New Aquarium With Fish Doing Cycle - Worried!

Nicole B
  • #1
Here is my story. We got a 10 gallon tank 2 weeks ago from petco. We were told all of the wrong information so we put fish in a few hours later after we set up our tank. We lost 2 angelfish right away but we still have 3 mollies. We used stresscoat and tetra safe start when we put in our tap water the first day we got our tank. Fast forward to now, one of our mollies had babies a week and 3 days ago. 2 have died, we still have 10 more. We bought the API freshwater master kit and have been testing the water. Our ammonia is off the charts. Nitrate and nitrites are 0. We have been doing water changes for 5 days now and the ammonia has only went down a little bit. Still 0
For nitrates and nitrites. I am getting very worried about our fish. One of the mollies is showing some stress. She is constantly chasing the other female molly away when she comes close to her. I’m not sure if she’s pregnant too but she very well could be as she is pretty fat. Our ammonia isn’t going down fast enough and we’ve been going 25% water changes every day. Also no signs of nitrates or nitrites. Help!! We use stress coat when we do our water changes. What else can we do to make sure our tank cycles and our fish don’t die?!
 
Rocky!!
  • #2
Did you use any water conditioners?? Because clorine in tap water will kill the bb.. resulting in all your tetra safe start bacteria being killed
 
EbiAqua
  • #3
Your tank is too small to support the mollies, and uncycled to boot. Mollies aren't really appropriate for anything under 20 gallons. I'm sorry the pet store gave you bad information, you're not the first person here frustrated with a box store purchase. Is there anyway you can return them? We can help you get cycled and stocked appropriately from there.
 
Rainbows and Fishes
  • #4
I’m sorry for all the stress, I’ve been through the same issues of misinformation and trouble. Honestly the best thing you can do right now is add prime to detoxify the ammonia and do water changes if the ammonia levels get very high other than that feed very sparingly. As far as those molly fry go, I am sad to tell you that death is simply part of owning any livebearing fish. Especially since they can even eat their own offspring! As long as things go smoothly soon enough you’ll have more mollies than you know what to do with (literally they breed like rabbits). I would obviously suggest that you not purchase any new fish. Make sure to dechlorinate water before it enters your aquarium and try to keep conditions as constant as possible. If you’d like to upgrade the size of your aquarium on a budget check Facebook market place and craigslist, you can often get tanks for $1 per gallon. If you have any friends or relatives that have a cycled aquarium their used filter pads or even gravel can speed up your process very nicely.
 
Nicole B
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
Yes we dechlorinate it with the API stress coat! We also leave the tap water setting out for 24 hours before we put it in the tank. Our mollies seem healthy still but am worried that will change fast. We also have 4 snails. One died already. The guy at petco told us that it would be fine. We feel so bad that we put so many fish in when we weren’t supposed to. We have our fry in a breeding net and they all seem happy and healthy even though our ammonia is in the dangerous level.

This is what we use in our tap water.

It doesn’t seem like we’re showing any process of our tank cycling. Not sure what to do. We were told to do 25% water changes for a week to reduce ammonia but that doesn’t seem like it’s working very well.
 

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Rainbows and Fishes
  • #6
Looks like you’re doing the water changes perfectly, no need to let the water sit after you add the dechlor though. Like I said pick up some prime and it will detoxify the ammonia. Also no one is blaming you for what happened, I think we’ve all been burned by big box pet stores before You’ve come to the right place for help. If weekly water changes aren’t lowing things enough then you’ll have to do some more, however make sure that there’s always some ammonia otherwise the bacteria that cycle your aquarium will have nothing to eat and breed off of.
 
75g Discus Tank
  • #7
None of the fish that’s in the tank could fit in a 10 gallon.
I would consider ehomingnthe mollies and doing a fishless cycle.

We can help you restock the 10 gallon appropriately.
 
Nicole B
  • Thread Starter
  • #8
We have been doing daily water changes since Tuesday and the ammonia went from 8.0 to 4.0, no fish deaths when it was that high. Well maybe that is what caused the snail to die. We also brought our water to a pet store and they said our ammonia was high but not as bad as what our apI test told us. Not sure if it is accurate or not. Our Ph is also about 7.8 I think so it is pretty high. We plan on rehoming our baby frys. But when would be a safe time to do that? Also if our mollies are going to keep having babies we will probably rehome them too. It is pretty stressful!
 
Rainbows and Fishes
  • #9
I would agree in that there isn’t much point in going through all that trouble with the prime if you’re just going to have to move your fish anyways due to their size and tendancy to multiply. There is never an ideal time with moving fry, unfortunately they will most likely die no matter what you do, that’s why those fish multiply so quickly, even in nature most fry perish. Fish keeping always is made out to be easier than it really is, I’ve been there. But with some slightly different fish after your tank is cycled things will be much better and egg laying fish won’t be breeding nearly as much if ever at all.
 
Nicole B
  • Thread Starter
  • #10
Will pick up some prime tomorrow! I wish we would of had that from the beginning.

I don’t want to rehome our 3 big mollies. Is that what is really best for them? They seem fine in a 10 gallon.

We have 1 male and 2 females.
 
Seasoldier
  • #11
Welcome Nicole, sorry to hear you've got off to such a rocky start but it happens so don't lose heart, your problems can be fixed. Firstly you're now unfortunately into a 'fish in cycle' due to the bad advice given by the pet store. The most important thing to do is get the ammonia levels down to 0 or it will kill everything in the tank you need to get something like Seachem Stability or similar to put a beneficial bacteria culture into your tank, this will over time change the ammonia to nitrites & then nitrates when you have 0 ammonia & nitrites & between 5 to 10 ppm nitrates your tank will be healthy & cycled. Prime in the short term will detoxify the ammonia so it doesn't kill the rest of the fish & snails & water changes will help also. What sort of pump & filtration do you have?

Sorry, just seen that you've already used safe start but it wouldn't hurt to dose the tank with some more BB culture.
 
Nicole B
  • Thread Starter
  • #12
What should I do with the fry?
 
Rainbows and Fishes
  • #13
I think that those fish by themselves would probably do okay in that aquarium but their breeding habits can make things more challenging, if you really are attached to them maybe considering getting a larger set up, it might even be pretty doable

No pet store is going to take baby fish so I’d just try to grow them up best you can. As far as those bacteria in a bottle products go I really really would suggest not to waste your money, they all claim to magically start your tank and I’ve been burnt several times before, the best they’ll do is maybe speed things up slightly.
 
Nicole B
  • Thread Starter
  • #14
Sea soldier we have a Aqueon 10 gallon filter and just a heater.

pet stores will take them when they get larger right? Otherwise I will have to find someone who will take them. 13 fish in a 10 gallon is way too much.
 

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Rainbows and Fishes
  • #15
Most pet stores will take adult fish, call ahead and see Yes it is and they’ll just keep breeding , maybe removing the male is the best course of action here if you want to keep the others
 
Nicole B
  • Thread Starter
  • #16
Would prime work to keep helping establish our tank or just get rid of the ammonia? I really still have no idea what I’m doing. I really appreciate all the help!
 
Rainbows and Fishes
  • #17
No problem! You’re going to be okay I promise, I know how stressful this can be. Prime or any product like it that says it detoxifies ammonia will help keep your fish alive but will still allow the bacteria in the tank to eat the ammonia. Also your filter and heater should be perfectly fine. Do you happen to have any friends with fish tanks that you could get some media from?
 
Seasoldier
  • #18
As far as those bacteria in a bottle products go I really really would suggest not to waste your money, they all claim to magically start your tank and I’ve been burnt several times before, the best they’ll do is maybe speed things up slightly.

I'd have to disagree on that, I set up a 400 litre tank last November & did a fish in cycle with a shoal of 19 glowlight danios & didn't lose a single fish & my water parameters were all in range within two weeks.
 
Fish-keeper
  • #19
I would personally recommend putting your fish in another tank (like a friend or a family member that you trust) as a tank that hasn’t been set up properly is very dangerous. Rembeber to do you research before buying your fish,by using the internet and forums like this, do not always trust what the pet store says as of cause they want to sell fish and may give you false information to sell items. Mollies require a larger tank as despite what the pet store says mollies can be mildly agressive. A Molly should ideally have a tank size of at least 20 gallons plus. I would say in your circumstances mollys are not good beginner fish. I would recommend 4 or more platties as a beginner fish as they are not aggressive (most of the time) and are very hardy fish. To set up a tank you will need to decloinate water with a tap safe chemical. Adding things like safes start and other stabilisers Is not recommend as they can sometimes have side effects. Leave you tank for at least 2 weeks but the longer the better. I personally leave my tanks for at least a month. And slowly add fish, I would recommend adding two at a time as this stops ammonia from spiking. If you would like anymore advice please feel free to contact me.
 
Rainbows and Fishes
  • #20
I wouldn’t recommend platies as that’s just a smaller live bearer that will reproduce rapidly as well. Leaving your tank alone for two weeks to a month will do nothing to help establish it, you need ammonia to get your bacteria up, feel free to fact check what members say on google to get well rounded info. And the best way you can get the cycle going is by obtaining filter pads or gravel from an established tank.
 
Nicole B
  • Thread Starter
  • #21
So in my case what should I do? We have 3 mollies, 4 snails, and 10 fry. In a 10 gallon tank because petco said it was all fine!! I do not have any friends that have fish or could take our fish.
 
Fish-keeper
  • #22
You see I have to disagree platties are a fantastic fish for beginners as they are extremily easy fish to keep,although they do repoduce like made they do eat their fry meaning that it is easy to control birth rates.
 
Nicole B
  • Thread Starter
  • #23
I always get different information from people. But any advice is appreciated. Right now all I am concerned about is the ammonia, and what to do with the fry when they get bigger. Also our female molly constantly chasing our other female molly. She does it mostly when she’s looking for food or eating. Or when she sees us looking at them.
 
Rainbows and Fishes
  • #24
Don’t listen to all these people telling you to go way over board. If I were you I’d try to rehome that male, prime the tank everyday once per day. Water change when ammonia is too high and rehome those babies once they’ve grown add some cover so the other female can hide like fake plants or driftwood
 
Seasoldier
  • #25
Sea soldier we have a Aqueon 10 gallon filter and just a heater.
OK, your filter is good for the size of tank just remember to use tank water when you clean it or you'll destroy the BB in it if you use tap water.
 
Fish-keeper
  • #26
I,
So in my case what should I do? We have 3 mollies, 4 snails, and 10 fry. In a 10 gallon tank because petco said it was all fine!! I do not have any friends that have fish or could take our fish.

I would recommend giving them to a friend while you start your tank from scratch I would not recommend ammonia reduction chemicals as they have side effects.
 
Nicole B
  • Thread Starter
  • #27
Also, our mollies didn’t seem like they were interested in eating the fry as we had quite a few in with them for about a week.

What do you mean use tank water when cleaning it?
 
Rainbows and Fishes
  • #28
And whatever you do don’t add more fish until things settle out and then I wouldn’t suggest getting another live bearer as you’ll just end up with lots more fish then you need.
 
Fish-keeper
  • #29
Don’t listen to all these people telling you to go way over board. If I were you I’d try to rehome that male, prime the tank everyday once per day. Water change when ammonia is too high and rehome those babies once they’ve grown add some cover so the other female can hide like fake plants or driftwood

You see ammonia can take a long time to get right and mollies can be very sensitive to ammonia,water changes once a day will help reduce the Ammonia,but will take a long time to reduce and will effect the fish maybe even causing death.
 
Rainbows and Fishes
  • #30
He’s saying that if you clean your filter which I don’t know why you would, don’t use tap water. I can guarantee to you that ammonia reducing chemical Will Not hurt your fish, I’ve used them many many times, just follow the directions
 
Nicole B
  • Thread Starter
  • #31
This is our tank so their is plenty of room to hide but she seems to still go near the other molly instead of staying away. In the beginning they always stuck together and now one always pushes the other away when she’s near. Well not all the time. Mostly when we are watching.
 

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Rainbows and Fishes
  • #32
Looks like a very nice tank, just do the prime and water changes and everything will be alright. Like I previously stated maybe remove the male to prevent further breeding. Some members here mean well but can get a little gloom and doom and like to tell you that you have to do lots of things that you don’t. Do your research and follow your intuition.
 
Nicole B
  • Thread Starter
  • #33
Don’t use tap water for what??? And we don’t want to clean filter as doesn’t that ruin the established bacteria colony?
 
Fish-keeper
  • #34
I would
Looks like a very nice tank, just do the prime and water changes and everything will be alright. Like I previously stated maybe remove the male to prevent further breeding

I would not recommend that but if that is what you want to do that is fine.
 
Seasoldier
  • #35
What do you mean use tank water when cleaning it?
Well over time the filter will get dirty & clogged with gunk & will need to be cleaned or it will stop working so you will have to clean it, when you do use water from your tank & not tap water or the chlorine in the tap water will destroy the BB & you'll be back to square one.
 
Fish-keeper
  • #36
Well over time the filter will get dirty & clogged with gunk & will need to be cleaned or it will stop working so you will have to clean it, when you do use water from your tank & not tap water or the chlorine in the tap water will destroy the BB & you'll be back to square one.

That is very good advice I personally clean my filter out once a mounth and use tank water, I would however say that with a tank this new it is not advisory to touch the filter media as this will affect the positive chemicals.
 
Rainbows and Fishes
  • #37
Don’t stress out about the filter, once the tank is established which hopefully will happen in a few weeks time you’ll need to switch the filter pad once per month or clean it in aquarium water.
 
Fish-keeper
  • #38
Don’t stress out about the filter, once the tank is established which hopefully will happen in a few weeks time you’ll need to switch the filter pad once per month or clean it in aquarium water.

I would recommend not changing the filter media as this will effect the tank and will stop beneficial bacteria in the tank.
 
Rainbows and Fishes
  • #39
There’s way too much misplaced advice happening here, we need to take things one step at a time and right now that’s getting the ammonia taken care of. I don’t know why we’re talking about her filter, it’s fine at the moment and it will be for some time .
 
Nicole B
  • Thread Starter
  • #40
Another thing, our filter has been blinking red for a few days but we have been ignoring it because it really isn’t that dirty. We are scared to clean it or rinse it to ruin our whole process. Should we just leave it alone? It’s only been 2 weeks with 3 fish and 4 snails making it dirty. Well besides the fry. I also think that our snails are starving as there isn’t any algae and our fish always eat all the food up and they go to the bottom after they eat and try and find any on the bottom too.
 

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