As a good way of getting some pets into a small rented flat we decided on a tropical fish tank as an attempt to not annoy the landlord. I have wanted fish for a long time but never been brave enough to let the moths out of the wallet and actually buy some. The tank was purchased cheaply pre-loved from an old friend and does the job perfectly.
I came across several questions along the way that I suspect many others dipping their hand into the water of fish will come across too and thought it would be fair to try and cover these in a single list.
1. What temperature should the water be?
A normal fish tank is kept at a temperature between 22 and 30°C but most tanks stay between 25 and 28°C because this keeps most fish happy. Different fish require a slightly different temperature but if you stick with hardy fish (fish that aren’t so picky about their conditions) then you should be safe. My tank has been sat at 26°C and they seem to be swimming happily after a few days.
2. How many fish should I get?
No-one seems to be able to answer this question and if someone does give you an answer then someone will argue a different view. The suggestion from my local aquatics was to start with 5 small fish like guppy’s, tetra or barbs and add 5 more at a time every 5 weeks. I must admit this is where I ignored the helper and got 10 fish anyway . For smaller fish it is usually suggested that you keep 5 or more of the same species.
3. How big should my tank be?
This depends on the number of fish you want to keep, I was surprised how fewer fish I can keep in my small tank. This is best left to your common sense. Add a few at a time and see how the tank looks, just bear in mind the fully grown size of the fish you are keeping.
4. What wattage should the heater be?
My suggestion after speaking/reading would be to start with a smaller tank, which means that you will need a heater should be 50-100 watts.
5. What fish should I get as a beginner?
This goes hand in hand with question number 2. If you stick to smaller fish you can get a better range of different fish in your tank. I would suggest going for some barbs, guppy’s or tetras as starter fish because they are harder to kill and all stay fairly small. Obviously we all want some ‘pretty’ fish. Out of the choice of fish we decided upon some harlequins and cherry barbs.
Obviously this is far from a comprehensive list of answers for the amateur tropical fish owner because I am still learning as I go. I really cant stress enough that you should do your research and investigation before getting your fish because if you look after them correctly they can live for over 5 years.
Your quite right the size of the fish does matter in regards to how many fish you can keep in it, as bigger fish excrete more ammonia than small fish.
Also the other thing to keep your eye on is the types of fish you keep together, some get on with other fish and some dont.
Thanks for both of your comments, I will be updating at some point about how the tank is going. Now have real plants and moved to sand substrate with many other fish (many too many).