10 gallon quarantine tank

Discussion in 'kinezumi89' started by kinezumi89, Mar 18, 2012.

  1. kinezumi89

    kinezumi89Fishlore VIPMember

    While we're stocking our 55 gallon show tank, we're using the 10 gallon as a quarantine tank. It used to be our male betta's (Admiral Ackbar) home, so as long as he can behave himself with the new additions to the 55 gallon, then he can stay where he is and we can use the 10 gallon for quarantining.

    Yesterday we bought three platys - two "painted sunsets" (yellow and orange with black spots) and one "sunset" (yellowy orange). We plan to get one more sunset and two red wags (or maybe sunburst wags), for a total of six.

    When the employee went to net the fish out of the tank, one jumped ship! Fortunately (I guess?) he caught it either on his arm or against his chest (his back was towards me) so the fish didn't hit the floor, but I was still a little concerned.

    While we set the 10 gallon tank back up, we floated the bag in the 55 gallon tank, since the temperatures would be the same. One of the fish was lying on the bottom of the bag, while the other two were zipping about. I could only assume the listless one was the one that had flying lessons, so I was definitely a little worried. Once we netted them into the 10 gallon, he hung out at the bottom for awhile, but soon was swimming around just like everyone else.

    They're so cute to watch! I've been told that platys aren't really schooling fish, but they definitely hang out in a little group. I was afraid that the one sunset platy would be ostracised by the other two, but so far everyone seems to be getting along. It's cute to see them swim around together, pecking at surfaces. They definitely seem like "top level" fish, as they're always hanging out right at the surface.

    We plan to keep the platys in the QT tank for two weeks, at which point (assuming everyone's healthy) we'll move them over to the 55 gallon and get three more platys to quarantine. It seems like forever until the tank will be fully stocked!

    In other news, we have an infrared temp gun with a laser pointer that we use to measure the temperatures of the tanks. Sometimes we use the laser and play with the cat, and he chases the laser around. Just for fun, I tried aiming the laser in the tank...and the fish totally chased after it! It was kind of adorable. (It's a very weak laser, so don't be too worried about me blinding the fish. Though to be on the safe side, I always avoided actually making fish-to-laser contact.)
  2. Dino

    DinoFishlore VIPMember

    Lasers and cats have a long history on this site.

    Don't they, Carol?

    I use one here to keep my bearded dragons entertained. and the cats. And the dogs.
  3. OP

    kinezumi89Fishlore VIPMember

    Never again will I aim the laser pointer at the ceiling, though...the cat spent a week staring at the ceiling wondering where it went.

    Hooooping I didn't accidentally bake my platys. A) It's been so warm lately that the apartment is about 10 degrees warmer than usual, and I didn't think about having to change the thermometers. (If it's set at 80, why does it matter what temperature it is outside?) B) The 10 gallon tank has incandescent lights, which really warm it up quite a bit during the day. C) On the 10 gallon tank, the thermometer doesn't really have a gauge or anything, and the temperature was a little too high, so I'd been incrementally nudging the dial. Unfortunately nudged it the wrong way, and when I checked the temperature, it was at 86!! I usually keep the tanks between 80 and 82 or so. Ughh. I turned the lights off and turned the dial way down (the other way, of course), so I hope they're alright. I don't want to drop the temperature too quickly, but I also don't want any fillets!

    On a lighter note, I dropped a thawed/deskinned pea in the tank, and the platys seem to like it quite a bit.

    Here's a quick picture of the tank:

    Attached Files:

    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 25, 2012
  4. pirahnah3

    pirahnah3Fishlore VIPMember

    86 is ok just don't do anything too drastic. They can adapt for a bit to the higher temps, actually thats the normal treatment for the cure of ich.

  5. OP

    kinezumi89Fishlore VIPMember

    Phew, well that's good to know. I left the lid closed so the temperature would drop slowly; I'll keep an eye on it over the next few hours. Maybe I'll actually turn the lights back on, in that case...
  6. pirahnah3

    pirahnah3Fishlore VIPMember

    Id just leave them off for tonight at this point, make tomorrow another normal day for them. just watch that thermometer
  7. OP

    kinezumi89Fishlore VIPMember

    I'm checking every 20 minutes or so. The problem is that since the lamp has incandescent bulbs, the temperature fluctuates a fair amount between when I turn the lights off and when I turn them back on.
  8. pirahnah3

    pirahnah3Fishlore VIPMember

    well, I would let things relax and get on a plane again tonight and start in the morning of chasing things a slight bit. Remember small changes = small mistakes.
  9. Donnerjay

    DonnerjayWell Known MemberMember

    Pretty nice digs for a quarantine tank! :)
    Where is the betta? Hiding behind a rock?
  10. OP

    kinezumi89Fishlore VIPMember

    He's currently in the 55g. I moved the (cycled) filter from the 10 to the 55, so unfortunately the QT fish are in an uncycled tank. It was either that, or not quarantine them. :/

    And thank you!
  11. Donnerjay

    DonnerjayWell Known MemberMember

  12. OP

    kinezumi89Fishlore VIPMember

    I haven't (not in recent history, anyway) had a tank with multiple fish eating the same food...I'm finding it's hard to make sure everyone eats enough, without feeding so much that some sinks to the bottom (since I don't have any bottom feeders in the QT tank). Though I am glad that everyone is eating voraciously and everyone seems happy and active :)
  13. OP

    kinezumi89Fishlore VIPMember

    I'm not sure how to tell male and female platys apart, but I'm wondering if the two painted sunsets might be opposite genders. One keeps chasing the other around, and looks like he/she keeps nipping at his/her tail fin. There's no damage whatsoever, and other times they'll sit right next to each other and be fine. Is it playful? Is the chasing one a male and the chased one a female, maybe? The regular sunset one hasn't engaged in this at all, though they do all sit in a little group sometimes.
  14. I keep fish

    I keep fishWell Known MemberMember

    its really easy actually here I'll help [​IMG]
    The top one would be a male it has a straight anal fin.A female has the anal fin that looks like a normal fin

  15. OP

    kinezumi89Fishlore VIPMember

    Well how about that! It appears that the regular sunset is a female, and the painted sunsets are both males. I know you should have a two female : one male ratio; unfortunately I (and the employee, I'm sure) didn't know how to tell them apart at the time.

    So I guess the chasing and nipping is aggression, then. Do you have any advice? Should I get another female, even though that would be a lot of fish for a 10 gallon tank? Since they're all looking healthy, even though it's only been a few days, should I move them to the 55 gallon tank, hoping that there would be less aggression in a larger space?
  16. I keep fish

    I keep fishWell Known MemberMember

    Some of it would be aggerssion fighting over the female.Maybe you could try a trade at the fish store for a nother female or trade for a male to have no babies lol.
  17. Donnerjay

    DonnerjayWell Known MemberMember

    Great questions! Isn't it fun to learn about fish? LOL :giggle:

    Hmmm. Well, your original plan was to QT 3 platies for 2 weeks, then put them into your 55 gallon, then get 3 more platies, put those in QT for 2 weeks, and then put them in the 55. Right?

    So, your basic question is, can your group of 2 males/1 female get along until you increase the stock? And the answer is... :;dk

    The good thing is, they are in a 10 gallon. Plenty of places to hide (I would add some plants/caves for extra hiding spaces). Plus, you always have the backup 55 gallon to separate them if you need to (assuming it's cycled, of course).

    And they've only been in QT for a few days, right?

    So, a few options:
    1) Leave 'em be. See how things go and if they can last for another 1 1/2 weeks without damage.
    2) Separate them. You run the risk of contaminating your 55 if they have some undetected disease/parasite.
    3) Add 3 more platies now. I think this could work, short term, even though they'd be together in a 10 gallon. With good filtration and pristine water chemistry, that is. And your ratio would be right (assuming you get 3 more females).

    If the one male is nipping at the other's tailfin, I'd tend to go for getting more females now. Some here may disagree, but it seems that you're very careful with your water parameters. And you always have the 55 as a backup.

  18. OP

    kinezumi89Fishlore VIPMember

    I never knew it would be so involved when I first got a betta..."you just clean the water and throw some food in now and then, right?" XD

    Anyway, that is indeed the plan. Technically the 55 gallon isn't cycled. I moved the media over from the 10 gallon tank's filter, along with its inhabitants (the betta and the pleco) and put new media in the 10 gallon (so unfortunately the platys are in a brand new tank, since I'm sure whatever bacteria was living in the rocks has long since perished). I'm waiting the 5 minutes for the API master test kit tests to run, though already you can see there is ammonia in the tank (though I used Prime, so hopefully it's the non-toxic ammonium instead). I had been doing once weekly water changes (~40%) in the 55 gallon, but since the ammonia still won't go away, I plan to do 2-3 water changes per week. I am doing a water change every other day in the 10 gallon, since it's a much smaller volume.

    I'd like to move them to the 55 gallon, but the two problems (1- possible infestation, 2- introducing many fish to a non-cycled tank) leads me to believe that maybe I shouldn't. Would purchasing one more platy be an option? If there was a 1:1 male:female ratio, would that be enough? Or should it really be 1:2? I was planning on making a trip home tomorrow (even though I live in Chicago, I prefer to do my fish-shopping in the suburbs) and even though I was planning to get a betta, I could probably get some platys too (I get them from separate stores).

    I feel as though I should get at least one more female. Now that I know it isn't playful banter, and it's probably the larger male asserting dominance over the smaller one, I'd feel bad doing nothing. The surprising thing is they're pretty much leaving the female alone. I feel sort of bad, as if they're making her an outcast since she's a different color than they are.

    So, in regards to the choices, I think I'd feel bad going with option 1. Though unfortunately, neither 2 nor 3 are optimal. With 2, I might infect the larger tank, and also it would be an increase in bioload into a tank that isn't fully cycled. But with 3 (or 3a, adding only one platy), I'd be afraid that would be a lot of fish for a truly non-cycled tank.

    Do you still suggest I go with 3? I would have to do probably a 50% water change daily, perhaps more. That definitely wouldn't be a problem this week since I'm on spring break, but next week is midterms (my professors are so kind), but if that's my best option, I could find the 10 minutes to do daily water changes.

    PS: And the test results (for the 55 gallon) are...(drumroll) a surprising amount of nitrate, considering I did a 40%ish water change on Saturday night. There's also ammonia, but that may be ammonium thanks to the Prime...though either way, shouldn't the bacteria have consumed it? If there's nitrate (roughly 5ppm), does that mean my tank is cycling? If I understand correctly, I think it's fully cycled once there is nitrate, but no ammonia. (I've never once gotten a nitrite reading...I guess I missed that step between testings.)

    I just read in another thread that Prime only detoxifies ammonia for 24 hours. Does this mean I should re-dose after 24 hours has passed? Do the levels build up unsafely at all? In the 10 gallon, if I'm currently doing water changes every other day, I add Prime to the new water every other day (a very small amount; it's hard to measure because the label says "up to the first thread in the cap treats 10 gallons." It's only a 10 gallon tank, so for a partial water change, I add a tiny bit, but the cohesion of the liquid makes it hard to measure.).

    So. Does it detox the ammonia for 24 hours, at which point it changes back from ammonium to ammonia? Or does it detox ammonia for 24 hours, at which point any lingering ammonia or ammonia that is created will not be changed? (I wish I took more than organic chem 1!)
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 20, 2012
  19. Donnerjay

    DonnerjayWell Known MemberMember

    LOL! You're way ahead of me on the organic chem level!

    Speaking of chemistry, yes, now that you see you have ammonia, that's a bigger issue than the male/male aggression. BUT, ammonia stresses fish, and stressed fish will have depressed immune systems. So aggression could take a bigger toll on the submissive male if the nipping results in an infection.

    Prime does detox ammonia for about 24 hours. If your tank has not cycled, adding Prime during the non water change days will protect your fish from any ammonia buildup. I do not believe ammonium reverts to ammonia, but I am not positive (other members please chime in). In any case, you really can't overdose on Prime. It won't hurt your fish. Of course, after your tank cycles, the bacteria will take care of the ammonia. But right now you're basically doing a fish-in cycle.

    So, I would not add any more fish at this point. In my opinion. :)

    Also, have you ever shown any nitrite? When a tank cycles, it will show a nitrite "spike," then a nitrate "spike," before levels even off. Your goal of course is zero ammonia, zero nitrite, and less than 40 ppm nitrate.

    I would not assume that the tank has cycled because the test results show nitrate. Your tap water could have nitrates in it. You really need to see that nitrite spike.

    Hope this helps. Probably not the news you wanted, but you are a diligent fishkeeper and now's the part where patience comes in! Hang in there!
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2012
  20. OP

    kinezumi89Fishlore VIPMember

    How quickly does the nitrate spike pass? The reason I am assuming the tank is cycling is that there used to be zero nitrates, and now there clearly are, judging by the orange color of the test tubes. I was only testing the 55 gallon every other day, so it's possible that I tested the water one morning, nothing the next day, and then tested the next night, so that's nearly two days between tests. Knowing this, do you still think that I shouldn't add any more fish?

    Also, if you still think such, what do you recommend I do? Being picked on plus ammonia (though I am doing daily water changes with Prime) is definitely not a good combo. Should I move one male over to the 55 gallon? Then of course there is the possibility that the betta will pick on the platy, and then I wouldn't be able to QT any fish (which is what I'm assuming will happen).

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