Im New at This! and i need Helpp! Help

Discussion in 'Aquarium Stocking Questions' started by ginababyy, Apr 13, 2010.

  1. ginababyyNew MemberMember

    I just got my fish tank. its a 5 gallon and i had 7 fish. 1 of them just died. is the water okay or do i have to clean the water or anything?
    Helpp me before my fish diee!
  2. bassbonedivaFishlore VIPMember

    Seven fish in a 5gal? What kind of fish? It sounds like you're way overstocked.

    Do you have a test kit to test ammonia, nitrites and nitrates?
    Do you know about the nitrogen cycle?
    How long has the tank been set up and how long have the fish been in there?

    I know that seems like a lot of questions, but the answers to these questions will help us determine what the problem is. Without any further information than what you've said, I'd say it sounds like your tank isn't cycled and your fish have ammonia poisoning, along with your tank being overstocked.
  3. ginababyyNew MemberMember

    i got like 3 little goldfish and 2 koi fish and one medium size one i dont know the name of. nad a alge eater.
    i dont have one of those test kits and i have no clue what nitrogen cycle means?
    this is the third day with this tank.
  4. potatosValued MemberMember

    return them. none of them can live in a 5gal, you are wayyyy overstocked and they will all die shortly unless re-homed immediately. your fish are being poisened by their waste and ammonia

    goldfish are very messy, koi get giant, plecos get huge and are super messy. the tank must be cycled before fish can be added

    nitrogen cycle:
    waist+food > ammonia > nitrite > nitrate

    benefical bacteria turn ammonia (which is very harmful to fish) into nitrite (which is also harmful) other bacteria turn this into nitrate (which is harmful in large amounts) nitrate is removed by water changes. bacteria must colonize your tank and be able to process ammonia and nitrite before you can add fish.

    if your store sold you those fish knowing that you only had a five gallon, or sold you all of these at once, it was very irrisponable of them.
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2010
  5. Beth1965Well Known MemberMember

    Don't get too excited, we've all been where you are at some level.
    First thing you could do is see if you can return the fish and then read about the nitrogen cycle, it is essetial knowledge for a healthy tank.
    Good luck.
  6. bassbonedivaFishlore VIPMember

    I can guarantee that you're going to have more fish deaths if you don't get rid of pretty much all those fish. Goldfish are tremendous waste producers, as are "algae eaters" (which are generally plecos). Even small goldfish produce a fair amount of waste. The general rule of thumb for goldfish is 20 gallons for the first goldfish and 10 gallons for each additional goldfish after that. Goldfish also need extra filtration because of the amount of waste they produce. The koi are even worse and should only be strictly pond fish as they grow to 18" or longer. Goldfish generally reach 8-12". The pleco will reach 18-24" as well. If you were to keep the fish you have (even the koi), you'd need at least a 100 gallon tank, preferably larger, to house them all adequately.

    This is a great article about the nitrogen cycle: The nitrogen cycle is probably the most important aspect of fish keeping as it will keep your fish healthy and happy. Ammonia, which is produced by fish waste, is toxic to fish. During the nitrogen cycle, ammonia is converted to nitrites by beneficial bactera (nitrites are only slightly less toxic to fish than ammonia). The nitrites are then broken down completely by the beneficial bacteria, thus detoxifying your water from the waste that the fish produce and the decaying of any leftover food. If the beneficial bacteria doesn't have time to establish before fish are added, the ammonia doesn't get converted and your fish become poisoned by the ammonia in the tank.

    I would recommend taking back ALL the fish you have, reading up on the nitrogen cycle and getting your tank established and cycled before even thinking about putting fish in there. As far as what fish are suitable for small tanks like that, your choices are kind of limited. You could have one betta, or four or so harlequin rasboras, or you could do a shrimp tank, or a dwarf puffer.
  7. midthoughtWell Known MemberMember

    I'm sure I'm going to get uberninja'd on this, but here goes...

    You can read more about the nitrogen cycle here:

    Basically, the nitrogen cycle is a small ecosystem of bacteria that take care of the waste that your fish produce. All fish produce waste as they go about their business in the water. This waste is ammonia, and ammonia is actually toxic to fish. That means that you want ZERO ammonia in the water, in ideal circumstances. Any exposure to ammonia could produce temporary to permanent damage in the fish's gills and generally shorten their life span.

    The good news is that there are natural bacteria in the water that live on ammonia (the fish waste). However, 2 things: 1) it takes a while for the bacteria to grow and multiply enough so that all the ammonia is taken care of and 2) your particular fish, goldfish, produce *a lot* of ammonia.

    The bacteria that eat ammonia produce their own waste in the form of nitrite, with an I. Nitrite is also unfortunately toxic for your fish, meaning that ANY nitrite in the tank will hurt your fish either temporarily or permanently. The good news there is that there are, yes, bacteria that live on nitrite. However, same caveat: it takes a while for them to grow enough to actually take care of all the nitrite.

    There's one more step, and that is the bacteria that feed in nitrite produce nitrate, with an A. Nitrate isn't *as* toxic to your fish, but nitrate in large quantities is still bad. But once you get the whole "cycle" going (ammonia being turned into nitrite being turned into nitrate, all thanks to bacteria) then you can basically do weekly maintenance (like do 25% water changes) to keep too much nitrate from accumulating in your tank.

    The bad news, again, is that you are way overstocked. A rule of thumb people often use is 1 inch of adult fish per gallon of water. There are problems with that rule of thumb, but it gives you a basic place to start. Your goldfish's adult size is something like 5-6 inches. AND goldfish, compared to other fish of the same size, produce more waste. Which means that they're going to poison themselves by living in their waste faster than other fish. Your goldfish may be small now but are already way cramped in a 5 gallon tank. They produce a lot of ammonia, and there is not likely to be enough bacteria in the tank to cope with that. The recommended aquarium for goldfish is 20 gallons for just ONE goldfish, and at least 10 gallons per fish after that. Which means we're talking 40+ gallons for your 3 goldfish.

    More bad news: your koi fish in particular are not suitable fish for aquarium living. They get *huge* and belong in 1,000+ gallon ponds, where they can grow to be well over a foot long and have room to swim. The koi *in particular* need to go, maybe just back to the store you got them from.

    Edit: oh wow, I didn't even see the pleco part. Plecos are also major waste producers and can't live in the 5 gallon that you have. Unfortunately as all the above posters have indicated, basically none of the fish you purchased can live comfortably or long term in a 5 gallon tank *alone*, much less all together. They simply produce too much waste and will get way too big. The only fish that could live comfortably in a 5 gallon such as that is probably a betta fish. However, you'd have to get a heater for it, because it's a tropical fish and does best in waters 78-82 degrees.

    Finally, some good news: you can help your fish cope as your tank cycles naturally by doing partial water changes, probably about 50%, everyday. Ideally, you're going to re-home the fish into a bigger tank as well, as the 5 gallon tank just cannot be their permanent home. Make sure that when you do the water changes, you use a water conditioner such as Prime. Tap water generally has been treated with chlorine, which unfortunately will wipe out any of that beneficial bacteria that you're trying to grow. Prime will also help the fish maintain their slime coat, and neutralize the toxins in the water until your next water change (in 24 hours).
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2010
  8. rae64Well Known MemberMember

    Welcome to fishlore! :party0011:

    I agree, return the fish. There are some species that will live happy long lives in 5 gallons, such as a single Indian Dwarf Puffer or a single betta fish. Unfortunately, most Pet Stores do not give proper advice to new fish keepers. The koi you have been sold will grow to lengths nearing 2 feet, and the goldies will become massive as well. The algae eater is likely a pleco, which too will grow in excess of a foot. I would return all the fish and try to do a fishless cycle, which I will explain in a minute.

    Now on to the nitrogen cycle.... this is a natural bacterial consumption cycle that controls fish waste in aquariums. Basically, when fish poo, their waste produces ammonia. Ammonia is a toxic chemical that is very toxic to fish, even in small amounts. If given time to build up, this will ultimately kill your fish. But, luckily, there is a bacteria that will convert the ammonia into a less toxic (but stil harmful) Nitrite. Then, the next bacteria kicks in, to remove the nitrite and turn it into nitrate. (yes, they are confusing.... the ITE comes before the ATE.) Nitrate is removed by small, frequent water changes, of about 20%. All this bacteria lives in filter media, gravel, and on all other surfaces of the tank.

    There is a trick to the nitrogen cycle though. All the bacteria does not immediately build up to handle however many fish you put in there. It is important to let it build up before you put fish in, so that the bacteria can handle the waste. This is called fishless cycling. A small piece of raw shrimp of other fish (shrimp is best though) in a panty-hoe will produce the ammonia needed to culture the bacteria. You can get a test kit or have the pet store test your water for you (API is the recommended brand on this site, it is accurate and not too pricey for the number of tests you get) Once the test kit reads that there is 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, and some nitrate, you are cycled, and it is safe to add a fish. The shrimp can then be removed, and the fish waste will take it's place.

    The bacterial-biology part of fish keeping is one of the most important, but you also have to have the right equipment. A filter rated at least 50 gallons per hour is needed for your tank, as well as a small heater to keep the water temperature warm. You then can choose gravel, sand, or other substrate, as well as decorations.

    Now on to chemicals... some are good, some are bad. You really only need one, and that is Prime. Prime is a chemical that converts the ammonia in your tank to a harmless form for 24 hours, while still keeping the ammonia avaliable for consumption by the bacteria. It also removes chlorine and chloramine, which will kill fish and bacteria. You need to condition water with every water change with this stuff. It has a bit of a odor, but is a great product.

    Now for maintenance... once your tank is set up, a weekly 20-50% water change is suggested. This keeps nitrate levels down. Make SURE you condition your water and get it the right temperature before adding it back. You will also need a gravel vacuum (a hose that you can siphon muck out of the gravel with) to clean the bottom of the tank. Do this with every water change. Filter media lasts for ages, and can just be rinsed in old tank water.

    Once you have proper equipment and the tank is cycled, etc, you can begin to think about what fish are appropriate to add. I would suggest a male betta fish or dwarf puffer for your tank. They are readily avaliable and very personable fish. It is important to research the requirements for all fish before purchase, as most stores do not give necessary information.

    Sorry for writing a book! LOL hope this helps, if you need anything else, feel free to post something on my profile! Happy fishkeeping!

    EDIT: sorry for the repeat info from above... didnt see that before I posted!
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2010

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