Doing my best.. Help?

Bird

A long post is ahead, I’m newly enthusiastic and need some guidance/reassurance on how I’m trying to correct some very beginner mistakes. TLDR and less back story below.

So I have fallen into being a sudden aquarist over the past week and have realized that I have gotten myself into something much more tragically complicated than I had been lead to believe.

About a week ago, I was recommended to add two very small mosquito fish to a 2 gallon planted bowl that I had in my home that was becoming a continuing problem with mosquito larvae.
I did some very basic research, found my plants to be compatible with mosquito fish and planned to do regular water changes and use a carbon beta filter to maintain a small ecosystem.
Well, of course the day after adding the fish, I crack the bowl transferring it back onto the table. Of course. While I was upset about the bowl and ending up with fish that I no longer had a plan, home, or use for, I recognized the fish could use a bigger space and took advantage of (what seemed like) an opportunity.

The next morning I talked with a friend that has a nice, established aquarium and, knowing nothing myself, blindly followed every bit of their advice in setting up a 10 gallon tank for my mosquito fish.

I left the store that day with a well outfitted 10 gallon tank, and two more female mosquito fish (to offset the single male and single female I had originally) a dojo loach, and 5 glofish tetra. Seduced by the pretty colors and beautiful tank decorations, I happily hurried home to set up my new tank.
I cleaned and boiled all my gravel, rocks, and decor. I set up my filter and heater, floated my fish, introduced them and watched them with glee for the rest of the day.

That night, I fell into the fish hole. The internet and its massive, unbeknownst to me fish community consumed me. I had no idea there was so much to know about fish and fish keeping so far beyond what my friend had told me. I looked at my, what seemed to be, overcrowded 10 gallon tank with disdain and panicked about what to do with the fish I had just made myself responsible for.
I cobbled together a frantic midnight plan to correct my mistake come morning.

The next day, I purchased a larger, 29 gallon tank with all the out fittings, decor, and one large fancy goldfish with one golden dojo loach.
My idea was to move all the mosquito fish with one loach to the 29 gallon tank with the goldfish and keep the 5 tetra and a loach (for cleanliness?
My friend convinced me you needed to have a bottom feeder in your tank to help keep it clean) in the 10 gallon tank. I also bought a full master test kit, realizing that my friends “go for it” advice didn’t really include anything about water levels and I wasn’t sure what mine were (I was convinced by them that it was fine, no mention whatsoever of cycling).
I again assembled all my goods, and sat google-eyed at my beautiful fancy goldfish swimming about its new tank.

But then.. the water tests. I did the first round of water testing on both my tanks the next day (today!). I was shocked with an 8 ppm reading in my goldfish tank and started searching frantically for answers related to the water condition.
Thats when I finally, FINALLY managed to read about CYCLING A TANK. Jesus, do I know now where I’ve gone wrong.

I promptly did a partial tank flush, removing 1/4 of the water, replacing conditioned water (AquaSafe, both tanks were set up with this and aquarium salt), waiting an hour, and then removing another 1/4 and replacing again with conditioned water.
I tested levels again, and they had diluted to 2 ppm. I continued my research throughout the day, and testing in the evening I was getting readings around 4-5ppm. With a pH of 8.4. I decided that was drastic enough to do another 1/4 water change.
That brought the tank down to ammonia at 1ppm at a pH of 7.4 which is what we are sitting at this evening.

Most of this all happened in the later evening and I was not able to get to my local fish store before closing. I picked up some start zyme tablets from Walmart (added during second 1/4 tank change) today as well as a cup of gravel from my friends year plus established tank that is now hanging in a mesh bag near the filter in the tank.
I know I may need to get something like Ammolock, and plan to try to find Prime, Seachem and Stability at the fish store tomorrow.

For now, the fish and I are resting and I’m praying they will be alive tomorrow.
I feel so upset with how this all cascaded, and wish I had taken time to do my own research before becoming so attached to the fish. I really want the best for them and recognize how stressful fish in cycling can be. But I am very stuck in this situation now, but am fortunate to have the time and energy to care for them as well as I can going forward.

If you’ve managed to read this entire typical beginner New Tank Syndrome sob story, do you have time for some advice?

I would like to know if I have an appropriate (future) bioload in each tank:
10 gal- 5 glofish tetra, one small dojo loach
29gal- 3 inch fancy goldfish, 4 mosquito fish (2 very small, 2 half inch), and 1 dojo loach
Or how I can rearrange them to ensure they’ll live happily in future cycled tanks. I understand that the current bioload is likely far too high for an uncycled tank.
ALL fish are acting fairly normal and seem to be active, willing to eat, and do not show any bodily abnormalities/signs of ammonia burns— though I know exposure may take time to show signs.

The fancy goldfish, who is really and truly beautiful, seems to be doing well despite the many water changes and my constant messing with the tank, but is doing a lot of glass surfing, I’m sure from the stress.. He often swims around my fingers when I am doing the water tests and fiddling with the filter and I have really grown to love him. I will be so heartbroken if anything happens to him or any of my fish, and the reality is that it seems they may be in some danger if I don’t take the right steps.

I plan to dose with Prime and Stability on a formula I found here on Fishlore starting tomorrow:
>1, water change and dose prime
<1, dose prime and continue to test.

Agh. I am torn up about how I spiraled into this situation at all fault of my own lack of research, but I hope this post can bring me some level headedness. Thanks in advance.

TLDR: Misled beginner dealing with New Tank Syndrome in 10 and 29 gallon tank with tetra, mosquito fish, fancy goldfish, and loaches. Ammonia spikes battled with daily water changes and prospective plans to dose Prime and a Stability to continue to try and foster a fish in cycle. Advice wanted for fish bioload and cycling plans. Thanks.

PS Added a pic of the goldfish tank. The tannins from the driftwood I have in there had stained the water quite a bit, that cleared up a lot with the water changes. It’s planted with some aracaris and money wort cuttings as well. Been calling the beauty Rutabaga. I hope he forgives me.
 

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Jerionslot

Hmm... I will try to alleviate your mind by saying that your goldfish will be (temporarily) fine, along with your mosquito fish. Those are both moderately hardy fish, although that shouldn't be an excuse to avoid confrontation with your water. The first thing I would do is decide on a plan for the goldfish, because eventually he will require larger living quarters, and would definitely appreciate more space. If you end up rehoming the goldfish, you could comfortably house the glofish and maybe one of the loaches. Two would probably be too much for a 29g considering their adult size. That leaves you with the 10g, which would be great for a mosquitofish colony tank. Just keep in mind you're doing a fish-in cycle, so be ontop of water quality and try not to let it get out of hand. Best of luck.
 

mattgirl

Take a deep breath and try to calm down. I am not going to go into what the tanks are stocked with. The most important thing right now is keeping them safe. If you've not read it yet I will suggest you read this thread. Fish In Nitrogen Cycle Simplified | Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle Forum | 414083

One thing I do want to stress is Please don't use ammo-lock. I know it seems it works the same as Seachem Prime but it doesn't. Once you have read the thread Please ask me to clarify anything that you don't understand. Don't be afraid of doing big water changes. When doing a fish in cycle it is critical to keep ammonia and then ammonia/nitrites down as low as possible.
 

Skittlesttr75

Take a deep breath and try to calm down. I am not going to go into what the tanks are stocked with. The most important thing right now is keeping them safe. If you've not read it yet I will suggest you read this thread. Fish In Nitrogen Cycle Simplified | Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle Forum | 414083

One thing I do want to stress is Please don't use ammo-lock. I know it seems it works the same as Seachem Prime but it doesn't. Once you have read the thread Please ask me to clarify anything that you don't understand. Don't be afraid of doing big water changes. When doing a fish in cycle it is critical to keep ammonia and then ammonia/nitrites down as low as possible.

I can vouch for mattgirl and what was said about Ammo-Lock. I bought it based on what the bottle stated it could do. Once mattgirl explained to me about how Ammo-Lock works with the ammonia versus what is safe for the tank, I immediately stopped using it. I had already completed several 50% water changes and the ammonia ppm kept the same (super high) or even increasing when using Ammo-Lock. Once I followed the suggestion to stop using, my ammonia started going down with each water change.

I too am in the same boat about not knowing about cycling / nitrogen cycle before finding this forum. You are definitely not alone! I am now at a safe level of ammonia by using Seachem Prime, Stability, and Aqueon Pure Bacteria balls. I stopped using every other brand of bacteria / water conditioners than these three and it made all the difference.
 

Natalie666

Take a deep breath! Im actually going out with my bf later to catch some mosquito fish and temporarily observe them. I’ve seen them (and goldfish, and glofish, and dojo loaches..) live in some deplorable conditions and still survive. You situation is by far better than any of those, because you are actively getting better and learning about it and getting involved.also, your goldy tank has a BEAUTIFUL hardscape, and the little guy himself is quite cute. Your on the right track! :)
 

Bird

Thank you all for the replies! Today I have done 50% water changes on both tanks and dosed with Seachem Prime and Stability. I’ve got nitrites present in the Goldie tank before the new applications, so woo to the gravel I got maybe helping kick the cycle into gear.
Was I wrong to believe that a fancy goldfish needs around 20 gallons of water? (I have a 29 gallon tank) Much of what I read said 20 gallons for the first goldfish and 10 gal for any additional. Are my loach and mosquitofish too much for that “left over” 10 gallons?
So much to learn. Thanks again all.
 

mattgirl

Thank you all for the replies! Today I have done 50% water changes on both tanks and dosed with Seachem Prime and Stability. I’ve got nitrites present in the Goldie tank before the new applications, so woo to the gravel I got maybe helping kick the cycle into gear.
Was I wrong to believe that a fancy goldfish needs around 20 gallons of water? (I have a 29 gallon tank) Much of what I read said 20 gallons for the first goldfish and 10 gal for any additional. Are my loach and mosquitofish too much for that “left over” 10 gallons?
So much to learn. Thanks again all.
You can push the limits a bit as long as you compensate the higher bio-load with good filtration. Don't depend on the ratings of most filters. For your 29 gallon tank I would want to run a filter rated for a tank twice as big. For your 10 gallon I would run a filter rated for at least 3 times as much. You can never have too much filtration. There is such a thing as too much water movement if it is affecting your fishes ability to swim comfortably but never too much filtration.

An example of over-filtration. I am actually running a filter rated for a 55 gallon tank on a 5.5 gallon tank right now. My smaller filter quit on me. I had this filter in my backups so decided to use it. It is working really well on this very small tank. I am able to turn the flow down to a comfortable level for my fish.
 

Skittlesttr75

You can push the limits a bit as long as you compensate the higher bio-load with good filtration. Don't depend on the ratings of most filters. For your 29 gallon tank I would want to run a filter rated for a tank twice as big. For your 10 gallon I would run a filter rated for at least 3 times as much. You can never have too much filtration. There is such a thing as too much water movement if it is affecting your fishes ability to swim comfortably but never too much filtration.

An example of over-filtration. I am actually running a filter rated for a 55 gallon tank on a 5.5 gallon tank right now. My smaller filter quit on me. I had this filter in my backups so decided to use it. It is working really well on this very small tank. I am able to turn the flow down to a comfortable level for my fish.
Really? That's great to know! I don't feel mine is filtering enough. But you still use the air pump made for the size of your tank, but just a larger tank filter, correct?
 

mattgirl

Really? That's great to know! I don't feel mine is filtering enough. But you still use the air pump made for the size of your tank, but just a larger tank filter, correct?
I am not sure what you are asking. Air pumps normally run air stones or sponge filters. I've never bought an air pump rated for a specific size tank. I was basically talking about HOB (hang on back) filters. Most are highly over rated as to how big a tank they will work well on.
 

Tigerburp

T
Really? That's great to know! I don't feel mine is filtering enough. But you still use the air pump made for the size of your tank, but just a larger tank filter, correct?
The size of air pump don’t really matter , a nano USB one could run a 30 gallon or higher
 

Skittlesttr75

I am not sure what you are asking. Air pumps normally run air stones or sponge filters. I've never bought an air pump rated for a specific size tank. I was basically talking about HOB (hang on back) filters. Most are highly over rated as to how big a tank they will work well on.
Okay, thank you. I was referring to a sponge filter and they have size recommendations.
 

mattgirl

Okay, thank you. I was referring to a sponge filter and they have size recommendations.
Gotcha :) They are but I've never actually gone by the size recommendation. I just buy whatever size best fits the tank I am going to use it in.
 

DeVere

Hmm... I will try to alleviate your mind by saying that your goldfish will be (temporarily) fine, along with your mosquito fish. Those are both moderately hardy fish, although that shouldn't be an excuse to avoid confrontation with your water. The first thing I would do is decide on a plan for the goldfish, because eventually he will require larger living quarters, and would definitely appreciate more space. If you end up rehoming the goldfish, you could comfortably house the glofish and maybe one of the loaches. Two would probably be too much for a 29g considering their adult size. That leaves you with the 10g, which would be great for a mosquitofish colony tank. Just keep in mind you're doing a fish-in cycle, so be ontop of water quality and try not to let it get out of hand. Best of luck.
Not sure if you can get ATM Colony where you are. We have used it for a fish in cycle and found it excellent, provided you follow the directions. Good luck with your fish.
 

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