New to aquaria, advice needed!

mrhoyo

Member
Joined
20 May 2020
Messages
128
Location
Halifax, UK
Hello all,

Sorry, it has turned in to a bit of an essay. I'm new to all this and there are loads of tanks on here that look amazing so it seems the place to ask for help.

I've been interested in getting in to fish again for a while but have been put off by our past experience.
Years ago we were sold a Fluval Edge 23L by our LFS along with some of the 'quick start' stuff and an instruction to return in a week for the fish. As complete beginners with a tiny tank they sold us 3 pearl scale goldfish and a nice little anubias(?) on a log. The tank started getting a lot of algae so they then sold us a magnetic scraper and bristle nose pleco, followed by 3 or 5 male guppies.
Unsurprisingly (although we didn't know better at the time) it all ended terribly and they eventually all died off within a couple of months. Since then we've put it down to us just being bad with fish but my research over the last month or two has opened my eyes to what we weren't told e.g. nitrogen cycling, biological filtration, PH, GH, KH etc.
Eventually I'd love a nice 100-200l aquascaped tank in my living room but it's a huge chunk of money in case it all goes wrong.
I decided to set something smaller up in my reptile room so I can see if this is a hobby for me.

I've done a fair bit of research lately and have just received a Dennerle 70l scaper's tank, Seachem Tidal 55 filter and have a Lumini Asta 20 light due (although I may need another by the sounds of things).

Fish I like the idea of at the moment (not together) include guppies, chilli rasbora and pea puffers although I'm not sure how they are for beginners and open to options. I really want to try my hand at plants but don't think I'm ready for CO2 and flashy lights yet so open to suggestions and any advice. The wife likes the clean look of iwagumi and I'm probably more that way inclined than Dutch or Jungle style but quite like Tropica layouts 111, 115, 106 and 33 to give you an idea. Not a clue how to do it though!

Aside from plants, substrate and eventually livestock what else do I need?

The plan is to fill 2" tomorrow and leave a while to test for leaks. Then 1/3 full, then to the top and then I'll empty again.


I'm thinking:
API master kit
API KH and GH kit
Water conditioner
Substrate
Plants
Hardscape


Then test water every few days and change regularly until cycled and no ammonia or nitrite.
Then shrimp.
Then wait a while for test to clear and then fish.
 

kishan313

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Joined
4 Jun 2020
Messages
104
Location
London
Welcome, sounds like you had an interesting journey with that local fish store!

I had a similar nightmare with my fluval edge, I generally think it’s a tough tank to manage for a newbie!

Take your time, do a lot of research, I’m new to the forum but have been on other forums and can tell you that there are many helpful people on here already.

Good luck with your journey!


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sparkyweasel

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Joined
30 Jun 2011
Messages
1,308
Welcome! :)

Small tanks are fashionable, and shops seem to push them, but a bigger tank is much easier to manage. And now you have access to better advice than that shop gave you. :)

You might like to look at this thread;
https://www.ukaps.org/forum/threads/what-about-test-kits.52487/
before you decide to buy test kits.

A lot of suppliers classify their plants as 'easy', 'medium' or 'difficult'. Broadly, 'easy' means they don't need injected CO2, or high light. 'Medium' might do well without, or might not. And those things are more or less essential for the 'hard' plants. It's a rough guide, but quite useful.
 

Jayefc1

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2 Sep 2017
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Swadlincote
Hi and welcome @mrhoyo sorry to hear about your first tank mine to was a fluval edge there not a easy set up at all and the lfs did you no favours by the sound of it and I personally wouldnt go back there
The scaper tank is a lovely first tank and a nice size guppy or the lil chilli rasbora will be a nice selection to start with
I personally dont like test kits there not necessary just another way to get your hard earned money you would be better of spending it on a good water conditioner like seachems prime
Try to buy your plants from a actual scape shop ring them talk to them ask them questions they will help and advise you on a good easy selection dont always take for granted that it is what it is the maidenhead aquatics near me sells terium plants as aquatics plants not good
The thing is with the hoddy is as many other hobbies you get out what you put in
 

mrhoyo

Member
Joined
20 May 2020
Messages
128
Location
Halifax, UK
Hi and welcome @mrhoyo sorry to hear about your first tank mine to was a fluval edge there not a easy set up at all and the lfs did you no favours by the sound of it and I personally wouldnt go back there
The scaper tank is a lovely first tank and a nice size guppy or the lil chilli rasbora will be a nice selection to start with
I personally dont like test kits there not necessary just another way to get your hard earned money you would be better of spending it on a good water conditioner like seachems prime
Try to buy your plants from a actual scape shop ring them talk to them ask them questions they will help and advise you on a good easy selection dont always take for granted that it is what it is the maidenhead aquatics near me sells terium plants as aquatics plants not good
The thing is with the hoddy is as many other hobbies you get out what you put in
Interesting about the test kits, don't you test anything? I thought one of the failures last time might have been not knowing ammonia levels and ph etc.
 

Jayefc1

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2 Sep 2017
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I dont test at all as long as you do your water changes every day for the first week every other day the second week every 3 days the 3rd week yph will be fine add shrimps start off the third week and snails the following week 5th week fish and everything is all good the plants will do most of the filtration in any case
The most important thing will be a good maintenance regime most people here will tell you test kits are not accurate so what's the point
 

mrhoyo

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Joined
20 May 2020
Messages
128
Location
Halifax, UK
Interesting. Not looking forward to all those changes but knew they were needed. Need a solution that's better than buckets and siphon.

I started a journal earlier, little photo for anyone interested.
f4cfba8ed565609a76f739f6c2e3d4d7.jpg


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jaypeecee

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21 Jan 2015
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Bracknell
most people here will tell you test kits are not accurate so what's the point
Oh, dear. I ask that everyone be more open-minded about test kits. There are a few of us on here who don't subscribe to the view that test kits are 'not accurate'. It has now become the accepted norm to see test kits in this light. If a particular test kit is considered 'not accurate', then please substantiate this with scientific evidence. Otherwise, it's just mere speculation. I am aware that some test kits may give misleading results due to interference from other ions, for example. Test kits may not be perfect but they're a lot better than guesswork.

JPC
 

Jayefc1

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Swadlincote
I think @jaypeecee we are intitled to an opinion I'm not a scientist and have no proof either way apart from what I see in my tanks and having never used a single test in them would not spend my money on them
 

Simon Cole

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25 Dec 2018
Messages
473
Location
Buckingham
Need a solution that's better than buckets and siphon.
This is where we can certainly help :D
Plants are incredibly quick in removing nitrogen from your water. Some bacteria will do this over time, but not as effectively.
This post talks about the difference between plants and bacteria in removing nitrogen in detail, and I quote:
"An analogy would be that there is a big pile of money in the street, with a note saying "take me", but it is only ever picked up by a one-legged ginger irishman on a thursday."
What the author was saying is that plants will speed up how quickly your tank will cycle, removing ammonia and nitrite to safe levels. If you have enough plants to start with then you can simply wait until all of the nitrogen in the water is used up. However, the risk over this period is that algae will establish and take over your tank. That is precisely why Jay was pointing you to regular water changes initially. The theory being that algae are benefit from high ammonia and or nitrite. You can mitigate the risk by using appropriate doses of algaecide. This is marketed as "liquid carbon" so that consumers tend towards expensive and less effective products, like filter media and electrolysis devices. Promoters on YouTube deliberately downplay the role of algaecide in their show-winning aquariums so that their sponsors get more business. They sometimes even suggest that you need different lighting, substrates or better filters to achieve a planted tank. Others point towards specific fertilisers and methods in the hope that you believe this will reduce algae - yet when you look at the ingredients, they don't exactly look that perfect at delivering and limiting everything that plants need. This is what the forum is all about. Every member has a slightly different view on what you should do first.
My view is to spend your money and time wisely. Let the plants grow up, then chuck a snail and small fish in to see whether the water is safe.
Test kits are useful if you have an unsuitable tap water source or for certain aquarium soils, but you can usually manage your salt fertilisers without ever needing to buy them. You just work out the tank concentration of things like nitrate and phosphate based upon what you put in and how often you change the water. There are a few test kits that do help: Knowing the water hardness and phosphate levels is a nice way to understand whether your nutrients have been locked-out or could become toxic in plant leaves. Sometimes too, you might want to check you salinity with an EC probe depending upon how many salts you add if you don't change your water much - but get back to me on that. If you can get access to one, a rainwater butt will save all of this hassle.
I'm very glad that you have joined this wonderful forum!
 
Last edited:

mrhoyo

Member
Joined
20 May 2020
Messages
128
Location
Halifax, UK
Right, well I have an API Master Test Kit and a GH/KH test kit so I might as well use them hadn't I? The question is when and what do I do with the information?
I'll perform my first water change later.
 

Nick potts

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Joined
25 Sep 2014
Messages
134
Welcome @mrhoyo.

Sounds like you had a hard start and unfortunately a pretty common one with lots of shops giving terrible advice.

Can't add much more than already said, lots of water changes in the beginning and a good maintenance regime are going to bring you the best results. Guppies if you like there are pretty bulletproof fish and very forgiving to mistakes and learning curves by new keepers

I do find the divide in test kits interesting, I don't use them but only as I have been at this a long time. In the salt/reef keeping side of the hobby test kits are pretty much universally recommended and lots of cases required (dosing etc)

EDIT

With regards to the test kits, if it were me I would test ammonia, nitrite in the first few weeks, this will give you an idea of the progress of the cycle. After that I wouldn't really be testing anything unless I was seeing an issue. As you have already noticed, testing is fine, but what you do with the information is the question.
 

mrhoyo

Member
Joined
20 May 2020
Messages
128
Location
Halifax, UK
Welcome @mrhoyo.

Sounds like you had a hard start and unfortunately a pretty common one with lots of shops giving terrible advice.

Can't add much more than already said, lots of water changes in the beginning and a good maintenance regime are going to bring you the best results. Guppies if you like there are pretty bulletproof fish and very forgiving to mistakes and learning curves by new keepers

I do find the divide in test kits interesting, I don't use them but only as I have been at this a long time. In the salt/reef keeping side of the hobby test kits are pretty much universally recommended and lots of cases required (dosing etc)

EDIT

With regards to the test kits, if it were me I would test ammonia, nitrite in the first few weeks, this will give you an idea of the progress of the cycle. After that I wouldn't really be testing anything unless I was seeing an issue. As you have already noticed, testing is fine, but what you do with the information is the question.
Thanks, that sounds like a plan.
So, water changes as outlined by jayefc1 and the ammonia and nitrite tests in between.
How and when should I test what livestock my water is suitable for? According to my water company I've got ridiculously soft water and a high ph. I'll try to find the parameters.
 

Nick potts

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Joined
25 Sep 2014
Messages
134
Thanks, that sounds like a plan.
So, water changes as outlined by jayefc1 and the ammonia and nitrite tests in between.
How and when should I test what livestock my water is suitable for? According to my water company I've got ridiculously soft water and a high ph. I'll try to find the parameters.
I would test the ammonia and nitrite every few days or so, you should see ammonia rise, followed by nitrite and nitrate and then a drop to 0 (for ammonia and nitrite) over the weeks. While not necessary I find learning about and observing the nitrogen cycle a good learning experience for new fish keepers.

Most fish you will find in your local shops are going to be fine in your tap water, there are some species that require special water conditions but I am not best to offer advice on that ( i keep all my fish in tap water with no testing )
 

mrhoyo

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Joined
20 May 2020
Messages
128
Location
Halifax, UK
Water change 1 complete. 25 minutes of just water out, water in.
I don't believe that all these people with 200l+ tanks are spending over and hour and a half lugging buckets around so what do I need to make this easier?
Currently have one of those hand pump gravel vacs to siphon the water out, fill a bucket, empty in bathroom then repeat. Quickest way I've found to fill it so far is to empty the bucket in to tank over a colander but that's going to end up with me pouring water all over the floor and subsequent beatings from the mrs.
20200607_144218.jpg
 

hypnogogia

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6 Apr 2017
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Oxfordshire
I change about 130ltr weekly and it takes me about 40 minutes. Wheelie bin full of fresh water at correct temperature. Water is pumped I to to this from water butt and heated the night before. Take water out of tank through hose, straight into garden, then pump fresh water from wheelie bin into tank.
 

MirandaB

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28 Apr 2013
Messages
591
Location
Suffolk/Norfolk Border
Water change 1 complete. 25 minutes of just water out, water in.
I don't believe that all these people with 200l+ tanks are spending over and hour and a half lugging buckets around so what do I need to make this easier?
Currently have one of those hand pump gravel vacs to siphon the water out, fill a bucket, empty in bathroom then repeat. Quickest way I've found to fill it so far is to empty the bucket in to tank over a colander but that's going to end up with me pouring water all over the floor and subsequent beatings from the mrs. View attachment 150034
I have many tanks,the largest is 350lts......I still do it with buckets :lol:
 

mrhoyo

Member
Joined
20 May 2020
Messages
128
Location
Halifax, UK
I have many tanks,the largest is 350lts......I still do it with buckets :lol:
Jesus.
I'm looking at a Python but will need to fit it to my shower (instead of shower hose). Anyone know which adapter I'll need? The shower I think is 3/4".
 
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