If you do some research, you can get plecos that won't get huge. Some are expensive, but others are quite reasonable. I have a "whip tail" pleco who seems to have stopped at about 6-7 inches (not including his "whip" string on the end of his tail, lol) in a 55 gallon tank (I miss my 110
). I've also had a "bristle nosed" pleco, which are hillarious looking, but I've read they are great algae eaters and they do stay small. I've seen these around more than the whiptails, and if I've had one, they aren't the expensive ones, lol.
I used to have goldfish, and I wouldn't recommend starting with them, unless it's just the common single tail variety. They are VERY dirty fish, and the fancy ones can be tough to raise. I've switched to tetras since I had my daughter (but have had bad luck with neon
tetras too, lol) and they come in a variety of colors and shapes and I'm quite pleased with my assortment and their toughness.
My favorites are rummynosed tetras- they have a grey body and a red spot on their forehead, and a black and white striped tail
, but tetras come in anything from long and lean to fat and short and also long and short finned varieties. Cory cats are great too, and they will help keep the "lost" food cleaned out of the rocks. The little black and white spotted ones are my favorites (can't think of the name, lol).
Oh, and I'd suggest getting some kind of external filter, as opposed to one that goes in the tank. They tend to be more efficent and easier to deal with. And don't forget to set your tank up for at least a week before you even think of adding fish if you want a good start. You might want to get a "tank starter" additive to help the good bacteria (that help keep your water clear) get a jump start too
Oddly enough, I've had good luck with the fish at Petsmart (ours are relatively new though) and Pet Supermarket, but at Pet Supermarket, the manager is in charge of the fish department- it's independant of the chain. So that may vary greatly. The plus is, mine said it can order me specific fish
. Our mom and pop's these days are poor quality for the most part (didn't used to be this way- depressing
) , so it really just takes becoming familiar with what a healthy tank of fish looks like.
Okay, sorry I rambled on...I've had a bad day, and this was a nice distraction
. I hope you enjoy your fishtank!