Lots of questions for newbie..

sublime
  • #1
HI all,

I've had a 5 gallon hex tank for several years and work in fish lab, however I realized I need so help form people who have fish as pets and maintain their tanks.

First for both the tanks they are up grades (I would have loved to get one huge tank but size in my room would not allow, and the large tank is mine but at my bf house and he cares for them under my guide). For new tank mates personality would be great to!

One tank is a 28 gallon bow (marineland) kit, and one of the new tank mates has to be a pitcus catfish (he is in a 10 gal hex and ate all the fish that were with him). I know now that they should be in a group so I was thinking 1-2 more pitcus. 1. What would be good tank mates for him?? 2. He is so big for him tank now, I know I need to cycle the tank but is there any jumpstarting it? 3. Should I put live plants in his tank (I have a feeling he will dig them up...but maybe a few to help cycle the tank)? 4. I'd like to put dwarf gouramis and maybe corys (whatever goes in I am a little scared he might try to eat)?

I also got a 10 gallon kit for my desk. 5. Its still in the box and I was wondering if anyone knows if a 20 gallon (or another 28 bow) would be to much weight for most desk, is there a way to test it? Tankmates must include my betta (not aggressive to my corys; or algeeater, who died, what so ever) and two corys. 6. I was thinking about a small school fish that stays near the top of the tank, any suggests (as the betta thinks his a cory and hangs out with them 80% of the time)?? 7. What live plants might be good, or are they not needed?

8. To jumpstart the new tanks can I put the old filters in? 9. Whats a good kit for testing if the water is ready?

Thanks so much!
 
0morrokh
  • #2
Pictus can get to 6" so I'm not sure, but a tank larger than the 28 might be necessary.

1. Good tankmates=Big fish, too large to eat (you've already found out they're fish eaters).
2. The best way to jumpstart the cycle is to use filter media from the old tank in the new filter. You could also get a product called Bio Spira which is a bit pricey but cycles the tank instantly.
3. Since pictus are carnivores I don't think they'd bother plants, but not sure.
4. Be careful with multiple dwarf gouramis...the males can be aggressive. If you want 2 you could get a pair, but most places only carry males. Most cories stay under 2-3", I'd be afraid of them getting eaten.
5. I wouldn't put anything over 10gal on anything other than a specially made aquarium stand. Remember that water weighs 8 lbs per gal and plus the gravel, a 20 could weigh 200+ lbs.
6. There are no shoaling fish that are compatible with Bettas, since most will nip the Betta's fins. Best to stick with just the cories.
7. If you are looking for hardy low-light plants, java fern, java moss, Anubias. Bettas love plants.
8. Yes
9. The API Master test kit, or individual API kits for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate (I consider a pH kit optional).
 
Coryd55
  • #3
He covered pretty much everything.

To be more specific water weighs 8.3 pounds per gallon. So the close to exact weight of just a 10 gallon on a desk would be around 85-90 pounds. A 20 would be somewhere around 171 pounds and a 28 gallon would be about 237 pounds.

So I would strongly advise nothing over 10 gallons. I have a empty ten on my desk right now. I haven't set it up yet but its going to be my QT/Fry tank.

I'm not sure if there is a way to safely test it unless you still have the box for the desk and it says on the box how much weight can go on it. You could stand on it I guess? But I would be cautious because we don't want you falling through your desk =).

Hoep that helps
 
0morrokh
  • #4
To be more specific water weighs 8.3 pounds per gallon. So the close to exact weight of just a 10 gallon on a desk would be around 85-90 pounds. A 20 would be somewhere around 171 pounds and a 28 gallon would be about 237 pounds.

Yes but don't forget most tanks have 1-2 lbs of gravel per gal...so that could be another 30 lbs to the 28.
 
sublime
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
Thanks for the advice!

What fish would be good with the pitcus in a 28 bow?

And for the ten gal there's no small schooling fish that would be able to live together? I don't know if there are any others but there's a fish the only swims on the top on top, like freshwater butterflyfish?? Would they work?
 
0morrokh
  • #6
There's a Betta in the 10 gal, right? The only fish compatable with Bettas are small catfish.
 
COBettaCouple
  • #7
Welcome to FishLore.

Sounds like your questions have been answered already but I'll add that we have used the "stand on it" test on furniture ourselves to put a 10 gallon on a dresser and 2 10g's & a
5 gallon on another dresser. It's not exactly scientific but both pieces were pretty solidly built so I'd look at the construction of your desk. I have a 6.6g bookshelf tank on the desk here. (One of our Betta tanks.) Unless your desk is rather long or built very solid, I probably would only go up to 10 gallon on it.

Right now your betta is in a 5 gallon hex, right? Cories and Otos are the only fish I'd recommend for a betta tank and it sounds like your Betta already has 2 cory tankmates?

- this is the Pictus that you have, right? With a 28g tank, I think you could get your pictus a couple buddies (they are ok by themselves though) and still have room for a couple of larger fish like the profile I linked to recommended. How big is your Pictus now? Whatever you put in the 28g with him probably should be around his size or bigger and put in the tank before him.
 
sublime
  • Thread Starter
  • #8
Omorrokh, yes the betta would be in the 10 tank. What about black dimaond corys (they swim in the mid of the tank? Or filter-feeding fish? (he really thinks his a cory, the betta that is and has never niped them, they even share the food on the top, for betta, and bottom, for corys, of the tank). The oto I had picked on the betta, who now lives with 2 corys.

Thanks CBC.. Yep that's my boy, his about 5 inchs...I cannot find the min tank size for pictus, every site has something different?? I think he might be better my himself, and I want the 28 gal for a commity tank.
 
Barbrella
  • #9
What about black dimaond corys (they swim in the mid of the tank? Or filter-feeding fish?

Do you mean Black Diamond tetras? If so, you can't keep them with a betta as they would no doubt nip his fins.

Or filter-feeding fish?

No idea what you mean by that? Could you elaborate a bit?
 
susitna-flower
  • #10
Welcome Sublime, to fishlore, Only one thing I would add and that is you can speed up the cycle by adding Bio-Spira (live bacteria), which is available at GOOD fish stores, or
It is expensive, but worth it.
 
sublime
  • Thread Starter
  • #11
Do you mean Black Diamond tetras? If so, you can't keep them with a betta as they would no doubt nip his fins.
No idea what you mean by that? Could you elaborate a bit?

Black Diamond Cory Cat, Corydorus hastatus, super cute and tiny, from azgardens, this is what they say, "A very small “mid-water shoaling” cory in that it doesn't spend as much time on the substrate as other Cory's do, and seems to prefer to sit on the leaves of aquarium plants rather than sitting on the bottom. You should house these dwarf Cory's with each other in a shoal with about about 1 dozen being a nice number in a species tank, as these small Corydoras will not do well in a community tank with robust tank mates unless they are housed with small non aggressive Characins. This is the smallest Cory to date and the females usually are a bit bigger than the males. They are similar to Corydoras pygmaes, but the black diamond shape in the caudal peduncle and into the tail of hastatus, with the top and bottom of this diamond ringed with white, tells them apart as pygmaes sports a black band that runs the full length of the body, ending just short of the tail end, and ending in a slightly broader band"

Filter-feeders...as in fish that eat zooplankton or algae in the water..or is that only calms, shrimp and such??

Really any fish that will not nip his fins?..... cause hes a mush


Cool... thanks susitna-flower.
 
0morrokh
  • #12
The dwarf cories are great little fish. Get at least 6, twice that if possible. Since your Betta already gets along well with cories it should be fine to get more cories. Just make sure to put all the other cories into the tank before you put the Betta in. This helps prevent aggression, although sounds like that's not an issue with your guy. Oh btw I believe Corydoras pygmaeus is actually a bit smaller than habrosus.

There are probably some out there but I am not aware of any Freshwater fish that are filter feeders. There are a lot of inverts that are.
 
sublime
  • Thread Starter
  • #13
The dwarf cories are great little fish. Get at least 6, twice that if possible. Since your Betta already gets along well with cories it should be fine to get more cories. Just make sure to put all the other cories into the tank before you put the Betta in. This helps prevent aggression, although sounds like that's not an issue with your guy. Oh btw I believe Corydoras pygmaeus is actually a bit smaller than habrosus.

There are probably some out there but I am not aware of any Freshwater fish that are filter feeders. There are a lot of inverts that are.

Cool....ohh they are very cute! I was hopeing they would be ok....

Since they are so tiny would 12 in a 10 gal be ok for them, the betta, and two emerld corys??
 
COBettaCouple
  • #14
You'll want to keep about 10" (adult size) of fish in there. Allowing 2.5" for your Betta and 7" for your emerald corys pair, you're up to 9.5" already. It would be overstocking some, but you could probably put a trio of them in the tank with the betta & emerald corys - just watch the water chemistry more closely and probably do a little more frequent partial water changes.

You also don't want too many of them, or your Betta might start to get stressed by so many tankmates. I would watch him to make sure he's happy with 5 other fish in his tank.

Cool....ohh they are very cute! I was hopeing they would be ok....
Since they are so tiny would 12 in a 10 gal be ok for them, the betta, and two emerld corys??
 
sublime
  • Thread Starter
  • #15
Thanks CBC!
 
0morrokh
  • #16
If the tank is well planted, and considering dwarf cories are super tiny and Bettas don't produce much waste (their bioload is hardly near that of a 2.5" platy )...you might be able to cheat and overstock a little. But dwarf cories don't appreciate less than ideal water quality, so a lot of water changes would be necessary.

Are your emerald cories Brochis splendens? (I ask because a lot of stores are pretty inconsistent about what they call their cories.)
 
sublime
  • Thread Starter
  • #17
hmmm, I checked out Brochis splendens and that is what they look like....

Only what about drift wood, I got a mid-small and small piece. Would they be considered cluttering up the bottom of the tank? Do corys like it better then gravel (I used the gravel they helps the plants take root better).

I also put some moss on the bottom, "grass", two tallish plants and a banana plant that floats on top. Do all banana plants drop to the bottom once they are big enough?

 
jsalemi
  • #18
My corys like the driftwood in the tank -- it gives them hiding places, and they're all over it cleaning whatever food or other stuff that falls on it. But they prefer the gravel (or sand) to dig around in.
 
COBettaCouple
  • #19
If you put driftwood in a tank with a Betta, as with any decoration or fake plant, check it for any spots (inside and outside) that could snag pantyhose.. if there are, then it's not recommended with how delicate Betta fins are. They easily tear and that leads to fin rot, which is the bane of Betta owners.
 
penguin02
  • #20
So I've had a 6 gallon tank for about a month and a half now. A few sources told me that I shouldn't buy something to test the water for a tank that small, because it's a waste of money. So I decided to let the tank run on it's own. I haven't added any bacteria or anything, (which I have no knowledge on). I pretty much just let the tank sit for a while.

Then we went to the fish store, and talked to a lady there who owns fish tanks of her own. She helped us pick out a few fish that would do well in a starter tank:
-1 platy
-1 dalmatian molly
-1 glofish tetra

I posted here once before, because the Dalmatian Molly mysteriously died. I was advised to get the fish out of the tank right away, because the tank was too small for them. But since then I've gotten a balloon molly to replace the dalmatian, and 2 fancy male guppies.

I realize I have stocking issues, and I'm going to upgrade as soon as possible. The platy, the glofish, and the molly all get along very well. They sometimes swim around together in a school, and they never fight or anything. None of them show any signs of disease, and they eat very well.

The guppies are the newest additions to the tank, and they're not doing as well. One of them is just shy, but he still eats normally and occasionally swims around with the other fishies. The second little guy used to be full of energy for the first three days we had him, but suddenly just stopped. Now he spends a lot of time at the bottom of the tank, and he doesn't eat very much. I'm assuming it has something to do with my water (since I haven't really added much to it besides simple chlorine purifier). I do regular water changes (almost every day, about 30-40 percent) since I know I have an overstocked tank.

Since all the other fish seem healthy, I don't want to lose the little guy... Is there any advice you'd give me to help him out? It's been 36 hours since I first noticed him acting strangely, and he's not died yet. Around 2:00 today he swam around with his fellow guppy for a while, then sank back down to the bottom. I don't think there's anything physically wrong with him... And all the other fish seem relatively healthy. None of them ever pick on him or anything, so it can't be that.

Could you guys also give me some advice on the best tap water purifier? I'm using some stuff I got at the pet store, but I want to know what all the pros use. Also, is it true that I don't need to check my water parameters since the tank is so small?

And again, I know it's overstocked. I'm working on upgrading as soon as I can. Here's the current stock:
-1 platy
-1 glofish tetra
-1 black balloon molly
-2 fancy male guppies

Plus a hollow tikI aquarium ornament that the platy and guppies love to hide in, and a fake plant that the glofish sleeps in every night.
 
JordanEmbry
  • #21
I used to raise guppies as a kid but don't have much experience with them in my adult fishkeeping. I recently purchased a few from a pet store, just for fun in one my heavily planted tanks, and my water parameters were A-okay. Within weeks, one by one they all grew lethargic and eventually died.

You're correct about needing a bigger tank. I work suggest that ASAP. I've found bigger tanks are also MUCH easier to cycle.

As for your guppy, there may not be anything you can do. The fact is, store bought guppies are terribly, terribly inbred. They are prone to diseases and birth defects.

Are you doing water changes regularly? Without testing your water (the kits are expensive) it would be hard to say for sure where the issue lies. Stores like petsmart and Petco will test your water for free.

On a side note, healthier fish can usually be found at LFS and you don't have to worry as much about the inbreeding of corporate stores.
 
penguin02
  • #22
Yeah... The tank was a Christmas present from my parents. They thought I could get some fish in it and be fine... Turns out we can only have a Betta. I don't know the best way to tell them I need an upgrade, especially since I got the tank so recently. I don't want to sound ungrateful to them, because I truly do love the tank.

Maybe it would be best to return the fish and stick with a Betta? Would fish stores even accept returned fish? Seems I've gotten myself in quite the situation here... :/
 
JordanEmbry
  • #23
Some fish stores will take back the fish. Yes.

Some will even return your money. Others won't.

If you're willing to do REGULAR water changes and keep a close eye on things, the tank may be fine as is.

But, for the sake of the fishs, an upgrade would be best.

Personally I don't keep anything in a tank under 10 gallons but most people suggest nothing less than 5.

Just think over your options and stay calm. Research more and figure out which is the right choice for you.
 
penguin02
  • #24
I already do water changes every day or two to try and keep them healthy. I considered ordering some sort of shrimp, to maybe help keep the tank clean. Would this just add to my water issues, or would it be beneficial?

The shy guppy is more outgoing today, while the little energetic guppy is hiding under the tiki. He's swimming in place, but won't come out. Even when the other fish come "sniff" him, he just stays put. I don't think he's eaten all day, unless he scavenged the gravel while I was away. Starting to get a bit worried about him.
 
Wystearya
  • #25
Yeah... The tank was a Christmas present from my parents. They thought I could get some fish in it and be fine... Turns out we can only have a Betta. I don't know the best way to tell them I need an upgrade, especially since I got the tank so recently. I don't want to sound ungrateful to them, because I truly do love the tank.

Maybe it would be best to return the fish and stick with a Betta? Would fish stores even accept returned fish? Seems I've gotten myself in quite the situation here... :/


Yes, I think returning the fish and getting a Betta is a good idea.

If you tell the store you can't keep the fish they should take them back. I know the stores don't always know better, but you can tell them your tank isn't big enough. Or tell them you want a Betta instead because you can better care for one with your setup.

If you do get a Betta, make sure you have a heater and filter, if you don't already.

Proper Betta food too, Omega One pellets are a good brand. Frozen Bloodworms are also a good food.

Doing some research about Betta care *before* you get one would be a good idea too.
 
penguin02
  • #26
Say I were to upgrade tanks. What tank would you recommend I get? What filter? Do I need a heater? Also, what do I need to add to the water (I heard there was bacteria you could add, but I have no clue where to get that)? And also, what tap water purifier do you use?

That's a lot of questions all at once, but I'm just trying to get a feel for how much it would cost me to get a new tank. Also, would it be a good idea to get some shrimp for the tank I have now, to keep it clean? Or would that just make the water levels worse?

If I were to get an upgrade, it'll take a while to get the tank shipped here and get it fully cycled. What should I do to keep the fish alive until then?

Thank you for all the help.

So I did a bit of research on tanks, and I'm shocked to see that most quality 20 gallon tanks are 60-100 dollars! I never would have expected them to cost that much! Do you think a 10-15 gallon would be okay for my current stock, plus a few RCS? Like I said before, it's the water quality that's the issue. I'm not having any troubles with aggression (I heard that Glofish need a school, but mine is fine without) and they all seem pretty happy... Then again, I could be horribly wrong.

If a 10-15 isn't big enough, what quality tanks are there, for a good price?
 
Punkin
  • #27
I can answer a few of your questions. Aqueon has good tanks and heaters. Aquaclear and Marineland Penguin are good filters. You'll need a filter that processes 8-10 times your gallon size per hour. Example: a 20 gallon tank should have a filter that filters 180-200 gallons per hour. Tetra safe start plus and stability are good bacteria starters, most chain pet stores and amazon has them. Prime is a great dechlorinator, many here on the forum recommend it and I use it as well.

Shrimp are very sensitive to water conditions. I wouldn't recommend them at this time.

I'm not super knowledgeable about how to handle the fish you have right now, but I am sure others will come by to help with that.

So I did a bit of research on tanks, and I'm shocked to see that most quality 20 gallon tanks are 60-100 dollars! I never would have expected them to cost that much! Do you think a 10-15 gallon would be okay for my current stock, plus a few RCS? Like I said before, it's the water quality that's the issue. I'm not having any troubles with aggression (I heard that Glofish need a school, but mine is fine without) and they all seem pretty happy... Then again, I could be horribly wrong.

If a 10-15 isn't big enough, what quality tanks are there, for a good price?
I believe petco may have their $1 per gallon sale. I do not keep the kind of fish you have so I am not too familiar with their size and temperature requirements. There are several members on this site who are excellent with stocking suggestions when you are ready.
 
BottomDweller
  • #28
Your molly needs at least 29 gallons and your tetra needs to be kept in groups of 6 or more.

Shrimp will not keep your tank clean. They might eat some algae or leftover food but they will add to the bioload a little . They poop too! They are also pretty sensitive.
 
el337
  • #29
HI

I would get at least a 29 gallon to house all those fish together. Glofish tetras would also need at least 6+ of their own species but I wouldn't add any more fish until you're cycled. Petco's having their dollar per gal sale so this would be a good opportunity to upgrade.

As for the other equipment, you'd want to get a filter that has a flow rate of at least 8-10x your tank size so if you're going with an HOB filter, I'd get one that does at least 300gph (if you were to get a 29g). Yes, you'll need a heater that is 3-5x per gallon.

I wouldn't trust those sources that told you you don't need a test kit. Knowing your water parameters for ANY tank size is essential in this hobby. I would get the API Master Test Kit which will test for pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate. As for a water conditioner, Seachem Prime is the best one there is as it detoxifies ammonia and nitrite up to 1ppm for 24 hours. You'll also want to pick up a bacteria supplement that will help you cycle the tank. Seachem Stability is good as it will allow you to do water changes while providing the bacteria needed. It's not instantaneous as it will still take you about 2-3 weeks to cycle. Monitor parameters daily and anytime ammonia and nitrite get to 1 or above, do at least a 50% water change. If under, you can dose Prime for the full tank volume to protect the fish. You'd dose Stability daily until you're cycled.

Hope I've covered as much info you need but don't hesitate to ask any further questions.
 
penguin02
  • #30
I'm looking at petco, and it looks like their 20 gallons are SUPER expensive. Their 40 gallons aren't much more expensive than their 20's... What prices were you thinking, cause I'm only seeing $180+
 
crazycatlady
  • #31
To confirm Petco is having their $1 per gallon sale if you live in the contiguous U.S. through 1/28/17 if I remember the ad correctly. You have to look at your local ad or go into the store they are being sneaky this time and not directly posting it on the website. If you decide to go the route of returning fish keep in mind many LFS have a very strict limited return policy to keep them from losing money on livestock at least in my area. So you may want to check with them. If you bought from a big chain pet store you usually have around two weeks.

I second that small tanks are hard to cycle and that glofish need a a school of at least 6. If upgrading based on your current stock I agree that a 29 gallon would be adequate.
 
el337
  • #32
I'm looking at petco, and it looks like their 20 gallons are SUPER expensive. Their 40 gallons aren't much more expensive than their 20's... What prices were you thinking, cause I'm only seeing $180+

There should be an online ad on their site. Alternatively, craigslist has some great deals on complete setups.
 
Punkin
  • #33
I'm looking at petco, and it looks like their 20 gallons are SUPER expensive. Their 40 gallons aren't much more expensive than their 20's... What prices were you thinking, cause I'm only seeing $180+
I went on petco online and had to put in my zip code and it showed my local ad. Only then did it advertise the $1 per gallon sale up to 55g. (75g in limited locations). I think a 29 is a good suggestion. And it is an aqueon.
 
crazycatlady
  • #34
Yup Punkin that is exactly what I was talking about with Petco too When I clicked on the local ad it looked like aqueon heaters may be on sale in some areas also.

Edit: I do not mean to hijack this thread and turn it into an ad for Petco I just like aqueon's heaters and recommend them.
 
penguin02
  • #35
Thanks for all the help, and I will certainly consider it. After examining the guppy further, I've found that it had HITH. I moved it to a Betta bowl (that's my best version of a quarantine tank) and I'm clueless on what to do. Suggestions?
 
el337
  • #36
What symptoms are you seeing? Can you get a picture?
 
penguin02
  • #37
I'm not home right now, so I can't get a picture. All around the top of it's head seems discolored, almost like the scales are peeling away. There's a big brown dot directly on the back of the head.
 
el337
  • #38
Hmm ok maybe our disease experts can weigh in. Hopefully it's not HITH as I thought it only affected cichlids.
 
penguin02
  • #39
Unfortunately, the Guppy just died.

I didn't know that HITH only affected cichlids... It sure looked like he had it. I'll try and upload a picture tonight. Working on looking for a tank upgrade now, since the fishies obviously need it.
 
penguin02
  • #40
I'm considering this tank instead of a 29 gallon, because it's in my price range. Has pretty good reviews... What do you think? Also, what filter/heater would you recommend if I got this tank?

I've heard about people keeping mollies in a 20 gallon, but I want an expert's opinion.
 

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