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Beginner's Circle This forum is dedicated to helping people new to the hobby. If you need help, this is your starting point.

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Old 01-18-2018, 11:25 AM   #11
Salinger
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Tom, Dis, Jackie, great feedback and advice, thank you all! This is exactly why I joined the forums. ...and Jackie, never annoying but incredibly helpful! Thank you for taking all that time. As you've probably gathered I'm an information junkie, maybe I spend too much time thinking rather than doing, but I want to do this right and if I have some failures along the way, and I'm sure I will, I want them to be genuine mistakes, not because I was too lazy to research or ask questions.

A fun aside story related to this. I'd messaged Big Al's via FB a couple of days ago when I was considering the Vista kit, to ask what their pricing was as it wasn't on their website. They wrote back promptly to say they didn't carry that one, but asked what I liked about it so they might be able to recommend an alternative. Anyway, through messaging back and forth a few times, I mentioned in one of my messages how much I enjoyed the Big Al's YouTube videos with Thomas, and how he made videos that were both educational and fun. Lo and behold, it was actually Thomas I'd been speaking with all along! After a few more back and forths on messenger over a couple of days, he offered to give me a call so we could chat more easily and in-depth. We must have spent a half hour on the phone. He asked me all sorts of questions on my end goal and what I wanted to get out of this etc, and made a lot of the same recommendations that you guys have. He never tried to make a sale or even suggest buying something at Big Al's, he was just truly interested in making sure I was on the right track, and got the equipment and set-up that would work for me. His passion for the hobby was so evident and wonderful to see. I was very impressed, he was totally amazing. Thomas, if you happen to frequent these forums, thanks again!

Given that I live in a relatively small apartment in the downtown core, I'm not going to end up with a half dozen tanks; it's just not possible even if I wanted to. So, this first tank will likely be my main and only tank for some time. I can see me maybe upgrading it down the road, or having a second, much smaller tank, but I won't be a multi-tank person, I simply don't have the physical space. That said, Thomas and I came to the same conclusion that I think most of you have recommended. Buying an all-in-one kit is probably not the best way for me to go as it'll be my only tank and I'll end up spending a lot more money in the long run as I have to upgrade all the various components. Like you Jackie, Thomas suggested starting out with a small canister filter (coincidentally the Eheim!) and a good heater along with just a tank rather than a kit. I watched Thomas's video on setting up the Eheim filter, and also another on cleaning and maintenance and it's not nearly as intimidating as I thought.

I need to have one more look at tanks, but I'm thinking either a 20 long or 29 gallon is as big as I'd want to go. Plus, I checked with my insurance, and with a tank up to 29 gallons, I wouldn't need a rider or extra insurance; they'll cover my home and any neighbours should the worst happen. I actually like the smaller, more common aquarium fish rather than the larger aggressive species. So, guppies, endlers, danios, tetras, dwarf corys and possibly others I haven't even discovered yet. So, I think a 20-29 gallon should be fine for those. If I graduate to something more down the road, then I can consider upgrading then. But I think I'll be quite happy with this size and setup for some time.

Cheers again everyone, so very helpful!!
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Old 01-18-2018, 12:27 PM   #12
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I would recommend rimless tanks if its going to be a stand-alone tank in the house (without canopy) or in-wall.
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Old 01-18-2018, 01:06 PM   #13
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You talked to Thomas for realz? That's really cool. I think I read somewhere that he is (the) Big Al's son. In any event, that is pretty remarkable customer service right there. Thanks for sharing that experience.

Wouldn't everything you're doing make great watching on the old Youtube. Is there a series about how to responsibly start from square one to a properly stocked tank with healthy fish? Doing research, changing your mind, kit vs piecemeal, LFS vs big chain, who in your city gets what where, what works in your home and how much you need to spend to get the setup that you want. I'd watch that!

Did Thomas happen to float the idea of reverse engineering this process by picking fish first. You can pay for them and the store will hold until you are ready. This way you know best tank size, correct stocking number, species compatibility, equipment and substrate required. "guppies, endlers, danios, tetras, dwarf corys" won't need a heater but your average room temp will be the best guide.

In case this site isn't on yoru radar, here's a great time vampire http://aqadvisor.com/. Not to chicken little the matter but there are lots of stories online about failed heaters cooking fish, especially in small tanks. So if you do get fish that require a heater, it makes sense to spend the money on the most reliable one.
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Old 01-18-2018, 09:43 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Salinger View Post
I need to have one more look at tanks, but I'm thinking either a 20 long or 29 gallon is as big as I'd want to go.
Don't overlook '23G Long' tanks - they're not quite as common to see in the stores as the 20G long, but they most definitely ARE a standard size tank (it might have to be ordered though).

Almost identical in dimensions to the 20G Long tank, but 6" longer (36" long as opposed to 30" for the 20). That extra length REALLY helps when it comes to considering lighting options…!
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Old 01-19-2018, 02:26 PM   #15
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Jackie, I don't think I'm ready to become a YouTube star. LOL But I agree, I would watch that too... if someone else did it.

Thomas didn't suggest going so far as to actually buy fish in advance, but he did say something similar. He said to consider what fish I like, what fish more or less speak to me and I want to keep in my home. Then, once that's settled, get a tank to suit the fish, not the other way around i.e. decide on a tank size and then try to get fish to fit it.

I like to keep my home pretty cool, especially for sleeping; usually around 20 and in the summer, usually run my AC day and night when I'm home. So, I think a heater will be necessary for me for sure. Thomas recommended Cobalt Neo-therm, but I've also seen very high ratings for the Aqueon Pro and it's much less expensive.

Jackie, you mentioned you had the Eheim 2213 and Eheim is the brand Thomas recommended as well. In looking at videos, it seems it's somewhat more for advanced users in that there are lots of cutting tubes, attached clamps and valves etc. As well, the filter media appears to be stacked in the canister loose. Just wondering if that might be a bit overwhelming for me as a newbie. I've seen the Fluval 06 canister filters be highly rated and they seem to be more user friendly. They look a lot easier to set up and perform maintenance with the way the hoses attach/detach to/from the canister and the individual baskets for the media. Any thoughts?

Windowlicka, I've never seen a 23 long, and can't even find one on any of the various online sites. Sounds interesting though, I'll ask about it when I go to Big Al's on the weekend. Thanks!
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Old 01-19-2018, 04:07 PM   #16
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Check out angelfins too (quelph) - they carry ADA tanks that are very beautiful but expensive (quality)

For me, the setup of a new tank is far more enjoyable then the long-term maintenance of it... so enjoy these early stages
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Old 01-19-2018, 05:46 PM   #17
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Hey,

Well I guess I didn't type what I meant. I did try to say what Thomas said better-decide on your species and their requirements, and how many of each and then you know what kind of home you need to put together for them. Then go find the fish. As far as putting fish on hold, not sure how long a store will do that for but if your chosen fish are harder to find in certain numbers then that's one way to make sure you get what you want. The other way is to special order.

I had a tiny tank first so knew I could only get tiny fish or shrimp. Saw a pic of Celestial Pearl Danios and wanted them more than anything. I was prepared to have to hunt around but there they were in Menagerie. When I upgraded tanks and wanted more fish, I couldn't find them and they weren't coming in on Menagerie orders. Then ShrimpFever got on my radar and they always have them.

Can't speak to the Fluval but I do love my Eheim and in all honesty, if I could figure it out, anyone can! I've also run the EXT which came with media trays but still prefer the Eheim. Putting the biologicals in media bags is the work around for a tray-less system.

+1 to what Kweli said about setting up!

I think someone mentioned http://www.miraclesaquariums.com/. Their prices look very reasonable and they've got good reviews on this forum.

I'll shut up about heaters.

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Old 01-19-2018, 05:53 PM   #18
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I've never seen a 23 long, and can't even find one on any of the various online sites. Sounds interesting though, I'll ask about it when I go to Big Al's on the weekend. Thanks!
Check the Miracles price list from the link that Fisheye mentions, or alternatively click the following: http://www.miraclesaquariums.com/201...-PRICELIST.pdf

Miracles #AAQ10
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Old 01-19-2018, 08:07 PM   #19
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So funny, it was just today while at work, erm, i mean while taking a break, I was (as I have been for a while now) checking out fish species on various sites and videos and saw the Danios you mentioned, I immediately added them to my list of fish for consideration. I'm just making note of anything I run across that appeals to me, and then I can narrow it down to what I really want later. As I mentioned before, I really tend to like the smaller species. I think the largest I have on my list is a guppy.

I am going to try to get back to go Big Al's this weekend and have a final look around and then come to some decisions. After all the great advice here, from Thomas of Big Al's and with all the reading and video watching I've done, I think I need to start making some decisions and purchases. I could keep second guessing everything for months. If I do something wrong, or buy the wrong thing, well, it'll be experience and I'll learn not to do it another time.

It's going to add up to a decent chuck of change so I will probably pick things up over a bit of time, getting the essentials first. That way, I'll also be able to keep an eye for sales on smaller bits and pieces and pick them up when they're a good price.

I have seen just about unanimously good things about Miracles aquariums. Their pricing for standard tanks, which is definitely what I'm looking at, are indeed quite reasonable, especially for a quality product. Their pricing list on their website is from 2016 so I'm not sure why that hasn't been updated. Do any stores sell their aquariums or do they only sell direct? The only way I'd be able to get up to Orangeville is to rent a car, and then, only on a weekend. I don't really care to do that, not to mention I don't fancy the 2 hour drive each way either.

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Old 01-19-2018, 10:02 PM   #20
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I sell their tanks, I also breed guppies 4164609922
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