Help! My Boyfriend Bought Me Fish & Set Up The Aquarium Completely Wrong!

Breezyflower

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He bought 2 guppies & listened to the petsmart employees... he doesn’t know what cycling is!


He has a 1.5 gallon tank and added 100% natural spring water, then added a filter, tetra dechlorinator, tetra easy balance & top fin bacteria supplement.

He waited 20 minutes before putting the fish in.


Our tank also has pebbles & decorations.


We just learned about cycling and we need to know what to do next tomorrow’s Christmas so I can’t go out & buy anything, but what should we do?? Thank you in advance
 

Colt Frost

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Maybe just 20-50% water changes. And prime is a water conditioner/de-chlorinater, while easy balance it to control ph from my understanding. And prime also removes harmful ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. Well actually, it doesn't remove them it just converts them to a less to almost non-toxic form I believe. But you still need to do water changes while using prime, if any confusion got mixed up in there.
 

Mcasella

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You likely wont be able to get the 1.5 gallon to cycle, the balance in that size tank is very delicate so it can be knocked out by anything even being a little off.
I would return the guppies and look at a bigger tank than cycle it before getting fish for it.
 

Rich Johnson

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Also, I've found out from experience that guppies can get aggressive toward each other in such a small tank. I had 2 males in a 2.5 gallon tank. One got very nippy and both died after a month. A male and a female might do better. Do you know the gender of your guppies?
 

ParrotCichlid

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He bought 2 guppies & listened to the petsmart employees... he doesn’t know what cycling is!


He has a 1.5 gallon tank and added 100% natural spring water, then added a filter, tetra dechlorinator, tetra easy balance & top fin bacteria supplement.

He waited 20 minutes before putting the fish in.


Our tank also has pebbles & decorations.


We just learned about cycling and we need to know what to do next tomorrow’s Christmas so I can’t go out & buy anything, but what should we do?? Thank you in advance
Well not all wrong, you got a filter right? that's more than we can say for some lol. Although its advised to cycle without fish you can cycle with fish and i always have.

1.5g is a big enough tank to sustain 2 guppies for some time. While its not ideal for a beginner you can make it work and the tank will cycle providing you read up on the nitrogen cycle and aquatic life. E.g never change ALL the tank water, especially not in a 1.5g tank.

You may have to change the water every other day 25% out should be enough until the cycle completes. Do a 25% water change tomorrow then get the water tested on Wednesday. If all is good on Wednesday then you may get away with E3D water changes.

Not sure if the Top Fin Bacteria supplement is any good but if its like the 'instant cycle' products then things wont be so bad. I've used both tetra safe start and fluval cycle. With fluval cycle i never even noticed a cycle!
 

adh/smile

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Do daily water changes. Purchase an API Freshwater Testing Kit. And if you can, update to a 5 gallon tank if you can. A larger tank will keep a cycle going far better than a small tank, you will not have to work at a water change every day, and your fish will have a larger space to swim around!
 

Taff

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Hi there, merry Christmas!

Let us start with the positives; you have a tank and some fish and you are starting out with a wonderful hobby.

Next positive is that in a couple of days after Christmas there will be some great deals in Walmart and Petco (I gather from US forum members). This means that you can learn a bit keeping your guppies alive and then put it into practice.

Your 1.5 gallon is really only suitable for some snails and shrimp but small volume tanks are so unstable I would save you the heartache and ask you to turn it into a hospital tank or a tank to grow on small fry.


For now and without shops it is all you have so hopefully it sounds like you set it up, dechlorinated the water. If you have not done so already; add the bacterial culture to the filter and add the fish.

You have clearly read up about cycling now and hopefully the top fin product that you have will be effective at starting up your beneficial bacteria colonies.

It is a shame that the store having sold you mostly Tetra products did not sell you Tetra Safe Start Plus which is just about the most reliable filter starter culture.

In your early days trust Tetra products and Seachem products. Assume that all other companies are snake oil salesmen (not all are; but it is getting bad out there in the trade these days) especially API but these do make the best test kit for measuring all of your water parameters - it is a kit with little test tubes, testing chemicals and easy to follow instructions.

You will need a decent test kit.

Until you can go to the sales you need to make do. Your fish will be producing toxic wastes most noticeable ammonia. Until your filter has built up a sufficient bacteria colony to consume this you will need to remove some by removing water and dilute it by adding more.

I would advise you to change half of your water twice a day. If fish are gasping at the surface or flicking themselves; don't wait - change some water.

Always dechlorinate new water.

If ammonia eating bacteria build up they will consume ammonia and produce nitrite - Also toxic/lethal. Same thing keep doing the water changes.


Eventually nitrite eating bacteria build up and nitrite is consumed and nitrate is produced. This is not toxic but does need to be diluted by water changes each week.

This process of building up bacterial colonies is called cycling.


Hopefully in a few days you will go and get a bargain; aquarium kits in Walmart this week for less than $20 gave a 10gallon tank, filter and heater according to some posters.

A 10 gallon can house a betta and your two guppies in comfort. Even a 5 gallon is is OK for a betta.

Once you have your new tank put everything, water, fish, gravel, filter, fish, heater from the old tank into the new tank. You want to transfer all beneficial bacteria. Over the next few hours add fresh dechlorinated water to fill up the tank.

Seachem Prime is a dechlorinator but is a great product during cycling as for 24 hours it detoxifies ammonia and nitrite to relatively safe levels. Once your tank is cycled put your remaining prime away safely to be used in case of emergency. Start using a good quality dechlorinator at this point and tetra Aquasafe not only neutralises chlorine and chloramine but also heavy metals and adds essential vitamins and minerals. It is the best and one of the cheapest available.

I would recommend Tetra safe start plus in terms of getting your filter going though Seachem Stability has a trusting clientele as well.

As you have fish already let the tank stabilise and finish cycling. A betta would go well with guppies as they enjoy similar temperatures and they are stunning fish.


There will be no shortage of folks willing to advise. In general terms the larger volume you have the more stable it's water chemistry and obviously the more fish it can hold.

A bit of a steep learning curve but with plenty of water changes your guppies will be fine when the stores reopen.

Merry Christmas
 

Mike1995

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so change all of the water daily? For how long?

Isn’t seachem prime similar to tetra easy balance?
yes definitely. Water changes will help. just be sure your water is dechlorinated with prime or something. Prime is similar to tetra easy balance but much much better. i have a guppy pair in a 5 gallon planted tank. They thrive. I have a sponge filters. One thing that may help is fluval bacteria stuff. It's in a bluish bottle. It helped greatly with getting the ya k to cycle. As someone said above small tanks may not even cycle. I agree.
 

ParrotCichlid

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yes definitely. Water changes will help. just be sure your water is dechlorinated with prime or something. Prime is similar to tetra easy balance but much much better. i have a guppy pair in a 5 gallon planted tank. They thrive. I have a sponge filters. One thing that may help is fluval bacteria stuff. It's in a bluish bottle. It helped greatly with getting the ya k to cycle. As someone said above small tanks may not even cycle. I agree.
No no, changing all of the water daily will likely make things even worse. The most that should be done really is 75% and even that is a fair shock for the fish and bacteria.

I've never really got why people feel the need to remove so much water with fish in cycling. I've cycled a 5g and a 100g tank recently with fish and didn't have a need to change more than 50% every third day. The 100g didn't even get a water change for 14 days after starting the fish in cycle and water parameters never got really out of control. Admittedly i used fluval cycle on the larger tank.
 

Mike1995

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No no, changing all of the water daily will likely make things even worse. The most that should be done really is 75% and even that is a fair shock for the fish and bacteria.

I've never really got why people feel the need to remove so much water with fish in cycling. I've cycled a 5g and a 100g tank recently with fish and didn't have a need to change more than 50% every third day. The 100g didn't even get a water change for 14 days after starting the fish in cycle and water parameters never got really out of control. Admittedly i used fluval cycle on the larger tank.
eh i didn't say drain all the water. I just said water changes will help. Imo small tanks need more WC because they're not as stable. I also have big tanks, between 55-180g. after cycling the first one i just used seeded media to cycle the rest.
in my 5g guppy tank I honestly don't do many WC. It's planted any the plants take care of business pretty well. Maybe once a month. All my other tanks, being full of cichlids, usually every week at least once. Sometimes twice.
 

tunafax

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Merry Christmas!

In addition to all of the advise above re: cycling, you can keep them in 1.5 gallon over the next few days until you are able to get them an appropriate tank. The water levels won't jump to toxic levels overnight. Though I wouldn't do spring water, some brands have no metals and minerals which fish need. Otherwise you're good.
 

ParrotCichlid

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eh i didn't say drain all the water. I just said water changes will help. Imo small tanks need more WC because they're not as stable. I also have big tanks, between 55-180g. after cycling the first one i just used seeded media to cycle the rest.
in my 5g guppy tank I honestly don't do many WC. It's planted any the plants take care of business pretty well. Maybe once a month. All my other tanks, being full of cichlids, usually every week at least once. Sometimes twice.
It's true you can never change to much water but you can change to much in a day. All the people saying that small tanks of 1.5g sometimes never cycle is probably due to doing too large water changes. Although the bacteria is mainly seeded in the filtration media and substrate its also in the water. Changing too much water simply knocks the bacteria back hard and stresses the fish.

2 Guppies don't produce much waste. Even in a 1.5g tank that is cycling daily water changes over 50% shouldn't be needed IMO every other day really.

As i learned with my nano saltwater tank that was 5g and had 2 Clown fish. Changing over 70% of the water basically sent the tank into a mini cycle.
 

Racing1113

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I would return the guppies, get a bigger tank and fishless cycle then add suitable fish. Anyone who says guppies don’t produce much waste is unfortunately misinformed. Guppies are livebearers just like platies and mollies. While guppies are significantly smaller, they poop a ton, which creates a lot of ammonia. They aren’t suitable for a tank smaller than 5 gallons. If you still want guppies, make sure you only have males since having both genders will produce a lot of fry and you’ll be quickly overstocked. I also wouldn’t put guppies with a betta as both species will be prone to nipping the other.
 

ParrotCichlid

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I would return the guppies, get a bigger tank and fishless cycle then add suitable fish. Anyone who says guppies don’t produce much waste is unfortunately misinformed. Guppies are livebearers just like platies and mollies. While guppies are significantly smaller, they poop a ton, which creates a lot of ammonia. They aren’t suitable for a tank smaller than 5 gallons. If you still want guppies, make sure you only have males since having both genders will produce a lot of fry and you’ll be quickly overstocked. I also wouldn’t put guppies with a betta as both species will be prone to nipping the other.
A guppy in comparison to other fish species do not produce much waste. Consider the waste produced by 12" Oscars, 14" Buttikoferi and 30" Arowanas. As I'm sure you can see, the waste produced by a guppy is minimal.

How much a fish poops is also variable by how much you feed them and what diet.
 

Racing1113

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I’m not sure how comparing a 2 inch fish to a 2 foot fish is logical. It seems that’s your only argument. You also couldn’t fit a 30 inch fish in a 1.5 gallon tank soooooo you’re not even making sense. For their size, guppies produce a lot of waste. Telling someone they don’t is inaccurate. Have a good night, and Merry Christmas!!
 

ParrotCichlid

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I’m not sure how comparing a 2 inch fish to a 2 foot fish is logical. It seems that’s your only argument. You also couldn’t fit a 30 inch fish in a 1.5 gallon tank soooooo you’re not even making sense. For their size, guppies produce a lot of waste. Telling someone they don’t is inaccurate. Have a good night, and Merry Christmas!!
No my argument is that a fish will poop what you feed them. Meaning the waste produced by a guppy shouldn't be any higher than the waste produced by a fish of similar size.

There is no scientific evidence to say that different species of fish that are of equal size and body mass produce more waste than others.

Merry Christmas
 

Travis Bradbury

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Get a API master test kit, and Seachem Prime and Stability.
Follow this guideline and your guppies should be fine, and cycle the tank(in-fish cycle)

Ammonia + Nitrites = less than 1ppm add full tank volume of Prime, & Stability. Recheck parameters in 24 hours
Ammonia + Nitrites = 1ppm or more, do a 50 water change, add full tank volume dose Prime & Stability. Recheck parameters in 24 hours.

I did a in-fish cycle with 5 guppies in my 75 gallon, none of them died. You NEED to be on top of the water changes tho.
Seachem Prime keeps Ammonia + Nitrites non-toxic under 1ppm. It is also a dechlorinator. Its the best on the market.

Get a bigger tank ASAP. Walmart sells a 10 gallon start-up kit by top fin for pretty cheap(Canada). That should be fine for 2 guppies MAX. Its not ideal, but it will be fine and better than the 1 gallon you have.
 
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