Beginner With Some Questions

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by ltwh13, Jun 7, 2016.

  1. ltwh13New MemberMember

    Hi Everyone!

    I kept a few betta when I was kid a now we're back at it again. This time with some horrible advice from the pet store. I've been doing a lot of online research the past few weeks, but I need to know a bit more.

    We started out with a 1 gal tank and 2 neon tetras. The pet store said cycling and water testing weren't needed. The first fish died, so we took it back to the store and they suggested a Corydora instead. We brought him home and I tried to acclimate him as well as I could in the small tank. The other tetra started to die and the cory finished him off. We ended up with a lonely cory and went to the pet store to get another one to keep him company. (This was before I realized how sensitive corys are). They didn't have any corys at the pet store and this time suggested a pictus catfish. We brought him home that evening (Sunday) and I realized he was WAY to big for our tank. (Stupid I know, but I'm new at this). I spent that night researched fish keeping, learnt all about the nitrogen cycle, cycling a tank, and water testing. I knew we needed a bigger tank. The next morning (yesterday) we went and got a 10 gal with a stand, filter, and bigger heater. We went to a new pet store and they said I wouldn't have to cycle if I used some plants and Seachem's stability. I used Prime to treat the water and set everything up. I tried to get the water as close to 78 from the tap so it wouldn't take long to heat. After everything was set up, I added the stability and put the ammonia alert inside the tank. After half an hour it said the ammonia was safe. I added the fish (1 cory and 1 pictus if you're lost). We also have a moss ball in the tank, I'm hoping it helps to oxygenate and aid with the good bacteria.

    Today they didn't seem to be doing that well. Rapid breathing and weird swimming patterns. I'm thinking my next step is water testing. I added the airstone from our 1 gal to this tank.

    - Does it make a difference if I test the water with the "dippables" or test tubes? Which is preferred?
    - What all do I need to test for? I know about pH, nitrates, nitrites, and ammonia. What I'm unsure about is hardness (gh & kh).
    - How much and how often should I be doing water changes right now?
    - Is there anything else I should know/do to keep these guys alive?

    Any advice is greatly appreciated!

    Last edited: Jun 7, 2016
  2. sunshine2012

    sunshine2012Valued MemberMember

    Yes the master api test kit is the best and it test for ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, carbonate hardness, general hardness and PH.
    For as keeping the fish I would return them and cycle your tank first then when it's ready you can get some fish and most tropical fish are schooling fish that require 6 and up. I would return your tank and everything if you want schooling fish and if not you could go with a male betta with amano shrimp and snails. You can also do other tank mates with bettas. If you go onto the search bar and put in betta there are other people on here that have bettas and wonderful tanks with bettas and other tank mates with them. I'm sure someone will let you know soon on where to search for the info and give you ideas. I myself prefer large tanks as they are much better to home more fish and easier to take care of. Best of luck!
  3. tyguy7760

    tyguy7760Fishlore VIPMember

    First welcome to fishlore

    Unfortunately you got some bad advice from both fish stores. It's a common problem and eventually you will learn that most fish stores are the worst place to get fish advice.

    First I will tell you that a 10 gallon is still far too small for a pictus cat and also small for a cory. Here is a great thread for 10 gallon species that would do well

    I would suggest rehoming both fish. Then decide what type of fish you'd like to keep from the above thread. I would also suggest since this is such a small tank, to do a fishless cycle. You'll need an api master test kit and a source of pure ammonia. Dr Tim's is a popular choice and can be had on amazon.

    You will want to dose your water to 2.0 ppm (per instructions if you are using dr tim's) and continue to test over the next few days/weeks until you see nitrates in your test results with 0 ammonia and 0 nitrites. You can use a bacteria additive like stability or tss+ to speed things along if you desire.

    Then go pick out your fish. I know this is a frustrating process and you got some bad advice from a store (and frankly how would you know it's bad advice. you aren't the first and won't be the last person mislead by someone that SHOULD know what they are talking about)
  4. boxtopValued MemberMember


    I will try and help some and others will chime in I am sure.

    You will want to get an API Master test kit and test for ammonia daily. Plan on daily water changes to keep ammonia in check until your tank finishes cycling. Many Beneficial bacteria boosters are hit and miss and I can't speak to how well Seachem Stability works so for now, check the water parameters daily and be prepared to do water changes to keep ammonia and eventually the nitrites in check.

    I do not know a whole lot about Pictus Catfish but Corys are schooling fish who need to be kept in groups and also have widely varying water parameter needs depending on what kind of Cory it is. It may or may not be compatible with the Pictus.

    What kind of Cory is it?

    Welcome and good luck!!
  5. OP

    ltwh13New MemberMember

    Thanks for the info! I'm starting to think returning/rehoming them will be the way to go.

    I was told by both stores that corys can be kept alone. To me, he didn't seem happy alone. Of course, after researching online I found out the opposite. I believe he's a bronze cory.

    I really love the Pictus but think he needs a bigger tank too.

    After rehoming the fish, should I start over with a complete clean and new water or start cycling from where I'm at now?
  6. sunshine2012

    sunshine2012Valued MemberMember

    I would return them or find them another home of someone having the room and bigger tank. The only thing that's gonna happen from here is they are going to suffer and eventually die
  7. rabbottNew MemberMember

    The cycling process usually takes around 8 weeks. During this time your water will not be the best for the fish and they can get pretty stressed. I would definitely test for ammonia, nitrates, and nitrites as these can tell you when your tank is cycled. test it weekly. The test will probably show high numbers of ammonia which turns into nitrite which turns into nitrite when the bacteria start to work. All of these are bad for your fish with nitrite being the least harmful. To speed up the process you can use an old filter cartridge from someones established tank. The cartridge will have the bacteria in it that your tank needs. Since your fish are behaving oddly a 50% water change could really help them. Never remove all of your water. Leave the fish in when you clean it. Until the tank is cycled try to do 2 water changes a week. If your tests are not safe for the fish do a water change. How you test the water is up to you. Sometimes the strips can be hard to read. Strips are better for getting a general reading than specific. Hope your fish get better.

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