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Old 11-07-2012, 03:40 PM   #1
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New member to fish community without a clue! Help?!

Hi my name is Adyna. I set up a fresh water 45 gallon fish tank a few weeks ago. I have a filter, submersible heater, air strips, as well as pebbles and fish decor. I know nothing about fish and tanks so bare with me.

I let the tank run for about a week and allowed the heater to heat the tank up to 76 degrees. I then went out and purchased 2 fish, what kind you wonder? I have no idea. They seemed to do fine and lived for a week so I purchased 2 more of the same kind. That lasted another week so I purchased 1 more of the same kind and 2 more of another. These others were some form of guppy.

I did not pay mind to the temperature during these weeks if adding fish and everything seemed fine until one died. I began to worry why and noticed the fish seemed to be under stress. After reading online, I noted temperature made a huge difference and when I looked, the temperature was well over 80 degrees. So I lowered the temperature on my heater in hopes this made a difference.

Slowly my fish began to die. I went from 7 to 3 in just a few days. I watched the temperature and it was fluctuating drastically. From 72 degrees all the way to 80 degrees. I adjusted the heater throughout my days and have been able to maintain between 74-78 degrees, yet I still know this is stressful and bad for the fish.

I cannot seem to maintain a stable temperature and it continues to fluctuate when I do not touch the heater.. Help?!
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Old 11-07-2012, 03:47 PM   #2
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Welcome to AA Adyna!

What type and wattage of heater are you using?

The fish deaths are most likely due to the tank being uncycled rather than temp alone. I'd suggest reading through the articles below to get a basic understanding of the cycling for a FW tank.

I just learned about cycling but I already have fish. What now?! - Aquarium Advice
Fish-in Cycling: Step over into the dark side - Aquarium Advice
The (almost) Complete Guide and FAQ to Fishless Cycling - Aquarium Advice
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Old 11-07-2012, 04:12 PM   #3
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So should I take some of my water to the store to have it tested? I'm assuming it is okay now because these 3 fish have survived a whole day now and don't look to be under stress. The others I knew were under stress and could tell when they were going to die. These fish are not acting the way the other were.

If I add more fish will the bacteria increase too much and kill them off again?
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Old 11-07-2012, 06:39 PM   #4
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Welcome! I'm new too.

I would highly suggest not adding more fish.

I did pretty much the same thing you did, but I added 9 guppies all on the same day. I was totally clueless about cycling.

You really should read the article and follow the directions. Get an API test kit so that you can monitor your water at home. You'll be doing a lot of that and water changes. You can get the kit online for about $20, and most fish stores I have been to have it as well.

You will want to do at least a 50% water change and make sure that when you replace the water you are conditioning the tank prior to adding the new water, or directly to the new water BEFORE adding it to the tank.

Do you have a conditioner? If so, what kind?

You should really find out what kind of fish you have too so that you can make sure they are suitable for your tank.

I joined the middle of October because my fish were sick. I am still cycling this tank and doing water changes every day (though I am down to every other day or two now). You aren't the first.
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Old 11-07-2012, 10:08 PM   #5
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Old 11-07-2012, 10:16 PM   #6
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Tiger Barbs and some form of Guppy are the type of fish I have. I took some water to the store today and the ammonia and pH balance were good. I spoke to a guy who works there who was well educated and maintains tanks of his own at home and he suggested a conditioner as well and I was able to buy a few more fish.

I am confident this set will last and I will be able to add fish that are more expensive, compatible with my current fish and to my taste, in the future. Thank you all for the help. I thought it was the temperature and clearly my bacteria was not to the correct standards. So thanks again
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Old 11-08-2012, 12:05 AM   #7
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Good luck!

Did he tell you what the numbers were and explain them or did he just say it was okay and sell you the new fish?

I would keep a close eye on your fish. Tiger barbs are known to be fin nippers and not so great with guppies.
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Old 11-08-2012, 01:12 PM   #8
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No he did not give me the numbers but I did buy a kit to test the water and he said directions and everything will be in there. They were pretty busy so I didn't bother him with too many questions.

I do have this one devil tiger barb who nips at every fish I have and actually killed one today. I don't know the type of fish. I did read it was compatible with this fish though. He nips at all the other fish and is very fast. Not sure what to do with it..
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Old 11-08-2012, 02:30 PM   #9
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Used my freshwater master test kit. Results were as followed:

pH: low at 7.2
Ammonia: present at a .50
Nitrate: 5.0
Nitrite: .50

So how do I decrease the ammonia, nitrate, nitrite and increase pH?
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Old 11-08-2012, 03:31 PM   #10
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I wouldn't worry about pH, a stable pH is better than trying to tweak it. Your fish will adapt.

As far as decreasing ammonia, nitrite and nitrates... water changes. I'd start with a 50% and retest and see where you are at. You want ammonia and nitrites under .25ppm if possible. Ideally both would be 0ppm. Nitrates aren't as toxic but should be kept under 40ppm. Usually my tank is right around 5-10ppm as I have measurable levels of nitrates in my tap water.
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