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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I am a college student who has just recently started an aquarium in her dorm room. I am really new to this and wanted to join a forum like this for advice.

My aquarium is 5.5 gallons (the largest i could fit in my dorm room)

there are links to view a couple of pictures of it in my signature.

I have a filter, bubbler, grave (plus some decorative rocks), 3 plastic plants, and a grayish background. I was told I would not need a heater (my tank has stayed at 72-74 degrees).

Currently I have 4 female guppies and I plan on getting a snail once algae starts to grow in the aquarium.


My first question is that my guppies keep on hiding behind the filter (not an under gravel filter, but one that hangs on the side of the tank). I am not sure why they keep on hiding there. I added them to the tank about 2 days ago (after having the tank set up for a few days) and they were swimming around and checking out the tank a lot at first and playing in the bubbles and stuff, now they are just hiding behind the filter and I can't see them.

What should I do?

*edit*
another thing I was wondering is what sort of snail is the best? and also not too expensive, i am a college student :)
 

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i have an apple snail...he's rather large but he stays mostly on the side of my tank....i only paid $3.00 for him at my local store....they will eat anything dead( including fish) but they also will eat left over food that goes to the bottom of the tank. do some research on them, one may fit well into your aquarium
 

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Discussion Starter #4
turn the light off for a day or two and let them get used to their new home. the water temp should also prob be a lil higher lik 75 79.
ok I will leave the light off. I will also look into getting a heater but I was told at the pet store that I would not need one...
 

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Do you have a water test kit?
Being a newly setup tank, your tank will go through an aquarium cycle. This is the process of building up the nitrate, to eat the toxic ammonia and nitrites. Try to read up on the aquarium cycle. Important info to know, when keeping fish.
Test the water, or take some water to the fish store to be tested for ammonia and nitrite. If either is over .25 PM, a partial water change is needed. The API liquid freshwater testing kit is a good one to have.
 

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Guppies are said to do well in temperatures anywhere from 68 to 86 deg. 72 to 74 deg being the preferred temperature.
As long as your dorm room temperature is not constantly fluctuating, they should be fine without a heater.
Constant changes in temperature can be stressful.
 

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Such a small tank can easily succumb to fluctuations in temperature which could really stress out and even kill your fish. Adding a heater would make the tank temperature remain more constant.

Do you know your water parameters? Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, pH?
Also, how often do you plan to clean the tank, such a small tank will need to be monitored and cleaned more often due to the fast build up of waste and ammonia.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
you asked for help and then second guess it nice~

I wasn't trying to second guess the help...i was just stating a fact...sorry if i offended you...
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Do you have a water test kit?
Being a newly setup tank, your tank will go through an aquarium cycle. This is the process of building up the nitrate, to eat the toxic ammonia and nitrites. Try to read up on the aquarium cycle. Important info to know, when keeping fish.
Test the water, or take some water to the fish store to be tested for ammonia and nitrite. If either is over .25 PM, a partial water change is needed. The API liquid freshwater testing kit is a good one to have.
I will read up on the aquarium cycle...and I will look into getting a water testing kit...i don't have one yet...


Guppies are said to do well in temperatures anywhere from 68 to 86 deg. 72 to 74 deg being the preferred temperature.
As long as your dorm room temperature is not constantly fluctuating, they should be fine without a heater.
Constant changes in temperature can be stressful.
Thanks for being specific about the water temperature. As of now my water temp has not been fluctuating and has stayed consistently around 72-74 degrees (the thermometer is a stick on one which has a blue line on the 72 and a yellow line on the 74) if it does get lower this winter I will get a heater so they don't get stressed out...

Thanks for your help!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Such a small tank can easily succumb to fluctuations in temperature which could really stress out and even kill your fish. Adding a heater would make the tank temperature remain more constant.

Do you know your water parameters? Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, pH?
Also, how often do you plan to clean the tank, such a small tank will need to be monitored and cleaned more often due to the fast build up of waste and ammonia.

If the tank does fluctuate in temperature I will make sure to get a heater! thanks!

I was told that I needed to clean my tank and do a partial water chance once a month. If I should do it more often please let me know.

I do not have anything to test the water parameters yet. (the guy at the pet store did not tell me I needed them) I will get them the next chance I have.

Thanks!
 

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Unfortunately, depending on what pet store you are talking about, many of these large chain stores like petco have employees that really do not know what they are talking about when giving advise. On this forum we always advise people that are starting to get into the hobby to never rely on any information they give you, and to come to this forum for advice instead. If the store you went to was more of a local, smaller, fish shop, then it may be different because the people there would actually have plenty experience with taking care of fish and give you credible advice. But already from what you posted about the advice they gave you, I can tell that it was from someone with little to no experience. You will need to know your water chemistry in the early stages of having a tank, just to get an idea of how toxic the water is for the fish. Also, doing partial water changes and once a month will definitely not be enough, I would suggest and try and do a 20-25% water change and gravel vacuuming weekly. And I suggest that you do one ASAP, because I bet there is ammonia in your water that is stressing out your guppies.

A few questions I'd like to ask,
How long ago was the tank set up?
What filter are you using?
Do you understand how the "cycle" works in an aquarium?
Do you have a method down for doing water changes?
Do you have a method down for gravel vacuuming?
" " cleaning the filter?
 

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I am afraid you got some bad advice from the pet store.

Once the tank is cycled, you should do a weekly water change of 25% with a gravel cleaning. This is just an average maintenance schedule. Testing the water will give you a better idea. How heavily the tank is stocked, how much you feed also determine how much water needs changed out. A cycled tank, will always give you a reading of zero ammonia and nitrites, but you will have nitrates. Although nitrates are not as harmful as the other two, you want to keep nitrates under 40 ppm, through your weekly water changes.
Over feeding and well stocked tanks, nitrates will rise quicker and more water may need to be changed out.

For now, since the tank is not cycled, test daily. It is not uncommon to have to preform daily partial water changes while in the cycling stage. Try to keep both ammonia and nitrite under .25 ppm. The test will help you determine how much water need to be changed out, in order for the fish to live through the cycle.
Good luck! Any more questions, ask away!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Unfortunately, depending on what pet store you are talking about, many of these large chain stores like petco have employees that really do not know what they are talking about when giving advise. On this forum we always advise people that are starting to get into the hobby to never rely on any information they give you, and to come to this forum for advice instead. If the store you went to was more of a local, smaller, fish shop, then it may be different because the people there would actually have plenty experience with taking care of fish and give you credible advice. But already from what you posted about the advice they gave you, I can tell that it was from someone with little to no experience. You will need to know your water chemistry in the early stages of having a tank, just to get an idea of how toxic the water is for the fish. Also, doing partial water changes and once a month will definitely not be enough, I would suggest and try and do a 20-25% water change and gravel vacuuming weekly. And I suggest that you do one ASAP, because I bet there is ammonia in your water that is stressing out your guppies.

A few questions I'd like to ask,
How long ago was the tank set up?
What filter are you using?
Do you understand how the "cycle" works in an aquarium?
Do you have a method down for doing water changes?
Do you have a method down for gravel vacuuming?
" " cleaning the filter?
it is a bummer that i got bad advice...the guy who was helping me seemed pretty well-informed...

I will do a partial water change this afternoon...

the tank was set up about a week ago
i introduced the guppies this past friday so about 3 days ago after the tank had been set up and running for about 4 days

the filter I am using is called "Internal Whisper Power Filter" it is for 2-10 gallon aquariums and the brand name is Tetra

I am not exactly sure how the cycle works in the aquarium yet but I have done a little bit of research on it...

I don't really have a method for water changes yet because I haven't done any...but i am sure I will get one down...my current plan is that I have a 1 gallon water jug that will sit out and let the chlorine get out (and I will also add water conditioner) I will then swap some of the old water out and put the new water in.

I also don't have a method for gravel vaccuming, I did not buy a gravel vaccum because I was going to wait and get it the next time I came because they said I didn't need to do it until 1 month. I will add it it my list of things to buy asap.

And again, I don't have a method for cleaning the filter. I do have a new filter to swith it out with when the time comes...but i didn't even know that I had to clean the filter...




yikes...i guess I was really not well-informed when I decided to start my fish tank...i tried to be well-informed and I did a lot of research but I didn't find this site untill just yesterday...

thanks for all your help!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I am afraid you got some bad advice from the pet store.

Once the tank is cycled, you should do a weekly water change of 25% with a gravel cleaning. This is just an average maintenance schedule. Testing the water will give you a better idea. How heavily the tank is stocked, how much you feed also determine how much water needs changed out. A cycled tank, will always give you a reading of zero ammonia and nitrites, but you will have nitrates. Although nitrates are not as harmful as the other two, you want to keep nitrates under 40 ppm, through your weekly water changes.
Over feeding and well stocked tanks, nitrates will rise quicker and more water may need to be changed out.

For now, since the tank is not cycled, test daily. It is not uncommon to have to preform daily partial water changes while in the cycling stage. Try to keep both ammonia and nitrite under .25 ppm. The test will help you determine how much water need to be changed out, in order for the fish to live through the cycle.
Good luck! Any more questions, ask away!
i don't currently have any testing materials so I cannot tell you what the readings are. I will start to do a daily partial water change and I will get some testing strips asap!
 

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As far as the filter, this is where most of the bacteria grows for the cycle. Cleaning anything with chlorinated water will kill the beneficial bacteria. It is best to not change out the filter media, until it is falling apart. If dirty, you can clean the filter media off in the removed tank water on water change days.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
As far as the filter, this is where most of the bacteria grows for the cycle. Cleaning anything with chlorinated water will kill the beneficial bacteria. It is best to not change out the filter media, until it is falling apart. If dirty, you can clean the filter media off in the removed tank water on water change days.

ok thanks! i will do that...
 
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