new freshwater tank problems. need advice!
i joined this site in hopes of getting some good advice on my new tank.
I just got a new ten gallon tank (small, i know) and Im having alot of problems with my fish! some have died for unknown reasons and one now has fin rot. Part of it i think is the Place i am getting them frim (just your average petsmart) but I did a water test the other night and found out just how terrible Philadelphia water is. My ph was way low and the nitrates and nitrites were way up. I used to have tons of guppies as a kid but that was back in my home town with much better water. I have always used water conditioner and ammonia blocker but im not quite sure how to help my fish. I heard salt helps but i dont know if thats ok to use with all of the fish i have!!
guppies, mollies, zebra danios,neon tetras, and kuhli loaches. also an algea eater. Please help!Ive done bi-weekly water changes since ive gotten it but it doesnt seem to be helping, what should i do?
hi, we need more details:
what are the readings for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate in the tank? (from your post I'm confused whether u have a problem with your tap water? - what are the readings from your tap water?)
what species and numbers of fish do you have?
how long has the tank been running?
do u use a water conditioner, which one?
First off I would like to welcome you to TFK :-D From looking at the information that you have for your tank, it does look like you are overstocked. How many of each fish do you have. Also if your algae eater is a common pleco, it will get to be too big for your tank, they need to have at least a 75 gallon tank. Along with that they really add to the bioload of the tank. If you have not checked out the profiles on the fish yet you can find it at the top of the page second tab over. It is a great resource to finding out information on different fish along with their requirements.
As sik80 has said we will need to know more information to try to help. What type of test kit are you using? Also I would suggest at least doing weekly water changes to help keep the water clean, although depending on what the readings for ammonia and nitrites are it may need to be more frequently done until the tank has cycled.
Hi and welcome to TFK.
Are you familiar with the nitrogen cycle? It sounds like your tank is newly set up and is cycling. A new tank along with adding too many fish too soon can cause lots of problems. Here's an article on cycling a tank to get you started.
Welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum.
As the others have said, we need more info to be able to assist. Especially the water parameters, give us the tap water hardness and pH (this is crucial, you can get the hardness from you water supply people), and the level (if any) of ammonia, nitrite or nitrate in the tap water. Then the pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate of the tank water separately. This will let us see what is happening.
thanks so much everyone for getting back so quickly! I do think i might have over-stocked. I have about 15 fish total mostly the tetras. My algae eaters are the little chinese ones with the brown stripes. My ph was 5.5, my total alkalinity was 80ppm, my water is only slightly on the soft side according to my test strip. My nitrite was somewhere between 1 and 3 ppm, and my nitrate was at 40 ppm. This is all from my little test kit but I really need to do some more research on all this. I feel so bad for my fish! I need to get a text kit for ammonia today and ill get back to with it by tomorrow. I'm doing another 30% change today to try and keep it low.
First off written word can be difficult to express emotion, so what I will say is all in friendly advice for you. Starting in this hobby can be difficult when you first start off, especially if you do what I did with jumping in feet first, and then after start to learn that you have made some mistakes. But we all have been there :-) On the test kit I highly recommend that you invest in a liquid test kit like the one API makes, it is their master test kit which has tests for ammonia, nitrite, nitrates and ph. Most of the people here on the forum use it. It is more realiable than the dip stick tests, which do tend to be inaccurate. Nitrites and nitrates are high, definitly you will want to do water changes which will help. You want your readings on ammonia and nitrites to be 0, and nitrates 20 or under (but definitly a reading on the nitrates). If you have not already also test your water from the tap to see if you have any ammonia or nitrites that are present there.
If you have not read the profiles on the fish I would suggest that you do so, this will help alot in knowing what the fish you have or would be interested in getting what their requirements are. Such things like recommend tank size, type of water, if they need to be kept within groups, etc. You can find the tropical fish profiles at the top of the page second tab over. On the chinese algae eater you are going to more than likely run into problems, especially as they get older. It becomes aggressive towards other fish as it matures, and it is suggested in keeping them in a group of 5-6 in a larger tank. They have been known to eat the slime coat off of other fish. On the kuhli loach you want to keep them in a group of at least 5-6. With the molly and guppy they do better in water that is harder and slightly akline.
Chinese Algae Eaters
I don't have lots of good advice as my skill level is still fairly low, but I will address the algae eaters that you mentioned. If you have over-stocked the tank and need to thin the herd, you might want to make the algae eaters the first to go. I had two of them for a couple of years in a 29 gallon tank and swore to never again buy them. First, they only eat algae as young fish. Once they are mature, they are just tank hogs. Second, they did prey on the slime coat of my other fish. We're talking semi-aggressive fish here, and they just absolutely preyed on them! (Not eating them, but making them have trouble staying healthy.) My poor gouramis were terrorized by them, and I was constantly researching diseases and how to treat them.
I suspect that they can be interesting fish when you have the right set-up and know what you are doing, but they didn't make good neighbors for my fish. I hope that helps a little. :-)
wow! I had no idea! petsmart told me the algae eaters would just help with maintenance and keep my tank running smoothly. I've been doing water changes everyday and I'll definitely get the test kit you guys suggested. If this is a cycling problem, does that mean that if I keep up with the water changes and keep an eye on it it will start to get better? I'll test my home water asap after I get the better test kit. This was supposed to just be a fun happy thing and now I feel so guilty about my fish :(
There is a slight chance it could be a Siamese algae eater which is a much better community fish. They look pretty much the same, with the main difference being the mouth. Does it have a normal mouth or a sucker type mouth? If it's a sucker type mouth then it's the chinese one(which doesn't come from china lol.. and as mentioned before isn't a terribly great algae eater).
Let us know your readings, both from teh tank and the tap wter when you get back :)
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