First off I would like to introduce myself. My name is Dan, I'm a 27 year old unemployed amateur Aquarist and veteran of OIF. I was born, raised, and currently (ad nauseum) reside in the great frozen state of Minnesota. We have winters over 6 months long, spring happens sometime in May, fall comes around September, and summer is somewhere in between.
I live with my fiance, our two cats, and of course our little marine critters too!
My first venture into fish keeping started around age 20, when I needed some kind of hobby to take my mind off the 15 months I had just served in Iraq. My first fish was a reddish-purple male Betta. He was the only fish I kept at the time and in a whole 10 gallon just to himself! As time went on, work and living arrangements changed, which changed how much time I could spend taking care of him. I decided that with all the moving around I was doing in the years following my military service, it would be easier to put my Betta under the care of my dad. Eventually my dad stopped caring for my Betta but didn't tell me about it until he died. He called me to coldly break the details and that was about it. That's another story for another time however.
I was pretty discouraged at keeping anymore fish from that point on until just recently. Having dug my old 10 gallon out of storage only to find the glass broken, I decided I would use my fiances old tank instead. So last year I set everything up as our start up tank, and now the bio system is so well established that algae barely grows anymore. My firetail is vibrant yellow, orange, and red. My Serpas are very active, always darting around, schooling, and actively exploring.
When I first started, I had just about the same knowledge as I had before, zilch. I've been doing tons of study online in the art of fish keeping, but I think joining a forum for some experienced help is a much better option.
So here's where I get to the point of joining in the first place. A couple weeks ago, we bought the two feeder guppies that we have now. The "experienced" fish lady scooped the guppies out, and told us they were both males. Having not known about the gravid spot and all that, I took her word for it and went home. After a few days I noticed that not only did the one guppy look fat, but it also had a huge black spot under its rear. The firetail did not have this. So I did a little research and found that we were not only given a female guppy, but a pregnant one at that! Shortly thereafter I noticed the male was hounding her, and even the serpas were getting in on the harassment. Since she was exhibiting signs of not only pregnancy but distress, I decided we needed an emergency 10 gallon to isolate her from the abuse. Now I know about properly cycling a tank before adding fish and all that, but this was unexpected, and so I figured the harassment would have about the same stress effect as living in a tank that's cycling. Either way, I felt a whole 10 gallons to herself was better than being left in the main tank.
As of current, no fry have been born. The water has been treated, and I just did another 25% water change yesterday. She's a little pale and lethargic, but she is eating slightly and seems to be hanging in there. I added a larger rock structure from the established tank to jump start the bio system in the new one. It seems to be working since the tank is clearing up and ammonia levels are staying below 0.25 ppm
. Temp is remaining between 75-78 degrees.
So now for the questions:
- What do I need to do or not do to save this fish? I want to stock up a guppy tank, but if she dies then that's another hour trip to petco (I refuse to buy walmart fish, and our LFS
closed down. Mostly due to Walmart).
- Would adding another female to the cycling 10 gallon help for companionship or hurt with ammonia levels? I know about the ratio rule with guppies being like 2-3:1 female:male, so common sense tells me she might need a friend, though she's isolated from the male.
- What substrate should I put in my new guppy tank? I was thinking Caribbean live sand with a live plant and some artificial structure. Opinions are welcome!
- What bottom feeders should I get for my Tetras/Guppies and how many? I was thinking ghost shrimp, since the last time I had Corys they died within a couple days. I wondered if they had busted barbs on the rock bottom.
- Concerning Guppy population, if left to breed and spawn at will, will Guppies overpopulate a tank, or will they control their own population by eating their fry? I want to stock up my tanks to capacity, not breed them. The LFS
used to buy private stock, but corporates usually don't and I know Walmart doesn't so there is no point to breed right now anyways.
- Suggestions for future tank setups? I heard a standard operation would consist of 100, 50, 30, and two-10 gallon tanks. 100 for the community, 50 for spawn/breed/rehab, 30 as a fry tank, and the two 10's for raising the male/female spawn separate. Any thoughts on this?
Eventually I would like to get into large freshwater exotics that are care intensive so all expertise is appreciated. Thanks again, and it's a pleasure to be a part of the community!