Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Peanut72 09-08-2010 01:06 PM

Newbie with a few questions
First off Hey guys. I have been trolling the site for a few weeks now and have read some good stuff here. Hopefully I didnt miss the inro topic somehwere. Looks like a wealth of info here, just need to keep reading. So, I am going tomorrow to pick up a tank. I am getting a completely set up and currently operating 75 gallon with stand including all decorations, rock, plants and all. Even a few fish. The fish coming with it are: 3 Oscars (1 tiger, 1 common, and 1 albino), 1 African Cichlid, 1 Pleco, 1 upsidedown catfish and 3 goldfish( which will go for sure). My biggest question is transport of the fish. I have about a 2.5 hr drive to get them home then there is set-up time for the tank. Whats the best way to transport the fish without stressing them too much or having them die on me? The person I am getting them from said to bring a large cooler with a lid and they will make the trip fine, but the store said to put all different species in seperate containers. I talked to the store here and they said they would take the fish and give me store credit on the fish I decide to keep in the tank, so most likely will go that route. I am not 100% sure what all I will put back in there, i just know I want some Angel Fish for sure, will build the rest around that I guess.

Second, is simply filling the tank with tap, putting in some dechlorinator and letting it come to temp be sufficient or are there other suggested addatives I need to put in. Since I am planning on cycling using live fish, do I need to add a stress coat? I am planning on giving it 24-48 hours to come to temp, 72-78(??) degrees and putting in some starter fish to get the cycle started. Hopefully that will go smooth and I can start to add fish after a few weeks. I want to add some live plants, but that may come later. For now I just want to get this thing up and running properly.

Feel free to throw any suggestions, warnings, or tips at me, I can use them all. In the meantime I will keep reading. So much info here, its hard to put it all together for each individual situation. Once I get the tank here tomorrow, I can post up all the particulars of the equipment that was included with the tank and maybe a pic of the setup. I will probably go ahead and give everything a good cleaning while its apart. any suggestions on cleaning that will be safe for the fish once they go in. I know no detergents. Im sure more questions to come and probably a few hiccups along the way.


redchigh 09-08-2010 01:32 PM

They might all do OK in a big cooler....

To be safe, I'd get one of those small battery-powered air pumps (to keep the water oxygenated), and find some "bag buddies" to sedate them.

Of course the problem I see is that you may need to go through another cycle... Try to at least keep the biological filter media in a container of aquarium water...

You can't rush. If you start the tank with plants then they will assimilate some of the ammonia, making the 'cycle' much more painless.

I would suggest you find out your local tap water ph before you decide on fish... If you have hard water you will struggle for the rest of your life trying to keep the ph at 6.

Byron 09-08-2010 11:11 PM

I second redchigh's points.

If you can get the store to take all the fish at the start, you will have time to set the tank up properly and not be rushed, much better. Once it is placed on the stand, it is good to put in the substrate, plant it if you have plants, fill it with water and use a good conditioner (or the bacteria will be killed), get the filter and heater running. Leave it overnight to ensure there are no leaks and the equipment is working, and the heater is keeping the water at the correct temp. Prime is a good conditioner in new setups as it detoxifies ammonia and nitrite as well as chlorine and chloramine.

When you do add fish, I would use a bacteria supplement. Seachem's Stability and Tetra's SafeStart are both 100% live bacteria that will seed the tank and get the nitrifying bacteria going. In heavily planted tanks this is not necessary, but I always use one of these to be safe if there are few or no plants.

aunt kymmie 09-08-2010 11:52 PM

Nothing to add to the above posts, as they are very informative, as expected. ;-)
I just wanted to welcome you to TFK, and that we are glad you joined us!

tanker 09-09-2010 12:30 AM

I'd definitely get your plants now. It is so much easier planting when the tank is empty than it is after you've filled it.

Also if the store that is taking the fish has told you to separate them, I'd do what they say, just to keep them happy.

Peanut72 09-09-2010 07:37 AM

Thanks for all the advice. I will be taking the fish to the store and let them have them all since its not the direction I want to go in. I am looking to set up more of a community tank and from what I can tell those wont really play well with others. I will probably go ahead and pickup some plants while I am there. I am also going to stop by the water place and see if they can give me a report of whats in our water. They send them out periodically, so Im sure they will have something there.

As soon as the little one is finished with his waffle, he is off to the sitter and Im off to get his tank. I call it his since he loves "ishies" but its just as much for daddy. I will let you guys know how it goes once Im back and its set up.


Peanut72 09-10-2010 11:54 AM

Well,I got the tank home ok and the fish all made it. They were a little stressed, but they made the journey. I went ahead and took them to the store and they gave me $25 store credit for them. NOt sure if that was a great deal or not, but its 25 bucks and I didnt want the fish as they wouldnt fit in with what I have in mind. Heres what they were:

-1 large Oscar dark colored with red stripes. really nice fish and hated to get rid of it. This guy had the hardest time, he was stressed and had some places on his sides where he got rubbed. Wasnt real active when they put him in the tank.
-1med sized albino Oscar that was mostly white with some orange in it i think it was
-1 med sized Oscar, i forge the color
-1 Cichlid that was blue, I think they called it a Cobalt?? Whatever it was they freaked out over it as if they rarely see any
-1 pleco
-1 something or other Koi. I dont really remember the name he gave it
-3 goldfish that he reluctantly took

I got everything all cleaned and set back up and filled. I put in some Tetra Aqua Safe with Bio Extracts, recommended by the store, to get it started. It came with an Emperor 400 filter and put in new filters. Are the media containers supposed to have anything in them? It came with a carton of activated charcoal and a carton of AMMO-CHIPS. Should I put either/both of these in the containers? I would figure the activated charcoal, but not sure what to do with the chips. Also the filter looks like it was supposed to have the bio wheels, but I dont have them. Should I look at replacing those? I ended up getting a bunch of different chemicals and what not and even a master test kit. I havent really looked much at any of that stuff just yet, but will probably play with it this evening or tomorrow.

The heater is a real piece. I have no idea how to control the temp other than constant guessing until the temp gets stable and adjust from there. It just has on knob that has an arrow and "increase" and "decrease." Not very user friendly, but I guess I will figure it out.

Its gonna be a few days before I can get any fish in it. Working a double today, on again Saturday and Sunday and the store is closed Monday and Tuesday. So it looks like Wednesday before I can get any fish in it. Should I go ahead and feed the tank and let the cycle get started or just wait till I can get the fish? I will try to get some pics up one day this weekend between work, but not sure when that will happen. I woke up a couple of times last night worrying about it leaking on the hardwood. I checked it after it was filled, but was worried with it being a used tank that it may have a leak. This morning all looked good. Seems like there were a couple of other points I wanted to cover, but they just wont come to me right now. Soooo, I guess I will have to check back later when I get home.


Byron 09-11-2010 11:05 AM

Sounds like you're heading in the right direction Todd. On the filter, yes, use the inserts. The carbon will assist in clearing the water (useful in new tanks) and removing substances. Eventually it will give out and need to be replaced, but if you intend live plants don't replace it, as carbon also removes important nutrients. In this case, just leave it, it will do no harm and function as just another "strainer." The Ammo chips are OK, they absorb/convert ammonia. Again, if plants are intended, these can be removed later or not replaced. Live plants will assimilate the ammonia/ammonium along with the bacteria and be better long-term.

Don't use the biological supplement (Tetra SafeStart) until you add the first fish. This is live bacteria intended to "seed" the tank to quick-start the colonization of bacteria, but without food (ammonia and nitrite) the bacteria can't last beyond a few hours.

I think plants were mentioned previously, so add some as soon as you can. Live plants plus the SafeStart when a few fish are put in will mean no "cycle" to speak of. What fish are you intending? Some are better than others in a new tank, not only because of the "cycling" issue but the biological balance itself. There are many fish that need a balanced tank or they seldom last. I can probably advise when you indicate which fish are planned. Also, what are your water parameters (tap water)--pH and hardness. Your water board should be stable to tell you this, maybe on their website even.


Peanut72 09-11-2010 04:00 PM

So the tank has been running for about 36 hours or so. I already added the SafeStart per the lfs advise. the water was kind of cloudy last night when I got home. I tested the water and came up with the following:

pH - 7.6, kind of high right?
ammonia - 0
nitrites - 0
nitrates - 5 ppm

now some of this may have been error because I did use the only tube that came with the kit. I know, I need to get more. I did rinse it out well under running water then again with tank water prior to each test. The water was quite cloudy today so I took a water sample to the store today and had them test it and the only thing he commented on was pH and he got between 7.6 and 7.8. and he also said the ammonia was around 5. Now I think I forsee some problems in the future because how I want to stock I dont think will work with this pH. He suggested I get some pH decreaser and give that a shot, but I have read multiple times about chasing pH around with this stuff. I am wanting to so some of the following once the tank is a little more established. Not 100% sure how I will start out.

-one pair of angel fish
-a few gourami
-a few tiger barbs
-thinking of starting with a few tetras to get things going and then adding others as time goes by and things start to look better. they have a community tank set up with these and other fish in it and it looks great. I do need to change some of the decor of my current tank. Has a castle and dragon and fake plants. I want to do more of a rock and driftwood setup eventually.

i asked about adding plants at the store and he said to wait until the tank is established or they wont thrive. i do want to add some live plants but unsure of how many and what kind. Any suggestions there?

So I filed the media containers with charcoal, but left the ammo chips out. Partly unsure how to use them and partly because I forgot about them. I put in the pH decreaser and had to run to work. I will give it another test when I get home tonight and see what it looks like. I will pick up the bio wheels for the filter and get those in soon. more updates to come.


redchigh 09-11-2010 04:31 PM

Tiger barbs are nice fish, but they fit in a species tank, not a community.

They're infamous for nipping the fins of other fishes. In a species tank they'll 'nip', but it's more like a game of tag... No permenant damage is done. Angelfishes on the other hand will lose entire fins.

Your ph is a bit high. I would aim for livebearers (guppies, platies, mollies, swordtais, also good for "first fish"), danio and danio relatives,
(Celestial Pearl Danio) and some dwarf cichlids...

Angelfish might work if they are captive bred, but it's unknown how well they REALLY adjust. (tetras are from south america, rainforest creeks and lakes with a low ph.)

Gouramis would work well, but you usually don't want more than one male in a tank. Some Gouramis may be the exception to this rule, but if you can't find research that says otherwise, assume males are agressive towards their own species.

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