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DD wants to go tropical for xmas- advice please!

(23 Posts)
pugsandseals Tue 26-Oct-10 14:21:44

DD had goldfish as a baby/toddler and obviously has happy memories. She has now decided she would like to try a tropical tank for xmas. Been to the aquarium shop and decided she'd like lots of tetras, some snails and a couple of bigger fish.

However, my memory of the years we had goldfish are of trying to clean and lift the huge tank. Our sump filter was awful to keep clean (hated that job) and goldfish just seemed the most dirty of creatures please reassure me that:-
a) Small tropical fish don't need the complete tank emptying regularly
b) There is a nice easy tank out there we can buy which has an easy to clean filter

Looked at biorbs and aquastyle so far. Are they really as easy to keep clean as the manufacturers would have you believe?

EauRouge Tue 26-Oct-10 15:09:49

Ok, get a cuppa because I am going to overload you with info grin. To answer your questions-

a) a healthy, established tank should never ever be emptied. When you do water changes you should only change about 15-30% weekly depending on water quality.

b) there are lots of nice easy set ups but biorbs are not among them. They look pretty and they have very convincing marketing blurb but really they are overpriced crap. I've not had any experience of the aquastyle ones but design-wise they look OK although the filter is quite small so you'd have to stock very lightly.
You might want to have a look at the Juwel tanks, they are quite popular.

Fish choice is very much dependent on water conditions so if you've got hard alkaline water then tetras are not a good choice (some shops might tell you that fish are 'adaptable' but I don't call a shortened lifespan 'adapting').

I wouldn't advise getting fish in the tank for Christmas, they need to be monitored closely for the first few days and you don't want to have to worry about a newly set up tank on top of visiting in-laws. It takes around 6 weeks to mature a tank to be ready for fish anyway so you'd have to start setting up the tank fairly soon if you wanted fish in there by Christmas day.

Here are some articles you might find useful-
Choosing a tank and filter
Choosing fish
Fishless cycling

Hopefully those will give you a few ideas. Anything else you need to know, just ask grin

LadyOfTheFlowers Tue 26-Oct-10 15:12:44

Everything she said!

Name please fellow FK'er!!!

Mine is FairgroudFish though not been on for a while.

<fishgeek quickly retires blush >

RubberDuck Tue 26-Oct-10 15:15:37

I have a biorb and I do love it, but they are a pain to clean out.

I would go for a more traditional style tank - and in fact I am looking at a Juwel for my next one.

Definitely go the fishless cycling route - it'll save so much grief in the long run.

pugsandseals Tue 26-Oct-10 15:34:04

EauRauge you are a star! Thinking of letting Father Christmas buy the tank & then giving some money so she can stock the tank gradually. (Not sure where he's going to hide it yet!)

Nobody seems to be telling me that small tropicals are less messy than goldfish though which is worrying me slightly! Our goldfish got to 5 or 6 inches long BTW so i'm hoping I am worrying about mess and cleaning out unnecessarily as most don't reach that big.

What else do I need to think about regarding filters?

pugsandseals Tue 26-Oct-10 15:37:12

Oooh one more question! Sand or gravel? DD seems to like sand but does this reduce yur fish options?

JenaiMwahHaHaHaaaaah Tue 26-Oct-10 15:42:46

Pugs, EauRouge very kindly advised me against getting a Fluval Edge (which ds had set his heart on) for similar reasons as she gives for avoiding Biorbs.

I found this juwel which looks good (to me).

Eau, Assuming the water was OK (we have hard water), and after doing all the fishless cycling, could we keep a shrimp or something as well as some tetras? I like shrimps grin

JenaiMwahHaHaHaaaaah Tue 26-Oct-10 15:46:11

I do keep thinking;

a woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle


pugsandseals Tue 26-Oct-10 15:51:54

Ooh I like the look of that one Jenai, much cheaper than the ones I've just been looking at!

JenaiMwahHaHaHaaaaah Tue 26-Oct-10 16:38:29

Oh. On further Googling I see tetras might eat shrimp.

So no to shrimps then!

EauRouge Tue 26-Oct-10 17:30:39

Depends on the tetras, I think if you go for small ones like glowlights or neons then your shrimp would be pretty safe. The rule of thumb is that if something is small enough to get eaten then it will get eaten. This also goes for fish so best not to mix fish that have too much of a size difference.

Sand will actually increase your fish options, it's much better for delicate barbels so you could have some little corys if the water was right for them. Don't bother buying expensive river sand from a pet shop, undyed non-toxic play-sand is the same thing although it might be tough to get this time of year.

Most fish are less messy than goldfish so you'll be OK there grin

JenaiMwahHaHaHaaaaah Tue 26-Oct-10 17:47:13

Thanks, Eau smile

I need to calm down. This is ds's aquarium. Not mine grin

pugsandseals Fri 31-Dec-10 17:17:57

FC bought DD a Rio 180 for Christmas! grin

So far it has fine black gravel (not quite sand, but going in that direction), some stones etc. and today we bought some plants.

We have an old stocking hanging in the tank now with some flaked food in. Here goes the waiting, testing game!

EauRouge Fri 31-Dec-10 17:29:30

Brilliant grin The waiting game is the worst bit, I always end up changing my mind about 10 times about what fish I'm going to put in.

pugsandseals Fri 31-Dec-10 18:35:01

One more question - is it worth trying to make the water softer somehow? Looked up our water quality with our provider and found we are in the 'very hard' category!

EauRouge Fri 31-Dec-10 20:40:41

If you want soft water then it's better to start off with reverse osmosis water and add the right amount of minerals to make it the pH and hardness you want- most good aquatic stores will do this for you but it does get expensive.

I wouldn't bother trying to alter the hardness and pH of your tap water, it's a pain in the bum to do and it can so easily end in tears. It's much easier and cheaper to just match the fish to the water.

There are loads of nice hard water fish, have a google of freshwater rainbow fish. Most livebearers like guppies and endlers like hard water too.

pugsandseals Fri 31-Dec-10 20:56:49

Thanks EauRouge!

DD will just have to get used to the idea that she cannot have tetras I think

thisisyesterday Fri 31-Dec-10 21:01:31

guppies are lovely though! big tails, pretty colours...

we have some panda corys in with ours and they're very cute and have managed to have some babies too which has kept us all amused watching out for them!

MadamDeathstare Fri 31-Dec-10 21:04:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

EauRouge Fri 31-Dec-10 21:51:42

Blind cave tetras might be OK depending on your water hardness but um... they are not very pretty, so might not be what your DD is after. Corys are lovely but they need softer more acidic water to thrive.

pugsandseals Sun 02-Jan-11 17:03:34

DD is very excited to find 4 baby snails today!!! I fear we are in for an invasion hmm

EauRouge Sun 02-Jan-11 17:51:43

They're a fact of life in aquaria, you'd go nuts if you tried to get rid of them. As long as you don't overfeed the fish then they should stay manageable. If you do get too many then stick a lettuce leaf in overnight and then in the morning when it's covered in snails you can just bin it. Avoid the chemical snail killers, loads of snails dying all at once= massive ammonia level spike.

pugsandseals Sun 02-Jan-11 19:35:46


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