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Greetings from an overwhelmed newbie in Hampshire


19 Jun 2012
Fareham, UK
Hi All
Have been been thoroughly enjoying ukaps.org and have found it a goldmine of information.

A bit about me. My parents generously offer to buy me a fish tank for my 40th birthday after watching the delight of my 5 year old daughter watching the fish in a tank whilst she was in hospital 3 years ago.

I agreed to the challenge and as always am very keen to read up and research the subject and never in my wildest dreams realised the depth that the hobby of fishkeeping has.

So presented with the parents saying they had seen some nice biOrbs, I visited one of the local aquatic centres to see what it was about and managed to talk myself into getting a Juwel 180l Rio tank.

I literally picked this up on Friday lunchtime and spent the evening setting it up - Adding Tropica Plant growth substrate, then some washed sand, filled up the tank in the evening with tap water (Hampshire is hard water, no idea the measurement), and added the relevant dose of Tetre Aquasafe.

Next day back to the aquatic centre to choose some plants and ended up with 3 pieces of rock, and some Microsorum teropus on bogwood, 2 Anubias barteri var. nana, 2 Limnophila, and a Hemianthus to try and make a carpet in the front of the tank. Plus a couple of reflectors to boost the light from the standard kit T5 lights.

So here I am on a Sunday morning worrying that I am missing something, not doing something, need to get something.
So many conflicting messages. I have been seduced by the Tropica website and have been reading it religiously (what a great way to market and sell you plants) but it seems to be slightly conflicting with advice from the aquatic centre and others about introduction of fish/shrimp/snails/CO2.

The 2 things I am paranoid about is the CO2 and the algae. As having forked out (in my world a nice amount) on a starter tank I dont want to mess up, harm the plants or fish (when I eventually add them) and have a grotty green algae overrun tank.

My belief is I need to get CO2 but whilst I figure out if I can put together a FE kit is my tank suffering, can I add liquid CO2? Should I be adding shrimp and snails straight away? Can I truly add hardy fish in 1 weeks time?

On the other end of the scale my girls have a Sea Monkeys starter kit which has them interested too.

Anyway thank you to the members for me for being so generous with posting relevant information I shall continue to digest.

Hi and welcome!

Sounds like you are getting to grips with things already but I understand your concern. I'd be a little wary of what you are told by sales people. There are some trustworthy, passionate folk out there but also some for who it is just a job and sales are everything.
FOr now get your plants settled in and the tank cycled. Heavier planting at the start will help this but you might want to add just a little amount of fish food to help the bacteria out.

You could get yourself some easycarbo and use that while you work out what to do for pressurised CO2. You can happily dose 3 times what the bottle says and together with some ferts you will be off to a strong start.

I'm guilty of impatience when it comes to fish and have probably not waited long enough, so hold off if you can. You could probably add some snails (if they don't make it into the tank on there own) and some amano shrimp after a fortnight or so, depending on the water quality. If you know of anybody who keeps fish, see if they would give you some filter media to seed yours. That will speed up the cycling process. Alternatively you could add some Sera nitivec, which will do a similar job. It says you can add fish the next day but I'd still leave it a while.
Algae will happen, so don't worry about it and don't change things in a panic. You will probably get some after 2 - 3 weeks but it will pass. That's a part of the cycle. If you post something that looks odd, then post a picture and ask. There is a dedicated section just for that.

My best piece of advice is to start a journal. Once you get going and show us how things look you will find you get a load of help and encouragement. I know I did.

Good luck with it all and lets see some pictures!
Thanks for the response and tips. The guys at the local aquatics place were good and I believe not being salesy. It's more about the difference between what website explains versus the local centre. I will have a go at the journal. Thanks for that. And I will start to try and relax about everything.

Thank you