Jump to content

What was the best advice you were given as a beginner? If you could give one piece of advice what would it be?


Schuyler
 Share

Recommended Posts

I'm sure most of us could gladly write pages for a newbie but if you could only give one or two lines of basic advice what would it be?

For me the best advice I got was from the big box store worker: "The first month or so will be tough but hold on, keep learning, and after a couple months things level out and it will get a lot easier."

The other piece of advice I would give is "Do your research before jumping into stuff but also know that something will go wrong. Be patient and learn from those mistakes."

  • Like 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

i didnt get much advice as a newbie, but the best stuff i got was from my grandfather who has fish "Add fish slowly" dont overload a new system.

Best advice i could give is: "Keep fish you enjoy" to give an example, say IDK african cichlids are whats big in this hypothetical world, and if you dont keep them you're a fake fishkeeper. So fine, you set up an african cichlid tank. But say, for whatever reason, you hate african cichlids, what will that tank look like. It will be bare, and covered with poop and algae. But if you like  guppies, your guppy tank will be jungled and clean. Keep fish you enjoy, and fish that you will take care of, and give a good enviroments. Why do you think its so common for 3common goldfish+heavily fed+ ten gallon tank+ green water, because those people dont care. "yes i do" they say. "Im not an animal cruelist" they say, and yet if they cared, it would be a 55gallon goldfish tank, and it would be clear water, and happy goldfish. So yes after a rant, (Sorry goldfish people) thats my advice, keep fish you like.

Edited by Theplatymaster
  • Like 9
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Best advice(s)

1) go slowly- for your fish benefit and your own. Don’t try and stock everything at once. It’s not a race, the fish will still be there when you’re ready 

2) before you buy a single piece of aquarium equipment, buy the test kit. Before you buy a single fish, buy the meds. 

3) buy a tank one size bigger than what you originally wanted/needed because your gonna want either a) more of that schooling fish you like or b) additional tank mates 

 

 

Edited by FLFishChik
  • Like 7
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I honestly don't think I got any advice as a beginner. One of the biggest missteps I had was not realizing that the 6 in 1 test strips don't test for ammonia and that is one of the main things you need to test for in a new tank. So my advice is, make sure to buy an ammonia test kit.

Also, don't buy goldfish unless you have a massive tank. There are many other easy to keep, colorful fish, that don't produce as much waste and don't grow as large. 

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Absolute beginners: Watch Girl Talks Fish and Aquarium Co-op on YouTube. Irene is the Yoda of beginning fish keeping. From filters to substrates to fish compatibility, she covers it all and lets you learn from her mistakes. Cory also does a superb job of presenting information from a beginner’s perspective, and doesn’t get into the weeds with too much science and technical jargon. 

 

  • Like 13
  • Love 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 1/20/2023 at 10:53 AM, Patrick_G said:

Absolute beginners: Watch Girl Talks Fish and Aquarium Co-op on YouTube. Irene is the Yoda of beginning fish keeping. From filters to substrates to fish compatibility, she covers it all and lets you learn from her mistakes. Cory also does a superb job of presenting information from a beginner’s perspective, and doesn’t get into the weeds with too much science and technical jargon. 

 

This! The coop YouTube videos really helped me understand the basics! Will recommend their videos to all beginners!! 

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • As mentioned above, go slow.
  • You will almost certainly make mistakes and fish will die.  Accept that, don't beat yourself up over it, and learn from it.
  • Other than adding de-chlorinator, don't throw a bunch of chemicals in your tank.
  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Cycle your tanks at least 4 weeks for best results.

Check you water quality before adding to tank.

If your fish are looking/acting odd/sick/dead, do a water change immediatly.

Verify your tank mate compatibilty through research, not through taking chances.

Ask questions, lots and lots of questions.

Join your local fish/aqua club.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

For me the best thing I did as a beginner was speed cycle my first aquarium using ammonia I added to the tank. It instantly gave me a much stronger understanding of the nitrogen cycle that I would have never had otherwise and enabled me to cycle my tank faster and have a very strong life support system by the end which gave me a lot of stress relief as an anxious new fishkeeper. 

  • Like 4
  • Love 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The best thing to tell a new fish keeper is to check ammonia levels. The second best thing is how to monitor a cycling tank. 

I bought two gold fish for a twenty gallon tank thinking I was doing 'good'. The sales person said it might not be enough space. They were right. However I also bought water testing strips that didn't test for ammonia. So I was watching my water daily and seeing no readings on the strips indicating I should change the water. In the mean time I was causing great harm to my fish. I thought one had a swim bladder issue. It was ammonia poisoning. The first time I checked ammonia it was >4ppm.

So please, store keepers, tell people setting up new tanks to get something to measure ammonia. 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dry fertilizer is cheaper.

Dosing nutrients in excess doesn't cause algae.

Root tabs are not necessary.

PH swings don't harm fish.

0dKH doesn't cause pH crashes.

Most plants thrive in low to zero KH.

Large water changes benefits the tank.

Higher water turnover improves tank health.

These are just a few pieces of advice that got me where I am today.

My advice, enjoy the journey.

  • Like 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Patience, Patience and Patience.

 

For a first time person - cycle the tank and test (or have your shop test it to ensure it is cycle and that it will take a while - also try to find a store that will give you live media for your filter).

For a first time plant person - plants work in months not days or weeks - make adjustments slow and understand with many common plants (crypts/swords/anubias) you might not know how things are doing for 4 months.

Brown 'algae' is expected for a new aquarium; just ignore it.

Lots  of other stuff but too much is too hard. Also I would point them towards guppies and rasbora and away from cichild and red tail catfish or common pleco that will eventually be 100 feet.

  • Like 2
  • Haha 1
  • Love 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 1/20/2023 at 11:56 PM, nabokovfan87 said:

"Be the fish"

Love this! 

As long as some sort of empathy involved, everything else will be okay with enough researching. Because you will start caring about providing a good home and a good life to the fishy friend. Understanding that they feel, they have needs and that they also want to live a good life just like us is the best starting point imo. 

 

 

Edited by Lennie
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

There will be all sorts of tiny critters showing up in your tanks. Enjoy them as free pets and a good food source. 
As a kids we scooped critters from the creek. When I was in my 20’s and buying tropical fish from stores I all of a sudden worried about tons of unintended critters. 
I thought back to my wild caught critters and realized I was worrying over nothing because folks at the stores told me they were bad. 

  • Like 3
  • Love 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 1/20/2023 at 12:37 PM, Pepere said:

The only sure fire way to keep algae out of your aquarium is to never put water into it.

Actually, a very good bit right here. Algae is just part of a healthy ecosystem there is too much focus on eradicating it all with all sorts of chemicals. Taking the time to balance your tank is the best way to eliminate excess algae. 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 1/20/2023 at 4:07 PM, anewbie said:

Patience, Patience and Patience.

 

For a first time person - cycle the tank and test (or have your shop test it to ensure it is cycle and that it will take a while - also try to find a store that will give you live media for your filter).

For a first time plant person - plants work in months not days or weeks - make adjustments slow and understand with many common plants (crypts/swords/anubias) you might not know how things are doing for 4 months.

Brown 'algae' is expected for a new aquarium; just ignore it.

Lots  of other stuff but too much is too hard. Also I would point them towards guppies and rasbora and away from cichild and red tail catfish or common pleco that will eventually be 100 feet.

“For a first time plant person - plants work in months not days or weeks - make adjustments slow and understand with many common plants (crypts/swords/anubias) you might not know how things are doing for 4 months”

- unless it’s Pogostemon Stellatus Octopus, in which case, it’s just a matters of hours😂 j/k

 

  • Thanks 1
  • Haha 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I never had a mentor, and most of what I learned came from the web or from personal experience. Tempered by my own background in ecology, which I can't emphasize enough makes things like the nitrogen cycle, cycling tanks, breeding fish, tanks as ecosystems, and so on a lot easier to wrap my brain around. 

So I have to dodge the first half of OPs question and focus on the second, ie what advice would I give. 

→ Don't be overly reactive. You will rarely if ever encounter a situation where you see a problem and need to do something to fix it NOW, like right away. Take time to assess the problem, learn about its causes and solutions, consider your own options and alternatives, plan your actions, then implement. From my own experience, about the only exception to this advice is when you forget to add dechlorinator with a big water change. If, after a water change, you see your fish doing the drifting-floating-spiraling thing, get that dechlor in there NOW, like right away. 

A subset to this piece of advice is that "wait and see", or its variant "make a tiny change and wait and see" can be good solutions to many problems. 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My mentors are basically folks on this forum - but here's either what I wish I knew, or was glad I did as I was putting my first tanks together. 

Patience, and start with a planted tank. Learn about substrates, as that is hard to change once it's down. Plant heavily with easy/beginner plants, and be ready for losses - but easier to lose a plant than a fish. Keep that plant mass up, trying new varieties if needed, it will help you fight the coming algae war(s) and get your tank ready for fish. Get a light meant for plants, one that dims, and you'll need a timer. Start with 8 hours of low/medium light, tweak as needed - but realize it could be a week or two before you know what that tweak did. A bunch of plants and a nice light may sound expensive, but it will set you up for success. 

Over the weeks observe your plants, learn to keep them happy. I know you want a fish, but if you can't keep a plant alive... Watch them grow, learn about your water and what fertilizer can do. Maybe add some snails (yes I am pro-snail), watch the tank come alive. Don't sweat the algae, it will come and go. Your snail buddies may help with that, and treat algae like another plant to learn about. Get your heater and filter dialed in. Practice your water changes, this will help your plants too.

Now start learning about the nitrogen cycle.

Slowly add some fish - something hardy that you also enjoy, learn how to use and read a test strip. Monitor your water regularly while your tank gets established. Log your readings and water changes somewhere (I just used google calendar) so you can refer back to them, at least for the 1st few months. 

My main point is that plants are SO beneficial to the overall health of the tank. They relieve stress in fish (and me!), making them feel safe and at home. They help keep your water clean. Now you don't just have a tank - you have an ecosystem. 

 

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The best advice I was given was Take your time don't rush do your research the best advice I would give is test  your water parameters weekly and do regular water changes and live plants are the best filter you can have for your tank and take your time researching the fish you want go with fish that best suit your local water parameters don't try and change your water parameters you will only stress your fish out in the long run and relax and enjoy your fish 

Edited by Colu
  • Like 5
  • Love 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...