16 Gallon Bowfront::Freshwater::Lighting: PC 60w 10,000kFilter: Aquaclear 70CO2: Nutrafin system (started 10/23/08)Substrate: Playsand and Flourite.
Start small but not too small 10-20 gallons is a good beginner size tank. Know your spending limits, and research your fish BEFORE you get them.
16 Gallon: 5x Rummynose Tetra, 6x Botia Sidthimunki
30 Gallon: 6 Cardinia japonica, 3 Otocinculus, 6 Corydoras panda, 3 Marosatherina ladigesi, 1 Platydoras costatus, 1 bushynose plecostomus
16 Gallon: Vallisneria americana, Nuphar stellata, Myriophyllum pinnatum, Vesicularia dubyana, Echinodorus amazonicus, Lilaeopsis brasiliensis, Eleocharis parvula. (before BGA ate it all)
When you see signs of stress in your fish, you can then take steps to identify the source of that stress and then to resolve it before it becomes a major issue.
If you're looking for a unique way to stock your new tank, give freshwater shrimp a try.
If your fish is suffering, you may want to consider euthanasia as an option to humanely end his pain.