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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone! I have a few questions but first I would like to say WOW what an interesting hobby! I just started and, as you probably already know, I am already screwing it up. Here's my situation... I have a 10gal freshwater tank. I have an undergravel filter and another filter hanging on the outside rear that creates a waterfall like flow. It was the one that came with the tank kit from almart. I purchases the undergravel about a week ago. I have a few plants (fake) at the bottom and two structures (one peice of wood and one neon orange coral looking thing. All of it fake. Inside the talk I have 1 Pleco about 2", 1 Black Molly pair, 2 Platy pairs (1 Mickey and 1 Sunset), 1 Clown Loach (2"), and 3 small Alae Eaters(1" each). I also have a breeder tank inside with two Platy Fry in it. I think they are about serveral days old as they are only a little more than 1/8". 13 fish in all. I know some of you are probably saying "TOO MANY!" I know this now. Heres the question...The water is one week old and I know, from reading, that you should start cycling the water with just a very few fish. What do I do now though? Is it still possible to get the water in the right conditions? I have a 1gal clean milk jug with water in it sitting next to the tank for the first 10% water change this weekend. I have been told that helps disipate the chlorine before I put it in the talk. I figured I would replace 1gal per week for the partial water changes until it is established. I don't plan on adding anymore fish to the tank. My kids do have 1gal tanks in their rooms that I plan to put my Platys in (as soon as the Fancy and Koi are gone). Those tanks only have undergravel filters and won't be stable either. I know this is a long post but I wanted to make sure enough information was given. One last thing...The tank has has fish in it since Sunday and the water still looks very clear. I didn't know about cycling when I purchased the fish and tank but I want to keep the fish because the family loves them. Thanks in advance for the help.

James
 

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Pleco n bn breeder n BOSS
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Your going to need to do water changes every other day at a bare minimum. The loaches and the pleco is going to grow to big for your tank and actually need a min of 75 gal in order for them to grow right. I would return them immediately to the fish store.

Other wise don't be to surprised when you start loosing fish which will probably be soon enough unless you get it straightened up.
 

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You will need to be very careful in the next few weeks so as to establish the filter and still keep the fish healthy. A certain level of ammonia needs to build up in the tank so that the live bacteria that feed on the ammonia (nitrobacter) will become established. Ammonia is, of course, toxic to the fish.

You will need to do water changes to keep the ammonia levels from getting too high. At the same time, if you change too much water, the tank will take a very long time to cycle.

I would feed very limited amounts of food, change 30-40% of the water every 2-3 days, and keep a very close eye on the fish.

There is a product called "Cycle" that is supposed to help the nitrobacter establish, and it might be worth your while to go get some of this and give it a try.

There are also products that neutralize ammonia, and it might not hurt to have this on hand in case of an emergency. I would not use it if you can help it, though, because, again, there will need to be some ammonia in the water for the nitrobacter to become established.

Finally, I'd get a test kit and monitor the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels so that you can know for sure when the tank has cycled.

Good luck, and have fun with your new fish!
 

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WAIT...you don't even have a product that neutralizes chlorine or chloramines? Before doing any daily water changes get a dechlorinator. My choice would be Prime from Seachem or AmQuel. Prime removes chlorine and chloramine, and it neutralizes ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate as well as detoxifies heavy metals. On top of all that it adds natural slime coat to the fish.

A new tank takes 2-3 weeks to cycle naturally. At the beginning you get an ammonia spike from fish and food waste. Then bacteria begins to colonize the tank after ~week that breaks down this toxic chemical to nitrite. However, nitrite is also toxic to the fish. Another species of bacteria begins to colonize and breaks down the toxic nitrite to a less toxic nitrate. If you see your fish hovering at the top like they need air it is probably due to ammonia and/or nitrite poisoning. Change a percentage of your water daily (once you get a dechlorinator) and be sure to leave your gravel and filter alone so that the bacteria can colonize.

Besides plants, nothing really breaks down nitrate, but it is not as toxic and most fish can tolerate ~20ppm. This is why we do weekly water changes. To keep nitrates within spec once the tank has been cycled.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks to all who replied to my troubles. I will stop by today on the way home from work and get the stuff to get rid of the chlorine in my water jug. So I am gathering that I should change out 1gal of water in my 10gal tank a day for the first couple weeks to allow the tank to cycle? I can handle that. I have a friend that can take the Pleco when he is too big for the tank but what to do with the Loach I dunno. I don't want to flush any fish and getting rid of fish here is like trying to pull teeth. I will try the local pet stores and see if a good one will take him for free. I need to get rid of him anyway because he is eating my snails and I like my snails (untill they become populated that is). Now the amonia neutralizer, can it be put into the tank with the fish or should I only use it with the water in my water change jug? I really didn't know there was this much to having an aquarium. That's OK because now it is a challenge and I love challenges. I even want to get a much bigger one in the future as soon as I figure out all the water conditioning stuff so I get it right from the start with the bigger tank. I guess you could say that the 10gal tank will be my training aid. I just don't want to kill any fish in the process.

James
 

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A much bigger tank is alot less challenging.The bigger the tank the easier it is.Buy a bottle of seachem Prime.Add it to the water in the jug mix it then add it to the tank.Now since you have not added anything to the tank yet i would add some directly to the tank.It will not hurt the fish.Just read the bottle and do as directed.Also buy a fluid test kit do not use test strips.I use API master test kit works good!
 

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Marty is right. Big tanks are easier. Even a little overfeeding pollutes a 10 gallon tank, while a 55 gallon tank is more forgiving. Also, bigger tanks can provide a better habitat for a much wider range of fish.

One gallon a day may not be enough, but if you are carefull to siphon off as much waste as you can, it will certainly help.

Good luck! :fish-in-a-bag:
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
OK This is what I have done sonce I got home from work. I bought some test strips. I know you said not to but it was all Walmart had at the moment. I will get a liquid test kit when I have the time to get to a local pet store or a Pet Smart. I also bought a couple chemicals for the water. I got Jungle Start Right with allantoin and API Stress Zyme. I added the chemicals exactly as directed by the bottles. I did a 2gal water change at the closest temperature of the aquarium water. I checked the water with one of the strips 10 min after the chemicals and another at about 30 min after. The readings after 30 min are as follows...

PH--------------7.2
Alkalinity--------40
Hardness--------75
Nitrite-----------0
Nitrate----------20


I know these are probably not as accurate as a liquid test kit but I have a very limited time for anything but work and my wife and kids right now. (Wife just had shoulder surgery a few days ago...Me Mr. Mom and work.) Hope I am on the right track. In the next few days I hope to get a better test kit (as long as it dosen't cost a fortune) and get some kind of test for the ammonia.


James
 

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Your going to need to do water changes every other day at a bare minimum. The loaches and the pleco is going to grow to big for your tank and actually need a min of 75 gal in order for them to grow right. I would return them immediately to the fish store.

Other wise don't be to surprised when you start loosing fish which will probably be soon enough unless you get it straightened up.
Pleco's take a LONG time to grow :) mine is about 6" right now, and I had the pleco in a 10 gallon for 3 years. I have it in my 29 gallon now :) loaches, I don't know much about their growth, but I might just take your word about loaches growing big.

I do know that clown loaches get ick very easily, and they need very warm warm water.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I really like the Bristled Pleco which may be a better alternative but about the Loach..... What do you do if you can't find a good home for a fish (I will be much more careful in the future when choosing fish for my tanks, BTW) I don't want to do the flush method. Not really an option. Not an environmental or animal extremist but I chose the fish and I want to handle it rsponsibly (plus I would be the next one getting the flush if my kids found out about it lol). So what does a person do if the fish starts affecting the community in an adverse way? (Eating other things in the tank that was not anticipated at first?) You guys are really knowlegable and I appreciate all the replies to my ignorance. Here is my aquarium BTW. Nothing fancy but I am in the learning process so it will get bigger and better in the future.

James
Aquarium.jpg
 

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I really like the Bristled Pleco which may be a better alternative but about the Loach..... What do you do if you can't find a good home for a fish (I will be much more careful in the future when choosing fish for my tanks, BTW) I don't want to do the flush method. Not really an option. Not an environmental or animal extremist but I chose the fish and I want to handle it rsponsibly (plus I would be the next one getting the flush if my kids found out about it lol). So what does a person do if the fish starts affecting the community in an adverse way? (Eating other things in the tank that was not anticipated at first?) You guys are really knowlegable and I appreciate all the replies to my ignorance. Here is my aquarium BTW. Nothing fancy but I am in the learning process so it will get bigger and better in the future.

James
View attachment 194
Yeah I don't know about your laws over where you live.. but the place where I live has posters and it's pretty much a law not to flush your fishes down the toilet....
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Fish Division

OK I got the liquid amonia test kit and I tested the water before I did a 2 1/2 gal water change. The results really bothered me a lot. It showed 1.5mg/l and the kit instructions say that is "highly toxic if present even for short periods of time" . I did not test the water after the 2 1/2 gal water change as I think this would not be an accurate reading as the new water would need to "settle" before I would know what the real content would be. I did find a pet store that would take the Koi, Fancy, and the loach. Tomarrow I will take those fish to them which will free up two 1gal tanks so I can get some of the fish out of the big tank. Out of the following fish, how should I devide them? Keep in mind that the two small tanks will be fresh starts and only have undergravel filters. Should I leave the undergravel filter in the 10 gal tank running at all times or cycle it? I added it to the tank. It did not originally come with it. I am still using the waterfall filter hanging on the back. I usually turn the undergravel filter off during feeding time because it creates a current in the tank, and turn it right back on afterwards.

1 pair Mickey Mouse Platys---1 1/2"
1 pair Sunset Platys----------1 1/2"
1 pair Black Mollies-----------1 1/2"
2 Platy fry in breeder---------1/4"
1 Pleco----------------------2 1/2"
3 Algae Eaters---------------1 1/4"

Here's my thought process...Tell me what you think. Suggestions are highly appreciated.

10 GAL TANK
2 pair Platys
1 Pleco
2 Platy fry in breeder

1 GA TANK
1 Pair Black Mollies

1 GAL TANK
3 Algae Eaters

Thanks in advance,
James
 

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Do you live anywhere near a metro area? I'd hit craigslist and see if I could get a 20 gallon or so. With that you could work with what you have as far as heater and filter equipment. You may even be able to return the kit to walmart (no idea on their policy for that) and buy a used setup more suitable to the number of fish you are trying to keep.

You could also rehome some unwanted fish on craigslist.
 

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well use amqueal plus for a declorinator contrairy to what petsupermarket may tell you it does very little to nitrates,nitrites,amonia the rest is in gods hands i had a similer situation i got ammino carb and a canister filter amino carb helps with amonia control but dont waste the money unless you get a bigger tank its not worth the exspense i have a 55 fresh with 14 cichlids and 2 black tip sharks
 

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Newhobby,

My guess is that Jungle Start Right is a lot like API's dechlorinator. It will probably remove chlorine and chloramines but not ammonia, nitrite, or nitrate. The chloramine gets broken down into chlorine and ammonia, so when you treat with the dechlorinator, if your water has chloramines, you are actually breaking it down to toxic ammonia. I could be wrong about Jungle Start Right, so read the bottle carefully.

This is why I suggest 2 specific dechlorinators above. ;) Keep in mind with these 2 products you may still get an ammonia and nitrite reading with a kit, but they will be in a non-toxic form. Just be sure to use more than normal if you see that your fish are showing signs of stress from ammonia/nitrites (eradic swimming, breathing at the top).
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Good News

I have good news! I have been doing water changes every day and testing the water, too. I have been using the ammonia liquid test kit and purchased a nitrite liquid test kit today. I am pleased to say that the ammonia and nitrite levels were both zero for today. I did not do a water change in approximately 36hrs and the water quality tests are finally consistant. At the advice of a LPS (dealing only with fish (marine dreams)) I put some bacteria (microbe-lift) in the tank to help with the cycle. I used it strickly according to the directions on the bottle. I got rid of the Goldfish and the Clown Loach (to the same LPS in exchange for the bacteria). I split the fish up a little different than I planned. 3 Algae Eaters, 1pr Platys, and Pleco for the 10 Gal; 1pr Mollies for the 1 Gal; and 1pr Platys for the other 1 Gal. I have been treating the water before it goes in the tank for the water changes and letting it sit for a day, as well. I have actually been documenting my observations in a memo book for future reference. I placed 1pr of Platys back in the 10 Gal but had to take the smaller male back out because the larger male was chasing him all over the tank. Poor little guy. Everything in the 10 Gal tank sems to be going well but I don't know what I'm going to do with the 1 Gal tanks. These tanks are for my girls and I can't get the ammonia levels down to safe levels. They only have undergravel filters and no heaters (too small for heaters???). Any suggestions? These little tanks are about the only thing they can have (available room). I have added the bacteria to them, as well. One last question...When should I replace the carbon filter on the back of the tank?


James

PS Thanks to everyone that has helped me because it is because of you guys that my little 10 Gal tank is cycling properly now so I say again THANK YOU.
 

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Pleco's take a LONG time to grow :) mine is about 6" right now, and I had the pleco in a 10 gallon for 3 years. I have it in my 29 gallon now :) loaches, I don't know much about their growth, but I might just take your word about loaches growing big.

I do know that clown loaches get ick very easily, and they need very warm warm water.
In my 75 gal in 3 years it was 12 inches. they don't grow as slow as most people think.
 

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Pleco n bn breeder n BOSS
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They will grow at a normal rate if the tank is big enough. No matter what the 10 gal is too small for a pleco.

On another note. 1 gal tanks shouldn't be used for anything but shrimp, snails or even a betta if it heated. You will never be able to control ammonia and nitrite levels in those tanks with the fish that you have in there. It would be better even if you could replace the 2 bowls with 5 gal tanks. Least they will have more room.

Sorry if I tend to be blunt, but its the way I am when it comes to fish.
 
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