Fish for beginners, with a few weird circumstances

Discussion in 'General Advice' started by Deresto, Sep 17, 2022.

  1. Deresto

    Deresto Foolish Mortal

    Hello! I recently found myself in a situation where I have been given a 40 gallon aquarium, which contained a bearded dragon for a long while before he was rescued from a bad situation. He was being kept in very bad living conditions due to the previous owner having done little to no research before buying him and now lives in a lovely terrarium that he adores, and gets let out for supervised exploration as well

    I've always wanted fish, and have done a little research over the years playing with the idea for "someday", and now that I have the tank and am researching parts for it, I still have some questions:

    1. How do I clean the tank beforehand? It's not physically dirty but is there like... Lizard bacteria? What cleaning stuff can I use?
    2. Should I start with a smaller size? I feel like the fish might like more swim room but idk
    3. Should I focus on setting up saltwater or fresh water? Saltwater fish are prettier but I've seen vague hints over the years that it's harder
    4. Should I bother with trying to keep live plants? That seems way harder to keep up with but maybe better with whatever fishy I get?
    5. Do shrimp have to have a special kind of tank? I love them and would rather start with a few of them because I love how they look! Beautiful creatures
    6. Do different species of fishes need specific tank decorations? I've seen it hinted at as yes, but I really like the idea of a little SpongeBob pineapple, or perhaps a little version of his whole block, but that seems a little like a waste of space.
    7. Bubblers or no bubblers?
    I may think of more, but right now both random hints and guidance are just as good as specific answers. Help?
  2. vuatson

    vuatson [delurks]

    I know basically nothing myself, but if I were you I'd try reddit. There have got to be at least a few subs about fish care - I follow like 5 for different kinds of terrarium!
    • Agree x 2
    • Useful x 1
  3. Nyara

    Nyara New Member

    From what I've osmosed- saltwater tanks are a lot more complicated, larger aquariums are actually easier in a lot of ways - it's easier to keep temperature and ph stable, and most shrimp are relatively undemanding. But yeah, definitely check out reddit.
    • Useful x 1
  4. artistformerlyknownasdave

    artistformerlyknownasdave revenge of ricky schrödinger

    sorry this is so late! hopefully it's still relevant!
    personally when i need to deep clean an aquarium just to be safe, i use vinegar. some people say you can use dilute bleach but that makes me nervous. a good scrub and vinegar soak should take care of it, and then rinse thoroughly with water
    like nyara said, larger tanks are easier! fish produce ammonia, and a larger tank is generally more stable and less easily disrupted by small amounts of ammonia than a small tank, because the colony of beneficial bacteria it can hold is bigger and therefore able to handle it better.
    saltwater is much, MUCH harder; if you've never kept fish before (or haven't kept fish since a goldfish bowl as a kid) i would very strongly recommend starting with freshwater. saltwater is also much MUCH more expensive. if you have your heart set on saltwater, don't let me stop you, but you will definitely need to thoroughly research before you do
    personally i love live plants! IME they synergize really nicely with the fish and can actually help keep the tank stable. plants love the waste fish produce and will help remove some of it from the water, meaning you have less to worry about. they also love being put in a tank that's cycling and not yet safe for fish, which means you can have at least some pretty plants to look at while you wait for it to be ready for fish. it is a little more work, but i'll be honest: the amount of effort i put into my plants now is "add fertilizer to the soil every three months, add liquid fertilizer when i do a water change, pull out extra if there's too many". however as much as i like them they're not necessary and you'd be just fine with nice silk plants or a moss ball or something.
    a 40 gal is bigger than i normally see for shrimp but as long as you don't have any other fish in there that might eat 'em i don't see why they wouldn't be happy in there. the only thing i would recommend is getting something to test the kH and gH of your water (shrimp are more sensitive to this than fish) and maybe a little piece of sponge to cover up the intake of whatever filter you end up using so that they don't get sucked up in there
    it depends! if you get something like a halfmoon betta with a huge frilly tail i'd recommend against spongebob pineapples or anything similar with sharp edges because they can rip their fins on them, and goldfish are little demons that like to rip up plants and things, but honestly most fish will be happy with most decorations as long as they have somewhere to hide in if they want. real plants, silk plants, spongebob house, natural rock, fish don't care
    depends! some fish like water that is pretty agitated, and some fish (like bettas) prefer a gentler flow, so that could be a factor in whether or not you get a bubbler. it also depends on how much your filter agitates the surface of the water. bubblers don't actually add oxygen to the water directly, but by agitating the surface of the water with the bubbles, it helps enable CO2 -> O2 exchange. personally, i don't have a bubbler, because my filter agitates my water enough and i have a fairly heavily planted tank. if you opt not to get a bubbler and your water seems really still and unbroken at the surface, especially if your fish are gasping at the surface, that's when i'd get a bubbler and see if it helps.

    let me know if you have any other questions :-)
    • Informative x 1
    • Useful x 1
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