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Jan 18, 2003
Gilbert, AZ
I don't know how many of you remember me, i left the forums about a year ago, but I am thinking about putting my old terrerium to use by making an aquarium. I have very little knowledge about this, but it seemed like an interesting idea. I basically need to know where to begin. My tank is a 20 gal long, i dont have a suitable cover or light for it. I wanted to know other things such as maintenence (how often and for how long), costs, and also, i am interested in what other things can be kept in it besides fish (i.e. crustateans, mollusks etc. im not sure about this for fresh water).
And thats the other thing, fresh water and salt. What type of fish can each support?

Anyways, its good to be back. Thanks in advance...
Oct 28, 2003
Well, I'll give you a link to start with. I've found this place to be quite useful, lots of knowledgeable fish keepers.

Age of Aquariums Message Board

For a reply on this site. One word, research! I'd reccomend starting with FW, as saltwater can be more taxing, especially when you are still trying to figure out how the equipment ticks. In that case, you surely do not need any more distractions such as fish that require special food etc. Choose your fish carefully, after researching thoroughly. Also buy oen of the "Aquarium Atlas" type books to ID all the things that you may find at the petstore.
FW aquariums contain few invertebrates besides shrimp(ghost, amano, etc.) and snails. Freshwater clams are occasionally used. Crayfish and crabs are not suitable for the general fish tank. The first will eat everything, the second will not thrive, and may eat fish too. Most of what you see offered are fiddler crabs, unsuited for aquarium keeping. They prefer brackish water and should be allowed a land section lest they drown. Crabs are nearly impossible to reproduce in captivity.
Sep 24, 2002
Central Coast of California
Welcome back! Yes, there are a few freshwater species of shrimp and mollusk.

http://www.aquariumfish.net sells freshwater mollusks, and shrimp, and pretty much every other freshwater fish LOL.

as for crabs, the common red crab (forgot real name?) is sold at most pet stores. it stays under 1 1/2 inches long, and it doesn't bother fish at all. they eat sinking cichlid food. I found them to clean the gravel for me, any spec of food that got to the bottom was eaten by the crab, so i barely had to do gravel cleaning while he was alive.
A good message board is www.predatoryfish.net . they should help you out too. What is your new e-mail? I could help you out alot more if we could chat...
Mar 20, 2003
North Central Ohio
Hi there.  I just started up a 20 gal. aquarium my self.  And I used an old tank that I had as a terrarium too.  These were my costs:  Filter (Penguin bio-wheel 125, I like it a lot)- $30, Light hood- $30, Gravel (15 lbs.)- $5, Fish food, water treatments, etc.-  $10, Thermometer- $2, Decorations (plants, driftwood)- $10, and of course the fish- $25.  Grand total: $112.  Sounds a little expensive, but it was worth it!

I haven't found maintenance to be too much.  Just make a 25% water change once month, change the filter cartridge once a month and clean the gravel once a month.

If you want something besides fish in your tank you could get an aquatic frog.  I got one and he is very entertaining, especially when he eats!!

Edit: Oops i forgot about the heater. It was $20. So grand total was $132.