Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Skiyk 07-15-2009 12:59 PM

It's like Prune Juice Day at the Senior Center in here
Hello, folks. This is my first post and, however shameful it is, I am a tropical fish newcomer. I had the same goldfish for 5 years, rest her soul, and I couldn't bring myself to get another, so I am trying these fellas out. I have a specific question, but I will be chucking in other facts about their environment in here as well, so you can shoot me down if I am doing something incorrectly.

I currently have a 10 gallon tank, which I have cycled with my Filter. It contains Aquarium Salt, Water Conditioner and a Heater.

Within the tank, I have 2 Gouramis and 2 other fish species (forgive my ignorance).

Now, I have a feeling that the 2 gouramis are males. In the pet store, the woman told me that they were not fighters, and they were in the same tank together, so I thought that I should bring them both home.

Now, in my tank, the larger one is preventing the other fella from getting any food. As soon as the smaller gourami attempts to have a snack, the big guy is on him. He is beginning to look a little bit thin and cowers in the corner of the tank. Any suggestions?

The other 2 fish I have are just schooling around together, not a problem.

Also, sometimes, the gouramis will hang around the heater, while the other 2 seem to be avoiding the heater. Any suggestions in that repect?

Anyway, thanks. I hope to hear from you soon. :twisted:

DragonFish 07-16-2009 01:48 PM

Welcome to the forum :D Theres no shame in being new and coming to ask for help ;)

Fist off, aquarium salt should never be added to a freshwater setup unless your treating for something like ich(and even then I think its some other kind of salt your supposed to use....), it is truthfully very unnecessary and can be very dangerous in the long term. Water conditioner is all you should be adding during weekly WCs.
Do you know what kind of Gouramis you have? Only a couple species would be suited for a 10 gallon tank in the long term, such as the Dwarf/Powder blue or Honey. And even then a 10 gallon is too small for more then one at a time.
I'm sorry to tell you that you were misinformed, Gouramis will fight. Perhaps not as viciously as their betta cousins, but one will assume dominance over the other and prevent the other from eating/harass it endlessly as you are experiencing. Especially in that small of a tank with two males of any species. One way or another, the one being harassed will die unless you either return him or the aggressor.

If your not sure on the Gourami species, would you mind posting some pictures? Pictures of the other two fish you have would be good too, I'll do my best to help you identify them :)

And if I may ask.....what is the temp of the tank? Heater wattage? Water parameters(ammonia, nitrItes, nitrAtes)?

Skiyk 07-28-2009 12:58 PM

Hello again. Returning with just a few more questions.

I purchased a new tank, 20 gallons with a new filter and heater that came with the tank, let it cycle and this time did not put in aquarium salt. I purchased 4 more fish, 2 female black mollies and 2 male flamingo show guppies.

They seem to have settled in. My original fish, the 2 gouramies and the 1 still unidentified fish (It looks almost like Serrasalmus Rhombeus) are doing fine. They are swimming about, poop (eewww...) seems healthy and they are eating well. The mollies seem healthy, although they spent a lot of time sitting at the bottom of the tank. As soon as some other fish swims by or food appears, they are actively swimming around the get it, so they don't seem ill. Just wondering if there is any reason as to why they would be doing this?

1 of my guppies seems very ill. He has a deformity, I believe, as it appears he is missing the front part of his mouth is simply missing. He has no way to close it and has been struggling to eat. I am now grinding up the flakes into almost powder so he can vacuum them up, but he has lost all colour in his scales. His fins are ripped and torn. He doesn't look good. Meanwhile, the other guppy looks as healthy as can be.

The temperature is usually about 25C but has spiked to 28C due to recent warm weather. The water looks fairly clear, and the filter seems to be working well. I have not measured for nitrates or nitrites, but I have a feeling I should soon.

Anyway, if you see something I'm doing incorrectly or have any diagnosis for my fish, I'd be happy to hear it :-D

DragonFish 07-28-2009 01:36 PM

Welcome back :-)

If you have the room and still have that old 10 and the stuff for it, you might want to set it up and use it to QT that guppy of yours(don't even need substrate or anything). He doesn't sound good, though without a picture it'd be difficult to diagnose. Any chance of getting a pic of him?
I am curious about the species of Gourami you have.....its good to hear that they seem to be doing well and not fighting, but its possible they may just be young. Pictures of them would be good too if you can :-) You may just be lucky though and got a couple that won't fight, every fish is an individual IME ;-)

How long ago did you purchase the Molly? They may just be getting used to their environment. If they're eating and appear heathy, I'm sure thats all it is ;-)

Temp sounds fine and the spike can happen in the warmer months of the year, just watch it a little closer and if it raises above 28C for too long float a frozen water bottle in there to bring down the temp.

All your levels(Ammonia, nitrIte, nitrAte)would be a good thing to know, especially when trying to diagnose a sick fish. 8/10 times a sickness is related to water quality. But be sure to use a liquid test kit like the API brand, not the strips.

Out of curiosity, how did you cycle the tank? I assume fishes, but you used an ammonia source(fish food, pure ammonia, ect.), correct? One would be needed to build up the necessary bacteria. For how long did you cycle?

Skiyk 07-29-2009 12:27 PM

Hi, I lost the deformed guppy. My molly appears to have a case of popeye. I am isolating her, and I strongly belive the water source is not sufficient. I am heading down to my local aquarium shop tonight to ask their advice, pick up water tests and some of the proper equipment.

As far as setting up the tank goes, I followed the instructions in the box. It said let the tank run for 24 hours before putting any fish in, I let it run for 48. I didn't add anything to the water, other than a water conditioner that came with the starter kit, it claims to "Neutralize chlorine, chloramine and heavy metals, enhances natural fish slime coat"

I have 4 rather large plants and a small plastic decoration in the tank, all were washed in warm water, without soap or other cleaning agents.

I purchased the fish 1.5-2 weeks ago, and my tank seems to have the grim cloud of death over it at this point. Any further help would be greatly appreciated. I mean, I took in these fish and decided to care for them, I don't want to just let them die. :cry:

Anyway, I hope to hear from you soon. :-)

DragonFish 07-29-2009 02:06 PM

Ahh, and there would your problem.....2 days is not enough time to cycle, it takes more like 3-6 weeks for a tank to fully cycle. Furthermore a tank won't cycle unless it has an ammonia source(fish poo, fish food, pure ammonia....) for the bacteria to feed off of. And usually you shouldn't listen to advice from people at the fish store, most of the time they really don't know what they're talking about. Do your own research, google is your best friend. ;-)

Sounds like a good conditioner though, so long as you add that then any tap water should be sufficient. You should pick up a liquid test kit if you can, API is a great brand, and make sure when your water is tested that they are using some sort of liquid test kit....ask for numbers too, don't just take 'fine' or 'not so good'. You will need a test kit though else you'll be making trips to your LFS almost daily throughout your cycling process. Theres a topic on Cycling somewhere around here....heres one I think
Google something like 'Nitrogen Cycle in Freshwater Aquariums' though, you'll find probably a lot of info that way.

Another thing to get if you don't have it already is a gravel vac, use it for PWCs(partial water changes)even if you don't always vac the gravel....and since you've got fish you'll be doing a lit of PWCs to keep your levels down. It should explain it all in that thread/when you google it. <--There is a list of disease and such, popeye might be there...I didn't look over the whole thing. And heres a thing on different medicines

I hear a couple people on another forum who practically swear my a product called 'Seachem Stability', perhaps try it? Don't see how it could hurt.

Hope this helps, I know how you feel though, my 20 gallon doesn't seem to want to cooperate with me at all and I've had it set up for some time :/ No deaths, but its just having its little issues :roll:

Skiyk 08-01-2009 06:28 PM

Okay, I think I know what the problem is. I tested my water for pH, Nitrite, Nitrate and Ammonia.

pH: 7.5
Nitrite: 0ppm
Nitrate: 0ppm
Ammonia: 2ppm

The ammonia levels are far too high. Do you have any suggestions as to how I lower them?

DragonFish 08-01-2009 08:35 PM

PWC. Nothing helps a tank like a good old PWC.

Sounds like your in the first stages of your cycle, the ammonia spike. Do a nice 35%-40% PWC, wait a few hours, then test again. Try to get your ammonia as low as you can, though don't overdo your PWCs as that may stress the fish even more. I'd say at most two per day, 25%-40% each time depending. Keep a close eye on your levels, test a couple times a day as well though more isn't going to hurt if you really feel the need. Using a gravel vac even without vacing the gravel when you preform your PWC is best. Its easier and far less stressful on the fish.

Unfortunately, thats all you can do. PWCs and monitoring your levels. Eventually your ammonia will go down and your nitrItes will go up, then those will go down and your nitrAtes will go up. I do believe that should all be explained in more detail in the link I provided in my previous post though here is another good one The Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle

Your using a liquid test kit, correct?

Skiyk 08-14-2009 12:58 PM

Yes, I am using a liquid test kit.

The Ammonia levels have dropped to about 1ppm, and seem to be falling quickly.

I lost a couple more fish. One died rather quickly, in just a few hours. I'm not sure how or why, and then a part of my filter fell off and sucked the other one up, it wasn't pretty.

So, I have 1 Serpae Tetra, 1 Flamingo Show Guppy, 1 Pearl Gourami and 1 Black Molly. I am thinking of getting a 2 more Serpaes and 2 more guppies, maxing my 20 GAL tank out at 7 fish. Is that too much? I read that guppies and serpaes being along isn't good for them, and that they can become glass huggers. I am also picking up a gravel vac this evening.

Anyway, I think the spike is going down, I've been doing consistent water changes and I've had this tank running for about 3 1/2 weeks now, so we should get over this.

Thanks a lot for your help

DragonFish 08-14-2009 03:58 PM

Glad to hear things are getting better :-) Yeah, the fish in the filter definitely doesn't sound like it was a pleasant experience Oo;

Have you tested for Nitrites lately? You should be seeing a spike in those next. I wouldn't add any more fish until your levels are stable, but I can't help you with the Serpaes and the Guppies other then telling you Serpaes are schooling fish :lol: Never kept them, never looked into them.
But no, that wouldn't be too much for your 20 gallon provided you keep with with your weekly PWCs and whatnot ;-)

Best of luck, be sure to let me know how it all turns out :-D

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