Well, I considered myself a fairly intelligent person until I set up this aquarium......THEN read info on what I should have done.
I have a very bad feeling about this and will take any and all help I can get.
Background on my fish owning experience: I owned 2 bettas (in separate 1 gal. bowls) for about 1-1/2 years. The dog got them the other night much to the devastation of my children. (The irony is that they have been coexisting with numerous cats all of this time with no problem. The dog is a new addition to the family.) So, since we all have always wanted an aquarium I decided to get one. I bought an Aqua Culture kit and here is what we have:
A 20-40 Aqua Tech filtration system (external)
various decorations, hidey-holes, fake plants, and a "floating" fake plant that you anchor to one side.
I stopped by the pet store to get some tips on setting it up, to find out how long it needed to cycle before adding fish, to see what fish they had and see what would be compatible with a new betta. This was my first wrong move, the second was listening to her. She informed me there was no need to cycle the tank before adding fish, they would be "fine". I questioned in depth about this and was reassured numerous times. So, against my better judgment, I came home with fish (and you won't believe what I ended up with and all had her stamp of approval for compatibility):
1 male Betta
1 Parrotfish (his shape looked like a blood parrot, but his color was coral pink)
1 Angel fish
1 Red Tailed shark
1 spiney eel
She also sent me home with some marine salt (1 TBS per 5 gal). So, I set up the tank according to the directions, added the conditioner for the water (we have well water, but just in case) and used water tempered with hot from the tap to get the right temperature like the pet store lady said. Now I read that is a no-no. Then I added the fish per direction (let their bag float in tank to acclimate temperatures). The tank is currently running at 80 degrees. I don't know the ph and nitrate levels, etc, because I didn't do good research and listened to another idiot so I didn't know I needed that. I will go get a kit in the morning then I can tell you that information.
Now, I did all of this on Thurs. Last night I see that my eel has a nip taken out of his back and he was evicted from the hidey hole he had claimed by the parrot. Asked some folks on another site and was advised that my fish mix would not work and to get the parrot out and take him back. Did some more reading and discovered none of these guys were going to work together well. So, I called the pet store and told her I needed to bring some of them back. She agreed to an exchange but not a refund. Since the parrot was minorly expensive, it took quite a few fish to complete the exchange. Now I have a brand new tank with an entire population in it.
The spiney eel
2 Fancy Guppys
2 Balloon Mollies
2 Green Tiger Barbs
I KNOW this tank isn't ready for this, but I couldn't get my money back, so now what do I do?? Is there any way to keep from losing my new babies over this?
Also, the eel.......bless his heart. A white film like covering appeared around the area he was nipped on this morning. It is spreading at a horrifying rate. It is now about 1/4 an inch wide and most of the way down his body. I will post the best pic I could get. The white patch toward his tail is not a reflection, that is the size of it. Like I said, it has a slime like over film to it. You can actually see the raise of the "patch". Is this his own healing process or something I need to help him with or what? Also, since being evicted by the parrot, he won't go back into his "house". Should I move it to encourage him to go back in? He has taken to hanging out in corners and behind the filter hose. Will he eventually figure out it is safe? He also seems to be "off his feed" a bit. He ate voraciously when I first put him in on Thursday, but I haven't seen him eat at all today. I'm really worried about him.
Lastly, another site recommended certain veggies or nori for the Pleco since I don't have any algae build up yet. I put some nori in, but will he find it? It is currently kind of tangled in that floating plant. Is there a more strategic place/way to put it to make sure he eats? I noticed one of the mollies nibbling on it as well. Will this suffice for the others that like a little veggie (like the barbs)? I have been feeding flakes and dried blood worms twice a day. The florescent light is on maybe a total of 6 hours a day. That isn't continuous, it is in 1/2 to 1 hr intervals at a time. I know the light is important, but I also understand that the eel is not fond of it and with him not going into a hole..............and I read the Pleco doesn't care to feed in the light either. Everyone else seems to be eating and getting along ok so far. I am keeping a close eye on the barbs because I understand they might be a problem for the betta & angel with fin nipping. Oh, and lastly, all of my pairs are males because I didn't want any spawning.
I think that's it. Please help me minimize the damage as much as possible. I will never set foot in that store again because I trusted them and now I fear I am in a huge wreck and that my fish are at grave risk. Thanks for any help you can offer.