Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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shane3fan 09-06-2009 11:58 AM

noob questions
 
Hi,

My name is Shane, I have just gotten into tropical fish about a month and a half ago.

Unfortunately I didnt do enough research when I started and I have had a few casualties as a result of my ignorance. In my defense, some of the things that I have done were recommended by my local pet store ( Petland )

I started out with one red Betta in a 10 gallon tank with a power filter, flourescent lamp, gravel, live water sprite and a small tank heater.

All was well for the first month, he even survived while we were on vacation for a week. I took water samples to Petland a few times and they said everything was fine. So, I decided it was time to add some more fish to the tank. 'Hairy' looked all alone in that 10 gal. tank by himself.I asked the store fish 'expert' what to add, if anything. He told me to add 3 Neon Tetra and 2 Cory Cats. So, thats what I did. Within a week my Betta stopped swimming and eventually died, even after I put him in another tank and tried to medicate him based on suggestions from the pet store. I also had one dead Neon Tetra.

This is the point where I did some things that I probably shouldnt have. The pet store gave me a replacement Betta and I purchased some Serpea Tetra ( 3 ) another Neon Tetra, a Rainbow Shark a male Paradise Fish ( he was so cool looking I HAD to have him and two Mystery Snails.

The new Betta is in a 160 oz. Brandy glass with marbles and live sprite. No heater/filter/lamp. He seems to be doing OK, he has a bubble nest after just a little over a week and is pretty active.

The Paradise fish is in a 2.5 gallon tank with gravel, live sprite and a couple of small fake plants. No heater/lamp/filter. He also seems to be doing OK, but he doesnt really do anything. I see him swimming if I stay at a good distance from the tank, but as soon as he sees or feels someone close to the tank he slowly sinks to the bottom.

The community tank ( 10 gal. ) seems to be doing OK with the exception of two more dead Neons and I believe the Serpeas and 2 remaining Neons have tail/fin rot. The Neons have been losing their tails and the Serpea seem to have some whitish color changes to their fins. I at first thought the Serpea were eating the Neon's tails-but Im not sure. I have started medicating ( yesterday and today so far )

Water samples taken yesterday were as follows ;

Community tank ; Ph 7.6, Ammonia .5, Nitrite .25, Nitrate 10

Betta bowl ; 7.2, .5, 0, 0

Paradise fish tank ; 6.6, .25-.5, 0, 0

I have been using bottle R/O water, I treated it with Prime, added aquarium salt and started with Melafix yesterday for the suspected fin/tail rot.

My concerns are as follows ;

Im afraid the salt is going to kill the snails.

Im concerned that the Betta and Paradise fish water may be too cold without a heater or a lamp. Ive read that bad things happen to fish in cold water-like Ick and other nasty stuff. It seems that warmer water keeps that stuff away better.

Im also worried that my Paradise fish isnt very active. Ive only had him for a week or so, but he almost always hangs around at the bottom or behind the plants. He wont eat unless nobody is around. Ive hidden around the corner and watched him eat though.




Im going to try to get myself on a schedule with tank cleaning and filter changing.

Any suggestions to help me keep all of my fish happy and alive would be greatly appreciated.

Signed,
In over his head.

DragonFish 09-06-2009 01:19 PM

:shock: Oh boy....umm....where to start.....

First off, those readings are very worrisome. A mature, heathy tank should have 0 Ammonia and Nitrite and Nitrates of 5-20. Any level of Ammonia and/or Nitrates are toxic and can be very harmful or even deadly to your fish. What you want to do is go pick yourself up a liquid dropper test kit like the API brand that tests for PH, Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate. Test the water yourself and preform PWCs(partial water changes) of 25-40% until you get the Ammonia and Nitrate as low as you can, you may even need to do this more then once a day, providing a few hours between the PWC and water testing.
Also, tap water with dechlorinator(like Prime)should be sufficient, no real need for RO water unless theres something seriously wrong with your tap. Aquarium salt should be avoided with Neons as they are very salt sensitive to my knowledge....not sure about Melafix, I'll let someone else comment on that.

Secondly, every fish needs a filter and bettas do need a heater, they are tropical fish who require a stable temperature of 78-80 degrees F. You need to take back the Paradise fish, as they shouldn't be kept in anything smaller then a 20 gallon. If you pick up a heater and filter for the 2.5 gallon, you can put the betta in there, perfect size for a single male betta.
The shark has to go too I'm afraid, they require around 50 gallons.

Now, about the Neons and Serpeas. They are both schooling species that need schools of 6+ of their own kind. Smaller numbers will result in stress, making the fish more susceptible to disease....and especially with readings like that they won't last long. But of course, before you add or remove anything your going to want to get your tank straitened away, levels stable, ext. So I'll get to that later.

As for tank and filter cleaning, all you need to do is preform weekly PWCs with a gravel vacuum(also something your going to want to pick up)and rinse your filter pads gently in dechlorinated water. No need to replace filter media until your old one is literally falling apart.

I think I probably rushed though things and may not have explained everything properly, just trying to cover to the more important points. ^^; Please let me know if theres anything you want me to explain further and I'll do my best to elaborate, I hope this helps :-)

NC Frank 09-06-2009 02:05 PM

Welcome to the site Shane. The first suggestion I can make is to stop dealing with the store that has given you all of this bad information.

Secondly I would RESEARCH the fish you are buying before bringing anymore home. As previous noted the Paradise Fish and Shark are in aquariums that are way too small for them. The tetras should be kept in schools of 5 or 6 minimum.

Finally I would recommend doing some research on fish tank cycling and fish tank care. I do 20% PWCs (Partial Water Changes) every week with the occassional 40% PWC thrown in. Your maintenance will depend on the type of fish you keep, how crowded your tank is, the type of filtration that you use, the type of food that you feed, wether the tank is planted or not, etc.

Good luck and do not hesitate to ask any questions that you may have.

Byron 09-06-2009 03:55 PM

Only addition to previous advice (with which I agree) is to stop the medication and forget the Serpae tetras. They are notorious fin nippers, and I would guarantee they have eaten the fins off the neons and each other. In large groups (10 or more) in a large tank they can be a bit less aggressive, but in your 20g avoid Serpae tetras. When these fish are in small tanks and in small groups, they tend to be very nippy because they are stressed out at the environment and being too few. More neons (once the other things are resolved) would be OK. The whitish fins are the result of fin nipping, so stop the medication as it is also stressful on some fish particularly tetras.

NC Frank 09-06-2009 04:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Byron (Post 239339)
Only addition to previous advice (with which I agree) is to stop the medication and forget the Serpae tetras. They are notorious fin nippers, and I would guarantee they have eaten the fins off the neons and each other. In large groups (10 or more) in a large tank they can be a bit less aggressive, but in your 20g avoid Serpae tetras. When these fish are in small tanks and in small groups, they tend to be very nippy because they are stressed out at the environment and being too few. More neons (once the other things are resolved) would be OK. The whitish fins are the result of fin nipping, so stop the medication as it is also stressful on some fish particularly tetras.

Excellent point on serpaes in a small tank in a small school. They really do become way more nippier in that type of environment.

shane3fan 09-06-2009 08:50 PM

OK, I just did a PWC in all 3 tanks. I will do a water test in the AM and report back my findings.

Do you think the store would take the Paradise, Serpaes and Shark back? Man, the Rainbow Shark and Paradise Fish are so pretty. But, they dont really do anything. The Shark just hangs out in the ship and the Paradise hides behind his plants. The only time either of them come out is to eat.

shane3fan 09-07-2009 11:28 AM

New numbers for community tank after a 25% water change last night are

Ph 7.2, ammonia 0, nitrite 0.25, nitrate between 5 and 10 with my API master kit.

Any suggestions?

Twistersmom 09-07-2009 11:32 AM

I would do another 25% water change today, to make sure nitrites stay under .25 ppm.

NC Frank 09-07-2009 01:40 PM

Once your tank is fully cycled you should see consistant readings of 0 nitrite and 0 amonia with nitrates <20. Good job with the water change. Any good fish store will take back a fish they sell you. I have returned community fish that became aggressive MONTHS after I originally purchased them without issue.

Good job on the water changes. Do another partial today or tomorrow. Once you get your system cycled you can do 20% partials once a week or so (make sure to vacuum the gravel and maintain your filter media on schedule with your water changes).

DragonFish 09-07-2009 05:01 PM

+1 To everything NC Frank said :-)

Most stores will take back fish, and give you credit if you ask. Then that credit can be used later to purchase supplies and other fish. I've even taken in fish that were given to me by a family member whos lives across the country and my LPS took them without much question. And if they won't take the fish back, I'm sure another store in your area would...or theres always craigslist if you live in the US ;-)


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