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10 gallon/40 liter tank, is twelve small fish too much?

Discussion in 'New to the Hobby Questions and Answers' started by Attloyden, May 22, 2019.

  1. Attloyden

    Attloyden New Member

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    I recently purchaces a topfin 10 kit, and replaced the top with a glass topper. Ran it for about three weeks with 5 neon tetras adding stress zyme for benifical bactera. it seemed to cycle just fine, then we added 3 bandit cory catfish who found a nice home under our suspended driftwood log. water testes showed that the tank was cycling just fine. Then i went and added a sparkling gourami and a betta at around week 5. I also cleaned the sponge filter on the intake of my HOB filter, BUT i squeezed it too many times, 4 and too hard.

    It was at this point ammonia started to spike, and it got near to 4ppm, i did water changes untill it came down to 2ppm and added more bacteria, tetra safe start and waited three days, no result, still 2ppm, thinking that the ammonia levels were too high and killed the bacteria, did water changes until I got it down to .25 ammonia and added a bigger bottle of tetra safe start. Tested 24 hours later and it was up to .50 ppm ammonia, 0 nitrites 0 nitrates.

    I then made a custom filtration lift tube filled with AC bio-media balls and api bio-chem filtration stars. it was installed on top of a bed of AC bio balls. all the air i pum into the tank flows though this biological filtration unit, it's not fluidized, just very well oxygenated. I also added a coarse sponge inside my HOB filter and put in a small pad pf poly-fill sewn inside a pantyhose that fit over the frame of an old filter cartridge.

    After the change in filtration I added more bacteria, and the ammonia levels fell to less than .25pmm, though nitrites and nitrates are still at zero. No water changes have occurred since I got the ammonia levels at .25ppm.

    Today I purchased another sparkling gourami, and a siamese alge eater since I am finally starting to see alge growing in the tank.

    NOW however the cute chasing actions of the neon tetras has turned sour, and there are two of them that are quite injured, one is missing it's tailfin and some of it's scales. It's still actively feeding and this happened overnight, does not match pictures of disease and the other tetras seem to be fighting now except when being fed or a few hours after feeding.

    ammonia <.25pmm
    nitrite 0pmm
    nitrate 0pmm
    water temp 77.7F
    water hardness 180-300pmm
    ph 7.2-8.4 depending on how much rain we have gotten since we have well water
    water conditioner: Stress coat+

    I have an anubia, a water spite, Java moss and a large marimo moss ball in the tank, and numerous plant lights and try to keep the lights on for only 8 hours but it's usually on whenever i am looking at them or someone else is, but it's still on a timer for 8 hours.

    I am worried I need a bigger tank, or to return some fish. I had no idea that the Neons could be so aggressive and was told that 5 would be fine by the pet store person who deals with fish, pet supplies plus.

    I actually want the 10 gallon/40 liter tank to work and don't think i can afford to move up in tank size just yet, I am aware that 10 gallons are harder to take care of But I feel like I want to really get it down and have a good quality ten gallon before moving up to something larger, So when i eventually do i can relax, plop in some of the old media from my ten.
     
  2. Byron

    Byron Member

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    In short, you have too many fish and the wrong combination of species for this small a tank. I will concentrate on this factor, as resolving it will help with the ammonia/cycling and related issues.

    Male bettas are not community fish, and with a gourami and neon tetra this is not going to end well so I would re-home the Betta ASAP. The damage to the neons is more likely due to the Betta, even if you do not see physical attacks. Fish often have the knack of doing their dirty work when we are not there to see it!

    This tank is much too small for a Siamese Algae Eater which attains six inches. This fish is a shoaling species so it needs at least five, and in no less than a 4-foot length tank. Also, it will not eat most common algae. Single fish frequently become very aggressive so it should be removed ASAP. This SAE is another candidate for the neon problem.

    Neon tetra like all tetra species is shoaling, so a group of at least six, preferably more. A 10g tank is not reazlly large enough for this fish, but if it was the only species you could manage it.

    Cories are also shoaling, and no fewer than five are needed. These are very social fish. Here again a 10g is really too small, but it could be done. Before I get into this more, I'll leave it at the above. I can promise that some of these fish will bee dead before very long if those mentioned are not removed.
     
  3. PheonixKingZ

    PheonixKingZ Fishaholic

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    Male betta fish can be in a community tank, as long as they are not aggressive. :)
     
  4. Byron

    Byron Member

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    No. Bettas are not community fish; every reliable ichthyologist will say this. While some aquarists claim that a male Betta exists peacefully with other fish, this is (if true) the exception and not the norm for the species. There is no point in risking the sanity and health of any fish just to try something that is contrary to nature.

    There are two aspects to this. First, the Betta is deliberately bred to be aggressive. Even if they do not attack other fish, they still release pheromones and allomones which are chemical signals other fish can "read" in the water. This alone can be highly stressful especially in small tanks.

    Second, the sedate nature and flowing fins of male bettas usually entice even otherwise peaceful fish like small tetras to become fin nippers. And here again, even if the small fish do not act this out, the chemical signals are still there to aggravate the poor Betta.
     
  5. PheonixKingZ

    PheonixKingZ Fishaholic

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    I am sorry I doubted you, you seem to be very knowledgeable in the fish keeping hobby. :)
     
  6. Byron

    Byron Member

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    Thank you. :fish:
     
  7. Attloyden

    Attloyden New Member

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    So the betta and the Siamese alge eater need to go, Even though the places i got them from told me they would be fine with the fish and the tank i have, and that 6" was rare for an alge eater, most only get to 2-4 inches and the larger ones were "mutated"

    And now it turns out i don't have Siamese alge eater. The tank was labeled to have them in there at texas aquatics, which is a fish store.

    Turns out i ended up with the Reticulated Flying Fox instead.

    Not the first time I ended up with a miss labeled fish, the panda corys i thought i got instead ended up being Bandit corys.

    Also my water tests don't make sense, i have too many fish and I'm feeding small amounts twice a day,

    Ammonia .25ppm or less
    nitrites 0ppm
    nitrates 0ppm

    Nothing has changed in 4 days.
     
    #7 Attloyden, May 23, 2019
    Last edited: May 23, 2019
  8. essjay

    essjay Member

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    Never believe anything a shop worker says till you have confirmed it by research. There are some good ones but you have to search hard to find them. The rest either don't know or don't care and will make up any rubbish to make a sale.

    The mis-labelling of fish is often due to the wholesaler not the shop. I once ordered some Microdevario kubotai only to find when they arrived that they were Boraras brigittae instead. The delivery note said Microdevario without indicating that they'd been substituted with another species.
     
  9. Byron

    Byron Member

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    I second essjay's post. I learned years ago the hard way--always research a fish species from a reliable source (used to be books, now online) before acquiring it/them, so you are aware of its size, temperament, requirements (several for shoaling species, etc), water parameters (GH, pH, temp) so it will be compatible...and of course its nature (peaceful, aggressive, fast swimming, sedate, etc). All of these things must be known and match before the fish is acquired.

    The Flying Fox, or any one of the very similar and often confused fish, all get 5-6 inches and being shoaling need a group. I hope you can return this fish as it will be stressed, in poor health, and likely become very aggressive due to this. Nothing but trouble looming here.

    There is really no surprise here, nor anything wrong. The SafeStart seeded the nitrifying bacteria and you should not see nitrite with this product, and eventually maybe nitrates will appear, but if they don't also not a problem.

    Nitrifying bacteria will reproduce according to the food supply (ammonia, nitrite) so it would seem that they have done so and are handling things. But that only deals with the water quality from the nitrification aspect; there is still the issue of physical space and fish requirements, and this does have a permanent impact on fish development so the sooner the issues are rectified (removing the inappropriate fish) the better. At some point it will be too late.
     
  10. Attloyden

    Attloyden New Member

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    I realized a lot of the aggression started after i removed the activated carbon and before the two new fish, I put it back in to see if there is any change.

    The research online isn't easy as i have to go through a bunch of websites that all say something different.

    What about two sparkling gourami in the same tank, will they be aggressive toward each other.

    I have the receipt for the SAE/RFF so will see if can return them.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  11. PheonixKingZ

    PheonixKingZ Fishaholic

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    The pleco should be fine. :)
     
  12. Attloyden

    Attloyden New Member

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    Plecos get way too huge and need a 55 gallon tank, unless i can find a dwarf kind that only get to 2 inches max.

    And this is the sort of issue I am having https://fishkeepingadvice.com/12-best-algae-eaters/

    It lists the SAE as a good community fish that does not get along well with it's own species, and it states that it only gets to 2 inches in length

    Wiki says they school together or are fine solo, but they get to 6.5 inches in length

    The reticulated flying fox on the other hand is even more aggressive than the SAE and will try to dominate other species in the tank so he must go, good news is that if I return him i can then get some Amano shrimp.

    Was just trying to get something to help pick off the diatoms growing on my anubis, the water sprite can outgrow it but the Anubis can't.

    The water has cleared up some due to the activated carbon and the tetras went from full on fighting to just giving weak chases.
     
  13. essjay

    essjay Member

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    Seriously Fish http://www.seriouslyfish.com/knowledge-base/ is just about the best website there is for fish research. Anyone can set up a website and sound like an expert when they are not but Seriously Fish is written by fish experts and ichthyologists. I would ignore all other sites and just use Seriously Fish for research.
     
  14. Byron

    Byron Member

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    As essjay corrected said, and this link proves...anyone can set up a website as some sort of authority and disseminate totally inaccurate and false information.

    To the issue of algae...fish should never be acquired to solve any "problem," as they usually bring even more problems as here. Diatoms are normal in new tanks and should dissipate once the biology has established. There are some fish that will eat diatoms...the SAE and its relatives will not. But I hesitate to recommend them because the tank has stocking problems now that need resolution and adding more fish is not going to help.

    No. One or three, but even that can cause issues. Male gourami of every species are territorial, to various degrees depending upon the species. A group of five is best with the sparkling gourami; males challenge each other, and will make clicking or grating noises that can be heard outside the aquarium. Five needs more space though. Three could work but you miss out on some interesting interactive behaviours and I always think our fish should be provided with as natural an environment as possible so they will do so; a solitary sparkling gourami swimming around a 10g isn't much fun, to me or the fish. -_-
     
  15. Attloyden

    Attloyden New Member

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    Ok, the SAE has been returned, and the betta has been removed. Now there are 5 neon tetras, 2 sparkling gourami and 3 bandit cory catfish. We have also added 2 amano shrimp.

    The water chemistry does not seem to be changing at all. even with feeding twice a day. A pinch of regular flakes, a pinch of Betta min, and three to four sinking algae pellets. The ammonia continues to stay at .25 ppm with nitrite and nitrates staying at 0ppm.

    The sparkling gourami were being aggressive toward each other the first few days but after the betta and the SAE were removed they slowly acclimated and now they swim around each other and follow each other around regularly without any nipping and seem friendly.

    However the Neon tetras while less aggressive than they were, are still being somewhat aggressive toward each other, however the tailfin that was all but bitten off of one of them is starting to regrow as are the scales on the tail of several of them. They seem to be behaving like a wolfpack, with one big alpha fish, and it's chosen mate, chasing away the other three when they approach their territory.

    My water sprite has some extremely pale new growth making me think there aren't enough nutrients in the water since the ammonia, nitrites and nitrates are so low. However the diatom algae growth is going crazy on one side of the tank, forming very thick brown mats on the glass. The Amano shrimp seem to ignore diatoms but I did not expect them to do much for diatoms in the first place.
     

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