Beginner And New Tank Problems

Cruella

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Here is my situation. I started a new 20 gallon tank 5 days ago with a common pleco, a glofish tetra, and a velvet wag swordtail. There is a live hornwort planted. We lost the swordtail within 36 hours. He did have a nearly constant white string of feces hanging from the time we put him in, and he stayed on the bottom most of his final 12 hours or so. The tetra also bullied the life out of him for the first day, whether due to being solo or the swordtail's illness, I'll never know. The other two fish have been fine, so I attributed the loss to bad luck. Now, my tetra appears to have ick. I noticed this morning what looked like tiny air bubbles on her fins then noticed them on her body too. Googled a bit and now believe it's ick. My ammonia was .25ppm today, up a little from yesterday judging by color intensity. Nitrites and Nitrates are 0. pH is 7.6. My heater is preset and maintains 76 degrees, I can't change it.

What shall I do for this ick? I've had betta before and treated issues successfully with salt, but I'm reading that salt won't be good for my pleco and plant. I also see heating as an option but my heater is not adjustable. That's leading me toward medications, and another question. Since I was sold these fish, I've learned that the poor tetra needs friends. Even though my tank has not cycled, should I go ahead and get more tetras and medicate the whole tank together? I do not have a quarantine tank. Or, should I tank my chances with a couple tablespoons of salt for now, and wait for the cycle before adding more? Medicate now, wait for the cycle before getting companions for the tetra? I'm sure there are multiple correct ways to handle this and I'don't love some experienced advice. Thanks!
 

TexasDomer

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Welcome to Fishlore! You were given bad info with the pleco too - he will outgrow your tank, getting to 1-2 ft long, and really needs to be in a very large tank (150+ gallons) or pond. I'd return him as soon as possible.

After that you can get more of the same species of tetra and do a fish-in cycle while treating for ich, either with meds (Seachem Paraguard should work) or heat (easy enough to get an adjustable heater). I would no add salt. It can be hard to cure ich while the fish is super stressed (as he is from being alone), and it shouldn't hurt the other glo tetra to go through a round of Paraguard with him.
 
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Cruella

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Thank you, TexasDomer! I am aware of the pleco problem now, but I think we're going to hang onto him for a little while simply because we like him and he's only about 3 inches right now. I am keeping an eye out for a future home for him.
 

TexasDomer

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I would really consider rehoming him now. A 20 gal is really too small for a 3" pleco anyway because they're so poopy/messy, and you'll have an easier time cycling the tank without him.
 
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