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My daughter loves fish, so for her birthday we decided to dive in and get a 20 gal tank for her. My husband works with a guy who sells fish, so I let them handle all the details. Well, now I have fish freaking me out, and the only one I actually know what it's called is the bristle nose pleco. We have 4 fish he called orange glo barbs, but they're actually yellow, and 2 that he said are "variatus" which I've found no information on at all. When he delivered the fish he tested the water, added some chemical to fix the ph, and let the fish in. I did a partial water change 2 days ago, which a gravel vacuum that did not work. Since then the water has been cloudy. Last night there was white stuff floating at the top of the tank. I scooped it out with a net. Today they've all been staying towards the top, one of the yellow ones keeps "playing dead" floating to the top, then floating down or doing back flips. The pleco was even going to the top, but for the most part has stayed on the same part of the wall since yesterday. The guy we got the fish from "may or may not" come by and I'm worried about them.
 

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Hello Casssch! Welcome to TFK! We're glad you joined us.

First of all having a high PH is not a bad thing, mine is always at 8. It's when we try to change the PH and it always finds its way back to its "normal range" so it's the swings in PH that are the problem. Since you are adding more tap water regularly it's best to learn to work with your water.
2nd. I'm assuming this all happened very recently? So the tank is brand new? You will need to get thru the Cycle process which can take from 6-8 weeks. Here is a link to read up on this process.
http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/...inners-guide-freshwater-aquarium-cycle-38617/
In the mean time you will need to do extra water changes to dilute down any spikes in Ammonia or NitriIte until you are thru to NitrAtes. You are eventually looking for NitrAte numbers of .20 or lower.

Also try to get an API Freshwater Testing kit as soon as your budget will allow. Test and know your tap water too! If your tap has Ammonia then you can't expect numbers to drop when we keep adding it. Live plants will really help this situation as live plants take up Ammonia in their processes. Also any water change needs the same temp water, get a thermometer and de-chlorinator. Prime is excellent, you use a tiny amount (1 cap does 50 gallons) and it can be used to neutralize Ammonia and NitrIte while cycling too.

Your goal right now is to get thru the cycling process without any fish deaths. This is a common problem and we are all here to help.

Also what type of filter are you using? and what are the component inside? Make sure that the "output" breaks the water surface. Fish gasping at the surface is a sign that there is not enough surface agitation. You will also see a film when this happens too. Sorry I can't help with the cloudy water tho. Can't say I've ever experienced that. That sounds like filter to me but I could be way off.
Keep us posted on your progress and purchases.
 

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Welcome to the forum.... although it would have been nicer had you not had such a problem to deal with right off the bat.

My daughter loves fish, so for her birthday we decided to dive in and get a 20 gal tank for her. My husband works with a guy who sells fish, so I let them handle all the details. Well, now I have fish freaking me out, and the only one I actually know what it's called is the bristle nose pleco. We have 4 fish he called orange glo barbs, but they're actually yellow, and 2 that he said are "variatus" which I've found no information on at all. When he delivered the fish he tested the water, added some chemical to fix the ph, and let the fish in. I did a partial water change 2 days ago, which a gravel vacuum that did not work. Since then the water has been cloudy. Last night there was white stuff floating at the top of the tank. I scooped it out with a net. Today they've all been staying towards the top, one of the yellow ones keeps "playing dead" floating to the top, then floating down or doing back flips. The pleco was even going to the top, but for the most part has stayed on the same part of the wall since yesterday. The guy we got the fish from "may or may not" come by and I'm worried about them.

Can't find anything on the glow barb... other than the mention of glowing fish, sounds like a novelty bred fish. The variatus is probably a platy .

If you can send pictures of the fish, someone here will be able to ID them.

The cloudy water, on it's own, is likely nothing to be concerned about as it may just be a symptom of everything else going on in the water. Bacterial bloom, unsettled or new gravel/sand.

For the Ich treatment, read this thread. It says more than I can about the topic... you may want to skip the salt with the Bristlenose, I think they are sensitive to it. Raising the temperature is the largest factor for clearing it out of the tank.

When you change your water (if you can do it daily that would be good right now) use a treatment like Prime as it will render the ammonia non-toxic for a day or two. With no plants the water aeration (filter making ripples, bubbler) will help. Don't bother with the pH adjustor stuff.

If you don't have a water test kit of your own get the API freshwater master kit as this will let you check your own Ammonia, Nitrites, Nitrates and pH. Also get the water supply data (call the water company or get it online) so you can get the hardness level as this can affect what fish you will be successful with... this should have already been done but many fish sellers just want to get you buying.

If you can get over this part, touch base here before adding anything else to the tank fish-wise. There are more considerations than just what anyone at a store will tell you.

Jeff.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
We go the tank and filter from Walmart in a starter set. It says Aqua Culture and it looks like the filter is Tetra. The other 2 look similar to the platy, I'll try to get a good picture of them. The tank has been set up about 2.5 weeks and fish were put in 2 days after it was set up, against my better judgement. The only plants I have are "lily bulbs" my dad picked up for my daughter, but I haven't put them in yet. This guy has my husband convinced all plants are bad simply because they'll bring in snails? My dad did help me set up some bubbles in the tank and that helped all the fish some, the bristle nose the most. I was told (by the same fish guy) not to change the water today with the Ick, but to wait until tomorrow. I had already planned on changing it today when I got the new gravel vacuum (the one I currently have I can't get to work). He did raise the temp on the heater and added meds for the Ick. We have one more fish ordered, but it will be at least a month before we get it.
 

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We go the tank and filter from Walmart in a starter set. It says Aqua Culture and it looks like the filter is Tetra. The other 2 look similar to the platy, I'll try to get a good picture of them. The tank has been set up about 2.5 weeks and fish were put in 2 days after it was set up, against my better judgement. The only plants I have are "lily bulbs" my dad picked up for my daughter, but I haven't put them in yet. This guy has my husband convinced all plants are bad simply because they'll bring in snails? My dad did help me set up some bubbles in the tank and that helped all the fish some, the bristle nose the most. I was told (by the same fish guy) not to change the water today with the Ick, but to wait until tomorrow. I had already planned on changing it today when I got the new gravel vacuum (the one I currently have I can't get to work). He did raise the temp on the heater and added meds for the Ick. We have one more fish ordered, but it will be at least a month before we get it.
Bringing in snails is not bad. Overfeeding that promotes the snail population growing out of hand is. I have four tiger snails, great cleaners, Malaysian Trumpet snails, dig in the sand to keep things moving and our favourites, the pond snails that came with some plants. I think we might have five of those by now. The fish eat the snail eggs so not many actually show up. They all help keep things cleaned up, algae and excess food eating. I wouldn't have a tank without at least those.

Plants provide so many benefits to an aquarium. They consume CO2 and produce O2 which replaces the need for the bubblers. They consume ammonia without producing nitrites or nitrates thereby short circuiting the whole nitrogen cycle. They can consume nitrites and nitrates as well. There are more but those are the main ones.

The kit light will not be plant friendly. You can change the bulbs for ones that are rated between 6,000 and 7,000 kelvin, the colour temperature best for plants. These will let you grow most plants well. The lily bulbs will be a while growing so you might want to pick up some floating plants or fast growing stems, dwarf hygrophila are my favourite.

Changing the water is seldom going to cause a problem, particularly if your fish are comfortable in the source water parameters. One thing to note, if your water is treated with chloramine instead of chlorine, using prime will produce more ammonia initially (I won't get all chemical here) but it renders it non-toxic at the same time. Normally the plants or bacteria look after this quickly unless you have not cycled or planted the tank so it is important to keep treating the tank with prime until the cycle is complete or enough plants are added to take up the ammonia.

What's the new fish?

Jeff.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
It looks like my budget will allow me to get that test kit now, I was thinking it'd be way more expensive! I need to order algae wafers for the bristle nose anyway. I wasn't aware until finding this site s/he needed/would like them. The poor thing is probably starving. I'm not sure where to get more/different plants. The new fish I believe is a red velvet swordtail. I'm feeling stupid not being involved in this from the beginning.
 

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Awww not to worry Cass. You are here now!! And willing to learn and follow advice.
 

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It looks like my budget will allow me to get that test kit now, I was thinking it'd be way more expensive! I need to order algae wafers for the bristle nose anyway. I wasn't aware until finding this site s/he needed/would like them. The poor thing is probably starving. I'm not sure where to get more/different plants. The new fish I believe is a red velvet swordtail. I'm feeling stupid not being involved in this from the beginning.
Hey, you're getting involved to get things going right... could be worse.

For the pleco, I think that you could blanch some zuchini or other veggies. I think that they would go for that while you wait for your wafers. They should have driftwood to chew on too... I'm not certain exactly why but it is recommended.

Swordtail. What is it with livebearers? Nice coloured fish and all but the hassle of livebearers constantly reproducing... just not my thing I guess. So many times a new tank has livebearers as if it is the standby fish of choice by sellers.

Jeff.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
It looks like we'll for sure be losing one of the yellow fish, and likely the other 3 as well, if I were to make a guess. I'm not sure on the other 2, they're pretty lethargic. The bristle nose is still hiding so I'm not sure how he's doing. :(
 

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Cass, welcome to the world of fishkeeping! We have almost all been in your shoes, so dont feel bad. You are learning and trying to fix what may have went wrong. The good thing i can see is that you have a heater. And you care. You cant go wrong there. Just keep at it amd eventually your fish will have a lovely home :)
 

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Discussion Starter #16
jentralala - I think they are the genetically modified albino tiger barbs. We did lose one of them. :(
 

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The API Liquid Test kit is $20 on Amazon and it's what most of us use. Or if you need more supplies check out Drs. Foster and Smith, I LOVE them. (I sound like a salesperson, sorry!) Really good prices for the most part as well. I just have a thing about buying all my stuff at the same place, lol.
 

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My testing kit came a day early, yay! Ph is 8.2, ammonia and nitrites are both at .5, nitrates are 0. So far we've lost 2 of the globarbs, and I have doubts on a 3rd one surviving. The fourth one I believe will survive. The other two fish have good and bad hours, so I'm hoping they'll pull through. I'm also not sure how the pleco is doing as he is hiding the majority of the time. I did put an algae wafer in for him last night and it looks like he might have ate half.
 
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