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Old 07-25-2011, 04:32 AM   #1
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Advice on newish (and first) tropical/fresh 10 gallon...

Looking for a touch of advice with my current tank as I am not sure what to do at this point...

(Quick background information on tank) My husband is away with work for a few months, but has been talking about finally getting his saltwater tank set up when he returns. He has owned aquariums all his life so he knows what he is doing, however I have never owned any fish other than Bettas. Before he left he bought me a little 10 gallon tank to set up on my own so I could get some experience with aquariums, as I had no idea how much work is really put into them.

Anyhow, when I got the tank a little over 3 weeks ago I had no idea how to cycle a tank or anything. So I set it up, filled it with filtered water, and went back to the store to buy a fish to cycle the tank with. I was told the small black moor and small goldfish I was looking at would be fine to cycle with so I bought them. (Was not aware at that point that goldfish produce a lot of waste). The next day the black moor had frayed fins and white spots, so I took him out and put him in a smaller tank to treat him. (The goldfish died a few hours later but looked fine until the end). I went back to the store and explained (to a different person) that I was cycling my new tank and the black moor had what I thought was ick. I was told that black moors get bacterial infections often and I shouldn't be cycling with it, to treat it with Melafix, and to treat the aquarium it had been in with Melafix as well. (The moor ended up dying a week later regardless). I was also given 'Seachem Prime,' and aquarium salt to setup my tank with and use while cycling.

When I got home I wasn't comfortable just, 'treating,' the current water and decided to completely start over using what I had been given as well. I emptied the aquarium, rinsed off everything inside (including gravel), and refilled the tank with filtered water and the 'Seachem Prime,' I had been told to use. I did not add aquarium salt at that time because I knew some fish can't handle salt. I also began treatment with the Melafix on the empty tank just incase. A little over a week later, when the treatment was over, I did a 25% water change (as instructed) and even used the correct amount of 'Seachem Prime,' with the new added water. I also went back to the store and bought a small heater (made for a 10 gallon) and set it up, as I decided I wanted to try tropical fish when my tank was ready. This was a little over a week ago, and my tank sat empty, but with the heater running, the entire week.

Yesterday morning I went into the store with a water sample, as I had been told to do when I had been in there buying the heater, and was told that my water levels were, 'perfect,' and I could add fish. I bought 6 sm ghost shrimp, 4 tiny neon tetras, 2 sm glowfin tetras, 2 sm bloodfin tetras, 2 sm bleeding heart tetras, and 2 med lamp eye tetras. I asked if this was going to be overcrowding to add everyone at once and was told it was fine. I then asked if my tank (Now only over 2 weeks old) was still too new for an algae eater, like the sm Otocinclus they had. I was told it would be fine but that they don't do well alone so I bought the last 2 they had. In all 14 fish and 6 shrimp.

When I added them to the tank I floated the bags for awhile to help with the temperature change, but used a net to move them from bag to tank as I've been warned never to add store tank water to an aquarium. The 2 lamp eye tetras spent the entire day swimming around at the top of the tank, the 6 shrimp ran all over the floor, the 2 otos swam all around sucking on everything, and the 10 other tetras all stayed at the bottom level of the tank hiding between the plants and 2 caves I have in there. Everyone seemed fine and even ate when I fed them. (Although the otos really didn't seem interested in the algae wafers I put in the tank and went back to the walls and fake plants).

When I woke up this morning, however, both otos were dead at the bottom of the tank and (strangely enough) right next to eachother. I had been worried that there was not enough algae, hence the algae wafers, but also heard they can be sensitive. Is it possible they were already sick (having come from the same store tank) when I got them, or perhaps they did starve anyway, or maybe my tank killed them? Other than that, everyone else seemed fine. The lamps were still the only ones at the top of the tank, everyone else was busying swimming in one big group around the plants. (Except the shrimp which were every which way at every level). This evening however, I found both lamps dead (again strangely right next to eachother). I have been watching the tank since then. For the most part all of the remaining tetras are staying at the bottom of the tank still, swimming around the plants and caves. However they are once-in-a-while venturing up to the surface and aroound mid-tank. Nobody seems sluggish or having a problem eating or breathing. Also the shrimp are everywhere as usual.

When I was at the store I noticed the girl scoop water from a tank (containing guppies), and then putting the shrimp, otos, and tetras in said water. I also noticed 3 different tetras, and 2 shrimp falling out of the net onto the table before being picked up and put in the water. And as I said the 2 otos were the last in that tank.

I have kept my tank at 82 temperature-wise since I got the heater. While reading the temperature needs of the tetra labels at the store this seemed like a middle temperature and was told it was, however everything online seems to say this might be a little high. Personally the water, when I put my hand in it, doesn't seem warm at all so perhaps the heater is faulty?

I have been feeding a mixture of algae wafers, bloodworms, brine shrimp, and tropical flakes. And leave the tank light on for about 10 hours a day.

I realize, being new, I have made some mistakes. However I am not sure what to think at this point. Is it possible that the 4 dead fish died from treatment at the store? Or perhaps my temperature killed them? Or (as I am starting to fear) is it possible that the store help was telling me wrong, and it threw my tank balance off adding everyone in the same day?

I am worried about my current fish and shrimp. I plan to get my water levels tested again tomorrow morning. If they are indeed higher than they should be, do I simply add 'seachem prime,' to the tank as is? And how soon would it be safe to do a water change?

...

Once my tank is fixed I wanted to add a few more fish, namely; 1 bloodfin, 1 bleeding heart, and 1 glowfin. So that I would have 4 tiny neons, and 3 of each type of sm tetra. But that would be 13 fish and 6 shrimp. Being that they are sm tetras but it is a 10 gallon, would this be overcrowding?

Also, I do not want to try algae eaters again. I don't see how a 10 gallon would produce enough algae for 2 otos, but was told they won't do well as a single. Would adding more shrimp keep the tank clean or is 6 enough?

...

Any advice would be lovely. I really do want to get this tank set proper. Thank you.

...

EDIT

Upon watching the fish for a bit right now I noticed most of them are moving their gills/opening and closing their mouths very quickly while going about their business. I tried to look this up online and have come to the conclusion my water levels are off. Is this safe to assume? And if so should I add, 'seachem prime,' to the tank or do a water change or what?
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Old 07-25-2011, 06:05 AM   #2
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Welcome to the site! Comments in red.
Quote:
Originally Posted by FoxGlove View Post

Anyhow, when I got the tank a little over 3 weeks ago I had no idea how to cycle a tank or anything. So I set it up, filled it with filtered water, and went back to the store to buy a fish to cycle the tank with. I was told the small black moor and small goldfish I was looking at would be fine to cycle with so I bought them. (Was not aware at that point that goldfish produce a lot of waste). The next day the black moor had frayed fins and white spots, so I took him out and put him in a smaller tank to treat him. (The goldfish died a few hours later but looked fine until the end). I went back to the store and explained (to a different person) that I was cycling my new tank and the black moor had what I thought was ick. I was told that black moors get bacterial infections often and I shouldn't be cycling with it, to treat it with Melafix, and to treat the aquarium it had been in with Melafix as well. (The moor ended up dying a week later regardless). I was also given 'Seachem Prime,' and aquarium salt to setup my tank with and use while cycling.
Pet store advice is terrible often times, and this is a good example of that. They did get you into Prime, which is one positive.

When I got home I wasn't comfortable just, 'treating,' the current water and decided to completely start over using what I had been given as well. I emptied the aquarium, rinsed off everything inside (including gravel), and refilled the tank with filtered water and the 'Seachem Prime,' I had been told to use. I did not add aquarium salt at that time because I knew some fish can't handle salt. I also began treatment with the Melafix on the empty tank just incase. A little over a week later, when the treatment was over, I did a 25% water change (as instructed) and even used the correct amount of 'Seachem Prime,' with the new added water. I also went back to the store and bought a small heater (made for a 10 gallon) and set it up, as I decided I wanted to try tropical fish when my tank was ready. This was a little over a week ago, and my tank sat empty, but with the heater running, the entire week.

Yesterday morning I went into the store with a water sample, as I had been told to do when I had been in there buying the heater, and was told that my water levels were, 'perfect,' and I could add fish.

I can understand why they'd think your levels were perfect if the tank was running without fish for a few weeks, it just means that they didn't find any toxins through their testing of the water. Unfortunately though, the tank is still not cycled at this point, because you need an ammonia source to feed and build the bacteria colony that converts the ammonia/nitrite (waste) to a less toxic form

I bought 6 sm ghost shrimp, 4 tiny neon tetras, 2 sm glowfin tetras, 2 sm bloodfin tetras, 2 sm bleeding heart tetras, and 2 med lamp eye tetras. I asked if this was going to be overcrowding to add everyone at once and was told it was fine. I then asked if my tank (Now only over 2 weeks old) was still too new for an algae eater, like the sm Otocinclus they had. I was told it would be fine but that they don't do well alone so I bought the last 2 they had. In all 14 fish and 6 shrimp. Definitely way overstocked with this load. Even if the tank was cycled I would not suggest keeping this many fish in the tank just because it makes it difficult to keep up with water quality.

When I added them to the tank I floated the bags for awhile to help with the temperature change, but used a net to move them from bag to tank as I've been warned never to add store tank water to an aquarium. Well done.The 2 lamp eye tetras spent the entire day swimming around at the top of the tank, the 6 shrimp ran all over the floor, the 2 otos swam all around sucking on everything, and the 10 other tetras all stayed at the bottom level of the tank hiding between the plants and 2 caves I have in there. Everyone seemed fine and even ate when I fed them. (Although the otos really didn't seem interested in the algae wafers I put in the tank and went back to the walls and fake plants).
Otos can be picky, I've managed to get mine to eat real vegetable based wafers ("algae" wafers are usually quite meat-heavy and a bit deceiving, check the ingredient label) and fresh veggies
When I woke up this morning, however, both otos were dead at the bottom of the tank and (strangely enough) right next to eachother. I had been worried that there was not enough algae, hence the algae wafers, but also heard they can be sensitive. Is it possible they were already sick (having come from the same store tank) when I got them, or perhaps they did starve anyway, or maybe my tank killed them?Not likely that they starved in such a short period of time. Possible that your tank killed them through a toxin spike, or they were sick already. Other than that, everyone else seemed fine. The lamps were still the only ones at the top of the tank, everyone else was busying swimming in one big group around the plants. (Except the shrimp which were every which way at every level). This evening however, I found both lamps dead (again strangely right next to eachother).This tells me toxin spike. I have been watching the tank since then. For the most part all of the remaining tetras are staying at the bottom of the tank still, swimming around the plants and caves. However they are once-in-a-while venturing up to the surface and aroound mid-tank. Nobody seems sluggish or having a problem eating or breathing. Also the shrimp are everywhere as usual.

When I was at the store I noticed the girl scoop water from a tank (containing guppies), and then putting the shrimp, otos, and tetras in said water. I also noticed 3 different tetras, and 2 shrimp falling out of the net onto the table before being picked up and put in the water. And as I said the 2 otos were the last in that tank.The first part is probably nothing since big pet stores tanks are usually interconnected anyway. With the fish falling out of the net, that's just carelessness, I would've probably said something or asked for new fish, but it's somewhat common when bagging, when someone isn't very well versed in it.

I have kept my tank at 82 temperature-wise since I got the heater. While reading the temperature needs of the tetra labels at the store this seemed like a middle temperature and was told it was, however everything online seems to say this might be a little high. Personally the water, when I put my hand in it, doesn't seem warm at all so perhaps the heater is faulty?
Get a glass thermometer, they have them at walmart in the fish section for 2 dollars and it will tell you. Don't get the cheap stick on thermometers, they aren't accurate at all. And yes, upper 70s is preferable, but it doesn't have to be an exact #.
I have been feeding a mixture of algae wafers, bloodworms, brine shrimp, and tropical flakes. And leave the tank light on for about 10 hours a day.
One of the biggest mistakes that beginners make is overfeeding, just stick with a sparse feeding routine, because more food going in = more waste being produced. The fish are fine just eating a flake or two a day, they won't starve.
I realize, being new, I have made some mistakes. However I am not sure what to think at this point. Is it possible that the 4 dead fish died from treatment at the store? Or perhaps my temperature killed them? Or (as I am starting to fear) is it possible that the store help was telling me wrong, and it threw my tank balance off adding everyone in the same day?

I am worried about my current fish and shrimp. I plan to get my water levels tested again tomorrow morning. If they are indeed higher than they should be, do I simply add 'seachem prime,' to the tank as is? And how soon would it be safe to do a water change?
Do a water change as soon as possible, 50% would be good, and condition with Prime. Repeat this every day until you can get a good liquid test kit to test your own water parameters. API's master test kit is what everyone uses here, it is a little pricey, especially at a pet store, but it pays for itself if you imagine how many times you'd be running back and forth up there to get the water tested, plus it will give you the numbers of what's going on in your tank immediately.
...

Once my tank is fixed I wanted to add a few more fish, namely; 1 bloodfin, 1 bleeding heart, and 1 glowfin. So that I would have 4 tiny neons, and 3 of each type of sm tetra. But that would be 13 fish and 6 shrimp. Being that they are sm tetras but it is a 10 gallon, would this be overcrowding?
That's correct, you would be overcrowding. Also, those are all schooling fish, and really do best with multiples of their own species, so consider getting 4 or more of each species. That would obviously require a larger tank to do so, keep that in mind.
Also, I do not want to try algae eaters again. I don't see how a 10 gallon would produce enough algae for 2 otos, but was told they won't do well as a single. Would adding more shrimp keep the tank clean or is 6 enough?
I wouldn't worry about algae eating either. A couple of otos are fine in an established 10g, they eat biofilm and can be supplemented also, so they don't strictly eat visible algae. However, keeping them is not essential, so don't worry about it for now.
...

Any advice would be lovely. I really do want to get this tank set proper. Thank you.

...

EDIT

Upon watching the fish for a bit right now I noticed most of them are moving their gills/opening and closing their mouths very quickly while going about their business. I tried to look this up online and have come to the conclusion my water levels are off. Is this safe to assume? And if so should I add, 'seachem prime,' to the tank or do a water change or what?
Yes, your ammonia levels are probably quite high, with so many fish in the tank, you'll need to be doing daily water changes to keep the ammonia/nitrite levels down to keep the fish safe. Unfortunately with that amount of fish, the ammonia/nitrite levels probably rise very quickly, so you may be fighting a lost cause trying to keep them all alive.

An ideal situation, to me, would be to rehome or return all of these fish with the exception of 1 or 2 small ones, get a liquid test kit, get the toxin levels back down to 0, and then do water changes every few days when the toxins start rising again. I know this may not be possible for you to do, but IMO it's the best route to take. Fishless cycling is also an option, but not really my cup of tea. One other important thing, research! Read this I just learned about cycling but I already have fish. What now?! best of luck!
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Old 07-25-2011, 12:22 PM   #3
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+1 To jeta's advice. I 100% agree, and you've gotten some great info from him that pretty much all of us on the site would agree with.

Unfortunately, since the tank is already overstocked, and in order to provide the best environment for your fish you'd actual have to add more of them...there really are only 2 viable options IMO...returning / re-homing many of the fish, or purchasing a much larger tank.

My first priority (along with the daily water changes using Prime) would be to try and return as many, if not all, of the fish back to the pet store. In that case you'll have the option slowly and responsibly stocking the tank, constantly monitoring the levels and performing pwc's as needed to cycle the tank with a few fish...or as was mentioned...fishless cycling is an option. There is a guide in my signature if you're interested in getting some info and seeing what is involved.

Good luck!
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