might get tank - web sites???

daylilyfan(5/6_OH)October 7, 2005

I know, another newbie...

I've been interested for some time in setting up a small-ish tank for myself and my cat to enjoy. The cat is 3-legged and had a really bad start in life before we rescued him, and we enjoy spoiling him. My other cat that he used to play with was old, and had to be put to sleep 3 weeks ago. So - Lucky needs something new to occupy his time while I am at work. Lucky loves to watch moving things, but he cannot chase them very well - so I think an aquarium would be a lot of fun for him.

I know an aquarium would facinate us both. I sure enjoyed the two tanks we had as a kid. I think one was a 15 and one a 30. I also had goldfish in "bowls". But, with a cat, I want something he will not be able to push over.

I think I would be happy with some cool looking bottom fish - I used to have a 4-5 inch black shark thing with a red tail. And then, maybe 3 or 4 larger fish. I always liked goldfish, but I understand they are "dirty" and I might be better with tropicals??? When I was a kid, we had a school of neon tetras that I liked, but I think for my cat, the fish would need to be larger, and move faster than, say, an big angel fish. Are there fish that would tend to come up to the glass more than others??? I saw (forgive my spelling) ciliades? Several posts here mentioned them. Many shapes and colors. Pretty, good size... but some tanks in the store said aggressive. We used to have "kissing gourmi" and they were neat, but didn't swim very fast. We also had mollies etc. but I don't think I want anything that will be having young (especially live) to deal with. I used to have a Betta -- I doubt they would go in a mixed tank though.

I saw an "upright" 20 on a stand for around $125 at PetSupplies Plus. I can afford that. I am sure there would be at least another $125 in gravel, and "stuff". Is it better to have a tall tank, or a wide tank? I imagine it depends on what fish you have.

The pet store had "starter" tanks - I didn't write it down, but I think there was a "complete" 15 for about $60 (tabletop) and also 10 or 15 gallon corner tanks meant for on kitchen counters and in offices. They would really be the perfect size for me, but I suspect they are really to small to provide a healthy environment for fish. I would think the upright 20 gal. might be to small too. I imagine fish would like as big a space as you can give them.

I'd like as low-maintenance as I can get, but do understand it can be a lot of work.

So far, I have really liked the plants. I saw some with brown/purple leaves that I really liked a lot. I am interested to know if you can really set up a tank with live plants and have it work. Since I am a gardener, that part of it really attacts me. When I was a kid, if you got a live plant for your aquarium, it meant you would have an infestation of snails soon. :-(

For plants, would I want the tank in front of a window?

Ever since seeing Finding Nemo, I wonder if I will feel guilty if I get fish. Do any of you think that way? Geez, I was even looking at the fish in the "feeder" tank, thinking, I should get fish from one of those tanks - it would be like a "rescue"... but they did not look to healthy.

Thanks a bunch..... I promise to answer another newbies questions in a forum I am more familar with as payment - as I know it is a pain to keep answering newbie questions....

But I have not seen anyone else ask about fish for cat entertainment.

Can you all recommend some websites and or books I can go to for a good education????

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woeisme(z7b NC)

As for feeling guilty, keeping fish is no different than a cat or dog. Most fish are farm raised. Very few are wild caught. "Most" fish sold now are hybrids and are a little more colorful than their wild cousins. Also, in a properly maintained and established tank, the fish usually outlive the wild ones. A far as low maintainance, it depends on your water chemistry and quality. Not meaning your tap water is safe to drink and has no bacteria, just pH,nutrients and hardness. For example tap water that is hard and higher in pH is going to be more work for the fish that require a more acidic environment, also the type of plants that will do well in it. This can be reversed for acidic water for the needs of hard water fish. Any way you can save alot of money by building your own tankstand. They usually cost as much as an aquarium kit. For live planted tanks with the "red" plants you like (my favorite also), you need a high amount of light. A few plants do well in the low light that is usually provided in "complete" kits. I can go on and on (I normally do), so I'll post a few sites for you that I found usefull. This first is all around the best IMO. P.S. Goldfish only become a problem if the tank and filtration isn't sufficient. A bowl is way too small for them. When they grow they emit more ammonia and poison them selfs. Also they can grow to 12"+, a min 30 gallon tank with good filtration will work great.

Here is a link that might be useful: Best info IMO

    Bookmark   October 8, 2005 at 10:42AM
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woeisme(z7b NC)

These are the most useful I have found---- for equiptment/supplies www.drsfostersmith.com . If cichlids are your taste www.cichlid-forum.com , Salt Water www.reefcentral.com , There are many others

Here is a link that might be useful: Goldfish link

    Bookmark   October 8, 2005 at 10:47AM
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Thanks so much.

I live in the country, so have a well. We do have a water softener. But, it uses very little salt, about 2-1/2 of the 80 lb bags a year. Our main problem is lime. When we make ice cubes, even putting the water through a Britta filter, we get a layer of lime on top, like a little layer of snow.

Sounds like first step is READ up. Then, test water.

Thanks a lot for the info!!!

    Bookmark   October 9, 2005 at 9:26AM
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woeisme(z7b NC)

I also have a well. The water is drawn deep below, at least 150', from a pool of water in the gaps of limestone. The facinating thing with this is directly from the tap the water can test acicdic. This is because lack of air (O2, oxygen). When this happens the carbon that is abundant in the water because of the limestone, turns to carbonic acid making the water acidic at first. When the acidic water aerates the ph can soar from 6.0 ppm to 8.0 ppm in a mater of minutes or a day deppending on water agitation. This can be a problem for planted tanks and initiating the nitrogen cycle (sometimes). This is my situation but it can be done, however it is not low maintainance as you wanted. Do not bother using a pH adjuster such as pH down. They are only temporary and your pH will climb back up over night ( I've tried them all LOL). I have a heavily planted aquarium(s) but use CO2 injection to stabilize my pH. A water softener only remedies the GH (general hardness) not the KH (carbonate hardness) which is the factor for pH. You can learn this all from the MSN site I reccomended. If your water is a high pH it is great for African Rift Lake Cichlids (very colorful fish, almost as pretty as salt water) Brackish water fish mollies, scats puffers etc. or even Salt water. You still can have goldfish and fresh water tropicals but plants are a little difficult, some that may work are Hornwort, Anacharis, Vallisnera, Watersprite.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2005 at 11:39AM
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Thanks again woeisme.

My well draw at 275 feet.

Now I know I started in the right direction by asking questions before I buy.... instead of buying first, then asking questions :-0

I will start with the places you recommend, and then see if I still think it will be worth all the trouble and expense.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2005 at 5:29PM
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woeisme(z7b NC)

Don't be discouraged. Ask all ???'s you need until you understand. There are plants that work in hard water people have planted African Cichlid Aquariums (I have a good link to a way to set it up if you want in the future). You are doing the right thing by investigating what you need to do to get the "look" you want. The possible high pH it sounds like you have (your mention of lime and calcium deposits) will be OK for alot of fish and there are descent looking silk plants that are more natural looking. Good Luck.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2005 at 10:57PM
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I would recommend either neon sharks or female betta fish. Female betta fish get along in the same tank and neon sharks get along with other fish like tetras. My current and former (had to be put to sleep last year in november) cats both like betta fish and the fish seemed to like them. Also, they liked tetra fish and angelfish but angelfish can be aggressive to other fish (the one I had killed two of the leopard danio fish). Zebra danio are other good fish to keep.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2005 at 10:52PM
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