Thursday, September 13, 2007

Fish Tank Set Up...

Just got done setting up the fish tank (10 gal). I must say it looks really nice, much better than I had hoped.

I got the gravel and plants today. I decided against live plants in favor of fake plants, due to the fact that this tank is for Goldfish, which have a reputation for eating plants. I figure it's easier to put in fake plants and feed the Goldfish some lettuce every now and than instead of replacing the live plants every few weeks, which well get expensive over time, and a hassle to keep replacing. So I ended up going to five differant pet shops before I found one with fake plants that didn't look cheap and fake. I had planned on getting several smaller ones, but ended up getting 2 "display" plants.

One is a fern-like plant, surronded by several smaller grass-like plants, and small fern-like plants. This arrangement is tall and skinny, so I placed it in front of the filter tube, to hide it from view.

The other plant is called a "hedge" arrangment, and includes several plants on one stand. At the back are three tall full and fluffy fern-like plants, while in the front are several small grassy plants. I placed this one near the back and off to one side.

Both plants have heavy weighted bottoms, made from gravel and rosin. I don't know what the plants themselves are made out of, but it is some type of plastic, that is lightweight and very flexible, causeing the plants to move and feel like real plants. The plastic is shaded and in natural greens, so the plants look real. They were a bit more expensive that the other fake plants ($8.99 each vs $3.99 each) but the other plants looked so fake and stiff and the colors were so unnatural. Also the cheaper ones were made of a stiff plastic which was very hard and the tips were sharp, which I think would have been bad for the fish, as I am planning to get so fancy Lionhead Fantails or Pearlscale Fantails (which cost $25 - $30 each fish as oppesed to plain Goldfish which as 5 for $1 at the same pet shop!) Fantails are very delicat, and the hard plastic plants would damage their fins, and that caused me to choose the soft flexible plastic plants, even though they cost more than twice as much. In the long run the are worth the extra price because they are safer for the fish.

I must have been in the store over an hour, just decideing which plants my fish would enjoy better and which would be safer for them!

The gravel wasn't quite so hard to decide on. I knew what look I wanted for my tank. I want my fish to be the "centerpiece" of the tank, so I don't want the tank full of stuff and gadgets that aren't needed. Likewise, the gravel should complement my fishes' colors. Since Goldfish are mostly orange, gold, and red shades (at least the ones I plan to get are), I wanted a dark gravel which would allow their bright colors to stand out. Thus I choose black and blue gravel. I bought 2 bags of black, and one bag of blue, than mixed them myself to get the effect I wanted.

Getting the right gravel colors was no problem, all the pets stores around here have bags of black and bags of blue... it was finding good quality gravel that alarmed me. Several of the cheaper brands had gravel that was very tiny fine grained and had sharp rough edges! Not good for Goldfish in general, and esp not for fantails! The tiny gravel would be easily swallowed by the goldfish, and cause digestive problems, as Goldfish scope up gravel in their mouths while searching for food. The tiny gravel could accidently be swallowed by the fish while they are rooting. Also the rough edges could damage their mouths and their delicat long tail fins. It took me three stores before I found one that had medium sized AND smooth-polished gravel, which would be safe to use in a Goldfish tank.

So, the tank is now set up and running. The filter is one of those waterfall types that hangs on the back of the tank and drops that water back in via a waterfall, thus airating the water while it filters it through a carbon filter. I have choosen not to get a heater for the tank, as Goldfish are coldwater fish and unlike tropical fish only want their water 50 - 70F and the hood has 2 lights in it, which should keep the water warm enough without the addition of a heater.

I also got a tiny 1 gal, quarentine tank today, to have on hand just in case something should go wrong and the fish need to be removed from the main tank. Hopefully I won't ever need to use it, but I figure it's better to have it on hand just in case. It would be such a hassle if a fish got sick and I had to run out and buy a quarentine tank, and no knowing if the nearest pet shop has them in stock.

I didn't get a screen for the back yet, so the next thing to do, well be to get the screen, get Goldfish flakes, freeze-dried worms of some type, and canned peas. I want to have all their food on hand before they come home. On the day my fish come home, I want to just worry about getting them moved in safely, I don't want to have to worry about "Did I buy them food yet?".

So now the tank in cureing and waiting. It's all set up, plants in, gravel in, filter hooked up and running, water filled... everything is ready for the fish to come home. I hear mixed reviews on how long to leave the tank, before adding the fish. Some say 24 hours. Others say 48 hours. My Goldfish guide says one week at least. I saw a breeders website that said 2 months! I'm going with what my book says, since it was written by a Goldfish breeder, and is specificaly for Goldfish.

In a week or two I should be going out on my search for my Goldfish. The size of the fish will determ how many I end up getting. I figure 3 if they are big ones, and 5 if they are small ones. Ryunkins, Orandas, Pom-Poms, and GlobeEyes are my faves, so those are the types I'll be looking at. I like the ones with a high-silvery metalic to them. That's what I'll be looking for.

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