Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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AshGO 04-27-2009 07:25 PM

New Aquarium Owner (tall 20 gal.)
 
So I recently set up a 20 gallon tall, purchased a whisper ex30 filter let it run over night with a full tank of water. The chlorine smell had gone away by morning but with the advise of the fish store guy, I still put some dechlorinater in before acclimating the three skirt tetras I bought. I dunno if putting fish in so soon was a hasty decision, but he convinced me I should be fine. I've read up alot about keeping freshwater tanks over the past week to be sure I know what I'm doing. I'd hate to set everything up and end up with dead fish because I didn't do it right.
But basically I'm wondering, in the general opinion of the lovely folk at fishforum, if skirt tetras are a good starter fish to cycle with, which fish would be well suited to join the tetras if this is successul, and whether or not a crayfish would also be suitable once my tank is cycled (mainly because I'd love to have one).
Also if I should purchase an air stone, the filter causes quite a bit of surface disturbance on the water, but I'm not sure if it's enough for the fish in such a tall tank.

Also on the subject of the tetras behavior, I'll chalk it up to being in a new environment for the very first time, but they seem very erratic, possibly stressed I'm not sure. But most of what they've done since I put them in is go back and forth against the side of the tank. I'm worried that maybe the water isn't right for them and they're trying to escape :(
I have not checked ph, I planned to start doing that this week. Being such a young aquarium should I be changing water daily?

Basically I'm just trying to be sure I'm doing the right things for my aquarium, even after stuffing my brain full of aquarium knowledge over the past week.
Thanks for any help and sorry if this is long winded ;)

AshGO 04-27-2009 08:09 PM

not sure how to edit, but I just wanted to clarify that the tetra's behavior seems to have calmed quite a bit, they're still doing it just not as much as about an hour ago.

JohnnyD44 04-28-2009 07:06 AM

First off welcome to the forum!! Glad to have you. You're decision to start with fish right away while in some people's opinion is not good, others feel it is not a problem. When you set up a new tank there are two ways you can go....fishless or fish-in. Either one you choose the basic principle is for your beneficial bateria to build up enough to keep the ammonia in your tank under control. When you do a fishless cycle ammonia comes from you physically adding pure ammonia drops to your tank on a daily basis and monitoring your levels. When you do a fish-in cycle, the ammonia comes from fish waste, excess food and unfortunatley sometimes, fish decay.

I'm not positive on how "hardy" black skirt tetras are to cycle a tank with.....someone else can chime in here, I know there are worse fish to cycle with, zebra danios are a popular choice.

The tetras behavior comes from the lack of numbers. Mostly all tetras enjoy being in a group of 6. This goes for any breed of tetras (neon, red eye, black skirts). Keep that in mind when you decide on the stock for your tank.

The negative thing to a fish-in cycle, is that, as you asked above....you are in for quite a lot of water changes. Atleast 15% every other day, if not everyday. Luckily you only have a 20G tall tank, which isn't that much water.

Do yourself a favor and pick up a API Master Liquid test kit. It is crucial to your cycling process as well as weekly keep-up, you can find them online for about $25 bucks, but since you already got your fish in, and need to start getting readings and doing water changes, I'd bite the bullet and get one at your LFS(local fish store) and spend the extra 6 bucks or so.

Thats all I got for now, I'm sure others will be in here to chime in. Good luck!

1077 04-28-2009 07:18 AM

I agree with JohnnyD44 tetras are schooling fish. However,, you will not want to add to their numbers until your tank has matured or (cycled). Feed the fish you currently have once every other day and a tiny amount. This will help keep ammonia levels manageable with water changes. Don't clean or change the filter cartridges or material for the next three to four weeks for this,, is where the good bacteria that breaks down the ammonia gathers at. Do read up on starting a new tank if you are unfamiliar with the process (nitrification process in aquariums).Other than what I have mentioned,, I agree with everything from previous post.

Twistersmom 04-28-2009 07:25 AM

All great advice from johnny.
Doing my fish cycles, I always tried to keep ammonia and nitrites under .25ppm through waterchanges. For me this meant doing almost daily water changes for a few weeks then the cycle will start kicking in.
You asked if you need an air pump and stone, I think it would be a good idea, it being a tall tank.
Some tall plants for the tetras to hide in, may help them feel more comfortable.

AshGO 04-28-2009 06:11 PM

Thanks all for the advice! I'll be sure to get the test kit and some air bubbles asap.


also: when I do water changes, since I'm using tap, will I need to add any more dechorinater or will the existing stuff in the tank handle the change out?

Twistersmom 04-28-2009 06:29 PM

Always dechlorinate any new water being added to the tank.
I use a 5gal bucket to mix new tap water with the declorinator.

1077 04-29-2009 12:03 PM

Agreed!;-)


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