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Old 03-22-2006, 11:06 PM   #1
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New tank - problems. lots.

This is my second tank, first one I had when I was 8 or 10 so that didn't count. Now I'm 18, and have forgotten the little I knew back then.

I bought a 10g tank kit from walmart. Came with the tank, power filter, heater, net, light, etc. and I'm having my doubts on the filter and heater since it came from walmart. Also, the heater, when set to say 75* will bump the water temp to well over 80* which doesnt seem right. Cheap heater, or can these things be calibrated?

Next, the filter seems a bit on the weak side, and I just dont really like anything about the way its designed. The filter is made by Aqua-Tech, and I forget the exact model number but its the smallest one they offer. Not only can I not find the filters anywhere, but it doesnt seem to do a great job of filtering stuff out. Would I benefit from trying a different filter?

I'll admit, I forgot about having to cycle your tank so the fish were in the tank about an hour after the tank got setup. The tank is about 3-4wks old and starting to have some problems. The original fish, 3 colored tetras have survived without a problem, and about a week after those were added I went out and bought an algae sucker, an albino tiger barb, regular tiger barb and a plectus (sp?) catfish. A few days ago it got 5 ghost shrimp too. Oops, huge load.

Last night I lost the catfish, it's coloring went very pale and I thought I was just seeing things, but the next day I woke up and it was sitting on the bottom of the tank looking almost translucent. Now all the fish have Ich and I've proceeded to turn up the temp in the tank to 86* to try and rid them of that. The algae sucker is looking like its losing its coloring now too.

So after that happened I went out and bought some test strips knowing that I screwed up by not cycling the tank. AFter I tested the water, I was surprised that my fish are even alive. The nitrites are over 10ppm, nitrates are over 200ppm, hardness was very hard (which I knew already), and the alkalinity and pH were both within acceptable ranges. Immediately I did a partial water change to try and help that out, and it didnt do much. I'm having trouble finding the filters too, so I bought some active carbon filters that looked like they'd fit and made them work at the cost of much lower flow rate. Not optimal at all, but much better than a caked filter which was in there before.


So basically what I'm asking is, what would be the best course of action here? I know I've got loads of problems here and I've given up trying to read up on all the problems for now and just decided to ask someone that knows.

So if you have any advice, comments, anything, please feel free..
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Old 03-22-2006, 11:29 PM   #2
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Not much help, but just wanted to say we got that same tank, cycled for about a week, added a Black Moor goldfish, changed out the filter 2 weeks later, added a white goldfish, and started to get an algae build up. Bought a chinese algae eater. All are thriving great! The water is crystal clear. Added yet abother calico goldfish, and everyone is great. Can't explain the troubles you are having. BTW, they sell the filter refills at Wal-Mart. I got an 8 pack for like $14 I think.
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Old 03-22-2006, 11:34 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NewFish
Not much help, but just wanted to say we got that same tank, cycled for about a week, added a Black Moor goldfish, changed out the filter 2 weeks later, added a white goldfish, and started to get an algae build up. Bought a chinese algae eater. All are thriving great! The water is crystal clear. Added yet abother calico goldfish, and everyone is great. Can't explain the troubles you are having. BTW, they sell the filter refills at Wal-Mart. I got an 8 pack for like $14 I think.
Haha well that just figures - the one place I stupidly forgot to check. Thanks for that!
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Old 03-22-2006, 11:35 PM   #4
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Welcome to AA Exodus!

I'll try to start from the beginning. You are correct in assuming that the filter is probably not adequate. Usually the "kits" end up being a waste of money because you need to upgrade anyways. I would purchase an AquaClear filter from a lfs, not Wal-Mart. The filter pads do not need to be changed regularly. Instead, rinse the old pad in used tank water. If you toss the pad you are throwing away the bacteria that has colonized. Essentually you are throwing away part of your cycle.

Heaters rarely heat to the temp that is stated on the heater itself. One of mine is set to 82 but heats to 78. The temp of the room plays a big part in the accuracy of the heater. You may want to try upgrading the heater to a 75 Watt (but 50 Watt is sufficient).

Your tanks is severly overstocked for being uncycled. A good guideline is 1 inch per gallon. But you have to use the adult size of the fish, not the current size. And this "rule" does not apply to all fish. Some fish require more swimming space. Ie: Common plecos (probably what you had) do not belong in anything smaller than a 75 gal tank due to their potential size (18"). What were you feeding the pleco?

Strips are known to be inaccurate. Instead, get yourself a liquid reagent test kit. They can not be found at Wal-Mart, but can be found at most lfs or PetsMart/PetCo. They can be purchased cheaper online if you are in the States though.

If it were me, I would return all of the fish and start over with a fishless cycle. You probably can't return them to Wal-Mart, but you could find a lfs that may take them. If they have ich, keep treating for 2 weeks after the last spots are gone. In the meantime, do daily water changes to get the levels down. If it weren't for the shrimp I would suggest adding salt to the tank to help aid in the Nitrite poisoning. You can probably return those shrimp though since they are not prone to contracting ich.

I hope this helps.
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Old 03-22-2006, 11:58 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fishyfanatic
Welcome to AA Exodus!

I'll try to start from the beginning. You are correct in assuming that the filter is probably not adequate. Usually the "kits" end up being a waste of money because you need to upgrade anyways. I would purchase an AquaClear filter from a lfs, not Wal-Mart. The filter pads do not need to be changed regularly. Instead, rinse the old pad in used tank water. If you toss the pad you are throwing away the bacteria that has colonized. Essentually you are throwing away part of your cycle.

Heaters rarely heat to the temp that is stated on the heater itself. One of mine is set to 82 but heats to 78. The temp of the room plays a big part in the accuracy of the heater. You may want to try upgrading the heater to a 75 Watt (but 50 Watt is sufficient).

Your tanks is severly overstocked for being uncycled. A good guideline is 1 inch per gallon. But you have to use the adult size of the fish, not the current size. And this "rule" does not apply to all fish. Some fish require more swimming space. Ie: Common plecos (probably what you had) do not belong in anything smaller than a 75 gal tank due to their potential size (18"). What were you feeding the pleco?

Strips are known to be inaccurate. Instead, get yourself a liquid reagent test kit. They can not be found at Wal-Mart, but can be found at most lfs or PetsMart/PetCo. They can be purchased cheaper online if you are in the States though.

If it were me, I would return all of the fish and start over with a fishless cycle. You probably can't return them to Wal-Mart, but you could find a lfs that may take them. If they have ich, keep treating for 2 weeks after the last spots are gone. In the meantime, do daily water changes to get the levels down. If it weren't for the shrimp I would suggest adding salt to the tank to help aid in the Nitrite poisoning. You can probably return those shrimp though since they are not prone to contracting ich.

I hope this helps.
Thanks for the response. Lets see here.

I'll be sure to look into that filter, I really wish I could return the tank kit now too, because I probably could have ended up with a bigger tank in the end of all this if I had done things seperately.

I guess I wont worry about the heater though. Just gunna have to fiddle with it I guess. I forget the exact species of the sucker, but it looks like it probably is some kind of pleco. At the LFS it was just listed as "algae sucker" (which is part of why I'm never going back there again). It is currently getting fed the flakes and some sinking wafers which I had left from the catfish.

I'll also check out the test kits too, gotta make a trip back to Petco too since they charged me twice on the test strips I bought tonight . I doubt I can return the fish though, since it was well over 2 weeks ago on most of them (bought at Choice Pet Supply).

As far as adding salts though, I've read ghost shrimp can live for a long time without oxygen so couldnt I put them in a "quarentine bowl" or such, then treat the rest of the tank?
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Old 03-23-2006, 07:30 AM   #6
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You can try returning some of the fish to the lfs. You probably won't get anything for them, but they will die in an uncycled and overcrowded tank. The catfish, was it a Pictus Catfish? And the Algae Sucker, could you click on the link and ID it?

For the test kit, look for a Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Freshwater Master Test Kit . You may want to try purchasing this online. I know that our local PetCo charges $35 for it.

You could set up a QT for the shrimp if you wanted. But I would still add an airstone for oxygen if you don't plan on using a filter in the tank. Keep the QT in a warm spot since it will not have a heater. But not too warm.

HTH
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Old 03-23-2006, 09:03 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fishyfanatic
You can try returning some of the fish to the lfs. You probably won't get anything for them, but they will die in an uncycled and overcrowded tank. The catfish, was it a Pictus Catfish? And the Algae Sucker, could you click on the link and ID it?

For the test kit, look for a Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Freshwater Master Test Kit . You may want to try purchasing this online. I know that our local PetCo charges $35 for it.

You could set up a QT for the shrimp if you wanted. But I would still add an airstone for oxygen if you don't plan on using a filter in the tank. Keep the QT in a warm spot since it will not have a heater. But not too warm.

HTH

Thats the catfish I was talking about, but the algae sucker isnt listed on that page. Lemme do some digging around on google and see if I can find a picture of it.

I'll see if Petco has the test kit tonight, gotta make a trip anyways.

I think I'll try a QT for the shrimp too. How much salt do you reccommend adding to the main tank? Heat shouldnt be an issue for the QT either, because they can apparently survive rather cold temps, but I'll do my best to keep the conditions close to my main tank. It's gunna be a challenge to find all the little buggers though...
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Old 03-23-2006, 09:08 AM   #8
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Well.. I don't know much about fishkeeping yet,but here's my 2 cents. I made the same mistake you did. I think alot of people do.. so try not to beat yourself up too badly. If you can't/don''t want to return the fish.. then you should be doing daily water changes to keep the nitrites (?) down. Correct me anyone, if I'm wrong, but I would say 50% now, and then 25% at least every other day. And don't forget to add the AquaSafe stuff (to get rid of the chlorine). I still have my wal mart 10 gallon, and it has a female betta and 3 guppies in it. I think the filter is not the best, but they ahve been in there for awhile and are totally fine! So if you can't afford a new filter right now, just let it ride until you can. I can tell you that a good test kit is a MUST.. at least for ammonia and nitrates. The best advice I can give you is read, read , read. That's what I had to do after losing several fish, and now my tanks (I got a 29 gallon after the 10 gallon) are doing much better. Not perfect yet, but much better! Good luck!
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Old 03-23-2006, 09:22 AM   #9
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Make sure you use Freshwater Salt, not marine salt. I think it is 1 tbl per 10 gal, but I'm not sure. I don't have any of it here with me but it lists it on the box.

I recommend Prime as a dechlorinator since it is cheaper and lasts a long time.

And Mickie is right. Alot of people start out the same way you did. Heck, I did! It is great that you came to this site quickly to try and remidy the situation.

BTW- The colored tetras, are they blueberry/strawberry/or other fruity named? If so, they are painted. I would avoid these fish.
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Old 03-23-2006, 10:45 AM   #10
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Sounds like you got the same kit I bought for my first betta. I didn't like the filter either. I would recommend the Aquaclear mini (100 gph). You'll like it, it's very quiet. When you do decide to upgrade, do NOT remove your old filter for a couple of weeks. Just run them both and this will cycle your new filter.
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Old 03-23-2006, 02:36 PM   #11
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Thanks for the advice everyone, I just did another partial (25%) water change about 10 minutes ago, maybe I'll do another one tonight just to be on the safe side.

Question about dechlorinators: Is it needed when you're on well water? I used some of the water conditioner when I first setup the tank that came with the kit, and wondered if it was necessary.

And yes, they are the painted tetras, and I know all about how they're colored. Unfortunately I found this out the night I came back from the pet store with them, and I don't plan on ever buying more. Are the tiger barbs artificially colored too? I thought I read that somewhere as well.

Something interesting that I just noticed is that the tetras all have ich MUCH more severely than everything else in the tank. Barbs and pleco are relatively unaffected, tetras look like their fins are covered in cottage cheese.


I think I'm starting to get this stuff figured out now - it's not so much bits and pieces of information but its now starting to connect with itself and make things a bit easier to comprehend. Good thing most freshwater fish aren't expensive though
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Old 03-23-2006, 02:49 PM   #12
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If your water source does not use chlorine or chloramines to treat their water, you don't need dechlorinator. BUT, it is advised because products like Prime also remove heavy metals.
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Old 03-23-2006, 02:50 PM   #13
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If you are on well water you do not need a dechlor. Watch how fast the ich disappears once you get your temp over 86f.
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Old 03-23-2006, 02:55 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rich311k
If you are on well water you do not need a dechlor. Watch how fast the ich disappears once you get your temp over 86f.
I hope that's the case! Fast is great.
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Old 03-23-2006, 09:25 PM   #15
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Sorry about your case of ich. It doesn't surprise me that the tetras look so much worse than the other fish, as the dyeing process makes them weaker and more susceptible to disease.

Neither of your tiger barbs are dyed, the albino is just a color variant of the regular one. The only problem I see here is that tiger barbs prefer to be in a school, but are much too active IMO for a 10 gallon tank. Mine are all over the place in a 55 gallon. Don't worry, there are plenty of species that you can keep in a 10 gallon though. Good luck with your ich treatment.
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Old 03-23-2006, 09:55 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by severum mama
Sorry about your case of ich. It doesn't surprise me that the tetras look so much worse than the other fish, as the dyeing process makes them weaker and more susceptible to disease.

Neither of your tiger barbs are dyed, the albino is just a color variant of the regular one. The only problem I see here is that tiger barbs prefer to be in a school, but are much too active IMO for a 10 gallon tank. Mine are all over the place in a 55 gallon. Don't worry, there are plenty of species that you can keep in a 10 gallon though. Good luck with your ich treatment.
Well, I came home tonight and the albino barb was hanging lifelessly in a plant, along with a ghost shrimp. I hope the big man upstairs doesn'y hate me for killing all these fish

I've done two water changes today, and the nitrates are now within an acceptable limit, but the nitrites are still off the charts.

Part of me hopes the rest of them have a peaceful death, so I can start this over the right way.

Looks like the ich is starting to dissipate though, doesnt seem nearly as bad as last night.
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Old 03-23-2006, 11:45 PM   #17
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Don't beat yourself up about it. My first couple of tanks were a mess when I started them up without knowing anything about the cycling process. I've lost many fish myself.
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Old 03-25-2006, 09:53 AM   #18
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[quote="Fishyfanatic"]Welcome to AA Exodus!

I'll try to start from the beginning. You are correct in assuming that the filter is probably not adequate. Usually the "kits" end up being a waste of money because you need to upgrade anyways. I would purchase an AquaClear filter from a lfs, not Wal-Mart. The filter pads do not need to be changed regularly. Instead, rinse the old pad in used tank water. If you toss the pad you are throwing away the bacteria that has colonized. Essentually you are throwing away part of your cycle.

).

Your tanks is severly overstocked for being uncycled. A good guideline is 1 inch per gallon. But you have to use the adult size of the fish, not the current size. And this "rule" does not apply to all fish. Some fish require more swimming space. Ie: Common plecos (probably what you had) do not belong in anything smaller than a 75 gal tank due to their potential size (18"). What were you feeding the pleco?


I didnt know ya could reuse the carbon filters.......

i have a sucker fish and i think its a common pleco and this thing is H-U-G-E grey with spots on it ...... almost the size of my hand ... i have a 20 gal tank ... maybe its too big ?? and it likes to sit on the bubble wand right next to the filter impaler..... lazy thing.. :P

what the heck is ICH ??/

i just bought a fish tank a cpl months ago so im still new to all this stuff..
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Old 03-25-2006, 10:29 AM   #19
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Yup, you can reuse the carbon inserts until they fall apart. Manufacturers tell you to replace them monthly because they make more money that way.

A common (Trinidad) pleco is way too big for a 20 gal tank. They can grow up to 18" in size and need plenty of space. They are huge nitrate "factories".

Ich is a disease that is very common in fish stores. Basically it looks like the fish is covered in sugar granuals. Sometimes there are 4 or 5 spots and sometimes there are 40 to 50. It is treated easily if it is caught early enough.
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Old 03-25-2006, 12:15 PM   #20
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A tip on well water.

If you're on an individual well you can go with no dechlor, I would still add it once a month to help with heavy metals. If you're on a community well they probably add chlorine.

One of the posts said you can't have ghost shrimp and add salt. I have to disagree, I have my ghosts in a tank thats being treated for ich at 2tsp/gallon with no problems. Treatment lasted 2 weeks and I did a 50% PWC today. I took the chance because ghosts cost .25, if it were cherry,amano or bamboos I wouldn't have tried.
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