Very new a couple of questions.
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Very new a couple of questions.

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Very new a couple of questions.
Old 06-17-2007, 09:19 PM   #1
 
Very new a couple of questions.

O.k. I'm going to try to answer all the questions that you need to know and I figured that this would be the easiest way to make sure.
1. Size of aquarium (# of gallons) 10
2. Is your aquarium set up freshwater or saltwater? Freshwater with aquarium salt.
3. How long the aquarium has been setup 3 days
4. What fish and how many are in the aquarium (species are important to know) I have a black molly, a creamsicle molly, a swordtail, a sunburst, and a fiddler crab. In a separate bowl I have a male betta.
5. Are there live plants in the aquarium? I have some bulbs, but no plants growing yet.
6. What make/model filter are you using? Not sure
7. Are you using a CO2 unit? I don't know what this is.
8. Does your aquarium receive natural sunlight at any given part of the day? It is in a sunny room, but not near any windows.
9. When did you perform your last water exchange, and how much water was changed? Just started new water 3 days ago, only had aquarium going for one day before adding fish.(Didn't know better, now I do. )
10.How often and what foods do you feed your fish? Tropical fish flakes once a day.
11.Is your aquarium light incandescent or fluorescent and how often is it kept on? It is incandescent and I keep it on about 10-12 hours a day.

My sons received these fish as a birthday present this weekend and now I have been reading and taking notes for several hours trying to figure out everything that needs to be done to take care of them.

1.
I'm a little confused on how to cycle the tank with the fish in it, since this obviously wasn't done and seems to be very critical to keeping them alive.
I have the conditioning salt and the water was treated with aqua safe. I have the ph tester strips(water is at 7.0 right now) temp is staying around 80 degrees.
What do I need to do for this tank immediately to make sure that I don't kill these fish. They do at least seem like they are happy at this time and swim all over the tank.

2.
I am most worried about the betta, he seems so lonely in his little bowl and not very happy.(it is only a half gallon. ) I now know that I need him in a bigger tank and will get one as soon as possible.
So I was worrying that I would have to get a bigger place for him and worried that the fish in the 10 gallon would need more room also. When I read somewhere through a link on here that the fish that I have could be compatible with a betta, possibly. Would it be at all possible that I could get a 20 gallon and put all the fish into it?

Sorry for this being so long, I'm finding all of this very interesting and want to take the best care of these fish. Any help is very appreciated. [/b]
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Old 06-18-2007, 03:16 AM   #2
 
Don't be surprised if you lose your new fish. Your tank hasn't had the opportunity to build up the bacteria it needs to recycle nutrients the fish need to survive and remove the ammonia.

One of the best fish to cycle tanks is the danio. These are surprisingly hardy little fish and can take more stress than other fish, eg neon tetras, guppies, mollies.

Try and vary your fishes food. They are used to a varied diet in their natural habitat and plenty of live food too - you can get this from your lfs.

A CO2 unit is a carbon dioxide unit, used to assist with plant growth.

As with all fish tanks - it's a case of wait and see. Let me know how you go on.
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Old 06-18-2007, 09:25 AM   #3
 
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Mollies are still somewhat hardy fish and you may do ok with them. Your tank will continue to cycle over the next 4-6 weeks. Here is a basical bare bones of the cycle.

1. Fish waste, uneaten food, and deteriorating plant matter all break down into ammonia.
2. As ammonia builds, bacteria begins to colonize (usually in the filter). This bacteria converts the ammonia into nitrite.
3. As nitrite builds, ammonia will begin to decline and another bacteria begins to form which converts nitrite into nitrate.
4. As nitrate builds up and nitrite and ammonia decrease to 0, the cycle is comple.

Because you get spikes in ammonia and nitrite and they are toxic to the fish, it is essential not to add fish during this cycle period. The fish you have in the tank get accustomed to the water quality daily but if you throw a new fish into water with high ammonia or nitrite, it could kill that fish in no time.
Because mollies are a little more sensitive, test the water every other day or so. If ammonia and nitrite get into the danger zone, then do a small water change (10-15%). You can also pick up a bacteria supplement at the store which will help speed up the entire cycle process by "seeding" the tank with bacteria.
Did you buy the 10 gallon setup in a kit? Where did you get it from and what was the name of the kit? The filter should have a name or brand name somewhere on it. If you could even just describe it and what kind of cartridges or filter media are inside or take a picture of the thing, that would help. As I mentioned earlier, beneficial bacteria grows mostly in your filter and each filter has a different place and method for bacteria to colonize in it. Some filters do not even have a place for this to occur. Knowing what kind of filter you have can help us give you advice in that area.
About the betta, a half gallon bowl is too small but still surviveable. YOu could try putting them with the mollies but the bright colors and long fins (if its a hi-fin or a lyretail) could threaten the betta and he may be hostile. Mollies have been known to be nippy too so you may experience aggression from them as well. Personally I wouldnt suggest putting them all together but i'm sure it has been done before.
If you are planning to get a new tank, now would be the time to do it before you have gotten too far into the cycle period. If you do that though, let the new tank run without fish for a few days to let any saturated gasses dissipate out. You will probably need to get a new filter for the 20 gallon but I suggest getting one rated for 30-50 gallons. You will thank yourself later for going bigger. Best filter for that would be one of the Penguin biowheel filters by marineland because the biowheel is one of the best methods of colonizing bacteria.
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Old 06-18-2007, 06:04 PM   #4
 
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there are some products that claim to speed up the cycling process by adding live bacteria to the tank- but BUYER BEWARE. i have yet to find one that actually works. (i have heard good things about biospira, but have never tried it). as an emergency, you could use an ammonia detoxifier- they will let the tank continue to cycle, but convert the ammonia to a less toxic form- but you will get false positive readings for ammonia when you use it, which makes it difficult to know when you are done cycling. i would use this in emergencies only and i would reccomend 'kent freshwater first step' if you went this route. you could borrow some gravel or a sponge from an established tank to speed up the process, naturally.

the beta needs a bigger place, but i would hold off on putting him in the 10 gallon with the others for now, as you already have a lot of fish in there and you don't want any more contributors of waste. once the tank has cycled, you could try putting him in there with the others.
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Old 06-18-2007, 07:12 PM   #5
 
I have not been giving them a lot of food, just enough so that they all get some and the flakes are gone in about 2 minutes. Should I give them more, less while the tank is cycling? I will be getting some variety for them also.

The water was started on Fri. The water became cloudy on Sat. even before any fish were put in and now the water has cleared up....is that a good thing?

Yes, the aquarium came as part of a kit from Wally World. A ten gallon tank, the filter says Aqua Tech on it and hangs outside of the tank with just a tube going in. The heater that came withe the kit hangs down in the water and just has a little knob to adjust it. (trying to get it right has been a big guessing game.) All the manuals from the kit have Tetra on them.

I have moved the fiddler crab out into a small bowl for the time being after reading that it did in fact need some land to live. Until I can get a bigger place for it also. So that right now leaves four fish in the ten gallon, who seem to be doing o.k. for now.

Right now my need to get very important list includes:

A test tube kit that will check ammonia,nitrate,and nitrate. (Any others that are critical?) At this time I only have a ph kit.

Gravel vacuum/siphon.

2 gallon tank for crab. ( Keep reading different things on this one. Some places say two is enough and some say that I need at least a 5. Also that just one crab won't be happy and I need at least one more.) Opinions?

Aquarium sand---for the crab tank

Marine salt--for the crab
Not sure if I should for the fish(mainly the mollies), still reading on that. Sounds like people each have their favorite.

More aquasafe for the water changes.

Is there anything else that I really need or something that I have added that I could do without for the time being? I'm willing to put in the time and money to do things right, but I am working with a tight budget for the summer. So I don't want to buy unneeded things or kill the fish if at all possible.

Thanks for taking the time to read.
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Old 06-18-2007, 09:09 PM   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newfishlover
I have not been giving them a lot of food, just enough so that they all get some and the flakes are gone in about 2 minutes. Should I give them more, less while the tank is cycling? I will be getting some variety for them also.
You want to make sure that the amount of food you feed is sufficient to feed the fish. If there are bottom feeders, such as kuhli, you want to make sure some of the food drops for them to feed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by newfishlover
The water was started on Fri. The water became cloudy on Sat. even before any fish were put in and now the water has cleared up....is that a good thing?
Tanks generally get cloudy when you first set them up. It depends on what the water is like as well as what you have in hte tank. My first tank I used flourite and it was cloudy for days. The second tank with base river rock and it was clear in hours.

Quote:
Originally Posted by newfishlover
A test tube kit that will check ammonia,nitrate,and nitrate. (Any others that are critical?) At this time I only have a ph kit.
You might want to take a small ziploc of your tap water down to your LFS to get hardness and such done. This will give you an idea if you need to soften the water for your specific fish. Ammonia & Nitrite tests are critical and the Nitrate is nice to know. The API Master liquid test is pretty good.

Quote:
Originally Posted by newfishlover
2 gallon tank for crab. ( Keep reading different things on this one. Some places say two is enough and some say that I need at least a 5. Also that just one crab won't be happy and I need at least one more.) Opinions?
I'm not overly familiar with crabs, but I do know that you should make sure the tank seals as crabs will escape.

Quote:
Originally Posted by newfishlover
Is there anything else that I really need or something that I have added that I could do without for the time being? I'm willing to put in the time and money to do things right, but I am working with a tight budget for the summer. So I don't want to buy unneeded things or kill the fish if at all possible.
I would recommend buying a variety of foods, but keep the containers small so the food doesn't go bad. As for other stuff, a UPS might be critical for you to buy. It's dependant on how consistent your power supply is. If you know it's reliable, you could get away without. If you have brown outs and power spikes like I do, a UPS is a must.
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Old 06-18-2007, 11:30 PM   #7
 
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as far as bacteria supplements...miagrrl said she has yet to find one that works but there are definitely ones that do work. BioSprira is the best known on the market. I personally have not tried it because it isn;t sold in many places but people here on the forum have and said it cycled their tank in a matter of days. The head researcher at Marineland (makers of Bio-Sprira) is a genius when it comes to beneficial bacteria and so I trust anything they put out. Personally i've used Cycle which works well but more recently i've used Stability by Seachem and it works great. I cycled my tank in about 2 weeks and i've heard others say the same thing. Its a good thing to use and a great thing to keep around to replace lost bacteria during water changes.
You may want to look into getting a new heater eventually. SOunds like you have one without a built in thermostat. A lot of the ones that come in kits basically just have an "up and down" knob. That means you have to monitor the temperature and adjust accordingly. You can buy ones that have built in thermostats in which you set the temperatures and it automatically adjusts for you to keep that temp. My persoanl favorite is the Visitherm Stealth by Marineland but Rena and Hydor make good ones too.
As far as the filter goes, i'm trying to remember what the aquatech looks like. If it came as a kit it is probabably too small. If I remember correctly though, Aquatech is a lot like the Marineland biowheel filters but without the biowheel. I know walmart still sells the Regent filters which is that same thing. The problem with that is there is nowhere for good bacteria to grow except the filter cartridge itself. When you go to change your cartridge after cycling the tank, you end up throwing your whole bacteria colony away and starting over. Can you tell me exactly what cartridges are in there? It actually does make a big difference.
With fiddler crabs, I have heard so many mixed storied. I've successfully kept them in freshwater tanks before fully submerged but I know their natural environment is semi-terrestrial with brackish water. In a small tank, you will be fine with just 1. In groups they can easily fight and break off legs and thats just no fun. You shouldnt need aquarium sand though, they will do just fine with gravel. Either slope the gravel to give them a beach or put decorations in there that they can climb up on.
For test kits, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate are your ongoing concerns. Other tests involve hardness, alkalinity, pH, and chlorine. The things that will ever fluctuate the most will be your ammonia, nitrite and nitrate though and those pose the biggest threat to your fish. Most local fish stores will do free testing too. I work at one so I just bring samples in every now and then and test it for free
The cloudy water right off the bat could have been either particles from your gravel or maybe the tap water you used is nutrient-rich and you had a small bloom of heterotrophic bacteria. Those blooms often appear in new tanks or when overfeeding occurs or sometimes after gravel vaccing when debris has been kicked up. If you continue to notice it, cut down on feeding a little.
As far as salt for the mollies, do not use a marine salt if you choose to. Buy some freshwater aquarium salt from your LFS. Personally i'm not a fan of using salt unless its a strictly brackish fish or if the fish is stressed and/or diseased. Mollies naturally are used to water with higher ammounts of electrolytes and a slightly higher salinity...which your aquarium salt will over both. They will live fine in pure freshwater though.
As far as water conditioner, aquasafe is good but my personal favorites are Amquel+ by Kardon or Prime by Seachem. Prime is a lot more concentrated and you'll get better bang for your buck. It detoxifies Chlorine, Chloramine, Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate plus adds a stress coat...not too shabby.
I cant think of anything else you might need. I would consider a heater and filter upgrade but in the future you will want a bigger tank so you might as well go really big on the filter and a higher watt heater and get a bigger tank while you're at it Otherwise you're good. Hope I answered most of your questions.
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Old 06-19-2007, 10:41 AM   #8
 
o.k. another problem. The "sunburst" fish is terrorizing the other fish. I have been able to find all the fish online but this one...wish my camera was working and I could post a pic. He is chasing the swordtail all over the tank and I noticed that the orange molly fins are a little ragged. I noticed all of this activity last night. So this morning I just sat and watched. Everything was fine while everyone was eating but about 20 minutes later this fish started chasing the swordtail again even hitting it in the side. The swordtail finally was able to hide.The fish then turned and bit the tail of the orange molly. So I'm guessing call my brother and tell him to take the fish back to petsmart?

I took the fish out and put it in a tall tupperware since it was running two of the fish so bad. I would rather lose one than two. But I of course don't have anther heater or filter and this is a tropical fish. (Was also suppose to be a community fish.)
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Old 06-19-2007, 11:34 AM   #9
 
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if you are seperating him in another container, try to float or suspend the container in the tank. The warmth of the tank will heat his little container till you can get him back to the store. Since it is still a new tank and still cycling, I would bring him back and let the others hangout till the cycle is over. Its stressful enough going through the cycle, you dont need a fin-nipper to add to the problems. Bring in a water sample too when you go in, petsmart will test it for free. Have them write down the results and keep us posted
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Old 06-19-2007, 12:00 PM   #10
 
thanks I will try to find a way to get the container in the tank to at least keep him warm. Called my brother and he will be taking the fish back to the store as soon as possible.
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