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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi! My kiddos wanted to get fish... and I've always wanted to have a big aquarium of fish to ogle... so we got a 20 gallon and broke the rules by getting fish without waiting for the tank to cycle. One of the black molly's had 11 fry within a couple of days... so I raced out and go a little breeder tank and put them all in there. I've carefully monitored water parameters, and within another couple of days decided I really wanted to have another tank (and the additional molly fry meant we would need more space). Well, I'm impulsive and impatient and spent so many darn hours watching the fish I was thrilled to have a bigger tank and... again... got some fish.

I already know I've done a lot wrong: 1) didn't cycle tanks first 2) didn't quarantine new fish 3) probably 1000 other things. I've lost some fish.

I've been to a local aquarium store (most of the fish deaths were neon tetra and I learned those don't belong in the same type of tank temps as some of the others. On my must buy list is a hospital/quarantine tank. Should I get a 10 or 20 gallon? How do you get/keep it cycled if you put medications in the water that kill the good bacteria? Right now I'm using my 20 gallon primarily as a hospital tank, but I admit... I also have healthy fish in there because they didn't get along with some of the fish in the 55 gallon and seemed to constantly harass and chase them around. :-(

20 gallon:
78 degrees
7.0 pH
0.0 ppm Ammonia
0.0 ppm Nitrite
0.0 ppm Nitrate

Stock:
3 male guppies
6 panda corydora catfish
2 orange and black platies
2 black molly (just added last night)

One platy is sick and started my hunt for answers - it had a two small spots/holes on it's tail then developed a white patch on top of it's head - doesn't really appear fuzzy, just white). I did 7 days treating the water with Pimafix and Melafix. The platy is still hiding along the bottom behind rocks and vegetation.

Last night I added two black mollies from my 55 gallon that seemed sick. One of them, in particular. It spent much of yesterday at the surface of the tank breathing heavily and rapidly. I thought it seemed to be doing rapid, heavy breathing for a day or two before, but just yesterday it was hanging almost exclusively at the surface. Once I started REALLY watching her yesterday, I saw that she's become VERY skinny.

After lots of reading and research and due to the platy issues and the molly seeming quite sick... I started API General Cure last night. One molly is now coming out of hiding more (but maybe it's just that she's acclimating to the new tank and better water parameters).

I figured her decline it was the water parameters, as I had recently started struggling with water parameters in that tank, I imagine the cycle was getting going and with already having a number of fish (and probably still overfeeding while I try to get the hang of it). I imagine it was part of the cycle happening as it started increasing in ammonia, plus the pH plummeted... but I'd added a piece of driftwood and a couple of lava rocks and I believe now that the driftwood is doing it. The pH went from a 7-7.2 down to a 6.0. I've done two days in a row of 30% water changes. Water parameters from yesterday are below:

Temp: 78
pH: 6.0
Ammonia: 1.0ppm
Nitrite: 0.0 ppm
Nitrate: 0.0ppm

Stock:
1 black molly
2 Dalmatian molly
5 Glofish danio
5 Glofish tetra
2 neon tetra (the others all died within 24 hrs of coming home)
6 Julii cordora catfish

I am planning to do another water change today (about to check today's parameters). The remaining fish in this tank appear good, so far. Do I need to remove the driftwood? Will it always continue dropping the pH or does that lessen over time? Is there a way to stop it from dropping the pH? It's saba wood. I also haven't gotten it fully waterlogged and sunk yet, without weight. I'm afraid that pH is just too low and since that's as low as the test registers, it may be even lower than what the reading is...?

Thank you, in advance, for reading all this and helping a newbie get this figured out. I already tried convincing my spouse to let me get another even BIGGER tank... so far, no dice. LOL
 
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