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Ode To First Aqaurium Owners

Updated on December 21, 2014

What To Do, One Goldfish? Or Two?

This wish for an aquarium seems overwhelming.
Should it be a ten or even a fifty-five gallon?
Should the front be straight or bending?
Or perhaps the stands show its filters or look like a million?

When you come right down to it can I count on the rule of thumb
You know the one that states one fish for every five gallons
Or can I trust the groups of owners I visit and hope they aren't all as numb as they appear
The aquarium owners say forget the samllion gallon rule you hear!

The thing to do is remember keep it dark and keep it light.
All in all it still comes down to what we hear
You must do whatever makes you happy
So listen to the all the balcony cheers and just enjoy life my dear!

Advice for First Time Fish Keepers

When I started out seriously searching for information related to aqauriums I had to suffer (yes, that is the word) through friends and family's best advice.

Such advice consisted of "you'll be have to empty the entire tank weekly... rinse and scrub everything outside in the heat of summer and the cold of winter... it never stays clean... the fish all die... the bigger fish eat the smaller fish... it stinks... fish cause cancer.

You can see why it took me a LONG time to actually get my feet wet lol.

However, there are some things I learned and that may help others who are "just starting out" .This is assuming there are others who hasn't ever had an aqaurium, I feel at times that I was the last person ON EARTH to do this extremely satisfying, relaxing hobby.

1) Choosing the site for your aqaurium is Paramount! I have mine in my daughters old room and it is carpeted. The water level is not even from one side of the tank to the other and this can cause stress on the glass...hopefully not too soon.

2) Sunlight causes cancer, fish do not cause cancer.

Sunlight also causes algae. Algae comes in all colors.

Green is just the end product.

So when my parents placed their ten gallon goldfish aquarium on their sunporch guess what they got?

You got it, about twelve hours of seeing their goldfish swimming and the other seventy some odd hours of the week peering through various stages of algae bloom :)

3) Remember!!! The steps are as follows:

Ready. Aim. Fire. Not Ready. Fire. Aim.

If there were a better way to "re-house" fish other than the clockwise swirling of white water leading to a holding tank of vast waste proportions...OK OK I hear all you PETA People!

I said "if there were a better way" I didn't say I'd done it! Geez! Gimme a break!

4) Back to number three...choose all parts of this hobby with exceptional care.

Easier said than done.

Now I realize the best way to do this would be to actually sit in other aquarium owners homes for a few hours every day for a week or so to see which aquarium, which fish, which set up etc you really liked the best.

Barring that...I researched all the different sites I could find on fish, aquariums, care and maintenance, feeding and breeding etc but in the end I had to look at the main things: budget, space, time, ease of care, hardiness of the fish and most importantly of all COLOR!! I love the different colors of all the tropical fish.

5) However, if I had it to do over,

I would:

go with a bow front, ( wear trifocals and a flat front distorts the view) and more two to three inch non schooling fish such as platies and less (much) small, quicksilver fish like guppies and danios.

I would:

never, ever spend seven dollars for a cool looking upside down catfish!!! I am still trying to wake up at one or two in the morning just to catch a glimspe of this fish! Otherwise I'd be certain I have vacuumed the thing up the first day it was in the tank!

I would:

go slower, I would try to get plants established first.

I would:

not buy the really cool oriental dragon...well...OK, I would, cause its really, really cool and bubbles come out of its mouth...but one bubbler is all you need, not three.

Look, no comments from the peanut gallery you guys! I already admitted to being the ready, fire, aim personality!

I would:

keep the ten gallon tank just for the prettiest fan-tailed betta I could find! In fact, I am thinking of re-housing the rainbow tetras in there now and fixing it up for one Betta.

Don't look at me like that!! I already told you I wouldn't re-house to the vast waste depository!

6) But, I would not just chuck it. Having an aquarium is the best hobby yet! Best because unlike all the others this one does not get stuck in a corner of a closet!

Fish are relaxing; fish are fun to watch; fish are never boring; fish do not eat much; fish are not messy (buying an Eheim submersible vacuum was the best investment I made for maintaining my forty-five gallon tank! I was just afraid I'd soak the carpet with the gravity vacuum, the Eheim is really cool, just hold it a half inch over the gravel push the button and wait, the Eheim stands up all by itself in the forty-five gallon tank and it just floats all by itself. It is slow, but it works and it does not suck fast, it is just like the one's you see in an outdoor pool, it just floats and sucks up all the ugh into its own filter.

Really a good investment for sixty bucks!

With the ten gallon tank I have to hold the Eheim, wait, move it a bit, wait on so on. When the filter gets one quarter full, I just take the filter off and run it under running water in the sink. All the waste collects in the removeable filter and you never have to touch the stuff!

And as I mentioned, it does take longer but even with all the necessary cleaning for both the ten and the forty-five gallon tanks once a month it takes me an hour.

That hour includes vacuuming, water changes, cleaning inside of the glass, changing filters and moving the "toys". That is not a long time.

The other three Saturdays of the month all I have to do is add treated water.

Pretty cool!

7) I think the one thing I did correctly (other than doing it with joy) was providing both a hang on tank filter and a submersible filter for both my tanks. I believe that has kept the water clearer, cleaner and decreased the mortality rate of the fish..

The type of on tank filter you choose is just personal choice, the one that came with the ten gallon stater kit was way too noisy so I swapped it out for a tetra whisper and I love it. The one I have is a double filter and there is a little strip that comes with the filter; when you change the filter you press the bubble on the strip, within thirty seconds the bottom starts to darken and as the filter becomes used the strip changes color. The line turns red and when the red color reaches the top of the strip it is time to change the filters.

Very easy, very clean. Also with the Tetra Whisper I do not have to run the new filter under running wter, it just pops in place and that is that.

As far as submersible filters, I still think fluval makes the best. It seems to be the easiest to use, the quietest, longest lasting filter as well as having less trouble with set up.Maybe one day when I get really courageous as well as having more start up cash I will start a salt water tank and go for the cannister filters, however I have not neded a larger filter, that will be for the next aquarium!.

8) But for now, I will save up again and start another tank, perhaps another forty-five gallon or larger, up to a seventy gallon, planted, with only three types of fish, bottom, middle and upper dwellers.

Neons on the bottom, platies in the middle and hmmm the top dwellers are hard, they tend to be schoolers, such as hatchet fish, they tend to just hang out and they do not cause a lot of viewing excitement...oh well.

9) And of course algae eaters, not the one that gets a hundred feet long, just a plain algae eater, did you know their eyes blink? They do, its cool.

10) Last but not least, do not be afraid to buy from Walmart or Petsmart or Petmart...just go often, be aware of theire delivery dates, make sure you see their tanks actually being cleaned and go for it! All aquarium stores have overcrowding, they all have dead fish in their tanks and they aren't really out to torment you and all tropical fishees of the world!

Just remember Caveat emptor.

That and don't send seven or eight dollars on a shy upside down catfish that you'll never see lol

11) I have to add one more thing...obviously I remain the ready, fire, aim type...because this afternoon I went to Petsmart (I love that place...the kids that work there are used to me now and they are fun and helpful)...and I bought four plants, Hornwort,moneywort, mondo (well everyone knows no one can kill monkey grass so its safe) andfrill! Very feathery, soft, and waves around with the motion of the water.

12) So the dragon remains but the fake tree and fake plant came out and the new plants went in. They are lovely and the fish got so excited they were just like a bunch of giggling teenagers on a spend the night!

13) So there you are, a bakers dozen for "Advice for First Time Fish Keepers". Keep on swimming!

pics of my two tanks after four months

45 gallon Dragon tank
45 gallon Dragon tank
Poor Betta died, now one Gouramis lives in the 10 gallon tank;and the upside down catfish...somewhere
Poor Betta died, now one Gouramis lives in the 10 gallon tank;and the upside down catfish...somewhere
stay still little fishee's!!
stay still little fishee's!!
the whitish cast is early algae bloom...every time you clean or add things this may occur...the 10 gallon is less susceptible,see how clear the 10 gallon is compared to the 45? But it was the opposite last weekend after I REALLY cleaned the 10 gallon
the whitish cast is early algae bloom...every time you clean or add things this may occur...the 10 gallon is less susceptible,see how clear the 10 gallon is compared to the 45? But it was the opposite last weekend after I REALLY cleaned the 10 gallon
The difference between fake and lie plants, oh my, theres no comparison, live plants are soooo much better!
The difference between fake and lie plants, oh my, theres no comparison, live plants are soooo much better!


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    • RNMSN profile image

      Barbara Bethard 5 years ago from Tucson, Az

      hey there Clayton

      absolutely better late than... :)semper fi!

      and wheres your challenge coin?

    • profile image

      Clayton 5 years ago

      Love it! Little late but... oh, well. USMC!

    • RNMSN profile image

      Barbara Bethard 5 years ago from Tucson, Az

      thank you!! I love the fish..

    • justmesuzanne profile image

      justmesuzanne 5 years ago from Texas

      Your tanks are lovely and not overstocked! Voted up and useful! :)

    • RNMSN profile image

      Barbara Bethard 8 years ago from Tucson, Az

      thank you both Tamarind and Kezza!! Now to update you...we are in Tucson :) finally at our hearts home after 14 years away!! the str in law and the 3 yr old grandaughter came last week and hubby and I caught all the fish, made lots of zip lock gallon bags and the little head went back home happy as a clam naming ll of them Nemo! bless her heart she doesn't know we arent across tn anymore/just as well...besides our son is back in USMC yippee! despite th guillain-barre after boot camp and they will e moving as well...the higher power always protects and provides

    • profile image

      Kezza 8 years ago

      This was fantastic, I smiled and laughed all the way through, and best of all, learned some things.

      I bet those kids love you at Petsmart as much as you love them!

      Now, all that being said - I don't think I have ever seen such a beautiful set up. I laughed because I can imagine being the same with dragon ornaments, but when I saw it, I think I would have that many of the dragons there would be no room for fish!

      Fantastic write up, and awesome set up. Well done.

    • profile image

      Tamarind 8 years ago

      Beautiful dragon in the tank. Keeping a fish tank is a lot of work and yours look wonderful. Nice hub.

    • RNMSN profile image

      Barbara Bethard 8 years ago from Tucson, Az

      thanks Rebecca...I love my aquarium!!

    • Rebecca E. profile image

      Rebecca E. 8 years ago from Canada

      Highly entertaining read, must remember some of teh hints next time I buy a fish tank of sorts.

    • RNMSN profile image

      Barbara Bethard 8 years ago from Tucson, Az

      thanks for the comment glass bubbler! actually I do pyrography and have been drawing/painting/burning, dragons since I was a just gave me another hub idea! thanks again!

    • profile image

      glass bubbler reviews  8 years ago

      Like some real dragons pictures....By the nice aquiriums and good articles with basic features and posts

    • Laughing Mom profile image

      Laughing Mom 8 years ago

      This was a very entertaining read. I've tried having fish several times, but it never works out. Too much care, I think. I hate cleaning the tank. I hate worrying about whether or not the water temp is right, the amount of food is right, whether that splash in the middle of the night was the cat having a buffet or the dog drinking out of the toilet.....Just too much worrying for me.

      Good luck with yours, though!

    • C.S.Alexis profile image

      C.S.Alexis 8 years ago from NW Indiana

      I have an aquarium for the tropical fish we keep and another one for the minnows we buy to fish with. Have had many over the years. It is nice to see you helping others with this useful hub.