Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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SeeBee 06-14-2011 07:44 PM

Just started a 3 gallon aquarium any suggestions...
I just started a 3 gallon aquarium. It is a cheapo from Walmart. the Aqua 360 that has an aerator bottom gravel filtration system. (I know it really doesn't filter anything). I purchased some gravel, 3 plastic plants tall and 2 mediums, and a translucent plastic jelly sea amenity. So I went to pet-smart and an associate said that three female Betta would do well in it... big mistake. I should have known better. I put 2 in there and they fought I rescued them immediately! I took all three back in good shape. Then they said well try just one male crown tale Betta. So I did. He died the next morning. So I went to my local yokel pet store where I usually get my dog and kitty treats and they tested the water for me and the ph and ammonia was perfect for fish. They said that the male betta more than likely died because they prefer water that is still and is not aerated. By this time my little aquarium has had the water cycling for 3 days. They sent me home with 6 Danio zebra fish and they did well overnight. I returned to see if I could add some more fish for color. They suggested 2 more fish and that was it! so I purchased 2 cardinal tetras.

What is my limit here? Can I eventually add a mystery snail or bottom feeder. Can I have live plants in this little aquarium? I love the fish, this is soooo cool. I am an animal lover and I want the best for these little beauties!

ElectricBlueJackDempsey 06-14-2011 08:17 PM

6 Danios for a 3 gallon is already overstocked. Cardinal Tetras need to be in groups of 6 or more and shouldn't be kept in anything less then a 10 gallon. The best thing you could do for your fish is cycle a 10-20 gallon and move the fish to that tank. Live plants wouldn't be a bad idea either.

SeeBee 06-14-2011 09:04 PM

So is this just a cruel way to cycle this little tank?

Romad 06-15-2011 04:48 AM

Hi SeeBee,

Grrrrr to the local pet store who sold you that many fish for 3 gallons. Unless you plan on cycling a larger tank, you should bring them back. One or two to cycle would be plenty.

And they shouldn't be kept in there permanently because they are fast swimmers and will quickly outgrow 3 gallons.

After that, one betta would be ok in there. Good luck and welcome to TFK :wave:

SeeBee 06-16-2011 05:48 PM

lost the tetras... but the danios are doing good. some questions now...
:cry: I lost the tetras.... The Danios are still alive and well. The water is getting less cloudy. I dont have room to start a new tank right now. I am toying with the idea though. I am taking water to the petshop to have it tested this weekend. My new questions are:

how often and what percent of water should I change? the petshop said 10 to 30% a week

the new water I put in... should I treat it with the safe start or just add the tap water without treatment?

I am feeding the danios every three days, is that enough? they seem to be doing well...

I am really trying here. I want this to be successful. So far so good!

Romad 06-17-2011 06:37 AM

In a tank that small with 6 fish, you're going to have to do substantial water changes at least every other day. Personally, that would be more work than I'd want to do just to keep the fish alive because the tank is overstocked.

Yes, always add a good water conditioner to tap water before you add it to the tank. Seachem Prime is a great brand and in your case, will be beneficial to change the ammonia in your tank to ammonium for short periods of time.

I still think it would be best to return all of the danios except for one or two to help cycle the tank. After that, return the others to the fish store and get a singular fish like a showpiece male betta.

Byron 06-18-2011 11:06 AM

Hi SeeBee, and welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum.

Sad to say, some so-called pet stores have as their first goal selling fish and supplies. The best advice I can give is for you to thoroughly research before entering the store. The members here will not mislead you.

I completely agree that a 3g is not sufficient space for most of the "common" fish. And the cycling, which takes 2-8 weeks, will certainly negatively affect if not outright kill any fish.

My first suggestion is to return the Danio, they are not suitable for that small a tank and they are going to die, i can all but guarantee it.

Here's an article on cycling, it is one of the "stickies" as we call them at the head of each section of the forum:

This sticky on fish stocking might also be helpful:

For a 3 gallon tank, you have some options. First, a single fish like a male Betta. Live plants will greatly help. The water movement issue mentioned is important however, we could discuss this later. Second option, a group of very small "dwarf" fish, such as Ember Tetra, Dario dario (Scarlet Badis), Mosquito Rasbora and similar species. A group of 6-7 would be OK with some plants. You will note these names are shaded; that means we have a "Profile" on the species, and clicking on the shaded name will take you there.

Profiles are under the second tab from the left in the blue bar across the top of the page. You can browse these to get more ideas about fish. Minimum numbers for each species (shoaling fish need a group), water parameters (some fish adapt somewhat, others don't), and minimum tank size for the group are included in the profile.


Restricted Evidence 06-18-2011 05:33 PM

Your Feeding Question
Your supposed to feed them twice a day.

Byron 06-18-2011 05:57 PM

I missed the feeding question previously, sorry about that.:|

I know fish food manufacturers all seem to suggest several feedings daily, but except in the case of new fry, this is way too much. One feeding daily is more than enough, and missing a day now and then will do no harm. I never feed on water change days. Other days I feed once about an hour or two after the lights come on.

Fish that are healthy can go a week or even more without being fed prepared foods, though I would not advocate this schedule regularly, but during a vacation it is possible.

A hungy fish is a healthy fish. And the more food going into the tank, the higher the organics will be. In a new tank like this one, less feed is far better to avoid overpowering the bacteria. Some of our members suggest feeding alternate days for the first few weeks of a new tank.


SeeBee 06-18-2011 07:28 PM

the danios are back home!
The Danios are back to the pet shop! No worries on there condition they were happy and healthy.

I bought a banana plant (Nymplwides aquatica, and yes it is real I double checked online to see pics in comparison) to see how it will do in my room with just the blinds open during the day. I am not sure my little tank could handle a light just yet. I have read some other forums where folks have had these tanks and set them near windows with plants and they have done very well.

I am now stocked with 3 male guppies. They are doing well and do not seem to be stressed as far as I can tell. This is only day one so far. I bought some test strips (I know its not a master kit but I am a beginner) so I can check my water regularly. If my plant does well this week I will go back and buy a few more next weekend.

Thanks for all the help so far. :yourock: I think I am on the right track here.

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