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Old 07-14-2011, 02:00 PM   #1
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Some Information and Questions

Hello, I am new to the site and generally new to the hobby. I am going to try and give as much information as possible. I will start out with my story and then put some factual lists at the bottom. Bear with me.

I was walking through the pet store one day (I unfortunately have to go to the big chain stores - Petsmart or Petco - for there is nothing else close to me) and saw a ten gallon fish tank with a hood and filter for like $20. I was excited and couldn't resist but to buy the tank. I brought the tank home with some gravel and waited for my next pay check to pick up the next items I would need (I'm a high school student working at a grocery store, so I get little pay and few hours). I then bought some plants, a net, and a thermometer. That day, I set up my tank by first straining the gravel, then I put a plate in the tank, added tap water - about two thirds of the tank, put in the plants and thermometer, and filled the rest of the tank. Then I went to buy some lights, food, and a chemical kit that was on clearance (less than helpful). I added the kit, installed the lights, and let the tank "cycle" for a week. Unfortunately I did not research first, which I'm finding out now was a mistake. I brought in a sample of my water and the nitrate (I believe it was the nitrate) was high so the woman suggested stress coat. I left that in for 48 hours, brought the water back and the only problem was that the water was a little too soft, but she said that would not have a significant effect on the fish. I purchased two healthy looking Dwarf Gouramis and an Albino Cory Catfish, and let them sit in the bag in the tank for half an hour. I have a bucket specifically for my aquarium so i dumped the fish into the net over the bucket and immediately added the fish to the tank (I wanted to avoid mixing the pet store water with my water). The fish, in my opinion did very well). The two gouramis were shy to eat at first, but then they soon were more active. The albino cory is very active, swimming up to the top every now and then as, from my prior knowledge, they should be. I then went to get some algae wafers, which all three of my fish love. Fast forward another week and a half of feeding the fish 2-3 times a day, as suggested on the food labels, and I bought some more plants to provide more hiding places and a little volcano with an air line. I washed everything off with hot water and then added it to the tank. The fish enjoy the added plants and usually hang out around the volcano and not the other side of the tank. In a couple a days, the fish tank became somewhat cloudy, but towards the back of the tank (there is about 3-4 inches in front of the tank with no ornaments or plants; I will include a picture). I quickly browsed online and found that the likely cause is that one of the added ornaments or plants was not washed off well enough (Can anyone confirm/deny that's a strong possibility?) For the past two/three days the tank has remained in that condition, but the fish don't seem different. I need help, most definitely, and I will ask questions after giving out the information that needs to be said.

Equipment
-Ten Gallon Aquarium
-Full Incandescent Hood
-Aqueon Quiet Flow 10
-Ten pounds of Top Fin gravel
-Various top fin fake plants
-Top Fin Volcano Bubbler
-Top Fin thermometer (suction cup, inside the tank)
-TetraMin Tropical Crisps
-Hikari Algae Wafers
-API Stress Coat+
-Tetra AquaSafe
-Tetra EasyBalance


Fish
-Two Dwarf Gourami (Colisa Lalia)
-Albino Cory Catfish (Corydoras spp.)


Known Problems/Mistakes
-I did not do prior research
-I did not do a correct cycle
-I did not buy a heater


Next Steps
-I am going to get the API Master Kit (as suggested)
-I am going to buy two five gallon buckets (or smaller) just for the fish tank to do water changes.
-Read the wonderful articles provided through this website.
-Keep a log of water quality tests and observations
-Whatever else is suggested to me.


Questions
1. Can I sex the Dwarf Gouramis by their caudal fin?
2. Do I need a gravel cleaner?
3. Is my catfish fine by itself or should there be other catfishes?
4. Should I buy a wider range of foods? (Maybe frozen or dried foods)
5. How many more fish can I safely house in that tank?
6. Are there any fish that you would suggest to add, when all my problems with the tank have been cleared?
7. Is there any other information I left out that would be useful?
8. The dwarf gourami with the larger caudal fin appears to fin nip the one with the smaller caudal fin, is that a problem or natural?
9. Any advice other advice?




Edit #1 (7/14):

Bought the test kit today; here's my results:
pH - 7.6
Ammonia - 8.0
Nitrite - 0
Nitrate - 0
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Old 07-14-2011, 02:32 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dangora View Post
Questions
1. Can I sex the Dwarf Gouramis by their caudal fin?
I sex them by their color, males tend to be the more colorful and brighter ones.
2. Do I need a gravel cleaner?
Yes, you will need one, and it should be gravel vaccuum.
3. Is my catfish fine by itself or should there be other catfishes?
It needs a bigger school of five to six catfish, that won't fit in your ten gallon so you should try upgrading or taking it back to the store.
4. Should I buy a wider range of foods? (Maybe frozen or dried foods)
Personally I reccommend frozen foods. I have heard freeze-dried foods can be a problem.
5. How many more fish can I safely house in that tank?
Depends. Are you adding more fish plus the fish in there or are you taking some of the fish back to the store and adding some more in there?
6. Are there any fish that you would suggest to add, when all my problems with the tank have been cleared?
This is all on your personal preference. Some fish are more forgiving than others when it comes to water quality.
7. Is there any other information I left out that would be useful?
That cloudiness is a bacterial bloom. It means bacteria is growing in your tank. You should do partial water changes every day since this may be a fish-in cycle. Here is a link to a useful article: I just learned about cycling but I already have fish. What now?!
8. The dwarf gourami with the larger caudal fin appears to fin nip the one with the smaller caudal fin, is that a problem or natural?
I am guessing they are both males or one of them is, male gouramis are (usually) agressive and will attack anything that is in their territory.
9. Any advice other advice?
Be patient. It will take a while but it in the end it will all be worth it. Don't buy things on impulse, research and ask us here on AA before you buys some fish. Also, NEVER listen to a fish store unless you are absolutely 100% sure they are correct on their part. Good luck!
I wrote in the bold red to answer your questions.
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Old 07-14-2011, 03:52 PM   #3
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I agree with Bruinsbro.

Your main concern right now is getting your tank cycled and keeping your fish healthy during the process. Get ready to carry some buckets because daily water changes (sometimes more than 1 a day) are often necessary to keep your levels within safe(ish) ranges.

Follow the fish-in cycle guide that was linked, and everything should be okay, it's just going to take some work and dedication from you.

I also see stocking problems, but for today, the cycling is most important. Make sure you do lots of water changes with a good water conditioner like Seachem Prime until you are able to get a quality test kit.

Since you do have some issues with what fish are in the tank...it may also be worth considering returning the fish if possible, doing a fishless cycle, then doing a bit more research and choosing the right fish for your tank once it is cycled. There's a guide and FAQ in my signature about fishless cycling if it's something that interests you.

Good luck!
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Old 07-14-2011, 07:14 PM   #4
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And I agree with Eco and Bruisbro

If you can return the fish and do a fishless cycle, it will be a LOT less stress for you and for the fish. Otherwise you are in for daily water testing and daily water changes (sometimes more than one per day) for 1-3 months. Gouramis are aggressive toward each other and they would probably do better in a larger tank anyway. YOu would also need more cats but your tank is too small.

If you can return the fish and go fishless that's the best way and then in the meantime you can research better options for your tank.

Good luck whatever you decide to do. We'll help either way
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Old 07-14-2011, 09:54 PM   #5
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Alright the results of my first test are in as an edit to the original post. Do the numbers mean anything? Change anything or confirm anything?
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Old 07-14-2011, 09:57 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dangora
Alright the results of my first test are in as an edit to the original post. Do the numbers mean anything? Change anything or confirm anything?
Oh my god! Is 8.0 accurate?! Immediate, huge, and multiple water changes! You've got to get the ammonia level down below .25 ASAP. You're going to have to do several 75% water changes immediately! Start stretching, you've got some serious bucket carrying ahead of you. Make sure you dechlorinate and temperature match ever water change. I don't mean to freak you out...but this is a DIRE and DEADLY situation for your fish. Get them some fresh water as soon as you can.
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Old 07-14-2011, 09:59 PM   #7
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I linked this to you before...but you really need to read it closely and follow the guide. It explains everything you need to know and everything you'll need to do-

http://www.aquariumadvice.com/articl...now/Page2.html

*But don't read it until you do the water changes and get the ammo below .25!!!
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Old 07-14-2011, 10:12 PM   #8
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Oh my god! Is 8.0 accurate?! Immediate, huge, and multiple water changes! You've got to get the ammonia level down below .25 ASAP. You're going to have to do several 75% water changes immediately! Start stretching, you've got some serious bucket carrying ahead of you. Make sure you dechlorinate and temperature match ever water change. I don't mean to freak you out...but this is a DIRE and DEADLY situation for your fish. Get them some fresh water as soon as you can.
Wow if ammonia is really 8 then yes to what Eco said. Do a lot of water changes to get the ammonia down to 0.25. It could take a while but worth it for your fish. I hope you're lugging buckets as I type this
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Old 07-14-2011, 10:17 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eco23 View Post
Oh my god! Is 8.0 accurate?! Immediate, huge, and multiple water changes! You've got to get the ammonia level down below .25 ASAP. You're going to have to do several 75% water changes immediately! Start stretching, you've got some serious bucket carrying ahead of you. Make sure you dechlorinate and temperature match ever water change. I don't mean to freak you out...but this is a DIRE and DEADLY situation for your fish. Get them some fresh water as soon as you can.
Are you sure it was 8.0???? That's beyond toxic! If so ...like Eco23 said get a bucket and start doing PWC's ASAP!! ... at this point your practically changing all the water, but do it in 75% increments .. until it's below 0.25%. Do you have seachem Prime? If so start dosing ASAP, figure 2x the normal dose? Eco23 can better comment on that.
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Old 07-14-2011, 10:31 PM   #10
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Quote:
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Are you sure it was 8.0???? That's beyond toxic! If so ...like Eco23 said get a bucket and start doing PWC's ASAP!! ... at this point your practically changing all the water, but do it in 75% increments .. until it's below 0.25%. Do you have seachem Prime? If so start dosing ASAP, figure 2x the normal dose? Eco23 can better comment on that.
I think 2x the normal dose is like for 1ppm ammonia or something like that?

Heck, I'd almost dump the whole bottle in there... (Not really, please don't do that!)

Ammonia builds up scary fast in tiny tanks. If it's really 8.0ppm with the API kit, I'm surprised the dwarf gouramis are still alive - aren't they ridiculously sensitive? I've been told they're kind of hard to keep alive.
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Old 07-14-2011, 10:38 PM   #11
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Good call on the Prime. On the bottle it says a 5x dose can be used to neutralize nitrItes in an emergency situation...but I don't know the formula for ammo. As long as the OP can get the ammo down below .25 a double dose should be alright.

I just want you to know we're not ganging up on or blaming you...it's the lfs's fault for not informing you of what would happen. That said, research is one of the most important things in this hobby, and you've got to make sure you do it from here on out whether it's about cycling, fish compatibility, etc... You seem like you're doing things right now by listening to advice and buying a good kit...now you've got to stay committed. With the way the ammo is building up, I really think it's time to look into re-homing your fish, cycling it without them (check the guide in my sig), and choosing more suitable fish for your tank in the future.
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Old 07-14-2011, 10:41 PM   #12
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Quote:
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I think 2x the normal dose is like for 1ppm ammonia or something like that?

Heck, I'd almost dump the whole bottle in there... (Not really, please don't do that!)

Ammonia builds up scary fast in tiny tanks. If it's really 8.0ppm with the API kit, I'm surprised the dwarf gouramis are still alive - aren't they ridiculously sensitive? I've been told they're kind of hard to keep alive.
I'm wondering how any fish are alive at those ammo numbers. If they are only thing I could think of is that Dangora mentioned the LFS said the water's soft ... so I'm inclined to think it's pH is below 7 so the ammo may be in the less toxic NH4 and not NH3? Still 8.0 is insanely high. Hopefully there's no permanent gill damage (cross fingers)
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Old 07-14-2011, 10:46 PM   #13
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I just want you to know we're not ganging up on or blaming you...it's the lfs's fault for not informing you of what would happen.
Yep ... unfortunately new fish owners are not always correctly advised by their LFS's so don't blame yourself ... it happens ... and the best thing to do is start with the PWC's and then look to rehome the fish if possible and do a fish-less cycle.

Keep us posted!
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Old 07-14-2011, 10:47 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcolon

I'm wondering how any fish are alive at those ammo numbers. If they are only thing I could think of is that Dangora mentioned the LFS said the water's soft ... so I'm inclined to think it's pH is below 7 so the ammo may be in the less toxic NH4 and not NH4? Still 8.0 is insanely high. Hopefully there's no permanent gill damage (cross fingers)
Here's a good chart jeta put together. It has some good info on ammo toxicity as it relates to pH and temperature. As good as it is, I encourage the OP to stick with the below .25 method for the time being until we can get things under control-
Your Guide to Ammonia Toxicity
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Old 07-14-2011, 11:10 PM   #15
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None of the fish seem to be effected, and assuming I did the test right, it was a little lighter than 8.0 but darker than 6.0. It also says in the instruction book that new tanks can reach ammonia levels of 6.0+ because the filter hasn't completely cycled yet. But definitely will get on those water changes.
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Old 07-14-2011, 11:10 PM   #16
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I agree with everyone on here. You are sure it wasn't .8 or something? Test again, ammonia that high is beyond toxic for fish and I don't think it's possible the DGs survived in that kind of water, they are super sensitive. If it really is 8 get a big bottle of prime and do 75-90% water changes for the next three hours or so.
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Old 07-14-2011, 11:21 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dangora
None of the fish seem to be effected, and assuming I did the test right, it was a little lighter than 8.0 but darker than 6.0. It also says in the instruction book that new tanks can reach ammonia levels of 6.0+ because the filter hasn't completely cycled yet. But definitely will get on those water changes.
Any free ammonia is toxic, it's our job to keep it as low as possible while the tank cycles. It can reach high levels...but that doesn't mean it's normal or acceptable. It can take time for the ammonia damage to show up even though it's happening. Below .25 at all times should be your goal...and again, I'd look into re-homing your fish at this point IMO.

I have some homework for you (sounds like jcolon should be the one doin this )After the water changes are done, read these 3 articles a few times to really understand the process-

http://www.americanaquariumproducts....gen_Cycle.html

http://www.aquariumadvice.com/articl...now/Page2.html

The (almost) Complete Guide and FAQ to Fishless Cycling
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Old 07-18-2011, 07:30 PM   #18
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Alright so just a quick update for you guys, I finally was able to get to the equipment for water changes and the such, but I had no choice but to wait until Sunday. I've done about 5 water changes since yesterday afternoon and I am happy to say that my tank is now at about 1ppm on the ammonia. The fish have shown no negative changes, but I still have to figure out what to do with them.

I was thinking about giving away the albino cory and maybe one of the dwarf gourami? Any suggestions?
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