I want to start a 150 gallon tank what kind of preparations do I need to make before I put the fish in and what kind of daily and weekly maintenance do I need to do?
Hello, welcome to JustAnswer! I am a licensed veterinarian, and I'll be happy to help you in any way I can.
Prior to adding fish, you need to cycle the tank properly.
This can be done by adding ammonia, to simulate the waste products the fish will produce.
this ammonia will eventually be broken down by bacteria that are critical for a healthy tank to function properly.
Here's a good link to walk you through the cycling process:
Once the tank is established, the level of maintenance needed will depend on how many fish you have, how many live plants you have, and other factors such as how much sunlight the tank receives, and how much you feed.
partial water changes are usually done a few times a month. I find that with tanks that have not too many fish, and a lot of live plants, the need for water changes is less.
levels of nitrate, nitrite, ammonia, and pH should be checked at least weekly once the system is stable.
the substrate (gravel) at the bottom will need to be vacuumed with a gravel vacuum monthly or so, to clean up solid wastes from the fish.
I want have 6 bala sharks, 6 clown loaches, a blackknife ghost fish, a dinosaur bichir, and possibly 6 tiger barbs if they can live with these other fish without being eaten. Do you if they would be safe from the blacknife ghost fish and dinosaur bichar
Small Animal Medicine and Surgery
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If you've never kept clown loaches before, I'd suggest reconsidering, they are a unique type of fish that in my experience do best when kept with their own kind only. Yes, people keep them in "community" tanks, but I have found that they seem to thrive when kept as a group of their own kind. The bichir will tend to eat anything it can get into its mouth. Beware that you may lose smaller fish if you decide to have a bichir.