Do we need a revamp? Help? :) Help

  1. Sailingsprout Initiate Member

    My partner and I started keeping fish this winter. We started out with a 10 gal tank and soon realized the trials and tribulations of keeping fish. We found a very well meaning fish store and followed all of their advice every time we came in with any questions. Even following their advice, it turns out we overstocked it and the ammonia was really high so we used ammonia lock. We still have a good number of the fish from the initial purchase about 6 months ago, but, we think because of the ammonia lock, our ammonia numbers never went down and we added a fish that shortly after being added acquired the ich...After losing him, we just got super scared with the tank - we bought a 20 gal tank and moved everyone over. The water quality has been great and I have been cleaning/30 % water changes once a week. However, it has recently got cloudy and high ammonia (around 6). Our water is also hard so we been using a water softener. All other parameters are normal.

    So in the 20 gal tank we have the following (Picture https://flic.kr/p/oeu8Br)
    nitrate- 20
    nitrite- .5
    PH- 7
    carbonate hardness- 80
    general hardness- 0
    ammonia- between 3 and 6?

    - Albino Pleco
    - Ghost Knife Fish
    - Three barbs
    - Catfish sucker (picture https://flic.kr/p/ocD3TG)
    - Ram
    - Geophagus
    - and another Cichlid ( cannot remember the name)
    - red finned shark (the black kind with red fins - he's about 2 inches a month after purchase)

    We have also restocked the 10 gal tank with small fish (mollies and guppies, two dwarf crayfish) and the water quality seems really good. My partner bought a glass catfish, not knowing they do better in schools, so we bought two more and are wondering if they should be moved to the big tank also because we planned the space based on one, not three. Ironically, at present, the 10 gallon has the best water quality, and a really happy little community. We'd hate to mess with a good thing if we didn't have to (Picture https://flic.kr/p/ocpSZP)

    For my partner's birthday we bought another tank to stock (55 gal). The water quality seems to be great and we are with fish cycling the tank with the following (Picture https://flic.kr/p/ocpSXz)

    Nitrates- 20
    Nitrites- 0
    PH- between 6.5 and 7
    Carbonate Hardness- 40
    General Hardness- 120
    Ammonia- 0.5

    -two loaches
    -catfish shark
    -tinfoil bark
    -two dot barb
    -flag Ciclid
    -two gourami

    So the questions we have:
    1. How can we bring the ammonia levels down? I have done one 30 % water change in the last few days but told I can only do that once a week?
    2. Ideally, we would like to move some of the fish in the 20 gal over to the 55 gal? What fish can we move? We would like to move the Knife (because we're gonna have to move him eventually anyway), the catfish Pleco (because he is getting big) and the small shark, can we move them now without killing them?
    3. Can/should we move the glass cat over?
    4. Everyone is eating frozen bloodworms (and algae for the suckers) at the moment. Should we be feeding a more varied diet?

    Holy Moly that was a lot. Thank you so much! We had no idea the grip this hobby would have on us, and also had no idea that our fairly knowledgable store staff could still be directing us so wrong :/ We really just want to do right by all of our new family members...
     
  2. Coradee Moderator Moderator Member

    I really don't know where to start, you've been given a lot of bad advice from your Lfs.
    You have a lot of potentially large, some aggressive fish unsuitable for your 20 gallon tank & the overstocking is part f why you have such high ammonia & nitrite readings, your filter also sounds like it isn't cycled.
    The red tail shark, ghost knife & catfish sucker need to be rehomed, possibly the pleco & cichlid too.
    Sorry to be so negative but all the advice you'll be given is in the best interests of your fish.
    You need to be doing daily large water changes to get those readings down, a lot of members here use a product called tetra safe start to help with cycling & can advise on that as I've never used it.

    Your 10 gallon is too small for the Molly & glass catfish, also mollys & guppys can interbreed so should not be kept together.

    Your proposed stocking for the 55 also needs looking at.
    Tin foil barbs can get to over a foot in length & are a shoaling fish so need to be kept in groups.
    The loaches if you mean clown loaches also get very large & again should be kept in groups.
    Catfish sharks need brackish water, they only live in freshwater for a short time as juveniles.

    I think you need to do some more research before stocking the new tank, everyone here will help you choose suitable compatible fish & please take the Lfs advice with a pinch of salt
    Again I'm sorry to be negative but knowing now will save heartbreak further down the line.
     

  3. fishlee Member Member

    You can do water changes twice a day if you like. If you remove 50% of the water you will remove 50% of the ammonia. The ammo lock doesnt remove amonia it converts it to ammonium which is safer for fish so you will still get ammonia readings.
    I believe feeding frozen bloodworms could be producing the ammonia and i would only feed it as a treat before you do a water change.

    To get your tanks on track you will firstly need to get your stock levels right which im hoping some else can guide you in the right direction.
    from there you should feed flake or pelet foods in small ammounts and the frozen as stated. I would also add tetra safe start to boost your filter and only feed every other day for a few weeks.
     

  4. Sailingsprout Initiate Member

    Can we get more information about rehoming and why? Could we rehome them into our 55 gal tank?

    The loaches are yoyo loaches. Sorry to be responding slowly. It's so overwhelming to be doing things so wrong :(


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    And the mollies are dwarf mollies. Are they still incompatible? Everyone in the 10 gallon tank (minus the glass cats) are supposed to grow to 2" max


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  5. Coradee Moderator Moderator Member

    If they are dwarfs then they should be ok but still shouldn't be kept with guppies to avoid cross breeding.
    The 55 gallon I think is about 4feet in length, some of the fish you have, e.g Tin foil, ghost knife can get to over a foot in length, the yoyo's & what looks to be a feather fin catfish & the red tail shark get to around 6"
    That's a lot of big fish in a small space, an analogy often used is it'd be like you living in a small cupboard with little room to move, you may survive but you wouldn't thrive.
    By rehoming I mean find someone with a tank big enough to care for them or take them back to the Lfs as they're not suitable for your tank.
    Don't feel bad, we've all been given bad advice from Lfs at some time & now you've found Fishlore we'll all do our best to advise :)
     
  6. fishlee Member Member

    Coradee has helped you with the stock issues. Please thake the advice. It will make cycling easyer and quicker. Use tetra save start in both tanks to cycle. It will take 2 weeks. Only feed small ammounts of flake every other day while cycling and dont do any water changes for the first week.
     
  7. pugletfan Member Member

    If you want to use Tetra Safe Start, you should do very large back to back water changes till your ammonia and nitrate numbers are close to Zero, then add an entire, appropriately sized bottle of Safe Start ( I think you look on the back of the bottle to see how many gallons it treats). Then do nothing for 2 weeks except lightly feed. No water changes for 2 weeks.

    Others can advise on stocking / re homing . Please don't feel discouraged !!!! We have all been where you are, and so many wonderful helpful people are here to help you get on track!!!! You have come to a great forum!!!
     
  8. virusmk Well Known Member Member

    Sailingsprout what tipe of filter you have and its gph?
    obviously your filter is not sycled or can not cope with amonia produced in the tank.
    You need to consider upgrading your filter as well and on top of that if you use airstone i will strongly recomend to get some sponge filters and attach them to the airhose instead an airstone,

    Its better to change youf fish food as blodworms are very poor nutritional food for fish, i would say more like a treat then decent meal. Use flakes, pellets, have some wariety and as mentioned earlyer skip one day feed and do that for a few weeks untill your water parameters come to 0

    Also tetra safe start is a must for you to help you to build benefitial bacteria
     
  9. Sailingsprout Initiate Member

    We've followed (most of) the advice given, and are actually doing fantastically on water parameters. I am kind of amazed actually...


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  10. poeticinjustices Well Known Member Member

    That is such a nice thing to hear (see!) :)
     
  11. escapay Well Known Member Member

    I'm going to quote this and emphasize yes - get that ammonia (and nitrite) down. It shouldn't matter for the nitrate levels. ;)

    With the 55 gallon, I'd just do some daily water changes if the ammonia is that low... unless the tank is pretty new and the ammonia just hasn't gone up yet for cycling. How long has that tank been up and running? (Since it doesn't say anywhere - at least not that I saw)

    I agree with all on the rehoming those particular fish they've mentioned since they will outgrow even your 55 gallon.

    For the 20 gallon, I'd just do daily water changes - maybe a couple back-to-back ones to help drop the ammonia levels so they are at "safer" levels.

    Any idea of what the albino pleco species is? Is it a bristlenose or a common or something else that comes in albino? (I only know of the two I listed, but I'm sure there is another albino species out there...)

    And on the bloodworms diet. I agree with not feeding them daily. That is more of a treat. Too much of it is a poor diet, can be fattening and high in protein and causes constipation in at least some fish.
     
  12. Sailingsprout Initiate Member

    We are now on a rotating diet...and all of out tanks' parameters are beautiful! Waiting it out and not freaking out mixed with water changes and stock changes and everything fixed itself in less than a week!
    The albino pleco are clown I think? The big one seems to have stopped growing at around 4.5 inches.



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