I listened to the shop owner

Suzy H.
  • #1
My daughter had a 10 gal. fish tank for years. I had the same tank at my home (taking care of her fish) for several years. She had two large fantails and a pleco that was about 5". I thought it was fun to have a tank so when she took hers I bought a 10 gal. for myself. I asked the person at the pet store how many goldfish I could put in a 10 gal. and she said 7. So I went with 6 so they would have more room.... so I thought. I also bought a common pleco. Now I am reading that I shouldn't have that many fish in one tank and that the pleco could get very big. He was always very calm and stayed sucked to the side in a hiding place. For the last while he is swimming all over the tank and acting like he's not content. Today he just let go of the side and sank to the bottom gasping. I'm afraid he is getting sick and don't know what to do. That is why I started searching for info and found this site. Please help!! I don't want him to suffer. Thank you. Suzy
 
Lucy
  • #2
HI Suzy,
Welcome to FishLore.
As you have already found out, you received bad advice. Unfortunately none of your fish will be able to survive very long in your 10g.
(Maybe the pleco alone or 1 goldfish alone, and for only a very short time before they need a bigger tank)
I'm afraid your only recourse is to buy a bigger...and I mean huge tank or return your fish to the store.
In the mean time, I would do a water change to reduce the amount of ammonia in the tank, and continue that daily until they can either be returned or transferred to a larger tank.
I'm sorry I don't have better advice for you, except keep reading there is wonderful advice here and many people with more knowledge that I do that can help you.

We all made and still make mistakes all we can do is try to learn and correct them.
I hope your pleco survives, they really are cute.
Good luck with your tank.
 
susitna-flower
  • #3
HI SUZY, WELCOME TO FISHLORE!

I am afraid Lucy is right. The problem is fish in an uncycled tank. AND Gold fish and common plecos are neither one suited to a 10 gallon tank.

Gold fish should be in a much larger tank than most pet store owners will let on. They also grow large, the cousin to koi, they are meant to be out in a temperate pond! So there is a stocking rule for them that is something like 20 gallons for the first and 10 gallons for each one after that. So your group of 7 would need a minimum tank of 80 gallons.....not counting the common pleco who grows up to 15-18 inches. You would need a tank about 125 gallons for the crew you brought home.

The Cycle though is what your fish are currently reacting to. Ammonia is building up, and it is toxic and will kill your fish.

The reason it didn't in the old tank is because that old tank had bacteria built up in it processing the ammonia into nitrite then to less toxic nitrate.....

It is a problem any time you introduce fish to a new tank before you go through the nitrogen cycle process. We recommend you doing this fishless, and the directions are in this link.

https://www.fishlore.com/NitrogenCycle.htm

I have to agree with Lucy. You only really have two options with this 10 gallon tank, and fish.

Take the fish back, cycle the tank and stock it with a betta, or small group of tropicals (only as many as 10" of adult size, like 6 neon tetras). OR

Get a 125 gallon tank, start doing the fishless cycle. If you keep the fish in the 10 gallon tank you are going to have to do AT LEAST 75% water changes every day, just to keep them alive in a non cycled tank.

I would say starting right now! That pleco doesn't sound very good, and I can imagine the ammonia is off the chart...


Oh yes, the way to know about the levels of ammonia, nitrite or nitrate is to purchase the API Master test kit for freshwater (liquid)....it is the most reliable and cost effective tests out, the kit will last for months, and does all the really relevant tests for cycling a tank. Good Luck
 
Suzy H.
  • Thread Starter
  • #4
Thank you so much for your advice. I am so angry at the pet shop person for doing this. I should have been suspicious when I told her I had a new tank.... she said I had to "cycle" the tank for 2 weeks, then she sold me 4 plain goldfish which she said to: "keep these in the tank for two weeks to cycle it, then come back here and buy the fish you really want. Then you can flush these or whatever you want to do with them." I couldn't flush a live fish or kill it!!! How cruel!! I wanted some fantails so I went back and that was when I asked how many fish could be in the tank. I didn't flush the first fish but just added the 2 fantails and the pleco. Since then one of the fantails has died. I just feel so bad about this whole thing. I did do research on the internet about goldfish before I bought them and didn't find out the good info I did on here. Poor pleco isn't looking too good. I changed 75% of their water yesterday but that isn't helping him. Should I try to feed him something besides the algae that's in the tank? I learned that I had to leave the light on more so that the algae would grow and that seemed to be the beginning of the problems. I have been leaving it on all day for about a week and that is when he started acting funny. Suzy
 
Lucy
  • #5
"keep these in the tank for two weeks to cycle it, then come back here and buy the fish you really want. Then you can flush these or whatever you want to do with them."

Oh My! I do hope you find a different store to shop at.
As susitna-flower said, the ammonia is probably off the charts. By doing a 75% water change yesterday, you only cut the ammonia by 3/4. Ammonia is fatal to your fish. Do another water change today and continue that daily until
you can take them back or get get a bigger tank.

You can try to feed your pleco a bit of an algae wafer. I say a bit because uneaten food is also a source of ammonia.
 
Suzy H.
  • Thread Starter
  • #6
I will definitely go somewhere else next time. This is the first time I had been to this shop. Things are going from bad to worse. My poor pleco is lying on his side and looking just terrible. Our water has chlorine and nitrites in it. It is municiple water so I left it sit for 24hrs. as per the advice on website. What can I do now to fix the tank? I do an additive called "Stress Coat" that the shop sold me. It says that it removes chlorine, should I put some of that in the water. I need help FAST!!! Suzy
 
susitna-flower
  • #7
I will definitely go somewhere else next time. This is the first time I had been to this shop. Things are going from bad to worse. My poor pleco is lying on his side and looking just terrible. Our water has chlorine and nitrites in it. It is municiple water so I left it sit for 24hrs. as per the advice on website. What can I do now to fix the tank? I do an additive called "Stress Coat" that the shop sold me. It says that it removes chlorine, should I put some of that in the water. I need help FAST!!! Suzy


Prime is a good product to use as it de-toxifies ammonia and nitrite, as well as dealing with chlorine and helps stimulate the slime coat. It DOES work, but will not replace the need to do huge water changes every day. ALSO the water going back in the tank needs to be within a degree or two of the tank water.
What temperature is this tank?

I guess I should also ask do you have a heater, and what kind of filter are you running? The pleco also has a different temperature requirement than goldfish. You should research just what kind of pleco you have, and what it needs.

You have to treat water EVERY time you add new to your tank....with the multiple changes you need to be doing, you have to use it every time......I don't know if stress coat treats the water for chlorine, have you read that on the container?
 
Suzy H.
  • Thread Starter
  • #8
I didn't put any additive in the water because I had read that if you leave the water sit for 24hrs. the chlorine evaporates out and is neutral, plus it's the right temp. I should add that I didn't read that on this web site. The additive I have says that it takes out chlorine.The person at the pet shop said that I didn't need a heater for goldfish... only for all the other kinds of fish... she didn't say anything about the pleco. I think that I put too cold of water in the tank yesterday. It was in the basement and seemed colder than the water in tank. I just put some of the stess coat in the tank. I'll see what that does. The fish seem to be just fine... thankfully! But the poor pleco was swimming around the bottom on his back. Now he is upright and just sitting on the bottom. According to the pictures I found he is a common pleco. He is sort of spotted. I have a Tetra Whisper filter in a large size. Suzy
 
Lucy
  • #9
I use stress coat with aloe vera from API, it removes chlorine and chloramines and detoxifies heavy metals. It also claims to "promote healing and regeneration of damaged fish tissue and form a synthetic slime coat to help prevent electrolyte loss."

Add this to your tap water every time you do a water change.

Your pleco needs a heater, but your goldies do not.
 
COBettaCouple
  • #10
Welcome to Fishlore.

The first and biggest immediate problem is tap water conditioner, or the lack of it. It's old-time aquarium advice to let tap water sit for 24 hours and it's then safe. Most areas now have chloramines and other heavy metals in the water - those don't dissipate and need a tap water conditioner to remove them. Hopefully, that's the bulk of your pleco's current trouble. I'd definitely recommend Prime - it will deal with the metals in the water, but also helps with ammonia, nitrites and nitrates in the water.

With those fish, unfortunately the water is almost certainly very high in ammonia, nitrites and nitrates. Using Prime will help, but you'll want to change 50% of the water in the tank daily and clean the substrate at least every other day to try to keep the levels manageable while figuring the next step.

The fish in your tank would need at least a 120 gallon tank, so the levels will build very quickly from their waste output. Goldies and Plecos really produce huge levels of waste. 75 gallon is a realistic minimum for a common pleco, but they can survive in 55 gallon tanks. Goldies need 20 gallon for the 1st one and 10 gallon for each additional.

If you don't have aeration in the tank, I'd definitely recommend that. An air pump with an air stone or wand will help out some with the water chemistry and every bit helps.

As far as treating your Pleco, if he's suffering from tap water or ammonia/nitrite/nitrate poisoning then the water changes is the main thing to do. It's most likely the source of his trouble. But he could also benefit from any of the following products: Fish Protector, Garlic Guard, Vita-Chem.

We wish you the best of luck and hope your Pleco pulls through so you can find them all a good home in a larger tank or tanks. If you have a local fish club or a site like craigslist or freecycle could be ways to find them homes if a larger tank isn't an option for you.
 
Suzy H.
  • Thread Starter
  • #11
I sure have learned a lot from this site and these posts. Thank you so much for all of your help. I don't have aeration because the guy at the store where I bought the tank ( not the pet shop) told me that all I needed was the water running down from the filter to aerate the water. Was this bad advice too? The person at the pet store where I got the fish told me that I could put the plain goldfish in a bowl and that would be good enough for them.... that they didn't even need a tank and all the extras. She said that after the horrified look I gave her when she said I could flush the first fish. My pleco isn't going to make it. He's on his back and has been that way for some time now. I feel so helpless! I've tried everything and he just gets worse. But I have definitely learned my lesson. I wish I would have found this site instead of taking salespeople's advice. You would think that they would know better. Suzy
 
COBettaCouple
  • #12
Aeration is something that, while not 100% necessary, does provide benefits to the fish.

Unfortunately, many stores are like that store and just want to sell you fish, have them die, then sell you more.
 
Shawnie
  • #13
I sure have learned a lot from this site and these posts. Thank you so much for all of your help. I don't have aeration because the guy at the store where I bought the tank ( not the pet shop) told me that all I needed was the water running down from the filter to aerate the water. Was this bad advice too? The person at the pet store where I got the fish told me that I could put the plain goldfish in a bowl and that would be good enough for them.... that they didn't even need a tank and all the extras. She said that after the horrified look I gave her when she said I could flush the first fish. My pleco isn't going to make it. He's on his back and has been that way for some time now. I feel so helpless! I've tried everything and he just gets worse. But I have definitely learned my lesson. I wish I would have found this site instead of taking salespeople's advice. You would think that they would know better. Suzy

HI suzy..alot of us have had bad advice ...me just recently..so don't hold blame to yourself you have done everything right since then...just learn from it as we have no other choice....goodluck with the future and the ppl here will help a lot with learning...
 
Lucy
  • #14
HI Suzy,
I'm sorry your pleco is not doing well. I was wondering how he was today.
We've all received bad advice and assumed the fish stores know what they're doing.

Now, about your gold fish.........
 
Suzy H.
  • Thread Starter
  • #15
Thank you for being so supportive. My Pleco is not doing well at all. He is still upside down on the bottom of the tank. I hate to say it but I wish the poor thing would just die and end his suffering. My goldfish are all doing just fine. They are swimming around with their fins up. There are 4 plain ones, I think they are called comets?, and one calico fantail. They are all still quite small so I have some time to get some different accomodations. I can't go anywhere today as we are having some bad weather here. I have some questions though. 1. If my Pleco dies what should I do about the algae?
What if I can get a minI pleco? 2. How much should I be feeding my goldfish and how often? 3. I read that they like peas, should I feed peas instead of their food or along with the food? 4. When I do the water exchange I have been using the water that doesn't go through the softener. Is that a good idea or should I use the regular, softened water? Should the water sit for 24 hours or can I put it right in the tank with the chemical? 5. I did the 75% water exchange and put in a clean filter, the other filter was full of green stuff. Is that a good idea to put in that much clean water and a clean filter? I also took the filter housing a washed all the slime out to that. Was that the right thing to do? I sure appreciate your help with this. This is such a fun hobby and I love my fish , I want to do the best things for them. Suzy
 
Shawnie
  • #16
HI suzy...again...sorry for your pleco...

heres some help for your questions...

1. algae seems to happen with over feeding and indirect or direct sunlight/light...so maybe cut back on feedings a bit(once or twice a day and add only the amount they eat in a cpl minutes) and make sure there's no sunlite in your tank..or only run the lights for a few hours a day..your over stocked with goldfish to add more fish even a small pleco..

2. answered above.......3. peas are usually used for constipation or as a treat ..not an everyday food...4. depending on if you have city water, which has chlorine and other additives in it, depends on if you can use your tap water without treating it...prime is great to add to water if you have the chlorine in it..otherwise, it should be ok to add to your tank if its well water.....make sure the temp is the same as your tank temp..dont want to shock the fish..5. you shouldnt have put a clean filter in, as that's where your bacteria form to produce your nitrogen cycle...did you read the link susitna sent you earlier? you pretty much by washing everything, put your tank into a minI cycle if it was cycled to begin with..bacteria builds up on your filter media and decorations/gravel in your tank...

at this point, id read the link susitna sent you about the nitrogen cycle, and do daily water changes of at least 50% to keep the ammonia down...being overstocked is going to be a lot of work daily unless you can find another home for some fish, or get a bigger aquarium ...goodluck!
 
Suzy H.
  • Thread Starter
  • #17
Yes, I did read the link. I'm still a little confused about the filter. When should a person put a new filter in? Mine have these bag sort of things with charcoal in them. They get all green and slimy on the side. I have been rinsing it off with tap water, trying to get it as clean as possible. I thought that was good for the fish and keep the water cleaner. I definitely need to get a test kit. Can I put this stuff in there that says it gets rid of algae? I have a bottle of Jungle brand "No More Algae" that someone gave me. Should I use that? The bottle says it prevents algae growth and "no more green water". Thank you for answering my questions. Suzy
 
Shawnie
  • #18
you shouldnt be rinsing your filter cartridge..that's where the good bacteria form...if you feel the need to rinse it, do it in the water you take from your tank when you do a water change..not in the tap water...
 
susitna-flower
  • #19
OK......watch out.....I'm on my soap box again...

Suzy, the pet stores have one thing in mind...they are in business to make money. So many of the things you are told there, or are SOLD there are designed to get more of your money. A very good example of this is that filter you have. Now don't get me wrong....we need filters. Even the one you have works just fine I'm sure.....but because they have that "bag" thing, you think you have to buy their bag replacements with carbon, and change them out all the time!

On the contrary, the carbon should only be used if you have had to treat your tank with medication, after your treatment is over, then you leave it in the filter for 24 hours and discard, this takes all the old medication out of your tank.

Other wise don't use carbon. If you are concerned with how gross your tank filter looks, swish it out in discarded tank water (same temperature, no chlorine all to protect that bacteria), then re use the same filter material, over and over, until it is falling apart in rags....IF your bag has carbon in it and you can discard the carbon, do this.....I fill the bag with floss (you can get this from it is carried in with their filter media. Leave it loose enough you can still get your filter back in the box.

The "science" of keeping a tank is much more about experience than it is that you HAVE to do just what the box says that some expensive filter says.......we try to help folks see that the whole process of the nitrogen cycle is about developing your bacterial culture and keeping it healthy, more than it is about spending your money....

I'll get off that box now....sorry.

DON'T scrub any surface in the tank, the bacteria you want to complete the nitrogen cycle are clinging to all surfaces...and IN your filter media, just rinse in discarded tank water.

As for the algae, like Shawnie said it is growing in your tank because the water conditions are so high in nitrates, phosphates, over feeding, or too much light. To deal with algae, adjust the 4 things that cause it with lots of water changes, decrease feeding, and cut the light. This way you can at least have an algae free tank without adding another fish back contributing to the over crowded conditions.

We all wish you the best of luck, and hope you can soon have a healthy happy tank.
 
susitna-flower
  • #20
Yes, I did read the link. I'm still a little confused about the filter. When should a person put a new filter in? Mine have these bag sort of things with charcoal in them. They get all green and slimy on the side. I have been rinsing it off with tap water, trying to get it as clean as possible. I thought that was good for the fish and keep the water cleaner. I definitely need to get a test kit. Can I put this stuff in there that says it gets rid of algae? I have a bottle of Jungle brand "No More Algae" that someone gave me. Should I use that? The bottle says it prevents algae growth and "no more green water". Thank you for answering my questions. Suzy


When I rinse the "bag" I use discarded tank water in a bowl, squeeze the bag over and over, and hit it against the side of the sink, then squeeze it in the water more....

As for more chemicals.....PLEASE don't use any chemicals in your tank to take care of a problem that is just caused by too many fish....

That would be like your drinking a bottle of stinky sewer water, then drinking some chlorine water to kill the bacteria you just ingested! Think of those fish....They thrive in CLEAN WATER.....period.
 
Suzy H.
  • Thread Starter
  • #21
Wow! Thank you for your help! That lady in the pet store even said I had to come back to that store to get more filter cartridges! She said ones from other stores wouldn't fit. I was skeptical about that so I tried different ones and they fit just fine. I can take the bag off the holder and empty out the carbon or charcoal or whatever that black stuff is. I will try to get some of that fiber. Rats! I threw a perfectly good slimy green filter away!!Yes, they do get expensive to keep replacing. I have a lot to learn that is for sure. Can I use water that is softened? I only have municipal water available for my tank. We do have a reverse osmosis but all I can get from that is about a gallon at a time. I use that if the water level drops but since I will be changing the water it won't get a chance to drop. I will protect the tank from sunlight. Thank you again for all the good advice. Suzy
 
COBettaCouple
  • #22
That's got to be one of the most dishonest pet stores that I've heard of!
 
Suzy H.
  • Thread Starter
  • #23
I'm sorry to say that my Pleco has died. I will know better than to shop at that store again. Thank you for all of your help and advice. Suzy
 
needabiggertank
  • #24
So sorry to read of your loss . Don't forget to post in the fish memorial.
 
Lucy
  • #25
I'm sorry the little guy didn't make it.
 
COBettaCouple
  • #26
Poor little pleco.. you did all you could for him, and that pet store is to blame. We're sorry you lost him.
 

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