New Tank. Are My Fish Ok?

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by MonkeySee, Apr 10, 2017.

  1. MonkeySeeNew MemberMember

    I got a new tank two weeks ago. I was going to do a fishless cycle but my neighbour is moving out (her cancer became metastasized so she's moving back with her family). She knew I was starting up a freshwater aquarium and asked me if I wanted a few of her fish. I tested the aquarium for 3 days first to make sure everything's looking good before adding them. Now I realized I should've asked her for some of her filter media (I only got driftwood, a plant and some moss from her) but she already sold her aquarium.

    This is what I have in a 36G tank:

    2 Blood Parrot Cichlids
    3 Giant Danios
    1 Albino Cory
    1 Catfish
    3 Red Minor Tetra

    First of all, will these fish be ok in a 36G? They're all fairly young now. I also have   for my aquarium.

    My test results are:

    Ammonia: 0 (it's hard to tell between the colour of 0 and 0.1 but I'm 99% sure it's 0)

    Nitrite: this is where I'm confused. The test kit shows a range of colours between light pink and a deep purple. But my test came out almost entirely clear. Like I can barely make out any pink at all. Is this normal?

    pH: 7.4

    Nitrate: 5 at most but I was told this is normal for a new tank?

    I haven't done KH/GH yet because I'm still figuring out this test kit. I'll do that later today.

    I also do daily water changes (20-25%) for now and feed twice a day (flakes and cichlid food)

    The water temp is 79F

    Now as for my main concern! My new fish.

    1. The Giant Danios seem to be doing great. Swimming fast and exploring

    2. My corycat/catfish seem to be pretty lazy and sleeping all day. This most likely isn't normal so I'm worried.

    3. The red minor tetras....well, two seem normal and swimming around (but closer to the top), one of them seems to always be on top and like it's gasping for air.

    4. My yellowish blood parrot is hiding in that little cave (barely visible on the photo below).

    5. My orange blood parrot was playful and funny when I first put her in yesterday but today she's just in one spot as seen in the photo below. I'm concerned about her. Is this normal? Well, I'm going to assume it's absolutely not normal but is this a total horror show? Will she make it? I really really love her and am being vigorous about testing and WC. She hasn't eaten at all today.

    So my BP's - Thelma and Louise - are they just shy or is something else wrong? Please see photos attached.

    Attached Files:

  2. BottomDwellerFishlore VIPMember

    Welcome to fishlore!

    You want 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite and 0-20ppm nitrate.

    Unfortunately those fish need a bigger tank. The blood parrots need 55 gallons+ and the giant danios need a tank that is at least 48" long.
    The danios, albino cory and red minor tetras are all schooling fish and need to be kept in groups of 6+
    The danios need water below 76f

    What type of catfish?

    While the tank is still cycling you will need to do regular water changes to keep ammonia and nitrite below 1ppm, preferably below 0.5ppm.
    Could you possibly get some seachem prime? You add it to the water and it detoxifies up to 1ppm ammonia and nitrite for up to 24 hours. It will help keep your fish safe.
    I also recommend getting a bottled bacteria which will help speed up your cycle. I used Tetra safe start which worked well for me and cycled my tank in 10 days.
  3. MonkeySeeNew MemberMember

    We don't have Tetra SafeStart in Canada unfortunately. But I do use Seachem Stability for the biofilter/bacteria. Other products I have on hand are:

    Prime dechlorinator (sp?)
    Ammo Lock (used it once)
    Aquarium Salt (haven't used it but the LFS told me to have it on hand just in case)
    PH buffer (same as above)
    Alkaline buffer

    I was told that BPs should be in 25-30G and an extra 10G for each additional one? I was also told that the Giant danios are more than fine in a 36G?

    Unfortunately I don't know what kind of catfish as I didn't purchase them myself. I'd really like to keep the BPs. I could take my GD's to the LFS - they said they'd take them - but they recommended I keep them till the tank is completely cycled and then I can bring them in. So confused as everyone's recommending different things to me.

    Sorry PH buffer and alkaline buffer are the same thing. I messed that up looking at them somehow.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 18, 2017
  4. BottomDwellerFishlore VIPMember

    Yeah Stability will work in pretty much the same way.
    As I said the Prime will help keep them safe

    You could keep them until the tank is cycled but I don't see why.
  5. MonkeySeeNew MemberMember

    Here's an update! I did another water change. I also ordered Tetra SafeStart on Amazon from an indie seller so we'll see. I asked if there's any way they can ship express and I'm waiting for a response. No idea why we don't have it up here. Here's the updated results:

    ammonia: 0
    nitrate: 5
    nitrite: like I said, the test colours show a range between super light pink and purple. Mine is nearly entirely clear. Is this a good thing?
    Ph: brought it down to 7

    OK now this is where I am begging you for your help. I cannot for the life of me understand this. My GH is somewhere between 40 and 60 (it was an extremely faint blue at 40 - almost clear, it was a more noticeable blue at 60 but still not the same blue as on the chart)

    My KH is 40.

    I called my LFS and they didn't understand my results as they get something like "0.11" or whatever. How do I read my results? Why are they all using different measurements? This is so frustrating. Science/chemistry should be straight forward with one clear answer. Not country by country different results. Please see the photo attached of the chart and help my understand what GH 60/KH 40 mean? Is this bad? Good? How can I change it if it's bad? How can I convert it into something that'll make sense on all platforms and to everyone here and at LFS? I don't get why they made it so complicated and I'm beyond frustrated because I just want to help my fish out and figure out what's wrong.

    Tank size aside, I'd like to first get to the bottom of this and see what exactly could be the culprit.

    Attached Files:

  6. MTSRandyValued MemberMember

    Wow if I had that kinda chart I'd give up the hobby! Do you or can you get an API master test kit? They are much easier to use and read in my opinion.
  7. Mom2someWell Known MemberMember

    I don't know how to read those results... but cancel the TSS order if you can. You have Stability which is the same thing and better in your case. For TSS to work properly you need to be lightly stocked and do no water changes for 14 days... which is not your tank currently!
    Sorry I don't have results help. Can you take your water in to your LFS and have them test it?
  8. MonkeySeeNew MemberMember

    My plan is to get that next. This test kit was very expensive and I just got it. See photo.

    Edit: See photo in my next comment. No idea why it didn't post it in this comment. Weird.

    I will. They tested it 2 days ago and the ammonia was at 0.5. Now it's at 0. The other results were all normal. I'm just so frustrated because I really, really want to understand this kh/gh thing but the test makes no sense to me.

    Edit: For some reason the photo I meant to add to my comment above was attached in this comment instead. This is the test kit I'm using. Buying yet another test kit on top of this $100 one is a bit much for now.

    Re KH and GH, does this help?

    Re GH: The instructions said to add a drop of that solution and shake it. If it didn't turn from pink to blue, add another drop and shake it. The total amount of drops should be multiplied by 20 to get the result. I did 3 drops till it turned blue which makes the result 60.

    Re KH: same as above except multiplied by 10. The result was 40 (so four drops)

    Attached Files:

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 10, 2017
  9. MTSRandyValued MemberMember

    Yeah if you spent that kind of money I would tough it out. I'm sorry I can't help with what you have. I'm not a chemist lol

    Do you plan on keeping those fish for yourself or rehoming them? I saw that you were given those fish. Very sorry to hear about your friend. I hope she is has a full recovery.
  10. Mom2someWell Known MemberMember

    Okay - then your kH and gH are the same as the Master Kit ones... often after testing with the API Master Kit we often just refer to the number of drops it took to turn the liquid to the next color. So in my tank it is 4 drops at baseline. I use crushed shells in the canister filter to raise it because in the past I had a pH crash, but many people never have this problem. I don't know how to raise gH. I would not worry about either one until you are cycled - which will be easier if you go ahead and rehome some of the fish to reduce the enormous bioload they have. Most fish can adapt to a wide range of parameters if they are tank raised.
    Keep posting & keep asking questions. If you search for posts by @CindiL you will find some that have references to more information about gH and kH if you want to learn more for the sake of learning (I should know where that article is, but I don't.
  11. CindiLFishlore LegendMember

    Hi, welcome to the forum :)

    I can help you out with your water parameter questions.
    So first off, your GH and KH, the standard measurements you see usually are PPM so for instance you think you have 40ppm KH, indicative of soft water. The other measurement is German degrees, so you have 4dKh. You normally can go from one to the other with the common multiplier/divider of 17.9. Your Hagen test is using something else and doesn't even show this multiplier in the conversion table unless I missed it, so thats a bit odd.
    But on to your water. Your KH aka alkalinity is what holds your ph steady in the tank. The byproduct of the nitrogen cycle that you are trying to establish is acidic in nature. The buffering minerals in your water absorb the acids and hold your ph steady. When you don't have enough buffering capacity then when it gets used up your ph can fall or "crash" causing fish death and nitrogen cycle harm also.

    You have Seachem Alkaline buffer so thats what you want to use with each water change to increase those minerals such as calcium carbonate. Because you have fish in the tank you don't want to increase it initially too quickly so mix 1 tsp of buffer in some removed tank water and slowly add it to your tank over a couple of hours to bring up the KH. It will probably raise your PH some, but it shouldn't be drastic and a stable ph is more important here. Each teaspoon on alkaline buffer per 20g water brings your dKh up by about 3 degrees. You're at 2 right now so you want to aim for above 5 drops, 6 or 7 with fish with a higher bio-load is more ideal. If its not up where you want it, then add in more the next day using the same process. You'll want to add some buffer in with each water change.

    Additionally, you can pick up one of the following at your local pet store: crushed coral, aragonite, limestone, cuttle(fish) bone (found in the reptile or bird section), oyster shells. They can go into a media bag into your filter and if ph starts to fall they will slowly dissolve and hold your PH steady by increasing KH.

    Your GH seems to be ok at 60ppm for the fish you have, shells will help that too by releasing mineral salts like calcium, magnesium, potassium chlorides or "salts". These salts allow the fish to have proper osmotic function, the ability to balance the water inside and outside of their bodies.

    Here is an article that is good at explaining:
    Understanding pH, KH, GH in Home Aquariums..

    Cycling with fish:
    Here is a formula I often tell people to follow when cycling with fish to keep their fish safe and allow their cycle to complete. If you follow this your fish should remain healthy. Once you consistently have 0 ammonia and 0 nitrites and some nitrates then you will be cycled.

    If ammonia + nitrites is less than 1.0 – dose prime for the full volume of water and stability and re-check in 24 hours.

    If ammonia + nitrites is 1.0 or greater – do a large water change, dose prime for the full volume of water and stability and re-check in 24 hours

    An article on the nitrogen cycle:
    Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle

    I'd use seriouslyfish to look up your fish. Your tetras as mentioned and also cories should be in schools of 6 or more.
    I "think" you should only have one blood parrot as they are territorial but I don't know a lot about them. If I remember right @tyguy7760 can help with your stocking.
  12. tyguy7760Fishlore VIPMember

    I agree with the posters above. Blood parrots need a bigger tank and multiple parrots need an even larger one. Danios need to be kept in groups and need a 48 inch tank minimum. Cory cats are also schooling fish as are tetras. All of them need to be kept in groups of 6 minimum along with the danios.

    My suggestion would be to upgrade tanks or get rid of the parrots and danios while upping the numbers of the rest of your fish. A single parrot should not be kept in anything smaller than a 55. They will grow to 8-10 inches in length and will be much too large for a 36 gallon.
  13. notyocheezValued MemberMember

    the fish you have, i see in 100 gallon tanks. is it possible for you to upgrade to a bigger tank?