Lots of questions about cleaning & maintance Help

  1. mkmallory3 Initiate Member

    Hello, I have had my tank since August 2009. I am new to all of this!! SO I need some advise. I have lots of uestions:
    1. What can I use to clean the inside glass of the tank?
    2. Everyone is talking about water changes. I have only added water to my tank thus far. How often should I be changing the water? And I use the Tetra Safe water conditioner, do I add enough for the amount of new water or enough for the entire tank (10 gallons)?
    3. Filters.....I was told that once a week I could pull the blue filter out and rinse the filter. Is that enough of should I be doing something else?
    4. Everyone is talking about "testing" the water, and "cycles". I don't test my water thus far. How important is testing, and what product should I get?
    5. How many fish can I keep in my tank? Of the fish that I currently have only two have much color. People that look at my tank only think I have two fish. BUt really I have the 2 Platy's / 1 Zebra Danio / 3 Neon Tetra / 1 Skunk Cory Catfish. I want my atnk to look beautiful and colorful!!!!!
    Thanks for any help that I can get! This was my sons present but I have become the one that is getting really involved in this tank!!!
     
  2. Meenu Fishlore VIP Member

    hi welcome to fishlore.

    The nitrogen cycle is basically this (you should read this link as well):
    Your tank has ammonia from the waste the fish produce. The beneficial bacteria living on the surface of your gravel and filter media eats the ammonia, changing it to nitrite. Another beneficial bacteria converts that into nitrates.

    Any amount of ammonia or nitrites can be lethal to fish. A small amount of nitrates are fine (5-20). Once your tank is cycled, it means you have enough benefical bacteria growing to eat all the ammonia and nitrites, making your tank a healthy place to live. Your readings should be 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, and 5-20 nitrates.


    So, to make sure your water is healthy, it is important to test it with an accurate kit. The most recommended is the API master test kit. The strips are not accurate, and this kit contains liquid tests.

    In your tank, testing the water should be a high priority. Since you've not done a water change for the life of this tank, your nitrates are probably sky high.

    A good water conditioner is Prime by a company called Seachem. It will remove chlorine, etc., but also detoxify nitrates, nitrites, and ammonia for 24 hours.


    As far as the filter, what kind do you have? Do you know if it contains carbon?
    And to clean the inside of the tank, I use a scrubber I purchased at a fish store. I think you can use a NEW sponge, but be careful that it doesn't have detergent already in it, or any perfumes. You also need a gravel vaccuum to suck up fish waste and leftover food from the gravel.

    As far as stocking, it seems like you are pretty well stocked for a tank this size. However, danios, neon tetras, and cories are schooling fish, and need more than you have. Keep a close eye on your tank for any signs of fish being picked on. Danios aren't too colorful, but your neons and platies should be. If they aren't, it could be stress from poor water conditions.

    The API test kit (I really recommend that you buy this one) is a bit pricy, but it is worth the expense. In the end, it ends up cheaper than the strips because it performs hundreds of tests. Also, you're buying accuracy and peace of mind, in my opinion.

    This was my 5th edit of this post - I'll keep adding more information for you as I think of it, if you'd like.

    I know all of this seems overwhelming at first. Before you worry about stocking, lets get your tank clean. And before we worry about cleaning the tank, lets get your water parameters straightened out... so basically, first thing is to test the water. :)
     

  3. mkmallory3 Initiate Member

    Thank You> I will get a test kit. And with help we will move forward!!! Yes I would like you to let me know if you think of anything else that I need to be doing!
     
  4. Meenu Fishlore VIP Member

    great, see if you can pick up the Prime at the same time. We're going to get your tank cycled, and I think that you're going to need it. Also, don't buy it yet, but see if they sell Tetra Safe Start (that exact brand name and product). If your water parameters are wacky, you may be able to use TSS to cycle your tank much quicker.
     

  5. gunner13 Well Known Member Member

    Hi MK, In your aquarium info it says your temp is 65-70, thats too low m8. You need to turn it up to between 75-78. Hope this helps.

    Nick
     
  6. Tony G. Fishlore VIP Member

    Welcome to Fishlore! Well, meenu couldnt have said it better LOL

    you're in good hands, so good luck!

    Oh, one thing, it is reccomended to do a WC when your nitrates in the 20ppm readings, since you havent done a waterchange since you started i suggest you do a 50% water change right now to lower the levels, Make sure you add water conditioner (dechlorinator) with the new water.

    :;hi1
     
  7. Beth1965 Well Known Member Member

    Welcome to FL!! The above is great advice.
     

  8. iloveengl Well Known Member Member

    :sign0016: to fishlore MKMallory!

    Great info so far from our members! :;th

    1. Any new sponge will work. Make sure it's brand new from the package and doesn't contain any antibacterials or any other pre-soap on it. Test it in a corner first to be sure it doesn't scratch your tank. They also make these magnetic scrapers they sell at lfs that work great.

    2. Water changes vary depending if your tank is cycled or not, how stocked it is, the types of fish, etc. For an uncycled tank, daily/every-other-day 30-50% pwc + a daily dose of prime for whole tank. A cycled tank is usually 10-20% once a week or so - whatever it takes to keep the nitrates bellow 20 ppm. A test kit is very important to know how much needs to be changed and how often.

    3. That sounds great. Rinse it in siphoned tank water. Chlorine in tap water will kill the good bacteria on it. If it has carbon in it, cut the carbon out and throw away the carbon after 3 weeks. The padding is still good to keep using/rinsing.

    4. Meenu has some info to cover this question. You may not find Prime where you live. Amquel Plus is another option. Not sure if you'll find that either, so you may need to order online. To check products in your area, the key is that it needs to "neutralize ammonia and nitrite." BEWARE any product that claims to automatically cycle your tank, UNLESS it's Tetra SafeStart. The other products are gimmicks and cause false cycles that depend on repeated use of their product.

    5. Until your tank is cycled, I don't suggest adding any fish.

    IF it's cycled (and only a quality liquid test kit will tell you this), you may have to return/exchange some of the fish you have to fit better with their needs. For example, livebearers (like your platies) need to be kept in all the same sex OR 2-4 females per male; otherwise, your males will literally harass your female to death. If you do male and female platies, you will have 20-40 fry every month. Danios need schools of at least 6 and are probably better for 15g or larger tanks. Neons are especially sensitive to the cycle process and may not survive a fish-in cycle. If they do survive, they like groups of 6 and 10g is a nice size for them. Your panda cory would really like one or two more cory buddies.

    You're asking great questions! :;th
     
  9. Meenu Fishlore VIP Member

    If you find the Amelquel Plus instead of the Prime, just be careful with the API test. The ammonia test gives some members false results with Amelquel Plus, and those members purchased a powder-based ammonia test from the manufacturer's website. Although one member (I'm sorry, I don't remember who) says that if you add the Amelquel Plus to the water container rather than the tank and shake very well, you won't get the false readings. And make sure it is PLUS, not just Amelquel. (This is why I recommend the Prime over the Amelquel Plus. My local fish store (LFS) carries both, but I bought the Prime for this reason, too.)

    Also, Tetra Ammonia Safe detoxifies ammonia, but doesn't act as a general water conditioner, and I don't think it does anything to nitrates and nitrites either. It's another reason that Prime (and Amelquel Plus) is a better choice: it's multifunctional.

    I've not had luck finding these products at the larger chain stores like PetSmart, but all the locallyowned stores seem to carry them.

    Finding TSS is much more of a challenge.



    What you want to do with your filter is first determine if it has charcoal. If it does, cut out the coal and throw away just that part. Then you can put the filter back in. Most of the beneficial bacteria grows on your filter media, so we don't recommend changing the filter unless it is falling apart. I personally think the weekly rinses are too much. Every time you rinse it, you are disturbing the bacterial colony, washing some of it away. I would say only rinse it when it is getting really gross.

    You definitely don't want to rinse it with tapwater. The chlorine, etc. in the tapwater kill the bacteria. The way to rinse it is this: when you are doing a water change, keep some of the water you are going to discard in the bucket. Take your filter media and swish it around in the discarded tankwater to give it a little bit of a rinse, and then discard the water.
     
  10. alicem Member Member

    Hi and welcome. :;hi1
    You have been given some great advise above. :;th
    Here's my :;2cents
    Once you are sure your tank is cycled, if you can return/exchange the danio and platies,
    I'd suggest adding 5 skunk corydoras, for a total group of 6, to patrol the bottom
    and have a total school of 6 neons, for mid water.
    That would make a pretty, tank full of fish.

    Having groups of the same species makes the fish feel safer and they will be out and about more in your tank.

    Partial water changes are very important. In your 10G things can go south in a hurry.
    Keeping the water partially changed out weekly, by 10-30% depending on your test numbers, will keep things a little more stable.
    In your 10 gallon tank: 10% = 1 gallon & 20% = 2 gallons, so that's not alot of water to have to deal with.

    Be careful to have the temp of the replacement water very close to the temp in the tank.
    I agree, the temp should be around 78 degrees. You'll want a quality heater for your aquarium.

    If you add the dechlorinator to the replacement water before adding it to the tank ,
    you'll only need to use enough for the replacement water amount.
    hth,
    alicem
     

  11. Meenu Fishlore VIP Member

    I like the neon/cory stocklist, except that I think that 12 fish for a 10 gallon is overstocked, and as the fish get bigger, it'll become even more difficult to keep the water parameters steady. Also, I assumed that you'd want to keep the platies, since they are your most colorful fish. I actually would ask you to think about 3 cories, 2 male platies, and maybe a male guppy or two. You'd end up with a very colorful tank that way.

    But I still say that your final stocklist is the least of your concerns at this point (although the most fun to think about). I vote for getting your water good before adding more fish.
     
  12. alicem Member Member

    I vote for that too, 100%
    :)
    alicem