Beginner...6 Months In, Need Advice Please

KingsPoint05

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Equipment:
10 Gallon Tank (Dimensions: 20Lx10Hx10W)
Filter: AquaClear 30 Filter
Light: Current Satellite Freshwater LED+
Heater: Cobalt Neo-Thermal 50W (Not in Use)

Plants:
Amazon Sword (RIP) - Looked good for a month or so and then the leaves started turned translucent in waves.
Banana Plant (RIP) - Would never have more than three - four leaves at a time and I didn't like the look.
Anubis Barteri - Healthy and attached to a piece of wood.
Vallisneria Spiralis Italian - I can't tell. Its shooting out side sprouts but some strands seem to be deteriorating.
Moss Ball
Two pieces of drift wood
Substrate: Sachem Flourite Black Sand.

Fish:
3 Tetra Glofish
3 Platy Mix (They poop a ton)
1 Rubberlipped Pleco (RIP - Mid Oct 2017)
1 Paleatus Cory Cat (RIP - Early Nov 2017)
1 Bushynose Pleco
1 Paleatus Cory Cat

Timeline:
Started Tank 7/10/17
Put fish in tank 7/29/17 (Tetras, Pleco, and Cory Cat)
Added Platy 8/5/17
1st Pleco died mid Oct 2017
1st Cory Cat died early Nov 2017

Issues:
1.) So right around when the Pleco died. Shortly there after the water went greenish and started seeing green algae on the class. The store I bought the fish from closed (All Pet Emporium). So I found another place and went and spoke with someone at another pet/fish store (Beverly's Pet Center). The guy was a lot more knowledgeable. He told me to stop using tap water for water changes. My phosphates were off the charts. He told me to start using store water and gave me some phosphates pads for my filter. So I started regular (once a week) 10% (1 gallon) water changes using pet store freshwater. This seemed to help some but...
2.) Within two weeks my first cory cat died. My theory was that he wasn't getting any food. Same for the Pleco earlier. I was previously feeding a pinch of New Life Spectrum Thera +A Small Fish Formula and then substituting frozen blood worms every now and then to mix it up. When I paid closer attention, I realized the Platy ate almost everything, the tetras got the rest. The Cory was barely getting anything, and there was Pleco nothing at all so. I started feeding twice a day with some New Life, one to two Wardley Shrimp pellets, and once daily a Pleco wafer. So far the everyone is still alive, but...
3) During thanksgiving we traveled, we bought a auto feeder but it would have released too much food so we had a neighbor feed the fish. He left the sunlight setting on (Under my direction) and two days later when I returned there was black hair algae on all the plants. I've tried a couple different youtube solutions including taking the plants out and rubbing/pulling the hair algae off the plant and spraying the plants with hydrogen peroxide (one application). The algae won't go away.

So how do I eliminate the black hair algae and control the phosphates?
I'm changing the phosphate filter every one to two weeks, the white foam filter every month, and the carbon insert every three months.
I've attached three photos below.

Please help. Any and all advice and admonishment will be appreciated.
 

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david1978

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Were to start.
First off your tank is way oversocked and as the fish grow the problems will only get worse.
Second of course they will want to sell you store water its a business. Unless your tap water is off the charts bad it will work.
Third. The foam in your filter will be good for about 5 years with only squeezing it out in declorinated water. Every time you throw it out you throw out your cycle.
Fourth. 10% water changes are worthless. Thats why you have high phosphates. Start doing atleast 25% twice a week till those levels come down.

Any idea what ammonia, nitrite or nitrate readings are for the tank?
 

Sion

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My Amazon sword was damaged by the current from my filter as well, can you move the plant away from the strong current? Regarding the fish, I think your tank is too small for one pleco let alone two.
Algae grows when there is too much light and/or nutrients in the form of fish waste, do more frequent larger water changes to remove ammonia, nitrite and nitrates. How long is the light switched on for? I'd do a maximum of 6-8 hours a day.
 

purslanegarden

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I agree, you can go back to tap water and do 25-50% changes, depending on your goals. Reduce your daily light hours, and be careful of how much food you are giving. Excess light and nutrients leads to algae growth.
 

tokiodreamy

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As others mentioned there are a few issues going on.

The tank is quite a bit overstocked. Extra waste and extra particles can help contribute to algae growth some times. 10g is way too small for any pleco species. The smallest ones need a minimum of 29g+. They have huge bioloads and will grow to 3in in 6mo. I would rehome him immediately. They can also get aggressive in small tanks.
Cory cats (besides pigmy corys) need a minimum of 20g long because they're fast scavengers and need to be in schoals 5+. I would also rehome him as well.
Are the platties females or males? If you have a mix of genders I'd rehome any females since they're most likely pregnant. Platties can have hundres of fry. From the fry that were not eaten, I ended up with 11 in only 3 months.
I'm unsure if the tetra glofish are black skirts (i didnt look hard enough in the photo). Tetras are schooling fish and need 6-9+ minimum and should also be in larger tanks because of this schooling requirement.
I would personally rehome all the fish except maybe 1 platty. Then check out some smaller fish that would do well in your tank. Celestial pearle danios look so cool! There's a 10g stocking list on this forum but I'm unable to tag it since I'm on mobil.

I would also not use the store water unless it's free and you're able to store at least 10g at a time of it. Go on your water companys website. They have to post an annual report of what is in your water. If you cant find it, call them. Then post the report here.

How long is your light on for? Is the tank close to a window? If the light is on longer than 6hrs turn it down to 6hrs. If it's on for less than 6hrs turn it down 1hr.

Amazon swords are stem plants and require root tab fertilizers. Mine will go transparent if they need new root tabs. I'm unsure if banana plants are stem plants as well. You should be dosing ferts for the ribosome plants and moss balls. Leaf zone should be fine but I'm no expert.

Also like others stated 10% will get nothing done. It's in good practice to do 40-50% pwc weekly. Not only does that bring down levels, it also replenishes minerals in the water that your fish and plants need. This is why you'll need at least 10g store water stored at a time or youll be doing weekly store trips.

Bottom feeders need their own diets and will not be able to eat the fish flakes. Cory cats need a meaty diet and should be fed carnivore wafers and shrimp pellets. Plecos can be fed the same things as well as algae wafers and fresh veggies. They need a high fiber diet. They love zucchini cucumer and sweat potato slices. Some will eat broccoli sliced in half and seedless grapes.

Dont worry, we all start out a bit rough. I made so many mistakes with my 10g when I first started. I always highly suggest a 20g long for beginners instead. More options and easier to care for.
 
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KingsPoint05

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Water quality report:
http://www.youwin-weallwin.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/CC-CCR-2015-English.pdf


And treat the tap water with a dechilorinator?

My light is on sunlight during the day and moonlight at night. The light itself is on 24hrs, with setting changes as the light outside changes.
So reduce to 6 hours per day?

The tank is overstocked... my options are reinvest in a bigger tank? Any other options? Is there a fish adoption agency? Its going to be a hard sell at home to say honey I'm horrible at managing a 10 gallon tank what I really need is a 20 or 30 gallon tank.

Thanks everyone for the suggestions. I'm going to do a 50% water change today at least. Please keep the advice and lectures coming. I should have come here first instead of letting the pet store guys just keeping telling me yes.
 

tokiodreamy

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KingsPoint05 said:
Water quality report:
http://www.youwin-weallwin.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/CC-CCR-2015-English.pdf


And treat the tap water with a dechilorinator?

My light is on sunlight during the day and moonlight at night. The light itself is on 24hrs, with setting changes as the light outside changes.
So reduce to 6 hours per day?

The tank is overstocked... my options are reinvest in a bigger tank? Any other options? Is there a fish adoption agency? Its going to be a hard sell at home to say honey I'm horrible at managing a 10 gallon tank what I really need is a 20 or 30 gallon tank.

Thanks everyone for the suggestions. I'm going to do a 50% water change today at least. Please keep the advice and lectures coming. I should have come here first instead of letting the pet store guys just keeping telling me yes.
So the good news is now you know you have a small amount of nitrates in your tap water as well as lead and copper. The bad news is that they're not testing for phosphates. So that doesn't answer that.

Yes! Always treat with a dechlorinator to get rid of chlorine, chloramine, and heavy metals. If you don't have seachem prime I highly reccomend it. It's one of the best dechlorinators on the market and has proven to detoxify up to 1ppm of ammonia and nitrite for 24hrs. Always dose for the entire volume of your tank and not how much water you're changing.

What light brand and model is this? Does it have 2 modes day and night or does it change gently like the finnex planted+ 24/7? Depending on what brand it is, it may be too strong for your tank. Is there other options or just the cycle? Are you able to control when the light changes from day to night? You may need less of a day and more of a night.

Your options are: You can get a larger tank if you can talk your family into it, you can rehome the fish to another person (we have a buy trade sell forum here but you need to post I believe at least 30 posts before you can access it), or you can try to rehome the fish at a local fish store (some will give you store credit or trade one fish for another). Search for some local mom n pop fish stores. Those are the best! I just found a new one 30m from me recently and they're so knowledgeable!

We always love to help give advice! It's the least we can do! Glad you're here!
 
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KingsPoint05

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Ok, so I changed about 4 gallons worth of water last night and using tap water and the API Tap Water Conditioner. The minimum dose of 1ml is for 15 gallons so I have been dosing for the whole tank luckily.

I've had two lights so far the first was a Fluval Eco-Bright LED Lamp. White Light or Blue Light.


I would switch between the two in accordance with the amount of light outside. When I switched Pet/Fish stores and asked about my failing Amazon Sword, the guy said I needed greens and reds for Freshwater plants so I purchased...
Current USA Satellite Freshwater Plus Aquarium LED Light
It had a ton more bells and whistles. Different moon lighting, full sun, cloudy days, lighting storms, etc. I have been doing various moon lighting at night and various sun during the day. The light was never off.
The black hair algae showed up after my neighbor left the sun setting on for 24 plus hours and I haven't been able to get rid off it.

If I can find a place that would buy back or trade fish, should I keep any of the fish I currently have in the tank or start from scratch? So you don't have to reread my whole post I have 3 tetra glofish, 3 platy, 1 cory cat, and one bristle nosed pleco. Thanks for your continued help.
 

david1978

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Its funny but a bigger tank is actually easier to maintain water quality in than a smaller tank. New hobbiests should have atleast a 20 gallon tank.
 
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KingsPoint05

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Somehow I missed that in my initial research and now every website I read is screaming to stay away from a 10gallon tank.

KingsPoint05 said:
Somehow I missed that in my initial research and now every website I read is screaming to stay away from a 10gallon tank.
Its been really frustrating and humbling, but its been a really nice addition to our house and my two children have loved it.
 

david1978

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With what fish you have if you upgraded to a 29 gallon it would be perfect.
 
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KingsPoint05

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Will any of them work in a ten gallon? I know its the harder option to maintain, but the wife is pushing back against going bigger (i.e. 20 or 30 gallon). She's not a fan of spending another $100 on a new tank and another $100 on a third light. She'd rather donate all our fish and buy fish appropriate for a 10 gallon tank. Thoughts and feedback greatly appreciated as always.
 

tokiodreamy

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KingsPoint05 said:
Will any of them work in a ten gallon? I know its the harder option to maintain, but the wife is pushing back against going bigger (i.e. 20 or 30 gallon). She's not a fan of spending another $100 on a new tank and another $100 on a third light. She'd rather donate all our fish and buy fish appropriate for a 10 gallon tank. Thoughts and feedback greatly appreciated as always.
Try turning the light on cloudy for a few days. Also amazon swords are stem plants and need root tabs for fertilizer. I suggest seachem root tabs! Each last for several months.

Personally I'd wait for petco to have their regular $1 per gallon sale! They go up to 55g so you can get a 20g for $20 or a 29/30g for $29/30! I always try to buy my smaller tanks at this time. I'm unsure when the next sale is though.

Also, sell equipment to offset the cost for new equipment! Sell your old lights for one great new one! Etc.

Possibly 1 platty can work in the 10g but I'm not 100% sure since I keep my platties in my 29g. They are livebearers so they do have big bioloads. Maybe @TexasDomer can chime in on platty minimums.
 
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KingsPoint05

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How many galaxy rasboras and shrimp do you think would work? Would I ned anything else to help clean the tank a snail or something? Something that would eat the plants assuming the algae goes away
 

tokiodreamy

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KingsPoint05 said:
How many galaxy rasboras and shrimp do you think would work? Would I ned anything else to help clean the tank a snail or something? Something that would eat the plants assuming the algae goes away
A great addition to tanks are nerite snails or mystery snails. Nerites stay much smaller and have cool shell patterns. Mysterys get larger and have cool shell colors.

Nerites can lay eggs but they wont hatch in freshwater. While mystery snails lay egg cluthces but will hatch in freshwater. Both species need a male and a female.
 
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KingsPoint05

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These snails help clean or are just a nice edition to the tank without increasing the bioload?
 

tokiodreamy

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KingsPoint05 said:
These snails help clean or are just a nice edition to the tank without increasing the bioload?
Snails don't usually have a large bioload unless you have a ton. Snails will also eat most algae and any left over food. Plus I think they're cute
 

Farlowella Fella

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KingsPoint05 said:
How many galaxy rasboras and shrimp do you think would work? Would I ned anything else to help clean the tank a snail or something? Something that would eat the plants assuming the algae goes away
Depends on how committed to water changes you are, if you're going to do once a week, I'd say 7 galaxy rasboras and 10 shrimp to start. If you get cherry shrimp, they will likely breed and you'll have to thin them out at around 20. Or maybe you'll get lucky and the rasboras will eat some for you. I also recommend a couple Nerites, especially tiger or zebra which have colour patterns similar to their respective namesakes.
 
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