New Tank, Next Steps?

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by Bruinguy, Aug 22, 2019.

  1. Bruinguy

    BruinguyNew MemberMember

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    Hi, I've been browsing the forum for the last month. Lots of great thoughts here, so thought I would see if you had any ideas for me. I'm setting up a tank for my 2nd grader.

    We got three glofish (starburst, sour patch, and dearly departed M&M) five days ago. M&M didn't look very strong from the beginning. He was undersized and lethargic compared to the others. I didn't really see him eat either.

    The water seems to be ok. I have a 29 gallon tank. I set it up three weeks before getting fish. Added flake food daily for most of that time and added some Seachem Stability for the first week or so. I was testing daily and eventually got some minimal ammonia (.25-.5), no nitrites, and eventually some minimal nitrates (5-10 ppm). The Ph of the water from the tap and in the tank is at about 8.2. I have used water conditioner at the beginning and at water changes. Before adding fish, I did a 15% water change. That was the only water change I did before adding fish. Since adding fish, nitrates have increased a bit to about 10-20 ppm, but the ammonia and nitrites have remained the same.

    Even though the water seems ok, the fish still seem stressed. They are not eating very well. The fish do not "attack" the food when added. They do not go to the surface to get the food. If they eat it, it is once it starts sinking and then still not as actively as I would expect. I have tried the pellets the LFS fed them and the flake food that came with the tank kit.

    The fish have been clearly establishing a pecking order, where starburst (the pink one) has emerged as the most aggressive. It is the most active eater and sour patch will stay out of its way, but may be looking for food. M&M never seemed interested at all in food.

    To reduce the stress, I'm considering either adding more hiding places by either adding more real or fake plants. I also understand that the fish may be more comfortable in schools of 5 or more, so I'm also considering getting more fish. Maybe doing both.

    I was hoping to have a stable happy tank before adding more fish, and I'm hesitant to add more as a solution for a dead one. On the other hand, I also think sour patch could use some allies to avoid being bullied too much by starburst.

    What would you recommend as the next step? IMG_2545.IMG_2547.IMG_2548.IMG_2549.IMG_2545.IMG_2547.IMG_2548.IMG_2549.
     
  2. lilirose

    liliroseValued MemberMember

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    It sounds like you did everything right when it comes to cycling the tank and testing the water. I have to mention it because you didn't, but you are using a dechlorinator every time you add tap water, correct?

    You've already hit on the most important two issues: you need more fish and more plants/hiding places. The fish you have do better in groups of six or more and do better with lots of plants.

    Unfortunately GloFish, by their very nature, are inbred and less likely to be very healthy than their non-genetically-engineered counterparts. People like them, so they are sold (in the US) and are popular. This doesn't mean that they are likely to live very long. With that said, they're illegal to import or sell where I live, so I don't have personal experience with them.
     
  3. Faytaya

    FaytayaValued MemberMember

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    I would say at your stage in the cycle, adding more hides and plants is in order. It's too early to add more fish, as it will only compound your ammonia problem. Your tank looks a bit bare for the little danios and I'm sure they'll de stress with a few more hides. Also, be more aggressive with water changes; about 50% every two days until cycled, and you should see improvement.
     
  4. Momgoose56

    Momgoose56Fishlore VIPMember

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    Nice looking tank! Lucky 2nd grader!
    You did a great job cycling that tank before putting fish in it. I just have a single suggestion. Because you still have ammonia in your tank, that indicates you still don't have enough ammonia oxidizing bacteria (AOB) established to handle all the waste your fish are producing. With a pH of 8.2, that ammonia is probably stressing your fish and can result in them becoming ill. I suggest that you get a small bottle of Seachem Prime and dose your tank with it, and all replacement water, every 48 hours until your AOB catches up. Prime converts ammonia and nitrites to a form that's not toxic to fish but leaves them biologically available to the bacteria. You can shelve your dechlorinator while you're using Prime because it dechlorinates too. You already have AOB established, just not enough now that fish are in there pooping. It shouldn't take long (2 or 3 weeks) for the AOB to catch up.
     
  5. mattgirl

    mattgirlFishlore VIPMember

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    It isn't unusual for skirt tetras (these colored ones are just genetically engineered to those colors) to wait for the food to start sinking. My black skirt tetras seldom ever go to the top for food.

    Some will frown on it but personally I would add at least 4 more of the same kind of fish. They are normally more comfortable in larger groups.

    I would also add a lot more plants, either silk or live. You may want to wait a while longer to go the live route. Sometimes it is harder to keep plants alive than fish. Leave them some swimming room but fill a lot of it with some type of cover. They won't feel as vulnerable if they know they have a place to go if startled.

    If you do add more fish just keep a very close eye on the ammonia/nitrite levels and be prepared to do water changes to keep them as low as possible.

    Also get a bottle of Seachem Prime. It is first and foremost a very concentrated water conditioner but goes one step farther and detoxes low levels of ammonia so protects your fish from the damaging affects of ammonia.

    oops, ninja'd by @Momgoose56 I must learn to type faster
     
  6. OP
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    Bruinguy

    BruinguyNew MemberMember

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    Thanks! Yes, I have been using dechlorinator.

    I will do that, thanks!

    Thanks for the info on feeding habits. Some of the challenge is not knowing what to expect! I'm probably over feeding now and it will help everything if I can get that part figured out. How much flake food will one GloFiish eat? One or two flakes? Five to ten flakes?

    I'm definitely adding more fake plants.

    If the LFS has some healthy looking fish this weekend, I will likely get another 1-4 to add. Either way, I'll start doing water changes more frequently. I'm thinking a 4-5 gallon change every day, probably until I can get the feeding down so I don't have a dirty tank.

    Thanks all.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 22, 2019
  7. mattgirl

    mattgirlFishlore VIPMember

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    Of course it depends on the size of the flakes but I wouldn't feed more than one good sized flake for each fish at each feeding. Their tummies aren't very big so they don't need a lot.

    It is said don't feed more than what they will eat in a couple of minutes. If they clean up that flake right away you can offer another one but I wouldn't go overboard. Some fish will continue to eat until they are ready to pop and that isn't good for them. It will cause them to become bloated and it can affect their swim bladder.

    Once you get some plants in there your fish should go around and pick invisible to us food off the plants so one or two flakes a day each should be enough.

    With just the 2 fish in there for now daily water changes may not be necessary. Let your tests be your guide. Try to keep the ammonia down to almost nothing and add Prime to detox the little bit left for the bacteria.
     
  8. OP
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    Bruinguy

    BruinguyNew MemberMember

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    Just wanted to update, I got plants!

    IMG_2569.

    They made a big difference! The fish started moving around a lot more right away. I also did another 5 gallon (or 17%) water change and dosed with Prime.

    I also added two more GloFish on Saturday. And, all I can say is WOW! These little guys had energy! Darting around and having fun. The best part for me, was seeing what fish do when they are actually eating! My first fish must have been so stressed that they were not eating at all. (Which, led me to add way too much food in an effort to get them to eat.)

    Unfortunately, we lost sour patch over the weekend. He got sucked up into the filter. I neglected to mention that is how M&M died too. So, the filter intake has had wide open whole this whole time. Doh! I don't know if I can label it the "cause of death," but I'm sure it didn't help! I have a replacement filter tube coming, but in the meantime, I put the filter sponge over the whole to prevent anyone else getting sucked up into the filter.

    So, we are now back to three fish. The original starburst, a new mini starburst, and a new M&M. ("We" were sad about losing our original M&M and decided to name one of the new ones M&M in his honor.)

    IMG_2576.

    The new fish are clearly happier. They have been eating well--man they can move fast going for that food. Mini starburst was even brave enough to make some surface attacks for a flake or two. Old stressed out Starburst seems to be catching on and was even seen eating a bite or two.

    Fingers crossed they all make it through the week!

    Thanks for the advice so far!
     
  9. lilirose

    liliroseValued MemberMember

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    You should check Amazon for an item called a prefilter sponge, this can be added permanently to your filter intake to eliminate fish and other critters from getting sucked into the filter.
     
  10. HaydenLee

    HaydenLeeNew MemberMember

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    Progress looks amazing.
     
  11. Momgoose56

    Momgoose56Fishlore VIPMember

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    The sponge was obviously a good idea! Didn't that filter come with a strainer that fit over the intake tube??
    You will need to continue to dose the entire tank volume with Prime every 48 hours as long as there's ammonia present in the water. So I suggest testing for ammonia every 48 hours, do water change to keep ammonia < 1ppm, treat with Prime. Once a week test all parameters and do water change to keep nitrates <20ppm. Then once ammonia is gone, continue to do at least 25% water changes weekly. Once a month test all parameters to see if the 25%water changes are adequate for keeping nitrates down, rinse filter media thoroughly in dechlorinated water, and vacuum gravel. That will keep your fish as healthy as possible. Just a note-- water changes aren't just necessary for removing nitrates and solid waste & detritus. Exchanging water also removes and dilutes salts and unused minerals that build up through evaporation and replaces minerals and electrolytes (calcium, magnesium, potassium etc.) that fish need for normal bone, skin and muscle health and function.
     
  12. mattgirl

    mattgirlFishlore VIPMember

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    I am sure your fish feel a lot better now that they have friends and hiding places. Before long you may want to add 2 or 3 more. These tetras feel a lot more comfortable in bigger groups of them.

    I have 6 long finned Black Skirt Tetras. All 6 hang out together almost all the time. They actually remind me of piranhas at feeding time the way they attack the food. It is fun watching them eat. The rest of the time they seem to be on patrol. Constantly moving from one end of the tank to the other.

    BTW: Your tank looks great. Good job.
     
  13. OP
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    Bruinguy

    BruinguyNew MemberMember

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    The filter was supposed to come with a filter tube that goes down about 6-8 inches, but it didn't. I called warranty support and they are sending one out. In the meantime, I do have the hole covered with a prefilter sponge. So, hopefully, that threat is removed.

    Thanks for the reminders on the water changes. I do plan on doing water changes every 48 hours and dosing with Prime (for the entire tank volume) for now. For water changes, I have been filling up a five gallon bucket (dedicated to the tank), treating the water, and using the heater from the tank to heat the water while it is in the bucket. Once its heated, I'll take out 5 gallons (into another dedicated five gallon bucket) from the aquarium using the vacuum. Then, I'll add the replacement water (slowly).

    I have been doing five gallon changes primarily because it is convenient to do with the two five gallon buckets. If I did a 10 gallon water change, would I need to heat all 10 gallons before adding it to the aquarium? Should I get more buckets or make more trips?

    I have been testing the water at least every 48 hours. This morning the water was at 0.25 ppm ammonia, 0.0 ppm nitrites, and 5-10 ppm nitrates.

    Thanks! I can see that comparison for sure, now that I have actually seen them eat! haha. I'm itching to add more for sure. Since the additional plants (and perhaps the Prime) seem to have addressed the stress issue and they are eating now, I am planning on waiting a week or so before adding more fish to give the BB more time to develop. A lot of MY stress is gone now that they are eating and pretty much all of it would be gone if I could get the ammonia go down to zero.

    When I add more, I'm planning on adding three more GloFish to get to six. I am looking forward to the action!
     
  14. mattgirl

    mattgirlFishlore VIPMember

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    You are really gonna love it when you have even more beautiful little guys in there. I love seeing mine interacting with each other and also just doing their own thing but still doing it in harmony.

    Instead of going through the hassle of having to use a heater to warm the water you may want to just get warmer water to begin with. Temp matching the water straight from the tap should make it easier for you to do your water changes.
     
  15. OP
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    Bruinguy

    BruinguyNew MemberMember

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    EE7E6B10-B641-4DDA-A4F0-615DC52761DD. Update and a question.

    Things went good and we rounded out the tank with a few more GloFish. I think we have all the colors of the rainbow now!

    All of the fish seem to be doing well, except that Blueberry seems weak and not eating well. By weak, I mean that he seems to have to swim harder sometimes and he seems to get moved around more if he gets caught in the current of the filter.

    I’m mostly ok waiting and seeing if he adjusts, but don’t want to leave him in there if he has something that can spread. I think he looks ok, but wanted to share pictures because I am sure I don’t know what to look for.

    Thanks in advance!

    E5B2EC62-1338-46DD-A86B-19E1819A6673.
    6F0D0FAF-70D6-4550-B939-97A4246507EE.
    58966E08-F977-464D-9473-EC3BCEABA3E7.
    90DB31FC-3875-42EB-93BF-26D1AE61A48D.
    1E0F0385-1173-4DB3-9378-50CBF3794A05.
    F61FCDD8-0AC3-4FAD-93F4-EB4B32A51225.
     
  16. Momgoose56

    Momgoose56Fishlore VIPMember

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    That fish looks extremely emaciated to me. I see a single white spot on his left side. How long has that been there? Can you get a good photo of his right side too? The one you posted is pretty shadowed.
     
  17. Simon321123

    Simon321123New MemberMember

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    yeah he doesn't look well hopefully it's not ich:yuck:.
     
  18. OP
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    Bruinguy

    BruinguyNew MemberMember

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    I had not noticed the spot. I am not sure how long it has been there.

    I tried to get better pictures, not sure if I succeeded.

    D343129D-0268-41D7-B214-B8A5DBF96D13.

    B48BC847-7AC8-43BC-BC4D-B4420C463DC5.

    He’s definitely struggling. I don’t have a quarantine tank, but I could put some tank water into a small bucket or something. I’m guessing that will add stress for him. But, if he’s got something contagious I would want to get him away from the other fish.

    Would you suggest taking him out of the tank?
     
  19. Momgoose56

    Momgoose56Fishlore VIPMember

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    If he has ich, taking him out would do no good as you would need to treat the whole tank anyway. However, he just looks in general ill health. Is his right gill dark, almost black? And is that a black discoloration just behind the right gill?
    Unless you have a heated tank or container to put a sick fish in, with at least an airstone or small filter in it, I wouldn't remove the fish. For now I would just watch him and watch the other fish for spots or changes in behavior (repeated flashing, lethargy, fast breathing etc.)
     
  20. JChi

    JChiValued MemberMember

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    Congrats on the tank! It looks like you've made great progress and the tank is coming together nicely. You are doing great because IMHO, GloFish are much harder than other fish to get established. I, sadly, have a graveyard of GloFish that we killed. You are already doing better than I did, however. (Like you I set up one for a 7 yo).

    Regardless if Blueberry has Ich or something else, I would recommend you think of the tank like you do your home. Like your family, when one person gets sick, everyone in the household gets exposed. And to reduce the "germs" in a tank, water changes are key. I'd start doing daily water changes as a precaution, and since you don't know what's caused Blueberry to look sick, this will at least reduce anything in the water that could harm the other fish. It will also keep your ammonia, nitrates and nitrites low too while the tank stabilizes. Hopefully he will perk up. Also, you can not feed your fish for a day and they will be OK if you aren't seeing the frenzy feed. They might just need to adjust.
     
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