Updated: Dec 16, 2022
Every beginner to the fish hobby has a pertaining question " what kind of Aquarium Fish to bring home for the first time"? It is very easy to get overwhelmed when you visit an Aquarium shop. Such a lot of varieties of species will leave you confused. Quite often the seller will not guide you in terms of compatibility with other fish. For a Beginner to the fish hobby, the most delightful Aquarium to set up is the community tank. This is a paradise tank for every hobbyist. It is very simple and never complicated to have your first Aquarium. All you need to have your basics right.
First and foremost is to have a sizeable fish tank with proper filtration and an Aquarium light. The tank recommended for the starters is a 2 ft in length Aquarium. Secondly and the most important aspect of any successful aquarium is filtration.
Buy a Filter that can cover all corners of the tank. Various companies supply filters. They come as hang-on back filters (meaning the compartment of the filter will be outside the tank hanging from the top of the glass with the flow inwards), there are internal filters which is attached to the inside of the Aquarium. There are Age old sponge filters to consider. (But will not recommend it because it can occupy space at the bottom of the tank for smaller tanks). There are also canisters in the market that are of good quality (highly recommended for tanks with a capacity of more than 175-200 liters). Adequate filtration plays a vital role and needs to be given the highest priority. A weak filtration system can spoil all the fun intended to own an Aquarium and will leave the owner dismayed.
Please note that when introducing the fish in a newly set community tank the fish needs to be introduced after 15 days of initial setup. Let the tank settle down, and introduce some beneficial bacteria into the Tank for eight days which can help to kick start the nitrogen cycle. Some products can help you like Seachem Stability or API Quickstart. out of the two we recommend Seachem Stability as we use it quite often in our tanks.
Things to consider for setting up a community tank:
If you are a beginner consider having a smaller tank around 2 feet in length having a height of 18 inches and a depth of 15 inches with a cover on the fish tank.
Fish medicine (you dont want to run helter-skelter when disease strikes. Recommended Seachem Paraguard as a precautionary measure for eradicating ectoparasites, and fungal, bacterial, and viral lesions. )
Beneficial bacteria products like Seachem Stability or API Quickstart.
Heater (if you live in a colder area)
Water conditioner - Go with the best - Seachem Prime.
An Aquarium Light.
Let's look at the most preferred fish in a community tank, the below are the top 3 you can consider starting with, it is better to start with a few in a 2 feet tank around 6 experimenting with a few, then gradually increase the number of fish to not more than 16 the below-mentioned species. the more fish you have the more ammonia spike in the tank:-
Guppies are our favorite because they come in different colors. they look beautiful when they dazzle their fins. Always introduce the guppies with one Male to two female ratios of 1:2. Easy to maintain just keep the water parameters clean.
Zebra Danios (buy these minimum 4 pairs to start with) They look beautiful with their movement and are always active.
Cardinal tetra:- Once the tank is settled this fish is a hobbyist delight. These are schooling fish. Please do not go for its cousin fish - Neon Tetra at the beginning because it is very delicate and may die even with the slightest change in the temperature. Buy at least a dozen of the fish.
Platy is compatible with all community fish. They make a lovely addition. Consider putting at least 3 pairs in the smaller tank.
Cory's as bottom dwellers ( consider putting at least 2 pairs in a 2 feet tank} they are good bottom cleaners. Please give them someplace to hide.
There are other fish such as Angel Fish, Betta, and Gourami. But extra caution needs to be undertaken when introducing Angel in a community tank especially when you have guppies and Neon tetra. They will nip their fins. Angelfish can be very territorial.
The most important point to consider is fish food, not ordinary food but premium food. The reason behind this is that it provides complete nutrition. Nowadays various fish food is available to meet the dietary requirement of different species. For a community fish always look out for fish food meant for a community tank. We highly recommend Teraa fish food for a community tank. This food is complete with nutritional value for the overall growth of fish. Secondly, this food will not cloud your tank and is well-accepted by fish.
Feeding of fish food can be given once a day. See that the food is consumed within 5 minutes of the feed. This is the best time to check the well-being of the fish. Feed a Variety of fish food like flakes, fish food pellets, and dry worms. I do not favor Blood worms because of the parasite they might carry. Infected blood worms can pass the virus to the fish. If you trust your source of supplies, blood worms can be given as treats to your fish. You can also consider another premium brand called "Bug Bites from Fluval" This food mainly consists of 40% BSF and other premium ingredients all sourced from one place to preserve quality. Bug bites follow a stringent Quality controlled manufacturing process. This is the superfood in the market. Bug Bites is mixed with whole salmon, which is rich in Omega 3 and 6 for healthy skin, scales, fins, and colors. There are other brands in the market. but we consider Teraa and Fluval Bugs Bites has premium food in the market. We have tested both these foods and were very satisfied with the results.
What do the fish eat in the wild?
The aquarium diet should have somewhat the same as the fish eaten in the wild like larvae, adult insects, crustaceans, plants, and algae. Periphyton -a Group of organism (algae, fungi, bacteria, protozoa) that cover the rocks, logs that are found beneath the water's surface... It's also good to do research a little bit on the fish in the tank. Their diet preference needs to be considered. Mixing herbivorous, carnivorous, and omnivorous fish is a no-no. It's better to have omnivorous fish as community fish. If you have selected omnivorous fish feed them with mix diet of veg food more in spirulina, Algae, and even krill flakes. Also, take care of the pellet size for small fish going with the size of O.65mm. Our favorite is Sera food (O-Nip) packed with nutritional value. It comes in Tabs and it needs to be stuck on the glass, Fish do love it. If you have a pleco or bottom dwellers, give them sinkable food. Pleco is herbivorous and should be fed more of a veg diet - Algae wafers. We recommend Algae wafers from Ocean Nutrition. Feed them when the lights are switched off and time for bed.
Here is Bug Bites Video:- TAKE A BITE ON THE WILD SIDE | Fluval Bug Bites. Watch the video for complete details on what goes in Bug Bites. Fluval Bug Bites believe in social responsibility and sustainability with the utmost quality control rest assured your Fish will enjoy one good insect-based sustainability early MEAL.
Please beware of the duplicates in the market and other name-sake products.
Always buy genuine premium products and watch your fish grow to their full potential.
Filters:- Various filters are available. Always buy a filter meant to cover up all sides of the tank. Buy a filter according to the volume of water. The output of the filtration should be at least 3-4 times more per hour. That means the water should pass every object in the tank through the filter during the filtration process. There are various filters in the market suitable for various budgets like Sobo. But our choice for filtration has always been Seachem Tidal and filters from Fluval C3 power filter for 190 liters tank or C4 power filter for tank upto 265 liters. These hang-on-back filters are robust and technically superior to any other filters available in the market. They trap any free-flowing dirt from the water column and keep the tank clean. Consider putting the hang-on back filter if you do not want any internal filter in the tank that can look ugly and occupy aquarium space in a smaller tank.
Maintenance of the tank:
At least do 30% water change every 15 days for busy people Though, Weekly maintenance is mostly preferred. Keep a day in the week to do a water change. It will at least take 45 minutes to an hour for smaller fish tanks of up to 265 liters.
Siphoning the gravel every 1 month. This will clear any sludge or fish food water lingering in the gravel.
Cleaning of the Internal filter while doing a water change. For the canister you can do the cleaning every 45 days or for two months. It all depends on the Bio-load.
Clean up all your decor for at least a month. brush up all the stones, artificial plants, and any such decor used in the tank.
Add anti-chlorine to the tank after a water change. We highly recommend Seachem Prime which removes chlorine, and chloramine, and detoxifies Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate. It also provides a slime coat to fight disease. Your fish will remain healthy if you treat them properly.
Make sure the animals you choose are compatible, so they can thrive in your tank
Don't tap the glass or harass them 24/7; if you do they could die of stress.
Do not leave the light on 24/7, this will stress your fish. They too require day and night.
For beginners, the planted tank is not recommended because there are lots of issues that need to be taken care of like co2, micronutrients, macro-nutrients, etc. Even if you want to put plants for decor, There are varieties of artificial plants to consider.
We recommend a cool video to watch for setting up your first tank.
Bonus video with commentary "Where Your Pet Fish Live in the Wild—DIVE INTO THE AMAZON RAINFOREST!"
Please note that all the foods featured above had been tested by us for 15 days. Some were tested for a month. And we highly recommend for fish feed.
Sunil Dcosta - A Fish Enthusiast for over 30 years
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