HELP Im a newbie and i need some advice!

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HELP Im a newbie and i need some advice!

Postby Pammie » Fri Jul 13, 2012 8:01 pm

Hi All

I bought a small 20 litre cold water tank from a local pet shop, bad idea i know now. I added my water and ornaments and ran it for over a week. I was told I could add 9 fish in total adding just 3 each week, unfrotunately, I was never told about cycling at the pet shop!!
I first got 3 small White Cloud Minnows bout 8 days after setting up the tank. They told me I could add another 3 the following week.
Went back a week later and we picked out 3 neon tetras.
The next week we went back to get another 3 neon tetras and to my surprise I was told by another member of staff that since neon tetras are tropical, I should have had a heater and that I should leave the heater for a few days to settle before getting anymore fish.
I went home quickly and put the heater in the tank, panicking my wee tetras would be suffering.
The next day I found one wee tetra dead and I decided to take the other two back to the shop as my wee boy was so upset the others would die too.
I had started checking online and found that they should have tested my water before selling me fish never mind tell me about the nitrogen cycle.
I asked them to check the water and my ammonia levels turned dark green. I was advised to do a 20% water change and check it next week.
I was so worried i took another sample to another shop the next day and they said do a 30/40% water changes every day for a week. I had been doing that but the ammonia was still between 1.0 and 2.0
I was then advised to add Nutrifin cycle to kick start the cycle and do 50% water chnages every other day.
So I am now using Prime as the declorinator as advised on another website but my ammonia is still above 1.0. My smallest White Cloud minnow was also being bullied by the two bigger ones so I decided to take the others back until I could sort out the cycle, however, still np let up on the ammonia.
What can i do now I have 0 nitrite and 0 nitrAte and still ammonia between 1.0 and 2.0.
I am only feeding every other day a tiny tiny part of flaked food. I do admit i had been feeding him abit more at the start.

Please can someone help me I am worried sick!!

Thanks :(
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Re: HELP Im a newbie and i need some advice!

Postby englishmx » Fri Jul 13, 2012 8:52 pm

And breath Pammie :wink:

Sorry to hear about your troubles, but hopefully we will get you sorted, what's left in the tank now?
Mike...
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Re: HELP Im a newbie and i need some advice!

Postby Pammie » Fri Jul 13, 2012 11:53 pm

Hi

I have just one minnow left as one tetra died and i gave the others back to the shop as the ammonia was way too high and I thought it better to do that than have all them suffer until my tank fully cycled.
My wee boy wanted to keep one wee minnow, called Tiny so it just him for now.
I was advised to do a big water change tonight so i have done that and I added extra Prime too.
I have been keeping a close eye on him, as usual, and gave him a wee tiny crumb of fish food after the water change and he seems happy. He is small but hardy!!
I dont know what I did with my time before I got my wee fishy...it is so stressfull...i thought it was going to be relaxing...thank goodness for beer...should i give him some...it might help him too...
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Re: HELP Im a newbie and i need some advice!

Postby san-ho-zay » Sat Jul 14, 2012 12:17 am

Does the tank have a filter Pammie?
Richard
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Re: HELP Im a newbie and i need some advice!

Postby ItWentWhereverIdidGo » Sat Jul 14, 2012 8:34 am

Sounds like the first shop were a bit useless. Have you now read up on the nitrogen cycle then?

Make sure that you clean your filter in tank water if you have one and you are using dechlorinator for any fresh water going into the tank. Chlorine in tap water kills the beneficial bacteria you need to grow in your filter.

You need to do a 50% water change a couple of days in a row to get the ammonia down to a low level and then change a small amount regularly (perhaps 10% a day) to keep the ammonia at a minimum whilst your filter grows the beneficial bacteria.
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Re: HELP Im a newbie and i need some advice!

Postby Pammie » Sat Jul 14, 2012 11:56 am

Hi

I did a big water change 90% last night and added Prime and ammonia read 0 and hour or so after that thankfully so i went to bed happy. I have tested again this morning and it is already between 0.25 and 0.50 so im gonna do a 50% change then for the next few days until it stays at 0? There is no nitrite or nitrAte showing and PH is at 7.0

Some people told me i am washing away the good bacteria doing too many water changes but then others say to do water changes. I have read about the Nitrogen Cycle and I now what SHOULD be happening now but it hasnt helped reduce the ammonia from rising. Pet shops should give this advice before selling fish, right? They just told me to do a 20% change and test again in a week!! They shouldnt be allowed to sell poor wee fish. Some of them have never heard of the Nitrogen cycle and they supposedly keep fish, so they told me??

The filter is a Rena Superclean40 and it takes the API crystal clear blocks and also has foam inside too which i have been cleaning out in the old tank water but i replaced the API crystal block as instructed on the packet after 3 weeks.

The tank is very small at 20 litres so I know now this isnt helping my situation but i will get a bigger one once i have the cycle sorted. I dont mind changing the water everyday as long as my wee fish, Tiny doesnt suffer anymore!

Thanks for the replies to all, much appreciated the support, i am trying my best!

Pammie :innocent:
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Re: HELP Im a newbie and i need some advice!

Postby san-ho-zay » Sat Jul 14, 2012 12:53 pm

You don't wash away bacteria with simple water changes -- they stick to surfaces rather than float in the water. All you are doing is diluting the ammonia (and nitrite when it appears) so that it doesn't harm the fish. Using Prime helps because it makes the ammonia safer, converting it to a form that isn't as toxic. The filter bacteria will still grow to deal with it as ammonia.

You don't really need or want to clean your filter yet. You are doing the right thing rinsing with old tank water but it doesn't need doing yet and you will lose some bacteria. Cleaning filters is usually done in intervals of months. You could also save yourself some money by replacing the crystal block (it does the same job as filter carbon) with a plain sponge -- any filter sponge that fits. Then forget about it. Keep an unused crystal block -- sometimes they come in handy for removing things from the water.

Do you know anyone with a tank that could give you a squeeze from their filter? It would be full of bacteria.

You've obviously done your research and it sounds like you are doing a great job. The whole forum is 100% behind Tiny so keep coming back with any questions. :)
Richard
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Re: HELP Im a newbie and i need some advice!

Postby akane » Sat Jul 14, 2012 4:52 pm

You want some ammonia in the tank. If you strive to keep it at 0 then the bacteria have nothing to feed on and your cycle is going to take even longer. You might want to research fishless cycling if you are so concerned about letting any ammonia exist with fish around. Fish aren't required to make ammonia. Just fish food or pure cleaning ammonia and with no fish in a tank you can let the levels get quite high so the tank cycles fast and to the point you can fully stock it all at once instead of a little at a time.

Also you are buying schooling fish and mixing tropical with cold water fish. Schooling fish should be in groups of 5 or more. This would also help with the white cloud that was getting picked on. You had too few of them. White clouds are coldwater fish. Although they should survive in a tropical tank it is not preferable. You need to pick 1 schooling fish for such a small tank. 2 schools are not going to fit and 1 species is going to get cheated potentially causing problems like bullying.
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Re: HELP Im a newbie and i need some advice!

Postby Pammie » Sat Jul 14, 2012 8:05 pm

Hi Richard

Thanks for that, i think changing the crystal block last week was a big mistake as i might have set the cycle back but thats what it said to do. I will go to my brothers tomorrow and try and get some of his bacteria form his filter...i was just worried i would send his into a mini cycle. When i use the gravel cleaner it does stir up some gunk but it clears quite quickly after and the water is crystal clear.
I have the heater at bout 70 degrees and I thought it better to get the water right before getting him a another few minnows after he was getting picked on by the other bigger minnows i had earlier as they bit his tail fin off.
I am on the internet day and night reading up on how to get the cycle sorted but i keep getting conflicting advice about my water changes so i think i will just need to stop panicking and keep doing the partial water changes and leave the filter block alone.
I am testing the water a few times a day so i dont need to rely on the pet shop doing it as they have been pretty useless. They look at me as if i am a mad wowan when i mention the cycle....well i know i can look pretty mad sometimes but i thought i would get all the advice i needed from them, after all they are selling the fish??

Thanks so much again!!

Pammie :)
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Re: HELP Im a newbie and i need some advice!

Postby san-ho-zay » Sat Jul 14, 2012 8:19 pm

You don't need to test your water as often -- once a day is enough. You don't have a huge load of fish to add ammonia.

Akane makes good points about temperature and group sizes. The temperature you have set is OK -- about the upper limit for those minnows -- you could turn it down to it's minimum. I suspect the heater isn't coming on much at the moment but in a Scottish winter it will keep the temperature steady when your heating is on and off. A 20 litre tank will cool down quite quickly without a heater if your room gets cold and warm up quickly when it's warm. (A thermometer helps to see what's going on because the setting on the heater isn't always accurate).

Adding tropical fish with the sub-tropical/cool water minnows isn't going to be practical.

The dilemma with the group size is that you don't really want more than 2-3 fish to cycle a tank of that size. The minnows would like to be in a larger group but your hands are tied by the size of the tank at the moment. You need to have a think about what you want to go with this -- bigger tank to have a nice group of minnows (which do become stunning fish I might add)? Separate tropical tank? I'm assuming the return of Tiny is not an option.
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Re: HELP Im a newbie and i need some advice!

Postby Pammie » Sun Jul 15, 2012 11:59 am

Thanks Richard

Returning Tiny isn't an option im afraid as my son is very attached to him especially since the others bit his tail off. The heater doesnt come on much but i will turn it down a tad, i have the tank in my kitchen which is generally quite warm and your right, we Scots dont have much warm weather so the heater will be good for the cold winter nights.

I have been looking at a 60 litre tank that should be able to accomodate Tiny and 5 more minnows, once this tank has cycled. I will keep my small tank for quarantine/hospital if needed.

Its been a learning curve and if i had been given good advice from the start from the pet shop i would have done things sooooo differently.

Thanks again for you advice, it is much appreciated. :)

Pammie
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Re: HELP Im a newbie and i need some advice!

Postby Pammie » Sun Jul 15, 2012 8:37 pm

Hi All

I have just done a test on my wee 20 litre tank and i now have:

Ammonia between 0 and .25
Nitrites .25
NitrAtes 20 ppm
PH 7.2

What should i do now?? Do i just keep doing 10% water change each day to bring the ammonia and nitrites down and replace with new water and keep adding the Prime?

I am so excited it looks like it's finally starting to cycle?? Phew!!

:D
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Re: HELP Im a newbie and i need some advice!

Postby Pammie » Tue Jul 17, 2012 10:27 am

Update by Pammie on 17.07.2012

Ammonia 0
NitrItes 0
NitrAtes 20
PH 7.2

Tiny is doing great and it looks like his wee tail fin is starting to grow back too!!

Thanks for all your support, Tiny would be dead by now had I relied on the advice of the pet shop. :D
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Re: HELP Im a newbie and i need some advice!

Postby ady » Tue Jul 17, 2012 11:18 am

welcome to TTT.... :)

sounds like you be led up the garden path by a dodgy shop....it does annoy me that they arnt regulated...

sounds like you have had a steep learning curve,but fear not.....your levels are dropping....and you will have learnt alot..always a good thing.

i would go for the larger tank...as said it will provide a more stable environment for ya fish beacuase of the greater volume of water.it will be easier to maintain,due to less water changes...but these still important.

you will be able to fit in a larger shoal of fish,which in turn will make them more happy and will feel more relaxed..obviously not over stocking it tho... :wink:

take the restock slowly,allow the bacteria to grow.....it is a common error for newbies....we all been there...got big tank with only ickle fish..wanna fill it,but cant wait....we learn in the end to go slowly .

if you are getting alot of crud building up on the gravel you need to reduce the amount of food....fish need a lot less food than you think.good idea to have gravel cleaner,which you have..as the food decays it buggers up ya water quality...causes ammonia spikes if left to long.bear in mind that most fish related problems/health issues are triggered by poor water quality..

best to spend money on de-chlorinator and water than expensive chemicals treatments.

we all started as newbies and without the help of good people,good knowledge/experience we fail at times.especailly when dodgy shops give out pants advice and are only interested in dosh in the tills....spend time looking thru the copious info contained on the main page and these forums,you will learn loads thats will set uyou in good sted with your new hobby....hopefully someone local to you could advise you of a pukka shop to visit nearby.i wouldnt return to that dodgy shop...vote with your feet......

any questions,just ask on here....we dont bite :rofl:

good luck :)
humans are the only race,with the intelligence to save the earth...shame we have the ignorance to ignore the salvation!!!!!
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Re: HELP Im a newbie and i need some advice!

Postby Pammie » Wed Jul 18, 2012 2:51 pm

Thanks Ady

Im planning on getting a bigger tank as soon as i can see one that has good reviews and that will suit the kind of fish i want to keep. I dont want to make the same mistakes again!! Thankfully I have found a shop abit further away that only sells fish and has a beautifully stocked shop of fish. He has just re-fitted out his shop a few months agao with new tanks and hasnt lost a single fish.

I was looking at a BiOrb 60 litre but as it is tall rather than long, so I wasn't sure about it? It maybe looks better than is practical for the fish. I wanted something I could keep in my sitting room so I could look at them more often, as the other is in the kitchen and I keep burning the dinner checking on wee Tiny! :roll:

My ammonia is almost zero, nitrites are zero and nitrAtes are just at 5ppm. I added another two real plants the other day so I dont know if 3 is too many for such a small tank or if my tanks cycle has stalled? :?:
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