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FishyFable 01-28-2012 08:23 PM

'Inherited' a tank with fish, help?
Our friend's mother is no longer able to care for her fish tank and so we agreed to care for it (and allow her to come visit them). However we are not all that experienced with fish (we had a 20gal tank for a short time) and any suggestions/help/etc. is more than welcome.

She gave us no shortage of filters, food, plastic plants and other scenery, and water treaters. So far through the tank's move we haven't lost any of the fish (although we are constantly checking and paranoid... we really don't want to harm her fish) and it has been about a week now.

46 gal. Tank Occupants:
- 2 dalmation Mollies
- 2 catfish Cories
- 1 large Pleco
- 2 bloodfin tetras
- 2 fancy guppies
- 7 glofish (danios)
- 1 Cherry Barb
- 1 Amazon Puffer
- 1 misc. feeder fish (happened to get added to tank with some ghost shrimp)


- "Fable"

Byron 01-28-2012 08:32 PM

First off, welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum.:-D

Well, you have some stocking issues, not major, but I'll bypass those for the present and concentrate on making sure the fish survive the stress of the move and water differences.

Do yo have any test kits, and if so, which brand and what type (strips or liquid)? I'm especially interested in tests for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH. If you have, and you tested the tank water, what numbers did you get for any of these? And can you test the tap water for any of these too? I will assume the tap water will be much the same for you and your friend's mother, but I am asking just to ascertain the numbers as this can be important as you progress with water changes.

I'm assuming there are no live plants, and this is something I would strongly advise getting, even simple ones like floating plants. Knowing the light over the tank would help, if there is one; any data on this will benefit.

Chemicals are substances we never put into fish tanks unless there is a real need. Using a water conditioner for instance is a real need, to detoxify chlorine and chloramine in tap water. You mentioned various items, are there any additives/treatments etc? Listing them by name (including manufacturer) will help us advise which should or shouldn't be used, and when or why.


FishyFable 01-28-2012 08:38 PM

There is a fluorescent bulb that runs along the top of the tank and we have a heater with thermometers to keep track of the temperature.

The plants are fake, but it is pretty daunting taking care of so many fish much less plants as well, not sure how to approach that.

My husband and I have actually taken water samples to the local pet store twice now (including today) to have the water checked. So far there hasn't been anything bad...

- "Fable"

ladayen 01-28-2012 08:41 PM

Erm.. that puffer could be a big problem. I'm not familiar with a species called amazon puffer. What does it look like? You also mention large pleco, what size is it roughly? Large is kinda open to interpretation.

FishyFable 01-28-2012 08:47 PM

Oh, sorry about that, the pleco is only about 4 inches long.

The Amazon Puffer is currently about an inch in length and has black and gold stripes. He mostly seems to stick to one side of the tank but does move around with the other fish, especially when there is food. I have heard that they can harass and/or attack other fish, but he hasn't shown anything like that. ( I don't know if it is male or female)

ladayen 01-28-2012 08:52 PM

Hmm.. do those stripes look like 8's at all? It may be a figure 8 puffer. Unfortuantly the profile doesn't seem to have a picture with it.

4" for a pleco is fairly small actually. Some like Bristlenose Pleco only get up to 6", others like the common pleco can grow over 18"

FishyFable 01-28-2012 10:08 PM

I am so new to all of this, 4 inches seems big to me, but I'll try to be more clear in the future. : ) The puffer is an Asellus The Nice Puffer: Colomesus asellus, the South American Puffer, like the one in this link.

Here is the tank that we have.

ladayen 01-28-2012 11:15 PM

Oh wow those puffers are really neat :)

Back to what Byron mentioned, you're going to have to watch the water parameters using a test kit, and live plants would really help.

Byron 01-29-2012 01:07 PM

Yes, at this point my recommendation would be to buy a test kit. API make one called the Masters Combo, or some similar name; it has tests for pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate, and these are the ones you need during the first few months, and after the tank is stable then pH and nitrates are worth watching as these can be indicative of trouble that you would otherwise not see. This is the liquid kit (not test strips which are less reliable) and costs %$30-40 depending where you are and you might get it online cheaper.

Water quality is critical, and the first couple of months especially so. Live plants have the benefit of stabilizing water considerably; they assimilate ammonia/ammonium fast, which almost eliminates ammonia and nitrite poisoning, and work to keep nitrates very low. At this stage, some simple floating plants would work for you. The light sounds fine, a fluorescent tube, but you might consider getting a new tube. First, they don't last long, second the spectrum may not be the best for plants. This is not expensive, you can get daylight tubes at hardware and home improvement stores for a few dollars. You can also buy tubes in fish stores for considerably more, if that isn't an issue; Hagen's Life-Glo is one I highly recommend, or ZooMed's Ultra Sun. From the hardware store tubes like the Daylight by GE, Phillips or Sylvania are fine. These have a kelvin rating of 6500K which is what you look for.

To those fish, I'm going to leave stocking issues until we are certain the tank is establishing. These fish were together for a while, so leaving them should not pose too much of a problem, though in time i can see issues arising. The Puffer may be one of them; the pleco another (pleco are waste factories and this is going to impact your water). Tetra should be in groups of their own species or they can be stressed and that means more health issues than otherwise. But you don;t want to be adding fish. And some may have to go. That's down the road.

Oh, almost forgot. When you take water to a store for tests in future, ask them to give you the numbers; they can write them down. "Nothing bad" doesn't tell us anything useful. With the numbers we could ascertain just what is going on in the water, and know what to likely expect, good or bad. Not knowing the pH is scary. And, someone else's idea of what is or isn't bad may not be ours.


FishyFable 01-30-2012 11:44 AM

I'll look into some floating plants and adequate light, as well as the API liquid kit - I need to print this out ; )

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