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Q: Starting out with an aquarium ( Answered,   4 Comments )
Subject: Starting out with an aquarium
Category: Family and Home
Asked by: joeconline-ga
List Price: $15.00
Posted: 23 Dec 2005 08:59 PST
Expires: 22 Jan 2006 08:59 PST
Question ID: 609254
What type of aquarium should I get, salt or fresh water.  I am a novice.
Subject: Re: Starting out with an aquarium
Answered By: hummer-ga on 23 Dec 2005 14:18 PST
Hi joeconline,

Briefly, fresh water fish are more adaptable and less finicky than
salt water fish so therefore modie-ga is correct, it is adviseable
that a novice start out with a fresh water aquarium (please click on
the following link for more information).

"Salt water fish tanks are considered more difficult to keep than
freshwater tanks because salt water fish have less tolerance for
fluctuations that can occur quickly within the closed environment of
an aquarium."
"Aquariums, when setup properly, operate as self-supporting
ecosystems. In an ecosystem, artificially created or natural, every
element relies on every other element for its stability. The art of
fishkeeping becomes a balancing act of monitoring and maintaining
specific parameters in order to keep the entire system stable. This is
especially critical in a salt water fish tank because the ocean is an
surprisingly stable environment. Life forms that evolved in the ocean
do not have the physical ability to adjust quickly to radically
changing conditions. Any changes that occur in the ocean occur slowly.
For example, a quick drop or rise in the temperature of a salt water
tank can cause salt water fish to take ill, even if the fluctuation is
relatively small."

That said, I've tried to find you a few good  non-commercial "how-to"
websites, hopefully at least one or two will suit you. When you visit
the websites, you'll find many more links to follow (it's a popular

1. Fish Tank Guy
Fish Tank Setup Guide to Proper Aquarium Startup for Tropical Fish and Plants

2. Cathy Byrnes
"Please understand the importance of following the suggestions
outlined in this site, from buying & setting up your new tank, to
maintaining it the proper way. I have spent many, many months
designing this site &  researching material, so that it will be the
easiest experience for you with no regrets."

3. Mongabay
Tropical Freshwater Aquarium Fish

4. Ecology Group 
How to Set Up a Freshwater Aquarium

5. The Tropical Tank
Fish to Avoid
"This section contains fish which grow very large, will not tolerate
tankmates, or require special attention to diet or water quality. They
should only be kept by more experienced aquarists and those who have
the finances and time to cater for their long-term needs."

Beginning Fishkeeping
"Welcome to the wonderful world of aquariums. This FAQ provides advice
and guidance to help insure success in your endeavor. Though this
document is designed for a first freshwater aquarium (saltwater
people: make sure to read the SALTWATER BEGINNER FAQ), there is much
information applicable to both freshwater and saltwater aquaria."

7.  FishLore
Freshwater Tropical Fish Beginner's Guide

8. Fishy Heaven
" Welcome to FishyHeaven, a website totally devoted to marine aquaria
and marine fishkeeping. This site has been designed to be of use to
all levels of marine fishkeeper from a total beginner to a more
experienced hobbyist."

9. JPS - Tropical Aquarium Setup Information
"Fishkeeping is a fun and rewarding hobby. It can also be challenging
to set up, but once it's up and running it's simple to maintain. This
website documents how to set up a tropical freshwater aquarium based
on information collected from various books and the internet."

10. AquaForums

Here's a pretty good list of books. When you find one of interest,
search for it on Amazon or try for a used copy (set
"more options" to "classic").

Aquarium Calculators
    * Sand bed depth calculator
    * Convert from Fahrenheit to Celsius and Celsius to Fahrenheit
    * Convert US Gallons to Imperial Gallons to Litres
    * Calculate the recommended fish capacity of a tank
    * Calculate the capacity of a Hex Tank
    * Calculate the capacity of a Standard Tank
    * Calculate the monthly and yearly operating costs

I was glad to work on this for you and hope all goes well with your
first aquarium. If you have any questions, please post a clarification
request and wait for me to respond before closing/rating my answer.

Thank you,

Google Search Terms Used: tropical fish freshwater fresh water
aquariums salt water saltwater
Subject: Re: Starting out with an aquarium
From: modie-ga on 23 Dec 2005 09:45 PST
If you are a novice I would say you are best to start off with fresh
water. I have been in the hobby for about 6 years now. The reason I
say this is because unless you have alot of spare time then salt is to
much work. It all comes down to this Fresh water takes work but does
not need to be an everyday type thing. All you have to do is just make
sure that the balance is right about once a week. Also if some thing
bad happens to your tank like sicknees ect. It is not so expensive to
replace fish usually .99 to 20$. If you have saltwater you always have
to make sure the balance is right once a day and if something bad
happens to your tank and you have to replace your fish it could cost
alot. Usually saltwater fish range from 5$ to couple of 100$. So my
suggestion to you is start of with fresh and see if you like it. If
you do then upgrade to salt. just remember the bigger the tank the
eaiser it is to manage. A large tank is always more stable than a
small one salt or fresh. Also go to real fish store not a petco or
petsmart and ask questions about your concerns. Most real fish stores
"when I say real I mean only deal with fish" are glad to help you with
your new hobby. If they just try to sell you the most expensive thing
then be cautious but on the same hand don't expect this to be a cheap
hobby. Hope this helps.
Subject: Re: Starting out with an aquarium
From: tempworker-ga on 23 Dec 2005 20:13 PST
Fish are creepy.
Subject: Re: Starting out with an aquarium
From: fanciestguppy2006-ga on 09 Jan 2006 23:47 PST
I'm also starting with an aquarium, I have a 30 gallon tank.  My
favourite site for choosing fish is supplemented
with results from  Good Luck!
Subject: Re: Starting out with an aquarium
From: mommyjbear-ga on 19 Jan 2006 00:48 PST
One of the most important things to remember when you are starting a
fish tank is not to overcrowd.  You should figure on one inch of fish
for every gallon of water--for example, in a 10 gallon tank you can
have ten inches of fish.  You also need to consider the adult size of
the fish you are buying.  If the fish is two inches long now, and the
maximum size is 20 inches, how long before the fish outgrows your
Another thing that is really helpful when you're setting up a tank is
to find a friend with a fishtank, and get a little bit of gravel, or
some of the gunk from the filter cartridge of their tank, and add it
to your tank to help your tank start growing healthy bacteria.
Last of all, never, never bring home a snail.  You will have ten
million snails in no time at all.  If you are going to use live
plants, check them very carefully for snail eggs (little blobs of
goo).  Live plants from the petstore usually aren't very hardy and
require special lighting.  You can use pothos, a very common
houseplant.  Just remove all the soil, trim the roots, put a
rubberband around several stems, and bury the roots in your substrate
(gravel).  Some fish, like corydoras, will even sit on the leaves.

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