Looking for advice on what to do next :)

  • #1
I got a 5 gallon tank on the 24th of March, and set it up the next day. Gravel, fake plant, fake driftwood. It's the AQUA-Tech HEX 5, with filter and BIO-wheel. I set it up just like the instructions said to, minus the AquaSafe that it supposedly came with, due to the fact that it didn't come with it >< I added Jungle StarRight with Allantoin, which conditions the water, removes chlorine and chloramine, neutralizes harmful metals, and stimulates fish slime coats. I've tested the water several times, and the results are listed below:

pH: 8.4
alkalinity: 300
hardness: 0
nitrite: 0
nitrate: 10

I know I need to adjust the pH, alkalinity, and hardness of the water. I've got no clue what the ammonia levels are, as I don't have a tester kit for that yet.

The water that I'm using is tap water, from the town. The levels in the tank appear to be good for saltwater fish, but I've only done freshwater fish. Two bettas, and guppies when I was younger.

The two bettas I had last year, died when it got too cold. I wasn't able to stick a heater in either of the one gallon tanks that they were in. This tank, there's room for a heater, if I need one. I'm not sure what the water temp is either.

I'm looking for advice on what fish I should get, once I've adjusted the pH, alkalinity, and hardness. So far, I've had people suggest a betta, guppies, and mollies. I am planning on getting a bottom feeder fish, or a couple of ghost shrimp, something to keep the tank relatively clean.

Any advice is welcome I am a college student, so low cost would be nice, but not necessary.

Edit: Pictures of tanks

  • #2
welcome to fishlore!

first off if you can, get an apI master liquid test kit...and do a test...if your tank is ready, you will have 0 ammonia and 0 nitrites and 10-20 nitrates...heres a link for more reading https://www.fishlore.com/NitrogenCycle.htm

a betta would love this tank...its looking awesome..but he does need a heater...

so once it is cycled, you can choose a fish then for it...goodluck!
  • #3
You need a heater for tropical fish. 25 watts will be fine for 5 gallons.

You cannot keep bottom feeders in this tank. Corydoras need to be in groups, and a group can't live in 5 gallons, especially in a tank of this shape which has very little bottom surface. Other bottom feeders grow way too big, as do mollies.

You could put a couple female guppies, or a betta, and some shrimp in there.

If you decide on a betta, make sure those decorations are very smooth, since betta fins tear easily OR, you can get a female.
  • #4
College students need friends too! So I suggest a betta....they have a wonderful personality.

Please, do cycle your tank using the fishless cycle process described in the link you were given for the nitrogen cycle. I am surprised your water is showing nitrates since your tank isn't cycled yet.

This makes the advice about waiting until your ammonia, and nitrite are at 0 and your nitrate 10 just not work.......Both ammonia and nitrite have to spike UP and THEN go down to 0 and the nitrate goes up.....this is the process of growing a healthy population of bacteria that will process the ammonia the fish produce as waste....

You need to get that heater as explained, but also a API Master test kit (liquid) This kit has all the tests that you will need.

Please don't try to adjust ph, or alkalinity for a freshwater tank, as these are something most fish can adjust to if acclimated slowly to your tank. If you want to adjust ph naturally, you can add a piece of real driftwood (no sharp edges) Good Luck and have fun.
  • #5
Welcome to Fishlore.

Sounds like you have good advice to getting your tank on the way to having fish.
  • #6
Wouldn't there be space in a 5G for two otos and a betta?

*looks shiftily at my oto in my 5G with Champion (betta)*
  • #7
otos need to be in schools to be comfortable in the home aquaria. that would be about 6 or more. There would be room for that number in a 10 maybe, but definitely not a five.
  • #8
It would be an overstocked tank, slightly and water changes 2x a week would be what I'd do since the Otos are so sensitive to water conditions. You could look into a 6.6g bookshelf or a 10 gallon tank though. The 6.6g would still need 2x a week water changes, but could allow 3 otos. The 10 gallon would hold a betta and 4 otos comfortably.

Wouldn't there be space in a 5G for two otos and a betta?

*looks shiftily at my oto in my 5G with Champion (betta)*
  • #9
I keep forgetting that my tank is a 6.6 gallon, not a 5 gallon. It's not the bookshelf, though.. I'd kill for one of those, but they don't have that here. Sigh.

The plan was to have 2 otos, but one died the night I brought him home, so I'm down to one. I'm waiting to see if this oto makes it past the month - if he does, I'll look at getting him friends, because I know otos need to be in at least 3 of them. If he doesn't make it, though, I'll leave Champion on his own - I think Champ is actually happier on his own.
  • #10
Hi, Welcome to FishLore,
Nice looking tank! My 5 gallon hex is home to my pretty betta girl.
So that would be my suggestion.
  • #11
They really are happiest on their own, but most Bettas will tolerate the Otos.
  • #12
I have a betta and a shrimp in my 5 gallon. Just the right amount of space!

You do need a heater though, to bring it to 78 degrees.

Welcome to Fishlore!
  • #13
Actually, I was just thinking. If you do get a betta, you can handfeed him/her, like I do. Champion actually jumps at my finger to get food. Handfeeding is good because you don't have any wasted food that sinks to the bottom and fouls up the gravel. So technically, you don't need a bottom-feeder if you get a betta. Any detritus from the betta can be vacuumed up with a gravel vacuum. Unless you're talking algae control, then I'd go back to the otos option.

Just thought I'd throw this out there Can you tell I'm trying to push you to the betta option?
  • #14

Bettas are great fish. The only things they are really compatible with are Otos, other plecos and Corys, but none would go in your tank. Shrimp are fine until they molt - which is when the Betta decides they look like a nice little snack!

You don't need to do anything with the pH, Alkalinity and Hardness. Fish can generally adjust to them, what they don't like are the fluctuations that ocuor when you use chemicals.

You'll need a 25W heater - yeah.

  • #15
as everyone stated you don't want to adjust ph, its very hard on the fish, i've been and lost fish that way(my current fish i've had 2-5 years). Just give them a hour in their bags while slowly adding your water to accilimate. Nice tank. I think some of the deco's might be rough on a betta's fins. What does every one think about 2 platy's, don't they prefer more alkaline water anyway.

oops forgot to add that my tank is 8.0 ph
  • Thread Starter
  • #16
I'm assuming you mean the little plastic spines on the front decoration. They're actually not sharp, but pliable and well, sort of soft XD They wouldn't cut fins, lol.

Also, should I adjust the hardness of the water? I read that fish can't float well when it's too hard or too soft.
  • #17
This is the same tank I bought my mil, I put my guppy fry in it for her and I suggested oto catfish... she bought cory's... which I don't agree w/... but we will change them eventually.... the guppy are dong great in the tank....
  • #18
I'm assuming you mean the little plastic spines on the front decoration. They're actually not sharp, but pliable and well, sort of soft XD They wouldn't cut fins, lol.

Also, should I adjust the hardness of the water? I read that fish can't float well when it's too hard or too soft.

Don't adjust hardness, Alkalinity or pH. I would be a bit worried about those plastic plant things - you'd be surprised how tearable a Bettas fins are! I would think about getting him a cave as well. CoConut caves (Which you can do with DIY) are great and my Betta MalachaI loves his!


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