Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Elkaybee 05-23-2008 10:56 AM

New tank and need advice on adding more fish
I am getting ready to upgrade to a 10 gallon tank. I currently have a 5.5 gallon and have 3 fancy male guppies, 1 cory cat & 1 neon tetra. I struggle with the ph in the tank so I'm looking for fish that can handle higher alkalinity. I now see that the neon wasn't a good idea since he needs a lower ph level. There were 2 neons to start, but one is now gone probably due to the ph. I know that I want to get at least 1 (2 if possible)more cories and was thinking at least 1 (maybe 2?) more fancy male guppies, 1 honey gourami and some ghost shrimp. I need some advice on this combination and also with the space I'll have. I only have fake plants at this point. Any help would be greatly appreciated as I want happy, healthy fish. Thank you! :)

iamntbatman 05-23-2008 12:22 PM

What, exactly, is your pH? Most fish can be acclimated to a wide pH range but I'm not surprised that one of your neons wasn't able to do so. There are ways of lowering the pH, such as using driftwood (which will leech tannic acids into your water) and using aquarium peat in your filtration system. My philosophy is, however, that if the fish can acclimate to the pH, it's better not to mess with it and risk a disaster. If your pH is very high though, you might want to consider bringing it down.

You should definitely increase your cory population to at least three. They'll do much, much better in groups. I think a honey gourami and the ghost shrimp would be good additions. Honey gouramis are definitely one of the more mild-mannered varieties, but I would still keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn't have a problem with the guppies. However, I think you should either take your lone neon back to the fish store or increase your neon school to six fish. If you do that, you might not want to add the extra guppies or the gourami, as this would be a pretty full tank. That's up to you, though, especially since the neons aren't exactly the heaviest fish on your bioload.

gtull1 05-23-2008 08:56 PM

What is your ph range on average? I'm also curious as to why your neon did not handle it???

Flashygrrl 05-23-2008 09:06 PM

Parameters are important to know...test your ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates with liquid test kits (API's worth the money) and get back to us. You've got too many fish in a small enough aquarium that things might be out of whack.

Elkaybee 05-24-2008 12:54 PM

One of the neons died and I was assuming that it was due to high Ph, but obviously don't know for sure. He seemed fine and then was stuck to the filter.

I've been using a strip test so I need to go buy a liquid testing kit. I don't live in a very big town so we have a Pets Supply Plus, a locally owned pet store and then places like Meijer for any fish supplies unless I have to buy online. Do you have any brands that you recommend? FYI - on the strip test that I do the Nitrate is 0, Nitrites look between 0 and .5 (the color is in between), hardness is 25, Chlorine is 0, KH is a color that isn't in the chart - a blue and the highest on the chart is a dark green (300), and Ph is more than 7.8 and looks less than 8.4. I'm assuming that a liquid test would give me better numbers and be more reliable.

iamntbatman 05-24-2008 02:10 PM

You're exactly correct about the strips being innaccurate. You should definitely invest in an API master liquid test kit. It will give you tests for pH, high-range pH (which you may need if your pH is that high to begin with), ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. The kit is usually around $30, which seems like a big investment at first, but in the long run it'll save you a load of money on fish that you'd otherwise have to replace. Not to mention you get tons of tests out of the liquid kits, so they end up being cheaper than strips in the long run.

okiemavis 05-24-2008 02:29 PM

You can find them for much cheaper than $30!

API is definitely my favorite brand.

As for the death of your tetra, I would point more towards nitrites than pH. Your tank shouldn't have any nitrite reading, although the readings with the test strips were rather inconclusive, so they could be zero.

If you want a school of tetras, those 3 guppies and a proper shoal of cory cats, you should consider a larger tank than 10 gallons. Cories really should be kept in groups of 6+, as should the tetras.

Also, what sort of substrate are you planning? You'll want something with absolutely no sharp edges that they can sort through. The smaller the better.

Elkaybee 05-24-2008 03:19 PM

You guys are awesome! I really appreciate all your advice. Like I said before, I really want to be a responsible fish owner. We were thrown into it when someone gave my son a fantail goldfish and thank goodness I did my research on them - whew! We currently have two (since they are social) and have upgraded them to a 20 gallon until the next growth spurt. If they get too big they will end up in my cousin's pond since we really don't have room for a bigger tank.

Anyway, currently I have black gravel at the bottom of my tank and it is pretty smooth so hopefully my cory (and his future friends in the 10 gallon) won't have any issues. I was just going to buy more for the next tank.

I will certainly invest in a liquid test kit and will come back when I have more conclusive results. I don't want to chance losing any more fish. Both my kids are also getting excited about our fishy friends and are naming them. I want them to learn to be responsible pet owners themselves.

okiemavis 05-24-2008 04:05 PM

Awesome, best of luck with everything! It's great that you're doing proper research and really working to care for your fish. It's even better that you are showing your kids that.

Also, in reference to the pH, you could add a nice piece of driftwood. It won't make a huge difference in your pH, but it will bring it down a bit, and very slowly/gently. Plus, it's a very pretty and natural looking decoration.

Elkaybee 06-03-2008 07:03 PM

Okay, I'm back as I just got my API test kit today and was shocked to find that the ammonia is 8! The rest of my reading are as follows: Ph 8, Nitrite 0 & Nitrate 5. It also looks like I didn't describe the background of this tank. On bad advice (I now know better!) I only cycled for one week without fish and then added my fish. I originally had 2 tetras but lost both of them and now I see why! After testing today I did a 25% water change, but am wondering how often I need to change and how much. I'm assuming that I should do it daily until I get the ammonia under control? Any advice would be great!!! Thank you!

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