Help Me Please Read Freshwater Experts

  • #1
Hello! Please read this I need the best advice I can get, I'm in a bit of a complicated situation right now. My name is Jordan, I'm a girl and I'm 23 years old. There are 2 freshwater tanks (one 15 gallon, one 10 gallon) at my dad's house that are my older sisters tanks. But the thing is that my sister who is my only sibling, also only 25, devastatingly passed away in the beginning of December...ive never taken care of let alone even had a freshwater tank before. I had a few betas in elementary school, but the tanks you can get for only betas are so small in comparison and I hardly remember having to do that much maintenance for the tank. I changed the filters a week ago (not the full filter but whatever is in the filter that needs to be replaced monthly, sorry it's 3 am I'm having a brain fart on the name currently lol). I went to petco and grabbed some care sheets for the fish. I don't know what kind of fish all of them are though. If I posted pictures could someone identify them for me? I also grabbed more supplies at petco and Walmart for the fish. I wasn't as stressed out about both tanks until early yesterday morning when I came back to my dad's house (I don't live with him, I live with my mom) for the first time since last week. I come over on the weekends to take care of the fish and my sisters cats while we're trying to find a home for both cats, because my dad doesn't want to keep them, and my mom and I already have a cat and 3 cats would be too much. Personally it would be paradise for me lol, but my mom would go crazy with all the shedding. Anyways when I went to check on the fish I immediately noticed that the water levels in both tanks were higher than last week, and all the fish in both tanks were acting super spurradic and stressed out. Thank goodness I bought a testing kit last week. I'm pretty sure my dad added straight tap water into both tanks...the nitrate levels were fine, but the pH and ammonia levels were too high. Help me?!?! I added some solutions to the tank for the time being that said they were safe for the fish, but also removed chlorine and reduce stress and lower the pH I think? I would need to check again. They started to seem fine and then went back to being spurradic a few hours later. I added aqueon ammonia neutralizer to both tanks not too long ago. I'm freaking out I don't want anything to happen to my sisters fish please help me :/
  • #2
Good morning Jordan.
Welcome to fishlore.I’m really sorry to hear about your sister
Keep your head up. Stay strong..
Do you know about the nitrogen cycle?
Try to get some prime ASAP
If your tank isn’t cycle. You will need to do a water change to get the ammonia down. It’s very toxic to the fish.
Maybe your tank isn’t cycle yet.
Post pics of the fish and I’m 90% sure someone will know what kind of fish it is.
Also I’m far from an expert but I know a little.
Others will chime up that’s way better than me.
  • #3
I'm so sorry about ur sister, really. Also, don't replace the cartridges every month or ever unless they are falling apart. Just swish em gently in tank water when the get clogged, that's very important cuz they hold some of the bacteria that u need to convert the ammonia. it's important u read about the nitrogen cycle/tank cycling, but depending on how old the tanks are I'd figure they would b cycled but it may have set them back a bit if u changed cartridges and ur dad added tap water, hopefully not by much tho. Yes, get prime, it doesn't remover ammonia just makes it safer for fish while ur bacteria colonize. Ull have to keep a very close eye on the fish and the water and make sure ur dad doesn't touch anythin unless he knows what to do lol. If ammonia gets above 1ppm or close to it ull need to do 25-50% water change with dechlorinated water but make sure its the same temp as the tank. Some tap water has ammonia in it so prime is very helpful and they sell it at any petstore. Its the only dechlorinator ull need. Fish keeping is def a learning process for sure and sometimes stressful but it gets easier as u learn. This place will help u a lot so don't hesitate to ask. DO NOT trust the corporate petstores, they USUALLY just want to sell stuff. I think there is way better advice here where people just want to help and have tons of experience! Do the best u can and try not to worry, if u keep up with the work (quite a bit during this time for u, sorry) it'll pay off in the end! I wish u the best and hope to hear from u again soon!
  • #4
Hi, so sorry to hear about the loss of your sister & you're doing a really nice thing by trying to look after her fish. First thing is don't panic you've got loads of people on here who will try their best to help. Try to stop adding chemicals to the tank just Prime for now will be fine, chasing the Ph values usually ends up in having major Ph swings which does more harm to the fish than having the Ph a bit high or low, fish can acclimate to this as long as it's stable. Can you post the actual water readings you have so we can see the numbers that will give us a better idea of what's going on & pics of the tanks / fish will help us ID them for you. If the ammonia nitrite & nitrate levels are too high you need to do at least 50% water changes using Prime to bring them back to safe levels & watch how much they're being fed any food that's not eaten within a couple of minutes will end up rotting in the substrate & cause ammonia spikes.
  • #5
I agree with the above posts, read up on the Nitrogen Cycle. There is good bacteria that colonizes on every surface of the tank, most of it will be in the filter media--the cartridges in he filter. They should not be replaced unless it's absolutely necessary as it would disrupt your cycle and stress your fish out. The bacteria consumes Ammonia and converts it into Nitrite, and another type of bacteria consumes nitrite and converts it into Nitrate, which is the least toxic form but still needs to be removed via water changes before it accumulates too much (over 40 ppm) and can then begin to have adverse affects on the health of the fish.

It's great that you got the test kit, monitor your readings regularly, you will want the readings to be 0 Ammonia, 0 Nitrite, and less than 20-40 Nitrate. You just want your pH to be stable, it being higher than usual after suspecting your dad topped off the tanks I'm wondering when the last time the tanks had any maintenance in terms of water changes or gravel-vacuuming.

I completely agree on Seachem's Prime, a water conditioner that removes chlorine and chloramine and other heavy metals that maybe present in your tap water, making it safe for your fish. It also detoxifies ammonia, nitrite, and nitrates which will help relieve your fish. Really valuable to have.

Please post pictures of the fish and we can help you identify them. We will happily walk you through to being able to care for the fish and make sure they're healthy and happy.
  • #6
Maybe you could bring the fish to your local fish store. Sounds like you have a lot on your plate at the moment. Sorry for the loss of your sis. I lost a brother last year....

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