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Old 06-10-2011, 05:07 AM   #1
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Oh my! What have I gotten myself into?

Hello there. My family and I have recently gotten interested in aquariums. It started a few months ago with our crowntail betta, Tricksy Fish (hence my name) who lives in a 1 gallon filtered tank on the kitchen counter.
Everyone fell in love with it so I told my husband I wanted a larger aquarium. He bought a 10 gallon aquarium kit for tropical fish from petsmart and the next day we bought several guppies, two snails, a black moor, and a calico fantail from wal-mart to stock it (thank you petsmart for the wait 24 hours advice).
We, of course didn't realize that we needed to cycle the tank before adding fish, or that goldfish and tropical fish shouldn't be kept together or that the tank was too small for them (goldfish) when we bought them and, of course by the time I realized this it was too late to return them.
And it gets even worse. We also acquired a 5 gallon tank set from my sister when she heard we were interested in an aquarium which she delivered as a surprise for my kids complete with decor and a bag containing four platys, a chinese algae eater (I think thats what he was), two zebra danios, and an albino cory. Of course this got set up, too since we didn't know any better at the time. And worse still, a while back my husband put a small pond in the back yard with 5 goldfish in it. Very sweet of my husband to put in the pond but bad because the kid at home depot said that he could get away with putting in a pump with a fountain instead of a filter and that fish could go in it immediately (at least we had enough sense to use dechlorinator first).
Needless to say, it's been an uphill battle.
Currently, the 10 gallon houses the 4 platys, the cory, and 2 guppies. The 5 gallon houses 2 guppies and 1 zebra danio. Tricksy is still in her 1 gallon and the calico moved to the pond in the back yard with the other 5 goldfish. Our other fishy friends perished due one very unfriendly algae eater or to our ignorance regarding cycling.
I felt terrible when we started having casualties and began hunting for clues. That's how I found this site which has been very helpful in getting me on the right track. I have made many, many mistakes with this, but I am doing the best I can to fix it using the information I have found here so I can try to save the rest of our little friends.
As my solution, I am pretty much doing constant water changes (50 % +) on everything (pond too) to keep levels safe for the fish and testing everything daily with the api master test kit I bought after discovering the strips I bought based on petsmart's recommendation are useless. Now, hopefully I can get all of this to cycle soon.
I can honestly say that this has been extremely stressful and time consuming (if I wasn't a stay at home mom with time to spare I don't know how I would manage this) but I am sticking with it. I haven't let myself get discouraged and I am determined to make this work in spite of my mistakes.
In addition to four kids, my husband and I also have four cats and will soon be getting a baby ball python for our 8 year old (that one is his problem - snakes creep me out).
This seems like great community and I'm looking forward to interacting with everyone on here. Everyone is so helpful to each other and, lord knows, I definitely have a lot to learn.
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Old 06-10-2011, 10:49 AM   #2
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Welcome Aboard!

Sounds like you've learned a lot already, some the hard way unfortunately and that's more the norm than what most people here do for their fish.

If you haven't seen it, here's an informative link on cycling with fish in tank: I just learned about cycling but I already have fish. What now?!
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Old 06-10-2011, 10:53 AM   #3
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Welcome to AA... And thanks for making my 3 kid & 3 dog household seem calm.... lol! Best of luck with everything and if you need questions answered or a place to vent, this is it.
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Old 06-10-2011, 11:46 AM   #4
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Sounds like you fell into the LFS / Petsmart / Petco advice pitfalls ... it happens. You should hear the things I've heard employees tell other customers

Consider this a crash course and it can only go downhill now that you've found out about cycling and understand what's involved. If you haven't already invest in the API test master kit and forget about those fairly useless strips. PWC's will be a life saver.

Keep at it, soon the efforts will payoff and you'll reap the rewards. And bear in mind, you have years of experience / expertise you can now turn to.

Good luck!
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Old 06-10-2011, 04:15 PM   #5
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Thanks. I did buy the api test kit and have used it daily since and I have also been doing pwc's like crazy. It's wearing me out but I'm not gonna give up. I think I'm making progress. The 5 gallon and the pond have 0 ammonia and and high nitrites and nitrates (in spite yesterday's water changes). The 10 gallon has ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates. Not sure if tricksy will ever cycle since the tank is so small but I'll keep up with pwc's until the tank cycles or I find a larger home for him. I did large b2b water changes earlier on everything but the pond (ran out of time earlier and will do that pwc later) and I plan to retest after I get my errands run (our 8 year old has talked us into looking at snakes at the pet store this afternoon).
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Old 06-10-2011, 04:23 PM   #6
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While your at the pet store getting the ball python (cool snakes BTW), if you don't already have it, get some Prime dechlorinator made by Seachem and read the instructions on nitrIte (no2) reduction, since it's so harmful to fish. With a pond and small tanks you might want to get a small bottle (2 drops per gallon rate) and a larger (cap full rate) to make it easier. I do that for my different size tanks and it makes life much easier .
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Old 06-10-2011, 04:24 PM   #7
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Welcome aboard. We are glad you found us here at AA.
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Old 06-10-2011, 04:43 PM   #8
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Thanks! Prime has been added to my shopping list. Also thinking about picking up a couple live plants. Figure it can't hurt.
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Old 06-10-2011, 05:03 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tricksyfish
Thanks! Prime has been added to my shopping list. Also thinking about picking up a couple live plants. Figure it can't hurt.
Plants are great, just be careful of petco/petsmart since they sell non-aquatic plants too. Anacharis, java fern, java moss and moss balls are good choices.

Here's a link to plants that will help spare you any trouble in IDing them: http://www.plantgeek.net/plantguide_...hp?category=11
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Old 06-10-2011, 05:10 PM   #10
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Welcome to AA! Man, you got MTS right out! I had to join the site first lol!
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