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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I need some help because I am worried my fish are going to die because I am now just finding out some things that I hadn't known I needed to do to keep an aquarium set up.

I startetd off with a 10 gallon tank and some fish that I hadn't originally meant to keep (they were feeder fish), but I now have them as pets and I was told I needed a heater because they are tropical, so I have one of those as well.

I was so excited about the prospect of setting up and aquarium. I did research on a bunch of different fish and which would be compatible together. The next day I set out to buy some fish to add to my aquarium.

I bought and airstone and a filter as well and set those up, but they aren't working properly. No bubbles are coming out of the airstone and I can't see/feel any current with the filter. Their hoses are connected to a 2 way connector piece which is then connected to an old air pump. When I put the tubing into the water it produces bubbles, but when it is attached to the devices they don't work. What do I do?

While I was trying to research what to do, I stumbled across the Nitrogen Cycle. What I read says that I should have waited for the cycle to establish itself and then the ammonium and nitrate levels will go to zero, then it will be safe to add the fish. Does this mean that my fish are going to die because I didn't wait for the cycle to be established?

Right now my tank is housing live plants, panda corys, pygmy corys, zebra danios, white cloud minnows, guppies, kuhlie loaches, an african dwarf frog and a dwarf puffer.

I have made many mistakes and I know I should have researched more about keeping an aquarium before I got the fish, but I was just so excited and I thought that I didn't need very many things to begin with, and I could just buy the other things later on. I realize now that I was and am quite ignorant of what I need to have/do to keep a healthy aquarium.

How can you change the hardness of the water? Is the dGH important to the fish?

Are there any other things I should know? I really don't want my stupidity and ignorance to be the death of my fishies.

Thank you!
 

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I will try to answer the best I can and hope that this will help you. It is not impossible to cycle a tank with fish in it but a lot of work. First lets tackle the filter...

Since a working filter is absolutely necessary you do need to find out if the filter is working. An airpump is something that will sometimes lose strength and if you have a check valve in the airline or if there are any leaks around the connections it will not function for you correctly. The check valve can be just in backwards and that may be why the air is not coming through correctly. Or your airline may be old and need to be trimmed on the ends to create a new end to allow it to seal better. If these things do not work you either need a new airpump or filter. Until you have a working filter you can not get a cycle.

The next thing you need to know is if the filter is not cycled and you have fish in the tank you will need to do large water changes with dechlorinated water (about 75% or more of the water every day) This will not positively gaurantee the lives of the fish but without it they will surely die. The next thing to see about is whether the petstore or anyone else with an active tank might give a piece of their filter media to you to start a new filter with. You simply put the old piece of filter pad (DO NOT RINSE it ) in with the new filter media that fits in the filter and keep the water flowing over it and it will seed your new filter pad in a couple of weeks.

Keep the filter going and do not do gravel maintenance at all for the weeks of the cycle process. Allow the gravel to become a secondary bacterial bed for the beneficial bacteria you will need to have to help the cycle.

We really need to know what fish and how many you have put in that tank..since it is only 10 gallons, it will not hold many fish. You may have the tank overstocked and if it is it will not cycle easily if at all.

Let me say that we may not be able to save all the fish and it is going to be hard and a lot of work for you to do it. but if you are willing to putin the effort and work the water changes are going to be teh worst of it.If you have additional questions please feel free to ask them and we will certainly make every attempt to help. I think the big thing right now is getting the fllter fixed and the water changes done on schedule.

Rose
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you so much! That was very helpful. I will put a lot of effort into this.

I have 16 fish in all, none bigger than an inch. I probably need a bigger tank, don't I?
 

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I will say one thing, on the puffer, if you keep it in the tank, your tank won't be over stocked for long as they will go after all the fish you have in the tank. Another thing, yes you do need a bigger tank for all the fish you have. the guppies alone once they start having babies your tank will be very stressed to the max.

If at all possible, I would suggest to take everything back to the lfs and start it over.
 

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I will say one thing, on the puffer, if you keep it in the tank, your tank won't be over stocked for long as they will go after all the fish you have in the tank. Another thing, yes you do need a bigger tank for all the fish you have. the guppies alone once they start having babies your tank will be very stressed to the max.

If at all possible, I would suggest to take everything back to the lfs and start it over.
I did read that dwarf puffers can be very aggressive, though usually only after they've matured. I plan on moving it into a species only tank, but I was hoping I could do that in the future and leave it as is for now, since it ignores the rest of the fish right now.

For the guppies, I was wondering what I am supposed to do with the fry? I can't keep them all, or as you said, my tank would be overrun.
 

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75 percent daily? That's a little much, isn't it? Is that only because it's a 10 gallon tank? Speaking of water changes... how often is too often for a new tank?
 

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Dont add new fish as you know because the fish you have have slowly been getting used to the water quality the way it is. Also don't overfeed. How much are you feeding? Also dont clean the filter for a while, as that will remove the good bacteria that you want to colonize in there and to get to work processing the fish waste.
 

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Ive heard all good advice so far, but id like some more info. First, this filter you have, am i to understand it is operated by air?? is this one of the little in tank filters with an air stone in it? how long had your tank been running before you added fish ?
 

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It sounds like an UGF with the stock tube and air stone JIM. but as for you question about the guppy fry Tango, they will provide good feeders for your puffer. thats IF and only if you put that puffer in a different tank. beacause if you dont, it will eat everything anyway and you wont have any fry to worry about.
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I am feeding the fish once a day before going to bed. If they don't eat everything I give them within a few minutes, I remove the remaining food.

Yes, the filter I have is operated by air. It's a little ELITE sponge type filter. I also have an airstone in the tank. I set up my tank the day I bought the fish. I hadn't realized I needed to have it set up and cycle it first.

Can the puffer really eat the other fish? It is smaller than them all. It seemed to be shy of the other fish at first, and kept to itself. It still keeps mostly to itself, but it will go around the tank and doesn't shy away from the other fish anymore.

Unfortunately, my guppies aren't alive anymore. I think I bought a sick female, but the male seemed healthy and I was suprised to find him dead this morning. My frog wouldn't let the other fish near the body and it kept plucking at the fins. Did it see the guppy as food?

All of my other fish seem fine right now, and I got the water should now have the bacteria in it. I have been changing some of the water every day, but leaving some behind so that I don't remove the bacteria.

I do have another question, this time about my betta (which is in another tank). He is where I got my username from, as he is named Tango. He doesn't seem to be interested in food, and I am worried. I read that they can go a month without food, but I want to solve the problem before that long.
 

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test your nitrites, im betting you already have some growing in your tank. thats probably the reason why your guppies died. as for the puffer, it will get bigger eventually. and about the betta question, where is chickadee when you need her? lol shes the betta expert.
 
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Sorry I was in bed with the flu and have not been on much.

What temperature is your tank? Bettas need to be kept between 78 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit for optimum digestion and metabolic rates. If he is cool he will not feel like eating as he could be constipated. If he is too warm he should be very active and perhaps not interested in eating as it is like being "too nervous" in a human.

I have had bettas go without food for up to 5 days and not been harmed but generally they will eat. Could it be the food? How long have you had it? Most foods have a shelf life after being opened of about 4 to 6 months and after that they can change or loss flavor. He may also be bored with his food if he has been eating the same thing for a while.

Believe me, I know about bettas being picky eaters. I thought I would go bankrupt finding a food for one of the bettas I owned to eat. I thought he was going to starve to death in the meantime. He lived and settled on Freeze Dried Bloodworms from Hikari. How they know what brand they like better I will never know as to me a bloodworm is a bloodworm but then I have not ever eaten one. BUT bettas can and will drive you to do things you swore you never would when they are not eating.

Have you tried giving him the "pea treat"? He may be having digestive difficulties and sometimes a quick pea dinner made of a frozen pea microwaved with no water for about 20 seconds just to defrost it not to cook it. Then you remove the peeling of the pea and chop small pieces from the pea about half the size of the fish's eye and give him a small treat of 2 to 3 of these chunks. I put the chunk on my fingertip and slip it into the water right ahead of the betta and generally they will catch it as it floats down in the water. If he will not try the peas then perhaps he is not hungry enough yet. Usually once they try them they LOVE them.

I do hope that this helps, perhaps if you have further questions you can post them on the betta section so the betta owners will be more likely to find the question as not everyone reads every post and sometimes putting a question in a post for another subject gets overlooked.

Rose
 

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Told you she was the betta expert. LOL who wouldve thought, bettas and peas. Learn somthin new everyday on this forum. Very cool.
 

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Even some little fishies need their veggies.....*r2so they can poo.

Rose
:)
 
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