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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay, so I've had my 5 gallon aquarium for only two months. Still trying my best to stabilize everything. Water is ALWAYS hard/very hard on the strip. Chlorine is usually good but yesterday is was shaded as unsafe, then nitrite and nitrate levels are high, ph and alkalinity is high too. . . It was fine but now it's bad and it doesn't go down. I've got five fish in the tank, not sure what's the limit. Two Albino Cory Catfish, one Otocinclus Catfish, one Upsidedown Catfish, and One Scissortail Rasbora. I am worried about their health and I want to get the water stabilized. I think I put in too much treatment because the water is tinted yellow. The tank setup is with a simple carbon filter, a heater keeping the water at a steady 77 degrees, a bubbler, and only three fake plants and gravel. It was crystal clear two days ago.

I know I need more shelter for the fish, and I know I'm more than liikely screwing up real bad here, so you can go ahead and lecture me but I'm just wanting to fix it before losing the fish. It's for my little brother(7 yrs) and sister(6 yrs), they enjoy watching the fish so I want to keep those fish alive.

Help me out!
 

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Welcome to the forum.

Couple of questions first and then we can get into more detail later. What do you mean by "treatment"?

Assuming that you didn't cycle this tank before adding fish, what amount of water are you changing and how often? And what type of water conditioner are you using?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well I do a 25% water change weekly. Wait, what's cycling? Is that where there's I think it's called a bacterial bloom occurs? The brand I use is TetraCare, three bottles. They are supposed to lower nitrites, nitrates, ph. . Yeah, don't have the bottles with me to tell what they exactly do. One of them is a yellow color, and I probably put too much in there. I jumped in to this with out thinking, I think that's pretty obvious.
 

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3 bottles??? :shock:

That sure sounds toxic no matter what it is. Especially in a tank that small. I'd do a 50% water change immediately and then do another in a few days. Id be tempted to do 100% but that would probably shock the fish too much.

Cycling the tank is when you build up a beneficial colony of bacteria to make your tank safe for aquatic life whether it be fish, frogs, or combinations of them.

Here's a link to the thread in the freshwater section of the aquarium about cycling.

http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/...inners-guide-freshwater-aquarium-cycle-38617/

At this point, let's just try to keep your fish alive. You shouldn't be adding anything to your tank except for conditioned water when you do water changes. And use a good conditioner like Seachem Prime or API Stress coat when you do.

Chemicals that lower or raise ph, block ammonia etc.. really aren't helpful in the long run and can actually be harmful to your fish.
 
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3 bottles??? :shock:

That sure sounds toxic no matter what it is. Especially in a tank that small. I'd do a 50% water change immediately and then do another in a few days. Id be tempted to do 100% but that would probably shock the fish too much.

Cycling the tank is when you build up a beneficial colony of bacteria to make your tank safe for aquatic life whether it be fish, frogs, or combinations of them.

Here's a link to the thread in the freshwater section of the aquarium about cycling.

http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/...inners-guide-freshwater-aquarium-cycle-38617/

At this point, let's just try to keep your fish alive. You shouldn't be adding anything to your tank except for conditioned water when you do water changes. And use a good conditioner like Seachem Prime or API Stress coat when you do.

Chemicals that lower or raise ph, block ammonia etc.. really aren't helpful in the long run and can actually be harmful to your fish.
In addition to this great post - I think it's important to point out that the current population is entirely unsuited to the tank you have. If you are in a position to do so, and wish to keep these fish, you will need to upgrade to a larger setup. If that is not an option for you, you will need to re-home the fish you have. The latter may be better anyway as it will give you the chance to have a do-over which will benefit you and the fish you do keep eventually as you will have a chance to take a step back and do a bit more learning about this whole process and be able to cycle your tank properly, choose appropriate fish, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
I didn't put three bottles in there. I just have three different bottles, each with their own effects. I'll definitely do the 50% water change once I'm home.

Now, with the conditioners; I'll get them asap, but for now though, I can't get them until maybe next week so what should I do now besides the 50% water change?

@ZivaD: Yeah, I kind of figure that. I'll be upgrading to a 10 or 20 gallon next month, the changes I will be doing will take time. I just jumped in to this with out a thought, just that my siblings wanted their own fish tan and my mom and I just went with it. Now I'm the one learning everything. @[email protected]
 

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I didn't put three bottles in there. I just have three different bottles, each with their own effects. I'll definitely do the 50% water change once I'm home.

Now, with the conditioners; I'll get them asap, but for now though, I can't get them until maybe next week so what should I do now besides the 50% water change?

@ZivaD: Yeah, I kind of figure that. I'll be upgrading to a 10 or 20 gallon next month, the changes I will be doing will take time. I just jumped in to this with out a thought, just that my siblings wanted their own fish tan and my mom and I just went with it. Now I'm the one learning everything. @[email protected]
Oh phew! I was scratching my head wondering how you had anything survive in that tank with 3 bottles of anything.

Water conditioner is extremely important if you have chlorine or chloramines in your water. Are you using town or city water or do you have well water? With well water, chances are that you won't have chlorine in there. Otherwise, you'd have to use water that has been standing for a few days or spring water.

Do you have any chain stores like Petco or Petsmart nearby? You can pick up a small bottle of conditioner for pretty cheap money if money is the issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
City water.

I have three petsmart nearby, and a petco somewhere. so I'll go check them out and work on the tank. I'll be back on to give you guys a progress report. Anything else I should put on the list? I read on the guide that I should use liquid tests, so I'll definitely get those since I'm using those test strips that tell you like seven things. Ammonia I remember was still safe, but if they're that inaccurate. . I don't want to be using them. This has become quite an interest for me, so I'll do what ever it takes to keep those fish alive and well.
 

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City water.

This has become quite an interest for me, so I'll do what ever it takes to keep those fish alive and well.
Good for you for stepping up to the plate and taking care of the fish.

I for one am new at this too and was extremely tempted (like most people) to go out to the local pet store and buy a bunch of fish and pop 'em in a tank right away. But thank goodness for my Fiancé and his advice to join a forum.


With a little bit of patience, studying and help from others I'm sure you'll do well!

Good luck!
 

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The API Master Freshwater kit it probably the best one to get. It's a little pricey but will last a very long time.

If you don't have a gravel siphon, you should pick one of those up too.
 

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Yeah the API master kit is definitely worth the investment.

You might want to look at getting some live plants too, whilst your tank is cycling, aka building up the 'beneficial bacteria' these will absorb a lot, if not all, the ammonia and nitrites and use them to grow etc. A floating one like water sprite is ideal in your situation as requires pretty much zero maintenance yet is super absorbent.

As per your water changes..........whilst not using a conditioner, as much good as they are doing at removing nitrates or what not, they are also very counter productive whilst not using a conditioner. Adding water that contains chloramine/chlorine/both will kill off any of the 'beneficial bacteria' in your tank and is VERY harmful to your fish. Chlorine will actually burn off the gill filaments disabling the ability to get oxygen, leading to eventual death by asphyxiation.
You can look up what your water contains on their website, by law it is public knowledge.
IF its just chlorine - as stated this will actually ''off gas'' if left, say, in a buvket over night...then used for the water change.
BUT if your water also contains chloramine, which a lot do nowadays, then this cant be removed the same way and MUST be treated with a dechlorinater..... the preferred option being seachem prime (which will also detoxify the ammonia and nitrites in your water for 24-48 hours)

Hope this helps
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Alright, so I got the Gravel Vaccum, Seachem Prime, and API Stress Coat. Even got a shelter for my upside-down catfish but it ignores it and go in a space in the filter. It's not where he'd get harmed but it's still agitating, so I think when I upgrade to a 10 or 20 gallon, I'll also buy a filter that hangs on the outside of the tank. It's give more room or decorations I'm sure, but I'd like your opinions on it. For now, the levels of anything in that tank are lowering. I will check it tomorrow, and probably do another siphon, unless that's a bad idea. . .

On a random note; the gravel vaccum is so cool.

Oh, I looked for that plant; water sprite, at the store and there was no such plant. I'll keep looking.
 
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