How I started with tropical fish

Well we have to go back a few years. (Stick with me this post may get long!)

About 6 year ago my mother got a tropical fish tank it was bright shiney and looked really pretty with loads of active fish in it etc and this really started off my interest in tropicals and I started seriously considering getting my own tank and setup.

Unfortunately I was working away from home and also in the middle of moving house too so I wasn’t around anywhere near enough to look after them.  By time I was in a situation to be able to look after a tank and the fish the thought of getting my own tank had completely slipped my mind.  So a few years passed (about 5) and now a few friends had started getting into fish.  Scouring eBay for bargins they started with smallish tanks and worked their way up to pretty offensively large ones (in the 6-10 foot long range!)

Again my interest was got and I started talking to the missus about getting one however we were unsure how we’d handle that since we now have 2 cats too one of which LOVES water – yes we are aware cats aren’t supposed to its so bad she goes for a swim in the bath if the door is left open and the bath full.

A few days into our discussion and another one of our friends was moving house and she’d got rid of all of her stuff apart from a little 35 litre breeding tank with a few fish and she wanted it to goto a good home.  I rolled in from work one day to see the missus on the drive with a half full tank of water and a load of fish on the front seat of her car 🙂

So we brought the tank in but completely caught off guard we had nothing prepared for it and I hadn’t even looked at how best to setup a tank etc.  So after an hour of discussions with other slightly more experienced fish keepers we decided the best course of action was to just refill the current tank without cleaning it or the gravel etc and getting it up and running asap as we had a fair few live fish needing to get into a heated tank pretty fast.

So using tap warm water to get the temperature close to what it should be and some AquaSafe and EasyBalance (both tetra products) were added in to quickly balance out and neutralise the crap that comes out of the tap, an hour to settle and the fish were put back in.

In our little setup we got:

  • Internal pump and filter
  • 100w heater (massively too powerfull for tank size)
  • 12″ air stone
  • Air pump
  • A few plants
  • couple of ornaments

Fish wise we got

  • 6x Neon tetras
  • 3x Blind Cavefish
  • 5x Green Tiger Barbs
  • 1x Common Pleco
  • 1x Yoyo Loach
  • 2x Sword tails

At first I thought it was a few too many fish for the amount of water but because we have such good water movement and circulation I was assured it would be OK.

In the first 2 weeks we lost a single fish one of the sword tails.  Which considering the shock they’d just had I didn’t think was too bad.  We replaced it with 2x baby Silver Sharks about 1″ long each – I am aware these can grow big and need space but they’re only babies for now so we have some time.

What I wasn’t quite aware of is just how big the Pleco was he’s now coming up on 7-8 inches.  After much discussion with others it was decided we either needed to get rid of him to someone with a bigger tank or get a bigger tank for ourselves and soon.

Time to hit eBay again and we picked up a 55 Litre tank and stand with header and filter.  Sorted time to get it home. I spent the next day cleaning the tank so it was shiney as it had come from a hard water area and had quite alot of manky buildups on it.  The tank was tested for leaks and a new Aqua-Glo bulb was put in (our local shop doesn’t sell Sun-Glo 🙁 )

So this was about a week and a half ago.  We now have the 2nd tank filled up with water and planted up with some nice java ferns its got a nice big chunk of bogwood in it and a good little cave thing all ready for the plec and loach from the smaller tank (the loach is fully grown too).  Despite water testing though I wanted to chuck some cheap fish in there and give them a week see how they go.  So the big tank now has 10 assorted guppies in there and 2 baby red tailed sharks.  So far 48 hours later we’ve not lost any yet however I do suspect we’ll be loosing one of the guppies in the next 24h or so if not sooner.  I’ve water tested it all again and everything seems fine I guess its just the sudden change that got it either way 1 out of 12 isn’t bad for a completely fresh setup tank.

In the mean time the small tank which I want to take the big fish out of has developed white spot on the sword tail (thankfully no others have it yet) hopefully I’ve caught it soon got some anti fungal stuff chucked in the water and turned the heat up slightly to about 28 degree’s (may be a little above but shouldn’t be harmfull)

In 5 days I’ll re-treat the little tank again and do a partial (about 20%) change of both tanks assuming the treatment works and the whitespot is cleared up and water quality is good in both by next sunday I’ll be doing the big change over of fish.

In the end I want the small tank to have

  • 5x green barbs
  • 6x Neon tetras
  • 1x red tailed sword
  • 1x sword tail
  • 2x albino pleco’s (a friends fry aren’t ready yet but she’s promised me 2 little ones for free \o/ )

I’ll see how it goes after that but perhaps if its not over full at this point I may put a couple more green barbs in and a few more neons as they’re shoaling fish and are more comfy in groups.

The bigger tank will have

  • 1x  common pleco
  • 2x silver sharks
  • 1x red tailed shark
  • 3x blind cavefish
  • 1x yoyo loach
  • XX guppies (depends how many die in the next week)

After that I’d like to get 2 more yoyo loachs for that tank to keep the other one company as I read they’re very social fish.  I’m also considering a couple of clown loaches and a few glass cats although I’m welcome to additional suggestions should any of you have them as to what else can go in and play well.

I’m also on the look out for another tank now a much much larger one either a corner or a nice bow front one in the 180 + litre kinda region with a stand + filter + pump + heater.  So trawling out for ebay for me.  What I’d like to do over time is to get all the right fish with the right other fish so they won’t be fighting etc and i can get the water ph/hardness/temperature closest match for all fish in that tank as at current there’s quite a range of preferences for all the fish I currently have and not enough tanks to accomodate them all.  I’d also like to have a shot at a few biotope specific ones with abit of aqua scaping I’m thinking neons first since some black water should be pretty easy to achieve.

Anyway rather long but thats the introduction to me and this site and as I learn more and have developments with the tanks etc I’ll hopefully be posting more.

On a side note I’m always open to advice so if you see me doing something massively wrong please tell me using the handy contact us form or a comment and I’ll make sure your information gets posted here.

I’m also looking for experienced people to write some articles for the site on general fish keeping, specific fish breed keeping and aquascaping

Get in touch I'd love to hear from you

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