Help Stocking my 10 gallon - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 23 Old 05-21-2009, 08:11 AM Thread Starter
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Unhappy Help Stocking my 10 gallon

Hi guys,

I recently purchased a 10 gallon starter kit complete with lighting, filter etc. After running it for only a day my girlfriend got impatient and wanted to add fish. We got 5 Tiger Barbs, 3 Balloon Mollies, and 1 Pleco from our local Petco. (I now know after doing a lot of reading online this is probably overstocked especially for a new tank)

We lost one of the mollies after about 3 days. Took it back to the shop and were told that the water had too much ammonia (no surprise there) so I bought an API liquid test kit and started testing the water daily and doing frequent ~25% water changes. I also got 3 small plants a java fern, an anubias, and a crypto. Also I started using a product called 'Cycle' once a week. About a week later we lost another molly and one of the barbs. I expected to lose more fish since we were still overstocked. Another week goes by and I have to go away for the weekend. I ask my roommate to turn the light on in the morning and off at night. He decides to feed the fish and I assume he overfeed them. During the last week we have lost most of the fish and are down to 1 barb and 1 molly. The Ammonia in the tank tests ~1ppm with very low to any nitrites now and some nitrate but not tons.

My plan is to let these fish ride it out as long as they make it and then continue to cycle the tank fishless style for a while if thats what it needs.

I would really like to get it right this next time around and not kill any fish because it makes me very sad. I've come to the conclusion that 10 gallons is too small a tank to have schooling fish that need to live in groups. What I need are suggestions of some fish that do well alone or in groups of 3 or less and have interesting behaviors or looks.

The only thing I know that I want is a bristlenose pleco or a couple ottos so I am looking for fish for the middle of the tank. Sorry for the long post and thanks for your help!
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post #2 of 23 Old 05-21-2009, 08:42 AM
wow, thats terrible... for one the pleco grows to over a foot so its already overstocked with just the pleco. Second, tiger barbs can be aggressive the the stress will really hurt ur molly's. I must congradulate the barb and the molly that survived though, they are tough. From your post i would guess the timeline for about 3 week has passed? Since you had fish in ur tank, im sure the deaths and increase in waste alsong with food put ur tank in the fast track for cycling. Lots of food = faster bacteria growth. In all likelyhood the two fish you have left will survive the remainder of the cycling process. Otos are excellent algae eaters but they like to be in groups of around 6. In most 10 gallons ive seen, people either keep corys or otos with a betta or guppies. Guppies breed so if you get mixed sex, find a lfs that will take ur extras. Also if your filter is strong enough, goldfish can be kept in pairs in a 10 gallon for a good while before you will need to upgrade. Neon tetras can be kept i a 10 gallon, they only need 8 to create a group and only grow to a max of 1.5 inches and most of them will not reach evena full inch so they will be good for a 10 gallon.
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post #3 of 23 Old 05-21-2009, 08:47 AM
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First Off, Hello and Welcome!

I'm not sure which petstore you were at, but they were foolish to tell you that all those fish would survive a 10G tank, let alone a 10G tank which has been set-up for a day.

Since you already have fish in the tank, a fishless cycle is out of the quesiton. You are now looking at a fish-in cycle, which works just as well as a fishless cycle.

I'm not sure how new you are, but the basic point of cycling a tank is to build up enough nitrites in your tank so that it can handle the ammonia which will inevitably come into play once you add fish. Ammonia can come from dead fish and overfeeding your fish, as well as fish waste.

A fishless cycle involves adding ammonia to you tank on a daily basis, your fish that are in your tank will be the ammonia source through waste and excess food

Since you already have the fish in, you looking at almost daily water changes. But luckily you only have a 10G, which makes things easy for you.

Someone else on here can fill you in on a fish-in cycle, as I'm not a pro at it...I've done fishless in my tanks.

As far as your fish, you initially bought too many.....even if you were to have waited and bought that many fish at once and introduced them to your cycled tank....that many fish right after a cycle has finished would be too much and you would crash the cycle you just set-up and have to restart.

If you're looking at schooling fish that do well in a 10G tank, you could get about 6-10 neon tetras or the like. You could also get a couple of male guppies (make sure they are all male, or you will have hundreds of babies swimming around you tank). You could also go with some corrie cat fish a group of 6 would be ok.

I would read up on a fish-in cycle and get ready to do some water changes, for the next several weeks. Good luck and any more questions, more members will come along to help out!

Last edited by JohnnyD44; 05-21-2009 at 08:50 AM.
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post #4 of 23 Old 05-21-2009, 09:06 AM
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Hello and welcome

A few things worth mentioning right away is that otos and neons should not be added to a newly cycled tank......Neons like a mature tank that has been setup for awhile.....Mature and cycled does not mean the same thing.....Even after a tank is cycled you still will have imbalances in the water parameters from time to time nothing drastic to most fish, but neons are rather prone to changing water parameters and usually dont do well in a newer tank....Alot of people have them die and think the fish had neon tetra disease.........This disease is really rare and i find it hard to believe its running rampant in the fish industry........The otos wont do well in a new tank due to the fact they will not have enough algae to feed on and they dont handle changes in water parameters either.......IMO, your best bet for a bottom dweller would be a bristlenose pleco.......For a mid-level fish maybe a small shoal of cherry barbs or some type of the smaller danios, both hardy and active......Good luck with your tank!
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post #5 of 23 Old 05-21-2009, 09:07 AM
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A fish-in cycle entails testing your water daily and performing water changes as needed on the spot, if you are to save and keep comfortable the fish that are in the tank. I cycled with fish (long before I knew better) and didn't lose one fish and I'm sure the fish didn't suffer as I observed them very closely everyday. There were days on end that I was doing daily water changes! It was only a 6g tank so that made it easier.

As you have already learned your tank is too small for a school of tiger barbs. I'd forget keeping otos as they require an established tank with stellar water parameters in order to survive. I know you say you're dead set on a bristle nose but...a BN grows to a max of 5" to 6" inches. The ABN is smaller. My ABN has topped out at 3". He's a serious cruiser and uses every inch of his 100gl tank so my thought is that 10gl is really too small for this type of fish.
A school of cories and neons (or similar type fish) would be much more suited to a 10gl.

PS. Welcome to the forum!!

If you don't stand up for something you'll fall for anything...
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post #6 of 23 Old 05-21-2009, 09:15 AM
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Kymmie, I love that parrot or parakeet, which ever it is! ha, it's awesome!
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post #7 of 23 Old 05-21-2009, 09:19 AM
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Originally Posted by JohnnyD44 View Post
Kymmie, I love that parrot or parakeet, which ever it is! ha, it's awesome!
That's what's known as a yellow double headed Amazon parrot and she can be a royal pain in my you know what! I love her but I enjoy my fish much more. My fish don't possess the ability to squawk and scream at me when they are hungry or need attention.

njudson, once you get your tank cycled and squared away you'll find fishkeeping a rewarding and relaxing hobby!

If you don't stand up for something you'll fall for anything...
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post #8 of 23 Old 05-21-2009, 09:33 AM Thread Starter
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Okay I am planning on going by a nicer fish store tonight on the way home from work. (Not the one I was originally sold way too many fish at but the one that used to maintain my parents gorgeous 55 gal saltwater.) I will look to see if they have albino bristlenoses since that sounds like a good option. Do not worry I will not be buying any fish for a few weeks I am only looking tonight. I really seem to like funny looking fish. The balloon mollies were great to watch in the tank. In other news my plants seems to be doing well. After nearly 2 weeks my anubias is showing some growth and I think my java fern is getting ready to send up some new leaves.
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post #9 of 23 Old 05-21-2009, 09:39 AM
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Glad your plants are doing well! I purchased my ABN as a teeny tiny juvenile. It would be great if you could find a small one. It's fun to watch them grow and by the time he's an adult you'll be itching to upgrade to a larger tank, as we all do, eventually.
Like you, I enjoy funny looking fish!

If you don't stand up for something you'll fall for anything...
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post #10 of 23 Old 05-22-2009, 09:33 AM Thread Starter
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Went to a fish store that was a little bit out of my way last night but was really nice. I talked to the owner and he said a breeder comes by with little ABNs every few weeks so I should be getting one of those. Would 2 Swordtails be good tank mates?
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