Does this tank look too overcrowded with stuff???

Colin_T

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When you buy the fish, check every fish in the tank for white patches, faded red or blue lines, or any spots. These are all signs of disease. Also look out for fish sitting by themself in a corner, or hanging under the surface.

Find out when the fish come into the shop and buy them a week later or buy fish the day before new ones come in and get added to the tank. This will reduce the stress on the fish and reduce the likelihood of you getting sick fish.

Try to avoid buying fish on the day they do water changes. Again, buy the fish the day before they do water changes. If their system is on a drip system, it's not a problem, but if they do big water changes each week, avoid getting fish for a few days after they have done them.
 
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Navfish

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When you buy the fish, check every fish in the tank for white patches, faded red or blue lines, or any spots. These are all signs of disease. Also look out for fish sitting by themself in a corner, or hanging under the surface.

Find out when the fish come into the shop and buy them a week later or buy fish the day before new ones come in and get added to the tank. This will reduce the stress on the fish and reduce the likelihood of you getting sick fish.

Try to avoid buying fish on the day they do water changes. Again, buy the fish the day before they do water changes. If their system is on a drip system, it's not a problem, but if they do big water changes each week, avoid getting fish for a few days after they have done them.
interestingly enough, I called PetSmart and asked about all the info you told me to ask but they told me they don't do water changes on their fish tanks. There's no way right?

They told me they only did them on the betta cups! Is this normal for PetSmart to do?

I might just stick with my LFS.
 

Colin_T

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interestingly enough, I called PetSmart and asked about all the info you told me to ask but they told me they don't do water changes on their fish tanks. There's no way right?

They told me they only did them on the betta cups! Is this normal for PetSmart to do?

I might just stick with my LFS.
That doesn't sound right. Every pet shop does water changes on tanks. If they don't they should stop keeping fish. Maybe they have a drip system that does automatic water changes slowly over days.
 

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That doesn't sound right. Every pet shop does water changes on tanks. If they don't they should stop keeping fish. Maybe they have a drip system that does automatic water changes slowly over days.
I think at big stores, they have a stream of water continually supplying the tanks instead of filters maybe
 

itiwhetu

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In stores they are continually taking water out of tanks to sell fish, so they are continually replacing it (water changing)
 
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Navfish

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Added some more stuff! Here’s the final look 👀
 

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AdoraBelle Dearheart

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I really like the look of the tank overall in the first photo, with the peace lily roots etc, but the main thing is that you like how it looks! So keep it looking the way you like it, and don't change it just because someone else doesn't like the look.

If the advice is about the welfare of the fish though, then it's worth listening. A ten gallon is cramped for neons, which also really need a larger group size, which means easily overstocking a tank as small as 10g. I know some people do keep them in 5-10 gallon tanks, but some of us think they really need more room since they like to school about in their groups of 12 or so, which is pushing the stocking in a 10g to the limit anyway, and need some open water areas to school around in.

So in terms of swimming space, it looks as though there's no open swimming space for them to go back and forth all the way across the tank at all? Any chance you could get a photo from one of the sides of the tank? That might answer your question about whether it's overcrowded.
thanks! I am going to lower the water level so the leaves are out of water :)

Please don't sacrifice conditions for the fish for the sake of the plants and scaping. The fish are the sentient part of the whole thing, and they shouldn't be compromised because you really like the bamboo... it really will rot - when my friend lost fish and removed her lucky bamboo, the stems at the bottom in the middle of the bunch were black and stinking. That risks an ammonia spike. Then water volume for the fish - taking into account that we don't fill right to the rim, then displacement because of substrate, hardscape and planting - you've likely got around 7 US gallons of water in there total, right? So dropping it even further means seven neons in 5-6 gallons... not many would say that water volume was right for 9-11 neon tetra.
Yeah I have a 10 gallon tank. So should I get 4 more neon tetras instead of just 2 because they need to be in larger groups?

I would get 4-6 more neons
This is a ten gallon tank though @Colin_T , with a lot of hardscape and plants and no open swimming space, I don't think 9 - 11 neons in less than ten US gallons of water and without open space to swim is right for an active, schooling species :(
perfect, I'll get some later this week :)

Did you wind up getting any more?

I'm sorry to be a downer! I do really like what you're doing with the tank and planting otherwise, the look of the tank overall is really appealing! I just personally don't think it's the right kind of habitat for neon tetra. have you considered having fish other than neons?

Some of the nano tank species would love exploring and pecking around all of those roots and things, and be small enough for a group in a tank this size. Fish like chili rasbora, celestial pearl danios, ember tetra, rice fish, Endler's, psuedomugli's - or even something like badis or a small group of sparkling gourami! (make sure there is still an area of open swimming space for these fish too though). Most any of those would be much more suited to this tank. Personally I think the typical "community tank tetra" we often see (such as neons, cardinals, harlequins, glowlights, rummynose etc) are larger, faster and show more schooling/shoaling behaviours than the above fish I suggested. I'm not really a tetra person though since I have hard water, (which sucks in this hobby, it really limits your options) but I know @Slaphppy7 does! Please do correct me on anything I've got wrong, @Slaphppy7 !

So that's my suggestion, but it is only my opinion, and others might well say they're fine in less than 10gs, so it does come down to what you decide for yourself! Nothing wrong with having a heavily planted nano tank. Just choose the right fish that could thrive in there!
 
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Navfish

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Please don't sacrifice conditions for the fish for the sake of the plants and scaping. The fish are the sentient part of the whole thing, and they shouldn't be compromised because you really like the bamboo... it really will rot - when my friend lost fish and removed her lucky bamboo, the stems at the bottom in the middle of the bunch were black and stinking. That risks an ammonia spike. Then water volume for the fish - taking into account that we don't fill right to the rim, then displacement because of substrate, hardscape and planting - you've likely got around 7 US gallons of water in there total, right? So dropping it even further means seven neons in 5-6 gallons... not many would say that water volume was right for 9-11 neon tetra.
I didn't even think about that! I just took out the bamboo so I will not lower the water level. Going to pot them instead:)

I really like the look of the tank overall in the first photo, with the peace lily roots etc, but the main thing is that you like how it looks! So keep it looking the way you like it, and don't change it just because someone else doesn't like the look.

If the advice is about the welfare of the fish though, then it's worth listening. A ten gallon is cramped for neons, which also really need a larger group size, which means easily overstocking a tank as small as 10g. I know some people do keep them in 5-10 gallon tanks, but some of us think they really need more room since they like to school about in their groups of 12 or so, which is pushing the stocking in a 10g to the limit anyway, and need some open water areas to school around in.
I like the look of the tank but didn't realize it was harming my tetras. Do you think I should get rid of the peace lily completely so they have more room to swim or do you recommend cutting the roots.


I'm planning in the near future to upgrade to a 20-gallon long tank to put my guppies and tetras in. That way they will have more room to swim. Will that be enough space or do u recommend getting a bigger tank?

The fish that will be going in the 20 gallon long would be:
-10 tetras
-6 guppies
-snail

Did you wind up getting any more?

I'm sorry to be a downer! I do really like what you're doing with the tank and planting otherwise, the look of the tank overall is really appealing! I just personally don't think it's the right kind of habitat for neon tetra. have you considered having fish other than neons?
Your fine really, all this advice is helping me become a better fish keeper. I did get 5 more tetras.

I cut the peace lilly roots and took out bamboo!
 

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AdoraBelle Dearheart

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I didn't even think about that! I just took out the bamboo so I will not lower the water level. Going to pot them instead:)
Awesome! Thank you for being so open to well meant constructive criticism and being willing to adapt your approach for the benefit of the fish. That's not always easy for people to do, so kudos and thank you :D
I like the look of the tank but didn't realize it was harming my tetras. Do you think I should get rid of the peace lily completely so they have more room to swim or do you recommend cutting the roots.
I wouldn't go so far as to say you're harming them exactly... more that you're at a higher risk of potential water quality issues with that number of neons in that smaller volume of water, and that the fish would certainly appreciate some clear open space at the front to swim the full length of the tank. Watch this clip of neons schooling in a big group
It's a crazy amount of tetra in a huge tank, I know! Not saying that we should have tanks like this at home 😉 but it's not only beautiful, it's educational about how they naturally behave when in a large group - as they are in the wild where they live in schools of thousands. They're pretty fast and very active swimmers. Shaped like that to move easily through the water. They're not hanging back in the centre island, darting about in short sharp dashs like some fish do. That tank also has rams who are acting completely differently from the tetra. The rams remain more still and alert, hanging near the bottom in small groups and having the odd squabble over pecking order or territory, because that's how those fish live in the wild. The tetra don't behave the same way and squabble with each other or guard a little patch of the scape - they want to keep moving and blend in with the other neons as they swim.
So different types of fish evolved to live in different habitats in different ways, and we have to consider that when designing a tank for certain fish, or selecting a species of fish that will work in the type of tank we like. A single betta would love your current set up! Lots of leaves to rest on and things to poke about in and explore, and they're not super active swimmers. But not ideal for a school of neons. Hope I explained that clearly enough and it makes sense!

Most basic aquascapes, based on the fact that we want to view our fish through the front glass, build height with plants at the back, medium sized plants in the middle section, smaller plants at the front - this creates visual depth, drawing the eye in, and allowing you to see all of the plants and the entire scape, and so the fish will congregate and swim about in the open space above the small and medium plants. Like this example:
planted tank swimming space.jpg
More advanced scapes of course vary this a lot, but also incorporate some space for the fish to swim - like building plants around the hardscape to the left of the tank, leaving the front and right side open as swimming space:
leftislandplantedinspo.jpeg


Or even in this tank that's packed with hardscape and plants, the very front and middle parts are left clear as swimming space where the fish will congregate to school and to be fed, and so as not to block the view to the rest of the tank decor and plants, the way a large plant that's right at the front would:
denseplanted but open spaceinspo.jpeg


Those last two photos are from the Tropica Inspirations page, here, which is a great place to check out tanks for inspiration for your own scaping, and you can click on each tank to see more photos, information about the build, scaping and plant choices etc. It's easy to lose hours surfing there!

I'm planning in the near future to upgrade to a 20-gallon long tank to put my guppies and tetras in. That way they will have more room to swim. Will that be enough space or do u recommend getting a bigger tank?

The fish that will be going in the 20 gallon long would be:
-10 tetras
-6 guppies
-snail
That sounds like a great tank size for a good sized school of tetra! :D The 20g L are a fantastic sized tank for many smaller fish species, being longer gives the fish more swimming space and is great for creating amazing aquascapes too. I wish those were sold as a standard size here in the UK!
But bear in mind that guppies are a hard water fish while neons are soft water fish. Might want to check out your water sources hardness and consider which fish are more suited to your source water.
Your fine really, all this advice is helping me become a better fish keeper. I did get 5 more tetras.

I cut the peace lilly roots and took out bamboo!

You're so welcome. That you took it so well and immediately wanted to make it better for the fish made it well worth the effort of typing it all out! Thank you :):fish:
 

AdoraBelle Dearheart

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@Navfish Hi! Did you delete a comment about cycling? I saw one I meant to come back to, but can't find it now!
If that's what it was though and I'm not losing my mind (hahaa, HAHAHAHA!!) then don't worry, you wouldn't have to start cycling the new tank from scratch, with the whole ammonia/6-8 weeks process, because you already have established healthy tanks. You can use filter media and substrate from your current tanks to help kick start the cycle in a new tank, called a seeded cycle, and using live plants helps a great deal too - called a silent or planted cycle. More info on those methods in the cycling section of the forum. :)


They're not an "instant cycle", but with a seeded cycle, you have both kinds of beneficial bacteria you need straight away, from the established tank, so it's a case of growing those colonies on until they're large enough to handle the bioload of the new set up (stocking slowly and carefully, testing and monitoring the water) but is still much faster than a normal, starting from scratch cycle.

I use live plants when started a tank too, but I've never personally done a "silent cycle" where you rely on plants alone without also seeding the tank, so can't speak to that so much, but it's possible and others here have done it, detailing how in the cycling section. :)


I'm sure you already know this, but just in case and for anyone else reading - it's important to remember that there's a difference between a cycled tank, and an established tank. A tank can be cycled in six weeks (or less, with the above methods) but even when parameters are 0/0/some nitrates, it still takes some time for the tank to became stable and established, for plants to really root in and get themselves established, the water parameters to become stable, keeper get into a routine with maintenance and water changes so the parameters remain consistent and don't fluctuate - so when we talk about fish that need an established tank like otos, we don't mean a newly cycled tank, but one that's been running for between 3-6 months minimum really.
 
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Navfish

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@Navfish Hi! Did you delete a comment about cycling? I saw one I meant to come back to, but can't find it now!
If that's what it was though and I'm not losing my mind (hahaa, HAHAHAHA!!) then don't worry, you wouldn't have to start cycling the new tank from scratch, with the whole ammonia/6-8 weeks process, because you already have established healthy tanks. You can use filter media and substrate from your current tanks to help kick start the cycle in a new tank, called a seeded cycle, and using live plants helps a great deal too - called a silent or planted cycle. More info on those methods in the cycling section of the forum. :)


They're not an "instant cycle", but with a seeded cycle, you have both kinds of beneficial bacteria you need straight away, from the established tank, so it's a case of growing those colonies on until they're large enough to handle the bioload of the new set up (stocking slowly and carefully, testing and monitoring the water) but is still much faster than a normal, starting from scratch cycle.

I use live plants when started a tank too, but I've never personally done a "silent cycle" where you rely on plants alone without also seeding the tank, so can't speak to that so much, but it's possible and others here have done it, detailing how in the cycling section. :)


I'm sure you already know this, but just in case and for anyone else reading - it's important to remember that there's a difference between a cycled tank, and an established tank. A tank can be cycled in six weeks (or less, with the above methods) but even when parameters are 0/0/some nitrates, it still takes some time for the tank to became stable and established, for plants to really root in and get themselves established, the water parameters to become stable, keeper get into a routine with maintenance and water changes so the parameters remain consistent and don't fluctuate - so when we talk about fish that need an established tank like otos, we don't mean a newly cycled tank, but one that's been running for between 3-6 months minimum really.
I did have a comment about cycling that I did delete 😂. I thought I would need to make a new post but now I don’t. Thanks for the info! I definitely needed this.

I can’t wait to start a new tank in the future and I’m happy that I won’t need to wait the whole 6 weeks!

Thanks again for all the info and advice u gave :)

Side note about giving the fish more room to swim in the front, I did some redecorating and chopped off the roots after the second pic of the cut roots. Took some plants and put them in the corner so they have more open space near the front!

I can finally see my fish 🤣
 

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