Hi there, I would appreciate any help please. I am new to fishkeeping, have been wanting to start for a long time and only just took the plunge. I will relay as much information as I have and hopefully someone can give me advice. Please forgive my new-ness to fishkeeping (and don't laugh/abuse if I sound totally stupid)
I bought a 20L ( US 5 gallon?) 'start-up' tropical fish tank kit at the recommendation of my local aquarium which came with 2 liverbearers. Kit includes:
* Bar filter for 50L tank (9 gallon?) (kept on low as recommended by store keepers)
* heater for 100 - 150L tank (26 - 39 Gallon) (kept on 27 Celsius (80F)
*gravel, plastic plant, ornament and hidy-log
*water treatment (Aquatopia Water Safe brand)
*tropical fish flakes
I took home the tank and set it all up as per the instructions and let it run for over 48 hours. I am using water from my tap that has been treated as per the instructions on the treatment product that came with the kit. Tank sits on my bench, gets about 30 minutes of indirect
cool sunlight approx 7am in the morning which aquarium owners advised would be fine as it would assist my heater get back to temp from the night.
Once it was ready, I then went back to the store and they did a water test (with all the tubes and so forth) and said my water mineral content and the PH was right for keeping livebearers. (I am sorry I don't have any of these details as I only have a small PH tester kit.)
I then took home my 2 livebearers (1 molly, 1 platy - both female) and did as the aquarium owner instructed - float in bag in water for 15 mins, open bag and gradually let the water in, then let them into the tank.
As I was also to buy 2 small baby bristlenose catfish to complete my tank, (only tiny at the moment), the aquarium owners said that I shouldn't clean the tank and come back in 2 weeks to pick up the catfish as the tank needed to be a little bit 'dirty' for them.
So in 1 week 6 days my fish were happy and vibrant, and seemed very comfortable with their tank and I was really pleased. I took a sample of my water in to the store for them to test it again, this time they only did a PH, and they said it was a little on the alkaline side but that it was fine for livebearers. I noted that there was a little of some sort of white dusty build up starting to appear on the plant and rocks near the plant, and they advised that was simply uneaten food and to feed them a little less. I bought a pebble siphon vacuum and was advised to do a 1/3 water change (which would happen naturally by using the vacuum) and then come back in a week to see if the tank was ready for the catfish.
I went home and did this straight away, although I think I got too much into the cleaning and probably took closer to 50%. Treated the water from the tap as I was refilling the tank. My friend at work says she brings her water down to much less than that and hasn't had any problems, so I thought I had done pretty well......
It was Sunday lunch when I did the water change, I woke up Monday morning and my gold molly was lying on her side against the stem of the plant... she was breathing pretty quickly, didn't seem disformed or decoloured, sort of seemed really lethargic.. like dipping her face on the pebbles.. the platy was perfectly fine.
I got home and sure enough she was dead. I don't know if this is useful information or not but she had a purple colouring under her head.. in the gilly bits. So heartbroken
I put it down to the water change and having taken too much and after speaking to my friend at work, she said it may have been that the water from the tap was simply too cold (its Spring here in Australia, so its by no means freezing water.) But I thought my uber-heater would have brought it back to temperature without any worries. She said she fills her tank with water from the hose but that its usually a llittle warmer then the kitchen tap.
So, I Sunday I take my PH tube in for the aquarium keepers to see, they say PH is fine and after telling them about the dead fish they say it was the change of water etc and that it is normal to lose a fish in a new tank. I buy a thermometer from them (no idea why this wasn't in the start up kit, they originally advised I didn't need one for a little tank and such a powerful heater as the thermostat on the heater would be all good). I also bought 1 female molly because I didn't want my platy lonely.
I introduced the new molly as what I did with the first fish, and seems fine, a little shy hiding in the log, but the 2 were getting on really well.
Well about an hour ago it died.. so 30 hours from when it was introduced. I had only seen it eat a little bit at the first feeding the night I bought it home (there have been 2 feedings since I bought it home) but put that down to the fact that it might have been a little shy and settling in. It didn't eat at all the 2nd feeding which was tonight and it died a couple hours later. Again, same as first molly.. except a little more face dipping in the pebbles, at times almost vertical against the pebbles.. didn't leave it long enough to see if its gills went purple.. I cleaned it out as soon as it started floating.
I checked the temp with my new thermometer, and it is on 24 Celsius (75F) even though the dial is set for 27C (80F). I started playing around with the heater because now that I think of it I haven't seen the light on at all but figured it must be on when I am not here or during the night when its cooler. I turned it up and light comes on, put it in the water, stays on for a little then turns off.. figure that's the thermostat working and that it will periodically turn on and off till its correct temperature? not sure then why the water isn't the correct temperature already????? I read that mollies and platys can live in 24 - 27C water and so while it is on the low side, it is still in correct range, so confused.
I am going to take a sample of my water in to a different aquarium tomorrow to see what they say .. feeling really disheartened and want to know if anyone is able to give me advice based on the information I have given. I only have my platy, Ariel, left and I don't want to buy any more fish until I fix whatever it is that is wrong, but also don't want her to be lonely.
I want to get this right and be successful at keeping just a small tank of a few fish and enjoy the practice.. sorry this was so long-winded!