(Look how good they are about swimming WHERE WE CAN SEE THEM.
Minnows still hiding.)
Minnows still hiding.)
We chose guppies, because they are pretty (the picture didn't capture them AT ALL: one is pale yellow with an orange tail, and the other is grey with a blue tail), and because they are hardy, and because they are reportedly a good fish for beginners.
The main issue, in fact, is not the unestablished tank (guppies are the kind of fish you might very well start with, and SOMEONE has to get the unestablished tank), but rather the minnows we have living in it already. And that we'd intended to get a third minnow along with the guppies. The fish store clerk's opinion could be summed up in this way: "Please do not waste perfectly good tropical fish by putting them in with those dirty, dirty MINNOWS."
So. One possibility is (or rather, WAS) to have all minnows in the tank: get four or five more of them and just have a minnow tank. We rejected this option, especially since, so far, having minnows has been a lot like having an empty aquarium, except that we have to keep cleaning the water.
The second possibility is to put the minnows back into the smaller tank, and put only tropical fish in the new large tank. This was the fish-store clerk's favorite option, and it might be ours, too: the minnows don't seem any happier in the big tank (they continue to hide all the time), and they don't need the heater the large tank has, and we would like to get more tropical fish. But we thought the minnows might be happier with more fish around them, and they DO seem to be swimming a little more with the guppies around. We could perhaps buy one more tiny minnow to keep them company in the smaller tank, if that might help, and we could also get more plants for hiding. And with the minnows out of the big tank, we could work on the new fish community with far fewer complications and risks. Hm, I am talking myself into this option.
The third possibility is what we're currently doing, which is to have everyone in the big tank (but not buy the third minnow). I described this plan to the person at the fish store as "Allow the current minnows to live out their lives, and then not get any more minnows."
No, never mind, I'm going to go set up the first tank again. That just seems like a way better idea.
[Edit: Crap, I don't have filters for the small tank. (I was at the store for new filters when I found the larger tank on such a great sale.) Okay, okay, not to panic: they can live in the big tank for a few days while I buy them new filters and some more things to hide in. And some new gravel, because I put all the old gravel in the new tank. I changed a bunch of the water (OMG temperature!! OMG water conditioner!! OMG PLEASE DON'T DIE!!) and rinsed the filter in the meantime.]