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Old 09-07-2007, 02:02 PM   #1
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Newbie semi-emergency

Hello everyone, this is my first post and I come to you in a semi-emergency need.

A year ago we purchased my daughter a sponge-bob fish take. It is 2.8 gallons and we had 1 beta, two platty's and one other (can't rembmer the name, but he's a bottom feeder). Well, a couple of weeks ago, I look into the tank and WOW! There are 8 new plattys! A friend was throwing out a 20 gallon tank so we inherited it. I cleaned it up, got a new filter system, rock, plastic plants and varies tank accessories. We also purchased 6 more fish that I put into the old 2.8 gallon tank. After setting up the tank I conditioned it and let the filter run for 24 hours before I put 1 new fish and 4 baby Platty's in. The water started getting cloudy, something I remember from the tank setup of the 2.8 gallon, but I decided to search the internet to find the proper procedure for new tank setup. I found that fact that you're only supposed to put 1 inch of fish per 10 gallon tank, etc, etc, etc. I decided to let the tank stabilize, however (and this is the emergency part), the old 2.8 tank is getting dark brown really fast. The tank originally had no filter so i purchased an add on and it's working, but the tank is still very dirty brown. I'm wondering if the fact that too many fish are in this tank is the problem and if I can start moving some to the big tank yet. The big tank has been up 1 week now and is crystal clear.

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Old 09-07-2007, 02:17 PM   #2
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So, if I'm correct in my understanding, you have 18 fish in a 2.8 gallon tank? That would be the reason it's so dirty, yes. I would move them all slowly over to the larger tank as soon as possible, but do it slowly, acclimating the fish to the water. Chances are, your 2.8 gallon tank is full of ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate and the 20 gallon probably isn't.

By the way, I'm going to move this to the freshwater section of the site, not saltwater.

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Old 09-07-2007, 02:49 PM   #3
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8O The rule in freshwater is 1 inch per gallon...in saltwater is 1 inch per 5 gallons. You are definitely overstocked....way overstocked. Can they swim even? Even in the 20 gallon you will be overstocked....but closer to manageable. Must do a lot of PWC....a LOT! If you can afford it and have space for it I would start looking at a 55 gallon and then you can sell off all your old equipment. Use the 20 gallon as a hospital/qt tank. Of course this is coming from someone with severe MTS.
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Old 09-07-2007, 03:58 PM   #4
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Sorry, my post was a little confusing. Right now, there are 7 in the large tank and 7 in the small tank. I posted in the saltwater section b/c when I got the first tank (2.8 gallon) and my betta and plattys I was told by Petsmart to add salt which is what I did (1tsp). On the new tank, I added salt also.

So here's the situation, 7 fish (4 baby plattys, 2 guppies and 1 unknown) in the big tank, 7 in the small tank (2 full grown plattys, one bottom feeder and 4 baby plattys). The new tank has been clear for 4 days or so now and is a week old. I'm wondering if it's okay to start moving a couple more over and at what increment?

Thanks again!


Edit to add:

I just got home and the full grown male platty has died so I am in preparation to move them to the new tank now. Right now, there are 4 baby plattys, a full grown platty and the bottom feeder.
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Old 09-07-2007, 04:42 PM   #5
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test, test, test....probably high ammonia spike is what killed him. I think you're doing the right thing moving them to the larger tank
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Old 09-07-2007, 04:57 PM   #6
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test, test, test....probably high ammonia spike is what killed him. I think you're doing the right thing moving them to the larger tank
What about the salt I added on Petsmarts advice (I now know not to trust the advice of these people). Should I keep salt in my water changes?
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Old 09-07-2007, 06:13 PM   #7
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I've never heard of salt being necessary when cycling a FW tank, and that is what's going on with both tanks. Both are cycling and will need water changes to keep the ammonia and nitrites down. Do you have a test kit? That will help you tremendously, and since both tanks are small and small-ish, water changes shouldn't be too difficult or lengthy.

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Old 09-08-2007, 01:09 PM   #8
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This is not totally kosher, but I think in a situation like this, you are safer to move everyone into the big tank now.

The 2.8 prob had been cycled with the original fish, but is likely having a mini-cycle because of all the new fish, and now some are dying becasue a small tank like that is very unstable. There is however, some cycling bacteria in the 2.8 which will help speed up the 20's cycle.

I would therefore suggest:

Move the 2.8's filter to the 20 and run it in conjunction with the 20's filter for about 4-6 weeks until the 20 is cycled. Move all the ornaments & substrate too. If you are not planning to keep it premanently in the 20, put the substrate in a mesh bag (nylon stocking) in the 20 for easy removal later.

Meanwhile, put all the 2.8's fish (and enough tank water from the 2.8 ) in a CLEAN (no soap or residue) tub. Drip acclimatize them with the 20's tank water. <You run a small hose from the 20 to the tub, start a siphoning action, and let the water run into the tub SLOWLY - adjust height, kink the tube with paper clip, etc. You want to run the 20's water in at a rate of about a couple gal an hour. After you have run around 5 gal of the 20's water into the tub, the water in the tub would have slowly changed to match the 20's, and the 2-3 hr it took will give the fish a time to acclimatize. Keep an eye on the fish, if they are stressed, slow down the drip & take longer time.>

After the 2.8's fish are acclimatized, put them all into the 20 (discard the tub's water & add clean water to the 20 to fill). Check the 20's cycling progress with test kit daily until cycling is done. Do PWC as needed to bring NH3/NO2 levels down in safe range. With the 2.8's cycling bacteria, this should take a week or 2.

With all the fish in the 20, you have only one tank to worry about, and the bigger tank will be more stable during the cycling. Yes, there are too many fish for you to cycle easily, so you need more testing & pwc's. But your fish are hardy & the bacteria from the 2.8 would help a great deal. Certainly they would be better off in the 20 than leaving half in the 2.8 while you are waiting for the 20 to finish cycling. <You likely won't have any fish left in the 2.8 by then!>

And stay with the salt for now - change one thing at a time. Salt will prevent nitrite poisoning, and you will have a nitrite spike ..... Once the tank is cycled, gradually remove the salt with your routine pwc.
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