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Currently setting up a Tropical Fish Tank - Any tips gratefully received.

(12 Posts)
Sparkler Sun 02-Aug-09 23:39:30

We already have a coldwater fish tank up and running and have been doing really well with it. I said that one the fish we have died off we would put the heater in and start trying with some tropical fish. The little buggers have refused to die grin and me being me (impatient grin ) have gone and bought another tank so I can get some tropical fish.
We have put it all together today - it was like trying to do a jigsaw puzzle putting the filter etc together but I think we are there now. The gravel was washed and put in and the tank is currently filtering through nicely and even after a few hours the water is less cloudy. I know we have to let it sit for at least a few days - it will be like this now for a week or two as I'm going away - before we get any fish.
I haven't switched the heater on as yet - bit nervous about this bit as only having a coldwater set up I've never used one before. Anyone have any tips/advice on heating the tank or anything else we need to know about running a successful tropical tank. TIA. smile

sweetnitanitro Mon 03-Aug-09 21:31:32

You need to fully cycle it before you add any fish at all (this is VERY important, do not let the fish shop talk you out of it). You can hurry it along with some mature filter media from your coldwater tank, just snip off a bit of sponge and chuck it in your new filter. The cycle can still take a few weeks though. Have a read of this-

I would switch the heater on now, filter bacteria is sensitive to changes in temperature and pH so you should set up the tank how you intend to run it once you have fish. Don't be nervous about heaters, I am very accident prone and I have yet to electrocute myself or my fish or blow anything up grin make sure you get a good digital thermometer so you can accurately tell the temperature. Around 24C is best for most tropical fish but it can vary from species to species.

The only other tip is to do LOADS of research on what fish to get, tropical fish are no harder to keep than coldwater fish as long as you get the right ones.
Here are some tips-

Sparkler Tue 04-Aug-09 11:49:51

That's really helpful, thanks! smile

RubberDuck Tue 04-Aug-09 11:53:58

sweetnitanitro beat me to it :D

Also wanted to add that ThinkFish is a great site, especially the community creator, for working out what fish will live peaceably side by side in the space that you've got:


Another reason to switch the heater on now is that the cycle is quicker to establish at warmer temperatures.

I'm also accident prone and have ended up with loose carbon inside the tank (biorb filters are really stupid at times) and all sorts of mishaps, but have not once blown up a heater or electrocuted myself grin

exchangeandmart Wed 05-Aug-09 16:00:12

Good luck with it all, it would be great for you to link some pics for us to have a look at! Have a look over at the pet section at exchange and mart as they have an aquarium/pet supplies section. Hope thats a help

poopscoop Wed 05-Aug-09 16:04:08

we were told to leave it a week when we first set it up, but tbh i really dont think it was long enough. we had death after death, infact i would say we managed to slaughter over a hundred fish in the first 6 months.(all the ones everyone says are the easiest!) But now the water is all as it should be we have had the same fish in there for around 5 months and they are happy as larry. smile

Sparkler Thu 06-Aug-09 13:53:35

Thanks very much for your tips and links everyone and yes I agree it could turn out to be an expensive habit - tropical fish aren't cheap to buy and to lose them must be awful.

springlamb Sat 08-Aug-09 20:58:55

It is an expensive hobby and when your guppies get 'going' it will be very time-consuming as you are bound to end up with 5 tanks scattered through the house as I did and spending each Saturday cleaning and doing water changes etc!
I would recommend leaving the tank up and running for six weeks then introducing some guppies and danios as they are quite hardy fish. Don't overstock the tank and get a mix of bottom feeders and surface feeders. has an excellent beginners forum.

feralgirl Sat 08-Aug-09 22:21:17

Have some good algae eaters to cut down the amount of work that you have to do!

e.g. dwarf bristle nose plecostamus aren't beautiful but still very cool to look at and v hard working, v tough and nigh on impossible to kill ime. Only get to 6" max whereas other plecs can get massive. They love bogwood to gnaw on.

Otocinclus catfish (otos) are small, cute and tough.

Whiptail catfish look ace and come in pretty colours too but you want to have your tank going for a while before you get one.

Shrimps are excellent, esp if you've got a nice planted tank and trouble with hair algae, but will get savaged by some types of fish. If you're not doing plants then there are some very cool looking snails that will do an ace job of keeping you algae free.

Like springlamb says, it's addictive...

springlamb Sun 09-Aug-09 08:21:17

Yep, and then you start getting interested in running a marine tank....

sweetnitanitro Tue 11-Aug-09 10:04:47

Nerite snails are great algae eaters and they won't breed in a freshwater tank.

I will attempt marine when I've got thousands of pounds to spare and more time than I know what to do with grin

springlamb Tue 11-Aug-09 14:32:29

God yeah.
I never had the time to do marine, all that reservse-osmosis would've gotten in the way of my knitting...
My neighbour set one up last year and it tooks months to get things right. We were up and down from the shop (which also nurses sick fish) with fish for weeks!
But it is really beautiful now, a 4ft nugget of the Pacific in his front room.

Panda corys are very sweet little fish too, I love them, but they do need an established tank.

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