New tank owner looking for advice since our tank was not set up properly. We have10 gal
tank, have had tank about a month now (set up in early Jan- was a Christmas gift for 9yr old daughter) Typical newbie mistakes, took word of people at Petco who said to put water in tank to cycle it (not knowing what that really meant), wait a week, and add fish. Most of the fish died. They neglected to tell us to add a pinch of food to the tank AND to check levels of ammonia, nitrites, etc before adding fish. They told us what products to get and it sounds like ammonia is the biggest thing to watch for -nothing was mentioned about it, and it is not listed as something that is tested on the test strips (I now know those are crap, and am getting the API liquid test kit) I was using the test strips and the Nitrites were high (bright pink), I thought thatís what killed the fish, but as I kept reading, am figuring out itís likely the high ammonia levels.
Desperately trying to save fish still have. Currently we have 1 guppy and 4 neons. (only 2 of neons are original fish started with- but trying not to be too long winded- that's a separate story) After spending about a full day hovering on boards and trying to educate myself (I had no idea it was so complicated) I went and got an ammonia test kit, and it was sky high (4.0- dark/bright green). I now think the fish died of ammonia poisoning. How long does it normally take for tank to fully cycle? It sounds like it could take 4-6 weeks before we should have added fish. If the idiots at Petco had of told us, we would have patiently waited and let it cycle before adding fish. In the past couple days I have done 1/3 water changes each day (using the vacuum pump thing) and added Seachem Prime to tank (more than the dosage for the 10 gal
since the reading was so high). I read that the ammonia will still read high, because it just converts it to a nontoxic form. When/how do I know I can/should stop changing the water daily and adding Prime Ė so the remaining fish donít die? We also got an air pump to increase oxygen since it sounds like it may or may not help a lot, but cant hurt. I also got something (donít remember brand) to add beneficial bacteria to tank.
Iím not sure how to proceed. It would have been way easier if they would have told us and we could have cycled the tank and had all the readings be at acceptable levels before we put fish in, now I feel it makes it that much harder since I donít want them to die. How often should the filter be changed? My husband replaced it the other day already, but it sounds like that might not have been a good idea, since that helps build the beneficial bacteria??
Any helpful advice and tips would be appreciated.