Help for existing tank!

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by Jjc1243, Jun 6, 2016.

  1. Jjc1243New MemberMember

    Ugh, I'm so annoyed with PetSmart. We bought my 6 year old a 10 gallon tank for his birthday 2 months ago and stupidly followed the advice of the PetSmart employee about stocking it. We started with 3 neon tetras, 2 Mickey Mouse Platies, and a dwarf Gourami. I asked about that combo and would the DG get along because my husband had a tank many years ago and our experience then (as total rookies with zero research) was that the DG was aggressive and we lost a number of fish (platies I think) to the DG's behavior. The employee said no of course it would be fine.

    It seemed that it was.... We did lose one Platy about a month ago. As a rookie I attributed it to lack of proper cleaning and felt terrible. I never saw any aggression from the DG so perhaps it was just poor tank conditions. We have since learned and resolved that end of things (I think). So I took my son back to PetSmart and the employee (a different one) said the platies really needed to be a trio and the stress of being only a duo may have killed the other one. So we brought home two more platies last night.

    Low and behold, the DG is charging the new guys and acting super aggressive. So now what? I explained to my son that the tank is too small from what I have gathered and the DG is acting territorial so we may not be able to keep all of these fish. He said maybe we should take back the DG since he's being "mean" to all the others. Presume that is the best solution? Any other ideas? I don't really want to raise up the tank size but if we did, what size would it need to be to keep everyone? Current residents:

    3 neon tetras
    3 platies
    1 DG

    10 gallon tank
  2. jdhef

    jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    Welcome to FishLore!

    The first thing I need to do is ask you a question. Are you aware of the nitrogen cycle? (words will be link to article about it). This is really the most important concept to understand when keeping fish. Do you know what your ammonia, nitrite and nitrate readings are?

    Your stocking isn't really too bad, but 10 gallons is too small of a tank for your fish. In my experience, Dwarf Gourami's are pretty peaceful, except with other dwarf Gourami's. I am wondering if elevated ammonia levels are making him aggressive (but he could just be feeling over crowed).

    Neon Tetra's are a schooling fish and should really be kept in groups of at least 5. Both the Neon Tetra's and Dwarf Gourami should be kept in a 20 gallon minimum. Platy's should be okay in a 10 gallon tank. They are not a schooling fish and you could keep just one by itself if you wanted to for some reason.

    Best of luck and feel free to ask any additional questions you may have.
  3. tokiodreamy

    tokiodreamyWell Known MemberMember

    I would return the dwarf gourami and neon tetras. Like stated above they need a minimum of 20G long.

    I suggest keeping 3 platies and maybe a bottom dweller like shrimp or snails. Just make sure the platies are either all female or all male. The way to tell is their anal fin. If it's a fan then its a female, if its more of a flat point then it's a male.

    You can get 1 mystery snail or a couple nerite snails. Nerite snails are good for cleaning a lot of algae. Their eggs only hatch in braskish water so they won't hatch in freshwater. Only down side is they'll still lay a bunch of eggs aroung the tank if you have a female. Mystery snails need a male and female to reproduce. They lay their eggs above the waterline, so you can easily remove them if you get 2.

    Shrimp are also awesome! Amano shrimp will eat algae more than others but they're not as colorful.

    Just keep in mind that both snails and shrimp should not be added to your tank until it is fully cycled.

    Do you have a test kit? We all suggest the API freshwater master test kit. It's about $25-30 in store and $20-25 online. Test strips are not accurate and cost more money down the line. This is why we recommend a liquid kit. It can save your fish.

    Also what water conditioner do you use? I would pick up a bottle of seachem prime. Its not only a water conditioner, it also detoxifies ammonia and nitrites up to 1ppm. Which is important to add while cycling and during water changes.

    Also you can pick up a bottle of stability and add it until your tank is cycled. Or another route is Tetra safe start + (TSS+). Make sure its the for start up and not the monthly additive. How it works is you do a large water change (50-60%) and wait 24hrs. Then you add the ENTIRE bottle (so get one closest for your tank size) and do nothing but feed the fish for 14 days. By the 14th day your tank should be cycled and go about weekly water changes.

    To help with those see if a python water changer or an aqueon water changer can fit your faucet. It's the easiest way to do water changes. No buckets!

    Also never replace the filter media until it is falling apart. If you change it you'll crash your cycle. To clean: fill a container with old tank water or dechlorinated tap water. Give the filter media a good shake and squeeze until the water doesn't turn brown anymore. Then replace in your filter. However any chemical media like carbon should be repalced every 4 weeks.

    Sorry for all the info! It will be tough at first but once you get the hang of it, it's a breeze

  4. Mom2some

    Mom2someWell Known MemberMember

    Welcome to the forum! We are a family who are doing some fish keeping together as well. We had to return an overly aggressive gourami, and the kids were okay with that. I think you are going to need to decide if you want to keep your current tank or upgrade. Your current stock need a bigger tank (20 long or 29) there are lots of good things that could go in a 10. There is an amazing list of suggestions stickied at the top of the Stocking forum. Alternatively you could give one Betta (who are very interactive fish and beg for food like puppies) for your son. You are going to be asked a lot of questions here, but that is because many of us started out where you are and now try to help other beginners try to avoid the pitfalls we have already made.
  5. OP

    Jjc1243New MemberMember

    So would a 20 gallon tank solve this? Or would we still need fewer (or more) fish? I did just learn that platies are the rabbits of the aquarium world and are livebearers, etc. - fantastic.

    I need to do some research on the links provided regarding the tank's conditions. I have test strips - I see those aren't ideal. What would you all do immediately? Return the gourami? Try to address water conditions? Change tanks?

    I'm sure you've heard this before but this is not what I expected when we agreed to fish for our son. I was definitely shooting for an easy first pet option.

    Our faucet is on the other side of the house from my son's bedroom. :-/ I don't suppose those would work for us.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 6, 2016
  6. Mom2some

    Mom2someWell Known MemberMember

    Anders247 is very good at resolving confused stocks big situations. You are not alone in starting with poor
  7. Five 97

    Five 97Well Known MemberMember

    Yes, a 20g would solve your problem, although if possible I'd go with the 20g long,
    if you do upgrade (which I recommend you do) I would buy at least 2 more neons, more woud be better though.
    you probably wouldn't need to return the DG if you get a bigger tank, but I would, and instead get some more dither fish, such as Danios.
    as for water testing, I'd go ahead and buy/ order an API freshwater master test kit, instead of strips.

    Don't take this bad start too heavily, you'll get the hang of it soon ;)
  8. tokiodreamy

    tokiodreamyWell Known MemberMember

    The larger the tank the easier it is. When I first heard that saying I didn't believe it. But my 29g is easier to controll and take care of than my 5g and my original 10g (which is now a 20g).
    It's easier to control water parameters in a larger tank than a smaller one. I would suggest a 20g long or a 29/30g like stated above.

    The larger the tank the more stocking options you have as well as numbers for schooling fish. If you upgrade to the 20g long, you'll have a larger blueprint to stop the gourami from being territorial. Plus the neons and platys will have space to roam as well. This way you can up the neon numbers. I'm not an expert on stocking, but hopefully you can get 6-8 neons.

    Don't worry we all started in a bad situation thanks to some bad advice or lack of advice. I unknowingly bought 2 male dwarf gouramis and they fought like no other... unfortunately the entire tank got knocked out before I could rehome or return one.
  9. Anders247

    Anders247Fishlore LegendMember

    I agree with Five, upgrading to a 20g long would fix it. And yeah, up the school of neons.
    Welcome to fishlore!
  10. Five 97

    Five 97Well Known MemberMember

    Yes, welcome to fishlore!

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