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scooterjuniuspilot 03-02-2009 12:50 AM

stocking 3 gallon freshwater tank
we recently purchased a 3 gallon tank and stocked it with 1 silver molly, 1 red wag platy, 1 cardinal tetra, 1 golden apple snail, and 2 ghost shrimp. i've read about the "one inch per gallon" rule but it seems like there could be a little more like maybe 1.5 inches per gallon. anyway, they all seem to be happy together, but i would still like to get people's opinion-- for i do not have any fish experience. thank you for your feedback! :-)

1077 03-02-2009 03:58 AM

You will need to change one gal of water from this tank every two days with new water that isn't too cold and that has been treated with a dechlorinator that detoxifys ammonia, chlorine, and chloramines. you should maybe feed these fish a VERY small amount of food once every two days. I would also ,, were it me,, read up on starting a new aquarium and begin saving for a larger tank so that you can keep more fish. In my view,, your 3 gal tank is at it's maximum.

adpierin11 03-02-2009 09:00 AM

That's a small tank, and I wouldn't add anymore fish to it. I would go out and buy a 10g (if you can about $10), and cycle that tank then switch everything over to it. That way your fish would have more room....
And this 1 inch of fish per gallon is a bunch of bull, it's really dependant on what type of fish you are putting in your tank....

Charlie 03-02-2009 06:58 PM

The main problem I see is that the cardinal tetra is a schooling fish, and the rest of the fish would like more swimming room. Also, apple snails are poop machines and will foul up your tank pretty swiftly.

diavids 03-02-2009 11:29 PM

hello, You are maxed out putting that many fish in such a small tank. I'm sure you want your fish to be happy and healthy so look into getting a bigger tank. My advice is get the biggest tank you have room for, larger tanks are easier to mantain and less work in the long term. How long have you had the 3 gal set up? Has the tank been cycled, if you don't know about cycling, you can find all the information online, or i'm sure your local library will have books on the subject or just ask here . I really don't mean to sound negitive, but I can see problems ahead for you and none of us here want you to get turned off keeping fish, as its such a fun and interesting hobby. the best thing you can do, is do some research on the fish you want to keep and how to set up your first tank. good luck and let us know how things go.

scooterjuniuspilot 03-03-2009 12:38 AM

no the tank hasnt been cycled. the fish store people told us the tank only needed to be set up and running for one day before we put the fish in. it wasnt until we got online and started researching other things that we read it needed to cycle for a while before adding fish.:-?

iamntbatman 03-03-2009 03:48 PM

Mollies get to be pretty darn big (around 4 inches or so) so aren't appropriate for a tank that small. I'd honestly say they need a 20g tank. The platy should be fine. Cardinals, as was mentioned, are schooling fish and really need to be kept in a group of at least six in order to be happy. You can't keep that many of them in such a small tank, though. The shrimp and snail should be fine. Do you know the sex of the platy? You might be ok if you return the molly and the cardinal and get another platy of the same sex (doesn't have to be the same color).

However, I wouldn't get the new platy until the tank is completely cycled, as the cycling process puts a lot of stress on your tank inhabitants. Before adding anything else, I'd return the non-compatible fish and get yourself a good liquid test kit like the API Freshwater Master Test Kit. This is really an essential tool for all fishkeepers, as the vast majority of problems are related to water quality, which can only be accurately monitored with such a test kit. They run for about $30-$35 in stores but you can buy them for about half that price at online aquarium stores like Drs. Foster and Smith or Aquariumguys. Read up on the aquarium cycle and use the kit to monitor your water parameters. You'll have to do water changes on a regular basis (I'm talking every day) until the tank cycles. Without the kit, you'll be doing it blind, but doing a 30% or so water change every day until you get the test kit should be a good start.

Sorry to make this so intimidating, but the cycling process is really the most stressful, daunting part of the hobby so once that's out of the way it gets much simpler. Plus, nothing turns people off of fishkeeping like losing fish in the early stages because they're unaware of the aquarium cycle and how it can harm their fish.

scooterjuniuspilot 03-03-2009 03:54 PM

thank you for all of the information! i recently purchased the API freshwater master test kit your speaking of. the ammonia and pH both seem to stay high. we will do 30% water changes everyday until it cycles. we actually had our tetra die today :cry: how long does it take for a tank to cycle?

iamntbatman 03-03-2009 04:03 PM

The cycling process takes anywhere from two weeks to two months. Ammonia and nitrite are especially dangerous to your fish, so you'll want to do aggressive water changes to keep these levels below 0.25 ppm. Once they get that low, keep doing water changes to keep them under 0.25 ppm until, eventually, enough bacteria grow to keep both of these figures at 0 ppm without needing to do water changes. Once the tank is done cycling, you should never see any ammonia or nitrite and you should have nitrate levels that slowly climb over time. All you have to do at that point is water changes to keep nitrate within acceptable ranges (anything under 20 ppm or so is fine).

What is your pH? A fluctuating pH is much more dangerous than a stable pH, even if that pH is slightly outside of the accepted range for your fish. If you bought your fish locally, they likely came from similar water conditions so they may already be used to a high pH. Attempting to lower your pH with chemicals can be dangerous, as you can destroy your water's buffering capacity and your pH can crash, which is fatal to your tank inhabitants. Also, your shrimp and snails really require a pH at least slightly above neutral in order to prevent shell erosion.

scooterjuniuspilot 03-03-2009 04:12 PM

we've tested the water 3 times in the last 3 days and its been the same each time:

the pH has been at 7.6 - we bought some pH down but it didnt change anything.

the ammonia has been at a high 4.0 ppm

nitrite and nitrate have both been at 0

what about adding safestart or something like it with the live bacteria to speed up the cycling process?

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