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  1. Default New fish tank getting me to the level of crazy

    0 Not allowed!
    Right... I'm almost 100% sure you guys will mock me for being so stupid. Ok, here we go.... So a while ago me and my fiance bought a new fishtank, a small one as you guys call :D More or less 20 gallons. So at first we decided to be careful, started with buying all sorts of equipment, cycling it, then we checked the temperature, ph, kh, added some black gravel, plants for the soon to be fish to hide around, a chunk of wood and a nice rock with a hole for the fish to go through (basically tried to manage with a low budget). Checked the water again. The parameters seem to be ok. So, at first we bought 2 female and 3 male cherry barbs. Then 2 rosy barbs. Then we bought 6 tiny tiny zebra danios(which will grow I know). I don't know if this is overstocked. Now to the silly part. We also have a common pleco, he doesn't really get in the way of others, not even noticable, I guess this is the part you say "for now".. And our biggest mistake is that today we bought a Golden Chinese Algae Eater because Arthur loved how fast he is... He's really small at this point, I guess when he gets bigger, we'll give him away to some friends with bigger fish tanks. My questions now are... Is it okay to get any more fish? How long can we keep the CAE? And the biggest of my worries is that the cherry barbs dont swim around, not even when we give them food... They just stay at the top right corner around some plants with their tiny mouths pointed to the very top of the water.. I'm afraid they're sick or scared... But who's scaring them? The rosies swim together at the bottom and well the danios... Ok, the danios are really fast and annoying I guess... Anyway, help me out, please. I'd really love to take good care of the fish, I wouldn' want to hurt them by any chance. I'll also add a photo of the aquarium. Any suggestions are welcome!

    P.S.: Huh, when I turned on the light back on for me to take a picture, the cherries started to swim around a bit... Strange acting fish. Here it is:
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2


    0 Not allowed!
    - what are you ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels? Common Plecs are waste machines and can quickly pollute a small tank, which is another reason he is very unsuitable for your setup. Your cherries may be sick from toxins.

    - rosy barbs need a school of 6+ and also get too large for a 20g. They need to go.

    - Chinese Algae Eaters may be good algae eaters when young but as they mature they pretty much stop eating algae and become increasingly territorial and aggressive. Many people recommend to only keep them with large cichlids because of their aggression issues. He needs to go.

    - If fish are gasping at the surface there may not be enough disolved oxygen in the water. Does the surface of the water move at all? You need surface agitation for an oxygenated tank.

    - are those shrimp in the bottom of the tank? They will be a tasty morsel for the Common Plec and CAE soon enough.

    - Do not get any new fish until you have resolved the compatibility and stocking issues you already have.

    Last edited by Amelia; 10-11-2012 at 12:22 AM.

  3. #3

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    0 Not allowed!
    Slow down, take a deep breath, remember this is supposed to be relaxing LOL.
    And listion to what Amelia just told you.

    +1 on Ameria's comment on the Alage eater, I don't know why dealers still promote this fish as a great alage eater, to me once they reached a certain size they became bullies just as you pointed out and will not eat alage if there's "better food" around.

  4. #4

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    Long Island, N.Y.

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    0 Not allowed!
    +1 to all of the above... You need to carefully select your tank stock and do the proper research bc currently you are not doing your fish any favors.
    55 Gal- Fluval 305 & Aqua Clear 70;
    2 Gold Veil Angels, 1 GBR, 1 Gold Nugget Pleco, and 11 pesky Zebra Danio's.

  5. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    -I already knew about the CAE starting to kill after he grows up, but I thought we'd keep him just for a while since it's a shame to give him away so fast...

    - I know that we need at least 4 more rosy barbs so taht we make a little school for them, that's why I asked if it's ok to get more fish, though I didn't know that they're to big for us

    - Did you call the danios shrimps? That's rude.,,:(

    -Now the nitrites, nitrates and ammonia is going to be checked tomorrow, I'm almost sure that's our main problem to deal with for now. Argh, this is frustrating.

    -Basically, people spend a load of money so that they can keep 6 tiny pink fish... If they want to do it right. Hahaha, what did I get myself into Well, I'm too much of an animal lover to let them suffer, I'll HAVE to do it right.

  6. #6


    0 Not allowed!
    Only stupid question is the one you don't ask...

    I know you said you cycled your tank - but did you do anything to cycle it besides let it run without fish? In order to have cycled your tank before adding fish, you would have needed to add a source of ammonia to it.
    Running the filter on a fishless tank does not cycle it.

    It sounds like your fish are suffering from ammonia poisoning - you need to change out half your water in order to not have any deaths if this is the case. Without proper cycling, you added too many fish too soon.

    You need to get an ammonia test kit if you don't already have one. Ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates are what you need to test for in the early stages of fishkeeping.

    You should not add any fish until you are certain of your water parameters.

    You should return the fish that are too big for your tank now - you will not be able to tell when they begin to get stunted, they will just grow very very slowly in your tank, and then likely get sick and die off "mysteriously" -as in you won't SEE the cause, but they will just be in poor health from being in too small of a tank.

    Welcome to AC!

  7. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    -So I guess it wasn't cycled then..

    -Right. It's just a little weird since Arthur almost/or completely changed the water in the tank,'cause we were cleaning the bottom, ant then washed the gravel... I guess it's the cleaning that was wrong. But the ammonia and etc. will be checked first thing tomorrow, since well.. you never know.

    -There's nowhere to returnt the fish to. I live in a small tiny country called Lithuania and people don't just take fish back, the best they'll do is laugh at us. I'd manage to give away the algae eaters to other tank holders. And then the question is maybe I could get a separate tank for just the rosies? Get 4 more rosies and keep them alone... How much gallons would they need? Or do you mean the 20 gallons wouldn' be enough for 6 rosies in general?

    -Thanks for the welcome..

  8. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    It's a bit mor complex than it looks actually. No one is ever stupid for not realizing this. They can become a bit numb if they never do learn the process though. This whole thing is possible because of nitro bacters which consume fish waste and turn it to nitrate. We really only keep bacters and the fish are a bonus. Too much bacters sucked out in a water change or too much chlorine and the bacters die, too much food and the bacters can not eat the waste fast enough, too much fish and they convert too much into nitrate for the small space and the fish get sick. It's all about the bacters. These bacters live in the fishes gut and can be introduced that wat but it stresses the fish to do so. We use ammonia to entice bacter growth which we can buy at the fish shop and then cycle the tank and place the fish in there. You need to remove some water weekly, 30 to 50% and replace it with well dechlorinated water. Of course there is more to all of this in greater detail but with this bit I can seed your thoughts into realizing it is not so simple and you will research further. There is a lot of info on here and all about the web. It's a wonderful world, you can learn anything in minutes, years ago all you had was a 15 page poorly illustrated book.

    Have fun and learn your new hobby.

  9. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    Just before your answer I read about cycling. I understand how everything works, it's simple chemistry and logic, I just didn't stop and think for a sec that this is happening, the aquarium wasn't even my idea at starters... Jeez. I now see I might need to attend a funeral soon... I'm killing them. Ok, so I'll start the fish in cycle immediately. And I hope I'll figure out what to do with the bigger fish...

  10. #10


    0 Not allowed!
    the first thing you need to do is a water change - it wont affect your growing bacteria but will reduce the toxins (ammonia and nitrites) in the water.
    As you'r tank is not cycled, I would recommend 70 - 80% - just be careful the water you put in is about the same temperature as whats already there. Oncce you know what your ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels are, you will easily be able to work out how much water you need to change and how often, if you get it right you shouldn't lose any fish. Good luck!

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