Gold Pristella Tetras Question

Discussion in 'Tetras' started by Katrina, Dec 28, 2009.

  1. KatrinaNew MemberMember

    I am helping my 10 yr. old niece set up her first tank that she got for Christmas. It's currently just aging a little right now--we set it up just 8 days ago. She is counting the hours until she can have some fish in it. She has her heart set on Gold Pristella Tetras that she saw at the pet store. I've had tetras in my tank for years, just not that variety. Are they easy to care for? She can't have many because she only has a 5 gallon tank, but I was going to let her get three if I can find out that they would be a good starter fish. I tried to interest her in guppies as a first fish, but she didn't care for them. If anyone has them, let me know how easy/hard and delicate/hardy they are to care for. Thank you much. (If I've done something wrong with this post, forgive me, I just signed on this forum a minute ago so I could post a question--hopefully I haven't broken any rules).
  2. cwb141

    cwb141Valued MemberMember


    Is this the tetra you're asking about? From the info on this site it appears that it can survive in very wide water parameters, maybe w/o a heater. I would make sure the tank is cycled before adding fish, but after that I don't see why you would have any problems with these tetras. Hopefully someone else has some experience with them. My only worry is that it's a tetra and they do best in groups of 5-6+
  3. bolivianbaby

    bolivianbabyFishlore LegendMember

    Welcome to Fishlore, Katrina!

    A 5g tank is pretty small for gold pristella tetras. They do like their swimming space.

    Maybe you could get her interested in bettas? One betta would be very happy in a 5g.

    Are you going to cycle her tank using some of your used media?

  4. TedsTank

    TedsTankWell Known MemberMember

    Welcome to FishLore!!! You have broken no rules....we are are all here to help and share!!!

    The Gold Pristella Tetras are a good all around fish to start with for Tetras. They are very tolerant of water conditions and hardy.
  5. Meenu

    MeenuFishlore VIPMember

    Welcome to fishlore. :)
    How fun that your niece shares your interest in fish. I would definitely make sure the tank completes the nitrogen cycle before adding fish. Aging the tank without adding an ammonia source to help the cycle along won't really do much... if you read the link in my signature, it mentions different ways to cycle a tank without fish, but the best way to do it in this case is to add some media from your filter directly into hers.

    I agree with bolivianbaby that 5 gallons is a bit small for the tetras. I think a betta is perfect, too. And they have really gorgeous ones. If you haven't already, you should read the betta care sheet

    Good luck and have fun teaching your niece about fishkeeping.
  6. OP

    KatrinaNew MemberMember

    In response to Bolivianbaby, (1) I used 3 1/2 gallons of my established water from my 75 gallon in her tank, (2) I hid two mesh bags of my "dirty" gravel in her gravel, (3) I used water conditioner with live bacteria for the remaining 1 1/2 gallons that I had to add, and (4) I put a little bag of freeze-dried bacteria in the filter to boost it a little quicker.

    So far the nitrates and nitrites are really high, the water is really hard, the alkalinity is too low, and the water is acidic. That's weird too, because it's perfect in my established tank. Anyway, I'm chalking it up to the "new tank spike" I've always heard of. I'm going by the pet store this evening to check on some additional chemicals. Oh, and one more thing, the ammonia level is zero.
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2009
  7. Meenu

    MeenuFishlore VIPMember

    Most bacteria boosters don't have aquatic bacteria. I think they'll compete with the bacteria from your tank for any ammonia. The stuff you've added from your tank is going to give a big boost to establishing her tank's cycle (except for the water - will mainly transfer nitrates with little bacteria, as it isn't free-floating, but adheres to tank and filter surfaces)... as long as it is kept fed with ammonia, you shouldn't need to add any quick-cycling products. The pH tends to fluctuate with a cycling tank, so that's perfectly normal, I think.

    A partial water change will help get rid of nitrites and nitrates.

    What products/chemicals will you be looking for at the store? If you can find it, Prime by Seachem is a great conditioner. It removes chlorine, chloramine, and heavy metals, and also detoxifies ammonia and nitrites.
  8. OP

    KatrinaNew MemberMember

    Yes, cbw141, that's the fish I'm talking about. And yes, I agree that tetras do best in large groups--they seem happiest when they have each other to chase and nip at. My black skirt tetras are ferocious to each other--however, they seem to like it that way!

    Everyone seems to mentioning a betta--I might have some success talking her into that--she admires them when we go in. And they are gorgeous, easy fish. Think one would do ok with a couple little albino corys in her tank, or would it beat the corys up? Makes me want one just talking about them, but I've never had good luck with them in my big tank because they get knocked around by the current to much and get sulky about it. I always wound up with them in a 1.5 gallon bowl where they quit sulking and seem quite happy, but I felt sorry for them. So I guess I'll resist the urge to buy one just because they are pretty.

    Thank you, Meenu, for the info. Honestly, it's been so long since I had to deal with anything like new tank issues, that I had pretty much forgotten how this all works. I don't even own a test kit anymore, I'm sorry to say, and if my tank ever should develop issues, I'm in trouble! LOL! I'll have to buy new aquarium books (or get on here) and figure out how my aquarium works again. I confess I take mine completely for granted. It's always beautiful and trouble-free, and I'm spoilt rotten by it. This process is a reminder of its set-up days many, many moons ago! :)
  9. Meenu

    MeenuFishlore VIPMember

    How about a betta with some ghost shrimp? It might snack on them or leave them alone, but they are really inexpensive...would it upset her if they got eaten?

    I'm not sure about the cories with the betta. Hopefully someone else will answer that. I just know they don't do well in community tanks.
    The reason that people are recommending a betta is because it is one of a very few fish that will be comfortable in a 5 gallon. Even though a 5 gallon might be able to handle the bioload of 2-3 community fish, they usually need more swim space. Bettas live shorter lives when kept in an unfiltered, unheated bowl (I kept one in a cup not much bigger than a coffee cup years ago - I think it died in 2 months) - they are tropical fish and have similar needs to all tropical fish. A 5 gallon is actually the perfect size.

    I think a 5 gallon also works for 1 dwarf puffer, but that's not really recommended for a beginner. Other options are shrimp, or a couple of african dwarf frogs. Here's a care sheet:

    I'm not too sure what else will work in a 5 gallon. If you get a test kit, don't get the strips. They aren't accurate enough to tell if your tank is cycled. The API master test kit is the one everyone here recommends - it's liquid tests but easy to use - I think a 10 year old could do it? When your tank is cycled, you should get 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, and less than 20 nitrates. I ordered my API online (Amazon) cheaper than at the stores around me. also has it for a good price.

    I think if you stop adding cycling products, and just have your media in there, you should have an instant cycle and should be able to stop adding fish. I'm concerned that the stuff you added a few days ago may have died off with no ammonia source to feed it. Here's what I recommend from here on out:

    1) Talk niece into betta.
    2) Remove the media you've already added from the tank. It's most likely useless at this point anyway, with no ammonia in the tank.
    3) Do a large water change, treat the new water with a water conditioner (I still vote for Prime ;)). It'll get the toxins you are currently getting out of the tank.
    4) Cut out a piece of your media from your filter, put in a baggie with some tank water to keep it wet.
    5) Take it to her house, put it directly into her filter.
    6) Pick out pretty betta she falls in love with.
    7) Put betta in tank.

    The piece of media from your established tank should allow a colony of beneficial bacteria to seed very quickly, so her new betta shouldn't feel any of the negative effects of cycling or exposure to ammonia.

    Keep an eye on the water parameters (with a brand new API kit ;)). If you get nitrite or ammonia readings, then do a partial water change daily with water treated with Prime until the readings are 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, and under 20 nitrates.

    Hope this helps. :)

    edit: Yikes, that ended up being really long! Sorry, Katrina!
  10. redlessi

    redlessiWell Known MemberMember

    Welcome to Fishlore:;balloons

    I totally agree with Meenu. Take your niece with you and let her pick out a betta. She will love it.

    Good Luck
  11. OP

    KatrinaNew MemberMember

    Well, we did a water change, retested the water, bought a gorgeous irridescent aquamarine betta, gave her filter a piece of my old filter, and so far so good--he's been in the tank for 2 days now, and is very active and poking his nose into everything, but as of yesterday he still wasn't seeming to notice the food at the top of the tank. Hopefully, that evens out.
  12. Meenu

    MeenuFishlore VIPMember

    He sounds beautiful. Tell her your new fishlore friends said congratulations. :)

    Did you pick him out or did she?
  13. OP

    KatrinaNew MemberMember

    He is. She picked him out--she wanted a blue one. I compared him to all the other blue ones and he looked the best of the lot. She did not know how much to feed him so I bought her a weeklong pillbox and filled it advance for her so she can't overfeed him and gets the hang of how little a fish really eats (she wanted to fill the individual compartments to the top! :)
  14. bettafish2816

    bettafish2816Fishlore VIPMember

    lol, it's VERY easy to overfeed and bettas are absolute pigs, they'll eat anything you put in the tank! what kind of food did you get? flake food can make them bloated, i'd recommend pellets if you haven't gotten them already, and 2-3 twice a day should be sufficient. you can teach your niece that her betta's stomach is only the size of his eye and that might help her with feeding as well :)

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