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Fish for a Beginner?
01-23-2013, 10:13 PM,
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amberra824 Offline
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Fish for a Beginner?
At the moment, my income (or lack of one) prevents me from getting the bigger and more expensive pets that I would like. Yes, I know that fish will cost money as well, but the other pets I have in mind are a husky or a Bengal cat - both of which would cost far more money and time than most fish, I'm sure. I don't really need a pet, I know, but I like to have something to love and take care of when I'm home alone, and I've always found owning a pet (even one as small as a fish) to be therapeutic.

So, I'm looking for a fish (or more than one) that is both beautiful, but easy to take care of for a beginner. I'd prefer to not have to buy an extremely large tank, but a medium sized one is fine, and I'm willing to buy all the accessories that are needed. I'd prefer a sort of exotic looking fish since those interest me more, but I'm willing to start out with whatever is simple and easy to take care of. What's the point in buying a fish if I'm going to make a minor mistake that ends up killing it? I'd like to ease into it, to prevent the useless ending of fish lives.

Any suggestions?
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01-23-2013, 10:57 PM,
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Thor Offline
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RE: Fish for a Beginner?
Hello there, it is good to have more people looking into keeping fish. Smile

Fish are easy to keep if you do things correctly.

One of the most important basic knowledge of fish keeping is aquarium nitrogen cycle. Please read the entire article and try to understand it if you are serious about getting fish. Wink

The article itself tells you what you will need to set up an aquarium properly. We recommend fishless cycle before getting any fish at all. It is all explained in the article.

A few more beginner's articles are mentioned here.


What you get will also depend on your budget, space available at home, as well as the time for maintenance.

How much do you plan to spend?
We can give you some detailed plans if the maximum budget is mentioned.
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01-24-2013, 02:01 PM,
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Ram Offline
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RE: Fish for a Beginner?
You like exotic looking fish?
Is Dwarf Gourami exotic enough for you? Is betta exotic enough for you? Smile Is German Blue Ram exotic for you? Google up those terms and you will see the photos.

Or you can check the link in my signature and check out the videos of my fish tanks.

What is your idea of "extremely large" tanks? You don't want them, but we also would like to know the actual size of what you do not want. Wink

To keep fish, you will need filter system, heater if they are tropical. Water conditioner is a must for every water change. Air pump and air stones unless you keep betta or Gourami.

It is a lot of planning. More details on what exactly you want is needed. Smile You can start with the tank size and your budget size.
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01-24-2013, 03:44 PM,
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amberra824 Offline
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RE: Fish for a Beginner?
Thank you for the great resources, Thor! I only browsed through them quickly before my reply, but I've bookmarked the pages and will be sure to read them more in-depth (probably several times) before even beginning to shop for a fish. I don't want to spend the money and time on a pet just for it to die due to my own negligence when there are resources like this to prevent such a thing from happening!

Also, I'm looking to spend a few hundred dollars at the most. Maybe around $300-$400? Of course, I'd probably be far better starting off with something even smaller and more inexpensive than that, but that's about the top price I'd be willing to pay to get started. I've actually been putting aside money for a pet for awhile, and so I have a bit more than I would have thought possible to spend.

Ram - the only one of those fish you mentioned that I liked was the Betta xD Those I like a lot, but everyone I have spoken to have said that theirs never lasted very long. My sister owned them and attempted to breed them for a 4H project, and they both died within a week or two, even before being put in the tank together.
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01-24-2013, 09:54 PM,
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Thor Offline
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RE: Fish for a Beginner?
Properly cared for betta (Siamese Fighter Fish) can live up to 5~7 years or even longer.
If you truly like betta, you do not need to spend a lot of money at all.

Keep in mind that betta needs to be kept alone. You will need just one small size tank. 5 gallons is minimal, 10 gallon is recommended. More water means more stable water temperature and chemistry, and fish need stable water to thrive.

At my local stores,
5-gallon glass tank = $11
10-gallon glass tank = $14

I would definitely go for the 10-gallon, because it is $3 more for double the size.

You will need a heater because betta is tropical fish.
I would recommend adjustable heater, because most heaters out there aren't exactly accurate. You will need to adjust the temperature accordingly. Betta requires 78~80F+ to be healthy. Lower temperature will compromise their immune system, which can make them easier to catch diseases and become sick.
A 50w heater will work just fine.

A filter system is a must for any fish. It is explained in the article of aquarium nitrogen cycle. Without it, fish will die to ammonia poisoning.
For small sized tanks, AquaClear Power Filter will do fine. However, for a 10 gallon, even the smallest AquaClear 20 might create too strong of a current for a slow moving fish like betta, because it has the GPH (gallon per hour) rate of 100 gallons. You may try to slow the current by install a piece of pre-filter on the intake.

Or,

You can just use a sponge filter instead of the power filter. It will not have strong current, but you will need either an air pump or a powerhead to power the sponge filter in order to have it to work.
You may choose between Hydro Sponge filter, and Azoo Oxygen Plus Bio-Filters. Make sure try to get a Hydro Sponge I if you go that brand, because any other model is too high for a 10 gallon and require manual cutting of the tube before it can fit.

You will also need water conditioner. SeaChem Prime is my favorite.
As well as fish food. For small mouth fish like betta, you should get small pellets. I like New Life Spectrum. Use the "small fish formula".

For water change (weekly 30~50% partial water change is recommended as regular maintenance),
Extra equipments you will need will be a 5-gallon bucket, or maybe two.
An aquarium vacuum. A fish net. Algae scraper.

Of course, it is recommended you do a fishless cycle first before adding the fish. It will need additional supplies. Ammonia and a water test kit are must have. It is up to you if you want to get Tetra SafeStart to speed it up. Sure you can skip the fishless cycle if you use Tetra SafeStart the moment you get fish. Everything in this paragraph is explained in the aquarium nitrogen cycle article.

This whole set up should be below $100, and you will not need to spend money again for a long time to come.
The bright side of this set up is cheap, easy to maintain. Although you only get 1 betta fish, it is not a downside if you like it. Smile
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01-25-2013, 09:57 PM,
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amberra824 Offline
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RE: Fish for a Beginner?
Wow - I have to thank you so much for going this much in depth to help me. I really, truly appreciate it. I think this may be the most helpful, friendliest forum I've been on in a while Smile

I guess we never really had the resources for the Betta we had when I was younger. They always sold them at Meijers or something in little tiny plastic containers, so we just put them in a medium-sized fishbowl without any heater, because we didn't realize that they needed it. I guess that's why they never seemed to live very long in our family.

I do love them, and I wouldn't mind just having one since they are so colorful. I think I'll go with a Betta. I'm making a careful note of all the information you've given me, and I think I might finally be able to get a good fish that will live for awhile Tongue

Thank you!
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01-26-2013, 12:09 PM,
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Ram Offline
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RE: Fish for a Beginner?
(01-24-2013, 03:44 PM)amberra824 Wrote: Also, I'm looking to spend a few hundred dollars at the most. Maybe around $300-$400? Of course, I'd probably be far better starting off with something even smaller and more inexpensive than that, but that's about the top price I'd be willing to pay to get started.

Ram - the only one of those fish you mentioned that I liked was the Betta xD Those I like a lot, but everyone I have spoken to have said that theirs never lasted very long. My sister owned them and attempted to breed them for a 4H project, and they both died within a week or two, even before being put in the tank together.

You don't think German Blue Ram and Dwarf Gourami are exotic enough? O_o Are you sure you were looking at the right fish? Big Grin

Dwarf Gourami is a relative of Betta. They are very beautiful with those strips, and they have those two "feelers". They are also very smart fish who can build bubble nest for spawning. They take care of their eggs and fry.
Here is a video,




German Blue Ram Ciclids are very exotic shaped by "fish standard". LOL!
Check out this video. They are beautiful as well.






Getting a small setup for a single betta is certainly one solution. If you are looking into something more existing, you should check out planted community aquarium. The following is my 40 gallon community tank.




Usually bigger tank is actually better than smaller tank, because more water means more stable water, and fish dislike sudden large changes in water conditions.

I understand you are on a limited budget of $300~400. Getting a 20~29 gallon shouldn't be a problem. You can pick up those 20 or 29 gallon tanks separately from the equipments, or you can buy a full start kit. Check out this 29 gallon starter kit with filter, heater, lights. It is pretty good.
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01-26-2013, 03:54 PM,
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amberra824 Offline
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RE: Fish for a Beginner?
Ram - okay, my friend must have sent me pictures of the wrong fish, then xD She claimed to own a Dwarf Gourami and sent me pictures to show me, and it looked NOTHING like that >.< Those are actually really pretty Smile And oh my gosh. The German Blue Ram Ciclids are indeed gorgeous! And so exotic looking, you're right! This is the last time I trust my friend to find good photos for me when my internet conks out, lol.

I think I may prefer having more than one fish to just one. It would most likely be more interesting to see fish reacting to each other and everything.

Thank you for the videos and the information!
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01-28-2013, 01:47 PM,
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Ram Offline
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RE: Fish for a Beginner?
It's why I asked you to watch the videos through the link in my signature. Smile I have all those fish.
There is also no need to ask friends for photos when you can Google them in seconds. Wink

Yes, it is nice to have a community tank where many species of fish live together and interact together. I love school fish because they stay in a group, and sometimes they chase each other for fun. I was wondering how they were able to tell which species themselves are and not following the wrong group. Big Grin

Having one fish give you more of a chance to interact with the fish. Betta is definitely one of those fish species can actually interact with the owner, although not guaranteed.
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01-29-2013, 06:39 AM,
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andrew320 Offline
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RE: Fish for a Beginner?
Bettas are fantastic fishes. I was considering getting one for a longtime, but I couldn't afford such a high responsibility. They need care the most, especially considering how they're in small containers and stacked up on a counter. It's quite sad. So, for budget and wanting one, a Betta would be your best bet.

They have their own personalities, they're easy to maintain and they live longer.
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02-03-2013, 01:25 AM,
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Ram Offline
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RE: Fish for a Beginner?
There is not much to it when comes to Betta care. As long as you set the tank up correctly (5+ gallons, filter, heater), and cycle the tank first before adding the fish. The rest is just daily feeding (once), and weekly partial water change. I don't see it as taxing on the Betta owner. It is the same as all healthy aquariums, the regular maintenance is only weekly. You can do it in 15 minutes.

It is also cheap no doubt. Two digits amount of bucks should take care of it. You don't need to spend more money until you run out of fish food or water conditioner. The rest is just to enjoy your fish. Totally worth it!
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07-25-2013, 03:49 AM,
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edimzy Offline
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RE: Fish for a Beginner?
These are freshwater tropical fish proven to be hardy, undemanding, and well-suited for the beginning hobbyist. To ensure compatibility for aquarium success, pick one of these fish.
-Electric Yellow Cichlid
-Electric Blue Cichlid
-Maingano Cichlid
-Kenyi Cichlid
-Turquoise Danio
Clap
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07-29-2013, 04:34 PM,
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Ram Offline
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RE: Fish for a Beginner?
(07-25-2013, 03:49 AM)edimzy Wrote: These are freshwater tropical fish proven to be hardy, undemanding, and well-suited for the beginning hobbyist. To ensure compatibility for aquarium success, pick one of these fish.
-Electric Yellow Cichlid
-Electric Blue Cichlid
-Maingano Cichlid
-Kenyi Cichlid
-Turquoise Danio
Clap

Sorry, you might be a cichlids fan... or not, these fish are not good choices for beginners.

They might be fairly easy to take care of, but that's one thing. If you consider their sizes, their territorial instinct, and their price tag... they aren't exactly newbie friendly.

Electric yellow Cichlid for example, it will reach 8" long. Just an example... The fish tank size requirement for these cichlids is high. You need large aquarium for these aggressive African Cichlids. When the tank size goes up, so will the filter system and the heater...

These cichlids are also sold for $5~10 each. Not exactly the cheapest fish around for beginners.

African cichlids are territorial and aggressive. This is another issue the beginners do not want to deal with from the very start.

You have to understand that the beginners should start with something fairly cheap, and don't require a huge fish tank. And the less problem the better. If they make a mistake, at least they won't lose expensive fish. If they lose interest after a while, at least they won't be stuck with a huge investment on the huge fish tank and other equipments.
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08-20-2013, 09:08 AM,
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RE: Fish for a Beginner?
If you are looking with sticking between the $300 to $400 range, then you should look at a 29 gallon aquarium. Here is a sample of your costs.


$40 | Your 29 gallon aquarium.
$25 | Filter for your aquarium
$30 | Aqueon Pro 150 watt heater
$30 | Gravel for your aquarium
$30 | API Freshwater Master Test Kit
$25 | Fake plants for your aquarium
$20 | Prime Water Clarifier
$3 | 5 Gallon Bucket
$15 | Aqueon Water Changer
$100 | Lighting along with covers

Total: $315.

You can spend money of fish after this,

I personally recommend 10 cardinal tetras. 1 dwarf gourami. 1 birstlenose pleco. 4 german blue rams.
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08-20-2013, 01:09 PM, (This post was last modified: 08-20-2013, 01:11 PM by Ram.)
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Ram Offline
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RE: Fish for a Beginner?
(08-20-2013, 09:08 AM)cpwebsite Wrote: If you are looking with sticking between the $300 to $400 range, then you should look at a 29 gallon aquarium. Here is a sample of your costs.


$40 | Your 29 gallon aquarium.
$25 | Filter for your aquarium
$30 | Aqueon Pro 150 watt heater
$30 | Gravel for your aquarium
$30 | API Freshwater Master Test Kit
$25 | Fake plants for your aquarium
$20 | Prime Water Clarifier
$3 | 5 Gallon Bucket
$15 | Aqueon Water Changer
$100 | Lighting along with covers

Total: $315.

You can spend money of fish after this,

I personally recommend 10 cardinal tetras. 1 dwarf gourami. 1 birstlenose pleco. 4 german blue rams.

I have to disagree with your fish stock idea because of the following reasons,

1. A 29 gallon is the minimal recommended size for a Bristlenose Pleco which will become 6" long and produce a lot of poop and ammonia. You still want to add 15 other fish on the top of a Bristlenose Pleco in a minimal size of tank. It will be very like to have ammonia / nitrite spike in the aquarium, because the tank is overstocked in the term of bio-load.

2. A 29 gallon will never be enough for 4 German Blue Rams unless they are all females. If you have just one male in there, if that male pairs off with a female, they will become territorial toward the other two GBR and it won't be pretty in a 29 gallon small tank. If you have two males, they also might pair off with the two females and it will create a 2 on 2 aggression situation. So nope, I wouldn't recommend more than 2 German Blue Ram in a 29 gallon tank.

3. Dwarf Gourami can be territorial, and mine always picked on my GBR and I have a 40 gallon for them. I eventually removed the Dwarf Gourami because he would pick on and only pick on the GBR in my show tank.
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