Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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-   -   This Fist thing isn't working out that well. (

Bethaliz 07-27-2008 08:50 PM

This Fist thing isn't working out that well.
So about 3 weeks ago bought a tank, some gravel, a fake plant and some fish. A Gold Molly, named Molly. 2 female guppies and a Male guppy.

I followed the steps to step up the tank, added the water and treatment stuff. I put the fish bag in the water to let the fish and the temps stablize, like they tell you to.

One female guppy died in a few hours. The woman at the pet store said she was really young when I got her, so the shock might have been too much. shrug, but I don't know. She didn't even have any colour yet.

The Male died a few days later, with no apparent cause. And the other female died a few days ago. Molly's doing well. I keep changing 20% of the water each week, like I was told on here.

The tank was starting to get kind of a funky smell, so I thought maybe the filtration that came with the tank wasn't so good and I bought a new one. My Molly is still going strong!! So I got a new guppy and a Strawberry Tertra (sp?)

ANy ideas about what I'm doing wrong, or what I can do to make sure these guys live long enough to be named?

Also how many fish can you have to a tank? Like 1 fish per gallon or something?

Cody 07-27-2008 09:08 PM

Did your tank cycle at all? To me, that may be the problem. The filter switch probably messed stuff up too.

We need to know your ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH levels so we can see if those are affecting them. You can find this out by buying a liquid test kit. API is a favorite.

Bethaliz 07-27-2008 10:18 PM

I've heard of cycling your tank, but I have no idea what exaclty your supposed to do to cycle it. How long does it take? should I stop getting replacement fish until the tank has been cycled? If I do and all the fish die, how do I cycle it?

Sorry for all the questions, but I'm new to the fish thing (well other than a couple gold fish when I was a kid).

And I'd really like to know, how you know how many fish you can have in a tank. Obviously the smaller the fish the more fish you can house. the smaller the tank the less the number of fish. but is their a general rule of thumb?

jsb1976 07-28-2008 02:57 AM

I would stop adding fish. The odds are that they are not going to make it as your tank is probably not cycled. You need to buy a test kit to check ammonia, nitrate, etc... You may also need to change the water each day, or every few days, not just weekly to keep the water from being too toxic.
If you visit another website called aquariacentral dot com, go to the freshwater newbie forum and they have several pages listed on cycling that are easy to understand. Hope this helps.

I had the same experience with my first aquarium. I was sold everything the same day, and told to just add water and dechlorinator and it was good to go.

1077 07-28-2008 04:43 AM

I agree with Cody. You need to have your water tested either with LIQUID test kit that you can purchase or by taking a sample of water to fish store and ask if they will test it. The results will go a long way towards telling you and those who can help just where your tank is at. Depending on those results and the size of your tank and given that you started with few small fish it is possible that the waste they produced was not sufficent to allow much bacteria to develop. For example three fish in a ten gallon tank would be better thanthree fish in 50 gal tank. If bio load is small bacteria will develop mor slowly thus extending the maturing or cycling process. If you can provide some test results, (paper test strips are not accurate) from a quality test kit such as API master freshwater kit found at some fishstores, then those here could be of more help. Don't get frustrated. And above all else don't add any chemicals that promise to speed cycling . Many of them create their own set of problems. Something you don't need right now. :)

Tyyrlym 07-28-2008 06:34 AM


Originally Posted by jsb1976
I would stop adding fish. The odds are that they are not going to make it as your tank is probably not cycled.

I would actually disagree with that. The molly has a good chance of making it if he keeps up on the chemistry and does water changes before the ammonia or nitrites get too far out there. It'll take some dedication to keep up on it but if he does there's no reason the molly can't make it. The guppy might have a chance depending on how it was bred. The tetra is likely going to be the most sensitive of the bunch.

Bethaliz 07-28-2008 08:09 AM

Actually, the guppy died. :( not even a day. The Tetra and the Molly are having a great time. I haven't seen my Molly this energetic, ever (that's not a bad thing is it?).

I'll have look at the test kits and see how things are. A friend, suggested, having the pets store run my filter on one of their established tanks for a few weeks and then putting the dirty filter in my tank to get the good bactieria to grow. He said it might be a safer bet than for me to keep killing my poor fish. shrug

Also, he said not to change the water as often, or as much? And once it's cycled not ot change it at all, or to alternate, once every two weeks change 20% of the water, two weeks later change the filter. Does this sound right? He used tohave a huge fish tank in high school. He said if he lived here, he'd run the filter through his tank for me.

1077 07-28-2008 09:23 AM

If you have fish in the tank you really have no choice but to perform water changes whenever ammonia levels become lethal. Only test kit can tell you how often that will be. If you have a small bioload you may not have to change the water as often as you would if you had a school of fish. Again water tests will tell you . :wink:

Little-Fizz 07-28-2008 09:39 AM

Why would you give your filter to the fish store or your friend? Its not doing any good for you unless its running in your tank. Ask the pet store if you can have the media in their filter or something and put it in yours. Although I would be very careful not to add it if it came from a tank with sick fish.

Tyyrlym 07-28-2008 09:41 AM

Well guppies can be severely inbred to achieve the tail colors that make them so flashy and that can lead to a lack of hardiness. An energetic molly is not a bad thing. If things are getting bad the mollly will likely clamp her fins to her body, be listless, or hover near the surface. If she starts to do that get worried.

I use the API liquid test kit and it works great. Unfortunately on some tests like ammonia the shade can be hard to interpret but overall it works wonderful. The big thing to watch out for in the beginning is ammonia. How much do you know about the nitrogen cycle in a fish tank? That'll let you know what to expect and watch out for.

The purpose of the filter would be to help jump start a bacteria colony in your tank. While the fish could run a filter pad or something for you for a while they could also give you a used filter pad (if your filters are compatible) or give you a chunk of it to stick in your filter if they aren't compatible. Also if their fish tank is healthy you could get a couple cup fulls of their gravel to help seed your tank. If you can wrangle either of those out of them just be sure to keep what they give you wet on the way home.

While I'll probably have people disagreeing with me on this I wouldn't worry about doing too many water changes. That you have excess ammonia in your tank is all that matters. The difference between 0.25ppm ammonia and 5.0ppm of ammonia in your tank is that in the 5.0ppm tank there's just that much more ammonia the bacteria can't eat at the moment. In a fishless cycle having a high ammonia reading is easier to manage than a low one, the ammonia lasts longer so you don't have to test and add more ammonia all the time, and it will foster a larger bacteria colony in the long run. In a fishless cycle it just makes your fish miserable and can kill them. Since the fish supply the ammonia you don't have to worry about dosing the tank, if they're alive they're making it. The amount of bacteria will take care of itself, etc. When cycling with fish its more important to keep the fish alive.

My 55 gallon tank is still cycling and I'm doing it with fish. The ammonia reading never went over 0.25 ppm without me doing a partial water change to keep it down. Well guess what, in three weeks the ammonia portion of the cycle is finished and I'm getting 0 ppm ammonia readings and all four of my cycling fish are happy and healthy.

When the tank is cycling just keep the fish alive. Monitor the ammonia and eventually nitrite readings and keep them in the safe range for the fish. So long as you never do a 100% water change you won't stop the cycle and it will take care of itself. Focus on keeping the fish alive.

Now once the cycle is over you'll still have to do water changes. The end result of the nitrogen cycle in a freshwater tank is nitrates. Nitrates are poisonous to fish in high doses. The only thing that takes nitrates out of the water is plants or algae. To really be able to NEVER change the water you will have to have only a few fish and a TON of plants. The only other way to remove nitrates from the water is to change a portion of the water. How much water is going to be determined by how fast nitrates build up. Again, this is where the test kit comes in. You have to monitor the nitrate levels and change some of the water before they build up too high. Eventually you'll get a rhythm built up and know how much and how often to change the water. This isn't something someone can tell you, it's something you'll have to monitor and work out on your own. Remember though, there's nothing wrong with changing water. So long as the temperature is close to the tank's temp, the pH is the same, and it's dechlorinated there's nothing to lose and a lot to gain from a regular water change. Just never do a 100% change.

What kind of filter do you have?

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