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Feeling discouraged

Discussion in 'New to the Hobby Questions and Answers' started by Sarah C Mckee, Sep 15, 2019.

  1. Sarah C Mckee

    Sarah C Mckee New Member

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    I started my 10 gallon tank cycle in February, it took a really long time to establish my tank, and then I realized I couldn't have very many fish in a 10 gallon tank and August 20th, I found a 30 gallon on clearance and had to buy it. I siphened all my current water into the new tank, put all my same decorations and gravel without rinsing, moved over the old filter, on top of the new filter, and then filled the remaining tank up with tap water conditioned with prime and stability. I also used stability for 7 days and had 2 guppies in the tank. I tested my water every few days and kept a close eye. My API test kept staying at this:
    Ammonia 0
    Nitrite 0
    Nitrate 5 - 10
    PH 7.8
    I waited 2 weeks then added 5 zebra danio
    The fish store even tested my water and said it was fine
    Waited about a week and added 2 gouramis, and that's when everything went downhill. They died with 24 hours and now I lost my established guppies (most attached too) and then now I've lost 3 of the danios.
    The danios and guppies were acting great and happy and my water was testing fine every check.
    In the past I was doing like 20% water changes weekly and the pet store told me that was too much so I started doing 10% once a month and rinsing out the filter in the tank water, but I keep reading so many people do weekly water changes. I really enjoy this hobby but I am getting discouraged because my fish our dying and I really don't want to give up but I feel like I obviously can't get this down. How do you know the right answer on how often to do water changes when everyone says different stuff, and how much is overfeeding if they eat so fast in one minute. I feed once a day for about a minute a little at a time to watch everyone eat it.
    Tank temp is at 78 and light is on 6 hours a day like 3pm to 9pm.
    I have one live plant Java fern and rock gravel, is pH really a bad thing to adjust, if my tap water is always 7.8 and my water hardness is a little high should I just know that I'll always have trouble having fish?
     
  2. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    Hi and welcome to the forum :)

    The way you set up the new tank and transferred the filter, fish and water over was fine. The fact you had 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite and low nitrate, indicated the filter was fine with being moved into the bigger tank.

    ---------------------------
    You do water changes for 2 main reasons.
    1) to reduce nutrients like ammonia, nitrite & nitrate.
    2) to dilute disease organisms in the water.

    Fish live in a soup of microscopic organisms including bacteria, fungus, viruses, protozoans, worms, flukes and various other things that make your skin crawl. Doing a big water change and gravel cleaning the substrate on a regular basis will dilute these organisms and reduce their numbers in the water, thus making it a safer and healthier environment for the fish.

    If you do a 25% water change each week you leave behind 75% of the bad stuff in the water.
    If you do a 50% water change each week you leave behind 50% of the bad stuff in the water.
    If you do a 75% water change each week you leave behind 25% of the bad stuff in the water.

    Fish live in their own waste. Their tank and filter is full of fish poop. The water they breath is filtered through fish poop. Cleaning filters, gravel and doing big regular water changes, removes a lot of this poop and makes the environment cleaner and healthier for the fish.

    I recommend doing a75% water change and gravel cleaning the substrate once a week. If you have water restrictions or only a couple of small fish in a big tank you can do it every 2 weeks.
    Make sure any new water is free of chlorine/ chloramine before it's added to the tank.

    ---------------------------
    You can feed adult fish once or twice a day. You offer a little bit of food and let them eat it all. If they eat the food within 20-30 seconds you can offer them a bit more. The main thing is to offer small amounts of food so it all gets eaten and none of it sinks to the bottom where it can cause water quality problems.

    ---------------------------
    If you aren't getting algae all over the glass and the plant isn't growing that well, you can increase the lighting time by a couple of hours each day. Just turn it on at 1pm instead of 3, and turn it off at 9pm.

    Stress from tank lights coming on when the room is dark can be an issue. Fish don't have eyelids and don't tolerate going from complete dark to bright light (or vice versa) instantly.

    In the morning open the curtains or turn the room light on at least 30 minutes (or more) before turning the tank light on. This will reduce the stress on the fish and they won't go from a dark tank to a bright tank instantly.

    At night turn the room light on and then turn the tank light off. Wait at least 30 minutes (or more) before turning the room light out. This allows the fish to settle down for the night instead of going from a brightly lit tank to complete darkness instantly.

    ---------------------------
    If you added new fish and the old fish started dying a few days later, the new fish introduced a disease that is killing everything. All new fish should be quarantined for at least 2 (preferably 4) weeks before adding them to a display tank.

    Are any of the fish still alive?
    If yes, can you provide us with a picture and short 20 second video of the fish?

    If the pictures are too big for the website, set the camera's resolution to its lowest setting and take some more. The lower resolution will make the images smaller and they should fit on this website. Check the pictures on your pc and find a couple that are clear and show the problem, and post them here. Make sure you turn the camera's resolution back up after you have taken the pics otherwise all your pictures will be small.

    If the video is too big for this website, post it on YouTube and copy & paste the link here. We can view it at YouTube. If you are using a mobile phone to take the video, have the phone horizontal so the video takes up the entire screen. If you have the phone vertical, you get video in the middle and black on either side.

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    Right now I would do a 75% water change and gravel clean the substrate every day for a week or until the issue is identified or resolved. The water changes will dilute disease organisms in the water and buy some time to work out what is going on.
     
  3. Sarah C Mckee

    Sarah C Mckee New Member

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    15685648480514649211427531053694.jpg
     
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  4. Sarah C Mckee

    Sarah C Mckee New Member

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    I have 5 fish alive, and 6 that died. I was worried I was going through a mini cycle or a bacterial bloom, doing a 75% water change won't restart my cycle? That is what I'm scared of that's why changing the water makes me so damn nervous all the time.
    As for QT tank do I have to have the running all the time for new fish? I can barely keep up with this tank so I haven't even wanted to try to set up a second one. I do have an extra 2.5 gallon and a 10 gallon tank in the office not being used. I attached a picture but it won't let me take a video and I do not have a u tube account yet.


    I do have algae in the glass and my plant seems fine I had to decrease the lighting because it's in one of our hottest rooms with a lot of light so I didn't want too much algae.
     
  5. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    Water changes don't affect the filter bacteria as long as the new water is free of chlorine/ chloramine before it's added to the tank. Just turn the heater and filter off, gravel clean and drain the tank. Refill the tank with dechlorinated water and turn the filter and heater back on.

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    Quarantine tanks can be set up the day before you get new fish. Have a thin layer of gravel or sand in the bottom and fill it with water from the main display tank. Have 2 filters in the main tank and move one into the quarantine tank when you need it. Add a heater and it's done.

    After the new fish have been quarantined for a 2-4 weeks and they are free of disease, you move the new fish into the main display tank and wash the quarantine tank out with fresh water, drain it and let it dry out. The filter can be washed out and put into the main tank to cycle again.

    If you plan on getting more fish straight after one lot has been released from quarantine, you simply leave the quarantine tank running, wipe the inside down and do a 100% water change and fill it with water from the main tank. Then add new fish.

    If you have a hang on the back style filter like an AquaClear, you can keep spare sponges in them and just set up a second filter when you need the quarantine tank set up. This means you only have one filter running on the main tank but it has extra media that can be used in another filter if and when needed.

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    If you add some more live plants, it will help prevent algae growing in the tank.

    Some good plants to try include Ambulia, Hygrophila polysperma, H. ruba/ rubra, Elodia (during summer, but don't buy it in winter because it falls apart), Hydrilla, common Amazon sword plant, narrow Vallis, Water Sprite (Ceratopteris thalictroides/ cornuta).

    The Water Sprite normally floats on the surface but can also be planted in the substrate. The other plants should be planted in the gravel.

    If you add an iron based aquarium plant fertiliser, it will help most aquarium plants do well. The liquid iron based fertilisers tend to be better than the tablet forms, although you can push the tablets under the roots of plants and that works well.
    I use Sera Florena liquid plant fertiliser but there are other brands too.

    Do not bother adding carbon fertiliser to the tank because they are not necessary.

    --------------------------
    A picture on the back of the tank can help reduce algae too. You can buy them from pet shops or online (Ebay). Or you can use coloured card or even a plastic bin liner. Just sticky tape them to the outside on the back of the tank.
     
  6. Sarah C Mckee

    Sarah C Mckee New Member

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    Okay awesome thank you for explaining the easy way to set up a QT tank, so just before I want to add fish do a water change and get my extra tank running. I do have two filters running on my tank. I have a aqueon and a tetra whisper , when you rinse the QT tank do you rinse the filter in regular water or treated water? Also how often do you recommend putting brand new filter replacements in your filters? 15685681850321821999412946454558.jpg
     
  7. Sarah C Mckee

    Sarah C Mckee New Member

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  8. Sarah C Mckee

    Sarah C Mckee New Member

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    Also how long should I wait to add more fish again ? I can do a water change now and start a quartantine tank or should I just give it a month to make sure water is cleaner?
     
  9. Naughts

    Naughts Fish Crazy

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    Hi and welcome,
    wait a week before adding anymore fish and only if the remaining fish stay healthy.
    When you clean the filter always use tank water or dechlorinated water. Chlorine can effect the good bacteria.
    don't change the filter pads and foam, just keep rinsing them out. It is just a gimmick to get you to spend money.
    Your pH and GH will not prevent you keeping fish - if your water is hard (above 200ppm) stick with livebearers.
    Be careful where you buy fish, try to go somewhere that has a very good reputation and check everything in the tank is healthy.
    I avoid dwarf gourami, they are known to have disease.
    Just change your water 50%+ each week and keep going, there are many helpful people here when you have questions.
    Good luck
     
  10. Sarah C Mckee

    Sarah C Mckee New Member

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    Thank you so much!! Yes, I brought home two dwarf guaramis and that's when my tank went downhill!! I definitely learned the importance of quartantine first. I did my 50% change today and will keep doing it every Sunday in hopes that everything stays healthy.

    What kind of fish do you recommend? I will definitely wait a couple weeks, I was contemplating just getting my quarantine tank running now.
     
  11. Naughts

    Naughts Fish Crazy

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    Great.
    knowing the GH /KH and the measurement (ppm or dH) would help choosing fish. Your water companies website will publish these. If you're not sure what we need, post a link to their site and we can have a look.
    also what are the dimensions of the tank?
     
  12. Sarah C Mckee

    Sarah C Mckee New Member

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    I tried looking on the website for the KH and GH and I could not locate it at all. Here is the website: https://hwd.com/

    I have a 29 gallon tank 30 in Long 16 H 12 wide
     
  13. Sarah C Mckee

    Sarah C Mckee New Member

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    3 zebra danios left
    1 dwarf guarami
    1 bristlenose pleco
     
  14. seangee

    seangee Member

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    It is there but I'm afraid the published results seem to be for the entire region (state?) and shows a massive range - this is what you were looking for

    Capture.JPG
    The last column is average across all facilities but the 2nd last is the range. Alkalinity is KH and Hardness is GH. In the case of GH the range is from very soft to fairly hard, so you will need to either test it yourself or ask your LFS to do it for you.
     
  15. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    Normally you wash filter media in a bucket of tank water so you don't get rid of the beneficial bacteria that keep the ammonia and nitrite levels at 0. However, if you have a quarantine tank and you aren't going to be using it again for a few months, you can wash the quarantine tank's filter under tap water to get rid of anything that might be in it. This is normally done if you have fish in quarantine and they all die. Then you basically disinfect everything in the quarantine tank and start again.

    The filter material (media/ pads/ cartridges) in the main tank always gets cleaned in a bucket of tank water.

    --------------------------
    If you have filters that contain cartridges/ pads, you can add sponges from other brands of filter to your filter and leave the sponges in contact with the pads for 6-8 weeks. Then remove the pads and throw them away. After you throw the pads away you can add some more sponges to fill the filter up.

    You can get round/ cylindrical sponges for some brands of internal power filter. These sponges have a hole through the centre and they fit over the intake strainer of most external power filters. These cylindrical sponges will develop colonies of beneficial filter bacteria and stop small or sick fish being sucked into the filter.

    Sponges can be cut to size with a pair of scissors and will last 10+ years. After they are established (6-8 weeks), you can squeeze them out in a bucket of tank water and re-use them.

    Established filters should be cleaned at least once a month and every 2 weeks is great. However, do not clean a new filter until it is at least 6 weeks old otherwise you can wash out the filter bacteria and start the cycling process again.

    --------------------------
    You wait at least 2 (preferably 4) weeks after everything has settled down and you have not lost any more fish. eg: a fish dies today, you wait 2-4 weeks and if everyone is happy and nobody else has died, then you can add more fish to the main tank.

    You can set up a quarantine tank now and have fish in it for the next month and if the fish in both tanks are fine and healthy, then add the new fish to the display tank after that time.

    If you do want to set up the quarantine tank, I would either wait a couple of weeks or use dechlorinated tap water (instead of tank water) to set up the quarantine tank. If you use the tank water and there is a disease in it, you will be putting that disease into the quarantine tank and affecting any new fish you get. So if you are setting up a quarantine tank and using water and filter from the main display tank, make sure the main tank is healthy otherwise use tap water that has been dechlorinated.

    --------------------------
    If you ever lose a fish or the fish get sick, wipe the inside of the glass with a clean fish sponge and clean the filter if it hasn't been done in the last 2 weeks. Then do a 75% water change and gravel clean the substrate every day for at least 1 week, or until the problem is identified or resolved. The big daily water changes will dilute disease organisms and nutrients in the water and buy you some time to try and identify the problem.

    Make sure any new water is free of chlorine/ chloramine before it's added to any tank containing livestock (fish, shrimp, snails, etc).

    --------------------------
    If the GH (general hardness), KH (carbonate hardness) and pH of your water supply cannot be obtained from your water supply company's website or by telephoning them, take a glass full of tap water to the local pet shop and get them to test it for you. Write the results down (in numbers) when they do the tests. And ask them what the results are in (eg: ppm, dGH, or something else).

    --------------------------
    If you can post pictures and short 30 second video of the remaining fish, it might help us identify the problem.

    If the pictures are too big for the website, set the camera's resolution to its lowest setting and take some more. The lower resolution will make the images smaller and they should fit on this website. Check the pictures on your pc and find a couple that are clear and show the problem, and post them here. Make sure you turn the camera's resolution back up after you have taken the pics otherwise all your pictures will be small.

    If the video is too big for this website, post it on YouTube and copy & paste the link here. We can view it at YouTube. If you are using a mobile phone to take the video, have the phone horizontal so the video takes up the entire screen. If you have the phone vertical, you get video in the middle and black on either side.

    --------------------------
    The following link has information on what to do if your fish get sick. It's long and boring but worth knowing. I recommend printing it out and reading it in bed to help fall asleep. :)
    https://www.fishforums.net/threads/what-to-do-if-your-fish-gets-sick.450268/
     
    #15 Colin_T, Sep 15, 2019
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2019

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