Bought a stocked tank on eBay....

sick-lid boy

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I was looking for a fairly large tank on eBay for a few weeks... I stumbled across an auction for a 55 gallon tank with a cabinet stand, a canister filter,
$200 worth of "live rock", fish (the ad just said, 'numerous cichlids 3"+'), and a bunch of extras. The location was about an hour from my home, so I went ahead and bid and won the tank for $199. I was expecting the fish to be smaller cichlids (the photo was kind of vague), and my initial plan was to take the fish back to the fish store and get an Oscar, a Jack Dempsey, and perhaps a few other random fish.

When I went to pick the tank up, I learned that the fish included were one Oscar, one Jack Dempsey, one African cichlid, a large pleco and a large U.D. Catfish... so I was pleasantly surprised. We (myself and the seller) decided the best way to transport the fish and tank would be to take out the large rocks, leave about 4 inches of water in the tank, and leave the fish in the tank for the trip home. It was a rough trip back. Water and fish sloshing around like crazy. I was afraid they would all die before I ever made it home. They survived, thankfully.

When I got home, I put all the fish in a 5 gallon bucket (with water form the tank), cleaned the tank a little bit, set it up, let the tank run for a half hour or so, and put the fish back.

All the fish seemed O.K. All three cichlids ate later that night, and all seemed pretty happy. But after 2 days, the Dempsey, the Oscar, and the African cichlid seemed a bit lethargic. The Dempsey and the Oscar hid behind a rock on the bottom of the tank all day and the African Cichlid stayed at the surface with his nose aimed at the surface all day. Later that day, the African cichlid died. I did a 30% water change, and that seemed to snap the Oscar and the Dempsey out of their letharigness. It's been about 4 days since then, and as of now, all fish seem fine. I did another 30% water change yesterday... so hopefully everything runs smoothly from here on out. I did add a Bala Shark that I had in my smaller tank. He seems to be doing fine so far.

Interestingly enough, the only territorial battle has been the U.D. Catfish chasing the Oscar around whenever he gets a chance. The Dempsy and the Oscar seem to get along swimmingly (pun intended). The Dempsey even helps out the Oscar whenever the Catfish torments him by nudging the Catfish away.

Any thoughts on anything I'm doing wrong or any suggestions on how to make my tank a healther and safe environment would be appreciated.
 

Stradius011

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Well.... I think you should either get rid of the oscar or jack dempsey or get a larger tank.
 

susitna-flower

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  Just a guess, but I bet the original owner got tired of hearing he needed a larger tank, and gave you a really super deal, so you could be faced with the same dilemma.   Even the large pleco is too much fish for a 55 gal tank.  You will really quickly have to be doing 50% water changes every day!   :-\  Do you have a water testing kit?   If not get one SOON.   Test the ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates.   If the ammonia and nitrites are 0 and the nitrates are climbing, you have a cycled tank.   It should be ok now if you kept all the gravel, and filter.   When the nitrates climb up over 10 you have to start water changes, how often depends on the fish you keep in the tank.    If it were me, I would add air stones to keep the oxygen level up, you may have that, but just not listed it.

The other problem with keeping all these fish in such a small tank, is that they will never grow to the size they should.  They will never be as healthy or happy as if they are in tanks that are sized correctly.   Check out the descriptions of each fish in your tank and see what they should grow into.  There is a thread discussed  just a day or two ago about how if you have large fish (in mass) they do not fit into the 1" / gal. for tank capacity.  When you have a "Thick" fish you have to stock even fewer fish / gallon.   Also after you research your fish, what they should grow to, that is how you must calculate the 1"/ gal rule.   

I applaud your enthusiasm and willingness to jump into a project of this size.  I  know it was worrisome to be driving along with the fish sloshing around, but I still have to smile at the situation.  If a person could think of it in comic book fashion, I can just see that pleco stuck on your car window, and the Oscar chomping on your ear!

You were really lucky to get them all home in one piece, and it shows lots of care that you only lost one.   I wish you all the luck.  You may soon be struck with the affliction of MTS.....the dreaded disease we all get.   

Fish in the Frozen North.   -5F this morning. 8)
 
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sick-lid boy

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Actually, the only water testing solutions I have are for ammonia and nitrite. They are both at zero, so I assume the tank remained fully cycled. I'm not sure what 'air stones' are, but the set-up included ALOT of big lava-looking rocks and caves - so many that I couldn't fit them all in tank unless I wanted more rock than water :-\. Here's a shot of the whole tank with all the fish (incuding the African cichllid that died)


Another devolpment: I noticed that the Oscar has fin rot and a sore on his mouth (probably from bumping into a rock while being chased by the U.D Catfish). I don't have a quarantine tank, and even though a bottle of fin-rot/open sore medicine was included in the deal, I am hesitant to just add the medicine to the tank for fear that it will have adverse affects on the other fish (Catfish) or just get sucked up by the filter. So I am going to see if my local fish store is willing to take him and the Jack Dempsey and trade for an Albino Oscar. The store has some really nice-looking 3-4" albino Oscars that I've had my eye for some time now. That way, the store would be able to give the Oscar the attn. he needs and I would have the fish I originally wanted in the first place and be able to watch him grow up from a youngster which is what I wanted to do from the start, and also would make more room in the tank by getting rid the Dempsey (even though I hate to get rid him- he's a really nice fish).
 

susitna-flower

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The pleco doesn't appear to be a common pleco, so it might not get too big for this tank, it is hard to tell, though in the picture. Love those eyes!

Air stones I refer to are 'bubble makers' that you have to hook up to an air pump. This will infuse oxygen into the tank and help with exchanging gasses that need to leave the water. In your LFS you will find them from very small to huge strips, they have to be replaced periodically, as they get clogged, but are inexpensive, and add beauty to the tank. Don't just assume the LFS will take a fish that has problems. You may end up having to treat him, the medicine that came with is a good indication there was already a problem, and as I said, both these problems IS an indication there is a problem with overcrowding already. Good water quality is the best cure, and prevention of both described conditions, although once you get them medication will also be necessary. Best of luck.

Fish in the Frozen North. 10F and climbing. 8)

The IDIDAROD SLED DOG race is starting this morning in Anchorage! Check out KTUU they will continue to post articles, updates, and video clips all week.
 

susitna-flower

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;D You're right, I can see him better now.....All I can say is watch out! You are REALLY overcrowded if you also have a common pleco in addition to what we can see. It's ok though, it just means you are fast approaching the MTS initiation ceremony we all go through when we fall in love with our fish, and want the very best for them. Hope it works out for you.

Fish in the Frozen North.
 

lolagurl

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susitna-flower said:
;D  You're right, I can see him better now.....All I can say is watch out!   You are REALLY overcrowded if you also have a common pleco in addition to what we can see.    It's ok though, it just means you are fast approaching the MTS initiation ceremony we all go through when we fall in love with our fish, and want the very best for them.    Hope it works out for you.

Fish in the Frozen North.   
What do you mean by MTS CEREMONY. I don't think its very positive to say all his fish are fast approaching their death (which is what I think this means) if so....theres no point being negative what's done is done..he spent a lot of money on the tank and fish...and I think it shows he cares a lot to bother coming on the internet looking for a site for fish and then registering himself just so he can get a few answers >
 

susitna-flower

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  I surely didn't mean to sound negative in the slightest.  I thought Multiple Tank Syndrome just meant that once you get the bug, you can't help but get another, and another........ tank to take care of all your critters.   Sorry if I offended anyone.  :'(

Fish in the Frozen North.   8)
 

lolagurl

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You didnt offend me, its ok. its just sick-lid boy is probably stressing out about this...and I think in this situation I always try to be a positive as possible...for he has lots of money it seems and fish at stake..... I realize know by what u were saying though
 
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sick-lid boy

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No worries.. I didn't take the comment as the least bit negative... in fact, I already feel a slight case of MTS coming on. First the 20 gallon... then the 55 gallon, and I am already thinking about a saltwater tank sometime in the not-to-distant future.



Anyway... I went to my LFS today and traded my Jack Dempsey, the Oscar, and the huge Pleco for....

A Green Terror (he's about 3.5" now and shouldn't get bigger than 9 or 10") a Chocolate Albino Rhino Pleco (3" now and shouldn't get bigger than 12"), and an Albino Oscar (3.5" now). So I still have a potentially overcrowded tank, but right now it is more than big enough for the fish I have and I should have a while before it gets out of hand... and I have no problem with getting a bigger tank in the months or years ahead. Not a replacement, mind you... but an addition . I think I could get rid of the washer and dryer, my wife's car, or the frig to make space...


Now I gotta go update my sig
 

susitna-flower

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   Be careful there sick-lid boy, remember, if Momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!  Take her car, and you may be walking to the fish store! 

Fish in the Frozen North.
 

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