Help with new fish tank.

  • #1
"I'm hoping someone can help me. We bought a 10 gallon tank with filter for my daughter and it's currently been set up for 10 days now .
After 24hrs we put 2 feeder fish and a plecco into the tank, A week later we added 2 goldfish.
I noticed the tank starting to go cloudy so I did a 10% water changed and bought an ammonia test kit. The test came back very high, following day I did a 50% water change and 2 days later did 40% water change. Each time testing the water, it's getting better but not sure if I am cleaning the tank too often?
Then one of the feeder fish has died. I did another water change and bough ammonia clear to help the problem.
Tested the water again and it's still showing ammonia levels appx 1.0 a lot better but still not good enough.
I feed the fish once a day and appx 3 flakes & 1 algae tablet for the plecco. I thought maybe I was over feeding so now put in half a tablet for the plecco. Am I feeding the fish too much?? they seem they are starving and gobble the food up in seconds.
I have also tested PH levels are around 6.5- 7.
Need some serious help here don't want to lose any more fish.
Yesterday the other feeder fish was sitting on the bottom of the tank so immediatley I did a 40% water change.
I have also noticed erratic shaking when swimming every now and then not sure if this is normal or not this is only happening to the 2 new goldfish.
Any help would be appreciated as my daughter was heart broken when she lost the little feeder fish.
Thanks so much.
  • #2
You'll want to check these articles - they'll help you understand what's going on with your tank:

It sounds like your tank was cycling - an ammonia spike is part of the cycle. The cycle can be hard on many fish - I prefer the fishless cycling method myself. You can also buy a product called biospira which will instantly cycle your tank and make it healthy for fish IF you can find it locally or want to pay overnight shipping on it from an online source. (It needs to be refrigerated because it's live bacteria.)

If your pleco is a common pleco, they might not have told you but those grow to 18" and sometimes larger. A 55-gallon tank (or bigger) is recommended for one of them. They're also heavy waste producers and put out more waste than you'd believe. For a 10 gallon tank, otos would be better for algae control.

The fish could probably eat a bit more food safely. You could feed them a pinch AM & PM (more fun for your daughter and better for their digestion system).

I'd recommend returning the pleco as he'll get to big and keep your tank dirty.

Also it would be good to get the API master freshwater testing kit (or the testing kits for nitrites and nitrates) - the master kit is on sale at petco now for 19.99 and I think petsmart might still have it on sale for that same price or you can find it cheaper online at .

You might not want to get more fish until the tank has cycled and you'll want to stick with fish that are happy in the same temp. range as goldfish. Fantails are cute and fun for kids.. they also had yesterday at our petco, these funny little goldfish that look like they swallowed a pingpong ball that might be fun for your little girl (LOL - they'd be fun for me too, I want some myself. ) she could have fun picking out new goldfish from the many small varieties. Find out the adult size of any fish you're considering. The rule of thumb is 1" (adult size) of fish per gallon so your tank would hold 10" of fish.

Another thing i'd recommend would be to treat the tap water with NovAqua+ or Prime. oh.. if they try to sell you a product called "Cycle", don't buy it. it creates mini-cycles and we found from personal experience that it kept our tanks from really cycling. Best of luck and we'd be glad to answer any questions you have.

EDIT: I see you're a new member. welcome to fishlore - this is a GREAT community for help/info/support and there are a lot of really great people here with lots of experience. we've been learning a LOT here and made some new friends too.
  • #3
In addition to what BettaCouple said, goldfish are also pretty big waste producers. Add them to the pleco, and your tank's bacterial colonies just won't be able to keep up with the ammonia production.
As a side question (related, I promise) for you more experienced people out there, I've seen a couple of alternatives to Biospira at local pet stores and am wondering if you've tried any of them. The difference is that the bacteria in these products are supposed to be in spore form, allowing them to survive without refrigeration. Because of this, it's quite a bit cheaper than Biospira. One example is Biozyme. I bought some to see if it would work, but haven't had a chance to test it yet.
Welcome to the forums and good luck with your tank.
  • #4
Let me know if the Biozyme works any for you. I've not tried it but so far, I haven't found any product for sale that successfully lets us 'cheat' and shave time off the cycle other than the live bacteria in biospira.
  • #5
I am using Biozyme-- it is dried on wheatgerm. I had been adding ammonia for weeks with no nitrites and then started using that, had nitrites in a week or so. could've just been the natural cycle though. I figure it can't hurt. Bio Spira is the only thing that works right away. The rest of the stuff is not as good, and I'm not sure it even does anything-- but I am trying it.
  • #6
yea, unfortunately these other products can give you some results that seem nice, but to really make progress you need those 2 particular bacteria and they have such a short life the only way to get them is a product exactly like biospira.

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