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Beginning Fishkeeping FAQ

This FAQ provides advice and guidance to help insure success in your endeavor. Though this document is designed for a first freshwater aquarium (saltwater people: make sure to read the SALTWATER BEGINNER FAQ), there is much information applicable to both freshwater and saltwater aquaria.

This FAQ about Beginning Fishkeeping was compiled and written by Thomas Narten with numerous contributions by others.

The FAQs owe their existence to the contributors of the net, and as such it belongs to the readers of rec.aquaria and alt.aquaria. Articles with attributions are copyrighted by their original authors. Copies of the FAQs can be made freely, as long as it is distributed at no charge, and the disclaimers and the copyright notice are included.

-01 Introduction
-02 How To Insure Your First Aquarium Is a Success
-03 How much time and effort is involved in keeping a fish tank?
-04 Where To Get Your Equipment
-05 Equipment: What's Essential and What's Not
-06 Equipment: Tanks
-07 Equipment: Heaters
-08 Equipment: Thermometers
-09 Equipment: Filters
-10 Equipment: Gravel
-11 Equipment: Driftwood and other Decorations
-12 Equipment: Lights & Hood
-13 Equipment: Powerheads
-14 Equipment: Air Pumps
-15 Equipment: Stands
-16 Equipment: Plants
-17 Equipment: Miscellaneous Cleaning Tools
-18 Equipment: Bucket For Water Changes
-19 Equipment: Nets
-20 Equipment: Test Kits
-21 Finding Reputable Fish Stores
-22 Municipal Tap Water in the Aquarium
-23 Chlorine
-24 Chloramine
-25 Other water impurities you should be aware of
-26 How to Find out What Your Local Water Company Adds to Your Tapwater
-27 Well Water
-28 What Is the Nitrogen Cycle?
-29 How Much Ammonia Is Too Much?
-30 Minimizing Fish Stress During Initial Cycling
-31 Speeding Up Cycling Time
-32 What You Need to Know About Water Chemistry, and Why
-33 pH
-34 Buffering Capacity (KH, Alkalinity)
-35 General Hardness (GH)
-36 Salinity
-37 Nutrients and Trace Elements
-38 Hardening Your Water (Raising GH and/or KH)
-39 Raising and Lowering pH
-40 Softening Your Water (i.e., lowering GH)
-41 Test Kits. Which Are Useful?
-42 Ammonia Test Kit
-43 Nitrite Test Kit
-44 Nitrate Test Kit
-45 pH Test Kit
-46 General Hardness (GH) Kit
-47 Carbonate Hardness (KH) Kit
-48 What Stress Means, and Why it is Bad for Your Fish.
-49 Common Causes of Stress in the Aquarium
-50 Symptoms That Your Fish Is Stressed
-51 Selecting ``Good'' Fish
-52 How Many Fish Can Be Added?
-53 Acclimating the Fish to Your Tank
-54 Feeding the Fish
-55 Purpose of Water Changes
-56 How frequently should partial water changes be made?
-57 Stopping that !@!@ Algae Plague
-58 Snail Plague
-59 What to do on Vacations
-60 Moving a Tank
-61 Moving the tank
-62 Moving the fish
-63 Euthanasia
-64 Breeding Your Fish

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