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Old 04-04-2014, 11:11 AM   #1
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First off I would like to introduce myself. My name is Dan, I'm a 27 year old unemployed amateur Aquarist and veteran of OIF. I was born, raised, and currently (ad nauseum) reside in the great frozen state of Minnesota. We have winters over 6 months long, spring happens sometime in May, fall comes around September, and summer is somewhere in between.

I live with my fiance, our two cats, and of course our little marine critters too!

My first venture into fish keeping started around age 20, when I needed some kind of hobby to take my mind off the 15 months I had just served in Iraq. My first fish was a reddish-purple male Betta. He was the only fish I kept at the time and in a whole 10 gallon just to himself! As time went on, work and living arrangements changed, which changed how much time I could spend taking care of him. I decided that with all the moving around I was doing in the years following my military service, it would be easier to put my Betta under the care of my dad. Eventually my dad stopped caring for my Betta but didn't tell me about it until he died. He called me to coldly break the details and that was about it. That's another story for another time however.

I was pretty discouraged at keeping anymore fish from that point on until just recently. Having dug my old 10 gallon out of storage only to find the glass broken, I decided I would use my fiances old tank instead. So last year I set everything up as our start up tank, and now the bio system is so well established that algae barely grows anymore. My firetail is vibrant yellow, orange, and red. My Serpas are very active, always darting around, schooling, and actively exploring.

When I first started, I had just about the same knowledge as I had before, zilch. I've been doing tons of study online in the art of fish keeping, but I think joining a forum for some experienced help is a much better option.

So here's where I get to the point of joining in the first place. A couple weeks ago, we bought the two feeder guppies that we have now. The "experienced" fish lady scooped the guppies out, and told us they were both males. Having not known about the gravid spot and all that, I took her word for it and went home. After a few days I noticed that not only did the one guppy look fat, but it also had a huge black spot under its rear. The firetail did not have this. So I did a little research and found that we were not only given a female guppy, but a pregnant one at that! Shortly thereafter I noticed the male was hounding her, and even the serpas were getting in on the harassment. Since she was exhibiting signs of not only pregnancy but distress, I decided we needed an emergency 10 gallon to isolate her from the abuse. Now I know about properly cycling a tank before adding fish and all that, but this was unexpected, and so I figured the harassment would have about the same stress effect as living in a tank that's cycling. Either way, I felt a whole 10 gallons to herself was better than being left in the main tank.

As of current, no fry have been born. The water has been treated, and I just did another 25% water change yesterday. She's a little pale and lethargic, but she is eating slightly and seems to be hanging in there. I added a larger rock structure from the established tank to jump start the bio system in the new one. It seems to be working since the tank is clearing up and ammonia levels are staying below 0.25 ppm. Temp is remaining between 75-78 degrees.

So now for the questions:

- What do I need to do or not do to save this fish? I want to stock up a guppy tank, but if she dies then that's another hour trip to petco (I refuse to buy walmart fish, and our LFS closed down. Mostly due to Walmart).

- Would adding another female to the cycling 10 gallon help for companionship or hurt with ammonia levels? I know about the ratio rule with guppies being like 2-3:1 female:male, so common sense tells me she might need a friend, though she's isolated from the male.

- What substrate should I put in my new guppy tank? I was thinking Caribbean live sand with a live plant and some artificial structure. Opinions are welcome!

- What bottom feeders should I get for my Tetras/Guppies and how many? I was thinking ghost shrimp, since the last time I had Corys they died within a couple days. I wondered if they had busted barbs on the rock bottom.

- Concerning Guppy population, if left to breed and spawn at will, will Guppies overpopulate a tank, or will they control their own population by eating their fry? I want to stock up my tanks to capacity, not breed them. The LFS used to buy private stock, but corporates usually don't and I know Walmart doesn't so there is no point to breed right now anyways.

- Suggestions for future tank setups? I heard a standard operation would consist of 100, 50, 30, and two-10 gallon tanks. 100 for the community, 50 for spawn/breed/rehab, 30 as a fry tank, and the two 10's for raising the male/female spawn separate. Any thoughts on this?

Eventually I would like to get into large freshwater exotics that are care intensive so all expertise is appreciated. Thanks again, and it's a pleasure to be a part of the community!
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Old 04-05-2014, 12:17 AM   #2
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Hello and Welcome to AA! So guppies need to be in a ratio of 2-3females for every male or as you have seen, the female will get very harassed! IMO you should go get 2 more healthy females (do a google search and learn how to sex them yourself) and add all 3 females back into the cycled tank. That way your girly won't be harassed and also won't be stressed by the lack of company and high ammonia of a newly cycling tank. Good luck!
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Old 04-05-2014, 12:19 AM   #3
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Unless you separate out the fry (babies) most other fish, including the guppy parents, will eat them. Occasionally a lucky little bugger will hide well enough to reach maturity.
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Old 04-05-2014, 12:23 AM   #4
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Cory cats do prefer sand substrate, though I've kept them well on fine gravel. Ghost shrimp would probably work (they are a bit bigger than cherrys), oto catfish will scavenge as well as clean your glass, though they need to be in small groups (they are so cute!), snails are also opportunists and will eat leftovers and clean glass.
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Old 04-05-2014, 12:25 AM   #5
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On the Caribbean live sand. Is that coral based? Unless you have very soft water, you'll want to make sure that the sand will not raise you pH too much. And I suspect it will. Good alternatives are pool filter sand (whiter), play sand (light tan), black aquarium sand (duh), blasting sand is cheap (not for corycats if I remember correct) and beautiful (black). All are safe for aquariums, and all need to be washed!
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Old 04-05-2014, 12:27 AM   #6
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I have no idea about breeding set ups, so hopefully someone else will chime in
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Old 04-05-2014, 01:17 AM   #7
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Old 04-05-2014, 09:11 AM   #8
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Well I think another trip to petco is in order! I was concerned about my Tetras, being that they're schooling fish I would like another one of those. I misidentified my Tetras, they're actually White Skirt Tetras but being that I'm a novice I figured they had to be serpae. I made a huge mistake last year in buying those Tetras. They were Walmart fish and were sold as "mixed fruit" Tetra. After doing a bit of research, what walmart calls "mixed fruit" are actually white skirts that have been dyed!! >_< I was infuriated! I will never go to walmart again, for anything! They are a rotten business! Now that I've gotten that off my chest..

Ok so my two white skirts wont nip at each other or the other guppies? I will try to make it to petco asap to get those other two females. Also this morning I noticed some stringy poo coming out of what I thought was the pregnant female. I feed my fish natural garlic infused food and they love it so much the water boils from the feeding frenzy. Perhaps I will keep her in the cycling tank for a bit yet as a quarantine to see what she does. Now I'm concerned about possibly passing parasites to my other stock... I love this hobby because it forces me to think ahead

In regards to PH, I live in the midwest so I have prairie water that's pumped out of the local puddle lakes. Since great plains puddle lakes are mostly alkaline water, my PH sits off the tap at about 7.8. I have yet to get a GH/KH test kit (I know I know, dropping the ball). But all in all after a simple water treatment to remove metals and chlorine, my fish seem to do just fine and thrive in it.

In regards to substrate, I decided I'm going to do small round river pebbles. After researching Guppy environments, I found they like sand to small smooth or round rock, but since sand will raise an already high PH, I think I'll just stick with the pebbles.

I put driftwood in my main tank, and after I dilute out the small amount of aquarium salt I used to sort of liven up my tank, I plan on planting a live lily bulb. Now i do have seashell in my main tank. I know seashell raises PH, but with the driftwood in there it seems to sit steady at around 7.6 or so. I was planning on putting a snail of some kind in with the tetras. I know snails need calcium, can they get that from seashell? If that's the case, then I'll just leave them in there.
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Old 04-05-2014, 06:58 PM   #9
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Old 04-05-2014, 07:13 PM   #10
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