My first 5 gallon tank - need advise

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by Guavasorbet, Jul 28, 2014.

  1. GuavasorbetNew MemberMember

    I got a columbian tetra from a friend with a 5 gallon tank on Friday. Since the tank and water was really dirty, I changed out the gravel, filtered the water and changed out 70% of the water. That fish is still doing fine. I got two guppies (one lyretail and one fancy guppy) on Saturday and three tiny neon tetra on Sunday. They all seem to be doing well right now. I keep the original filter and some water, so i think there are good bacteria in the tank. But I started reading more about the ammonia and nitrate levels in the tank and then I am starting to feel worried about the sudden spike of ammonia and nitrate due to increase of fish. The columbian tetra used to just live by itself. What is the easiest way to test the water? Is there anything I can do to keep the ammonia and nitrate level low with six fishes in this tank?


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  2. jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    Welcome to FishLore!

    I'm sorry to have to start off with some bad news for you. A 5 gallon tank is really too small for the fish you have and you really should think about finding a way to get a larger tank.

    But to answer your questions:

    It is possible that you will get an ammonia/nitrite spike from the two add'l guppies, but maybe not. But you really should get a test kit so you know. I highly recommend the API Master Test Kit for Freshwater. It contains all the most needed tests (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH). Even though test strips appear less expensive, in the long run they are not (the API kit will perform many more tests), pluse test strips are notorious for being inaccurate. And if you can trust your test results, what good are they.

    If you get a spike in ammonia or nitrites you can do daily partial water changes with a water conditioner called Prime. Prime can detox lowish levels of ammonia/nitrite for 24 hours at which point you would be doing another water change. You would contine these water changes until ammonia and nitrites settle back down to 0ppm.

    Best of luck!

  3. GuavasorbetNew MemberMember

    Thank you! I will go get a test kit today and what the results are.

    Sad news... One neon tetra got caught in the filter and die. Anything I can do to keep the other two from getting caught?

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  4. frogfanValued MemberMember

    If it is an hob filter with a round intake pipe they sell sponge covers that f
    Slide over the intake if its the box type u can slide a nylon stocking over it. Food will get stuck to these and will need to be rinsed in tank water when u do water changes raise in the removed water not in your tank .

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  5. Tetra GuyValued MemberMember

    Welcome to the site Guava. :) Agreed with Jdhef, your tank is a bit small for those fish. It would make a great shrimp and snail tank though:) 10 gallons is a good size for a tight budget and space.

    Good to see you are researching on water parameters. Very important for a successful tank. Nitrogen Cycle. Click on this link, as it has some good info. :)

    Neons are notoriously difficult to care for as they are very finicky fish and are weak to even small changes in water parameters. What kind of filter do you have? External, internal? Can you adjust the flow rate on your filter? if not you could put a piece of polyfilter on the intake tube to keep fish from getting sucked up in there.

    You filter houses most of your BB (Beneficial Bacteria) so don't take your sponge out as this will cause your tank to have to mini cycle, causing spikes.

    How long has your tank been up and running? Do you have live plants? Any d├ęcor?
  6. jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    Sorry about your loss. Generally fish will not get stuck to the filter inlet if the are healthy. Most often the fish has died, then gets sucked to the inlet.
  7. GuavasorbetNew MemberMember

    I have no previous experience in keeping fish so I attached two pictures of the tank for you to see the filter and set up. This tank was in poor condition at work because a coworker left and only one fish was in there. I feel bad for the poor fish so I volunteered to take it home.

    I just want to create a safe and clean environment for these fish so any advise will be really helpful.

    ImageUploadedByFish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum1406572990.693261.jpgImageUploadedByFish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum1406573005.803122.jpg

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  8. GuavasorbetNew MemberMember

    When I woke up this morning, I saw the neon tetra stuck on the intake pipe. I guess maybe it was already weak? For those sponge cover, is it a common thing at pet store? There is a Petco around where i live. The filter is branded Aqua Tank. I got the filter and the tank from work so I have no clue how long it has been running. I am guessing my coworker has had the tank for at least one year.

    P.S. I hope those two neon tetras will stay strong.

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  9. frogfanValued MemberMember

    here is a link to the prefilter petco sells
      its not for the intake but it should fit over the pipe hold it on with a zip tie or something else non toxic if its to loose
  10. JennBoss6New MemberMember

    Yes, tank is too small for these fish. If you want more fish then I suggest in investing for a bigger tank. I got my daughter 30 gallons tank off sale group for $50. It's in nice new like shape.
  11. TJBenderWell Known MemberMember

    Hi Guava,

    Sorry to be another bearer of bad news, but your tank is way too small for the fish you have in it. Way, way too small. The Colombian tetra alone needs a group of six of its own species, and that requires a 30-gallon tank to do. My advice to you would be to rehome the tetras, neon and Colombian, and keep the two guppies. It's a perfect tank for a pair of guppies to share, just make sure they're both male! :)
  12. GuavasorbetNew MemberMember

    TJBender, i will see if i can find someone who wants the fish. The problem is I live in Hawaii and it happens all the time when they move, they have no choice but to leave their fish behind. In the meantime I will keep observing their behaviours.

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  13. frogfanValued MemberMember

    Frequent water changes at least every other day and a second filter ( sponge filters are good if you have a strong enough air pump) will help with the bioload of an over stocked tank but is not an alternative to a size appropriate tank just a quick fix to tide you over till can get an appropriate tank or rehome the fish . A sponge filter and a 10 g air pump will run you about $20 together walmart has a 5-10 g pump for I think $11 I got my sponge filter for $6 then you need airline tubing which is around $2 for 8 feet and a check valve is about another $2 if your pump doesn't have one, the walmart one comes with a check valve. Craigslist is a good place to find used tanks on the cheep side do not pay more then $1 per gallon for a second hand tank maybe a bit more if it has hood , filter , hater, ect.
  14. GuavasorbetNew MemberMember

    Thanks Frogfan. Sounds like a doable plan. How much water would you suggest me to change every other day? 25%?

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  15. frogfanValued MemberMember

    At least 10% if daily 20-25 if you do it every other day frequent water tests will tell u if u need to do more you want your amonia to be 0ppm at all times
    Nitrites 0ppm nitrates 20ppm or less
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    Last edited: Jul 28, 2014
  16. AquaticBrandonWell Known MemberMember

    I agree, a 5 gallon is too small for those fish. You can check craigslist for some really great deals on bigger tanks.

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  17. GuavasorbetNew MemberMember

    I checked the water. The ammonia and nitrate level were way high so I did a water change and added neuturalizer. I also changed the filter so now it has a better one. But I think one more neon tetra die over night again and the main issue here is i can't find it. Ugh.

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    P.S. The parameters are okay now. Ammonia is 0.

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    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 29, 2014
  18. frogfanValued MemberMember

    It may havr been eatten with such a small fish and so many other fish it wouldnt have taken long it may have also gotten sucked into the intake pipe so check inside the filter and in the motor if u can see in the motor

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  19. JennBoss6New MemberMember

    I would think glo fish tetra would be too thick to go up in the pipes? What do I know though.
  20. frogfanValued MemberMember

    I think thy are neon tetras which are pretty small

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