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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First off, hello I'm Jay, I'm new to the group and this is my first post. I have decided to get my very first aquarium set up and sorry but I am a genuine noob and I am learning on the go. I did a fair amount of research as I am someone that likes to know what I am getting myself into but there is no knowledge that will come from a book or website that is better then talking to ppl who have been doing it for a while which is why I am coming to you fine ppl. I picked up a tank on craigslist from a person who was moving and didn't want to haul his tank. I think I got a really good deal but unfortunately the sale came with an unexpected catch. The tank had fish he didn't want anymore and he had nowhere else to put them so I had to take them. He said since the tank was already established that this wouldn't be a problem. So wearily I took the tank and fish home after he emptied I would say about 80% of the water. Once I got home I setup the tank and immediately began to research the fish. Right away I knew the guy didn't have much of a clue since he couldn't even tell me the kind of fish he had. Once I was setup and turned on the light I realized some of the fish were in really bad shape. I'm assuming from keeping incompatible fish. After doing research I found out he gave me 2 silver dollar fish maybe 3 as a third one looks similar just smaller but not silvery he is white, not sure on his species yet, he also gave me a danio, he was really dark at first but after I setup the tank he lightened up and started to show his blue streaks. Also 2 algae Eater fish, and 3 snails. 2 are apple snails and the other is a blue snail. The 2 bigger silver dollar fish are in really bad shape. They have almost no fins, like if a fish was biting their fins and their scales that should be shiny are almost completely gone. Only have a couple shiny ones left. The tank is a 35 gallon hexagon tank, I have it on a fluval aquaclear powerfilter 70 gallon 200 gph, I have an eheim 200 watt adjustable temp heater, artificial plants and some hiding places. I know I have to get rid of silver dollars as the tank will be too small. I just want to keep the danio and the algae eaters and snails as a clean up crew if it's a good idea. What you you guys think?? Now. My questions are I don't know what to expect since I have never done this before when it comes to the nitrogen cycle. I filled up tank with dechlorinized water. I bought an api freshwater master test kit. On day 1 the pH was at 7.2, ammonia .25, nitrite 0, and nitrate 0. Today day 2, ph 7.8, ammonia .50, nitrite .25, nitrate 2.5 are my number reading okay and what can I expect? What should I look out for?? Any advice at all would really help and would be greatly appreciated. Sorry for the really long post.
 

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Well, good for you getting some knowledge first. And that testing kit is pretty good, but doesn't test hardness...if you can find out what your hardness is from your water company that will be good.


Now then, you need to do daily water changes. Use Seachem Prime to treat your water. It will neutralize the toxins and remove ammonia, for a time...it will of course come back with that many fish, especially the wrong kind for such a tank! It will help a great deal though, and makes it less toxic to the fish.


It's a bit touchy, but if you can find someone willing to take the silver dollars and care for them while in bad shape, you should do so. If not, I would suggest you try to get them into better shape before you get rid of them, which is going to be hard in such a small tank for them. It sounds like they have fin rot, not bites. The smaller one may be a young silver dollar, but it could also be some type of tetra or barb, there are a few with similar shapes, and who knows what color they would be with such poor care. Most of those fish aren't biters, but the silver dollars MIGHT be chewing on each other to run them off and get more space. Clean water will get it done, do 30% changes daily, if your ammonia rises instead of falls do 50% changes daily until it's settled. It's in a mini cycle right now. You want ammonia at zero, nitrites need to be zero as well, and nitrates are tolerable below 20ppm, but at this point with injured and poorly cared for fish, you want them as low as possible. If you can get your hands on some live plants, that will help bring the toxins down faster, especially if you get a bunch of stem plants. It's hard to get them to zero without live plants. Stem plants are easy and require little care and low light, you can also break them in half when long enough and replant the clippings to grow.


Now the other issue is you have a hexagon tank. That's the wrong kind of tank for danios or tetras, and especially for your silver dollars, poor things(that guy sucks, just thought I'd put that out there). Most tetras anyways...this being because they love space to zip around and swim and they require long tanks and larger groups. I would also suggest you get rid of the danio once he's doing better. The only tetra I can think of that would go in there ok is the Cardinal Tetra, they aren't as active and if the tank is at least 1.5-2 feet long it should be ok for a group of six or seven. Most fish like long over tall or funny shaped tanks though, so it'll take some looking to find fish that would be ok with it. Someone else will probably have much better ideas for you.


Now algae eaters...that's certainly an issue. Do you know what kind they are? If they're plecos you MUST find out what kind they are, the only kind that could fit in a small tank like that is Zebra Plecos, Otos, Rubber-lips and a few species that get no larger than four inches. Most species get much larger, and since the tank is a hexagon and not a long tank, if there's any more than 3-4 inches it's gonna be stressful for them. They also need long tanks or they get cramped and risk stunting.

If they're Chinese algae eaters...get rid of them right away. They will actually feed on your other fishes slime coats and eventually cause issues that kill them. Once they start, even with the right food put in for them, they still wont stop. If they are, this might be the cause of damage to the other fish.


So keeping the water clean and treated with a lot of testing to make sure things are settling down right, their fins should heal. You may want a light antibacterial medication in a week or so if things don't start looking better. If they do, you're probably fine.

FILTER! I hope you didn't change it out or wash it. Doing so kills the beneficial bacterial colonies that keep the tank cycled. There's actually very little of them in the substrate, the filter is the key to a healthy tank. Don't wash and change it very often, whenever you DO change your filter cartridge or sponge, be sure you put in a new one with the old for at least a week first so the colonies can move to them and make it home. If you just clean it all out or change the cartridges/sponges, you send the tank into a cycle and it could take several weeks to a few months to fix, during which time your fish will be attacked by the toxins in the water and could die. If they survive a full cycle, their immune systems are usually trashed for life.


I suggest you read around on here, find what you need. Ask specific questions so you get all that info on that one thing and don't get mixed up. =) You will learn! It's so good of you to do research. Bravo. Many are like the person who sold you the tank and don't care to even check things out.
 

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The tank is not cycled. A cycled tank should have 0 ammonia 0 nitrites and a nitrate reading. Once the nitrates are at 20, it's time for a water change to bring them down again.

Silver dollars are not good fish for this tank. They get much too large and are schooling fish. The Danio can happily live in this tank if you get him some friends. They prefer a school of 7+. The snails are going to get big, I would suggest only keeping one if they are true apple snails. The blue snail is most likely a Mystery snail and he's the one I'd keep. He won't get anywhere near as large. Can you post a photo of the smaller unidentified fish? Also, are the "algae eater fish" common pleco, ottos or Siamese algae eaters? Google those three fish and let us know.

I would suggest rehoming all of the fish and cycling your tank, then we can help you restock it to you likings. Do you know about the nitrogen cycle?

Welcome to the forum!
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hello guys, thanks for your input. After some more looking into I agree the little white one may be a tetra. The algae eater look like they may be albino ottos?? Not sure. Hope to post some pictures in a minute. Snails are definitely apple snails 2 anyway. And the 3rd agree is a mystery snail.

I originally wanted the tank for glofish danios for my 5 and 8 yr old daughters. Will this tank be okay for those fish?? If not defeats the whole purpose. :( the tank is 24 inches wide at its widest point in middle of tank and 12 inches across at shortest point which is directly up against one if its 6 sides. Will this do for danios?? How can I relocate my fish since I dont have any other tank and dont know anyone else that wants them?? Plan on getting a small quarantine tank but didnt planning on having fish for a couple weeks at least.

Yes I have researched the nitrogen cycle. Unfortunately I was prepared for a fishless tank and cycling the tank myself. When the guy told me he has been keeping fish for 2 yrs I went with what he said. I prepped the tank put em in and the 1st day the numbers looked good. But then I noticed they are on the rise which leads me to think its not cycled even with 20% of the water from the old tank.
 

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It's all about the filter, not the water. You can rehome fish by taking them to the local pet store or craigslist.
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I don't see why it wouldn't be. A standard 10 gallon is 20x10 and can house danios.
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Wow, those silver dollars ARE in bad shape. The smaller white one is a tetra. I am not sure about the algae eater, I can't say I've ever seen one like that.
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If you can't find an established tank to hold your fish , I would rely on daily water changes to keep the water livable while the cycling becomes stable. Usualy takes 3-4 weeks for me. I think 25% change will allow cycle to complete and keep ammonia/ nitrite from killing the fish. It is best to cycle with no fish but you may have a hard time rehoming your dollars till after they heal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Hi guys, thanks for comments and suggestions, keep them coming. Okay, so day 3. Ph is still on the rise. 8.0, ammonia rose to 1.0, nitrite rose to .50 and nitrate jumped to 5.0 from 2.5 how is my tank looking?? Normal?? Should I be worried?? I did a 25% water change today to drop some if the ammonia and nitrite. Should I do mire or is 25% okay?? On a side note I need a siphon. These damn buckets are killing me. What do you guys suggest?? I doubt everyone here is using the buckets like me.
 

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What are your readings now that the water change has been done? Any ammonia and nitrite readings are bad. Anything over 20 ppm of nitrate is bad. Do me a favor and fill a cup with tap water. Let it sit out for 24 hours and test the pH of the water. I'm thinking the pH rise is just due to the gas exchange/mini cycle in combination. Your pH goes all over the boards during a cycle.
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If your readings of ammomia and nitrite are the same tommorow, increase the amount of water you change. Gotta keep those down or its hurting the fish. Ph is not as important as your other readings right now
 

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If you've got an AquaClear power filter I've got media for you, and am located in Chicago, SW side just outside city limits in Evergreen Park. Good thing the day job is busy, went to bed early, early start, so I didn't hit tank maintenance last night. Feel free to send me a PM, I've got enough filter floss on hand to at least give the tank a serious jump start, if not eliminate the cycling issue. I usually just toss it, unless someone needs it for a newly set up tank, easily half a dozen tanks out of 20something I can pull it from.

Until then, 50% water changes at least every other day, triple dose Prime for the entire tank volume. Ignore pH, this will fluctuate in a cycling tank. If you're on Chicago's water supply your gH out of the tap will sit around 180, pH of 7.6.

There's lots of tricks for easy water changes, many depend on how close the tank is located to a faucet & drain. The local hardware store is your friend, if you're a bit handy there's plenty of time & back saving things you can do.
 

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Your smaller white fish is a white skirt tetra, and it's possible you have albino ottos, they look like ottos. =)

Now, your tank is cycling, so prepare for things to spike around as they're already doing. Since they're rising like that, I'd suggest you do two water changes per day, morning and evening of about 30%. See if that helps.

Secondly...danios absolutely cannot live in ten gallon tanks, that's pet shop advice of the worst kind! They need 20 gallon long tanks as an ABSOLUTE minimum, and that's still not even preferable to the fish. Danios -need- swimming space, they like to swim and are schoolers that need groups of six or more, a ten gallon can't even support one properly let alone a school. -Preferable- to the fish, healthy for the fish, would be a 30+ gallon -long- tank. Too many put the poor things, especially the glow ones, in these tiny tanks, but they will die and be unhappy...it's possible in THIS tank, but with the shape, again, really just wouldn't recommend it. You can get them if you really want to, it sounds like you'll do your best to care for them, but be ready for some issues, they may do just fine or they may not...

As for the apple snails, I'd also rehome them. Either them or the ottos, but I'd suggest losing the apple snails since they get HUGE and there may not be enough food for everyone. The mystery snail should be ok. How many ottos did you say you had again? They need groups of five or more, just so you know. It may be better to rehome them as well and just get a few mystery snails to go with the one you have. Every last fish in there needs a group of five or more, I'm not sure what that guy was thinking.

I really wouldn't recommend danios for that tank, but why not take the kids to the shop and show them guppies or endlers livebearers? Those two fish can go in there. Platies are a might. Cardinal tetras again are a might....Your ottos I think are ok, the other fish should really be rehomed as soon as possible. You could probably take them to a shop that accepts fish and explain to them what's going on. Look at photos online of some guppies or endlers, there are several different species.

With Endlers you could get 10-15 of them in there of your color choice(guppies...probably don't want more than ten), they come in a lot of colors, they're very small(barely an inch for males, about an inch or a little more for the colorless females who you don't need if you ant no breeding), and males get along with each other just fine. I would highly recommend Endlers over anything else for that tank, they're small enough that the shape and smaller length in some areas wont bug them and they look good.

Keep in mind livebearers(like endlers, guppies, platies) breed like rats. If you don't want babies, and I really recommend NOT since they can have 5-100 babies per month, I'd suggest you get all males. All males can do just fine with guppies or endlers, Endlers again being better and less aggressive. Guppies may chew on each other, but aside from a few tail nips usually do fine in bachelor groups.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Hi guys thanks for the advice, really appreciate it. Ok so Flint, I actually have some water sitting now for my next water change. I will check my numbers tonight when I get home from work and let you know what my levels are at and the ph of the water before it goes in tank too.
 
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