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ChrisR 08-25-2010 04:51 PM

New here and need some advice please!
 
Hello everyone, I'm new here and looking for some help with my fish. First a bit of background. I'm not exactly new to fishkeeping, I've had tanks of various sizes on and off for the last 30 years since I was a teen. Although I've always 'loosely' followed precautions, I've never paid enough attention to water quality until now.

I've recently set up a small 30 litre tank with the intention of keeping a few guppies. I've had this tank sitting empty for a few years, but just recently caught the fishkeeping 'bug' again. This time I wanted to do it by the book, so I've visited a number of websites, read a book on keeping guppies, listened to the advice of my local pet store etc., I must say that the information I've read or heard varies quite a lot.

So, I've set up the 30 litre tank and left it to stand for a week with filter and heater running, a medium sized ornament and a few plastic plants. I added some Aquasafe and Easy Balance as per instructions and after one week I went to the fish store to buy my guppies. The store is a large, well established, national business, and the staff seem very helpful. Although they did tell me that it would be safe to add fish after only 3 or 4 days?? and they also advised me that my 30 litre tank would comfortably contain about 8 guppies, which seemed a bit excessive to me. So I went against their advice and bought 6 guppies instead. I followed all the precautions to the letter, floated them in the water for 30 minutes before introducing them to the tank etc.

Everything was great for 2 days, then I noticed 2 of the guppies appeared to be 'gasping' at the surface. Advised to feed them 3 times a day, I've only fed them once per day, and a very small amount, eaten within a minute. The following day, the 2 guppies had found a quiet corner of the tank and there they sit on the bottom, doing very little, not even coming out to eat.

I ran a few tests on the water and the Ph is 7.6, Ammonia has risen from 0.0 to 0.5, Nitrite remains at 0.0 but Nitrate has risen from 5 to 40ppm. So I'm still within the safe boundaries (just) so I can't understand the 2 guppies becoming so lethargic in such a short space of time (It's only been 4 days)

The fish store advised me to introduce a live plant rather than start adding chemicals, so I've done that and one of the guppies appears to have perked up a bit today, but now one of the others has become lethargic.

Today I've gone out and bought a new 48 litre tank and spent all of this evening setting it up. I think the guppies could do with a bit more space, plus I think the larger tank will be a bit easier to manage. I'd like to transfer the guppies over as soon as possible, is a week too soon? If I'm doing something wrong, then I don't want to make the same mistake again.

Is there anything I can do for those two guppies? Or is there something I should be doing that I'm missing? I really wanted to do things properly this time and it's looking like I could have casualties before I've even been running for a week :-(

Sorry for the long post, and if you made it this far, thanks for reading!

kitten_penang 08-25-2010 05:06 PM

is the water cloudy?? guppie are easy to breed but some what fragile fish unlike chilids. gasping for air means theres either not enough o2 or theres something wrong with the water.

CaliforniaFishkeeper 08-25-2010 05:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ChrisR (Post 455594)
Hello everyone, I'm new here and looking for some help with my fish. First a bit of background. I'm not exactly new to fishkeeping, I've had tanks of various sizes on and off for the last 30 years since I was a teen. Although I've always 'loosely' followed precautions, I've never paid enough attention to water quality until now.

I've recently set up a small 30 litre tank with the intention of keeping a few guppies. I've had this tank sitting empty for a few years, but just recently caught the fishkeeping 'bug' again. This time I wanted to do it by the book, so I've visited a number of websites, read a book on keeping guppies, listened to the advice of my local pet store etc., I must say that the information I've read or heard varies quite a lot.

So, I've set up the 30 litre tank and left it to stand for a week with filter and heater running, a medium sized ornament and a few plastic plants. I added some Aquasafe and Easy Balance as per instructions and after one week I went to the fish store to buy my guppies. The store is a large, well established, national business, and the staff seem very helpful. Although they did tell me that it would be safe to add fish after only 3 or 4 days?? and they also advised me that my 30 litre tank would comfortably contain about 8 guppies, which seemed a bit excessive to me. So I went against their advice and bought 6 guppies instead. I followed all the precautions to the letter, floated them in the water for 30 minutes before introducing them to the tank etc.

Everything was great for 2 days, then I noticed 2 of the guppies appeared to be 'gasping' at the surface. Advised to feed them 3 times a day, I've only fed them once per day, and a very small amount, eaten within a minute. The following day, the 2 guppies had found a quiet corner of the tank and there they sit on the bottom, doing very little, not even coming out to eat.

I ran a few tests on the water and the Ph is 7.6, Ammonia has risen from 0.0 to 0.5, Nitrite remains at 0.0 but Nitrate has risen from 5 to 40ppm. So I'm still within the safe boundaries (just) so I can't understand the 2 guppies becoming so lethargic in such a short space of time (It's only been 4 days)

The fish store advised me to introduce a live plant rather than start adding chemicals, so I've done that and one of the guppies appears to have perked up a bit today, but now one of the others has become lethargic.

Today I've gone out and bought a new 48 litre tank and spent all of this evening setting it up. I think the guppies could do with a bit more space, plus I think the larger tank will be a bit easier to manage. I'd like to transfer the guppies over as soon as possible, is a week too soon? If I'm doing something wrong, then I don't want to make the same mistake again.

Is there anything I can do for those two guppies? Or is there something I should be doing that I'm missing? I really wanted to do things properly this time and it's looking like I could have casualties before I've even been running for a week :-(

Sorry for the long post, and if you made it this far, thanks for reading!

Only thing you can really do is water changes to help keep ammonia and nitrates in check. 30%-50% volume every day or every other day. Once your other tank has been running for 1-2 weeks you can start transferring the fish slowly, but you're still going to have problems because that tank won't be cycled either unless you start adding small amounts of ammonia to it from a source other than fish so that the nitrifying bacteria can start to colonize your tank. Remember that even small amounts of these chemicals can kill your fish over time.

ChrisR 08-25-2010 05:46 PM

Thanks for your replies! The water is crystal clear, and four of the guppies are very active and look happy enough. I even wondered if there was a bit of bullying going on, they are all males, are guppies known for bullying? The other two guppies are no longer hanging at the surface, and they don't look sick, they're just sitting on the bottom doing nothing, maybe they're hiding from the others? Could it be the stress of the move from tank to tank?

I think I will do a water change tomorrow and see if that helps. My only worry is if that might stress the rest of the fish if I do that?

It's difficult to know what to do when one website advises leaving the new setup for a week, while another website will advise 2 weeks to a month. Then one website will say that guppies are ideal fish for a new tank, then another will say that they're not. This forum seems to be the only place I've found where people seem to know what they're talking about. Thanks again for the advice!

CaliforniaFishkeeper 08-25-2010 05:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ChrisR (Post 455653)
Thanks for your replies! The water is crystal clear, and four of the guppies are very active and look happy enough. I even wondered if there was a bit of bullying going on, they are all males, are guppies known for bullying? The other two guppies are no longer hanging at the surface, and they don't look sick, they're just sitting on the bottom doing nothing, maybe they're hiding from the others? Could it be the stress of the move from tank to tank?

I think I will do a water change tomorrow and see if that helps. My only worry is if that might stress the rest of the fish if I do that?

It's difficult to know what to do when one website advises leaving the new setup for a week, while another website will advise 2 weeks to a month. Then one website will say that guppies are ideal fish for a new tank, then another will say that they're not. This forum seems to be the only place I've found where people seem to know what they're talking about. Thanks again for the advice!

Water changes are good for the fish. It doesn't stress them out... Anyone who says it does doesn't know what their talking about. Just make sure the water you're adding is close (within 1 degree IMO) to the temperature of the water in the tank, because rapid fluctuations in temp. can stress out and kill the fish. Other than that and some kind of contamination in your tap or water source, there's no way changing their water can hurt them.

I don't claim to be an expert either. Alot of what I know comes from this and other forums.

EDIT: Oh yeah, and always use a good water conditioner!! :D

kitten_penang 08-25-2010 05:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ChrisR (Post 455653)
Thanks for your replies! The water is crystal clear, and four of the guppies are very active and look happy enough. I even wondered if there was a bit of bullying going on, they are all males, are guppies known for bullying? The other two guppies are no longer hanging at the surface, and they don't look sick, they're just sitting on the bottom doing nothing, maybe they're hiding from the others? Could it be the stress of the move from tank to tank?

I think I will do a water change tomorrow and see if that helps. My only worry is if that might stress the rest of the fish if I do that?

It's difficult to know what to do when one website advises leaving the new setup for a week, while another website will advise 2 weeks to a month. Then one website will say that guppies are ideal fish for a new tank, then another will say that they're not. This forum seems to be the only place I've found where people seem to know what they're talking about. Thanks again for the advice!


since you dont have real plants add a carbon filter into your main filter.it might take out trace amounts of chemicals in the water.guppies are nippy towards females but they don't come across as bullies to me. he maybe sick or stressed out but normally i don't have that kinda stress problems with guppies.. they seem to be the non bullying type.

Byron 08-26-2010 12:53 AM

First, welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum.

Your initial issue is simple, cycling. Here's an article on cycling you should read for background info and a better understanding of what goes on during the establishment of the nitrification bacteria:
http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/f...m-cycle-38617/
This is stickied at the head of this section, but the above is a direct link.

The reaction of the guppies is almost certainly due to ammonia or nitrite poisoning. Guppies are fairly tough little fish, some other species would all be dead by now. But internal damage may have been done that could cause something down the road. Not much can be done about that now.

Ammonia and nitrite should always be zero. During cycling each will rise and then subside (to zero hopefully). If either is ever above .25 ppm an immediate 50% partial water change should be carried out with only a good conditioner. Nitrates are less toxic unless they climb high; and to me 40ppm is high. Most aquarists recommend keeping nitrate below 20ppm, and this is easily done with weekly partial water changes of 30-60% depending upon fish load, plants, etc. Re plants, with live plants nitrate is rarely above 10ppm, and frequently at zero. On of the real benefits of plants (there are several others).

If you haven't already, test your tap water for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. One or more of these may be present, and it is worth knowing so you can deal with that issue. Won't go into all that unless you have one or more of these in your tap water. By the way, a comment on the API nitrate test if this is what you have. API is a good test series, but the nitrate has a problem. Regent No. 2 must be shaken for 2+ minutes, not 30 seconds as stated in the instructions, or you can have a faulty (high) reading.

As for moving the guppies to the new tank; again it has to cycle (2-8 weeks with a source of ammonia). Live plants will mean instant cycling, and I mean immediate, if there are enough plants (not just one or two). "Seeding" the tank with bacteria from the existing tank also helps, esp without live plants. Filter media (not washed), wood, rock, gravel or decor from the old tank will bring over a colony of bacteria to jumpstart the new colony. Bacteria supplements also work if they are pure bacteria; Seachem's Stability and Tetra's SafeStart are. With live plants this is unnecessary but won't hurt just in case.

Hope this helps. Feel free to ask questions, we are all here to help out.

Byron.

ChrisR 08-26-2010 10:36 AM

Thanks for the welcome, Byron. And thanks very much for your advice. I do have the API test kit, and I've made a note of your recommendations in the instruction booklet.

I've done a test on the tap water, and the results are as follows: Ph-7.6, Ammonia-0.0, Nitrite-0.0, Nitrate-5.0.

I've set up the new tank, and at the moment it's running with just the filter and the heater, and no decor at all. Unfortunately, I only have one ornament and a live plant in the old tank, and I'm reluctant to move those as they are serving as a hiding place for the weaker fish at the moment. Gravel is also a no no, as I have sand in the old tank, and gravel in the new one. I am just about to head off to the pet store, and I'll add some live plants to the new tank right away. I treated the water with Interpet's Filter Start, which claims to add various cultures of selected bacteria to start up the waste breakdown cycle.

So you think leaving the tank to settle for just 3-4 days is a bad idea? I am quite surprised at how opinions differ on this. I would agree that 3 days is much too soon, however, the pet store is very particular when it comes to selling their fish. Out comes a chart which has to be filled in, and there are about 20 questions, all to ensure that the fish are going to a good caring home...... then they advise introducing them to a new tank after only 3 days!! Even I know with all my inexperience, that 3 days is much too soon.

Ok, so here is a question. As I added my guppies to a new setup after just one week, and you recommend 2-8 weeks, my guppies have already been 'exposed' to new water much too soon, so would it do any further damage if I were to introduce them to the newer, bigger tank after one week? Would I be doing more harm if I left them in the old, smaller tank, with all the unsettling 50% water changes every day? Wouldn't it just be easier to put them in the new one, that has been kick started with bacteria, and more live plants, space etc.? Either way, they're being exposed to newly treated tap water. So I value your opinion on this.

Thanks for the link to the article. I'll read that when I return from the pet store :)

Chris

kitten_penang 08-26-2010 10:43 AM

if it was a bare tank and old filter system thats been running for a while like at the lfs i would have guppies in there straight away.since everything is new and the tank is young so to speak thats where the difference comes from.

Inga 08-26-2010 10:57 AM

Welcome to the forum! This is a great place to get wonderful information. I have also learned so much from about caring for fish on this forum. Byron and others are very helpful and incredibly knowledgeable.

I would recommend getting several live plants into your new tank and then moving your guppies into it. The live plants will help with any Ammonia issues you were having with the cycle as they use up those elements. Leaving the water safer for fish. As Byron said, you basically get an immediate cycled tank. It is safer for your fish.

You will still need to do regular maintenance water changes and use a good quality water conditioner at each change. Prime is a good conditioner and makes will help to remove any Ammonia or Nitrites in the water as well. Please do this as soon as possible to help your fish.


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