I started with a 5 gallon at the beginning of the week. And now I have a 46 gallon. I was wondering what is the best kind of vacuum? I can't find one. Well I have found them but not sure which to get at a reasonable price. Also, plants? Do I need tall ones? How many? Where? Any other advice would be great!!! I have it set up but it's empty without plants or anything now until I know what to get. It's a pretty tall tank. I have the water heater, thermometer, filter, rocks and a few small plants and log things. It's freshwater. Thanks in advance!
Age your aquarium water or at least use a chlorine eliminator chemical available from your pet store.
When introducing fish, only put two or three in per week. This lets the urine from the fish become chemically changed by the normal action of the bacteria in the tank into non-toxic. By introducing fish slowly like this you prevent the tank from becoming over burdened by the urine of a lot of fish at once.
I'd suggest a couple of small catfish and 1 plecostamus (sic) to start with because they will keep the bottom of the tank fairly clean of food and "other" debris.
Rather than air tubes that bubble air into the water, I'd suggest an external filter such as Aqua-Tech. It filters out things from the water and furnishes necessary air into the water via the action of the water pouring back into the tank. Just make sure you get the filter for your size of aquarium.
Make sure that when you are adding fish to your aquarium, you "float" the bag with the fish on the top of your aquarium water for 30 minutes. This lets the fish in the bag be customized to the temperature of your aquarium. Also it is helpful to add a tablespoon of your aquariums water to the bag every 5 minutes to let the fish become accustomed to the ingredients in your aquariums watter.
When adding the fish to your aquarium, DON'T pour them and their bag of water into your aquarium. Use a net and only place the fish into your aquarium. Otherwise you run the common risk of introducing foreign bacteria from the pet store into your aquarium which can sicken and even kill all your fish.
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I'm thinking plastic plants
Your vacuum doesn't need to be anything special. A simple siphon -- http://www.aquariumplantsandsupplies.com/images/063d_1.jpg -- should work fine for cleaning the pebbles and replacing the water.
Plants are a good idea for providing hiding places, but keep in mind that your maintenance will go up as well. The ph level needs to be watched a little more closely, algae levels watched VERY closely, and I would strongly recommend replacing the light with a grow light so they get the UV they need. I've found grasses to be easier to maintain that other broader-leafed plants, but that's just me.