Tropical Fish Keeping banner

1 - 20 of 37 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
80 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello. I am called Fay, and I have not had an aquarium since I moved to Vermont about a decade ago. I just picked up a used set up and have my first 4 Vermont fish. It's an older 20 gallon glass tank, and I am still setting it up. Filter systems is ordered, new substrate is ordered, fish are surviving basically so far. It's freshwater, and I'm trying to keep it very minimal care. I currently have a swordtail, a platy, and a male and female betta. They seem fine with no air/water flow so far, but hopefully my filtering system will be here by next week. I joined here because I have destroyed the bettas fins with the substrate the tank came with (I think), but I will ask for help in the appropriate forum for that.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
9,804 Posts
Hello and welcome to the forum :wave:

You'll hear it on the bettafish side of the forum but I will point out here as well that a male and female betta should not be housed together unless they are breeding and they need to be conditioned first before that happens.

Same with two males - they will fight to the death. I'm guessing that their fins are being destroyed by each other and not substrate.

Can you rehome the female? Male bettas can be housed with other fish in the right conditions but females do best in a sorority with lots and lots of hiding spaces.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
80 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Hello and welcome to the forum :wave:

You'll hear it on the bettafish side of the forum but I will point out here as well that a male and female betta should not be housed together unless they are breeding and they need to be conditioned first before that happens.

Same with two males - they will fight to the death. I'm guessing that their fins are being destroyed by each other and not substrate.

Can you rehome the female? Male bettas can be housed with other fish in the right conditions but females do best in a sorority with lots and lots of hiding spaces.
Thanks! Yes, I got that response in the betta forum! I have since separated out the male, as he is also in need of some serious nursing skills now. The female seems fine with the swordtail and platy (she ignores them and stays on the opposite side of the tank from them). I feel bad for the male, but I am not sure he will even live at this point. I am going to put a piece of live plant in the breeding trap I now have him separated into (still sharing the same tank water, just can't physically make contact with the other fish, and it has no sharp edges to further damage his fins). If he lives, I'll come up with a better long term solution over the next week, as the breeder box is admittedly too small to house him for very long (not that his quality of life can get much worse, as torn up as he is). I do plan to add more live plants, and some more decor (a cave thingie perhaps, or some rock shelfs) to create better shelter for the female betta.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
80 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
The bettas are both dead. The swordtail and the platy are fine. I think it's just that the water temperature was too cold for the bettas. Sad, but I realized I'd rather have fancy guppies anyway. There is just no way to keep water warm enough for bettas without a heater in the tank. I believe guppies do better in the colder water temps, so once I get my tank fully cycled and the filter going, I will replace the ill-fated frozen bettas with fancy guppies. I think that will be a much happier and better suited tank population. Plus, I love guppies. They are such friendly little fish. On the bright side, my swordtail and platy are practically invincible, imo.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
80 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
liveaquaria.com?

Has anyone in New England ever ordered live fish from liveaquaria.com? They don't really have the really nice guppies in the only local pet store in my area. I really like the black and red guppies live aquaria sells, but I am concerned that fish wont survive being shipped from California to Vermont, no matter how rushed it is. I order my cat supplies from their sister company Foster&Smith, and have always been extremely satisfied with their service and products. If this is not possible, does anyone know of an aquarium to mail order live fish from on the East Coast or in New England?
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
9,804 Posts
To get back to the topic of water temperature for a bit. Is there any reason why you don't want to put a heater in the tank? That would open up all sorts of possibilities for you. Especially here in the Northeast. There's no way I could get away without heaters in every tank unless I want to keep the heat jacked up to 78 or 80 degrees.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
80 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
To get back to the topic of water temperature for a bit. Is there any reason why you don't want to put a heater in the tank? That would open up all sorts of possibilities for you. Especially here in the Northeast. There's no way I could get away without heaters in every tank unless I want to keep the heat jacked up to 78 or 80 degrees.
Heaters run too much electricity. I refuse to run anything that requires more than 25 watts unless it's a refrigerator or stove. Most of my house is now adapted to 6watt led bulbs, and my power bill is under $40 a month (sometimes under $30). I do not use any lights until after dark, and then I only run one 8 watt max light at a time in the entire house (except the bathroom, which the landlord changed to a type of fixture that can't be changed to led, so that's a full power guzzling 30 watts when I have to shower at night - annoying). I already am running a 3 watt skimmer (periodic) and a 5 watt filter (always on). I can't waste any more electricity on this aquarium. So long as it's over 65 degrees outside, I refuse to run any heaters. When fall hits, I'll add a 25 watt tank heater. It wont bring the tank to tropical level, but it should keep it above 65 at 15 gallons (the house is heated, it's usually over 60 degrees inside all winter). Since I wont be running any fans or A/C in the fall/winter, I can rationalize the extra expenditure for the tank heater, but while it's summer, I do need to run a fan in the room I am in, so a heater is way too much wasting of electricity.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
9,804 Posts
If you're going all guppy, they can probably "survive" in those temp ranges but it's not optimal for the best health of the fish. A good temp. range for a guppy is anywhere from 72 - 82F.

Goldfish are the only fish I can think of that can tolerate temps of 65F. And a 20 gallon could house 1 but would need much better filtration since they are messy and that brings us back to your issue of using too much electricity.

A 25w heater will work in a 2.5 gallon setup and possibly a 5 gallon with a warm room temperature. And those tanks are too small to leave you with many options other than a single male or female betta.

Not trying to rain on your parade here, just don't want you to fail :(
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
933 Posts
Hey! Welcome to New England! :-D

Actually Romad, even fancy goldfish require tropical temperatures, 76-78* to be exact. Comets and Commons would be the only thing that would survive coldwater.

But honestly, if you want to keep any sort of fish actually alive and healthy, you'll need a heater.

It's kind of like if you went up into the cold north of Canada and all you were given was a light spring jacket, eventually your metabolism will slow down and you'll die from the frost. That's what you'll subject your fish to if you don't get a heater, they really don't cost that much electricity. Down here I can get away with no heaters for the summer time but once Fall hits, your fish will freeze to death.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
80 Posts
Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Hey! Welcome to New England! :-D

Actually Romad, even fancy goldfish require tropical temperatures, 76-78* to be exact. Comets and Commons would be the only thing that would survive coldwater.

But honestly, if you want to keep any sort of fish actually alive and healthy, you'll need a heater.

It's kind of like if you went up into the cold north of Canada and all you were given was a light spring jacket, eventually your metabolism will slow down and you'll die from the frost. That's what you'll subject your fish to if you don't get a heater, they really don't cost that much electricity. Down here I can get away with no heaters for the summer time but once Fall hits, your fish will freeze to death.
Yes, I plan to add a heater in the fall. Do you know of any really good 25 watt or under heaters that might keep a 15 gallon tank warm enough for swordtails, platies, and guppies? That failing, what is the lowest wattage heater you would recommend for 15 gallons? Please provide name brands and model number/names if possible, as I am actively shopping/buying based on recommendations. I found one by Cobalt Aquatics called the Neo-Therm. It gets really great reviews on amazon and petco and other online seller locations. They make a 25 and a 50 watt model, would I absolutely require the 50 watt model?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
933 Posts
Oh good to know. Ideally you really do want a 50W, even that is a little small for a 10 gallon so 100W is generally recommended but I think you can get away with a 50W if you get and adjustable heater. Always go for the adjustable ones so you can set it where you need to just in case; this is also good for if you get Ich in the tank (hopefully you don't but in case!) you can just bump the temperature up to 86-88*F and that will kill the Ich off easy! No medication required so it's much less stressful for the fish and your less apt to lose them in the long run.

I highly recommend the Hydor Theo in the link there. Not only is it on sale right now and shipping is cheap but it's the only heaters I own at the moment and I've owned a lot in the past. I've never once had one malfunction on me (except for a time that I was being stupid and I didn't realize that the heater I took out was still plugged it and I accidentally fried it lol whoops) not to say that they can't but I've just had real good experience with these heaters. Easy to adjust and smaller than most heaters which means you can hide them generally easier ^_^ I also just love that site; Drs. Foster and Smith, they generally have some really great deals that you can peruse through!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Phae

·
Reference Team
Joined
·
1,573 Posts
Heaters hardly bump my electric bill here and I run a dozen or so year round . A few months back I added a 225g to my collection running a new 43watt canister 300watt heater and a 36 watt sterilizer . There's been between $0- $5 change in my electric bill.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
133 Posts
Something makes me think the OP might keep her house really cold in the winter... and thus require an even stronger heater to keep from killing her fish.

Fay- at what temp do you keep your thermostat in the winter? What is the coldest it gets in your home?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
80 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Cool, thanks for the advice! I'll definitely get the 50 watts then, and hope for the best with the electric bill. Actually, I am looking to possibly move in November/December, and that apartment includes all utilities, so this may all be moot or not come winter!

I got new substrate and the filter today (the wrong substrate, but it's what they shipped, so it's what went in the tank). It's actually really pretty... except I had wanted black! Hopefully they will send me the black I ordered, since what they sent was cheaper stuff than I paid for (and wont be any good for the live plants). I've never had an issue with them before, this is my first bad experience with Foster&Smith. I'll let you know how they deal with my complaint. The little filter I got is really nice, much bigger and more powerful than I expected for the price.

This is the Carib-Sea Instant Aquarium in Kon Tiki. I had ordered the Carib-Sea Eco-Complete Plant Substrate in Coarse Black. It's not what I wanted, but it is rather pretty. It cleared out great, these photos are only 40 minutes after the fresh install into the dry tank. I suspect it will be sparkling clear by tomorrow morning.

The filter is the Rapids Mini Canister Filter, and I am really impressed at how not-mini it is, I was expecting something really seriously tiny and under-powered, but this is really a nice little filter, moving plenty of water around. I added a 1 inch layer of Marineland Diamond Blend Media and a layer of floss in addition to the prepacked carbon combo they included in the package (which seems to be where they saved all their money). It comes with fairly large ceramic/bio media as well which seems decent quality.



Oh good to know. Ideally you really do want a 50W, even that is a little small for a 10 gallon so 100W is generally recommended but I think you can get away with a 50W if you get and adjustable heater. Always go for the adjustable ones so you can set it where you need to just in case; this is also good for if you get Ich in the tank (hopefully you don't but in case!) you can just bump the temperature up to 86-88*F and that will kill the Ich off easy! No medication required so it's much less stressful for the fish and your less apt to lose them in the long run.

I highly recommend the Hydor Theo in the link there. Not only is it on sale right now and shipping is cheap but it's the only heaters I own at the moment and I've owned a lot in the past. I've never once had one malfunction on me (except for a time that I was being stupid and I didn't realize that the heater I took out was still plugged it and I accidentally fried it lol whoops) not to say that they can't but I've just had real good experience with these heaters. Easy to adjust and smaller than most heaters which means you can hide them generally easier ^_^ I also just love that site; Drs. Foster and Smith, they generally have some really great deals that you can peruse through!
 

Attachments

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
933 Posts
Why would it be bad for plants? "Plant" substrates are just as inert as gravel and sand are, they have a few minerals and the plants can sometimes adhere and root better but you still need to provide the necessary nutrients like root tabs and liquid ferts for the plants but otherwise yeah it looks good.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
80 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
When I am home during the day I keep it around 65-75 (75 is very hot to me, that's for about to shower or bathe time). At night I let it get colder, down to like 55, but mostly only in the room I am sleeping in (I open a window at night for fresh air), the fish would be in the kitchen, not the bedroom, I doubt it would get below 65 in there, even in middle of winter. When I am not home, I put the whole place down to about 65, the cats have nice full coats and can handle that temperature. Of course, I could stop doing that, they would also be fine with a balmy 70 when I'm not home, if that would better for the fish tank. I may be moving come winter, the new place I am hoping to get is all-inclusive, so I can crank the heat to 80 when I am not home and it wont change anything on my end cost-wise. I just hate being hot. My comfy temp is around 65. Anything above 72 is too hot for me. That's why I now live in Vermont, couldn't stand Tennessee weather! :p

Something makes me think the OP might keep her house really cold in the winter... and thus require an even stronger heater to keep from killing her fish.

Fay- at what temp do you keep your thermostat in the winter? What is the coldest it gets in your home?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
80 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
It's not "bad" it's just not the amazingly awesome plant substrate I ordered that got amazing reviews and was the black color I wanted. Win some lose some, eh? :|

Why would it be bad for plants? "Plant" substrates are just as inert as gravel and sand are, they have a few minerals and the plants can sometimes adhere and root better but you still need to provide the necessary nutrients like root tabs and liquid ferts for the plants but otherwise yeah it looks good.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
80 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
Why would it be bad for plants? "Plant" substrates are just as inert as gravel and sand are, they have a few minerals and the plants can sometimes adhere and root better but you still need to provide the necessary nutrients like root tabs and liquid ferts for the plants but otherwise yeah it looks good.
Actually, while on that topic, what plant fertilizers would you recommend? I have a low lighting situation, so I am only putting in plants that can handle low light. I had hoped a really good substrate would negate some of the bad of not having the greatest lighting. The tank is near a window that gets late afternoon/evening sun. I do realize that sun can encourage algae growth and it's not recommended to put tanks by windows, but this is really the only location in this tiny apartment currently. Plus it's on top of the fridge so the cats don't harass the fish.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
933 Posts
You can put up poster board or construction paper on the side and back that the sun hits it and that should help.

I recommend SeaChem's Flourish Comprehensive, that's a liquid fertilizer, I use twice a week for my higher planted tanks so once a week would work good for you once you get some more plants. Any root tabs will work, I actually use Jobes Plant sticks from Wal-mart in the garden section for regular house plants lol, I break the stick into three and push into the substrate, replace every 3 months or so.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Phae
1 - 20 of 37 Posts
Top