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Asinity

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Hey everyone,

It's been probably 5 years or so since I had my aquarium running. After reading the information on this site I can definitely say I know what was causing the problems I was having with green cloudy water. Funny, nobody at any of the pet stores I went to at the time knew what was going on... after finding this site though I'm definitely considering getting back into it.

I've got a 5.5 gallon tank right now, before I get started with the setup and all that, I'd like to know if it's even worthwhile to set it up for the fish I would like to keep. I have thought about getting a small school of Neon's and keeping it at that. I had them before, but the filter started sucking them up and before I knew it they were gone, so I went to Serpae tetras, then I started having the green water problems. I look back now and know I was terribly overstocked.

Which fish would be best for this aquarium? I am also unsure of other things like live plants, filtration and all that. It feels like such a long time ago and I really don't want to make the same mistakes again.

Thanks.
 

Golden Fish

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What about a Betta? I am not sure if 5.5 is to small or not (i have never had a betta) although i know alot of people keep them in tanks this size.
 
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Mike

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Hi Asinity,

A smaller tank, like a 5 gallon, can be more difficult to keep than a larger tank because of the highly fluctuating water parameters (ph, temperature, ammonia, etc) and it also really limits the fish species you can keep. I think Golden Fish's recommendation of the betta is a good one and that is about all I would keep in a tank of 5 gallons or smaller. Many of the tetras (some rasboras, corydoras, etc) stay quite small but they usually like to be in groups or schools of 5 or more and keeping that many in a 5 gallon would overstock it (IMO) and you would start to see the green water from high amounts of nutrients in the tank, among other potential problems.

If you're really serious about getting back into the hobby I would first ask you to research the fish you'd like to keep and then you would have a much better idea about the tank size needed. You could still keep the 5 gallon as a quarantine tank, for harvesting brine shrimp or as a betta tank and then you'd join the rest of us with MTS (multiple tank syndrome).

With the amount of info that is widely available and with the help from other hobbyists on forums like this one, the chances of you not succeeding with fish keeping is drastically reduced. Asking questions like the one you just asked tells me that you will succeed in this hobby if you choose to get back into it.

Research, research, research and then buy.

Mike
 
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Asinity

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Thanks for the responses.

The whole MTS thing, yeah that is definitely my godparents son, he's got probably 10-15 tanks in his bedroom, it's unreal.

I was browsing through a few pet stores today and saw the style and size tank I want (16-25 gallon, bow front).

Angelfish, swordtails, various tetras, are pretty much my interests for it, do you think there would be much problems if i mixed those? Trying to keep the whole inch of fish per 3-4 gallon rule.

Another area of concern for me at this point is moving, I will be moving out of my house with my fiancee, what kind of issues can I expect to have moving the fish if I were to start soon? Or would it be best to get myself a betta to hold me over for now, and then move onto a new setup once we've moved into our new place?
 

Golden Fish

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I just found out that Swordtails and Angels can mix. Don't know bout the tetras. I don't see why not as "most" tetras are pretty friendly. Just watch out for any fin nipping kinds like the Serpea tetra. check out this post
As for moving. I guess if you are not moving very far (across town or something). If you are going across state or something it would probably be less stressful on the fish if you waited. Just my opinion
 
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Asinity

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We are moving about 25km's from my current home. So about a 20 minute drive.

That's another question, how can they be moved?
 
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Asinity

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I have decided to use my 5.5 gallon for a Betta once I get things rolling. I pulled the tank out from it's hiding spot, rinsed the dust out and used a scouring pad to peel some of the white hard stuff (what the heck is this?) from around the top rim of the tank and the heater, although I'm starting to wonder if this was a good idea or not - no worries though, I didn't use any kind of soap, just straight up warm water. What exactly is it in soap that kills fish anyway? If I were to wash my hands prior to scrubbing out an aquarium, could this cause a problem?

I also had a look at my air pumps and my filter, they work ok but I am not sure about using the filter, Aquaclear Mini, which looks to be a 2 stage filter. It is dirty as sin from years ago, all sorts of nasty stuff I'm not sure I'll be able to clean out. Would it be better to invest $20 or so on a new filter? Or are there better ones to go with that aren't too heavy on price?
 

Golden Fish

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Asinity said:
We are moving about 25km's from my current home. So about a 20 minute drive.

That's another question, how can they be moved?
With the betta in a five gallon, I would just drain some water from the tank so it does not spill and let him ride with somebody holding him.

I am not sure excactly sure what chemical in the soap kills them but it will, pretty quick like to. I just rinse my hands and arms down with really hot water for a minute or two before i stick em in my tank, don't burn yourself and don't use soap.

I would probably try and get another filter, I have heard good stuff about the AquaClears. Maybe just picking up a new Mini will do the trick.
I know Marineland filters work pretty good also. most of them have a bio-wheel which provides really good bio filtration, i think the one they make for a 5gallon is called the Pengiun mini? not 100% sure.
The white stuff around the edges sounds like calcium build up. it won't hurt anything just looks rough.
Please make sure you read about cycling your tank before you go to far (don't buy the fish yet).
this article is a must: https://www.fishlore.com/NitrogenCycle.htm
These will help out also: https://www.fishlore.com/FirstTankSetup.htm
Anyway good luck and have fun! Let us know if you got any more ?s
 
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Asinity

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Thanks again.

Those are some good articles, I've read them 5 or 6 times since I found this site - I should be okay... lol. ;D

Couple question about the cycle though, should the filter be running? Would aeration hurt?
 

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Yes the filter HAS to be running, Thats where all the good bacteria will grow. If you don't have your new one yet the tank will be fine but will not fully cycle till you give the bacteria thier "home". Adding the aeration is great, but it's not 100% required.
 
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Asinity

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Well I went to the pet store and was looking at the filters, Aquaclear 20 and Marineland Penguin 100.

They both seem to be doing the same thing, but I'm not sure. The Penguin costs $2 more, and just has the one filter cartridge + the wheel, the 20 has the foam, activated carbon, and 'bio-max'... They both do the same 3 stage filtration... I'm really not sure which way to go.
 

Golden Fish

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I think the Bio-wheel one should give you more bio-filtration. You can't have enough of that.
The reason for that is because the Bio-wheel is a wet/dry filter. It allows a better enviroment for the bacteria to grow because there is alot more Oxygen in the air than the water, the Bio-wheel stays wet but is not submerged in the water like the Bio-max. make sense? Try looking up wet/dry filters for a better explanation on how they work if you want.
The plus about the AquaClear is there is more filter media. It is really a matter of personal choice i think.
 
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Asinity

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I think I'm going to save myself the $30 for a new filter and just keep the Aquaclear Mini, atleast for now. I've done a pretty good getting most of the dust and stuff out of it, likely take a toothbrush to the harder to reach spots.

The elbow of the intake though is loaded with what I'm guessing is more calcium, the rest of the filter was loaded with it too. It just flakes off, will having calcium in the filter hurt anything?

I'm likely going to the store tonight to pick up some gravel, some fake plants and the filter media required for the mini. Hopefully by tonight I can have a set up done and get the cycle going.
 
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Asinity

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Well I went to the store tonight and bought a few things, since the mini is only a two stage filter (foam + carbon), I ended up buying one of those Zeo-Carb inserts, which has ammonia remover mixed in with the normal carbon.

Will this screw up my cycle?

I also bought Nutrafin Cycle for it, it seems like that Bio-Spira stuff. It says it "Prevents fish loss by controlling ammonia and nitrite" "rapidly matures new aquariums" and after reading the rest of the paperwork it definitely seems like it would do the trick.

Seems most of the stores around here don't have Bio-Spira, I haven't seen it yet.

Also, we have a water softener, but we also have a faucet that has normal tap water, which would be best to use for a Betta?

When I am doing water changes, do I need to dechlorinate prior to adding, or do I just put some dechlorinator with the fresh water?

I'm getting very anxious to set this up, but don't want to mess this up.
 

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The zeo-carb and adding Cycle will make the cycling take forever. It is removing the food (amonia) from the water so the bacteria doesn't have anything to eat. Instead of Zeo-Carb put some Bio-Max in there. This will give the Bacteria two places to grow in your filter. The bio sponge thingy and the Bio-Max.

A water softener USUALLY only lowers the general hardness of the water. It leaves the Carbonate hardness alone. Which is a good thing. the higher your carbonate hardness the more stable your ph and that is very important for the fish. You also won't have as much/no calcium build up if you use the soft water. I think Bettas like it a little on the softer side anyway. I use softened well water in my tank.

Same thing with the Chlorine. If your water softener is set up for this you should not have any chlorine in there. Test your tap water first and see what you get. If you do have chlorine than the perfered method is to dechlorinate prior to adding. However, most remove the chlorine imeditly so it won't hurt to put in the tank while you add water. follow the instructions on whatever you buy.
Sorry if I sound negative, Just in my experainces you don't need alot of this stuff. It is not as hard as it is made out to be. I use only Foam pads and a ton of Bio-Max in my filter, I have never added anything else to the tank. I am not saying that the other stuff is bad or doesn't work just that is possible with out. Less $$ and less chemicals added to the tank. Just make sure you have good mechanical filtration alot of Bio-filtration and cycle the tank before you add the fish.
 
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Asinity

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Thanks, I kinda thought the Zeo-Carb was gonna do that, and after taking a closer look, the mini has room for 3 media, so I'm going to take back the zeo-carb and grab some straight up carbon and bio-max.

Atleast I can add the water tonight and get things rolling with the foam media. Should I even bother using Cycle? It sounds like it would be quite helpful.
 

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Maybe Butterfly or Chickadee will check this out and offer some comments on Cycle (and double check/correct my advice).
I have heard mixed things about cycle. Cycle will do the same as zeo-carb. The bacteria in Cycle is not the same that will grow in your tank. So when you stop using it your tank will start over (re-cycle). It will work but you will have to add it forever to keep the tank from starting over.
Are you using ammonia to cycle the tank? Check this out. this is from Fish Lores article on the nitrogen cycle, it works pretty fast:
All you got to do is dechlorinate your water if necessary and thats all you got to add.

"Option 3:
Use 100% pure ammonia.
Using a dropper, add 5 drops of ammonia per 10 gallons of aquarium water. Continue this process daily until you start to get nitrite readings with your test kit. Once you can detect nitrites you should only add 3 drops of ammonia per 10 gallons of aquarium water. Continue this process daily until you get nitrate readings with your test kit. Do a 30% water change and your tank is ready."

All you got to do is dechlorinate your water if necessary. You shouldn't have to add anything else.
I just set up a new 10 gallon today. I put in the decorations, hooked up the filter and heater, added my water and started the ammonia procedure above.
 
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Asinity

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I was considering just using fish food, but where could I pick up some Ammonia?
 

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whoa!! thanks for that golden fish i was just one day away from adding cycle to my fishless tank in order to progress... not now!!! didnt realise that, that was how it worked. yet another thing i have learnt from this site. and list continues to grow. hopefully using another filter from my guppy tank will do the trick

hang in there asinity we will make it
thanks again golden fish
regards dazzler
 

Golden Fish

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The food is Ok to use you just might have some algae growth (and sometimes it smells) in the tank. you can find Ammonia anywhere, try a grocery store brand. It is very inexpensive and contains no additives. Don't get one scented or extra sudsy or anything else but plain ammonia.
 
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