Total fish newbie here...I started my first tank a few months ago with three small cherry barbs (one male and two females) and on the recommendation of a local fish store. This fish store is very reputable in my community, but I have also received conflicting information based on which employee I am speaking with. Over the past week, I have upgraded to a 14.5 gallon Fluval aquarium from a 2.6 gallon Spec aquarium.
I have the filter and light operating that came with the Fluval set-up and an appropriate heater for the new size. I also have introduced two new water plants: Java Fern and Pennyworth.
1&2 - Male and female cherry barb that I have for a few months (lost the other original female jumping out of the small tank a few weeks ago).
3 - New male cherry barb (I now know that I made a mistake from a gender balance standpoint getting another male; an example of strange advice from the fish store. But I don't want to introduce any new fish until I get this current tank settled in.)
4. - Two small cory catfish (acquired at the same time as the new male cherry barb).
5. A very tiny snail (apparently, an accidental "gift with purchase" of the java fern).
I have repeatedly been told by the fish store that my water is in good shape, though they didn't give me specific numbers. I bought a home test kit and it shows my PH as being on the low end of normal, my GH
as low, and my NO2
, and CL2 as all being at 0. These are the color coded type strips, so I can't give exact numbers. My tank is currently at approximately 71 degrees, which is where the thermostat consistently was in my old tank, as well.
Basically, my fish all seem to be acting very erratically over the past day. The two mature barbs are darting all over the tank together (often gasping at the surface). They just seem unable to settle down or swim gracefully the way they did early on.
The new male is in complete hiding. I occasionally see him poke his head out from under the java fern, so I know he is in there and alive, but he seems very anti-social and I'm not sure he's eating.
I think the cory catfish seem okay. Intermittent darting to surface, but then also long periods of rest on the substrate (which I've read is all normal for them).
I feel so badly, like I've really screwed up in making this changeover to a new tank.
I keep following the advice of the people I am talking to at the fish store, but am concerned. Is there anything that I can do to help them to relax and acclimate more quickly? I would so appreciate any input. Thank you.