Help with beginner's tank

7 posts

Discuss all topics related to freshwater and planted tanks.

Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Nov 07, 2007 9:41 pm

Help with beginner's tank

by nocruelty


I'm putting together a 12 gallon acrylic tropical freshwater tank for my daughter's bedroom. So much goes into setting this up correctly, I'm discovering!

I want to do it right to create a good environment, but with the budget approach in mind. I'll be guiding her to the "beginner's fish" list as well for selecting a handful of fish to start with.

Any suggested products for...

1. Air pump set up (with or without decor)
2. Substrate type
3. Heater needed
4. Decor (fake plants and rocks)
5. Filter set up
6. Food?

Any guidance would be appreciated.


Posts: 297
Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2007 8:42 pm

Re: Help with beginner's tank

by Poetic_Irony2267

I think it's awesome that you are setting up a tank for your daughter, here are some of my suggestions, any air pump rated for a ten gallon tank will be perfect, a single line to a rubberized flexible bubble wall will be perfect. i would suggest fake plants to start with as if the tank has live plants that's a whole new world of topics and things that need to be considered. as far as substrate i would suggest any small to medium type of stone which can be easily sifted with a small siphon type cleaner, if you are doing tropical i would say you need a heater tetra tech makes a good one for ten gallons that has a temperature adjuster that shows the diff temps that you can set it at. as far as a filter it's up to you whether you want an in-tank filter or an off the side filter, off the side filters are easier to clean and get at as they are accessible from the outside of the tank, if you choose an in-tank filter be prepared to have a towel handy when you pull it out to clean it. on my tanks i generally use aqua clear filters. Now for food, i have experimented with numerous types of foods and the best one that i found so far are the tetramin tropical crisps, the reason i like these for the tropical fish tank that i have setup is that they are little wafers and it's one crisp for every inch of fish or as i feed two crisps for every fish i have in the tank. As far as fish i would suggest a few fruit tetras, three or four neon tetras, one cory cat of your choice as a bottom feeder, and maybe one or two black phantom tetras. you want to stay away from mollies and guppies as these are live bearers and they will breed nonstop and eventually they will over run the tank. Talk to the pet stores and take your daughter with you to pick out the fish, make sure she understands the reasons that you can't put too many fish in the tank and that certain types of fish can't be put with others. I setup tanks on the side for a little extra Christmas money and when ever i setup a tank for a child I like to sit down and explain the diff types of fish there are and all of the proper care instructions. when you set the tank up let it stand with water in it and the filter running so that it cycles, leave it like this for a week or so, and a big big big thing is to keep it out of direct sunlight, you could end up with a serious algae problem if you have in direct sun.
i hope this is enough to get ya started.
Good luck!

Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Nov 17, 2007 8:26 am

Re: Help with beginner's tank

by goose9

. Air pump set up (with or without decor)
2. Substrate type
3. Heater needed
4. Decor (fake plants and rocks)
5. Filter set up
6. Food?

i would put an air pump under the gravel and without decor...
what do you mean by substarte type?
heater is need unless you do gold fish
that is fine..make sure that the fish is the vocal point..
just get a little whisper filter...does not take much
fish flakes do fine..but some fish like treats...

if you have any questions let me know...

Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Dec 19, 2007 9:45 pm

by kayleigh

In my personally opinion i have gained the most knowledge about setting up a beautiful tank through research from books, as i found when i first set up my own tank, anothe good option for finding good products is to find other fish enthusiasts and find a good aquatic shop and get their opinion as they will also have alot of eexperience on what would be best!

hope this is a bit more helpful

Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2007 5:41 pm

by Amd64User4108

I have also just recently set up a couple tanks, in June, I went at first with nothing more than an undergravel filter, now have both undergravel and an power filter 10 (topfin) (Very Affordable).. Also went with very small gravel, not super fine like sand, but relatively small, again very affordable, as for food, use flakes, untill the tank is going for a few, than spoil the fish once in a while with treats. A good tank starter IMHO as far as fish go would be some neon's, or daniels, they are cheap so if they die (starting tanks usualy results in a death or 2) your not grabbing out the wallet for plastic to replace them. now heat is a must! a 50watt heater is perfect for a 10-15 gallon tank. and again affordable in the range of like $15.00-$19.00.
Dont forget your water conditioner, $3.00, and your conditioning salt, also $3.00.
Use the conditioner and salt exactly as directed, 1 cap per 5 gallons / 1tbs per 5 gallons, and your fish will live happily... any other questions? feel free to ask..

Posts: 23
Joined: Sat Dec 22, 2007 6:45 am

by getwithit

ok budget in don't need an air pump if you have a good filter i prefer a biowheel. the biowheel purpose is to give you a biological filter (perhaps it works that way) but i use it simply because it seems to put ALOT of air into the tank via tiny bubbles. you can get real cheap gravel it is a bit large, but works. i think tetra makes it for like $2 for a 5 lb bag all you'll need is 2. a 50 watt heater like mentioned befor is all you need in that department. a few fake plants make the tank look nice but you will need some type of ornament or rock that will allow the fish to hide. you will also need a gravel vac (basically a syphon) to keep the gravel clean. as far as fish food just go to the pet store there are 100's of types alot of them taget specific fish others are more general.. its up to you. when getting fish do a lil research first some fish have very specific needs. that should be all. gl

Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Oct 30, 2007 12:34 am

by kolp88

if you haven't got the tank by now or anybody reading this. you should buy a bigger glass tank new or used for the same money as the acrylic one, the bigger the tank the better. not too big that your daughter can't take care of or most likey in a few weeks, you. used is the best for a budget because sometimes you can get the whole setup for the same money as a new tank alone. you said you are going for a tropical tank but i thing a cold water tank is best for the beginner. coldwater is room temp. 70-72F high side to any temp. below. goldfish are not the only fish you can put in a cold water tank but many fish most think of as tropical. ex. bala, red tail,rainbow sharks 72-77F/ most danios like zebra/ white cloud 64-77F/ barbs like rosy 64-77Fand tiger barb 68-79F/bigger but silver dollars 73-81F/neon tetras 68-79F/ paradis fish 61-82F/ glass catfish 68-79F/ some cory catfish. Here is my pick for the beginner all easy to find livebearers. they are swortails, platy and variatus, guppy and some mollys. Platys i think are the best because they can live in water 61-77F and get 2-2.5 in. there are so many different colors, fin types,and mixes of the two, you can have a tank full of them and no two look alike. some poeple looking at your tank may think you have many differnt types of but you only have one. you do not need an air pump because the colder the water the more air it can hold. substrate type standard pet store gravel. decor best to use fake plants at first. filter any HOB type rated for two times the amount on the box for your tank size. ex. 29 gallon tank needs a 60 gallon filter. clean the tank two times a week. ex. sunday siphon water and gravel, take out 15% water. then wendesday just take out 10% water and not clean gravel.

Help with beginner's tank

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