Can we right our wrongs?


HI all...

My husband and I bought a 30 gallon hex tank at our local petsmart a week ago. He has a tiny bit of experience from when he was younger, and I know absolutely nothing.

We are at least smart enough to know when to ask questions, so we did everything that was recommended by the store. Unfortunately, now that I have found this site, it seems that we did everything wrong.

We set up the tank and were told to let it run for only 48 hours before we could add fish. We used stress coat and stress zyme like they instructed. We have the bio wheel filter, heater, and an air stone bubble thing. There is about 1 1/2 inch of gravel on the bottom, some plastic plants, and 2 resin decorations that look like rocks and wood. It looks great, but we hope we will not hurt these fish!

After 48 hours, we added (all recommended by the store who sold us the aquarium):
3 red tailed sharks
2 fancy male guppies
2 female guppies
5 harlequin rasbora
7 neons

All of the fish were fine for a day or two. We were feeding them 3x a day, just a little pinch. Then the water got cloudy (white), and a few fish seemd a little lethargic, which is when I turned to the internet and luckily found this site. We quickly did a 25% water change (using stress coat to treat the water first), and that really cleared the water. The fish seemed more active too. We have now done 25% water changes (and gravel vacuuming) each day for 3 days, water has been crystal clear, and the fish are all fine, active, and playing in the bubbles. We have cut back the feeding to just once a day as well. Thank goodness we have not lost any yet!

This morning we took 2 of the red-tailed sharks back to the store, as we read on here that we shouldn't have more than one. (We were sad to see them go, but we want to do what is best for the fish.)

We bought the store recommended test strips, but now reading here we see that we need to get the better kit. As far as the test strips say, all of our levels have been in the safe range (whatever that means) every day.

The reason for my post is this: Shoud we take all of the fish back until the tank is cycled? Is there a way to keep these fish if we continue with the 25% change and cleaning every day? Or should we be changing more of the water or more often?

Then the next question is when should we add any other fish (if any)? We thought maybe once we know the levels are safe, we would add 2 more female guppies (to keep the ones we have already from being harassed by the males) and possibly 2 or 3 platys.

Thanks in advance for any help you may offer. After reading many, many posts here, I feel we have found a truly valuable source of information. We want to do what is right and feel really responsible to keep happy healthy fish.


I so believe that people working in LFS or any pet shop should have to do some sort of course first, before being allowed to advise customers. Even though I researched a lot before my tank set up, I still took the advice given (go figure) and ended up having to buy a bigger filter/heater etc than was recommended by the Owner of shop. Yes, test kits as well, all proved to be a waste of time.Unfortunately that is why it becomes so expensive and the stress levels start to kick in.
So glad to hear your fish are doing fine anyway. Good luck with the cycling stage. You did the right thing taking the sharks back. Others can give you much better advice on this forum. However, don't add any more.


I'm new myself so can't really help fishrfun, but I just wanted to agree with you and jj that I think only those with fish keeping experience and do a basic 1 day course should work in fish stores. they at least need to know which fish can/cant go together...which in groups and which on their own and girl boy ratios. they should be able to advise on the nitrogen cycle, they need to be able to recognise diseases and be able to knowledgably (that's not even a word is it? :-[) recommend the right treament and advise on quarantine and hospital tanks. also it would be even better if they did call outs to your home and recommend how and where to put tank. help set it up and have a trouble shooting aftercare service!!!!!!!! there you go could set up a new business!!! - they'd still make a fortune by selling you decent test kits and dechlorinators and decors and bubbles for your tank!!

anyway, i'm rambling as usual. good luck fishrfun. the guys on this forum will help you every step of the way. they know what they're talking about! don't listen to the fish stores. they generally get it wrong from what i've heard!!!!!!!!!!!! that's my rant and ramble over!!



fishrfun- first welcome to fishLore we have people of all ages and experience levels from all over the world so come on in and join us.
Now- if you haven't done so already take the time to read these articles, they will make some information you will receive clearer.

For right now- If you want to keep the fish in the tank while it cycles continue the 25% water changes about every other day until you get the liquid water test. Aquarium pharmaceuticals is the recommended type. After you start using these tests do a 25% water change anytime you have more than .25 ammonia readings.
The substrate, the filter media, and the decor in the tank is where the beneficial bacteria will colonize. so cleaning these things during cycling will remove bacteria you want to stay in there. So this is what you can do- only vacuum if you see stuff(poop, excess food, etc) on the substrate and then only vacuum half at a time.
Because of having fish in the tank and having to vacuum and do water changes for their safety the cycle may be a little slower but you can do it. Hang in there I hope this wasn't too confusing. Yell if you need anything

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