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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I just got my tank back from a friend who was taking care of it for me for the last three years and I have a few questions that I can't remember the answers to. When I moved the tank I had to do an 80% water change so it was light enough to carry.

My friend kept the tank in an area that was better air conditioned then I am able to keep the tank in now. It's a 20 gallon tank with a Penguin 125 filter with biowheel, and the water temps over the last 5 days have fluctuated between 78 and 84 degrees. On average it tends to stay around 82. I know that warm water can't hold as much oxygen so I'm worried that this is too warm! The fish seem ok though. What do you guys think? Too warm? Obviously it would depend on the fish...

Here's what's in my tank:

1 Gymnocorymbus ternetzi (Black Tetra) sex unknown
1 Male Xiphophorus maculatus (Red Wagtail Platy)
1 Female Red Wagtail Platy
2 Female Golden Micky Mouse Platties
1 Female "Marigold" Platy (perhaps helleri hybrid?)
1 Female Xiphophorus variatus
2 Gyrinocheilus aymonieri (Chinese algae eaters)

So that's 9 fish.

My second question is, how many fish can a tank like this support? I seem to remember keeping 25 platties in this tank a few years ago but If you go by the 1 gallon per inch of fish rule, that would only be about ten 2-inch long fish. I was hoping to add a couple of male Xiphophorus helleri to the mix and a pair of blue platties (if I can find them) but I've already got 9 fish and the Marigold platy appears to be pregnant. What do you guys think? Can I safely add 3-4 more fish? My power filter is the model that can handle up to 30 gallons but I've got it on a 20 gallon tank so it cycles the water pretty quickly and adds lots of visible bubbles. However, the water is on the warm side so I'm not sure about oxygen levels.

I just changed the charcoal cartridge and the bio wheel too. I'm wondering if that was such a good idea after an 80% water change... my third question is do you guys think my tank will have to "cycle" like new tanks do because I changed so much water and the filter parts? My tank is densely "planted" with artificial plants but no live plants.

I also have several little pond snails that showed up since I loaned my tank out. I don't if that's a good thing or a bad thing because I never had them before. Should I get rid of them?

On top of that, the two red wagtails are clamping their fins and acting kinda sluggish except when they are fed they eat voraciously. I think they might be pretty old though (3-4 years) and the move kinda upset them. Should I be worried or do anything special to treat them?

Lastly, feeding. I've been feeding them 3-4 times a day over the last 5 days and they seem like their starving all the time, swimming up to the surface in a frenzy and biting at the bubbles like they think it's food. I think I'm feeding them enough but they still seem hungry! Should I feed them more?!

Any advice would be great! Thanks.
 

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Yes, its sounds like you are going thru a mini-cycle. Until you can test the water it would be a good idea to keep doing daily water changes. It sounds like the fish have ammonia poisoning. Good luck :)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I tested my tank for ammonia and it came out good. The tested water came out a clear yellow which corresponded to 0 ammonia. The fish in the aquarium are also doing much better and not clamping their fins anymore. They are still eating voraciously but I'm trying to be careful not to overfeed. I think perhaps they got stressed out from moving the tank. Perhaps there was enough good bacteria still living in the substrate that when I put the new plastic plants in the tank I kicked up enough of that good bacteria and allowed it to take up residence in the filter again. I haven't done any other tests since I don't see any more problems but I will wait a while before adding any more fish.
 

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Also, snails add a large bio load on your tank... a tank that small, with that many fish, I would get rid of them. just my 2cents
 

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I know my local fish store has something that gets rid of them, and I assume it does not hurt anything else... I have never used the stuff, so may want to find out more about it before you get any.
 

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I agree you probably are going through a mini-cycle. I wouldn't change the bio-wheel unless it was falling apart, and even then I would find a way to place it in you filter until the new wheel has ben running along side it for a while. Those things last for years. Those litle spots don't appear to be any thing to worry about either, unless they start to grow and spread. Try and get yourself a quarantine tank for your new fish.
 
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