Help with 3 week old tank! - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 4 Old 10-18-2010, 07:18 PM Thread Starter
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Help with 3 week old tank!

My wife and I have had a 10 gallon tank for about 3 weeks now. We kinda just jumped into it and paid the price for a few things, such as having 4 fish or so die. We have 2 fake plants, 2 skulls and pirate ship for fun, a heater, filter, a Swordtail, 2 red and black barbs, a White skirt tetra (I think) and a bottom feeder. Sorry if I don't know all the details, but that's the help I'm looking for.

I guess what I'm asking, is: Is there anything I should buy to improve the life of my fish? I understand that I should be acclimating fish when you first get them, but should I wait a while to get more because I'm so un-knowledgeable? Should I also be buying any live plants? I bought some lily bulbs but they aren't growing well.

Last edited by CaptainBdan; 10-18-2010 at 07:19 PM. Reason: Addition
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post #2 of 4 Old 10-18-2010, 07:55 PM
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I'd like to start out by point you to this post it will explain quite a bit about the biological process involved with starting a new tank. I would agree that you need to not get anymore fish until you finish your cycle (see above post), but as far as the plants go, they can only help the survival of your fish by absorbing some of the ammonia and other stuff thats involved in the nitrogen cycle. But for a beginner I would stick with stem plants like Hornswort, Pennywort, Anarchis these are all plants that grow really quick and will absorb alot of ammonia, just make sure you have a light source (sun from a window or a light hood with bulbs rated at 6500k) and a liquid fertilizer, and when you get a chance head over to our planted section of our forum and read the 4 part guide by byron thats stickied. I will let someone else comment on your fish choices but this should get you start!

BTW welcome to TFK you will learn a ton here and your fish will thank you!

Last edited by zof; 10-18-2010 at 07:58 PM.
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post #3 of 4 Old 10-18-2010, 08:02 PM
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First, welcome to Tropical fish Keeping forum. Glad you found us.

You have asked quite a lot, so pardon me if I skimp over some things and concentrate more on what I see as likely to be issues. And the first is your mix of fish. We have profiles of fish and plants, it is the second tab from the left in the blue bar across the top of every screen. You can find information on many (I would go so far as to say all of the commonly-kept) fish including tank sizes, numbers of fish, compatibility, water parameters, etc.

Tetra and barbs are shoaling fish, which means they must be kept in a group. Six is the usual minimum number, but some species need to be in larger groups due to aggression, and I'm thinking your "barb" may be in that group. But before jumping into that, a 10g tank only has so much room, and this is not only physical space for the fish to be themselves, but water quality is affected; the more fish in less water, the harder it is to maintain a healthy aquarium and the fish will always be stressed and therefore liable to disease issues--just like humans. Before buying any more fish, you need to research what you have, decide if you want this or that, research other suitable fish, and decide how to proceed.

The losses were undoubtedly due to the nitrification cycle, which is explained in a sticky at the head of this section of the forum;

The first thing to know when selecting fish is your water parameters; it is safer to select fish that will manage better in your water (hardness, acidity/alkalinity) than it is to attempt adjusting hardness or pH. I won't even start down that road, it is too complicated at this point in the discussion.

Briefly to plants; live plants are a great benefit. Water quality is somewhat more stable and easier to maintain as such with live plants because they filter the water incredibly. They are not difficult, but as with fish, you have to understand their needs and provide the basics. There is a series of "sticky" articles at the head of the Aquarium Plants section entitled "A Basic Approach to the Natural Planted Aquarium" that will provide you with a lot of basic info; don't let it scare you. Once you grasp the entire concept, the individual parts are not difficult to provide. Lily bulbs are not the easiest plant; experienced planted tank aquarists often have trouble with keeping them alive. We can discuss more suitable plants later, once you've worked out your fish. On that, I would suggest you consider small fish in a 10g; with plants, you can have 15-20 of the smaller species thriving, providing lots of colour and activity; as opposed to 2 or 3 fish. There are some small species under Characins, esp the Ember Tetra; and under Cyprinids, there are dwarf rasbora (Boraras brigittae), Dario dario (Scarlet badis), the Celestial Pearl Danio--not to mention dwarf catfish like pygmy cory for the substrate.


Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #4 of 4 Old 10-18-2010, 08:45 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the info. It's a fair bit to take in, but I guess I could have looked over all the information in the forums before making a new thread. I'll apply the info and check back. Thanks again!
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