Daddy I want a fish... help

Mmmsushi

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Ok I have 3 kids, 6 year old twins and a 3 year old. They came up to me about two weeks ago and all asked if they could have a fish. My responce: Sure why not. So I went to Walmart (mistake #2) and bought the twins each an Oscar (Tiger and Albino(pink)) (Mistake #3), my youngest a Trinidad Pleco (look daddy it is making faces on the glass like I do!). I bought a ten gallon tank, some decorations, a water heater, a bubble rick and pump, blue rocks, a water filter that hangs on the side of the tank, Aquariums for Dummies book, water testing kit, PH up/down, Stress Coat, Stress Zyme, Tropical Fish Flakes, and special disk food for the Pleco, tank hood, and 10 galons of distilled water. I had been advised about the equipment from a co-worker and I don't do things half way. I figured this would be a good hobby for me, the kids would get their first pet and learn something about fish in the process.

Mistake #1 - Research before hand
I did very little. I basically just asked a co worker about setting up a fish tank for my kids and not much else. I did read the book I bought and have managed to keep the water in good condition and get the ammonia, nitrate, nitrite cycle started. Heck the fish are alive and not rioting against me.

Mistake #2 - Walmart
I am not knocking walmart but their pet department staff is about as knowledgable as a brick wall on fish.

Mistake #3 - Oscars
A ten gallon tank and two Oscars don't mix. I learned later exactly how big Oscars get. My goal was little fish that looked cool and stayed little.

So now I have a few questions.

1. I have had these Oscars for about two weeks and Walmart won't take them back. I don't want to just kill them and tell the kids the sucker fish ate them. Is it possible to sell fish to pet stores? I would rather give/sell them to someone who wants Oscars and knows what they are getting into with them, than kill them. Not even sure if they would taste good on rice with wasabi and soy sauce.

2. Can anyone give me or link me to a list of Tropical Freshwater fish that are small, stay small, won't kill eachother, and "look cool" as my sons would say?


-- MmmSushi
 

Butterfly

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Welcome to FishLore!!!! But they look so cute when they say "I want"....
At least you know your mistake and have learned from it.
The kids would love some really bright colored Guppys or platys and they are hardy.You could put about 8 neons in the tank and would be very pretty. But the Oscars will eat them.
Give them away in the free ads in the news paper if nothing else. Do you have an aquarium club near you? If so contact them and see if somebody wants them. Oscars are darling when small but do get really big and messy.
Carol
 

Gunnie

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I agree with Butterfly. Advertise them in the paper or on a website that gives stuff away like freecyle or Craigslist. You could certainly try and take them to a local fish store (lfs) and try and get credit for them, but oscars are pretty common fish, so you will be lucky if that happens.

Another cool tank would be 3 cory cats, a betta, and maybe some small tetras like neons for the middle. I'd also decorate it with live plants like anubias, & crypts.

We are so glad you realized the mistakes sooner in stead of later. Before you get any more inhabitants for your 10 gallon after the oscars are gone, please make sure the tank is cycled. Cycling a tank with fish is very hard on them, and there are alternatives in doing it that way. Also, if you want to keep your oscars, they would be very happy in a 100 gallon tank. I have 2 of the albinos in a 100 gal. with a common pleco, and they are doing great. I used to have more fish in that tank (2 jack dempseys), but they passed away, and the tank was probably overstocked with them in it. If you decide to get the bigger tank and keep the oscars, use the 10 gallon as a quarantine/hospital tank for your fish when they get sick, or when you get new ones to make sure they don't carry any illness to the other fish before adding them to their permanent home.
 

teddybear22482

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Gunnie said:
Also, if you want to keep your oscars, they would be very happy in a 100 gallon tank. If you decide to get the bigger tank and keep the oscars, use the 10 gallon as a quarantine/hospital tank for your fish when they get sick, or when you get new ones to make sure they don't carry any illness to the other fish before adding them to their permanent home.
I know what you must be thinking because I thought the same thing before coming to this site...." 100 GALLONS ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND!!??Theres no way im tackling THAT job!!"....But Ive learned that having a large tank is actually easier to take care of than a ten gallon. I havnt gotten my 120gal yet...its on its way...but I recently set up a 29gal and it is WAY easier to deal with...although a little harder to fill....but once it gets established it wont require as much work as a 10 gal...my 10 gal is ALOT of work and I only have one fish and a pleco in it! Id tank a100gallon over a 10 ANY DAY!
 

Gunnie

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You are correct sir! My 100 gallon is a breeze to keep clean, but I also don't have live plants in it either. Even with the 29 gallon, you may want to consider getting a python. I would't have a 100 gal. tank if I didn't have a python. The thought of changing out 50 gallons of water every week with a 5 gallon bucket would not be a chore I'd continue for very long. The python is a wonderful product, and makes the hobby so much more enjoyable for me. Check it out!

And keep your eyes open for that 100 gal. tank for sale in your newspaper or at your local fish club. It's a little risky buying one this way, but if you are careful, you can save a lot of money getting one this way!
 

teddybear22482

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I am a Mrs...but thats OK! I have already purchased a 120gal complete setup used for $150 and he threw in 8 other tanks ranging from 20 gal to 55 gal for 50 bucks...several have the complete setup and some only have odd and end pieces of equipment, but hey Ill take it! lol Im just waiting for them to get here! He just had them sitting in garage...they were given to him in trade for some horse training and he has no use for them! Lucky me! As far as the Python goes, I have ordered one for water changes, but for cleaning the gravel in my 120 gal, I have already ordered the Magnum 350 PRO System put out by Marineland. It has a gravel washer that connects directly to the intake so that the filtered water goes right back into your tank! I think this is such a great tool...
 

MaryPa

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Mmmmsuchi wal-mart will take thew oscars back if you insist. Tell them the salesperson mislead you.
I bet the twins would love a few African Dwarf Frogs ( not to be mistaken with the clawed frogs ). They`re awesome and get along great on Tubiflex worms and the fishy leftovers that make it to the bottom. Just add a few neons or guppies and you`ll have it made.
 
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Mmmsushi

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Thank you for all the input. Right now I am going to stick with the 10 gallon untill I decide for sure that the kids will stay interested in this and that my wife won't kill me over the money I am investing into this. I intend to also wait on a bigger tank untill we buy a house and I can set it up and leave it in one place for a few years, not to mention the room factor.

I actualy went and got a python (wanna-be, it doesn't hook up to the sink, just uses gravity) product recently for the weekly water change/clean the gravel. Found that rather than filling the bucket and putting it back, repeat untill the loose left over food was gone, for some reason they won't touch the food once it hits the bottom. I just hooked the hose to the water filter and used it like a vacume. Works great and filters the water on top of it. The book I got said to only change about 15-20% of the water at a time, which works out to be about a gallon and a half or so of water.

I am going to avoid live plants untill I get the hang of kepping the fish alive and healthy. "build on what you have mastered and don't try to master everything at once."

As far as the fish go, I think I will keep the pleco in the tank untill it simply outgrows it (10-15 year life span) and replace the Oscars with 3 Guppies over a 6 week period (1 every 2 weeks), all male. One for each of the kids. And after a while get the Neon Tetras, 6-9 of them. I am going to leave the Oscars in there untill I get the tank cycled. Think it might take me a week or two to find them a new home anyway.
 
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Mmmsushi

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Well I went looking around @ PetsMart and particularly at the Neon Tetras and Guppies. All very pretty fish, but the Blue gravel we got initialy is going to take alot away from how the Neon Tertras look as well as the guppies. I also talked with one young lady in the fish department who seamed to have a reletivly good addiction to fish and some good idea on how to properly setup a tank to make both the tetras and guppies colours stand out. Between her ideas and a few of my own I think I can make a few changes a few changes cheeply and I wanted to run them by all of you before I did anything.

3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 _ _ _ _ _ 2 2 _ _ T T T T _ _ T T T T _ T T T T _ _ T T T T
3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 _ _ _ _ _ 2 2 _ _ T T T T _ _ T T T T _ T T T T _ _ T T T T
3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 _ _ _ _ _ 2 2 _ _ T T T T _ _ T T T T _ T T T T _ _ T T T T
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 2 2 _ _ T T T T _ _ T T T T _ T T T T _ _ T T T T
_ X X X X _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 2 2 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
_ X X X X _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 2 2 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
_ X X X X _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 2 2 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
_ X X X X _ _ X X X X _ _ _ _ 2 2 _ X X X X _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ X X X X _ _ _ _ 2 2 _ X X X X _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ X X X X _ _ _ _ 2 2 _ X X X X _ C,,C,,C,,C,,C,,C,,C,,C,,C,, C,, C,, C,, C,, C,, C,, C,, _
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ X X X X _ _ _ _ 2 2 _ X X X X _ C,,C,,C,,C,,C,,C,,C,,C,,C,, C,, C,, C,, C,, C,, C,, C,, _
_ X X X X _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 2 2 _ _ _ _ _ _ C,,C,,C,,C,,C,,C,,C,,C,,C,, C,, C,, C,, C,, C,, C,, C,, _
_ X X X X _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 2 2 _ _ _ _ _ _ C,,C,,C,,C,,C,,C,,C,,C,,C,, C,, C,, C,, C,, C,, C,, C,, _
_ X X X X _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 2 2 _ _ _ _ _ _ C,,C,,C,,C,,C,,C,,C,,C,,C,, C,, C,, C,, C,, C,, C,, C,, _
_ X X X X _ _ X X X X _ _ _ _ 2 2 _ _ _ _ _ _ C,,C,,C,,C,,C,,C,,C,,C,,C,, C,, C,, C,, C,, C,, C,, C,, _
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ X X X X _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ C,,C,,C,,C,,C,,C,,C,,C,,C,, C,, C,, C,, C,, C,, C,, C,, _
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ X X X X _ _ _ T T T T _ _ _ _ _ C,,C,,C,,C,,C,,C,,C,,C,,C,, C,, C,, C,, C,, C,, C,, C,, _
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ X X X X _ _ _ T T T T _ _ _ _ _ C,,C,,C,,C,,C,,C,,C,,C,,C,, C,, C,, C,, C,, C,, C,, C,, _
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ T T T T _ _ _ _ _ C,,C,,C,,C,,C,,C,,C,,C,,C,, C,, C,, C,, C,, C,, C,, C,, _
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ T T T T _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _


This is a crude text image of how I am thinking of setting up the tank.

3 = Top Fin Roman Columns
2 = Top Fin Roman Posts X3
X = Short fake plants
T = Tall Fake Plants
C,, = Medium Rocky Cave by Top Fin

I am going to leave about 1 CM of the blue gravel on the bottom of the tank and cover it with a white & gray mix. Then go with a backgroup of Roman historical ruins. Probably will have to break out the photoshop and Picture Printer for it.

With the largly white scenery the Neo Tetra's and Guppies Colours should "pop".


As far as the Oscars go. I posted a note/pic up at work giving them away for free and they have already found a new home. I am going to have the lady come by tonight after work and get them.

My ammonia levels peaked at 8 yesterday and did a 50% water change and added some Ammonia lock. Still nothing showing up on Nitrate/nitrite tests. I am going to wait to buy the Guppies/Tetras untill they cycle is complete. I went looking for the Bio-Spira that some of you mentioned in some other threads about cycling tanks but can only find the "Cycle" stuff. Right now I am just using Stress Zyme.
 

smillermom

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Ammonia at 8.0 will defiitely kill your fish. I have a couple ideas for you. Stop using chemicals, it will only hinder the cycling of your tank. Find someone that has an aquarium that is established or even talk to a local fish store. Ask for some gravel to seed your tank. Place that gravel in a nylon and place in your tank. The bacteria you want will spread to your gravel in the tank. Get a piece of filter media from someone you know that has a tank and would not mind giving you one during one of their maintenace changes and place the media in your filter with your cartridge. Leave it there for a few weeks as the bacteria is also on the old cartridge. If you can find Bio-Spira, it works great but the cost of shipping is very high. If you can get it, great, put it in as then your fish. But if not, wait. Try this, keep up with water changes but not a 50%, way too much, just 25% at a time. Don't do it daily. You want the bacteria to take over for you. Drop just a bit of fish food in daily, it will give the bacteria something to break down. Your nitrites will start rising as your ammonia levels go down. When they are both at 0, you are on your way! When you do introduce fish, just a few every other week. You do not want to overload your tank. Patience is the key.
 

Gunnie

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Sorry, I respectfully disagree. I don't think 50% or even more water changes is a bad thing in this situation. I've been there, and these large water changes were probably the only thing that saved my fish. 8.0 is about 4 times the lethal level, and I don't see a problem in doing massive water changes, even twice a day if necessary. You also want to watch your feeding, and could possibly feed once a day every other day for now until this gets under control. More feeding means more pooping, and more ammonia in the tank. 2 oscars in a 10 gal. tank provides more than enough ammonia for the bacteria to grow without adding more waste to the tank. Also, keep in mind that if your ammonia test is the 1 part (yellow to orange) and not the 2 part (yellow to green) test, you may be getting a false positive when using ammo lock.
 

Butterfly

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Since most of the beneficial bacteria grow on the glass, gravel,decor and in your filter the water changes are going to do nothing but help the ammonia problem.
As far as Bio-spira goes, it's a little late for that. The bio-spira is suppose to be put in and then the fish put in. it will carry a full fish load immediately but your fish waste would have a jump start on it at this time.
Carol
 

Gunnie

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Butterfly said:
As far as Bio-spira goes, it's a little late for that. The bio-spira is suppose to be put in and then the fish put in. it will carry a full fish load immediately but your fish waste would have a jump start on it at this time.
Carol
If you did want to try bio spira, please post here before using it in your tank. Since you have a tank already in trouble, you will probably have to drain it and refill it before adding the bio spira, so it won't be overwhelmed with the high ammonia and nitrite it can't possibly keep up with.
 

smillermom

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I am under the assumption he has just one fish left, the Pleco. If he is going to keep it, a way to seed bacteria is what he needs, and yes, the filter media does carry bacteria. If not, he needs to stop the chemicals, possible return the pleco, and cycle his tank again.
 
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Mmmsushi

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The 50% water change to gain controle over the ammonia was actualy a recomendation I searched up out of these forums. Someone else was having a similar problem and the resolution was already posted, tryed, and worked.

Readings as of this morning before work.

Ammonia: 2.0 - Yes it is the 2 bottle test.
Ni: 0
Na: 5.0
Ph: 7.0

The only fish I have left in my tank as of right now is the Pleco and he/she/it seams to be doing fine. I changed out the gravel on Saturday and left 1 cm of the old gravel below the new stuff and tucked the new stuff down around the tank edges so you can see the old unless you look up threw the bottom and layed out some new fake plants (short and tall). I am going to have to order the decorations online as I cannot find them in stores or at the same prices as online.

Sunday was kind of a lazy day, the kids were at thier grandparents for the day so I sat down the the Yellow Pages and started looking for a story that had exstensive experiance/history in dealing with aaquariums, fish and carried a product called Bio Spira. A common notion I noticed on this site was to look for a store that has a large history in fish and careing for them. After spending half the day driving all over Kansas City, I settled on a place called Waldo's Pets. Kind of a "hole n the wall, would miss it if you weren't looking for it and had the address" place. This place was absolutly amazing! They were the only place I found that not only knew what Bio Spira was, but they carried it, thought they were sold out of the freshwater type at the time. They do cater to a wide range of pets, but over 3/4 of the store was dedicated to fresh water, salt water, and ponds. One of the aquariums they had inside had 2x2.5 foot sharks, 3 Chinnese fighting fish (6-9 in long), and other huge fish that I simply didn't know what it was. They had an enire section out back that was dedicated to outdoor ponds and water plants. I am planning on bringing the kids there just to let them see all of the cool fish and tanks.
 

MaryPa

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Sushi did you put in an order for the Bio-Spira? I used it in a few of my tanks and love the results. I just tried Seachems Stability in my quarantine tank and it seems to do a job on the ammonia too. I do prefer the Bio-Spira over all tho. Just pour it in and go buy the fish, the tank will be ready for them when you get home. I did this in both a SW and FW tank.
 
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Mmmsushi

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I am unsure if buying the Bio-Spira at this point would be beneficial. Some people are saying to only use it before you put fish in. I currently have a pleco in there and while I know eventualy he will outgrow the tank and I will have to bid it farewell. I would just as soon keep it untill that day. Also getting mixed reviews on how soon you can add fish afer using the product. Some say 3-4 days others say a few hours.

Can I use bio-spira after haveing started the cycle, currently at about mid point as I am starting to get a Na reading?
Is it safe for the one mirical survivor fish I do have?
How long would it take when using it to cycle a 10 gallon tank?
Can I have a banana?
 

MaryPa

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Suchi, I killed all the beneficial bacteria in my 125 last month and use Bio-Spira with all my fish in it. All the fish are doing great and i was very pleased with the water condition. You can add fish within a couple hours after adding the ****.

Yelpers you sure can have a banana. ;D
 
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