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Fish - absolute beginner. Advice please.

(8 Posts)
hel9a Sat 15-Aug-09 22:13:10

Have a fish tank but am clueless about looking after fish and there seems to be so much conflicting information out about how much space a fish needs, how to prepare the water etc etc that I'm getting really worried that we'll end up with a tankful of manky water and poor dead fish.

Please could someone advise me about which kind of fish we should get for our little tank and how to look after them?!

(We bought a 15L Baby BiOrb 4 days ago, put the chemicals in that came with it and have been putting StressZyme in everyday since then, as instructed by the fish-shop man).

Am so confused....!

jancolls Sun 16-Aug-09 00:32:41

If your tank doesn't come with a heater unit, then the only fish you can put in there will be coldwater fish, not tropical. The commonest coldwater fish and a good starter are goldfish. You can get fancy goldfish types as well, 2 of mine are fantails [self-explanatory when you see them] and one is a rhyunkin[sp?]. These are usually red, but can come in any colour and look as if they're pregnant [egg-shaped belly], but they are quite hardy.

Keep adding the stresszyme as instructed and you need to have the tank going for at least 10 days IMO, better is 14 days to be on the safe side, before you even introduce any fish. I'm assuming that you have the essentials such as the air pump and airstone, water filter etc and that you've treated the water with something like Tapsafe or Aquasafe, to remove the chlorine. One other tip I would suggest buying some oxgenating tablets. If the power supply fails or your air pump breaks down, you put a few of these in the water and it will keep them going for a while.

Go to a reputable dealer who will guarantee the fish and give you a refund or replacement if they die. Pets At Home offer this, as do Maidenhead Aquatics [only in the London area]. Our tank is about 30L and we have 3 fancy goldfish in it, all of whom are about 3" long. Coldwater fish will grow according to the space available to them and however much they are fed. I would start with 2 fish and see how you get on. When you bring the fish home, remove some of the water leaving about 2-3" from the top of the tank. Place the unopened bag into the tank and let the water inside the bag acclimatise for about an hour. Open the bag and dip the neck into the tank water, so that the fish can swim into the tank. Don't feed them until the next day.

If the tank has an interior light, switch the lighting controller on and plug into a timer. Set it to come on at lighting up time and go off when you go to bed. If siting the tank near a window, make sure to pull a curtain across if sunlight is strong, as this leads to green algae on the glass. There are all sorts of other water treatments on the market. Tetra Easybalance is just one, which is supposed to reduce the need for water changes. Be guided by your manufacturer's instructions and your local aquarium suppliers who will be able to give much needed advice.

Good luck with your endeavour, hope everything works out ok for you.

sweetnitanitro Sun 16-Aug-09 11:29:52

Please please please do not put any fish in a baby biorb, it is far too small to support a fish. The only reason these things get sold is that there's nothing legally to stop the bastards company making them. Can you take it back and get a refund? I wouldn't recommend anything less than 45 litres for your first tank.

Although small tanks are marketed as beginner tanks they are actually much harder to look after because the water quality is far less stable. One tiny mistake in a small tank is going to have much worse consequences than the same mistake in a larger tank.

Reputable dealers are great but can be hard to find especially for beginners because you never know what to believe and you get A LOT of info thrown at you by people that may not even know what they're on about. The best thing to do is join a fish forum on the internet where you can get free advice from geeks fishkeepers with no ulterior money-making motives. is a good one wink

charlotteolivia Sun 16-Aug-09 12:06:41

You are not suppose to put gold fish in a bioorb because the filtration system is different and it sends the fish in funny directions apparently! Also, it looks cool, but the small orb you have can only really support tiny little fish

sweetnitanitro Sun 16-Aug-09 13:07:24

Yes, the filtration won't cope with goldfish poop, and they also get way too big for biorbs (even the largest 60 litre size) despite what the instructions say.

Lovesdogsandcats Sun 16-Aug-09 22:22:58

agree with sweet and charlotte.

If you want to keep fish, take it back and get something else. Fish are not as 'easy' as you think and really need plenty of water to live properly.

if you really want to use the tank, empty it,add sand and bits of privet hedge and put a couple of stick insects in it.

hel9a Tue 18-Aug-09 00:29:08

Oh god!The Baby BiOrb really does seem to be the most hated fish tank in the world!sad

I'd resigned myself to the fact that we couldn't put anything in it other than a few tiny minnows - which is fine. Now, I'm seriously thinking about lugging the tank all the way back to the shop and getting something bigger so that we can have a few goldfish instead....

Who'd have thought that fish could be so complicated?! DC is sill recovering from the devastaating news that angelfish and glow-in-the-dark tetras are absolutely off limits for us and now we're looking at getting a new tank, waiting another 2 week wait 'til the water is ready and even then we might not be capable of having anything other that minnows. And don't even talk to me about green algae - am so not looking forward to that! shock

Anyway, thank you everyone for the very helpful info.

sweetnitanitro Tue 18-Aug-09 01:36:30

Goldfish need a MASSIVE tank so if you've got your heart set on them then ebay might be the best place to get a tank. You'll need a 3ft one at least for a couple of fancy goldfish.

And it can take up to 6 weeks for the water to be ready for fish. Yes, fish are complicated and expensive, but worth it grin you might even learn to love getting soaking wet and covered in fish poo once a week when you clean them out grin

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