take some pics a few years ago.
Fishy
Dont ask me what kinda fishy's they are, I dont know, lol..

01/14/2010 01:36:51 AM · #11
I started out with guppies which are friendly little fish. They breed like rabbits, but the males are very colourful and non aggressive, though can be slow moving and get their tails nipped if you have active fish like barbs in the tank. Many years later I still have guppies in my tank .... I think they're cool.

Getting the tank established is the big thing. If you can get some gravel/fish filter gunge from someone with an established tank and put it in your tank it really helps the biological cycle get started.

01/14/2010 02:19:41 AM · #12
Originally posted by pixelpig:

You have a good size tank. Put some thought into where you set it up. 29 gallons of water is is about 250 lbs. as water weighs 8+ lbs per gallon. Avoid direct sunlight, unless you like watching algae grow. Avoid cold drafts from open doors, sudden changes in temp can cause the fish to get sick. Think about siphoning 10 gallons of water out every so often & disposing of it & adding 10 gallons of fresh water. The sound of the water bubbling thru the filters is very soothing. I had two 75-gallon tanks at one time. They're more fun to watch than TV. It's fun to figure out how to decorate them--live plants or plastic, what color gravel, etc. Live plants make a huge mess, plastic ones get covered w/algae.

Cichlids are hardy & interesting. It's fun to watch them court, fight, mate, build a nest, raise their young. It's interesting to read up on where the fish come from, how they are caught for sale. They come in as air cargo, double-bagged in plastic, just enuf water to keep them alive, most of the bag is air. They arrive cold, hungry, & desperate. We used to go visit the big fish importers, on the coast. Warehouse sized buildings with rows and ranks and tiers of fish tanks.

What everyone else said about balancing the community is true. It's no fun to watch an aggressive fish slowly kill a more peaceful one. And you want to slightly underfeed, rather than overfeed. Fish poop is icky but uneaten food...yuck. The little fishies are fun, they eat fish food. Some of the bigger, more carnivorous ones you have to buy goldfish to feed, or bring them earthworms from the garden. We had a freshwater eel for a while. The fish can see you, and they can see you coming with fish food in your hand. They can tell one person from another, too.

If you get tired of fish, you can always try a terrarium for a while. Hermit crabs are hilarious good fun!


I agree with pixelpig 100%, I used to have many tanks, and there are soo many ways you go with setting it up. Make sure to also 'cycle' the tank, a search on google will give you tons of sites.
heres my old webpage Chichlids Page i have several links i hope still work and info on chichlids too.

hth, feel free to ask me any questions, been thinking of starting a tank again too
01/14/2010 06:35:10 AM · #13
Unless you're going for the blue glass pebble look with miniature waterwheels and pirate ships, then add some natural rock (make sure it is clean) and some plants. Fish are healthier if there are some plants growing in the aquarium. The provide oxygen and also places to hide. Fewer fish equals healthier fish. 1 inch of fish per gallon of water (is a basic guide). Some fish grow big. Some fish nip other fish's fins. Cardinal or neon tetras, and harlequin rasboras are peaceful. Smaller yamato (or Amano) shrimp are also nice.

Message edited by author 2010-01-15 06:16:01.
01/14/2010 07:27:40 AM · #14
Live plants are really cool, much better than the plastic ones. Just be careful where you buy, if you get some with snails in them, you are in for a long battle.
01/14/2010 10:29:31 AM · #15
Plants are definitely a plus, but the majority of them need pretty strong and specific lighting (and even a CO2 injection system) to thrive. There are a few that do well with standard aquarium lighting though as well
01/14/2010 10:55:25 AM · #16
if you decide you want mollies ,platys, or swordtails......if you look closely you will be able to see the males "member" sticking out..females don't have any...if you take a look it easy to tell the diffrence...i would get 2 to 3 females per male so they don't harrass the same fish
01/14/2010 12:26:15 PM · #17
Originally posted by electrolost:

if you decide you want mollies ,platys, or swordtails......if you look closely you will be able to see the males "member" sticking out..females don't have any...if you take a look it easy to tell the diffrence...i would get 2 to 3 females per male so they don't harrass the same fish


that would be a good rule for us humans too ;)
01/14/2010 03:37:52 PM · #18
2 dalmatian mollies -- one male, and one female (and apparently already pregnant)

2 neon tetri, 2 bleeding heart tetri

2 zebra something or others

2 pink glo fish

a spotted cory cat

some plants

so far, 20 minutes into this adventure, they are just swimming, swimming, swimming

my kids are thrilled!

thanks for all of your advice; it is truly appreciated.
01/14/2010 04:34:05 PM · #19
I have done both ad IMO saltwater is easier to keep than fresh. The initial start-up is a little more expensive but the end result is awesome especially if you like reef tanks which is what I have now.

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01/14/2010 04:40:03 PM · #20
if this tank goes well, i would like to experiment with a salt water one. or a bigger freshwater one. this is a hobby that could get expensive quickly. (not unlike photography, hahaha).

anyone know of any cheap hobbies i could try?
01/14/2010 04:57:19 PM · #21
Originally posted by karmat:



anyone know of any cheap hobbies i could try?


Compared to photography and fish keeping. Collecting Diamonds springs to mind.
01/14/2010 06:19:25 PM · #22
African cichlids! Amazing colors for freshwater fish, lots of variety, they get pretty big, most are pretty hearty and easy to care for, and they breed with out you making an effort. I use to trade the babies for other fish, or when they'd get too big I'd trade down for a couple smaller ones (good if you are on a budget). Downside is they will kill pretty much anything in the tank that is not an African cichlid.

South American cichlids are great too. Oscars, Jack Dempseys... more aggressive then the afircans so don't even think of putting anything else in there (ours even killed crabs and fish bigger then them!), but there are plenty of them to get a really cool tank going. They get huge though!

I kind of miss having fish tanks.
01/14/2010 07:12:02 PM · #23
Paper airplanes.

Originally posted by karmat:



anyone know of any cheap hobbies i could try?
01/14/2010 07:28:02 PM · #24
The spoted cats are cool. They look like little sharks. If your tank is still fairly new, one thing I don't think anyone else mentioned in this thread yet is Ich. Might be something to watch for Keep a close eye on them for tiny little white spots, It normally shows up on their fins and tails but is not limited to those areas. If you see any you will need to get some medicine for them, The one that I used most was called "Quick Cure", You put a drop or two or more pending on size of tank in the water daily for about a week or two. If you would have to treat them You need to remove any charcoal filters you might have in the tank. Enjoy your new fish.

Originally posted by karmat:

2 dalmatian mollies -- one male, and one female (and apparently already pregnant)

2 neon tetri, 2 bleeding heart tetri

2 zebra something or others

2 pink glo fish

a spotted cory cat

some plants

so far, 20 minutes into this adventure, they are just swimming, swimming, swimming

my kids are thrilled!

thanks for all of your advice; it is truly appreciated.
01/14/2010 09:20:51 PM · #25
Cichlids are great but you need a big tank for them! I used to have a tank full of rainbowfish. They are beautiful... but not too hardy.
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