First I want to say that I have been researching constantly since deciding to get a fish aquarium and once i found this forum, i've been delighted with all the great info. I literally lose hours reading post after post about fish. :) But not quite as much time as I 'lose' sitting in front of my fish tank watching my new friends.
Here's what I have:
20 gal cycled tank - ammonia 0, nitrite 0, GH 75, KH 100, PH, 7.0-7.2 i have an API ammonia kit but haven't sprung for the master kit yet, so i am still using test strips for everything else
currently stocked with
1 dalmation sailfin mollie (female) "Tina Turner" (her mate "Ike" got kicked out of the tank for abuse
20 or so mollie fry, they are hard to count! "NONAMES"
2 cardinal tetras "Larry and Moe" (RIP 7/5/11 " Curly")
4 black neon tetras "Dorothy, Sophia, Blanche and Rose"
2 cory cats "Sony and Cher"
1 bristlenose pleco "Hoover"
(RIP 7/1/11 Elvis the white baby gourami)
10 gal tank - almost finished cycling ammonia 0, nitrites <.5, GH 75, KH 100, PH, 7.0-7.2
currently stocked with
1 orange sailfin molly (male) "Ike"
1 red dwarf gourami "Bubbles"
1 blue gourami (not a dwarf) - not named, my son isn't very creative!
I started the 20 gal tank at the end of April. My first fish tank in years and last time i had fish i didn't know a nitrogen cycle existed. I researched before getting started and luckily have a great LFS here in town that is a mom/pop place. Even so, i know i've made a few mistakes in this process, and now I've lost a couple fish and am having some problems. Probably mostly due to impatience...
So I got my tank set up and bought 3 cardinal tetras, a cory cat, and two dwarf gourami's to start. Too many to start with, i know, i know.... Two weeks later i got impatient and bought a few more fish, again too many too soon. I bought 2 sailfin mollies, another cory cat, and a kribinsis. The krib went back to the store two days later because she was MEAN! After this purchase was about the time I found this forum and started getting some better understanding of what i SHOULD have done.
In a couple of weeks I decided to set up a 10 gal for my son, i started him off with some of my water and my gravel to get the cycle going. I bought him a blue gourami (who i know might have to be moved to a bigger tank eventually) and gave him the male mollie because he was aggressive more and more toward the (pregnant) female mollie and then when he started in on the other fish, I moved him out. I felt like he was stressing the female out, he doesn't bother the fish in his new tank. After moving him out my red dwarf gourami started in with some aggression, mostly aimed at the female mollie. I don't know why they are all so upset with her! :) and i ended up moving red gourami to the 10 gal the night that the female mollie had her babies. It was an incredible thing to watch! but i wasn't interested in seeing the gourami eat them all. (the fry are growing and seem to be thriving in a a little breeder hanging in my 20 gal.
I have since added 4 black neon tetras and a bristlenose pleco to my 20 gal.
Here are the problems that i've run into:
20 gal - the day that I added my last set of fish, late that night i noticed that my female mollie had ick. I treated immediately with QuickCure and turned up the heat over a day from 76* to 85*. I had to treat at the 1/2 dose because of my tetras. The treatment seemed to work well however. None of the other fish in the tank ever showed signs of ick. A few days after the treatment finished, however I lost the smaller of my dwarf gourami's. He was tiny - less than an inch long. I'm thinking the cycle got him since it wasn't quite finished, but i was in the nitrite part of the cycle. I have a fairly low ph so the ammonia part of the cycle never took anyone out... I've also since lost one of the cardinal tetras for unknown reason.
My 20 gal tank finally finished cycling after 8-9 weeks (FOREVER!!!). The last bit of nitrite diisappeared when I added 3 hardy aponogeton bulbs that i had started sprouting in a jar. But then a couple of days later I noticed this weird thing going on with Tina's (the black female sailfin mollie) mouth. It started as what looked like an ick spot and later in the day there were 4 or 5 of them. I moved her to a little QT tank and dropped in a couple drops of Quickcure becaue it looked like ick again. The next morning the spots had all exploded. There is just no other word for it. There was flesh hanging from her lips and she was laying on the bottom of the tank and gasping for breath. I figured she was about a goner, but had to wait til afternoon to take her to the LFS for input. Meanwhile i notice a ulcer like spot on the gill of one of my other cardinal tetras, so took both of them to the LFS. They said it was fungus and i treated with Tetra's Fungus guard. This was last Thurs, i replaced carbon on Monday afternoon. Fungus Guard seemed to do the trick and ulcer is gone on the tetra. Weird mouth stuff is gone on the mollie. But the mollie is still behaving strangely. Last night I swear she was having seizures. She would shiver, and start to roll over onto the side, then jerk out of it and swim normally for a few minutes. I have no idea what could be her problem, but she seems better today.
Last night I noticed that my male sailfin in the 10 gal had huge red spots on his gills and streaks on his head. So i dosed this tank with fungus guard as well. This morning, i noticed my blue gourami wasn't doing well. He was acting just like the baby gourami acted before dying. Hanging at the top of the tank and slowly letting his tail drop, almost going vertical, but with no other visible signs of illness. So I pulled him out and put him in the QT tank (that i cleaned since female molly used it last week) and now he seems to be fine.
I bleached my bucket, gravel vac and nets this afternoon. My next purchase is a another set of nets and a bucket so i can keep these each tank completely free of contamination from the other tank.
My questions if you've made it this far:
1 - are gourami's particularly sensative to nitrites or is it the meds that is hurting them, I can put the blue gourami in my 20 gal, but then run the risk of starting up the fungus in that tank again if he does have anything... both gourami's have had trouble after medicating the tank and during the end of the nitrite part of the cycle., but I think the nitrites are the prob. I need to get him out of this tiny QT tank.
2 - my 20 gal tank has finished cycling now, so i'd like to add some fish, but now i am scared to do so with the issues i've had. and after losing 2 fish, i'd rather get whatever issues i might have fixed before buying anything else.
3 - Where in the heck did the fungus come from? Maybe the apongeton bulbs that i had just added to the tanks? I was thinking i cross-contaminated the tanks with the net, but possibly the bulbs were the culprit as i added them to both tanks...
4 - female mollie - poor thing has suffered through a new tank cycle, being picked on by two different fish, pregnancy, ick, delivering 28 fry, fungus and now this twitching/seizure thing. I just wonder if there is any chance she'll pull through all of this?
You are a rockstar if you made it through all that rambling. Any input would be appreciated!!