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Old 03-20-2012, 07:02 PM   #1
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Newbie with questions

Hello all! My name is Ashley and I acquired a 10G tropical community tank for my son's first birthday. I'm new to the hobby, but since getting the tank I've done a good deal of research to properly care for our tank. We've had the tank for almost 8 weeks and it's completely cycled.

Not knowing any better I started the tank with one neon tetra, one guppy, and one other larger tetra (not exactly sure what kind). They all did well through cycling and survived. Last week when I discovered my tank was cycled I decided to add more fish. I added two additional neon tetras so that I would at least have a small school and two oto cat algae eaters since there is visible algae in my tank. To my surprise after adding the new fish my original neon died, but the two new ones continue to do well. Is it possible he died from the stress of the added fish? Also, one of the oto cats died, but the other is doing great. After some reading I learned that it's common for oto's to die within the first month of being introduced into a new tank so I'm not too worried about the death of the one.

I've since added a black loach that seems to be doing fine, but I added an additional guppy that I think is about to die. Is it common for new fish to die due to the stress of the change in water conditions? I'm worried about the pH in my tank. I started out using the test strips, but after research quickly learned test tube kits are better so I recently acquired one. The strips read my pH as 7.8, but I compared with my API test tube kit and it says my pH is 8.4. Could it be my high pH that has killed some of my new fish? I've read that stability is the most important factor concerning pH and that the commercial pH correctors are more harmful than good.

Another concern I have is my original guppy seems to like to nip at new fish. Could he be stressing them to the point that they die? He did this with the two new neons, but he's since stopped and they seem fine.

Water parameters:
pH 8.4 (per API kit) or 7.8 per strips
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 5.0

TYIA for any suggestions! I'm really enjoying the hobby so far and I look forward to learning from the group!
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Old 03-20-2012, 07:04 PM   #2
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I forgot to ask, are there any safe ways to lower my pH or should I even bother attempting?
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Old 03-20-2012, 07:31 PM   #3
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Welcome to the forums, .
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Old 03-20-2012, 07:36 PM   #4
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There are some ways to lower the pH of the water safely, peat moss, driftwood, and Indian almond leaves. The leaves and the driftwood release tannins that lower your pH, but they turn your water a tea color. Don't worry this is not permanent. As for you dying fish, did you acclimate them? If so, how did you do it?
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Old 03-20-2012, 08:06 PM   #5
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I've been floating the bags I bring them home in for a half hour. Is there something else I should be doing?
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Old 03-20-2012, 08:10 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by shleynic
I've been floating the bags I bring them home in for a half hour. Is there something else I should be doing?
Floating the bags only gets the fish used to the temperature of the tank, not the water parameters. What you could do to acclimate them is float the bag, then add a small amount of tank water to the bag every 5 minutes. This should be done for at least 30 minutes. The longer the better. Then when the bag gets mostly full, empty out most of the water and start the process again then after the bag is halfway full, you can net the fish out and put him/her in the tank this is how I acclimate my fish
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Old 03-20-2012, 08:17 PM   #7
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Thanks! I will try that next time! Where do I get peat moss, driftwood, and Indian almond leaves? I want to try to lower my pH before I try adding anything else.
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Old 03-20-2012, 08:37 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shleynic
Thanks! I will try that next time! Where do I get peat moss, driftwood, and Indian almond leaves? I want to try to lower my pH before I try adding anything else.
No problem!! Always happy to help out a fellow aquarist! I'm pretty sure you can buy peat moss online. As for Indian almond leaves, you can post a WTB (want to buy) on plantedtank.net. Tons of users there sell them!! And finaly driftwood, you can find some free driftwood around lakes, streams, and rivers. Some pet stores also sell it you have to clean it very thououghly before, and if you do not want tannins, you can boil it for a few days.
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Old 03-20-2012, 09:05 PM   #9
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So, would it be reasonable for me to just start with something like driftwood? I'm reading that I can boil to avoid discoloration to my water.
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Old 03-20-2012, 09:08 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by shleynic
So, would it be reasonable for me to just start with something like driftwood? I'm reading that I can boil to avoid discoloration to my water.
If I'm not mistaken, it's the tannins that bring the pH down, not the actual driftwood it self.
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