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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So my family has just started a 46 gallon freshwater tank, after not having kept an aquarium for several years. I was too young back then to really understand what was going on, but I remember that after a couple years the tank ended up an algae infested mess with a couple of the fish dying and the plecostomus ending up the 8-inch master of the tank.

Obviously I don't want a repeat of that.


So I'm a little worried, since my step-dad dived right in; filled up the tank, added some de-chlorinator, stuck on the light and heater, then went out and got some rocks, fake plants, and fish. Didn't stop to bother with building up water quality, he's relying on the fish themselves to do that. And my mother refuses to add live plants since she blames them for our previous tank becoming such a disaster.

So far after two weeks things seem to be going ok, the fish appear to be thriving, etc. We have eight three-spot gourami (2 gold, 2 blue, 4 opalescent) and a rainbow shark (currently ~1.5" long, I know from our last tank he should end up around 5-7"). The spots on the opalescent gourami are sharp and clear, the fish are active, with a minimum of fin nipping (mostly around feeding time). However we want to add more fish because the tank looks mostly empty. We're thinking about one or two plecostomus or other catfish, since we're starting to see the first algae, maybe three or four angelfish, and maybe one other fish. We considered tiger barbs, but I"m afraid they'd be too aggressive.

I'm worried that although our current setup is fine, adding this many fish (all at once or over a month or two) may reduce our margin for error. I mean, my step-dad didn't even pick up any pH test strips, though he did get a thermometer (temp stays at around 79-80*F, so that's alright).



So. With the way we've dived in, what are the odds our aquarium will survive and thrive? What will I need to test for water quality, aside from pH strips? What fish would be compatible with what we have so far? Is there any way to stop a catfish from becoming 8" and terrorizing all the other fish? How critical would freeze-dried shrimp/etc. be to keeping the fish healthy? How much will not having live plants hurt us?


I'm not a huge hobbyist, but I really don't want to see this tank end up a disaster like the last one we tried.
 

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ok i guess you are very confused and full of questions, like me :). may be that's why we are here. i was in almost a similar situation nearly a month ago. Let's clear up your thoughts or rather queries one by one

First of all.. its not good to add fish without establishing the nitrogen cycle. may be your dad doesn't know that. educate him if you can.

anyway, now that you have fish in your tank, let's hope for the best and get ready for the worst. gourami's are tough fish. so, they have a good chance. if you happen to have a good filter that helps for their survival. usually sick fish will be left after the cycling process. so dont expect them to have long lifespans.

by the way if you are not going for live plants don't use strong light and don't setup the aquarium where it gets direct sunlight. Light helps algae which we don't want much except for the cat fish. Infact its the other way around. We put cat fish to clear that little algae.

Regarding large cat fishes.. do not even think about shrinking them, since growth is irreversible :) Can we stop growth of a fish? Yes and No. You already know why :) We stopped many fish from growing. All the beginners did. That's the only way to stop a fish's growth and you don't want to do that. FIND FISH THAT SUITS YOUR AQUARIUM SIZE. DON'T DICTATE FISH GROWTH ACCORDING TO YOU AQUARIUM SIZE.

Sorry I got little carried away. back to business. So.... I suggest you go over the net and read stuff. nice to see a aquarium keeper posting on the forums.

Sorry I am not good enough to answer what sort of fish can survive in your tank. May be it also depends on how much you want to care/maintain them.

Good Luck

PS: Dont add any new fish until you bring down the ammonia and nitrite level to zero. If you don't understand what this means you have to google "nitrogen cycle"
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks mate.


Apparently adding fish is a way to start the nitrogen cycle. Just not a good way, since the fish usually die. But apparently gourami are hardy, so maybe the cycle is already established and they made it through, as well as the rainbow shark.

I'm going to go to Petsmart, and maybe find a specialty shop, this weekend to pick up tests for ammonium, nitrates, pH, and salinity. I'm also considering returning the three male gouramis, in part to free up space in the tank for other fish, and to get the biggest aggressors out of the way. And so I don't have to worry about offspring. That includes both goldens though, so I might have to pick up another of those since they look so nice.

I think (think) Angelfish will do well with what I have, they'll end up about the same size as the gourami. Then a couple plecostomus, and I'm still looking around to see what else I can get one or two of that would get along in this tank.
 

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....has no life....
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The first thing you need to do before anything else is to get testing supplies. The API master kit runs about $35, but it has all you need and the liquid tests are the more accurate. Stay away from strips, as they are well known for not showing the "whole" truth. If you continue to buy fish without knowing where your tank is in the cycle you could just end up having some of them die due to the stress. You need to be able to test ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate at a minimum.

Come back and post your results and you'll get better advice on how to proceed.
 

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Bullheads Rock My Socks
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also you have to think about your tank size versus the sizes of the fish its usually 1"-1.5" per gallon of water...liek i am upgrading to a 120-150 gallon tank because i have a 5" small mouth bass, a 5" brown bullhead in a 30 gallon standard tank, and in my 55 i have a 3" oscar, a 3" jack dempsey, and a 4" pike cichlid...i keep aggressive fish and really enjoy them. I am actually swapping the fish to the other tanks moving the bullhead and bass to the 55, and the other 3 to the 30 gallon because of the size difference.
 

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Pleco n bn breeder n BOSS
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What I see here is a disaster waiting to happen. Having so many different gouramis isn't a good idea they will eventually fight with each other. The plecos that you are talking about will reach 24 inches if given the right living conditions.

What size of tank is this anyway? If its less than 50 gals once the fish start growing to their natural sizes you will be over stocked.

Gouramis are like bettas in the fact they don't like others of their own kind except when breeding and since they are males they won't be friendly very long.

I would just keep a couple of them and return the rest. Then find a smaller fish that will be compatible with the other gourami and red tail shark. Find a couple of bristlenose for algae control as they usually only max out at 4 to 5 inches.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
What I see here is a disaster waiting to happen. Having so many different gouramis isn't a good idea they will eventually fight with each other. The plecos that you are talking about will reach 24 inches if given the right living conditions.

What size of tank is this anyway? If its less than 50 gals once the fish start growing to their natural sizes you will be over stocked.

Gouramis are like bettas in the fact they don't like others of their own kind except when breeding and since they are males they won't be friendly very long.

I would just keep a couple of them and return the rest. Then find a smaller fish that will be compatible with the other gourami and red tail shark. Find a couple of bristlenose for algae control as they usually only max out at 4 to 5 inches.
This is fantastically helpful.

As I said in the OP it's a 46 gallon tank, so I was starting to worry that we might get overstocked as the fish grow. On the other hand, assuming our tank's nitrogen cycle isn't entirely futzed it's probably the fact that we had so many gourami that pushed it through. Assuming it is in fact in good shape; it might not be. We'll find out tomorrow.

I'm thinking now just 2-3 gourami, all female. What fish would get along with the gourami and rainbow? You say something smaller. Well, most barbs are smaller, but I'm afraid they'd be too aggressive. And I don't think guppies would be too compatible either, seeing as how everything we have has large fins. Any tetra varieties or such that you'd recommend? Or perhaps platies or swordtails? I want to try to keep a variety (3-5 species) of compatible fish that will look nice, not overcrowd the aquarium, and not require more than moderate care.


All this after we get the water quality under control, of course.
 

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Pleco n bn breeder n BOSS
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Your cycling process is going to take a couple of months as you need to do water changes every couple of days when there is ammonia and nitrites in the tank as they are toxic to fish.

What you might look into is some of the larger tetras, like lemon tetras, black skirts and such. Cherry barbs would be a good choice also and not as aggressive as the tiger barbs. Also are you sure you have female gouramis as lfs very seldom sell females as they have very little color.

You could also put 4 or 5 cories in the tank to make a good lower level fish. The gouramis are more of a mid to top level and the tetras would be good for mid level to balance the tank out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Pretty sure some are female, there are several that look like this:


I think it's 4/4 or 5/3 female/male, it's hard to tell since they move around a lot (they think I'm going to feed them).



EDIT: How would cories do for algae control? Googling around says they're bottom feeders.
 

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**sigh** maby you should read up before jumping into things... like susan said, this is a disaster waiting to happen, and it will fail if you dont do anything. when it does fail, ur gunna thing that fish are gay and stupid and too complicated, when in reality they arent; it was just the owner who bought living things without knowing how to care for them and what not...

my .02
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
**sigh** maby you should read up before jumping into things... like susan said, this is a disaster waiting to happen, and it will fail if you dont do anything. when it does fail, ur gunna thing that fish are gay and stupid and too complicated, when in reality they arent; it was just the owner who bought living things without knowing how to care for them and what not...

my .02
I'm working around an impulsive step-dad. He's the one who jumped right in. At this point I'm not planning to add any fish for quite a while. But if he does I'll have to work around him. And if he does get fish I want to make sure they don't tear into each other, so I want to figure out what our community should roughly be now.


My #1 priority is go out before lunch and get liquid test kits.


Anyway, I'm not the type to say, "aaugh, this is complicated and gay I give up". If I did that I would have thrown my computer out the window long ago; instead it's a hobby and source of income. I'll get the aquarium right, as best as I can. I don't want it taking over my life or anything, but I'm going to try my best to not screw it up completely.
 

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like that spirit. go ahead get liquid test kits and let us know waz happening.

it will be soon over and we will be laughing about it. just hold on..
 

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patience is a virtue...i mean i had my original 30 gallon tank with a bullhead and 2 sunfish, then i released the sunfish into my neighbors pong and had a bullhead alone for a month or so and then added a few smalled fish which innevitably were smaller than the feeders so they got eaten(not really concerned about it) but then i got my 55 and i switch the bullhead over and left the 30 gallon just filtering and all that good stuff, then when my fiances siter brought home the jack dempsey and the oscar and the pike cichlid the jack and oscar were in the 30 gallon and the pike was placed in the 55, and thats how they still stya minus an addition of a 5" smallmouth bass to the 55 gallon(which the 3 will soon be moved to a 150 gallon tank...so i mean my tanks have been up for quite sometime and the levels are all steady, its all jsut work and never take down a tank if your planning on using it again, just let it sit there filtering and treat it like you have fish in it, even feed the empty tank a smaller portion of fish food to allow the good microbes to thrive and then its precycled and eveything....hopefully it all works out for ya.

p.s. you think hes impulsive, my fiances sister bought an oscar, jack dempsey, pike cichlid without figuring out how big they get...hence the upgrade to the 150 *woohoo*
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Just got the testing kit, the API Master kit that was recommended. Going to do the tests right now. Let me tell you though, my step-dad was upset that we were sending more on the test kit than on the fish (Gouramis were on sale for $1.74 which is why he got them). He wanted to get a $10 strip test just for Nitrogen. When he's upset he drives about 20mph over the speed limit in his Mustang, so I had a fun ride home. :wheee:

We also picked up a couple live plants. Maybe they'll help, maybe they won't, certainly shouldn't hurt right?


So I'm going to go test, then change the water, then add the plants and feed, then test a few times before going to be tonight. I'll put the results on here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Ammonium: ~4ppm
Nitrite: ~2ppm
Nitrate: ~0ppm (unless I did that one wrong)
pH: ~7.4 (did both standard and high pH)
 

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WOAH! THATS NOT GOOD. READ THIS ASAP. .25ppm is pretty bad.5ppm is deadly to most fish species. 4ppm is EXTREAMLY toxic and i wouldnt be surprised if you wake up to some dead fish in a few days.

you gotta do some major water changes kid. do 50% water changes every day. cut back on the feeding a little too, just a few flakes per fish. dont over do it at all. hopefully ur dad aint like my dad and likes to feed them every chance he gets... :/

as for the nitrite, thats also pretty damn high. it should read 0 like the ammonia should. 2ppm is up there as far as nitrite is concerned. DO THE WATER CHANGES. like NOW. dont wait. do them like NOW...


IMO you should have held off on the plants a little untill you get this under controll. aquatic plants arent as easy as "plant and watch them grow." what substrate do you have in ur tank? what are the plants called? did u get any fertilizer? what lighting are you set up on?

plants are a whole new can of beans which have just been opened. but first, you gotta get that ammonia to read 0. ammonia NEEDS to be at 0. anything highter than 0ppm, is hazerdous to fish. your nitrite should also read 0 too... however, you did add all of these fish all at the same time, so there is a big bioload all at one time and there is no beneficial bacteria to break it down, so ur fish are swimming in their own toilette. ur in critical zone right now kid.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I just did a 15ga. change. I'm going to wait a bit for everything to stabilize then check again. I'll start doing 20ga. changes starting tomorrow.
 

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Your tank is cycling which is a normal process but hazardous to fish. You need to do daily water changes every day of at least 30% till ammonia and nitrites are no higher than .25 then you can cut back on water changes to every other day.

Plants will help some if they are fast growing plants and you put in quite a bit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Didn't do a species check... In and out in a hurry. Didn't get very many, just two or three. Well, unless they die off they shouldn't hurt too much. Like the nurse spooning chicken soup to the dead man, can't hurt anything can it?


I also realized another thing. Our filter (mesh+biofilter) is the same one from the old tank. Three and a half years ago. That's been dry... For three and a half years...

So yeah, we need a new bio wheel thingymabob too.
 
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