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Thread: Help

  1. #1

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    0 Not allowed!
    This is a dual purpose thread. Introduction and request for some help.

    My name's Lorne. Getting into the "hobby" mostly because I have a special needs kid who really likes to look at fish swimming around doing their thing. I had a tank when I was a kid and I remember how it felt watching them, but I also remember they seemed fair easy to maintain. Which leads me to the next part to this thread.

    About a month ago I started setting up a small 20 gal tank with the intent on getting a few small guppy-type fish. Nothing serious, nothing overly difficult. Oh, how wrong I was. We started out getting 3 Platies. Nice looking fish and small. They lasted 4 days. Then we got 4 Mollies. They lasted a week or so. Then I decided to take a page out of my childhood book and get some basic gold fish. What can go wrong with goldfish? They lasted only a few days.

    I think I know where I went wrong, but I think I'll come to you guys incase I'm wrong. When I first brought the starter kit home (tank, filter, heater, net) I cleaned the tank inside and out with just warm water. Then I put the gravel I never mentioned into the tank. (thinking back, I should have cleaned that too). Then added the water up to about an inch from the top. Got the filter all set up and running. Added the plants/decoration. (Also, I think I should have cleaned them too, but didn't at this time). Then I let the filter do it's thing for about 24 hours. (This is part of where I think I went wrong). After reading some of the threads/posts here already, I think I should have left it cycling a couple weeks. Anyway, so the 24 hours goes by and I got the fish, set the bag into the tank for about 30 mins or so to let them get acclimated to the water temp. Oh, I also have the heater set to 76 F as per the research I did on Platy care online. Everything was good for the first day, but then fish started acting very unfish-like. I was lead to believe that Platies are mid tank swimmers, and these guys started staying at the top of the tank. Soon after, they started dying. After this, I picked up some water treatment stuff because we have some pretty hard water here, and it might not be the best.

    Attempt #2 wasn't much better. Same results.
    Attempt #3, same results.

    Luckily fish can be fairly cheap, but that's beside the point. Watching dead fish aint fun.....at all.

    Another area I think I screwed up is we don't have an air pump. But thinking back to my childhood, I don't remember having one then either. But I was a kid and you know how that is. So tell me, and be honest here. where exactly did I screw this up. All I want is a basic set up, with some basic fish. Not trying to win any awards or become the world champion fish keeper. Just something to gauk at.

    Any and all help here is very much appreciated.

    Lorne.

  2. #2

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    0 Not allowed!
    OH!! I forgot to mention....I also started noticing some weird translucent "mold" developing on the gravel and some of the decorations after the first attempt. Any idea what causes that?

  3. #3

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    1 Not allowed!
    Welcome to the AC, Lorne.

    You are losing fish because the tank is not "cycled"...cycling basically is growing bacteria that handle the waste from the fish

    In an uncycled tank, the fish are essentially living in their own toilet.

    I strongly encourage you to read as many threads in the "Beginner" section of the forum, especially the threads on cycling.

    Lots of us started out like you, and have gotten great help here. You can do it, it just takes a bit of research and patience.

    Have a look at the 10G journal in my signature below, I was in the same situation as you, and got some great info...it's all in that thread
    10 Gallon Beginner Tank... Journal
    40 Gallon Breeder: ... Journal
    29 Gallon: ... Journal

    “If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went” - Will Rogers

  4. #4

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    Thanks for the advice Slaphppy7. I'll do just that.

  5. #5

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    4 Not allowed!
    to AC!!!
    Since your tank is empty of any fish at this time I would suggest doing a fishless cycling process found here http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/aqua...ead.php?t=5640
    Then you can add a few fish safely. Be aware of the byproduct of livebearers (platys, guppys). Goldfish need a much larger size tank.

  6. #6

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    1 Not allowed!
    ^^ Great advice, research is key in the hobby.

    Once you complete a fishless cycle, we can make lots of suggestions for fish that will be compatible with your setup.
    10 Gallon Beginner Tank... Journal
    40 Gallon Breeder: ... Journal
    29 Gallon: ... Journal

    “If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went” - Will Rogers

  7. #7

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    0 Not allowed!
    Thanks for the help here guys. Very much appreciated.

    I have 2 questions here. First, I was reading a thread on doing a fishless cycle, and it mentions to use a "surfactant free ammonia". I have some API aquarium salt that the guys at the pet store recommended. Not sure if it does the same thing, but he says it improves the electrolytes for healthy fish. Is this going to affect the cycle process right now? Or am I going to need to clean the tank out completely and start over?

    2nd question I have....The thread says the bacteria developed from doing a cycle is stored in the filter. So what happens when I have to change the filter? Do I do this a few days after a water change?

  8. #8

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    2 Not allowed!
    As far as having an air pump goes, if you have a filter running, the current from that alone should provide adequate oxygenation, providing it's a strong enough filter.

    When you added the water, did you dechlorinate it, first? You mentioned adding something to treat hard water, but if water contains chlorine and/or chloramines, that's deadly. You need to neutralize those in a separate container with a dechlorinator like Seachems's Prime, before the water goes into the tank with fish in it. If there are no fish present, you can neutralize directly into the tank. Fish must never be exposed to chlorine and chloramines.

    Thirdly, the others are right about your needing to cycle the tank. If you cycle with fish, you'll have to do daily water changes. You'll need a test kit to keep track of your parameters: Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate, as well as pH, although the latter is the least of your concerns right now. You should get yourself the API Master test kit. Read and follow the instructions carefully. The cycling process will take about 4 to 6 weeks. A little faster if you use cycled media from an established aquarium.

    If you cycle without fish, get pure ammonia, not ammonia with any additives in it. That's important.

    What were you feeding those fish? Feeding should be very little. Any that drops to the gravel and isn't eaten within a few hours needs to be siphoned up via an aquarium hose and siphoning tube.

    It's best to feed fish a quality, balanced fish diet with plenty of variety. This can include pellets, flakes, frozen brine shrimp, frozen combo pack which contains a variety of protein, such as blood worms and brine shrimp and some other goodies. Freeze-dried Daphnia (water fleas) can add to the variety. But all feeding should be minimal. Feed every day, but only enough for all the fish to readily eat, and no more. This can be tricky to figure out at first, but it's better to error on the side of underfeeding than overfeeding.

    What kind of lighting to you have? If you're keeping live plants, you'll need an aquarium hood with a light in it. Fake plants don't care.

    Finally, as for "cheap" fish -- you should go for healthy fish, not just cheap ones. Even if you have to spend a bit more. It's worth it in both the short- and long run.

    This isn't going to come together overnight. Patience and diligence is the key. Once the cycle is complete, tank maintenance becomes easy.

    It should be a good teaching opportunity for your child, and you might allow him or her to participate in the simpler parts of it.

    Good luck, much success, and welcome to the forum.
    20 gal. high: planted; 5 white cloud minnows, 4 golden White Clouds, several RCS, 2 blue shrimp, 5 Amano shrimp, several snails; Azoo air. 65 gal: planted; 6 rosy barbs, 6 yellow glofish, 3 red glofish, 3 zebra danios, 5 white cloud minnows, 3 dojo loaches, 6 crimson spot rainbow fish, 12 large Amano Shrimp, several snails; AC110.

  9. #9

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    3 Not allowed!
    I failed to address your question about changing the filter and what happens to the bacteria.

    While the tank is cycling, just leave it alone. Let the bacteria grow on your bio beads. Once it's cycled, you need only rinse your media in your tank's own water in a bucket -- NOT in tap water -- each time you change the water. Then put that same media back into your filter. You don't need to buy new sponges or biobeads right away. The biobeads will last a long time, and only when they begin to break down would you gradually begin to replace them, a little at a time, so as not to lose your beneficial bacteria and have to cycle the tank all over again. You'll only need to get a new sponge when it finally fails to snap back again after you squeeze it. That means it's worn out.

    Get rid of the carbon. Carbon is chemical filtration, and you really only need it to remove medicines from the tank. Use the extra space the carbon takes up to add more biobeads on which to grow beneficial bacteria.

    About once a month, you'll need to take apart the filter and clean all of its parts, reassemble it and put the media back in it. While you're cleaning the filter, keep the media in a bucket of tank water, and rinse it in same way you normally would before putting it back into the filter.

    Doing it this way will preserve your bacteria.

    Hope this helps.
    20 gal. high: planted; 5 white cloud minnows, 4 golden White Clouds, several RCS, 2 blue shrimp, 5 Amano shrimp, several snails; Azoo air. 65 gal: planted; 6 rosy barbs, 6 yellow glofish, 3 red glofish, 3 zebra danios, 5 white cloud minnows, 3 dojo loaches, 6 crimson spot rainbow fish, 12 large Amano Shrimp, several snails; AC110.

  10. #10

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    1 Not allowed!
    Wow, at the moment this all seems to be a lot of work. I would imagine it gets easier once the knowledge and practice is there, otherwise why would you guys all have so many fish and multiple tanks. Thanks again for the info, very much appreciated.

    Lorne

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