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Old 12-05-2021, 09:05 PM   #1
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Exclamation Family Fish Drama

Hi all, was the title click-batey enough?

Need some help,
first a bit of back story. I'm back living at home for a few months due to a knee injury that happened a few days ago. I've had fish for years planted tanks, brackish tanks, including a figure 8 puffer. When I moved out I sold most of my fish and gear leaving only the 20g and some bits and bobs (empty mind you just siting in storage). So I get back from the er a few nights ago and have been mainly sleeping and stuck in bed due to having a knee twice the size it should be and copious amounts of painkillers. In this time I agreed to help my mother set up the tank and get some fish. My plan was to go to our fabulous local fish store buy some cycled media from them and get a small school of tetra of some sort, maybe some plants make it look all pretty while making it easy for mum to care for. How ever she went to the chain pet store that whilst not the worst thing in the world (e.g won't sell you a gold fish in a 5 gallon) the staff are fairly clueless and sent my mother home with 7 black widows, a random tetra, and 2 german blue rams. Ensue panic.

So I have set the tank up with a big ol bit of spider wood, some assorted plants, and eheim pick up 60 plus an extra little filter I had. its got a 150w heater and temperature set to 80 degrees. the black widows look like they are doing well and I'm going to test the water now. I've just done a 50% water change and will do another tomorrow, unfortunately I can't drive atm so will have to order online or wait until someone is free to drive me to my preferred fish store to buy a bigger filter and whatever other supplies you guys recommend. The chain won't take the fish back, and buying a bigger tank isn't an option. So I'm going to have to try figure this out. Any advice? I'm defiantly worried about the rams, as they are spending a lot of time at the top of the tank gasping.

Thank you!

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Old 12-06-2021, 02:49 PM   #2
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I would get a test kit. A good one is API freshwater master test kit. It covers what you need (pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate), is fairly easy to use, and accurate enough for what you need it to do.

What do you know about the nitrogen cycle and do you know how to cycle a tank? You need to cycle the tank.

The rams gasping could be due to poor water conditions or lack of O2. Did things improve at all (even if temporarily) after your water change? Or you could have just got fish that where already sick or maybe they werent properly acclimated before adding them to your tank.

Im not convinced about the compatability of the fish selected by the fish store, especially temperature. 26c is on the warm side for the tetras and cold side for the ram. Its probably the best compromise temperature though.

Honestly, if a store irresponsibly sold me fish the way that happened to your mother and they wouldnt take them back, i would just bag them up, return them, and leave them on the counter, and write off the cost. That's probably not your thought though.

Until you can get a test kit, change water daily, like 30%. When you can test your water, do a fish in cycle. Depending on what filter you have would consider adding an airstone to make sure your water is properly oxygenated.

You have a lot of fish to try and do a fishless cycle, so i foresee a lot of water changes in the short term.
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