Advice Needed! New Tank Setup

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by Pennypeirson, Apr 21, 2017.

  1. PennypeirsonNew MemberMember

    Hello, right so I'll start from the beginning, I got a 80 letre tank given to me it was in good condition just needed cleaning, it came with gravel already in it, a filter, an air pump, a plant and 4 weather loaches it was a cold water tank. I cleaned it out thoroughly with fresh water no cleaning products, ready for a tropical fresh water aquarium. I got rid of the gravel and got new gravel which I rinsed thoroughly I took the loaches to a pet store and I got heater, filled the tank and attached the filter and heater and everything and left it running for a couple of days before I added some fish. I live in the north east of england and I got told we have some of the best water in the country for fish to live in, so I didn't bother testing it or anything. Anyway 3 days after having the tank set up I went and bought 7 little neons and 2 mollys which was recommended to me by the pet store staff, I also bought some artificial plants and an ornament which I rinsed before placing in the tank. Got the fish in the tank using the bag method, kept them in the bag for an hour gradually adding a bit of water from the tank into the bag. They seemed fine, later that day one of the neons died it was the smallest one much smaller than the rest so I just thought that might of been normal so I flushed him then the next day one of the mollys died which I didn't think was right, I was watching at the time and all of a sudden she went crazy, darting around in different directions then went still and sank to the bottom. I was thinking of things that could of caused this and one of them was the plant. Becaus I mistakingly kept the plant that was in with the previous cold water fish and rinsed it thoroughly thinking it would be fine, because the man who worked in the pet store where I took the loaches said it would be fine, I did have my doubts but I thought well he knows more than me. Anyway after the molly died I took out the plant thinking that may have been the cause since it could of still had bad bacteria on it. Anyway this was two weeks ago and the fish seem fine I've even added more. Three days ago I got 4 guppies and another molly And everything seems to be fine they are happy swimming around through the plants etc. The questions I have it what other fish can I add that will be safe? Was it the plant that killed molly? I'm feeding them once a day is that right?

    Also after what I've said is there any advice? Things I should know? Tips? Etc. Thank you
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 21, 2017
  2. EternalDancerWell Known MemberMember

    It doesn't sound like you had any time for cycling the tank... do you know your ammonia, nitrite and nitrAte figures?

    I don't think the plant would have been an issue.

    Feeding once a day is fine.

    For the Americans, 80l is approx 20g tank.

    What have you got in there now, two mollys, four guppies and six neon tetras?

    Are your mollys and guppies male or female or mixed?

  3. BottomDwellerFishlore VIPMember

    So you didn't cycle the tank?
    Do you have a test kit?
    I really recommend testing your tap water too. I live in the North East of England and have 80ppm nitrates in my tap water.

    Just checking, your full stock is 6 neons, 2 mollies and 4 guppies?
    Mollies need a bigger tank.
    You could add a school of panda cories.

    Feeding once a day is fine.

    Don't add any more fish until you've tested your tank water and it has 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite and 0-20ppm nitrate. It doesn't sound like your tank is cycled.

  4. EternalDancerWell Known MemberMember

    Great minds think alike, lol

  5. KiksWell Known MemberMember

    I'm quite sure that there's no place on this planet where the water that comes out of the tap is safe for fish.
    You need to treat the water to dechlorinate it and detoxify. You can use products such as Prime or AquaSafe.
    Also, you need to cycle a tank before adding fish. If you do not cycle it you risk killing your fish. This is very likely the reason why your fish died and will keep dying.
    Cycling the tank means that you build up your bacteria colony (it lives in your filter and on surfaces). Your bacteria colony needs to be big enough to be able to handle the bio load (the ammonia that your fish produce). Right now you have no or a very small bacteria colony so your fish produce more ammonia than the colony can handle. This means that the ammonia builds up and eventually kills your fish, since ammonia is toxic to fish. At a point your ammonia starts to get converted into nitrite. This is also toxic to fish. You'll see your ammonia lowering and nitrite spiking. After the nitrite spike you'll start to see some nitrates. These are not toxic in small amounts (5 - 20 ppm). When your tank has 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite and 5 - 20 nitrates it's safe for fish.
    To get there you need to cycle it. Right now you're doing a fish-in-cycle, which I do not recommend. There's a good chance that all your fish will die and do not get any more fish until you've done cycling. If you wanna do a fishless cycle, I suggest you use pure ammonia with nothing added. Dose a tiny bit of it and test your ammonia levels. Once it reaches 1 - 2 ppm you wait. After some days (can take several days) your ammonia will drop to 0.25 ppm. Once it does that you add more pure ammonia to reach the same level again (1 - 2 ppm). You keep doing this until your ammonia goes from 1 - 2 ppm to 0.25 - 0 ppm in 24 hours or less. At some point as mentioned above your nitrites will spike. If they go higher than 5 ppm, do a water change to bring them down. Keep dosing the ammonia until you have 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite and some nitrates. Your nitrates might be pretty high so before you add fish you do a large water change (around 80%) to bring them down to a safe level (5 - 20 ppm). Then you add fish.

    If you do a cycle with the fish you already have, you need to test the water in order to know what's going on. You probably have some ammonia, nitrite and nitrates. When cycling with fish it's a little more work, since you have to keep the water levels very low in order to keep the fish alive. I suggest that you do a water change every time your ammonia reaches .50 ppm or your nitrites reach .50. Also do a water change if your nitrates get really high (around 60 ppm). This could mean a lot of work depending on your bacteria colony and the bio load of your fish. You keep doing the water changes until your ammonia is 0, nitrite 0 and nitrate 5 - 20 ppm.

    Both methods can take several weeks so be patient and do not add any more fish. To speed the process along you can use bacteria-starter products.
  6. EternalDancerWell Known MemberMember

    An interesting point brought up for the Brits on here...

    Do any of you see chlorine in your tap water?

    My tap has ~40 nitrAte, so I use a mix of tap/rain water (since rain water has looooow GH and KH, but no nitrAte), but I never treat my water, just straight into the tank (heavily planted so don't have to worry about the nitrAte), and seven tanks later, I'd say the water's okay.

    It seems the US has some weird stuff out the tap compared to us.

    ETA: not that I'm saying you should just dump tap water in your tank and assume all is well... I know my water's good because I both tested and researched what was in it first.
  7. KiksWell Known MemberMember

    Well, I'm not British nor American, but I know that plenty of people on the Danish forums claim that they can just dump their fish in plain tap water and it works all fine. I bet it does. Or at least it looks like it does. Fish can adjust to a lot of things so I'm not surprised that some can make it work for plenty of years. I have my doubts about how well the fish really do, though. I see it as spending a little extra money to make sure that my fish feel comfortable and thrive instead of trying to save the money or look at them and think that they're probably doing fine. If you keep a pet I think you're obligated to treat them the best as you can and since we can't ask them, I'd rather spend a little extra money trying to do so.
  8. EternalDancerWell Known MemberMember

    I absolutely agree with you, fish are just like any other pet and need proper care.
    They aren't supposed to "survive in whatever (you) dump them in", they're supposed to thrive, and be happy and healthy for long fishy lives.

    Which is why I did my research, and also why I mix my water.

    I have no issue spending money on anything to make any of my pets happier/safer... it's just not something I see spoken about on British groups anywhere near as much as US based ones.
  9. KiksWell Known MemberMember

    Well, if you've researched and tested and your water is all good when it comes to fish, then I wont complain about you not adding something to that water. Why would you?
    I just really dislike it when people just dump them in there and "see if it works out"... You sound like a very responsible pet owner, though.

    I'm not really on British forums, so I wouldn't know about the differences. I wouldn't be surprised if there's a huge difference in the tap water in different countries.
  10. CulpritFishlore VIPMember

    It sounds like your not cycled. I would get some tetra safe start asap or rehome the neons because a fish in cycle with them they will probably die.

    If you get tetra safe start it cycles your tank in a few days instead of a few weeks. I have used TSS for all my tanks and never see any ammonia or nitrites. I do start off with very few fish though.
  11. BottomDwellerFishlore VIPMember

    Haha yeah. I was typing at the same time as you and didn't see your post sorry. :)
  12. Lindsay83Valued MemberMember

    I'm in NE England, too, but have next to no nitrates in my tap water (at least, according to Northumbria Water's website - haven't got my API Test kit yet, but haven't got fish yet, either, however, when I did have fish last, nitrate was 0ppm from the tap, and never got above 5ppm between water changes).

    OP, when they say we "have some of the best water" for fish, it could simply mean that it's almost as pure as distilled (almost - not quite). It still has chlorine and chloramine in it, which attacks the gills of the fish and kill bacteria - that's the whole point of adding chlorine to our drinking water, but when it comes to fishkeeping, we actually want bacteria in the tank/filter. In order to start to build those bacteria colony, we need to ensure that any and all water going into the tank, is treated with a dechloronator (Interpet TapSafe, Tetra Aquasafe, Seachem Prime, etc). If you didn't treat the water with a water conditioner such as those listed above, you're killing off the bacteria just as it's trying to establish itself.

    I'm sure the above replies have already said this, but the bacteria take in ammonia (produced by the fish) and convert it into nitrite, and then, nitrate. In an uncycled tank (one that doesn't have the bacterial colonies needed to convert the toxins into nitrate), the fish are effectively swimming in their own toilet.

    In your case, I disagree that it's ammonia poisoning that killed the Molly, because it sounds as though it died within 24hrs of being added to the tank. Ammonia would have to be through the roof to kill the fish off that quickly.

    However, if you've had the tank set up for 2 weeks, now the tank (if the water's been dechloronated) will be about half way through the cycle. Ammonia is likely to be present, and nitrite (almost as poisonous to the fish as ammonia) will be starting to rise as the bacteria convert ammonia. You'll need to use Seachem Prime or Tetra Safe Start to protect the fish from the effects of the cycling and, unless using TSS, will need to carry out daily partial water changes to keep the toxin levels down.

    Was it on the store/assistant's advice that you added fish 3 days after setting the tank up? If so, I have a pretty good idea where you might have got them from, and it could be that the Molly wasn't in the best of health when you got it.
  13. EternalDancerWell Known MemberMember

    I'll place a bet on PaH... they love a three day cycle.
  14. BottomDwellerFishlore VIPMember

    They sure do. Every time I get a fish/shrimp/snail from there they ask "how long has the tank been set up?" but they don't ask how big it is, current stocking, parameters, etc. As long as it's been setup for 3 days+ you're good to go!
  15. Lindsay83Valued MemberMember

    That was my thought, but I wasn't sure about the policy of naming stores on this forum.

    @BottomDweller , if you have 3 or more notices about your post from me, I apologise. I kept hitting Funny instead of Agree. :hilarious:
  16. CulpritFishlore VIPMember

    I believe that we should name stores here. It warns aquariasts if they give bad advice, if their fish are always diseased, weak, or from bad stock, but it also shows aquariasts the good stores. The stores that are willing to help you through a cycle, that give you quality stock, and are always helpful.
  17. Nada MuchoWell Known MemberMember

    Just a curiosity question but if you have 80 ppm nitrates in your tap water how do you reduce it since a water change doesn't really do anything? Or do you just run at 80 ppm normally? Thank you!
  18. Lindsay83Valued MemberMember

    There are commercially available products such as nitrazorb, but whether they work or not, I don't know, because, as I said above, I've never had a nitrate problem.

    The best way that I personally know of, is to mix tap with RO (reverse osmosis) water and remineralise as necessary, or to have an RO filter attached to your water supply.
  19. BottomDwellerFishlore VIPMember

    I have live plants and use a lot of matrix in all my filters. I do smaller water changes more often so I don't add too much nitrate to the tanks. The tanks usually have 20-30ppm nitrates but usually only 10ppm in my betta tank.

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice