50 Years behind
The more I shop around here and ask questions, the more I think this place is about 50 years behind the US.
I have been to two Fish stores and have been told they do not have any means to check ph, ammonia, nitrites or nitrates. They do now even have heaters in their tanks in the store and do not have them for sale. No thermometers either.
Of course, this is a tropical climate and few people have air conditioning so I can see where my water will probably stay within a few degrees of 75. I am not sure about the rest.
I was told last night it is okay to just use tap water to fill my tank straight from the tap. No need to age it or treat it. (I use distilled water for drinking that I buy from a dealer.)
When I was younger (I am 71 now.) we pretty much did the same thing except we were concerned about the water temp and aged it for a day or so before adding fish.
When I mention things I have learned here or in a book, I am told it is not important. It really doesn't make sense.
Maybe they are just that far behind though, the fish in the stores seem to be doing okay with it.
It is enough to confuse me.
Hey Ken, welcome to the forum btw.
Some of what you speak of might be like going to a LFS on the beach asking for sea salt and they just look outside at the ocean. You can't sell a heater if nobody needs or wants to buy one. Same for test kits and water conditioners. My 'tap' water comes from an untreated well, so I don't age or 'need' a conditioner.
Since you're in the tropics, you prolly won't find parkas or snow shovels either!
So in part, what they sell and what you need depends on where you're at.
I too remember days of old when we knew nothing of ammonia, nitrites and nitrates or cycling and such. Somehow my fish seemed to do well - go figure.
The sad part of al this is that I have lost 4 or 5 neons in the last 24 hours and have no idea if they were sick when I got them or if it was the water.
I bought 8 neons and 2 female guppies to add to a new 20 gallon tank that I also bought.
We spent the day yesterday setting up the 20 gallon tank. I had the new fish in the 5 gallon set up that I already had going. It was a bit crowded for a day. 3 of the neons died there and another one died when I moved them to the new tank.
The other fish there seem to be doing okay.
I did buy the neons from a tank that had some dead fish in it which I know it a no-no. My only lead so far is that they may had been sick when I bought them.
With no way to check temperature or the water quality, I can only assume it was sick fish.
The attitude here seems to be to just pass it off as the keeper just doesn't have any luck with that kind of fish. I have been told that about others who had fish die.
Maybne I will find some testing equipment for the water at the final store when I go there. It is in the opposite direction from the other ones in another town. It is also the last store I know of.
While your fish might have been sick it sounds like they were really stressed out. Living in the store tank with dead fish, being moved to completely new conditions (water quality and tank mates), being put in a 5 gallon which is too small for neons (even though I'm sure a day wouldn't hurt it added to the stress they already had), and then being put in the 20 gallon that wasn't cycled yet so there was definitely ammonia and possibly nitrite present which can kill fish easily especially if they're already stressed.
I agree completely with AbbeysDad about why the store doesn't carry heaters and things. If you really want one you could order once off the internet somewhere.
Anyway good luck with everything for here on out hopefully no more fish die. Just keep reading, take your time and have patience and everything will work out. Seems like you're going down the right path with all the reading you have been doing.
Later this morning I checked and the remaining fish seem to be doing fine. There are 3 neons left. They are in the 20 gallon tank.
There is no way to find out the levels so one does not know where in the cycle you are. The water is supposed to be free from everything that I am using as we buy it from a dealer. That doesn't mean it is true though. There are no guarantees.
I have one more Store to check before attempting an on line purchase which will take at least 3 weeks to get here IF I can find a dealer who will ship to the Philippines. All I have seen so far say they are sorry but they do not ship overseas.
It is a challenge right now and I know there is a way to do this without going through a lot of fish.
I now have 5 guppies and 3 neons in the 20 gallon tank. My wife added one while I was sleeping last night.
There are 5 guppies and 3 small goldfish in the 5 gallon. The goldfish will go when they get a bit larger. We have found an outdoor for them with some others.:-)
Since your 20g is a new tank setup, it would be some time with your stock before you would see an ammonia spike. Short of an API test kit, perhaps you can get a Seachem Ammonia Alert - they are inexpensive and pretty effective. In the event of an ammonia spike, be prepared to do a water change.
Just curious...did you use some gravel or filter material from the 5g tank to "bio-seed" the new 20g tank? (This is always the best way to start a new tank when you can because it gives the new system a 'jump start' in developing the beneficial bacteria colony.)
The fish may have been in poor health and may have been stressed further with the tank (water) changes. I always like to use a drip acclimation* and never add LFS water to my tank.
*for a drip acclimation, you get a bucket or pail for fish that's rinsed well (no soapy mop bucket!). Then use air line tubing and a valve and create a siphon from your main target tank. Adjust the drip so there's a gradual influx of your tank water into the bucket. Let it run until your convinced that a fair amount of your tank water has entered the bucket (uhm...don't let the bucket overflow!). Now, net the fish and transfer to your tank. Discard the water in the bucket. Top off your main tank with fresh water as/if necessary.
This allows your new guest to become slowly acclimated to your water just in case there are water chemistry differences. Typically, fish purchased in your local area are in water very similar to yours...but the water chemistry in different tanks can change for countless reasons so it's always best to slowly acclimate new stock to a new tank.
I never thought of that. There is one more store in the mall in Fairview. It is in the other direction from the others. They seemed to have everything the last time I was there a few years ago. We are going there tomorrow.
If that fails, I noticed there is a store somewhere in Manila that has the magnetic sponge for sale on line. Maybe I can get things from them if I can find them.
Right now things seem to be going okay for today. All the fish look happy and healthy. They are all eating and the remaining neons are in a small school.
It will be nice when things calm down and I can just do regular maintenance on the tanks and enjoy them.
I mentioned to my wife that the next step is a 50 gallon tank and she left for her friend's house for the night. ( I was joking and she goes there to calm down now and then. I was a scheduled trip.)
She is happy with the tanks we have. I can add fish and she will not say anything. I am only looking for things that are taken for granted in the States and hard to find here.
I do want to see what a Molly and a Platy look like. There may be a few of them show up in our tank.:-):-)
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