Author Topic: Home aquarium hobby  (Read 1233 times)

Trying2bFrugal

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Home aquarium hobby
« on: June 28, 2018, 11:32:15 AM »
After couple trial errors and killing couple fish on my aquarium, now i got some basics.

I converted my aquarium to dirted tank (its soil at bottom covered by gravel at top layer) to keep low maintenance.

Now need some advice from fellow frugals on below
1. The 10gal tank from walmart came with top lid with led. Its enough light for fish, but with dirted tank and going with the route of live plants, i need to have good light source. How do i achieve it without losing top lid(or should i lose it) and if any suggestion url on light.. led or cfl

2) Plants: I have bought from Petsmart when they sent me $5 coupon. And got some 10 plants from Craigslist for $15. I dont want to infest by just pulling wild plants from pond as i dont know any on plants. Whats my best bet to plant the aquarium.  Where do you get the live plants?

3) CO2: Did you ever try diy co2? Is it even required? I am just looking for self sustained low tech setup to keep minimal maintenance.

4) Vacation: Any diy feeders? The lowest one in walmart costs about 15 with mechanical timer.

5) Fish: I guess there is very limitrd choice for 10 gal and stores. But how do you score good fish for less $?

6) Aquaphonics - ever tried this? I am in Michigan, so i may need to run aquarium heater for fully submerged ones. For aquaphoics just room heater. Any suggestions?


Update: 07/11/2018

I went on 6 day long weekend trip and asked a friend to feed the fish on 3rd day. Came back, all intact except for one missing cat fish. I couldnt find any trace of him.

One neon tetra and one cat fish and 2 ghost shrimp and one snail, but that one guy is missing.

Got 6500k cfl from home depot (couldnt get anywhere else) and bought two table clip on lamp from craigslist. Now only need to get the timer (thinking about smart switch so i can control them $10 vs $20).

Now water is very stable on 5 in 1 test strips. The plants are shedding and growing well except for one.

« Last Edit: July 11, 2018, 10:25:20 AM by Trying2bFrugal »

ElizaStache

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Re: Home aquarium hobby
« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2018, 03:52:11 PM »
Something I can chime in on!

1. LED lights are usually fine if you have lower light plants. If you don't have pets or something that wants to stick its hands in the tank, losing the top would be fine. More evaporation that way, but with regular water changes, it shouldn't be too bad.

2. I get my plants from r/AquaSwap. The people there are helpful and will get you grab bags of plants that fit your description well that will be attractive.

3. I have done DIY CO2 with liter soda bottles, but it's kind of a pain to keep consistent. My plants are doing just fine without it, but some liquid ferts are helpful.

4. How long are you out of town for? Most species are okay with going without food for up to 2 weeks or so, depending on how fragile they are.

5. If you're only doing a 10 gal tank, you could just get one or two centerpiece fish and some shrimp if you'd like. I also get fish from r/AquaSwap and my  local fish store (LFS) and once you've got the tank cycled, many fish will live a long time, which reduced livestock expenses. Do not trust Petco/Petsmart/Walmart employees to get you something appropriate, they are mis-informed. One betta would have the happiest life in that tank.

6. I have not tried aquaponics, but make sure you have a filter in place for the fish, as the roots of the desired herb or whatever won't take out the poop and move the water. You will need a heater for most fish, including bettas.

The expensive part of fish keeping is MTS- Multiple Tank Syndrome once you have it down.

GreenEggs

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Re: Home aquarium hobby
« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2018, 12:30:43 PM »
You should find an aquarium forum. 

My 2 cents is that a 10 gallon tank is almost too small to be worthwhile.  But it's better than nothing, and if you don't have room for a larger tank it can be something to enjoy.

PlantedTank.net is a forum that specializes on aquatic plants.

Larger aquariums aren't expensive.  PetCo (or one of the big pets stores) regularly has sales on glass aquariums for $1 per gallon (up to 55 gallons).  The pumps, filters, heaters, and lights can add up, but you can shop online and find good deals or you can DIY on lighting and filter systems. 

Larger tanks are easier to keep because it's easier to keep the water chemistry stable.  You can also keep more and larger types of fish.  You can find tables that list the number of fish per gallon, or gallons per fish for larger species. 

I'd recommend that you do not purchase your fish or plants from a franchise store.  You will get better quality fish and plants from a small owner/operator that specializes in aquariums.  The franchises tend to hire clueless kids and all of their tanks are plumbed to a central filtration system, which means a sick batch of fish in one tank automatically spread the germs to the entire store.

The owner's policy of the fish shop in my small town is that he "requires" you to bring in a sample of your aquarium water before he will sell you any fish the first time.  We jokingly call him "the fish Nazi", but it really is a good policy.  New aquariums have to "cycle" the water for a while before fish can live in it, and many beginners don't know about that. 

Fish are great relatively low maintenance pets.  A few species require a lot of attention, but most can be left for a week or longer without worry. 

I'd recommend that you avoid aggressive species if you intend to have a community tank (a group of mixed species).  Some of the aggressive ones are interesting and also beautiful, but it's no fun to watch them terrorize the group.  They also tend to be destructive towards your plants.

I'm not very knowledgeable on aquatic plants.  That's why I posted the link to the forum.  I haven't visited that forum in a while, but I recall most of the planted tanks only have small schooling fish, like Neon Tetras, or no fish at all.  Some kept freshwater shrimp, which are really interesting but really small.  I tried a few of the shrimp, but they quickly became fish food for my Angles. :(

My favorite aquarium fish is the Discus.  They are the most demanding freshwater fish to maintain, but they are also the most beautiful and interesting.  If you have the time and space they are something to aspire to. 

Good luck with your new hobby.
:)



sol

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Re: Home aquarium hobby
« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2018, 03:13:35 PM »
I second the recommendation for a 55 galon tank.  10s are a nightmare for new people to keep stable, and virtually every kind of fish will rapidly outgrow them.

I'm down to a single (heavily planted freshwater South American) tank now, after previously having up to five.  The lights and air food are on a timer.  A bristlenose pleco controls the algae.  Now that it is balanced, it really only requires about an hour of work per month, though it looks better if I clean it every two weeks.

I have previously run diy CO2, but don't bother anymore.  I have given up on the hard to grow high-light plants, as my fish don't really care what grows as long as they have somewhere to hide.  I maintain a backdrop of elodea that will grow an inch per day with CO2, and it rapidly chokes out whatever else I'm trying to grow instead.

Trying2bFrugal

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Re: Home aquarium hobby
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2018, 11:52:06 AM »
I second the recommendation for a 55 galon tank.  10s are a nightmare for new people to keep stable, and virtually every kind of fish will rapidly outgrow them.

I'm down to a single (heavily planted freshwater South American) tank now, after previously having up to five.  The lights and air food are on a timer.  A bristlenose pleco controls the algae.  Now that it is balanced, it really only requires about an hour of work per month, though it looks better if I clean it every two weeks.

I have previously run diy CO2, but don't bother anymore.  I have given up on the hard to grow high-light plants, as my fish don't really care what grows as long as they have somewhere to hide.  I maintain a backdrop of elodea that will grow an inch per day with CO2, and it rapidly chokes out whatever else I'm trying to grow instead.

Thanks. My apartment allows only 10 gallon (idiots though). Right now the 10 gal is stable with only 2 fishes. I will be adding more plants then add couple more neon.

Trying2bFrugal

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Re: Home aquarium hobby
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2018, 11:58:16 AM »
Something I can chime in on!

1. LED lights are usually fine if you have lower light plants. If you don't have pets or something that wants to stick its hands in the tank, losing the top would be fine. More evaporation that way, but with regular water changes, it shouldn't be too bad.

2. I get my plants from r/AquaSwap. The people there are helpful and will get you grab bags of plants that fit your description well that will be attractive.

3. I have done DIY CO2 with liter soda bottles, but it's kind of a pain to keep consistent. My plants are doing just fine without it, but some liquid ferts are helpful.

4. How long are you out of town for? Most species are okay with going without food for up to 2 weeks or so, depending on how fragile they are.

5. If you're only doing a 10 gal tank, you could just get one or two centerpiece fish and some shrimp if you'd like. I also get fish from r/AquaSwap and my  local fish store (LFS) and once you've got the tank cycled, many fish will live a long time, which reduced livestock expenses. Do not trust Petco/Petsmart/Walmart employees to get you something appropriate, they are mis-informed. One betta would have the happiest life in that tank.

6. I have not tried aquaponics, but make sure you have a filter in place for the fish, as the roots of the desired herb or whatever won't take out the poop and move the water. You will need a heater for most fish, including bettas.

The expensive part of fish keeping is MTS- Multiple Tank Syndrome once you have it down.

Thanks!

I did almost three 50% water changes since I set the tank. Tested using 5in 1Tetra test strips almost every day, now last 4 days the water is very stable. No Nitrites/Nitrates/Ph issues.
I used Zero water filter for filtering to avoid dechlorination/contamination issues (I know its stupid).

May not try the Co2. I bought two table clip on lamp and 6500k cfl from home depot and set them up.
Right now, out of 8 species of plants, 5 of them grow well. So will wait to see the results. I contacted couple folks local on craigslist/fb for getting more plants.

Ultimate goal is to create the plants on walstad setup to avoid high tech maintenance (but I just did the math and I am almost $140 spent now for total upto date).

Trying2bFrugal

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Re: Home aquarium hobby
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2018, 11:59:28 AM »
You should find an aquarium forum. 

My 2 cents is that a 10 gallon tank is almost too small to be worthwhile.  But it's better than nothing, and if you don't have room for a larger tank it can be something to enjoy.

PlantedTank.net is a forum that specializes on aquatic plants.

Larger aquariums aren't expensive.  PetCo (or one of the big pets stores) regularly has sales on glass aquariums for $1 per gallon (up to 55 gallons).  The pumps, filters, heaters, and lights can add up, but you can shop online and find good deals or you can DIY on lighting and filter systems. 

Larger tanks are easier to keep because it's easier to keep the water chemistry stable.  You can also keep more and larger types of fish.  You can find tables that list the number of fish per gallon, or gallons per fish for larger species. 

I'd recommend that you do not purchase your fish or plants from a franchise store.  You will get better quality fish and plants from a small owner/operator that specializes in aquariums.  The franchises tend to hire clueless kids and all of their tanks are plumbed to a central filtration system, which means a sick batch of fish in one tank automatically spread the germs to the entire store.

The owner's policy of the fish shop in my small town is that he "requires" you to bring in a sample of your aquarium water before he will sell you any fish the first time.  We jokingly call him "the fish Nazi", but it really is a good policy.  New aquariums have to "cycle" the water for a while before fish can live in it, and many beginners don't know about that. 

Fish are great relatively low maintenance pets.  A few species require a lot of attention, but most can be left for a week or longer without worry. 

I'd recommend that you avoid aggressive species if you intend to have a community tank (a group of mixed species).  Some of the aggressive ones are interesting and also beautiful, but it's no fun to watch them terrorize the group.  They also tend to be destructive towards your plants.

I'm not very knowledgeable on aquatic plants.  That's why I posted the link to the forum.  I haven't visited that forum in a while, but I recall most of the planted tanks only have small schooling fish, like Neon Tetras, or no fish at all.  Some kept freshwater shrimp, which are really interesting but really small.  I tried a few of the shrimp, but they quickly became fish food for my Angles. :(

My favorite aquarium fish is the Discus.  They are the most demanding freshwater fish to maintain, but they are also the most beautiful and interesting.  If you have the time and space they are something to aspire to. 

Good luck with your new hobby.
:)


Thanks! I have been reading that forum for almost a month. Found a local store (just that its 30 miles away) too.
Will check them out.

Trying2bFrugal

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Re: Home aquarium hobby
« Reply #7 on: August 02, 2018, 09:29:07 PM »

Trying2bFrugal

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Re: Home aquarium hobby
« Reply #8 on: August 02, 2018, 09:42:52 PM »
You should find an aquarium forum. 


Good luck with your new hobby.
:)

I was offered a 55gal tank with stand for $30, but my apartme t wont allow morethan 10gal. Also wife moved to a different location and we were thinking of moving in a middle place.

Anyway, now i got
5 neon tetra
2 corycat
2 amano
2 red cherry shrimp
2 ghost shrimp
1 nerite shrimp

Last three weeks, water is in perfect shape per petsmart testing. I now put lights on 5hr timer (reduced after bba), weekly 30% water changes. Now algae is in control except for bba. I know people say 20gal is minimum for fish, but i dont want to give away and keep the shrimp tank. Will upgrade once moving to new place.

These are todays snaps.

http://imgur.com/pCPglKT
http://imgur.com/3bvku8D
http://imgur.com/PPdpAx6

sol

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Re: Home aquarium hobby
« Reply #9 on: August 02, 2018, 09:52:23 PM »
Looking good! 

Personally, I like the look of dark colored backgrounds behind heavily planted tanks, instead of having them open to the back like that.  Give it a try, you might like it.  Plus it hides cords and filters and such, which maybe aren't a problem if you're not running any filtration.

Is there a heater hiding somewhere in that jungle?

Trying2bFrugal

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Re: Home aquarium hobby
« Reply #10 on: August 02, 2018, 10:28:58 PM »
Looking good! 

Personally, I like the look of dark colored backgrounds behind heavily planted tanks, instead of having them open to the back like that.  Give it a try, you might like it.  Plus it hides cords and filters and such, which maybe aren't a problem if you're not running any filtration.

Is there a heater hiding somewhere in that jungle?

I initially thought of background but its on top of kitchen top and i like to watch them from other side when i cook (i cook everyday..lol).

Yes, There is a filter in that jungle. Its the tetra filter and i put that and light on timer. I took off the heater now as we dont ac and room temp with lights on gets around 80 f during day.
Will put it back on winter.

Now there are two snails grew, see what they are doing, lol. 2 week old and they started romancing.

https://m.imgur.com/a/0vlE9jB