Can't quite figure this out...
About a month and a half ago I bought a 10 gallon aquarium kit for tropical fish. I started out with some guppies, some bala sharks, a dwarf gouramie, and two red platys. I know I went a little overboard on the amount of fish, I was overzealous. Within the first few days I lost two guppies (probably a result of stress, they tested the water at the store and it was balanced fine). I had the rest for several weeks then within a week I lost almost all the fish except one guppie and two gouramies. I did replace some fish, but every fish I bought as a replacement died. If I didn't still have three of my original fish, I would be lead to believe there was something wrong with the water or the food (they're getting tropical fish flakes as well as brine shrimp). The fish I still have are doing extremely well. I have a 55 gallon tank that I want to set up and move those fish into and get a few more but first I want to resolve why I kept losing fish. Should I buy a ph test kit? Should I be using anything to treat the water besides just some basic water treatment? Should I try some other supplements besides what I'm feeding? Also if I do upgrade to the bigger tank, any input on what sort of fish I may want to look into? Any insight would be helpful. Thanks.
The reason for your fish loss was phenomenom called "new tank syndrome". It is cause from elevated levels of nitrate, nitrite, and ammonia. It always happens. It is part of the cycling process of a newly set up aquarium. When you get the 55g tank, practice patience. Allow time for the tank to establish itself and its bio-bed. You will need to buy a good reliable test kit to monitor this process. API makes a good one that is relatively inexpensive.
The tank will tell you when it is ready. You will need to test often. Chart the tank's progress. You will see a spike in the levels of ammonia, nitrates, and nitrates. The whole process can take anywhere for 1-12 weeks. I have a tank that has been cycling now for 8 weeks, just be patient.
You may want to add a small group of "tough" fish to help aid in the process. I would recommend zebra danios. They are inexpensive and you may decide to build your stocking around them. In a 55g tank, a group of 6 or so would suffice. I do not care for the "fishless" cycle, but some swear by it.
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