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Hello,

I have a new tank that I added fish to a week ago, and I think I've mucked up and now I'm not sure what to do.

The tank is a 20 gallon tall; I got it just over a month ago, set it up with plants, filter / heater, water conditioner and quick start. I left it to run for a few weeks then tested the parameters and everything looked fine, so last week I added three platy fish - I was thinking maybe nine in total and some amano shrimps, but I didn't want to add them all at once.

I thought they were one male and two females, but now I'm pretty sure it's two males and a female. I know this isn't good - one of the males insistently chases the female, and the other male spends all his time hiding at the bottom. I want to get more females to balance the tank out, but a couple of days ago I saw the female rubbing her sides against decor (glancing?).

I only saw her do it once, and I can't see any ich, but I checked the water and the ammonia is at 0.25 instead of 0. I tried to bring it down, but it's back at 0.25 and it doesn't seem to be budging. I can't tell if their gills are red - maybe a bit? I'm not sure. All three are eating fine and come to the surface when I feed them, and no one seems to have trouble breathing, but I'm still worried that I didn't cycle the tank properly.

Is it ok to leave it at just these three until the ammonia comes back down? The male that hides doesn't seem happy and the poor female gets a lot of attention, but I'm scared to add more fish while the water isn't perfect.

Also, any tips for the plants / tank layout would be much appreciated - I know it doesn't look great, I'm new to fish keeping and wasn't really sure what I was doing when I put everything in! The wood is fake because I thought it would be easier than driftwood, and the plants are anubias, java fern, and crypts (I'm not sure what kind, sorry). I have about 1 inch gravel at the bottom, and I'm not using any fertilisers or anything like that.
 

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Hello Em...

The most important thing is to clean up the water and establish a stable water chemistry. You're doing a fish in cycle, which is fine. What you should do is remove and replace a third of the tank water a couple of times a week for the next three weeks. This will keep the water chemistry in the safe zone for your fish and grow the good bacteria. Feed the fish a little variety every day or two. After three weeks, the bacteria should be established. You should then start changing half the water weekly for as long as you keep the fish. This will remove any toxins from the fish waste before there's time for them to build up and injure the fish. If you decide to add a few fish later, you can. Just increase the amount of the weekly water change.

M
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hi M,

Thank you for this! I'll do the water changes as you suggest and keep an eye on them. Is there anything I can do to make them happier about being too many males in the group, or is that something that will settle down as they get used to each other?
 

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I generally use much more plants then your tank. And only use 1 male platy initially. I also found out that if I feed that platy the first week it dies on the 5 the day. But survives when no food is added that first week. (see link in my signature).

Best tank ever and hope they all survive.

still that's must my .02
 

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Hello again...

Good question. Yes, you can calm the fish by putting in some floating plants. A well planted surface area will provide hiding places for the fish and they feel more comfortable. The more plants, the better.

M
 

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I'm a firm believer in Bio-Spira. It can drop ammonia overnight and I add it all five of my aquariums every couple weeks. I add Leaf Zone at the same time but I still have problems keeping my plants healthy.

Even in a healthy aquarium you occasionally lose a fish. My Red Wags have done very well and I occasionally put a female in my nursery. I now have Red Wags in two tanks. Anyway, I hadn't bought any fish for a couple months so I stopped at a store and bought about 20 that included 5 Gold Platys. Of all those fish, I lost one Gourami and all 5 platys. Go figure!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thank you for all the links advice! I'll keep my fingers crossed and keep doing water changes for the tank, and I can get them some more plants at the weekend - I hadn't thought of floating plants but I can definitely give them a go!

I've cut back on feeding them as well - though when I turned the light on this morning they all came up for food, I felt bad not giving them any! I know that fish can survive on a lot less than we normally give them though, so I'll try feeding them only ever couple of days until the tank's happier.

And Den Socling, sorry to hear about your gourami and platys! I've had a betta before but this is my first big tank (if a 20 gallon counts as big) and I really hope it goes well for the fish n_n

I'll keep you updated!
 

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Emma, Two of three gouramis are doing well. They are Dwarf Gouramis which are very beautiful. Losing one wasn't a big deal but the Platys was disturbing.
 
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