Help for a new owner!

NUR757

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Hi
My name is Nerisha. My hubby and I started our tropical fish tank about 3 weeks ago. And we are really enjoying it, but we've had some fish die, so that was very sad. A lot of people have said thats normal for a new tank, but its still hard to accept.

We have one male and two female guppies, and one of the females has been sort of hiding at the top of the tank, near the filter. Is this normal? I read that the female will try to find a good hiding place when she is ready to give birth, but surely this would be at the bottom of the tank near the plants?

Any help now will be very much appreciated!
 

Gray

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Hi Nerisha

Your problem may be that your tank has not cycled yet. Your ammonia and nitrite level are too high. Read the article on this site about new tank setup.

Guppies will reproduce around every 4 weeks. Are the females very fat?
It could also be down to Ammonia poisoning, gasping for air. Do they have red gills as this is another symptom.
There is a lot of really good information on this site.
I hope all goes well for you.

Graham
 
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NUR757

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Thanks Graham.

Yeah, I read now that it takes 8 weeks to cycle, I think we were just too eager to get new fish.

We also have 3 silver tips, 5 neons and a catfish, they are all doing fine. I havent noticed any redness. Two of the original neons had ich, this was noticed a day after we got them from the pet shop. I removed them from the tank and treated them, but they didnt survive. I also did a water change, and havent seen symptoms on any of the other fish.

Oh, another question. For schooling fish, like the neon tetras, is it better to have an even or odd number? The pet shop assistant told me to get an odd number, but I read on one of the sites that these do better in schools of 6 or 8.

Thanks again for the info. This is a truely awesome site for a newbie like me!

Nerisha
 

Butterfly

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NUR757 Welcome to FishLore! When you get a chance stop in at the welcome forum and let us welcome you properly
Here is a recommended link for all beginners setting up an aquarium. Lots of good info.

Sorry to answer your questions with questions but it will help us help you faster. What size is your tank? How long has it been set up? What fish are in the tank? do you have a water test kit? If so what are the ammonia, NitrItes, and NitrAtes?
Carol
 

Isabella

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Welcome to the forum Nerisha

Well, I don't think it is "quite normal" for fish to die in a new tank. It is rather normal (or usual) for many beginners not to know about the Nitrogen Cycle, rather that it's normal for the fish to die at first. The Nitrogen Cycle and fish deaths are directly connected to each other. If a tank is not yet cycled and you add fish to it, the fish will most likely die. If, however, you FIRST cycle the tank, and THEN add the fish (and add them gradually, 1-2 fish at a time), then the fish won't die. So, please read about the nitrogen cycle to get started in the right direction. Also, read many other articles that we have for beginners on Fish Lore.

Do not believe when they they you "It's normal for fish to die in new tanks." Most of the time, the staff at a fish store will provide you with very wrong and misleading information. There are very few fish stores with knowledgeable and ethical staff.

P.S. It doesn't necessarily have to take as long as 8 weeks to cycle a tank. On average, it takes about 3-4 weeks. It may vary from tank to tank, but I think it's rather rare for a tank to be cycling for 8 weeks.
 

0morrokh

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A wee bit off subject, but Isabella--isn't 3-4 weeks awfully short? It took me at least 6 weeks to cycle my tanks fishless. Is there some way of speeding up the process that I don't know about?

Also, I don't think it's been mentioned, but the numbers given were for how long it takes to cycle fishless. It generally takes a lot longer to cycle with fish, since you can't let the ammonia reach a spike or you'd kill all the fish. I think I've heard people say it took them 11 weeks to cycle their tank with fish. You'll need to really monitor the ammonia closely and do water changes when necessary to prevent further losses.
 

Isabella

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Hey Omorrokh I said it takes about 3 - 4 weeks to cycle a tank, ON AVERAGE. Which means it can take longer or shorther than that. It also depends on HOW you cycle. If you put fish right away in your new tank, it will take much longer to cycle it than cycling a tank without fish. Last time when I cycled my tank, it took me about 3 - 4 weeks, and I cycled WITHOUT fish. Didn't add any commercial products either. The tank was 10 gallons in volume - don't know if larger tanks cycle longer (perhaps they do?). Perhaps cycling ALSO depends on the type of filter you have. There are filters that have an awful lot for media for the bacteria, while other filters have but a tiny sponge being all for the bacteria. The more the surface area for the bacteria, I believe, the faster the tank should cycle (if it's not overstocked at the outset). Really, there are MANY factors on which the speed of the cycle can depend.

And YES, as I've said already, it does take longer to cycle a tank with fish. But this is why we always tell those who already have fish in a cycling tank to perform 50% daily water changes. In their case it doesn't matter how long it will take to cycle because the fish are ALREADY in and suffering from ammonia and nitrite. All that such people need to worry about are DAILY 50% water changes UNTIL ammonia and nitrite are completely gone - however long that may take. Otherwise, they may end up with sick or dead fish.
 

0morrokh

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Gotcha. Wow, I wish my tanks would cycle that fast! My 10g took like 6-7 weeks fishless.
 

Dr_House

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Hi, NUR757. Just to answer one of your earlier questions (I don't think it has been answered yet), people get an odd number of schooling fish purely for aesthetics. Any number greater than 4 will suffice.
 

0morrokh

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Whether you get an odd or even number of a shoaling (schooling) fish doesn't matter. The general rule for shoaling fish is to get at least 6. I have never heard of people getting an odd number of fish for aesthetic reasons...but now that I think about it, it might look better.
 
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