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Greetings from NJ as a beginner teen aquarist!


Emily Z
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Hey! My name's Emily, and I'm a beginner aquarist who began keeping fish in February 2020! Even though it's been about 2 years, my knowledge in this hobby is still very little because I have had no access to experience- which means I haven't been able to get my hands on many plants, animals, or aqua scaping tools besides the very basic necessities (as you can see in the thumbnail, my 10 gallon tank is bare of plants except for a dwarf hairgrass and crypt bought from this website. I didn't even have enough sand to cover the top layer of my substrate! Luckily, that dilemma is solved now). The thumbnail picture is old, I replaced that barely-functioning filter I used to keep in a 2.5 gallon with an Aquarium Co-op filter and I removed that horrible dragon decoration.

I've been able to get by for getting fertilizer, medicine, water testing kits, a gravel vacuum, a filter, and all those other tools by begging my parents to allow me to use my allowance to buy these supplies off Amazon or Aquarium Co-op, haha. While I do have an LFS, it's a really crappy one where the animals there are neglected, there's a really limited selection for the aquarium supplies, and everything is overpriced. I try my best to give my male betta, Ciel, the best life I can; considering that his diet consists of only hard pellets and bloodworms (also flakes he refuses to eat) and that his tank is located in the kitchen (not a good choice because of the fumes from the sink chemicals or the smoke from cooking), I feel like I haven't been able to live up to that.

I still have a lot to learn, and after 2 years I am still stuck with knowing only the basics. Ciel is my first fish, and he hasn't gotten sick yet in these past two years I've owned him- but I have no experience with treating sick animals (every other day I get paranoid that Ciel might be sick and I am unable to recognize the signs) or with taking care of plants (my dwarf hairgrass and crypt have nearly died off on several occasions). I want to have more experience by getting some tankmates for Ciel, like cherry shrimp or tetras, but first I need to fill up all that empty space with plants, maybe even driftwood or aquascaping rocks if I can somehow get my hands on them. I already learned the hard way when I got myself a mystery snail before conducting proper research, and he died a premature death from an irritated foot and malnutrition. You can see him in the attached image.

Anyway, sorry for literally writing an essay, haha, but that summarizes the experience I've had so far into this hobby. It's tough, but Aquarium Co-op's blogs/youtube videos and being able to order supplies like plants and filters from them really helps me out to enjoy this hobby. Aquarium co-op team, if you're reading this, thanks a whole lot! You guys are awesome!

BigFishTank_4x6.jpg

Edited by Emily Z
Editing grammar, punctuation, and other writing errors.
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I used to love Bettas most of all when I first got interested in keeping fish. I even was able to breed and rase up a few without a lot of knowledge or help. I remember buying a few females, but finding out one was a sneaker male. It's a wonder any fry survived, now that I look back on that.  

Best advice I can give most new aquarists: ADD MORE PLANTS!!! 🪴😎💚

1433301897_ScreenShot2021-12-01at11_34_16PM.png.71fed5fe99d6337ac72af337eecf949b.png

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I agree with @Fish Folk but you are obviously on a budget. Next time you go to the store with allowance in hand I highly recommend a hardy plant you can propagate easily- like Java Fern. I love Windelov and Narrow Leaf. Several of my tanks have baby plants from other parent plants. There are also easy to propagate stem plants like Bacopa and Needle Leaf. Most big box pet store tho will have the Java I mentioned. If you get some glue it to a rock or wood (even decorations like your cute stacked rock tower).

Edited by xXInkedPhoenixX
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On 12/1/2021 at 11:34 PM, Fish Folk said:

I used to love Bettas most of all when I first got interested in keeping fish. I even was able to breed and rase up a few without a lot of knowledge or help. I remember buying a few females, but finding out one was a sneaker male. It's a wonder any fry survived, now that I look back on that.  

Best advice I can give most new aquarists: ADD MORE PLANTS!!! 🪴😎💚

1433301897_ScreenShot2021-12-01at11_34_16PM.png.71fed5fe99d6337ac72af337eecf949b.png

Thank you for the advice! I already took that up, earlier today my plants from Aquarium Co-op arrived and I put them in my tank. I have pictures here.  I plan to get more plants soon, accompanied with driftwood and aquascaping stones!

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On 12/2/2021 at 3:05 PM, laritheloud said:

Welcome! I'm in south Jersey, so if you're anywhere in that vicinity, I have an LFS recommendations for you. If you're more central or northern in the state, well, I tried. 😅 Your betta tank is adorable! I learned a lot from these forums, and I hope you do, too.

Unfortunately, I am in northern Jersey- right on the border of the Hudson River. Luckily, I can go across it into NYC to the LFS there. So far, I've already learned a lot on this forum, and I am eager to know more!

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