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PLEASE HELP! Multiple mistakes made, but I’m learning.

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I made a beginners mistake of not doing all my research before getting a new aquarium started! My fault, I totally admit it and feel bad for the several fish friends that have already perished, but please help me going forward!

I Bought a 38 gallon tank at Petsmart that came with a penguin 200 bio wheel power filter, and a heater. Set it up with gravel and large rocks along with a piece of driftwood I bought from local small business fish store. Theres a medium air stone supplied by a tetra whisper 40 air pump also 5 small Vallisneria Spiralis and one anubius Nana plant. I let the tank sit full of water but without fish, for 2 days. Then...

I made the mistake of adding all the fish at once this tank could hold for tank size:fish ratio BEFORE the new tank had even cycled! I’ve lost several (2 tiger barb, 2 guppy, 1 honey gourami, 1 bristle nose pleco). There are currently 5, 1” Glofish tetra, 1 swordtail, 1 bristle nose pleco, 1 Cory cat fish, and 2 platy.
Feeding a small amount once, every other day.

I’ve added API quick start (several times), once did a monthly bacteria cleaning solution, Tetra brand water conditioner/dechlorinator, Tetra monthly maintenance was added once.
Was I supposed to add any chemicals besides the dechlorinator while the cycle was taking place?
I have been doing 10-15% water changes every other day.

My nitrates have been
DO I NEED TO JUST START OVER AND LOOSE SOME FISH???!!

Clean/vacuum the gravel, 50% water change, and get down to 5, 6 FISH MAX! No more chemicals (besides dechlorinator when 10-15% water change is performed every other day). Then allow the tank the cycle before doing anything else?
What about the plants?

I’d really appreciate someone’s help!
 

Freshwater Sucker Fish

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5 small Vallisneria Spiralis and one anubius Nana plant

I hope you don't mind some constructive criticism. And im no expert either but in all honesty your too excited. plants are tricky you have to have a really good balance or else you will run into not just plant problems but fish problems too.

I let the tank sit full of water but without fish, for 2 days
two days will not make much of a difference should let it cycle for lest 24 hours, however. What you should have done is get some good bacteria from someone who has same kind of fish. provided they where well looked after. This gets your tank up to par super fast.

I’ve lost several (2 tiger barb, 2 guppy, 1 honey gourami, 1 bristle nose pleco). There are currently 5, 1” Glofish tetra, 1 swordtail, 1 bristle nose pleco, 1 Cory cat fish, and 2 platy.

Rule of thumb 1 inch of fish per 1 gal of a fish tank. Im not expert so I don't know if you have any compatibility issues . . .

Was I supposed to add any chemicals besides the dechlorinator while the cycle was taking place?

Different kinds of fish prefer different environments this is part of the cycling process getting the environment in place. too much or too little can do a lot of damage to a fish. It's like how humans can only tolerate certain environment. fish are no different just there eco system is totally different then ours.

I have been doing 10-15% water changes every other day.
good job ^-^

My nitrates have been
DO I NEED TO JUST START OVER AND LOOSE SOME FISH???!!


Have been what? too nigh too low?? im sure u can correct the issue but hopefully you have another fish tank . . . in all honesty if you are serious about not losing fish u need another tank in case of illness or things like this.

My advice

Its a bit too late but you should get easy fish and work your way up. or else u will lose a lot of fish and maybe even get discouraged. Though you are already stuck in a situation I would scrap the live plants go artificial if at all possible get another tank even if its a 20 gal. For isolation reasons. Keep all focus on trying to keep these guys alive. you're on the right track but in all honesty either u will learn very fast or you will loose everything.

best of luck we are here for u
 

Retired Viking

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Wow, I made my number of mistakes also. Look at Tetra safestart plus here is a review.
 

Retired Viking

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I do what is called a silent or planted cycle but my bother-in-law needed a 20 gallon tank ready fast for some red eyed tetra I was giving him. I bought Tetra Safestart Plus and he was able to add the fish right away. I learned about tetra SafeStart Plus on the forum. Just follow the directions the small bottle will handle up to a 60 gallon tank.
 

Retired Viking

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Here is another review and step by step instructions for Tetra SafeStart Plus
I will not go into other issues I see, @Freshwater Sucker Fish I think has pretty much covered them already. Good luck with your tank ;)
 

MordyBroke7

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Hello! Sorry to hear you're in this predicament, but we all make our mistakes so at least you're trying to make it right.

Like Freshwater Sucker Fish mentioned, if you're serious about not losing fish you need to get another tank for hospitalizing sick fish (now and in the future). This is great advice and I was thinking this as well.

Let me stress to you why I think sooner is better than later in your case.

As you've been finding out, adding too much fish at one time is a huge problem because you don't have enough good bacteria to handle the bio load of the fish. In other words, the fish are putting out more waste and what not than your tank can manage.

SO....if you get one, or even two, more tanks and split the fish up, there will be less waste per tank, and less stress on the fish. Slowly, you can begin to transfer them all to your main tank, but I'd really recommend that you take this emergency precaution and, for now, split them up.

If you can't afford the tanks, try to look on craigslist or something to see if any one is giving theirs away for free or cheap. You can even post an ad in the "wanted" section an hope something comes back.

Wish you well an hope this turns out ok!
 

Freshwater Sucker Fish

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Hello! Sorry to hear you're in this predicament, but we all make our mistakes so at least you're trying to make it right.

Like Freshwater Sucker Fish mentioned, if you're serious about not losing fish you need to get another tank for hospitalizing sick fish (now and in the future). This is great advice and I was thinking this as well.

Let me stress to you why I think sooner is better than later in your case.

As you've been finding out, adding too much fish at one time is a huge problem because you don't have enough good bacteria to handle the bio load of the fish. In other words, the fish are putting out more waste and what not than your tank can manage.

SO....if you get one, or even two, more tanks and split the fish up, there will be less waste per tank, and less stress on the fish. Slowly, you can begin to transfer them all to your main tank, but I'd really recommend that you take this emergency precaution and, for now, split them up.

If you can't afford the tanks, try to look on craigslist or something to see if any one is giving theirs away for free or cheap. You can even post an ad in the "wanted" section an hope something comes back.

Wish you well an hope this turns out ok!

sounds cheap but it's not. looking at about 100.00 for a new tank and set up im stuck in the rut too. I have a second tank but it's not the best im using a cracked filter as a new filter will run me at least 30.00 then u need a heater that's 15.00. and a tank well looking at another 60.00 used. 80.00 used for everything would be a steal. Fish is not a cheap hobby but if you are good at it you can break even (with selling fish).
 

vanalisa

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sounds cheap but it's not. looking at about 100.00 for a new tank and set up im stuck in the rut too. I have a second tank but it's not the best im using a cracked filter as a new filter will run me at least 30.00 then u need a heater that's 15.00. and a tank well looking at another 60.00 used. 80.00 used for everything would be a steal. Fish is not a cheap hobby but if you are good at it you can break even (with selling fish).
You don't have to get a proper tank or a pretty one. I had to make an emergency tank and so I had to get creative.

I noticed you said you had a 38 gallon and if I counted correctly it didn't seem like you had too many fish as far as per gallon.
I could be wrong I don't know a lot about the size of the fish you mentioned but anyway the point is you did that right thing by not overstocking. unless I'm wrong somebody correct me if that's the case.

It also seemed like you spent money on a bunch of additives (API stuff) which I I'm not familiar with and honestly don't understand. Right now that's beside the point.

Go to the dollar store get the appropriate amount and size of Clear storage buckets. Get a knife and cut out a hole for the filter cord. Your friends and family will think you're a genius for the DIY.

Go to the fish store and buy air pumps air tube and sponge filters.

If you have any pothos ivy cut cut the end off leaving about 3 leaves on, rinse it off real good, and stick that in there just like that for a while, obviously remove if it wilts, that baby will start growing roots in a couple days which does something really important somebody else can explain to you.

After you get your fish and your tank all together you will still have this stuff on hand and from my experience you will not have wasted money.

I haven't found a way to get around the price of heaters though. :(
But I have two of my tanks sitting on the same shelf and I have a small space heater directed in there that direction and the tank doesn't get hot the water gets warm because the general area around the tanks is warm and if you have one of those at heater won't cost you anything except for maybe a small amount on your electric bill.

it won't razzle-dazzle anybody but it will work and that's all you need to worry about right now

Give yourself a break ♡
 
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Freshwater Sucker Fish

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You don't have to get a proper tank or a pretty one. I had to make an emergency tank and so I had to get creative.

I noticed you said you had a 38 gallon and if I counted correctly it didn't seem like you had too many fish as far as per gallon.
I could be wrong I don't know a lot about the size of the fish you mentioned but anyway the point is you did that right thing by not overstocking. unless I'm wrong somebody correct me if that's the case.

It also seemed like you spent money on a bunch of additives (API stuff) which I I'm not familiar with and honestly don't understand. Right now that's beside the point.

Go to the dollar store get the appropriate amount and size of Clear storage buckets

Go to the fish store and buy air pumps and sponge filters

After you get your fish and your tank all together you will still have this stuff on hand and from my experience you will not have wasted money.

I haven't found a way to get around the price of heaters though. :(

Give yourself a break ♡
I have not looked into fish sizes what I can say is a rule of thumb is 1 inch per 1 gal of water. if you really want to be sure

here is straight up facts . . .

.It is usually recommended to allow about 12 in2 (75 cm2) of surface area per 1 in (2.5 cm) of adult fish body length (excluding the caudal fin). In addition to the surface area,you also need to consider the volume of the tank,since the aquarium needs to provide adequate swimming space for the fish.Allow about 1 gallon of water per inch of adult fish body length (equivalent to about 2 liters per centimetre).When making your calculations, remember to deduct ten percent of the total tank volume to take account of rockwork and other decor.

information was provided by the book Encyclopedia of Aquarium & Pond Fish By David Alderton

Note I believe vanalisa steering u in a good direction there likely is things u can do if you put your head to it.

cheers
 

vanalisa

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I made a beginners mistake of not doing all my research before getting a new aquarium started! My fault, I totally admit it and feel bad for the several fish friends that have already perished, but please help me going forward!

I Bought a 38 gallon tank at Petsmart that came with a penguin 200 bio wheel power filter, and a heater. Set it up with gravel and large rocks along with a piece of driftwood I bought from local small business fish store. Theres a medium air stone supplied by a tetra whisper 40 air pump also 5 small Vallisneria Spiralis and one anubius Nana plant. I let the tank sit full of water but without fish, for 2 days. Then...

I made the mistake of adding all the fish at once this tank could hold for tank size:fish ratio BEFORE the new tank had even cycled! I’ve lost several (2 tiger barb, 2 guppy, 1 honey gourami, 1 bristle nose pleco). There are currently 5, 1” Glofish tetra, 1 swordtail, 1 bristle nose pleco, 1 Cory cat fish, and 2 platy.
Feeding a small amount once, every other day.

I’ve added API quick start (several times), once did a monthly bacteria cleaning solution, Tetra brand water conditioner/dechlorinator, Tetra monthly maintenance was added once.
Was I supposed to add any chemicals besides the dechlorinator while the cycle was taking place?
I have been doing 10-15% water changes every other day.

My nitrates have been
DO I NEED TO JUST START OVER AND LOOSE SOME FISH???!!

Clean/vacuum the gravel, 50% water change, and get down to 5, 6 FISH MAX! No more chemicals (besides dechlorinator when 10-15% water change is performed every other day). Then allow the tank the cycle before doing anything else?
What about the plants?

I’d really appreciate someone’s help!
After reading thus again I am confused.
Is this a new tank?
Over what period of time did your fish die?
it seem like you lost six fish and have five left which is not overstocking in a 38 gallon. And then somewhere I read about monthly changes. but then you said you just bought the tank and only let it sit for 2 days
And feeding your fish every other day?

Nevertheless the point of my post was that you can get creative when you have to and give yourself a break.
 
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Freshwater Sucker Fish

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Can I just add the gallon per inch of fish is completely out dated and should not be used! When following this rule it would mean you could have a 10 inch fish in a 10 gallon tank which is just ridiculous!
please read the above as its a rule of thumb. The novel stated recommended to allow about 12 in2 (75 cm2) of surface area per 1 in (2.5 cm) of adult fish body length (excluding the caudal fin). In addition to the surface area,you also need to consider the volume of the tank . . .
 

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