After 40 years thinking fish were too hard to keep...
I was once asked to pet-sit some goldfish in a bowl while a friend went out of town for the weekend. They did not survive.
Last year I met someone who has a small aquarium, provides little to no care and seems to keep healthy fish, throwing new ones in willy nilly without so much as a damaged fin.
I am not new to pets, I have bred and raised insects by the hundreds, rodents by the dozens as well as just keeping reptiles, cats and arachnids. So I was prepared for some commitment and work if I wanted to do it right.
At first I thought about a 29 gallon aquarium, but then decided I would rather have room to expand than decide I needed a bigger tank in 6 months. I got a 55 gallon instead. I followed the instructions and went out the next day to put some fish into it.
The guy at the store told me to put 4-6 danios/barbs in it. He did not give any explanation about why so few fish or anything regarding cycling. I figured I could probably handle it and got 6 danios *and*3 tiger barbs.
It was when I went home and started researching his advice that I learned of cycling and the like.
I went to a different fish store the following day and bought tests for ammonia and nitrite and decided I was just going to have to be prepared to test and possibly change the water before and after work as well as before bed each and every day. I also bought 3 more barbs because the first three appeared stressed and 3 bloodfin tetras (because I am stubborn and the first guy told me I shouldn't)
For the first week I never let the ammonia levels get above .5 ppm without a 50% change (or two).
Toward the end of that week, I tested the NitrItes on a whim, and they were clearly above .5 ppm. I had already done a 50% change that night but only tested ammonia prior to the change, so I waited until morning to test and change it again.
NitrItes read 0 after sitting overnight with no PWC!
By testing tap water and aquarium water side by side, I can barely tell the NitrIte is non-zero in the aquarium. I have seen a few other articles wondering why the NitrItes haven't shown up yet and I suspect that if you are not testing often enough, you can miss this spike.
My ammonia is still testing positive, but I only need to do partial changes every two or three days to keep it below .25 ppm. I know I am new here, but I am pretty good with biology generally and I am surprised that no one has suggested that there may be a lag for the NitrIte eaters to start growing, but that since growth is exponential, I could quickly catch up with the production of the NitrItes from the first set of bacteria.
If this is correct, I would expect my ammonia to gradually decrease over time without ever seeing another spike in the nitRites.
Feeling confident in my progress so far, I decided to pick up a pleco and a pair of pimelodella pictus. Again researching too late, I learned my bottom feeders are very vulnerable to a my new tank. I also became worried for the tetras and bought them a small aquarium today so they can be safe and separate.
TLDR: I have a three week old 55 gallon with 6 danios, 6 tiger barbs, two pictus pims and a pleco with two live plants and a 1 day old ~5gal with three tetras.
I know, that is a whole slew of beginners mistakes, but I have no questions now, but will be open to new advice.
Welcome to AC!
Generally, people are advised to test for all three each time they test - following that advice, you'd never miss a spike in any of The Big Three.
Last edited by sheamurai; 07-11-2011 at 06:45 PM.
Thanks for your reply,
When my vision of spending $100 dollars on a 29 gallon aquarium turned into the reality of $500 spent on the 55 gal, I stood in the store looking at the master kit, and I figured the NitrAte test could wait until payday.
I regret it now, but don't think anyone is really suffering because of it.
welcome to the great AC hope you enjoy your new tank and everything turns out well
KING OF THE GOLD BARBS RAWR!!!!
I wonder if i plant one of my tiger barbs would the demon seed grow to a full tree?
gotta love them bunnies!
I.R.S.: We've got what it takes to take what you've got!
^_^ Welcome to the community
Welcome to AC! Good luck with the tank.
Welcome to AC and read the cycling links in my signature. That may answer some of your questions.
Your nitrites are probably low because you are doing water changes, which is what is keeping your fish alive. Add NO more fish until that tank is cycled. You also need to be feeding that pleco some algae waffers. A new tank is never good for bottom feeders as they starve to death without algae.
Welcome to the forum and good luck with your tank!
Yes Ma'am, everything is in a holding pattern for now. I will get those wafers for the pleco.
I had read all those links of yours before I created the account here, unfortunately not before getting all the fish.
I don't take these little guys lives lightly and I am doing my best to be vigilant to make sure they stay happy and healthy. If it looks like I missed any of the details, let me know!
Welcome to the AC...
You're getting old when you get the same sensation from a rocking chair that you once got from a roller coaster.