Help me PLEASE!

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Amnagrla

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Hi,

I haven't had a fishtank since I was a kid.  I'm a college student and went out and bought a 10 gal tropical tank kit with filter, heater, etc.  I ran the tank for a whole week before buying fish.  I went to the store and they guy told me what was the best type of fish to get.  He suggested a hearty fish like tetra or swordtails.  I picked out the Koi (Clown) Swordtails.  He said I should have 3 and he gave me 2 female and 1 male.  He told me not to put anymore fish or plants in for a few more weeks.
According to everywhere I've looked (but not from the guy that sold me the fish)... my fish will eventually start giving birth every 28 days when they are old enough??  I feel completely unprepared for this and like I'm getting myself in too deep.   What do I need to get, a smaller bowl, a birthing net... anything else??  AND!  What do I DO with the babies!?    In a few weeks when I go back to the store, I plan on buying some plants and 2 more fish. Any suggestion for a second type of fish for me?   Thank you so much!  I'm a bit of a panic on this...

~Amanda
 

Aquaman

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Hi,

Welcome!

Running the tank for a whole week is not enough to prepare the tank for fish. The tank has to go though a cycling period of about a month where it develops "good" bacteria called Nitrates after going though all of the Ammonia and Nitrites (bad). This period is very stressful to fish and usually only very hardy fish can survive it. Read about cycling your tank and the Nitrogen Cycle here:

https://www.fishlore.com/Articles/TheNitrogenCycle.htm

You can bypass the cycling period if you use a product called BioSpira. BioSpira has to be kept refrigerated and you add it with your fish to the tank.
This is how I cycled my tank. I've had a fish tank for only about a year now, so other more experienced fish keepers will start chiming in to help you further.
 

kalika

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Hi there! You are going to have so much fun with this hobby and I hope I can help. I guess what to do with the babies depends on if you want to keep them. You would need another tank to put them in until they are big enough not to get eaten by the parents. You could use a breeders net but it takes up a lot of room and it would mean not buying more fish until the babies are all grown and in this even youwill still have to get another tank or a bigger one to house all the fish. I know this sounds horrible but you could always wait and see. If any of the fry survive by hiding in your tank (the more plants the better) and then can swim around and not get eaten, you could keep them. Most of them will get eaten and you could think of them as a meaty snack for the fish. I know that sounds terrible but in the wild that is exactly what a lot of those fry end up to be. If you want to save the babies but not keep them, make sure that you have someone who is willing to take them in or a local fish store that will. Even if you do, the fry will need to get to about 1" in length before an LFS will consider it. That could take 3 months or more for them to get that big. There are others here who may have better advice for you but I am sure this pretty much sums up your options. I am raising platy fry at the moment (only a week and a half old) and I have very proliferous zebra danios that are scattering eggs around constantly which hatch in about 48 hours. There is a constant supply of live little treats hiding in the gravel for the rest of my fish. I tried saving some of them but there are always so many and they aren't as hardy as swords or platies so I finally got to thepoint that if they make it on their own, good for them but if not, then that's just the way it is.

For your other question about what other fish you can have, you can get a couple of male guppies. They are small, hardy and very pretty. I have two in a 10 gallon and they are doing just fine. They were a little aggressive for the first day or towards each other but settled in just fine. You could get a few zebras or a few tetras, cardinal, glowlight, and black neons are good. Pretty hardy and small. If you are going to add any more fish to that set up you will want small ones and no more than 3 or 4 tops. 3 would be better. You will also have to do a lot of partial water changes to make sure the tank doesn't get too dirty too fast. Read the freshwater articles for beginners (links are at bottome of page) to become familiar with this and other necessary info. Good luck with this. I hope it works out for you!
 

vin

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Aside from the advice of the others here regarding the nitrogen cycle, the other thing I can offer is not to start with tetras as they are not a hardy fish...In fact they're quite sensitive....You could start with swordtails, mollies, platys or danios. These would all fare better at the beginning once your tank has cycled.
 

tan.b

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just a couple of things to mention. dont worry too much about the swordtails, they tend to eat their fry (they have no morals!), so you wont get 60 fry to rehome every month, so you can relax! i've got female (and male) guppies (livebearers like yours) and no fry have survived yet. i've only seen 2 and they got eaten within a day each time. also, if you get danios or tetras you need to keep them in a school of at least 5 or they can get nippy and start ripping shreds out of your other fishes tails which can lead to finrot and all sorts of stress diseases etc etc. before you get any more fish have a good look through the fish profiles. the drop menus nr the top of the page show most of the fish you'll come across at your lfs (local fish store). as you have a 10gal tank that limits you to 10 inches worth of fish. your fish yuo have already  take up 3-6 inches of that already when they're fully grown, so 3 guppies would complete it. or a few otos which will keep your algae under control. once your tank gets established algae can become a problem. a couple of shrimps could go in, they dont take up much space or produce much waste and use up any left over food so it doesnt contribute to algae etc. have a read about the boards and you'll pick up loads of great ideas. also get a test kit that tests for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. the aquarium pharmaceuticals inc (API) do a good one. the test strips are notoriously inaccurate and expensive. the liquid ones will do hundreds of tests for not alot of money. this will help you monitor the cycle as aquaman said. also, dont add any more fish until you get nitrates and the ammonia and nitrites are zero as these are toxic to fish. "fish tanks beginners guides" in blue writing at the bottom of the page is full of invaluable info. any questions though, please let us know and we'll do our best to help! good luck, and enjoy!!
tan
EDIT: by the way guppies need to be acclimated VERY slowly. i have lost 6 out of 15 guppies within a week of purchase (3 seperate purchases. 5 guppies bought at a time. 2 males from 1st batch died and 4 males from last batch died. the 5 girls all survived. i think the inbreeding etc that goes into getting the fancy tails makes them a delicate species - just my theory?!). i wont be buying any more as they just arent right for me! many people have no problems though so dont let me put you off, i just dont think they are as hardy as people think!!!! my tetras do fine, and they're well known to be sensitive. just take things slowly with any fish you get and research research research!!!!! - have fun!
 

vin

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I find that the male swordtails will eat the fry moreso than the females....I also have to state that over the past year I have donated more than 25 swordtail fry to the LFS...We donated the male in August.....and momma just keeps cranking out the young'uns....3 last week, 2 more this week.....so far......
 

COBettaCouple

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Can you return the female? Exchanging her for another male swordtail will ensure that you don't have to deal with the fry. We were surprised with Platy fry when we bought 4 females and would be glad to help you setup for fry from what we've learned and others here will too.

As far as a 2nd fish goes.. ottos, zebra danios, julii cory cats or rasboras would be nice and you might be able to put 2-3 in if you had 3 male swordtails. Just stick with the 1" (adult size) per gallon rule. No barbs or cichlids for sure though, they're too aggressive for the more peaceful swordtails. Check: https://www.fishlore.com/TropicalFishProfiles.htm to find out more about each type of fish.

I'd also recommend the test kit tan.b mentioned - we use that one ourselves.
 
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Amnagrla

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Thanks for all the help!    I plan on going to get the test kit as soon as possible.  I've now had the fish for almost two days and I'm really amazed at how well I can see them apart.  I've named them each.  Ophelia is one of the females, Poopy is the male (he seriously doesn't stop pooping!!) and Flo is the other female.  Flo is much smaller and is really facinated with her reflection just like "Flo" from "Finding Nemo".   I can't tell if she is just really shy or if she is kind of sick or being badgered.  She spends a lot of time hiding or kind of laying on the bottom... but she still swims around.  I think Ophelia is harrassing her.  I know she definitely is harassing Poopy.  Is the harassing maybe a sign that they might mate?   Sheesh.  I feel like this is a fish version of a soap opera! But man is it fun!  I'm so obsessed already!!

I think I've decided if they get prego, I'll do my best to take care of the fry and decide what to do with them when that time comes, whether it's a LFS (I'm learning the lingo.. )  or keeping them separately.
 

COBettaCouple

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LOL.. they are little poopers. we laugh sometimes at how they'll be eating and pooping at the same time. If you feel the tank needs more hiding places, a cave or more plants might help them get thru what is (i hope) the stage of establishing the pecking order. Sometimes chasing can indicate they'll mate. Please let us know how they do and when you first see them show signs of pregnancy. Best of luck with them.

EDIT: forgot to put this in the post, but we've made up a guide of sorts from our experience with our platy fry. if you'd like to read over it, it's reply #1 at:
 

tan.b

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good to hear all is going well! you will be addicted in no time! tanks and fish should carry health warnings on its addictive nature! you'll have a room full of tanks and fish in no time and boring all your friends with fish talk! none of my friends are remotely interested in fish, hence me joining the forum where i can ramble about fish all day!!
tan
 

AngelSta

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A good way of saving *most* of your babys is to take the female out of the tank while she's giving birth. You can do this by bying a breeder net and putting her in there when she's lying at the bottom or hiding in/behind plants watch her carefully and take her out when you see very tiny little fish come out, a good way to tell when she's about ready is her belly will be VERY large. Search on google images for pregnant swordtails.
Hope it works out!
AngelSta ;D
 

kalika

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Yes, chasing can indicate a certain foreplay, if you will, in fish that are about to mate. Sometimes, new fish in a tank can also be a little aggressive for the first few days to a week while they establish the pecking order and then they settle down. I have a 10 gallon with 4 male guppies now. I started with two and then added two more. Both times the males chased each other and were acting pretty aggressive but once they got it out of their system after 2 days or so, they started to be completely harmonious. Good Luck!!!!
 
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