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Aquarium
Old 09-06-2011, 06:45 AM   #1
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Aquarium

Anyone set up an aquarium (medium-small) in their home recently? Any pointers / suggestions. Do's and Don'ts ?

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Old 09-06-2011, 07:09 AM   #2
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I had a 70 gal ornamental goldfish and a 130 gal salt/reef for years. It's a lot of work to keep very healthy fish/inverts and some expense, but I enjoyed it for years before giving it up. Don't do it if you aren't committed to maintain water quality at a high level, an unhealthy aquarium is not enjoyable. Like any pet, it's an constant commitment. Sold everything years ago. I suspect aquarium technology has improved since my day.
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Old 09-06-2011, 08:00 AM   #3
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I've had one for quite a few years. Just would say to start with good water, easy care fish, and add to it as you gain experience and interest.
I've dwindled down to three fish in a 50 gallon tank--a giant Pleco, an albino cory, and a Boseman's rainbow. It is a very boring tank, but it is what I can keep up with easily.
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Old 09-06-2011, 10:17 AM   #4
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I would seriously consider an aquarium video or screensaver -- fewer downsides.
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Old 09-06-2011, 10:40 AM   #5
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Anyone set up an aquarium (medium-small) in their home recently? Any pointers / suggestions. Do's and Don'ts ?
Find a shady spot that doesn't promote algae growth. Maybe there's an aquarium glass out there to screen out the UV (or whatever wavelength) that promotes it.

50-gallon tanks are a lot heavier and need bigger stands. However their water parameters are more stable and less subject to rapid changes, giving you more time to respond in a crisis like a power outage.

If you're using an air pump then use two of them and consider putting acoustic insulation (like Acoustiblok) around them.

Make sure your fish get along with each other. We mainly stick to tetras & zebras. We've given up on angels.

Live plants are a pain. Plastic plants are quite realistic and require a lot less work.

Pick your spot carefully before you fill the tank with water. We had to move our aquarium about 20 feet for our familyroom renovation, and the project took most of the morning. The contingency planning resembled some of my submarine nuclear-maintenance projects... right down to the spill drills.

Rule #1 before changing the tank's water level: shut off the heater. I don't know how many times we've started changing out the tank's water only to realize that we've forgotten to shut off the heater, which promptly attempts to fry itself.

Spouse is an oceanographer who feels that keeping an aquarium is part of the job description and necessary for professional credibility. We've kept fish for most of the last 25 years, so I was surprised when she (spouse, not the fish) recently suggested that she was about done with the hobby. The lights & air pumps consume about 25 KWHr/month (over 7% of our total), so getting rid of that electrical load would mean that we'd be producing more electricity than we'd consume.
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Old 09-06-2011, 11:24 AM   #6
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I currently have a 180gallon saltwater tank (connected to an additional 200 gallons in the basement)

A freshwater tank will cost you a fraction of the cost of a saltwater tank.
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Old 09-06-2011, 12:37 PM   #7
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Spouse is an oceanographer who feels that keeping an aquarium is part of the job description and necessary for professional credibility. We've kept fish for most of the last 25 years, so I was surprised when she (spouse, not the fish) recently suggested that she was about done with the hobby.
I am a retired oceanographer, and kept up to 500 gallons of saltwater aquariums for about a quarter century as well. Eventually I was down to one 25 gallon freshwater aquarium. A few years ago I tired of it and last fall when getting rid of stuff I gave it to Goodwill. Aquariums are a lot of fun, but I am just not interested in the work and responsibility of having pets (even fish) right now. I don't even have potted plants any more.
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Old 09-06-2011, 12:44 PM   #8
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I have an aquarium in my back yard. It is 60 feet in diameter and 12 feet deep. I mow around it.

Seriously, though, everyone I know that has had an aquarium has slowly realized that it was just too much w*rk for the enjoyment they received from it - kinda like a swimming pool that you have to maintain, but don't even get to swim in.
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Old 09-06-2011, 04:25 PM   #9
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My wife and I have had a variety of fresh water tanks over the years, but gave them up as the upkeep "work" outweighed the hobby "reward".

In general, the larger the tank the easier it is to maintain the water quality. (avoid the under-gravel type filters)

I liked real plants much more than plastic plants, but they do take more work to maintain / cut back as they overgrow.

If you get a large tank, and as your fish collection grows, you may want a second smaller tank to quarantine new fish, or remove sick / diseased fish while they heal.
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Old 09-06-2011, 04:48 PM   #10
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I had a 10g (later 15g) brackish water aquarium of 3-6 fiddler crabs for over 5 years. No pumps or lights needed - just changed most of the water every few months, and completely clean everything every couple years. They eat algae (along with dried bloodworms), so no issue there. They are quite entertaining to watch.
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Old 09-06-2011, 06:22 PM   #11
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My neighbor has skinks. I don't see the attraction. Jenny has a tarantula. Again, I don't see it. If I have a pet I want to be able to per it and have it react to me.
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Old 09-06-2011, 08:28 PM   #12
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Jenny has a tarantula. Again, I don't see it. If I have a pet I want to be able to per it and have it react to me.
Sounds like the ultimate boyfriend screening tool, and the tarantula's abode could double as a storage location for small valuables...
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Old 09-06-2011, 10:45 PM   #13
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Anyone set up an aquarium (medium-small) in their home recently? Any pointers / suggestions. Do's and Don'ts ?

Ferco
I have had a 150 gallon salt tank for 15yrs.

1) If you are fully decided on proceeding with the hobby I would suggest that you immediately find a very good tropical fish store with an owner who can help you. Do not choose fish stores simply on price - in the long run you will spend more money by replacing cheap and bad fish all the time. Also, a good owner will be a great resource for you.

2) Get a good protein skimmer. Just like fish you will end up paying more by replacing cheap skimmers regularly.

3) Get a good air powerhead. Your water quality will be much better and your expensive fish will appreciate it.

4) Don't overstock fish in your tank...you will do so and regret it. Unfortunately, overstocking is probably a rite of passage for new aquarists.

5) Don't overfeed. Remember that your beautiful aquarium is basically your fishes' toilet bowl...keep it clean by not overfeeding.

Good luck.
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Old 09-07-2011, 06:45 AM   #14
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I had a 125g salt water reef tank several years ago. As others mentioned, it takes significant work and commitment to setup and maintain. Water quality is everything. If you proceed in that direction, I have a few suggestions:

Get a glass aquarium, most of these are custom vs factory built. Get some water from an existing reef tank (and some good rock as well) to get you started and do not add any fish until you get the entire system stablized. Lighting and temperature control are very important, and as Nords pointed out, keep it in shady spot in the house that is not directly exposed to sun light. Snails are good as algae came be a real problem in the beginning. Many folks opt to get a local specialist store to maintain their tanks and its probably worth considering until you know what you are doing.

It can be very rewarding, but frustrating when things go wrong, good luck.
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Old 09-07-2011, 08:17 AM   #15
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I had a 10g (later 15g) brackish water aquarium of 3-6 fiddler crabs for over 5 years. No pumps or lights needed - just changed most of the water every few months, and completely clean everything every couple years. They eat algae (along with dried bloodworms), so no issue there. They are quite entertaining to watch.
I knew a girl with a salt water tank that kept blue crabs in it. I was fascinated by them and have thought for some time if I could manage the upkeep, I'd love to keep some. Never thought about fiddlers, though.

Thanks for the good idea. Now if this 2 foot long old Pleco ever dies, I'll have something else to consider for the tank!
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Old 09-07-2011, 08:57 AM   #16
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In my younger years, I had multiple (fresh water) units - three or four at at time, with a maximum size of 75 gals (as noted, the bigger, the better for keeping the environment healthy).

As in all things, that was just a phase in my life. Things change.

I won't offer suggestions, since the "basics" have been covered, and current "tank technology" has advanced since the "old days" (e.g. my time).

I found a lot of "peace" in having tropicals and it did remove a bit of stress (by viewing, and maintaining) from my work-a-day world at the time. Hopefully, you will find the same value in your pursuit.
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Old 09-07-2011, 01:56 PM   #17
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My neighbor has skinks. I don't see the attraction. Jenny has a tarantula. Again, I don't see it. If I have a pet I want to be able to per it and have it react to me.
We see skinks in our backyard occasionally. The pretty blue ones are hard to spot. Sometimes when I am out running in the park, a skink will shoot out and then disappear. This spring I ran into a bunch of skinks, I think it was an orgy.
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