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Favourite beginner fish for the new hobbyist

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Favourite beginner fish for the new hobbyist

Post by alexmtl on Sun Oct 06, 2013 5:46 pm

First topic message reminder :

Welcome to Canada Aquaria ! You may already have purchased a new tank and with it your new fish from the Local Fish Store (LFS). Hopefully the store saleperson advised you on your new charges (how to care for them, compatibility with other tank mates, habits) but if you are seeking more indepth information, you have come to the right place.

What are you favourite beginner fish ? Fish that are easy to care for, can tolerate a wide range of conditions, and are compatible with many other fish. What would be the best type(s) of fish(es) to introduce a new aquarist to the hobby ?
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Re: Favourite beginner fish for the new hobbyist

Post by GaryE on Tue Jun 16, 2015 12:31 pm

@Sbenson11 wrote:Reluctantly I have to agree with Gary Guppies and Mollies would make great starter fish.

Reluctantly because Gary is hatting on goldfish again Smile

Steve

On the contrary. Goldies need space, and proper conditions. If I hated them, I'd suggest they be kept in 10 gallon pools of liquid waste. I want them to live 30 years, at their full size and potential. I think they are awful aquarium fish and great in a heron free pond.
I still remember Violet, my shubunkin. @#$#$ heron!
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Re: Favourite beginner fish for the new hobbyist

Post by ksimdjembe on Tue Jun 16, 2015 2:03 pm

I had goldfish, and I really did like them. Our family had a reg fantail that made it past 14 yrs or something like that.
What I didnt care for was the work. So much waste in smaller tanks!
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Re: Favourite beginner fish for the new hobbyist

Post by Fishypastor on Tue Jun 16, 2015 2:36 pm

@Suprd71 wrote:
@Fishypastor wrote:Oscars. Plecos. Dovii. Pacu's.

Great beginner fish. What a Face
Hey.. you been peeking in my fishroom? Enter at your own peril.. my Dovii will tear ya a new one!!

Lol... I have not the tank, cash or expertise to own a Doviii, but that is my Holy Grail once my kids are a bit older... and I'm retired and don't need my fingers so badly!
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Re: Favourite beginner fish for the new hobbyist

Post by Suprd71 on Tue Jun 16, 2015 4:16 pm

Not a lot of expertise needed to keep large cichlids. You just need to follow 3 key rules. Tankspace, clean water and quality diet. While a male Dovii needs an 8ft and 300+gal tank, and the necessary heavy filtration, he is really nothing more than an enormous Convict. Same attitude, just the size and strength to do major damage.
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Re: Favourite beginner fish for the new hobbyist

Post by GaryE on Wed Jun 17, 2015 4:52 am

The hobby is really simple.

You get as large a tank as you want to manage, with adequately rated equipment. Most people do that.

You get a book or two to read an overview of how to keep the tank, so that you have a view the 'snippet based' web doesn't always offer. You sort out the simple, over-rated cycle, and get to know the chemistry of your local water. Most people don't take the one or two evenings needed to do that.

You never buy a fish unless you have read about it - if you don't know where it is from, what its natural water conditions are, what it eats and how large it grows, you should not keep it. Few people bother with this step, at first. They learn with the avoidable deaths of fish.

You do research into how many fish you can put in your tank, and you don't put that many. Almost no one does this at first. It's hard to stick with this one.

Easy beginner fish are ones that can survive our not doing the things above. I have seen brand new aquarists who took the time to do research succeed in keeping fish I certainly couldn't keep easily. It's a reader's hobby, or a talker's hobby - information rules here, and there is no reason not to learn in aquarium keeping.
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Re: Favourite beginner fish for the new hobbyist

Post by cephalotus on Wed Jun 17, 2015 8:36 am

I agree with everything you just wrote, Gary, and would add:

Do NOT trust chain pet stores as reliable sources of information on the fish they stock or general aquarium care/maintenance. I have had nothing but bad experiences in the past when I would see an animal I liked, ask them to set me up with everything I needed to care for it, then come home and do a bit more reading and find out my setup was completely inadequate.
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Re: Favourite beginner fish for the new hobbyist

Post by GaryE on Wed Jun 17, 2015 11:31 am

Yup. If you are a reasonably well self-educated aquarist, and you see something you don't know, write it down and leave. I once saw a lovely Loracarid catfish and asked the clerk how large it grew. He said five inches. I considered that, then went home to read up. It was a two foot, several pound fish, and I was looking at babies.

I politely asked the clerk if he knew that when we next met, and he was sincerely surprised. The owner had told him about the fish... he had had no reason to question him. The owner was a good, honest guy. He was just wrong as could be.

The three books I'd checked, all professionally edited before publication, had it dead on. 

Time and time again, I've been listening to sincere clerks and a little bell has gone off, based on the old Baensch Atlases I keep in the, umm, reading room. Those books have saved me a fortune on bad buys, while letting me grab some really pleasant rarities cheap. When you know what a newly arrived fish is going to look like before it blossoms, you can find great stuff.

At my local store, they have had Rasbora pauciperforata, an amazing fish. In fact, they have had the most vividly coloured form of this easily stressed, gentle, elegant fish for 2.99. They aren't in full colour, as store tanks scare them. I got all excited and bought six. According to the clerk, they have sold exactly those six out of the whole shipment. They won't order them again. A perfect beginner's fish with great colour, only if you don't educate yourself before you walk into the store, you'll walk right by it. There are so many like that....
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Re: Favourite beginner fish for the new hobbyist

Post by Fishypastor on Wed Jun 17, 2015 6:36 pm

I agree with lots of what is being said here but the reality is that many people when they first get into any pet hobby they including myself jump right in with both feet. Most go in clueless... and many would never start if they started to plow into all they needed to know.

Rants about chain stores and how evil they are are pointless. Stop shopping there period.

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Re: Favourite beginner fish for the new hobbyist

Post by GaryE on Wed Jun 17, 2015 8:06 pm

Actually, I'm not ranting about a chain store. This was in a quality local store. The bottom line is we have to inform ourselves or we can end up ruining our own hobby.

We all jump in and make the same mistakes, but it's nice to move on. Checking your own info is a useful starting point.
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Re: Favourite beginner fish for the new hobbyist

Post by Fishypastor on Wed Jun 17, 2015 9:06 pm

Gary. I wasnt responding to you in particular. Just ranting to myself i guess Smile

I just think we need to be careful not to come across as condescending. New people jump in all the time and make mistakes or impulse buys. I was clueless about blood parrots and bought one and still have him (one of my favorite fish actuamly) and came here asking advice and for the most part was helped and treated fairly but there is a side to this hobby that can look down on noobs and make them feel stupid. We need to grow and learn... always remembering our roots. Coming home with an animal we are clueless about yet captivated by a dream of harbouring a fascinating corner of nature in a glass box... something we could never in real life be close to.
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Re: Favourite beginner fish for the new hobbyist

Post by Biulu on Thu Jun 18, 2015 9:01 am

@GaryE wrote:
At my local store, they have had Rasbora pauciperforata, an amazing fish. In fact, they have had the most vividly coloured form of this easily stressed, gentle, elegant fish for 2.99. They aren't in full colour, as store tanks scare them. I got all excited and bought six. According to the clerk, they have sold exactly those six out of the whole shipment. They won't order them again. A perfect beginner's fish with great colour, only if you don't educate yourself before you walk into the store, you'll walk right by it. There are so many like that....

I don't think it is a good example as there are numerous stores in Mtl that do succeed with these type of fishes. Why? Because they do more to promote them. One store has always an up to date list of their fish in stock on their website with pictures. The same store has pictures of the fish on the tank with their names which gives you a great idea of what they will look like when not stressed. Although their set-ups with dimmed light and dark substrate ensure that you always get a fairly good idea already.

Other stores have better set-ups that allow colours to come out better, and one store even comes up to you to show what new/rare fish they have in and if they are juveniles or not yet at their best, he takes out the Baensch atlas and shows you what the fish is gonna look like, and at the same time telling you its requirements.

Presentation does lots when it comes to selling fish and unfortunately this store is not good at it. Their tanks look like those of a wholesaler.
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Re: Favourite beginner fish for the new hobbyist

Post by ksimdjembe on Thu Jun 18, 2015 10:25 am

I think it can also matter the exact age of the fish.
I remember seeing tanks of white cloud mountain minnows, sometimes even as feeders.

It was only a few years ago that I actually saw a tank of larger displaying fish that really caught my eye.
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Re: Favourite beginner fish for the new hobbyist

Post by Fores41 on Thu Jun 18, 2015 4:25 pm

My LFS owner has a saying I will inform you of what your fish needs and if you insist on buying the fish after that I will take your money just do not complain if it gets to big or becomes a tank bully or eaten by tank mates etc.
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Re: Favourite beginner fish for the new hobbyist

Post by GaryE on Thu Jun 18, 2015 4:47 pm

Marketing is important, and those are ugly tanks they have there. They are exactly the same tanks they have at a US Petco (they may have come from a Canadian one that closed) - not the most striking to look into. But I haven't seen that fish in the stores with better presentation!
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Re: Favourite beginner fish for the new hobbyist

Post by vigilante on Thu Jun 18, 2015 11:34 pm

Maybe there is a different mind set (although subtle) between someone who is embarking into a hobby, and someone who is buying a pet.
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Re: Favourite beginner fish for the new hobbyist

Post by ksimdjembe on Thu Jun 18, 2015 11:40 pm

That's a good point, hobby vs pet. I think that's important to mention. Thanks
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Re: Favourite beginner fish for the new hobbyist

Post by Fishypastor on Wed Jun 24, 2015 2:03 pm

Another fish that came to mind is the Dwarf Guorami. They are hardy, come in beautiful colors, are not fussy eaters and can add a bit (a bit) of size to a tank. They can be aggressive with each other but leave other fish alone. They can also hold their own with bigger fish. Mine has survived with convicts and with jack d.... in fact, the guorami seems to be the aggressor. Their long tentacles make them fascinating to watch... and they love to annoy other fish with them.
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