Might be getting a bigger tank, need some clarification on tank setup...

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BettaLover1984

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First off, for those who have talked to me before, my bettas are doing great.  Mars' bubble nest covers almost half of his tank.  ;D And FLBettaCouple, the computer is working wonders as a heater. lol. Maintaining a cozy 74-76 degrees at all times. lol.

Okay, on topic. I was thinking about later this year going with a larger tank, with a divider of course, to get more fish for my betta boys. I've read numerous posts on here and I feel like a complete idiot because half of what you guys are talking about, I'm completely not understanding like cycling and checking the water levels.  I never knew you had to be so thorough as a tropical fish owner.  When I had my 20 gallon tank 6 or 7 years ago, I never did any of that. I had the tank for 4 years, so that would mean I had it 10 or 11 years ago total, and I'm thinking I sold it when I went to 10th grade. I'm 23 now btw. Anywho, I didn't do any of that. I set up my tank, put in the chems needed, let it sit overnight and went to the store the next day and bought my fish, brought em home and let them sit in their bags in the tank for 15 minutes and tada! I had a fish tank.  I don't remember what I had tho. I'll have to look on here at the pics to see if I remember. I didn't know my fish etiquette when I had them and I just called them cleaner fish. lol. They were black  with really light tan barely visible spots I believe and I had 2, 4 of these 2.5 inch long silver in color fish, and 5 tetras I believe but I don't know the type. I also had a betta in with them.  I never had any problems, they handled the cleanings well, the temperature was always good, no filter problems, algae buildup or fish dying. I don't know if I got lucky or what. lol.

I guess what I'm questioning is, do you do all of that to make sure your fish are happier and more healthier and prolonging their lives?? Of course you do, that was a silly question, but what I mean is, how was my way the wrong way and my fish lived perfectly healthy for 4 years until I returned them to the pet store? Yes, they took them back.  I'm pretty sure they wouldn't take back unhealthy fish. Or maybe they would.  I thought what I had was okay and I was a good owner. But I come on here and read everything and now I'm doubting myself in my ability to take care of my fish if everything I did was supposedly wrong? I just really want some clarification if you guys can make out my jumbled thoughts.  I may be overthinking things but I want everything to be right before I commit myself to a larger tank.

Thanks!!
 

COBettaCouple

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I'm glad your computer is such a good heater.

I could be wrong, being new to this myself but i see the point of cycling and checking the water parameters as risk-reduction. Trying to lessen the chances of fish getting sick and increase thier comfort levels. To me, keeping the water clean seems to be the key thing.

I'd say if you were keeping the water clean, you weren't doing everything wrong but probably had a very healthy tank. With good maintenance, i think you were keeping a cycled tank with good water parameters.
 

genie

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I also had fish years ago with no testing and few problems. But I think the testing during the cycling period is the most important because this is the period where you are most likely to lose fish. The reason that I test is to be sure that the water isn't toxic, which can happen fairly fast sometimes. I do think it is important, but I am aware that some people get away with little or no testing and don't lose any fish... I think that is just beginners luck!
 
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BettaLover1984

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Thanks for your responses!

I thought I might have had beginner's luck myself Genie. lol.  But now that I know the proper ways of taking care of fish, I'll be doing it right from now on.  I'm still grasping the cycling and water testing but by the time I get a new tank I'll have it down pat.

I'll be sure to come back here for my help and fish selection when the time comes!

P.S. My cleaner fish were pleco's, silly me. lol. I had 2 in a 20 gallon tank but they were quite small when I bought them and I only had them for 4 years with my other fish. I'm glad I gave them back before they got so big! lol. I looked through all the photos and none of the tetra's sparked a memory for me and my other fish I mentioned is not shown at all although the White Cloud Mountain Minnow is pretty close to what it looked like in size and color.  As I was scrolling through the fish, I remembered that I also had 2 Bala Sharks, which at the time I did not know got so big. I returned them to the store after a year of owning them, but I can't remember the specifics as to why I returned them.  I guess it's pretty bad being a teen and owning a tank without parent supervision, lol,  because knowing most teens, they don't research anything. Or it was just me. lol.  Like I said, I will definitely be coming back here for research and suggestions. Thanks again for everything!!

P.S.S. I just modified this comment. I went to Petsmart the other day and I found out what my one fish was which was a Giant Danio. Still can't remember which tetra I had tho darnit. lol.
 

Yodi

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Hi, my name Is Yodi. I apparently got lucky the first time too. I was 14 when I started my first tropical tank. If I remember right I had bettas and sword tails and two grey sucker fish. Small filter and some drops of chemicals from a bottle and a little bit of water changes, but not very often. My fish thrived and the water was always clear. After a couple years I eventually bought a heater (from k-mart) and over night the heater exploded and electrocuted all my fish. And now, like you, I read all the blogs and everything sounds so technical! I don't have a clue what everyone Is talking about! I had a ten gallon tank then and now (several years later) I have a pretty 30 gallon setup that I'm trying to get ready for fish. Are fish just a little more snobby now than they were when I was a kid? :O) Wish me luck.

Yodi
 

Luniyn

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Actually it's quite possible that the stock of fish is just weaker then it was several years ago. Due to over breeding in not great conditions which is pretty stressful, and being kept in fish tanks at pet stores that is sub par, the general quality of fish being sold today might be substantially less hardy then they were in days past. It's just a unproven theory of mine, but considering how many fish stores there are today compared to even 10 years ago it seems that it might be possible?
 

genie

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I could buy into that theory. ;D
 

Yodi

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I Imagine your theory Is probably a good one. When I was 14 and setting up my tank I bought my tropical fish from K-mart. So back then they probably were alot tougher than they are now, they are much better taken care of In the pet shopd these days.

Yodi
 
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BettaLover1984

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Thanks again for more responses!

I also could agree with your theory Luniyn.

Yodi, I'm sorry to hear about your fish. That was absolutely horrible with the heater explosion. I guess that's what happens when you buy fish supplies from K-Mart. lol. They don't even sell fish anymore and I don't think I ever remember them selling fish. lol. I guess I never paid attention. And if you go with Luniyn's theory, fish I guess could be seen as "snobby" since they aren't as hardy anymore and need the utmost care possible in their water kingdoms. lol. But good luck with your new tank!!!
 

PrayforMojo

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Hi i tested my water and made sure it was safe before i started to put fish in. Now that i can only assume the water is safe because the fish are alive how often would one recommend a water test, or what signs would tell me the water was harming the fish. i do a 25% water change every week and add biological enhancement called cycle to de-chlorinated water. Also i am running a filter good for 40 gal us in a 45 gallon tank is this safe? My tank is not fully populated.
 

Luniyn

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Once you no longer have ammonia or nitrites (i.e. cycle is complete) you can leave those tests to after adding more fish (wait a couple days before testing to give the bio load a chance to increase) or after something else is changed in the tank (new filter, change of plants or decorations, etc.) just to be sure the good bacteria didn't get too displaced for the bio load. Nitrates I would keep testing weekly just till you get an understanding at how fast they rise with your current bio load. Then you will know how often you need to do a water change or if you need to increase it. After that just do spot checks every now and then to be sure they stay low. As for pH I check it every now and again just to be sure it is staying constant, but unless things change in your tank or you have something that will play with the pH (shells, driftwood, etc.) then it's not as important to keep testing this.

Cycle hasn't really had that much of a benefit for the majority of people that have tried it on this forum. It's believed that it is the wrong type of bacteria that your tank needs and that if there is anything added at all, it is just dying off. So it's up to you if you want to keep using it or not, but once you are cycled you already have enough good bacteria for your current bio load so there isn't a need for more. As long as you introduce fish slowly and give your tank a chance to grow more good bacteria you will be fine.

As for the filter, it's generally thought that you should have 10x the water flow of your tank size. So a 45 Gal tank needs 450 gph water flow. If you are at 400 gph then you are close, but I would keep a watch on your ammonia, nitrite, nitrate levels just to be sure things stay good. But it should be ok. You might have to do some gravel cleanings more often since the filter isn't getting some of the load out and it's getting a chance to settle more, but really for just a 50 gph less filter it shouldn't be all that bad. Just keep watch and I think you will be fine.
 

PrayforMojo

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Thank you it was someone at a petland that suggested it primarily used to boost the system when new fish were introduced but i think the old saying slow and steady wins the race is truly the habit i need to get into so i may learn the art of raising some sensitive finned friends thank you for your input i will do a water test soon because i just changed the filter.
 
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