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Results 1 to 10 of 33
  1. Default 911 from a totally newbie!

    0 Not allowed!
    Hi (this is a crazy long post but would be SO grateful if someone would read it and answer my dumb questions at the bottom)

    I just stumbled onto this website this morning trying to find some answers online. Please please do not attack me because I KNOW I have made some HUGE mistakes. I was given by my SIL a tiny 2.5 gallon tank (used) for my 2 yr old daughter. She LOVES fish and we thought it would be fun to have a fish or two. Normally I do a lot of research on stuff but I just trusted my sis-n-law (which I never The tank had a airstone (I think that is what it's called) and a tiny light. She said she never used a filter or heater. She had orginally had goldfish but they all died. She finally got a few tropical (not sure what kind) and now...2 yrs later after they got a 40 gallon tank...they are still living. I also didn't take into account she lives in a very small house and I'm always HOT when I am there. Our living room is big and has cathedrial ceilings. We turn the temp in the house down to 68 at night and that room gets COLD. Mistake #1....Not getting a filter or a heater. On thur Nov 1st. I sprayed the tank with hot water and emptied the very little bit of gravel she had on the bottom. It looked like mashed pink sank. A person at a local petsmart had told me not to use soap etc... which is good cause I probably would have done that. Also I want to add the deal with my hubby was to spend as LITTLE money as possible. I tend to get carried away and when I say something will cost $50 it ends up costing us $300. (I'm not exaggerating) Anyway...please keep that in mind for later on. I added the water and set it up in the spot we had cleared for it. Away from sunshine and a nice level for my daughter to enjoy it. On Saturday (after 48hrs of set up) we took some water in to petsmart (we have NO local petstores...only petsmart, petco, and walmart that sell fish near us) They checked our water and said it looked great but the ammonia level was a TINY bit high but we could probably add some fish. She told me to buy some "prime" (i believe its' called) but didn't tell me how to use it or anything. I asked how many fish and they gave me the whole 1" to 1 gallon. I had had a albino cory when I was a little kid (my dad had a beautiful 40 gallon tank for many years until I was in my teens and he just got to busy to care for it and tore it down). I really wanted one because it was my fav. to watch growing up. So I got 1cory and then we got 2 junior fancy guppies (both male) I SHOULD have told me dad I was doing this because he has some knowledge. The problem is (as he told me last nigt) that it's been over 25 yrs since he has had a tank and he just doesn't remember a lot of stuff except a few basics. Plus the heating and filtration is WAY more advanced then what he had.) ANYWAY...we brought said fish home (my daughter squealing with excitment). Let them set for 20 min in the tank/in bag and then put them in. This was in the morning by late afternoon TWO things started happening. ONE...we started noticing a lot of water around the bottom of the tank. I thought water had just splashed out when messing with the airstone (it seems VERY powerful and never wants to stay in the gravel) OH and side note: I DID run water over our new gravel until it ran clean! I cleaned up water but the fish were acting a bit weird. The 2 guppies were hanging out near the top not swimming and gulping and the cory was on the bottom not moving but would dash to the top every few min to gulp air. I DID remember that there is something to look out for when they do this. Meanwhile I notice there is more water back on the bottom. Could we possible have a leak? It was sitting for about 48hrs ....with no water.??? I start to research online about gulping air etc.. Much to my horror I read over and over and over that 2.5 gallons is NOT good for any fish and so on and so on and so. I started reading at 7pm and by 9pm I feel like the words biggest fish meanie! I realize I really DO need a filter/heater. SHouldn't have listened to my SIL. I may not be able to provide a 30 gallon tank but I could get them a heater and filter. I go down to check on them. Water now is all around the bottom of tank and I notice the water level is almost an 1" from the top. I'm guessing there was a TINY crack and as we moved it around a bit the crack got bigger and by the morning we added the fish was big enough to start really leaking. Anyways.....its almost 10pm at night, my tank is leaking, my fish are not moving and "gulping". To say that I feel horrible is an understatement. I didn't know what to do?....Take them out?...and then put them in what? Let them stay in there.....the water was so very cold to my hand. Our room was about 68 last night. I just DID NOT know what to do and figured all 3 fish would be dead by morning. my .."i'm a horrible person and a fish murderer" moment. I got in my car and drove to walmart and bought a 5 gallon starter kit for $28 That one. It didn't have a heater with it so I got tetra whisper heater for a 5-15 gallon tank. I also got Jungle Ammonia Clear Tank Buddies and Jungle complete water care kit. Since she said our water was great but had ammonia I got those tablets. Came home at 11:00pm. Water was even lower and they were acting even more lifeless then they had been...if that is possible. One even kept listing to the side. I felt stuck...didn't know what to late to talk to anyone. PLUS...after everything I read will NOT be talking to the idiots at petsmart anymore. I spent over $60 at walmart on this stuff. My hubby was not happy with me so please keep this is mind if you say to buy a bunch more stuff!!!! Anyway. I KNOW I have NO idea if it was smart or not to move them into a new tank or leave them where they were so please don't crucify me. I honestly just wanted to give them a chance to live even though it was me that put them fighting for their life in the first place. We put the tank gravel but used a little bit of the old water ....about 1/3 of the old tank (not sure if that was good or not based on what they were living in) used room temp. water and with the heater it got a lot warmer very quickly. I put the starter tablets in and 1/2 an ammonia tablet. I KNOW we should let it run but I just wasn't sure if they would live through the night. Put them in a baggie at about 1am and let them sit for 20min and then moved them in. I did move the airstone and one plant and one decorative rock. All the plants are fake (btw). The 2 guppies seemed very happy and were swimming around investigating but the cory went straight to the bottom and just laid there. I DID notice that he was not hitting the top of the tank every few min. This morning. They are all active but the water is kinda cloudy. I hadn't feed them AT ALL yet. I'm assume this is some kind of bacterial bloom but ....being a TOTAL newbie...have NO idea. Can someone please tell me what I should do? Should I change the water a little? Let it go? Do these poor fish have ANY ability to live or should I just wait till they die and try to start again? I really can not spend anymore money because I am risking a huge fight with my hubby. If it's just a few dollars ...okay...but PLEASE keep that in mind when you are thinking of what I should do. I know I should have some test strips but the ammonia test strips cost $12 last night and I just couldn't bring myself to buy them because of the cost. I'm sorry this is super long and thank you so much if you have read this far! PLEASE HELP ME!!!!!!!!

  2. #2


    0 Not allowed!
    I think you just set the record for the longest paragraph that I have ever seen

    I would suggest getting a good liquid test kit and following the steps listed in the cycling with fish thread here (link below in my sig)

    You might have mentioned something about cycling in that long post as that was hard to read and follow.

    There's no getting around testing water and cycling a tank. If you want to keep fish, your going to need a test kit. It won't cost much more than replacing your fish
    If you take your time to do the research FIRST, you can successfully set-up and keep ANY type of aquarium with ease.
    "Not using a quarantine tank is like playing Russian roulette. Nobody wins the game, some people just get to play longer than others." - Anthony Calfo
    Fishless Cycle Cycling with Fish Marine Aquarium Info [URL=""]

  3. #3


    0 Not allowed!
    Sorry but it would take a week to read your post, especially with no paragraphs and so long.

    Please repost your current problem without details that are not needed omitted.

    Also, nothing belongs in a 2 gallon tank. Cycling threads below.

    PS.....Of course the water was fine when the pet store tested it. It was just a tank of water at that time that had no fish in it. You also need a dechlorinator to take chlorine out of your tank water.
    Last edited by Lady Hobbs; 11-04-2012 at 05:08 PM.

  4. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    so sorry to posted something like that....won't be bothering you all anymore.

  5. #5


    0 Not allowed!
    Just post your initial problem that we can help you with. Leave out what kind of ceilings you have, your sister in law and that your father had a tank 25 years ago. LOL

    Take your fish back, cycle that new tank and then buy a few small fish for it. But, dechlorinator IS needed and so is a test kit so you will know how much ammonia, nitrites and nitrates you have in the water.
    Last edited by Lady Hobbs; 11-04-2012 at 05:27 PM.

  6. #6


    0 Not allowed!
    Quote Originally Posted by smilenski76
    so sorry to posted something like that....won't be bothering you all anymore.
    Please, do post questions but just a bit shorter. We are here to help and since you have the fish, you can use help. By the way, we all make mistakes - your's is very minor compared to mine and I should have known better!

    The starter 5 gal is a good begining so hang in there and read the bit on fish based cycling (really just a lot of large water changes for a few weeks - - basicly.)
    Knowledge is fun(damental)

    A 75 gal with eight Discus, fake plants, and a lot of wood also with sand substrate. Clean up crew is down to just two Sterba's Corys. Filters: continuous new water flow; canister w/UV, in-tank algae scrubber!! Finally, junked the nitrate removal unit from hell.

    For Fishless cycling:

  7. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    Ok, here are some basic suggestions for you.

    Use the prime declorinator you bought at petsmart, it is way better than the tablets you got at walmart. Read the cycling with fish stickie in Lady Hobbs signature. If I were you I would take back the cory, he gets too big for your tank and needs a school to be happy. The two male guppies might be okay in the five gallon (if you hadnt opened the five gallon tank yet I would have you take it back to walmart, the 10 gallon kit is only $2 more and you would be way better off.).

    Do not buy the test strips, they are not accurate. You will need to do large daily, or multiple times a day waterchanges until your tank is cycled -using the prime each time.

    You said your sister has a tank, try to get some filter media from her (keep it wet in a plastic bag) and jam it in your filter, it will help your cycle.

  8. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    thank you...I will try your suggestions.

  9. #9


    0 Not allowed!
    I paid $8 for a little 5 gallon (tank only) and $12 for a 10 gallon. (tank only)

    I added a small filter, a heater, and a little clamp on light. It was an open top tank but none of my tanks have tops on them. Might not work for you with a young child in the house tho.

  10. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    Tanya....take a deep breath. It's all gonna be OK. We want to help you, and we are glad you are here.

    Your fish are going to be all right for a few hours while you read and research fish-in cycling. You do need a test costs about 20dollars - if your hubby fights that, tell him it is for your daughter and the poor fish that will die without it.

    What you need to do is: get that test kit first, petsmart has them I know, walmart maybe not. Purchase a bottle of dechlorinator for the water - you can get that at walmart (make sure it takes out chloramines too) Then, make sure your filter and heater are functioning..your temp should be around 78 for guppies and the cory. Next, ask your SIL for some filter media (a used, unrinsed filter pad or just a piece of it). Get this, put it in your filter.

    You will need to test for ammonia every day....if it gets above .25ppm, you will have to do a big water change to get it down below that. Nitrites happen next, and then nitrates at the tail end of the bacteria cycle. When you read, you'll see how it gets there and what to do.

    Right now....checking for ammonia is your #1 priority, along with dechlorinating the water and making sure the heater is doing its job. You can do this, we will help.
    1 - 55 gallon planted community
    3 - 10 to 20 gallon planted betta tanks
    My advice: slow down, think, and be willing to learn. Then you'll be fine, no matter what.

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