New Tank & Many Mistakes!!

MamaM

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Hello!  I am new to this forum and have had my 10 gallon tank for about 3 weeks.  I wish I would have found this forum before I set it up--I've made so many mistakes!!  It's in the midst of the Nitrogen Cycle (ammonia stage--tested at 1.0 on Thursday, did 25-30% water change, and .5 today, did 10% water change to manage the levels and plan to do daily 10% changes to control them).  Unfortuantely, I trusted the folks at the pet store   :-\ and a little over a week after planting my live plants & running the filter, I got 5 Zebra Danios.  I started getting brown algae so a week later, got a little Cory.  THEN I found this forum!!  I just lost one Danio from NTS (ammonia poisoning?), but the others seem to be doing okay so far.  But I now realize my poor little cory is probably lonely (I only have 1!).  Should I wait until the Nitrogen Cycle is over before getting him (don't know the gender, but I call it a him) any little friends?  Is he hearty enough to survive the rest of the Nitrogen Cycle if I change out some water daily and pay close attention to the water chemistry?  I don't want him to be lonely, but I also don't want to add more fish to an uncycled tank.  Please advise--I've been reading the posts for the last few days and value your opinions!  Thank you!!

PS I still have a lot of brown/rust colored algae on the leaves of my plants & a rock.  Is this normal or is something else wrong?
 

0morrokh

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Definitely do not add any more fish until the tank is done cycling. I'm glad you are doing so many water changes to help keep the ammonia down. the ammonia shouldn't be over .25 or it could kill your fish.

You're right that the Cory is lonely (and should be kept in a group of at least 3), but the tank is pushing the limits holding 5 danios, let alone 3 cories as well--that would be overstocked. I would suggest getting another tank to keep the danios in, and hten the cories can stay in the 10 with a couple other fish (such as a Betta) or move with the danios.

THe brown algae is perfectly normal in newly set up tanks. It should go away on its own, but if not you can get some Otos to eat it.
 
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MamaM

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Thank you for the advice!!  Actually, I only have 4 Danios with my Cory now as I lost one last week.  But I do know when I get more Cory's I need to move the Danios to another tank to give them the freedom to move.  I changed 10% of the water yesterday and was careful with my evening feeding.  When I checked the water today, the ammonia had spiked to near 2.0!!  I did an immediate 25% water change and have been careful not to overfeed.  Nitrites, Nitrates are both 0, and pH is good at 7.0.  The fish seem to be active & well (other than my lonely Cory whose situation will change once the water stabilizes).  Thank you again for the advice & for this forum to help me be a better fish "mom!"   
 

chickadee

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The algae seems to happen in new tanks, no one seems to know exactly why, it is just a part of the new tank experience that most of us go through. Cories, by the way, are not algae eaters if that is what you wanted him for. For that you will need something like Otos, but not before the tank is cycled. Everything is progressing for you, but I do agree it would have been nice if you had found the forum first. I think we could have made this easier on you.

Welcome to the forum, by the way. We are a group made of all age groups, levels of experience and areas of interest, representing many nations and we want to get to know you better. Feel free to browse, ask questions, or make comments as you wish and we hope to see a lot more of you. Please do keep us informed of your progress.

Rose
 

0morrokh

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Sounds like you have everything under control. Just, if your ammonia is 2.0 you should be doing bigger water changes. It should not get over .25 or it is potentially lethal to your fish. Btw, once you start getting nitrites they need to stay under 1.0.

I hope your fish remain healthy and let us know how they are doing. When you get another tank for the danios you will cycle it fishless, right?
 
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MamaM

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Okay, is my face red! My little fish I thought was a cory is really an oto!! The people at the fish store sold me the right one, but didn't tell me his name (I just asked them for a small algae eater). They didn't have otos listed in the book I was reading, but he resembled a cory so I thought he must be that. Boy do I feel dumb!! But I looked at otos under Fish Species on this site, and they look just like Fred (his name) more than the cory pics did. So, I feel better about the algae (that he is the right fish for the job) but now need to read up on his species. Thank you all so much for your patience with me!!

And YES, next time FISHLESS cycling!
 

0morrokh

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Now that you know he is an Oto you are going to have to be extremely picky about water parameters. Otos are very sensitive fish, especially when it comes to water quality. I hate to say this but you will be very lucky if Fred makes it through the cycle.
What are you currently feeding Fred? You may need to adjust his diet now that he is a different species. Like Cories he will need some friends after the cycle is finished (just make sure you know they're otos ;D). Also he will greatly benefit from live plants. With Otos water quality is key.
 
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MamaM

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I'll do my best to keep Fred alive (and say some prayers for the same!!) and will be doing another water change as soon as I am offline--just checked the ammonia, 2.0 again!!  I am almost tempted to use the "Ammonia Clear" Tank Buddies I bought pre-forum--but that's a non-no, right?  (I read that it would be bad for the bacteria and prolong the cycle, right?)  Nitrates & Nitrites at 0, pH was a little alkaline, but I added a corrector for that.

And yes, I do have live plants for Fred--so if...when he makes it through the cycling, he & his new friends will have them to play in.  Oh, and I am feeding him "Veggie Wafers" I got when I bought him.  He doesn't seem to be eating it much, but it could be all the algae already in there plus water stress...but I keep feeding him a little each day.

Thanks so much for your help!
Sharon
 

0morrokh

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DO NOT add any chemicals to the tank. By removing the ammonia you will stop the cycle and have to start all over again. Anyway it would only further stress your fish. Oh I didn't realize that you are adding chemicals for the pH. The same rule applies to these...don't use them. they make the pH fluctuate which is much, much worse than letting the fish adjust to a pH that is maybe not perfect. Each time you do a water change add a little less of the pH adjuster to gradually change the pH to the level of your natural tap water.

I cannot stress enough how important it is to keep the ammonia down if Fred is to have any chance of surviving. It must never get above .25. Since it is getting so high I would advise increasing the size of your daily changes to maybe 20%.

Don't worry about Fred eating...he won't starve himself. If he is not eating the wafers it is because there is enough algae. Also keep in mind Otos like to wait a day or two for their wafers to get nice and soft before eating them.
 
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MamaM

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No, I haven't added any ammonia-reducing chemicals (I just said it seemed tempting, but I know better). I did a 25% water change today AFTER I added the pH adjuster, but I won't be adding any more all at once (I'll do what you suggested for a gradual change). The only chemical I'll add is the Stress Coat to the water during changes. Do you have any suggestions for my tap water--it's very hard water with a high alkalinity?

Thanks for all your help--I'll keep you posted on Fred & the danios as the water cycles.
 

chickadee

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The hardness of our water is at the 300 level and my fish are fine. The pH is best left alone and your fish will acclimate to it (what is the actual reading?) much better than the fluctuations and instability the pH adjusters cause. If a pH fluctuates more than 0.2 per day you are really stressing your fish to death and those products are totally unstable. They cannot be the same exact amount all the time and that can be fatal to your fish.

Rose
 

0morrokh

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If it makes you feel better, my pH is over 8 and my fishies are perfectly happy.
 
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MamaM

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I just tested the pH and it's around 7.5, so I guess I'm in the safe zone!  From now on, I'll leave it alone, I promise! 

On a different note, we lost Fred tonight.  Thank you for preparing me for the possibility.  He seemed fairly normal after I changed the water, but this evening he was first near the top of the tank, then we found him on the bottom lying on his back.  He died soon after.  It happened after the kids went to bed, and my little girl (almost 4) always looks for Fred because he likes to hide.  She was really worried about him tonight, and we told her that he was sick.  I know she'll be okay, but I just feel bad that my ignorance hurt the fish & will make my kids sad (I also have a son who's 2).  When the time is right, we would like to get 2-3 of Fred's "cousins" for our tank!  (I will ensure the cycle is complete & read up on otos before I do!)

Thank you, again, for all your wisdom!!
 

0morrokh

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I'm so sorry about your loss. :'( :'( :'( :'( Don't feel like it's your fault or anything. Otos are captured using cyanide to stun them and then are pretty much starved at the store, so many of them die in the first few weeks for no reason. It's quite possible that he was already weakened and going to die anyway. Otos have a reputation for dying a lot, no matter what the tank is like.
I am glad you are going to get more Otos later. They are such cute little fishies. Check out otocinclus ...a site just for them!! And just yell if you have any questions.
 

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