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Old 11-02-2012, 05:28 PM   #1 
AttemptedM
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Getting Started. Advice on all fronts.

I have been passively keeping betta fish for a long time without really understanding anything about them. I chose to go with betta's because they are relatively easy to care for and they look good.

I didn't know anything about cycling or bioload or pH or anything like that. I got a bowl, let it get to room temp, added the fish, fed them daily, changed 50% of the water weekly.

Don't get mad, I didn't know I was doing anything wrong. I have recently decided to go the next level with a larger aquarium, now that I know that betta's can live with other fish. I have read most of the sticky guides about cycling and everything else and am now ready to invest in a community aquarium.

I would like to keep a betta, 3-6 small schooling fish, and a pleco or other similar bottom feeder. Things that are easily compatible.

I would like some recommendations as far as tank size (or even particular aquariums) the right temp, pH, water hardness. The right kind of plants, and substrate.

Ideally I would like a habitat that looks nice and has a good population that can live together and are easy to feed and maintain together.

Money is not unlimited, but I have been saving for a while and I can afford a decent setup. 300-400$ including fish and all the other accessories. Thanks in advance for the advice
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Old 11-02-2012, 05:47 PM   #2 
LeoTheLakerBetta
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I would go for a tank at least 20 gallons. I'm not too sure which fish you would want, as I'm not too expereinced in that area. However, your ph is narrowed by your betta. Bettas prefer more of neutral water like 6.8ish to 7.2. The key is keeping it constant. I'm not sure what type of schooling fish fits in that range of ph so maybe someone else can touch on that. As far as temp goes, you want it around 78 but you could go for a little warmer like 80 or so. You definitely need a heater. Those are rated up to certain amounts of water but for a 20 gallon you'd probably get a 100 watt heater. You want a tank that comes with a filter and any substrate would probablywork for bettas. I'm not too good with plants but I do have anacharis and it is really hardy and low maintenance. It's also a waste mop meaning it will take some of the bad stuff out of the water. Really helpful for maintaining your water params.

If you are a little tight on money or would rather save more, look on craigslist for tanks in your area you can usually get a great deal. I got a 29 gallon, with heater, filter, gravel, decor, hood light and a whole bunch of fishie chemical stuff for 60 bucks. You can find great deals like a said so I would reccommend giving it a shot.
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Old 11-02-2012, 05:50 PM   #3 
katydidmischief
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With the pleco, you'll need to do a little research into which species you're getting as they can require larger tanks given how big they can get--I have a rubberlip which will eventually need to be moved to a 20gal (he's a juvie and still very small). If you'd prefer to stick to a 10 gallon or so, you can always look into oto catfish.

There is no right or wrong substrate, just what you prefer and find easier to clean. I stick to gravel over sand, though sand looks neater, since I can gravel vac without issue. I have anubias, argentine sword, java fern, mondo grass, and amazon sword growing happily in the gravel in both my tanks.
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Old 11-03-2012, 11:58 AM   #4 
Freyja
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Bristlenose plecos are also good for a 20g tank. You could also look into corydoras as a two for one: bottom-feeders and schooling. With a 10g do pygmy cories 4+ and with a 20g you could look at some of the other bigger hardier corydoras.
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Old 11-03-2012, 05:18 PM   #5 
AttemptedM
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Thanks for the advice. I went with a 20 gallon tank after talking to the owner of an exotic pet store. He told me that there are some small species of pleco that do well at that size but nothing for 10. I have always liked plecos but I didn't want a huge tank. From what I read a tiger placo should be ok.

I also got an aquaclear filter (sized for 50 gallon tank but with adjustable flow) and a fluval heater (also rated for up to 50 gallons.) Is there a particular place or arrangement that works best for those? I am reading all the instructions before I start setting anything up.

It's also going to be a while before live plants. I can't afford the lighting and my house is pretty dark.
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