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Common beginner mistakes

Discussion in 'Freshwater Archives' started by NJ Devils Fan, Dec 8, 2002.

  1. NJ Devils Fan

    NJ Devils Fan #1 Devils fan

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    If you have made a common beginner mistake in your fish keeping time, post it here. Hopefully, if beginners and newbies read this first, they will not make some of the same mistakes we have made.

    The worst mistake I made was when I first got my 10g tank. I just put the decoraions in it, filled it with water, and the next day, added about 10 fish. This was bad because I did not cycle the tank(check out this article if you are not sure what cycling is. Cycling). I also added way to many fish at once. When doing this, certain levels in your tank, like ammonia and ph can rise, killing all the fish. The most you should add to a tank at once is about 2-3 fish, unless you are adding schooling fish, then 5-6 is ok. Needless to say, within 2 days, all the fish were dead.

    Here is my site, check out the Getting Started page if you need some help or don't know what to do.
     
    #1 NJ Devils Fan, Dec 8, 2002
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2003
  2. val

    val .

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    KISS -- Keep It Simple

    There's a lot to fishkeeping, if you want to do it right, which you do if you're here and reading this. The biggest difference, and hence the challenge of fishkeeping, is that we have to create the environment the fish live in. Heaven knows having a dog or a cat or a bird can be tricky, but we don't have to manufacture air for the pets or create gravity... But we have to maintain the watery world our fish live in. So, start out with relatively simple fish in a simple setup. I started out with fantail goldfish. Hardy, a little more unique than the standard fishbowl goldfish, easy to find and easy to keep in small numbers. 10 years later, I'm only now branching out to other fish. Other good beginner fishes are mollies and swordtails, which come in a pretty range of colors and can be easily found.

    Other ways to keep this simple, get as big a tank as you can afford. I would recommend a 29 or 30 gallon tank. The bigger the tank the more stable the environment, and yet the cost of heaters and filters is still pretty low for this size tank. I went with goldfish, so I didn't need a heater. Trying to grow plants is a challenge for me, and I almost got out of the hobby when I failed at this aspect. Fake plants are pretty darn good now, so I would use them for the beginning.

    Ask lots of questions and take all the advice you receive with a grain of salt. Everything has worked for somebody, so it will look like you get conflicting info all the time. Other than my telling you that I, at least, am always right :D , I can't help you distinguish between good and bad advice. When in doubt, go with what seems most plausible to you.

    HTH,

    Val
     
  3. Sum-X

    Sum-X La Dee Da Dee Do

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    The biggest mistake I made was to put a Black Ghost Knife in a 10 gallon... Luckily, it did fine for 2 weeks, then I realized that they got to big and took it to the store and sold it... I've been keeping fish for some time now, and do not consider myself a beginner anymore.

    NJDF This is a good thread and should be an all time sticky... As the title to this forum says: 'The only mistakes are the ones not asked.' Or something like that. :D

    Another thing to remember... To all of the beginners out there, if you ask a question, and someone says something you don't think is right, don't just say you'll do it anyways. Because then, there wasn't even a reason for that question... Take the advice, do some research, and you'll find that the answers will present themselves in time. :D

    I hope I make sense. ;)
     
  4. famman

    famman AC Members

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    I don't consider myself a newbie but I still make mistakes.

    such as;

    Number 1 Mistake - Lack of Patience

    Number 2 Miskake - Overfeeding

    Number 3 Mistake - Contaminating Water

    Number 4 Mistake - Spilling Water

    I'm still working on them!

    good luck
    :)
     
  5. Sum-X

    Sum-X La Dee Da Dee Do

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    Patience and Overfeeding should be the top on everyones list...
    Some people become aggravated and bored, so they think they need a new fish, but don't neccisarilly have enough tank space. That results in problems.

    And Overfeeding is bad too... It may cause Ammonia problems, or even Filter problems... I still make these mistakes as well, and I don't think anyone, newb to expert is prone to it...
     
  6. pinballqueen

    pinballqueen Roleplayer

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    I have been keeping fish since before I was in grade school, so I have made a TON of mistakes that were easily avoidable.

    Rule #1: As almost everyone has mentioned, be patient. Don't go buy a tank today and stock it to the brim tomorrow. You'll just be wasting time and money. Lots and lots of money. (This is a lesson I am just now grasping and I've been doing this for a very long time...)

    Rule #2: Buy the biggest freakin' tank you can handle. Don't go buy a 10 gallon tank thinking "I'll get a bigger one once I learn a little more". Learn a little more now, and spring for the biggest thing you can fit into your budget (and your home). Granted, if you just have the budget and space for a ten gallon, then that is the tank for you, but go larger if you can. They're easier to keep clean and regulated, plus, you have more options fish-wise if you have at least 30 gallons to deal with.

    Rule #3: Do your homework and buy something you can take care of. If you walk into a fish store and buy something based on looks alone, you are most likely setting yourself up for disaster. There are tons of fish dealers that will give you the BS story about how fish only grow as large as their environment (which is true in a way, they'll die when they run out of room), or that the fish will only become aggressive when you start feeding it live food.... all the stories that are designed to talk you into buying something that will in all likelihood die within a short timeframe (and since you fell in love with the fish, you'll buy another just like it and start the cycle all over again). Be aware of any animal's habits, adult size, agressiveness, diet requirements, etc., so that you don't make this mistake when you walk in the door and get mowed over by a salesperson. (case in point, I purchased a redfin barracuda and took it home to my 55 gallon tank, at which point it proceeded to eat everything in my tank and then run into the walls because it didn't have room, eventually running itself into a heart attack....I didn't do my research until after the fish died and I was out $75. The silly fish needed at least six feet of running room and virtually no other tankmates....)

    Rule #4: Don't fill your tank with fish. Never follow that 1" to a gallon BS. There are very, very few fish species that can live in conditions that crowded. You wouldn't have 15 full-grown Rottweillers in your backyard just because someone told you they only need 5 square feet of area to live, right? Use common sense, and don't try to stuff as many fish in your home tank as the lfs has in his. Keep in mind, the fish dealer has the fish in there to get rid of them, not to keep them as pets....and chances are, his tanks are not as healthy as you would want your home tank to be.....(the exception to this is my lfs, the owner makes sure the fish are in very good living conditions and treats them like pets, not like stock to be sold....He does slightly overcrowd them a couple days a week when new shipments come in, however....)

    Rule #5: If you have a problem, don't be afraid to ask questions. This is a great forum for beginners, and we've all experienced some kind of tragic loss or another, so don't leave yourself in the dark, and don't give up, thinking that some people just aren't good with fish. It takes a lifetime to learn everything there is to know, and even the experts ask questions every now and again. You're not alone, so ask away, even if the question you have seems trivial. These folks are here to help.

    It is a truly great hobby to keep any kind of pet, and fish offer so many great things to someone who is willing to learn. Never give up, and great rewards await you once you've got the basics down.


    Pinball Queen, lenghty-posting knowitall....
     
  7. gcvt

    gcvt Functional Aquaholic

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    Great thread idea NJ Devils Fan!

    I think one of the big beginner mistakes is impulse buying. Researching livestock, before you make a purchase, is critical. You want to know exactly what you're getting into as far as fish size, requirements, preferences, potential problems, etc.
     
  8. christopher1260

    christopher1260 Expert Novice

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    i think the biggest mistake i made was not researching what i wanted before i got into it. the way to buy fish is to know everything about it before you buy it. for instance, if you see a cool fish at the lfs, come home and check out the species profile on this site. even if the fish is really cool, do not get it if you don't have the room or the type of tankmates that it needs.
     
  9. NJ Devils Fan

    NJ Devils Fan #1 Devils fan

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    Thanks gcvt. I asked Cindy about making this sticky like PG said. I think it should be.
     
  10. gcvt

    gcvt Functional Aquaholic

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    You're welcome...and I agree it should be a sticky. Heck, this is the kind of post this forum was made for! :D

    And, why there's no 'sticky' article on fishless cycling, I have no idea. Seems like a no-brainer.
     
    #10 gcvt, Dec 8, 2002
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2002

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