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Help me get the right set up for my small tank - fear I have been duped.

(19 Posts)
Confitdecanard Mon 04-Apr-16 20:51:48

So having researched a bit online and spoken to two apparently reputable independent fish shops I today bought a 25 litre tank, heater, filter and light plus some gravel. Now I have googled some more it seems that I can't keep much in my new tank. The first shop said about 15 small fish would be fine in this size tank. I was sceptical so went to another shop who said we could have three or four very small fish (can't remember name), a few bumblebee goby (because I mentioned they were cute!), a couple of shrimps and then finally add a betta (male fighting fish?) at the end. We were happy with this but Google suggests fish won't be happy in this tank. I know I am hopelessly naive but any advice would be gratefully received. Can I have any sort of worthwhile set up in this tank (i.e something relatively nice to look at that my five year old can feed and my two year old can shout "hello fish" at occasionally? I would hugely appreciate any advice.

TreeSparrow Tue 05-Apr-16 03:20:10

25 litres is very small and not likely to offer much of a habitat to fish. You "can" keep a single betta (Siamese Fighting Fish) in 25 litres but I wouldn't personally. No other fish are suitable really.

You could keep a colony of red cherry shrimp in that tank, although if you are a novice you might struggle to keep them alive as they are pretty sensitive and need excellent water quality. You'll need to stay on top of your water changes and make sure the tank is properly cycled before you stock it. Shrimp also require moss, and some algae to feed on.

Any questions? Shoot. If you are interested in aquascaping you could create a fine little, planted setup for shrimp.

Confitdecanard Tue 05-Apr-16 03:43:12

Thank you. This is what I feared. We have a space of approx. 50cm x 50cm where the tank is destined to go. Is this too small for any tank big enough for fish? I do like the look of shrimp but had hoped to at least have a fish or two for the boys. The tank is still in the box with receipt so we could return. Given the advice given by the shop vs all the things I've seen on line we've got good grounds to go back. What would be involved in getting good enough water quality for shrimp? Would a 35 litre tank make any significant difference to what we could keep? Thanks for your help.

DessertOrDesert Tue 05-Apr-16 05:31:59

Small shoal of neon tetra?
Ditch the heater, and go cold water?

Confitdecanard Tue 05-Apr-16 08:31:27

Thanks. I was under the impression that cold water fish were larger and would definitely grow too big for the tank. Happy to be corrected.

Confitdecanard Tue 05-Apr-16 09:59:44

Have discussed with DH and we are taking the tank back to the shop today. DS is very understanding which is good. For the space we have available we could potentially have a 60 litre cube style tank. Would this be ok for a small group of tropical fish?

TreeSparrow Tue 05-Apr-16 11:33:49

35 litres is too small for neon tetra.

I think you're right to take it back. 60 litres is a nice tank size for small fish and you can keep a group of neon tetra if you like the look of them. They're not particularly hardy though.

Do you need information on how to cycle and prepare the tank for fish? Very happy to advise.

Have a look around the shop and see what fish you like the look of and take note of their names. Check the potential adult size of the fish and Google the species to check their environmental requirements and temperament/compatibility.

Confitdecanard Tue 05-Apr-16 12:44:31

Thanks for all the advice so far. I have now got a 55 litre tank which is the biggest we can fit in the space. The shop recommend "fish in" cycling after a week and a water test. Have "tap safe" and some gravel. Any thoughts welcome. I quite like the look of barbs. Are they hardy?

Confitdecanard Tue 05-Apr-16 12:49:08

Also, live plants vs plastic plants?

thecapitalsunited Tue 05-Apr-16 12:55:38

They're advising fish in cycling because they want you to buy fish. Preferably from them. Fish in cycling is stressful for the fish.

Barbs should be ok for a first timer but I'd be tempted to suggest platys. Nice and bright but not in the slightest bit aggressive if you did end up adding some shrimps or another type of fish for some variety.

What filter have you got?

DrewOB1 Tue 05-Apr-16 12:55:42

If you are getting a betta and are fairly new at fish keeping, I'd say silk plants. Bettas need hiding places and are very smart so try to put quite a lot of foliage in.

Confitdecanard Tue 05-Apr-16 17:13:46

Thanks. Going to do some more reading on cycling. Have it filled with water and filter and heater are in place. The water is treated with something called stress coat. I also have something called filter aid (bacteria) which I have been told to put in before I get fish. I have gravel, a few stones, a piece of log and four realistic looking fake plants.

DrewOB1 Tue 05-Apr-16 18:36:25

Also think of bottom feeders like corys or plecs which will help keep water quality higher.

TreeSparrow Wed 06-Apr-16 16:00:43

Bottom feeders DO NOT keep the water quality higher. Absolute rubbish. A common pleco can reach 18 inches adult size. Cory catfish, e.g. peppered corydoras can work but should be added last as bottom dwelling fish are the most vulnerable to poor water quality.

Stress coat and bottled bacteria won't cycle you're tank. Fish-in cycling is very stressful for the fish and completely unnecessary. I would recommend doing a fishless cycle. You'll need a liquid test kit for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. You'll need a bottle of pure ammonia (Ammoclean from a pharmacy) and two-three weeks. Once the tank is cycled you can fully stock the tank with your planned fish list. All in one go. "Tap safe" dechlorinates the water. You use this at each water change.

There are many species of barb. Which ones do you like the look of? Tiger barbs will grow too big for your tank. Barbs tend to be aggressive. One species of barb that isn't is the cherry barb. They are peaceful and shy. Barbs shouldn't be kept with a Siamese fighting fish, or any other long finned fish.

You might consider some of the smaller tetra, or platy fish, endlers, or guppies.

Do you want plants or just sand and rocks?

Confitdecanard Wed 06-Apr-16 19:22:53

Thanks again for all the advice. Treesparrow, I have had another look at fish and am thinking a few harlequin rasboras to start then a couple of dwarf gourami and finally a few cory catfish. Do you think that would be OK for 57 litres?
I am going a bit crazy reading and hearing all the conflicting information on fish in/out cycling!
Some people are in favour of fish in with very frequent water change, others using something called tetra safe start and finally there are many online advocates of fishless cycling. I'm tempted to do fishless as if it only takes a couple of weeks it sounds like the least stressful.

Confitdecanard Wed 06-Apr-16 19:23:51

At the moment I've just got gravel and rocks a log thing and a few fake plants.

TreeSparrow Wed 06-Apr-16 20:55:47

Your stock list sounds fine apart from the dwarf gourami. They will be very aggressive in a small tank and in a pair the male will harass the female and likely kill her.

Fishless cycling is easy if you follow the instructions to the letter and test/dose at the same time each day.

Confitdecanard Wed 06-Apr-16 23:02:54

Ok, I'm not too bothered about the gourami. I was just thinking that one or two of something a tiny bit bigger might be nice as a sort of "feature". That was the fish shop suggestion. Perhaps I could forget that and have a few tetras instead. Thanks for taking the time to answer all my questions.

thecapitalsunited Thu 07-Apr-16 18:04:15

My dad's tank looks great with a bunch of small fish. He used to have bigger fish but the little ones are actually quite attractive in a tank.

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