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Old 01-18-2011, 12:42 AM   #1
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Hi all... just joined AA today. I figured it was time that I join a forum so I could have a better understanding about my fish and tank maintenance.

I purchased a fish tank last Father's Day for my husband and 2 year old son to enjoy. For the mostpart, it has been great, but it has been a challenge. I've had a few Ich outbreaks, dangerous Nitrate and Nitrite levels, fish that have come up missing, (or jumping out of the tank), you name it, I've dealt with it. So, in an effort to help my family enjoy our fish more, I'm here to learn.

My setup consists of the following:

55 gallon freshwater w/ community fish, including: (1) Pleco, (1) Red Tail Shark, (1) Clown Loach, (4) Mollies, (4) Tetras, (1) Gourami

And, up until tonight, I had (1) Bala Shark. My little gal was floating vertically when I came from work and before I could do a 25% water change and treat the water to get the Nitrates/Nitrites to a safe level, the poor thing jumped out.

Anyway, thanks in advance for everyone's help! I'm sure I will learn a lot on here and look forward to helping others.
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Old 01-18-2011, 12:37 PM   #2
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Did u cycle ur tank b4 addin those fish? And what kinda filter are u using? And what is ur ammonia, nitrate and nitrite level? I would also recommend u gettin an air pump If u don't have one. I'm sorry to hear about ur loss let me know what model ur filter is
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Old 01-18-2011, 01:20 PM   #3
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Hello McLumpy Welcome to AA (Aquariums Anonymous) lol
It's an addicting hobby
There is lots of info here to help as well as our members. Check out our articles section to get started and there are "sticky" posts in the forums that are very helpful too.
If you have a question or just want to share your setup it's as easy as starting a thread in the area of interest.

I think the hardest thing to do in this hobby is NOT to impulse buy. if you see a fish you like write the name down and research it to see if it fits with the tank and tankmates you already have. don't just take the salespersons word for it. it is usually biased to you buying the fish/equipment.

If you start a new thread in the freshwater getting started section we can discuss your setup and recommend course of action if needed.

Happy to have you aboard
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Old 01-18-2011, 01:41 PM   #4
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We have had the tank for 7 months, so it's established. We did the proper cycle prior to introducing our fish. We have a dual filter system that hangs on the back of the tank, (can't recall which model), and use Tetra Whisper Bio-Bag Disposable Filter Cartridges.

I can't remember the exact levels, but the ammonia was at a safe level, but the nitrates were extremely high and the the nitrites were borderline in the danger level. (Of course these were readings from the use of a test strip kit... I'm buying the API kit that everyone raves about on here TONIGHT!).

I did perform a PWC last night after my Bala died and added the appropriate amount of Prime and salt to the water. The fish looked less stressed and were eating again this morning. I also checked the water again and the nitrate/nitrite levels were down, (but I don't trust the strips, so I'm going to test again w/ a "real" kit after work).

Oh and I have an air pump that supplies plenty of air via a bubble strip placed in the back of the tank and a separate air tube placed inside of a decorative house, and another is affixed to the right-rear side of the tank, (near the filter and heater).

I think what could have happened was one of my Mollies went MIA about 2 weeks ago and we have searched everywhere for her. We figured that, (even though I have the openings in my tank lids blocked), she may have still jumped out somehow and was a snack for my cat. Either that, or she's still in the tank somewhere. But, like I stated, we looked everywhere! If she's still in the tank, would this make the nitrates/nitrites spike like they did?

Btw, this isn't the first few instances where our fish jumped to their death. We had a few Swordtails that were constantly being tormented by our Red Tail Shark, (he likes to chase and side-bump... especially during feeding time). This was what he was doing to our Bala when she was dying. Poor little thing.

Edit: Oh and thanks for the warm welcome, guys!
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Old 01-18-2011, 02:07 PM   #5
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Old 01-18-2011, 03:01 PM   #6
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Old 01-18-2011, 04:10 PM   #7
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welcome to AA!

first, to control nitrates, you should be doing weekly PWC's all the time. nitrates will always be present and are constantly building (unless you have live plants) so weekly PWC's are the only way to get rid of the nitrates.

second, i don't know a whole lot about red tailed sharks, and don't know how big yours is, but i might guess that it ate your missing mollies...just a thought though.

third, the only reason you would need to add aquarium salt to your tank is if you are medicating for ich (with a heat/salt combo). otherwise the salt is totally unecessary and will most likely cause more harm than good.

fourth, when you change the filter cartridges, do you just pull out the old cartridge then throw in the new one? when your filter manufacturer recommends to change the cartridge every month or so, it's to sell you more cartridges. truth is, they should not be replaced unless they are completely falling apart. problem is that the filter cartridge is what hold all of your beneficial bacteria, and by replacing it it gets rid of all that nice bacteria that converts ammonia to nitrites and nitrites to nitrates. so whenever you replace a cartridge without properly seeding it (you can either stuff both of the cartridges in there, then after 2 or 3 weeks remove the old one, or you can use a chunk of the old one, stuff it behind the new one, then remove it in 2 or 3 weeks) your tank will go through a mini-cycle, which will harm your fish (unless you take proper action, doing PWC's whenever ammonia or nitrite go above .25ppm). so if your filter seems to be a little clogged up with gunk, just pull the cartridge out during a PWC, give it a good swishing/scrubbing/wringing in some old tank water (it's important NOT to use water straight from the tap, or you could kill off all the bacteria)

and finally, fifth, i agree with the previous poster who suggested to do research before making any more fish purchases. most sales associates have no idea about the fish they are selling you, they just want to get you in and out. your best bet will be to do your own research and decide if the fish is suited to you and your tank.
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Old 01-18-2011, 05:14 PM   #8
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Thanks for the information, mommytron! This is exactly why I'm here. I've been changing out my cartridges one at a time, (leaving one gunky filter, and inserting a clean one... but I'm going to try your method). About the salt, I don't use as much as directed. I only add a small amount primarily to benefit my Mollies and it's not enough to harm my Loach, (as I've heard they can get "burn" from too much salt).

And yeah, I don't trust pet store clerks. I took it slow when adding my fish, researched them thoroughly, and made sure that everyone would be compatible before introducing them to my tank. So far, no real aggression problems, except for with the Red Tail... he's just a punk!

Oh and did I miss something? I could have sworn I saw you post another comment about somebody using bad language or something?
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Old 01-18-2011, 05:28 PM   #9
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even mollies will not benefit from aquarium salt. people say they need salt, because mollies prefer brackish water. brachkis water is a mix of freshwater and salt water (like sea salt water), which is achieved by adding marine salt to the aquarium (which should ONLY be added for brackish fish. with your mix, i would stop adding any salt all together.)

and about the bad language thing, the posts have been deleted, which may be why you are confused. no worries
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Old 01-18-2011, 05:46 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by mommytron View Post
even mollies will not benefit from aquarium salt. people say they need salt, because mollies prefer brackish water. brachkis water is a mix of freshwater and salt water (like sea salt water), which is achieved by adding marine salt to the aquarium (which should ONLY be added for brackish fish. with your mix, i would stop adding any salt all together.)

and about the bad language thing, the posts have been deleted, which may be why you are confused. no worries
I've heard it both ways when it comes to adding salt. So, I see where you're coming from w/ your suggestion about stopping the salt completely. However, believe it or not, my Mollies become more active when it's added. I went a couple of months w/o adding a little to the water change, and they just became lethargic and nested in the plants. As far as the salt hurting their tank mates, I haven't seen any evidence of this, (which is why I don't add a lot as I don't want to harm the others).

I've had discussions w/ other ppl that swear up and down that marine salt is like pouring antifreeze in your tank, whereas others praise the benefit of using salt. Meh. I think it all depends on your own personal preference and what works in your tank. So far, no problems here.

As far as the cussing post... why do I always miss the good stuff? LMAO Or did I take a hit w/ this person's post?
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