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  1. #1
    Registered User ALTownsend1's Avatar
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    TONS of questions, share your wisdom and pics

    So...I'm on BP.net due to my single Ball Python, but as a Florida resident who grew up on the water, the idea of owning a beautiful aquarium has always intrigued me. I'm reaching out to you all for advice on a few things:

    1. Fresh vs. Saltwater--What are the pros/cons, whether it be species possibilities, or general upkeep and costs

    2. How varying can your fish be? i.e., is it possible to have a good number of different species in a single aquarium?

    3. What is a generally good sized aquarium? I would love something with a nice, furniture looking base, and have seen some for good prices with everything in the 55 gallon range. Is this a good size, or are the 100+ a better choice? I'm not in a monstrous house, and don't have unlimited funds, so by no means am I looking for an MTV Cribs aquarium. Does size limit species possibilities? Is there a "most popular" size, or most bang for your buck?

    4. What are average monthly costs and what are the general upkeep requirements?

    5. Where do you purchase your:
    -Supplies
    -Fish
    -etc.

    6. Do fish allow you to vacation? i.e., can I go home for the weekend without coming back to a tank full of dead fish? How do you handle time away?

    7. How do you transport fish in case of a move?

    8. Any other advice or opinions

    9. SHOW OFF! I'd love to see your setups, I can't get enough of the beautiful aquariums people have and would love to see what everyone has!

    Thanks for any help, you guys rock
    Last edited by ALTownsend1; 04-06-2010 at 08:15 PM.
    IV:XIII

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  2. #2
    BPnet Veteran Christine's Avatar
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    Re: TONS of questions, share your wisdom and pics

    Hi, I have fresh water fish and turtles living together, and I dont mean feeder fish. For some reason my turtles wont eat the fish they live with.They have been together for years. LOL I have tetras, and some loaches. I like them because they seem to live well with one another and come in so many sizes and colors. I have a 125 gal and a 75 gal. From what I have found the larger the tank the easier they are to run. Small tanks go off balance very fast. I had a fifty five but prefer the 75 much more. I just find 55s to narrow for me.
    If you really want a tank do a lot of research on filters a good canister filter will save you a lot of headache. I have found a lot of luck in cascades and ehiems. I use the classic ehiems they can be a bit hard to start up for a new person because the directions are not very good.But once you get them going they are champs. Draw back to the ehiem is they are expensive. The cascades are great beginner filters. Some people find them hard to prime the trick with them is making sure your canister and your intake and outake tubes are totally filled with water. There are shut off switches that allow you to fill the tubes.
    Also shop online for filters. Sooo much cheaper that way.
    You can also get nice tanks off of craigs list but always ask if they hold water and maybe do a prefill outdoors to make sure it does.
    oh and here is the link to my 75 with fish and turtle
    http://www.ball-pythons.net/forums/s...63#post1296863
    Last edited by Christine; 04-07-2010 at 01:33 PM.

  3. #3
    BPnet Lifer mainbutter's Avatar
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    Re: TONS of questions, share your wisdom and pics

    1) You can find every bit as much beauty and variety with freshwater aquariums as you can for saltwater. The pros/cons are all about the fish that require the different environments. Freshwater does tend to be easier and less expensive, but plenty of people do freshwater wrong and kill their fish.

    2) if you pick the right species, you can have quite the varied tank.

    3) the bigger the better IMO, simply because I have a never-ceasing desire for more and bigger fish. However the personal energy expended to upkeep an aquarium goes up exponentially with the size increase.

    4) I downsized quite a bit and am currently only keeping 30 gals to breed some guppies for fun to satisfy my fishy needs. My costs are minimal enough that I don't pay attention. $5 a month? $10 a month? Not even? With larger fish (6-8'') fish I used to budget about $3 a week per fish for food. Some people spend a hundred bucks a month on their 55 gallon. Others can get by spending much less.

    5) There are a few nice fish-only stores nearby, but in a pinch the internet and petco/petsmart will do.

    6) I get someone to feed my fish.

    7) In a bait minnow bucket

    8) I don't know where you are located, but if it is legal in your state, I HIGHLY recommend native north american fish. Sure, cichlids and piranhas get all the attention, but there's nothing more interesting IMO than sunfish (bluegill and related species/hybrids). In MN you can keep many native fish species, but for game fish (which includes sunfish) you have to keep a reciept that says you purchased them from a licensed dealer (fish farms that breed fish for stocking ponds usually) if you are over 16 years old.

    Bluegill can even be conditioned (I hesitate to use the word 'trained') to perform various behaviors when food is involved. Teaching them to jump 6 inches or more out of the water to grab food from your fingers is common, and only takes a few weeks for them to get it down and be very accurate with their jumps.

    I'm going to restart a native fish tank this year I hope, and keep a couple bullheads and other "rough fish" and minnow species that are legal to transport.
    Last edited by mainbutter; 04-07-2010 at 01:58 PM.

  4. #4
    Registered User ALTownsend1's Avatar
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    Re: TONS of questions, share your wisdom and pics

    I would honestly rather do turtles, can you tell me anything about that???

    They interest me much much more, but I was guessing that they would be much harder/more expensive than fish...
    IV:XIII

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  5. #5
    BPnet Veteran Christine's Avatar
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    Re: TONS of questions, share your wisdom and pics

    Turtles can be a bit more money to start up.
    There are things you have to buy that you wouldnt for a fish tank. Such as a uv light and a heat lamp so they can bask. Basking platforms that you can buy or make yourself. There are so many kinds of turtles in the pet trade that most anyone can find a species that suits them. Such as smaller turtles for tanks the size of a 30 gal. To monsters that need hundreds of gallon tanks or ponds lol. If you have a turtle such as a musk who will very happily live in a 30 gal tank you would need a filter twice that size cause they can be dirty little buggers. Just like with the snakes proper set up is a must. You see my tanks are crystal clear and thats cause I spent the money on proper filtration to keep them healthy.
    Here is a great link to all the turtle info you could ever need.
    http://www.austinsturtlepage.com/
    Also a good breeder is the place to get your turtles
    I deal with two turtle souce and martins exotics

  6. #6
    BPnet Veteran Christine's Avatar
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    Re: TONS of questions, share your wisdom and pics

    Here is my 125 turtles and fish are together
    http://www.ball-pythons.net/forums/s...d.php?t=115773

  7. #7
    BPnet Veteran Brunoheart's Avatar
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    Re: TONS of questions, share your wisdom and pics

    From what I hear, salt water aquariums are MUCH more labor intensive than fresh, so it really depends on how high maintenance you want it to be. Also, if you decide to go with a salt setup, make sure you get a tank that is not too deep, you want to have a lot of surface area so that the light can get to your live rock or it will not survive. I think you can have much more color in a salt tank, fish tend to be brighter colors and lots of different types/sizes can live together depending on your set up.
    I have a 125 G fresh and a 30 G fresh. You can set up community tanks with several different species of fish or set up with several of the same species. I personally have aggressive tanks and my fish would typically not do well in a tank together, however, my hubby is GREAT with fish and makes it work. I have two Pacu's that are about 20" long, a Flower Horn Cichlid that is about 5-6", a Red Devil Cichlid that is 4-5" and a Male Blue Johanni Cichlid that is 3-4" all in my 125 G. Both the Flower Horn and Blue Johanni had been sold and returned to my LFS because they were too aggressive, but we have had them living together for over a year and they are fine. I also have two Pleco's in that tank. The 30 G has four female juvi Blue Johanni's, a Dinosaur Bashir and a Striped Raphael Catfish (which we NEVER see). Once the females are large/old enough, we will move the male in with them. Whenever we are adding new fish to our aquariums, we always start by repositioning the tank decorations which means all the fish are re-establishing their "territory" and no one has time to worry about establishing pecking order. This prevents the established fish from pestering the new fish to death.
    When starting a brand new tank, get your tank up and running for a full week prior to getting fish to get your temps established, then add throw-away fish, feeders are good cause they are cheap. These throw away fish will help to establish your bio-filter and a tank with no established bio-filter will not keep fish alive for long. Another option is if you know someone that has a well established tank, ask for their water the next time they do a partial change, a couple gallons from an established tank will also jump start your bio-filter.
    We have two Magnum 350 Canister Filters on our 125 G and I love them. We also have a bio-wheel, which also helps with that bio-filtration (good bacteria). I would not recommend going to any of the big chains for advice on setting up your tank or buying fish (generally speaking). Go to a few local small fish stores and check out their tanks and fish. Pay attention to how the store smells especially, it should smell clean, not musty or mildewy, the tanks should be clean and the fish should appear lively and healthy. Fins that are held close to the body is a sign of stress or illness, the fish should be free of external parasites as well. Also, ask what days they get fish shipments and make sure you check out their stock in between fish delivery days. Fish delivered today may be stressed from the move (normal), but may also be healthier than their normal stock if they are not caring correctly for their tanks. You can certainly buy equipment from chain stores and may be able to get a better price, but the live animals are typically healthier in small, non-chain stores. Read up on a few things, then go ask questions you already have answers to to help determine if they are knowledgable.
    I would love to share pics, but do not currently have any pics hosted online. I'll get some up in the next couple of weeks, though. We have plans to eventually build a 400+/- G tank in the basement to house the Pacu's because they WILL get BIG. Make sure you research the fish you want before you buy. There is a type of fish that I would LOVE to have, but it requires brackish water which I do not have, so I am unable to provide an enviroment it can thrive in, so it remains on the wish list. I did however find a freshwater fish that has a similar look, so bought one of those instead. The Pacu's are another perfect example of why you should research. We bought them at Walmart when they were 1/2 Dollar sized with no prior research. We knew they got big, but did not know they could reach 3' long. I really love these fish, lots of personality and just really cool, so we now have to plan a way to house them because they are our responsibility and we plan to keep them until they die of natural causes (30-40 years from now).
    As far as moving, it depends on the size of the fish and how far they are moving. When we moved our tank from place in the Living Room to another, we had to put the fish in Sterlite type containers with water from the tank, however, if we were moving to another house, they would also need at least an aerator and possibly heat depending on ambient temps. If you have just little fish, you can use a clean five gallon bucket for all the fish, just secure the lid and get a battery powered aerator until your tank is set back up (moving a tank with water in it is NOT going to work).
    Also, I hear that larger tanks are actually easier than smaller tanks, so try to go 20 G or larger, anything smaller becomes more difficult rather than less.
    Sorry this became so long, I really enjoy my tanks and they require very little care at this point so I can just enjoy them without lots of work. Take care and good luck getting a tank (or two) established.
    *~*Mica*~*
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  8. #8
    BPnet Lifer mainbutter's Avatar
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    Re: TONS of questions, share your wisdom and pics

    Quote Originally Posted by ALTownsend1 View Post
    I would honestly rather do turtles, can you tell me anything about that???

    They interest me much much more, but I was guessing that they would be much harder/more expensive than fish...
    oh sorry lol this was posted in the fish forum so I figured you were talking about fish.

    There are many great turtle species that do well in captivity. For hopefully obvious reasons, I'm limiting this to the discussion of freshwater turtles.

    Plenty of people keep turtles in medium sized glass aquariums, but personally I prefer to give turtles more room. Even 6'' shell diameter turtles will make more than full use of a ~6'x2' indoor pond/tub. I prefer to have a couple turtles in a larger enclosure than a single turtle in a small enclosure. If you want turtles, I'd suggest at least a 100 gal aquarium.

    Here's a link to the types of tubs that are often used for indoor turtle care:

    http://lllreptile.com/store/catalog/...aterland-tubs/

    Regular water changes and filtration are a kick in the pants with turtles. They are messy, messy creatures. Hauling and disposing of a hundred gallons (or more) every weekend, and refilling your tub can be a pain. However I've done it with fish aquariums, and if you love your critters enough then it's not that big of a deal. I wasn't kidding though in my previous post that it feels like the amount of personal energy required for keeping captive water-based creatures happy goes up exponentially with the amount of water you keep them in.
    Last edited by mainbutter; 04-07-2010 at 05:05 PM.

  9. #9
    BPnet Veteran nixer's Avatar
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    Re: TONS of questions, share your wisdom and pics

    Quote Originally Posted by ALTownsend1 View Post
    So...I'm on BP.net due to my single Ball Python, but as a Florida resident who grew up on the water, the idea of owning a beautiful aquarium has always intrigued me. I'm reaching out to you all for advice on a few things:

    1. Fresh vs. Saltwater--What are the pros/cons, whether it be species possibilities, or general upkeep and costs

    saltwater needs a more stable ph and of course marine salt.
    both can be costly and both can be done cheaply


    2. How varying can your fish be? i.e., is it possible to have a good number of different species in a single aquarium?

    sure if they all get along well why not

    3. What is a generally good sized aquarium? I would love something with a nice, furniture looking base, and have seen some for good prices with everything in the 55 gallon range. Is this a good size, or are the 100+ a better choice? I'm not in a monstrous house, and don't have unlimited funds, so by no means am I looking for an MTV Cribs aquarium. Does size limit species possibilities? Is there a "most popular" size, or most bang for your buck?

    depends really on what you want to keep and how many. typically i see alot of 29,55,75 gallon tanks. other than water changes heaters need to be bigger so more electric, but big tanks do keep more stable temps. do your homework on filters i would surely go canister filters they dont require special cartridges

    4. What are average monthly costs and what are the general upkeep requirements?

    fish food, water conditioner, electric, 25% water change every week

    5. Where do you purchase your:
    -Supplies
    -Fish
    -etc.

    i get alot of my stuff online. also look for local breeders first

    6. Do fish allow you to vacation? i.e., can I go home for the weekend without coming back to a tank full of dead fish? How do you handle time away?

    sure but they need the obvious water change, but as long as your not overcrowded it should be an issue. they will need to be fed 1 time a day

    7. How do you transport fish in case of a move?

    buckets,tubs anything safe for holding water that is non toxic

    8. Any other advice or opinions

    really do your homework on what you want to keep before you get fish and setup a tank.

    9. SHOW OFF! I'd love to see your setups, I can't get enough of the beautiful aquariums people have and would love to see what everyone has!

    Thanks for any help, you guys rock

  10. #10
    BPnet Veteran Brunoheart's Avatar
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    Re: TONS of questions, share your wisdom and pics

    We do not do weekly water changes. We refill as the water evapoartes, but with proper filtration, we find that water changes are not usually needed. The only times we have done water changes is if we add a fish that brings external parasites with it (which can be present and not show up for a few days) or we have an ammonia spike due to feeding too heavily (usually too many feeder fish added at once). Also, keeping your tank away from direct sunlight and keeping lights off most of the time will help prevent algae blooms which will lead to reduced water quality. Some of the people that we know that have started keeping fish after seeing our tanks have lots of water quality issues when they follow advice stating frequent water changes and feeding everyday. We advise to not change water unless they notice an issue (cloudy, discolored water or sick/stressed fish) and to feed only every other day and their tanks clear right up. Guess it all depends on what you want to do, just saying what works for us. My guess is that fish may not find a meal everyday just like most wild animals and if your filtration is adequate (too much is better than not enough) it's not different than living in a lake or pond where that water is not "changed" per se. We have enough filtration to completely filter all the water at least 1-1.5 times per hour, so it works. Can't imagine the big public aquariums perform 25% water changes on all their tanks every week, however, I have never worked inone, so could be very wrong. Just my 2 cents.
    Last edited by Brunoheart; 04-07-2010 at 08:48 PM. Reason: Typos...
    *~*Mica*~*
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