Archive for August, 2007

Good Choices for Your First Saltwater Tank

Getting your first saltwater tank can be such an exciting event. You will finally be able to sit and enjoy the soothing beauty of your aquarium. However, it can also be frustrating and a bit overwhelming. What equipment do you need? Which fish are best for beginners? Here are some tips to help you start off right.

The first thing you should consider is the actual tank. An acrylic tank is a better insulator than a glass tank and is more stable in terms of temperature. Acrylic tanks are flexible, less prone to leakage and strong, which means they don’t break as easily as glass aquariums. Acrylic is also lighter and easier to drill into, which is important for installing certain filters. If your budget allows it, an acrylic tank would be a good idea.

However, for your first saltwater tank, a glass tank will do just fine, since you will be buying fish that are fairly hardy and easy to take care of. Since this is your first saltwater tank, you should consider purchasing an aquarium kit or package, as it comes with all the necessary equipment you’ll need to maintain your tank.

These aquarium kits usually include filters, heaters, test kits and manuals that will make it easier for you to set up your first saltwater tank. Some aquarium kits are so complete that they come with everything but your fish and water for the tank. These kits include fluorescent fixtures, power filters, plants, fish food, water conditioner and more. They come in sizes that range from about 30 gallons to 50 gallons.

For an extremely low maintenance tank, look for a kit that doesn’t require external plumbing for filtration. On these kits, the filter is attached to the back of the aquarium, making them very easy to maintain.

For your first saltwater tank, you may be tempted to buy the biggest, most colorful fish you can find. However, you really should have some experience with a saltwater fish tank before you spend hundreds of dollars on fish. Budget friendly, hardy fish are the best way to start.

The common clownfish was popular even before the cartoon movie made this hardy fish into a household name. While this fish is fairly easy to care for, it can be a bit aggressive, so you won’t want more than 3 of them in your aquarium. Your fish will be happiest if there are a few of their favorite anemones in the tank, as well.

A damselfish is also a good choice for your aquarium. Because damselfish are so aggressive to other damselfish, it is best to only have one of these colorful little guys in your tank.

Tangs are another popular choice for a first saltwater tank. However, you should be sure you have algae growing on your tank or you will need to provide a suitable alternative. The powder blue tang is the hardiest fish in the species. Since tangs are a bit aggressive, you shouldn’t add more than one to your tank.

Finally, you may want to consider adding some other living things, such as a cleaner shrimp or an anemone crab to the tank. Small hermit crabs are also easy to keep and very amusing to watch.

Good Choices for Your First Freshwater Tank

Setting up your first freshwater fish tank can be a fun and rewarding experience. However, it also can be challenging, especially if you start off with fish that are difficult to maintain. Luckily, there is not a shortage of hardy, inexpensive freshwater fish species. Finding good starter fish for your first aquarium is relatively easy.

If you’ve never had fish before, you may want to start with guppies. These fish can sometimes be found as juveniles in feeder fish tanks, which means you can buy six to ten fish for as little as a dollar. Of course, they are quite boring to look at until they mature, but raising them is certainly a great way to get the experience you need.

Some feeder guppies grow into lovely adult fish. Of course, if you don’t want to wait, you can simply buy adult guppies. Guppies are very social fish and get along well with others. They are easy to feed and care for. In fact, guppies are so hardy and laid back that it isn’t unusual for new fish owners to find that their fish have produced several dozen offspring.

If guppies aren’t quite your thing, you may want to consider tetras. Tetras do well in a small school. Most of these fish species are on the small side and aren’t very colorful to look at unless there are several of them darting about together. They are happiest in groups of six or more. These fish are good community fish and rarely act aggressive.

If you want a larger fish, the gourami is a good choice. These fish do best as pairs, since some males are aggressive towards other males. Gouramis are easy to care for and rarely act aggressively towards other species.

Most loaches are fairly easy to care for and get along well with other fish. With the exception of the yoyo loach, these fish enjoy having a buddy of the same species to hang out with. Loaches need a place to hang out during the day to stay happy, so be sure to provide a rock or pipe for your fish to hide in.

Barbs are extremely easy to keep, but not a good choice for tanks that also have fish with long fins, such as angelfish or guppies, since they tend to shred fins. Barbs do best in large groups, so you should keep at least four of these fish in your tank.

It seems like everyone wants to add an angelfish or two to their tanks. However, these fish can really be troublesome in the tank. They tend to be bullies and will eat smaller fish, such as tetras. At the same time, you will have to be sure that any fish that are too large for the angelfish to eat do not attack the angelfish and shred their fins. If you do decide that you want angelfish, you may be better off having a tank just for them. Angelfish are happiest in groups of two to four.

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