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If you had a 2ft fish tank what would you keep in it?

(12 Posts)
Adikia Fri 11-Jul-14 15:55:28

My mum has given me a fish tank which is 2ft by 1ft by 1ft (cant remember the height) and I'm looking for inspiration, it doesn't have a filter or heater but I will buy those once I've worked out what fish I want and what they'd need. It has a lid.

I have a 5 year old DD who absolutely adores fish and 10 year old DS who couldn't care less as he's sulking that I won't let him use it to keep a scorpion in, having finally got DD to accept that its a tank, not the sealife center and therefore her original suggestions aren't happening (these included starfish, a shark, rays and an octopus) she says she would like small bright coloured fish and maybe a crab. I know I'll be the one cleaning the tank and feeding them, the fish are mainly for me but as it will be in the living room i thought I'd let the DC have some input.

I'm only planning at the second so am open to either coldwater or tropical fish, I will do a lot of research before buying anything, I'd just like some suggestions to get me started.

Adikia Fri 11-Jul-14 15:57:45

Oh and I've already said no to goldfish as I know the tank is far too small for them, which is why my one as a child went to live in the pond (the tank used to be in my mums living room, she's bought herself a much bigger one)

Thumbwitch Fri 11-Jul-14 16:00:44

Freshwater tropicals, mostly small tetras. Neons especially.
Don't get platys, they're buggers for breeding, mollys too. Platys are/were pretty cheap when I had a freshwater tropical tank; but we were overrun with them very quickly!
Don't get guppies either - pretty but bastards for getting fin rot/fungus sad
And you'll probably need a tank-cleaner sucker fish, but some of them get pretty big so you may need to re-home it after a while and get a new small one!

Madamecastafiore Fri 11-Jul-14 16:02:59

A 2ft fish wink

Adikia Fri 11-Jul-14 16:23:11

Thanks for the warning about guppies Thumbwitch, I had been eyeing them up, tetras look like a good plan and DD says they are awesome.

grin Madame

Thumbwitch Fri 11-Jul-14 16:35:16

I loved our neon tetras! and the others too, but I recommend getting about 6 of whatever type, so they can "school" (they like to do that).

Avoid getting barbs with them though - some are aggressive and fin-nip the smaller fish. Even the ones they say aren't aggressive can be.

My favourite fish of all was the dwarf gourami - the males are so pretty! Bit hit and miss with longevity though and you need to get a pair. smile

EauRouge Fri 11-Jul-14 18:01:26

If you want coldwater then you're pretty much limited to white cloud mountain minnows, but they are very pretty and very easy to look after. If you add a heater then you've got loads more options. If you test your tap water to find out the pH and hardness then that may rule out some species.

There are loads of possibilities but before you start deciding what to get, you'll need to do a fishless cycle and find out what your water is like. Then you can start deciding what to stock your tank with.

Guppies are very easy to keep if you can get well-bred ones and keep them in the right conditions. A lot of places sell them as coldwater fish when they need quite warm water. Get all males or you'll end up with millions!

And please don't add to the massive number of unwanted too-big catfish- there aren't any species that clean the tank (that's your job, sorry!) and there are always people trying to give away or dump catfish that they can't look after. Some species of fish can live up to 40 years+ and they need a home for life, just like any other pet.

micah Fri 11-Jul-14 18:04:28


Far easier than fish smile

hoppingmad Thu 17-Jul-14 22:02:40

I've never had any problems with guppy's, I love them. I mostly agree about the barbs although I've always managed to keep cherry barbs happily in a community tank with no problems.

In a 2ft tank I would keep 2 or 3 species but in larger numbers. Probably 2 or 3 khuli loaches, a large school of neons and a few live bearers - probably guppy's in a small tank although my preference is swordtails.

marne2 Tue 22-Jul-14 22:23:06

My tank is 2.5 ft x 1ft, I keep guppies ( not sure how many as my friend keeps giving me her fry ) and bristle nose pleco's ( again these are breeding like rabbits and I have to sell a few ), I also have 2 female fighter fish, they keep my guppy fry down a little, and I have a few tetras. I'm hoping to sell some of my bay plecs and then get some Corrys , I havn't had to buy any fish for ages as my tank stocks itself ( with the guppies and plecs breeding ), my guppies rarely get fin rot, probably because my water quality is spot on.

Catypillar Sun 27-Jul-14 10:09:38

I'm currently cycling a 2 ft tank- will be using it as a quarantine tank on and off for the next few months while I add to my big tropical community tank. When I'm finished doing that (got another tiny tank in case I need to quarantine sick fish) I'm thinking about either a pair or small group of peacock gobies, honey gourami, a male betta splendens or a shoal of ember tetras (or other "nano fish"). I have tetras and corydoras in my big tank- if I didn't I would think about one of the smaller corydoras species (very cute little catfish) or some cardinal tetras (bright red and blue) for the small tank. I have soft neutral water. If I had hard, alkaline water as many people do, I would be thinking about guppies (male only shoal because otherwise they constantly have babies- only fun the first couple of times...) or celestial pearl danios- many other options there too but I'm not so familiar with them as they wouldn't suit my water.

I'd recommend that you find out what kind of water you have using a pH test and a hardness test. The API freshwater master kit is easily available from amazon or ebay- it includes a pH test as well as the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate tests that you'll need to "cycle" the tank before you get your fish (instructions on fishless cycling- looks complicated at first but it actually isn't and keeps your fish safe from poisonous ammonia and nitrite when you get them) and you can get an API GH/KH hardness test separately. When you know what kind of water you have, look at fish in the shops and online, see what you like the look of then check the Seriously Fish database ( to see which ones will suit your water and tank size. It also gives an indication of what fish can live together and whether they need to be single, in pairs or in a group/shoal.

You wouldn't be able to have crabs with your fish but you could get snails or shrimp depending on what fish you are getting.

You would have far more options with tropical fish. The only extra you need for tropicals is a heater-for a tank that size you could get one for about a tenner. I've got my heater switched off this week as it's not needed in this weather! Need it most of the year though.

I got my tank in May and have had my fish for a couple of weeks- was quite overwhelmed with information when I started looking but you'll soon get your head round it- would recommend you get on with the fishless cycle which will give you 4-6 weeks to think about what fish you want. As well as Fish Net I use the Practical Fishkeeping forum to ask advice it gets a lot of traffic so it's good for urgent help. I hope you enjoy planning your aquarium.

Catypillar Sun 27-Jul-14 11:21:06

Forgot to say- if you're looking at fish in the shop, most fish become more colourful when they get settled into a proper tank and as they get bigger- I write down names then look them up on google images to see the adult versions. Also they're not usually at their adult size in the shop so check Seriously Fish to see that they won't get too big for your tank.

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