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When can I put fish in the tank?

I just finished setting up my 55 gallon aquarium. It looks great, but it seems kind of empty. How long do I have to wait before I can put some fish in it? And what kind are good to start with?


Asked by mommytoJames512 at 2:05 PM on Nov. 1, 2010 in Pets

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Answers (13)
  • As for one of the posters above, the fish only need about 20 mins to float in the baggie in the tank (not 12 hours). We have a 44 gallon tank and have African Cichlids - they are nice! get them all when they're small and get them all from the same store. we had 5 nice ones, then got 3 more from another store - those 3 infected our 5 and ALL died (it was something in their water cuz I googled the store and it seems everyone had that problem, although the manager refused to believe it...). Anyway, the cichlids are really nice with awesome coloring and they are aggressive and territorial, but get a few big landscapes in there so they can hide.

    Answer by SweetPieMama24 at 10:02 AM on Nov. 2, 2010

  • Wait 24 to 48 hours to let the water get to a good temp. 55 gallon tank i would start with something semi small semi big.. good luck

    Answer by 19withtwins at 2:08 PM on Nov. 1, 2010

  • When you put your water, you're going to need the drops for it. Then once the drops are in, put the entire bag (with water and fish) inside the tank. Let it float in the water for about 12 hours or so. After that the fish should have adapted to the water temperature and will be fine. After putting drops in, I've always dropped the fish in though, and I've never had a fish live less than a year. It's never hurt any of mine. But I would suggest putting the whole bag in the tank to get them use to the temperature so they don't die of shock.

    Answer by AtHomeMommy-3 at 2:12 PM on Nov. 1, 2010

  • You can buy a product called NovAqua from your pet store. It makes the water instantly ready for fish. I would start with a hearty fish that doesn't need a lot of help. If you get chiclids, just be aware not to get to many because they are territorial and will end up killing eachother. I first started with Molly's, guppies, platys, and swordtails, mixed with neon tetras, glass fish, and catfish. I have had barbs too, but they can be a little nippy.

    Answer by Musicmom80 at 2:14 PM on Nov. 1, 2010

  • Go to your local pet store adn ask them what they say. That is what we did wen we put up our tank. they said for us to give it 24 hours and then have it tested to make sure it is safe for the fish. We ended up needing some wort of drops to clean the water of something.

    Answer by Raeann11 at 2:08 PM on Nov. 1, 2010

  • i've neve rhad a tank that big, but i was told by the ppl at the pet store to let the tank sit (with the appropriate water temp, ph balance ect) for about a week so the proper bacteria can grow in the tank. depending on what kind of tank u are doing (freshwater vs saltwater) there a few diff kinds u want to start with. i would ask a professional imo.

    Answer by Phippsandrea at 2:10 PM on Nov. 1, 2010

  • Sounds like a good idea. I bought the tank at Walmart and I had enough trouble just getting someone to help me get the huge tank off the shelf. After I waited for half an hour someone finally came but by then I was pretty annoyed and I decided not to ask.

    Comment by mommytoJames512 (original poster) at 2:11 PM on Nov. 1, 2010

  • We usually let a new tank run for 2days to kind of build up bactria and sometimes in new tanks the first set die. They are the ones that help to introduce the need things to the tank. Goldfish are really good at not needing maintiance but have high levels of ammonia and most pet shop will not guarntee them. GO to your local aquarium and ask them for a pretty hardy fish that is low maintaince to start you with . I love tetra blooding hearts for freshwater and salt bicolor dotty back. Good luck .

    Answer by karing4elmas at 2:14 PM on Nov. 1, 2010

  • I think you are supposed to wait like 3 days, but their is stuff you can put in the water that's not expensive so you don't have to wait. As long as the temp is where it needs to be, you float the fish for 20 to 30 mins to get them acclimated to the water, then cut the bag open and dump the fish in. the pet store people are really good about helping you pick fish out. Pick out the ones you like and ask if those fish get along together.


    Answer by Shines3 at 2:15 PM on Nov. 1, 2010

  • 24 hours of running everything !! Have fun we have a 55 and love it ;) wanting to get a 125 soon.

    Answer by kiansmom0423 at 2:21 PM on Nov. 1, 2010