New tank shenanigans

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by fallemnier, Mar 7, 2012.

  1. fallemnierNew MemberMember

    Well i just started keeping fish. I got my self a 7.5 gallon tank with a aquaclear 20, 10gal heater, and flourite for the substrate. I have 4 "Neon" Serpae's in there with 3 clumps of dwarf grass and a potted baby tears. Im using a 24w T5 bulb.

    The fish seem to be fine, however ive been reading that they are mid to top dwellers and they are constantly hanging around the bottom. They dont really seem to be struggling with the filter current or anything but i guess i dont really know.

    Also my plants are turning brownish yellow. im not using any ferts because i got the flourite. is this normal or are they dying. any advice would be awesome!

    had to use this :;swls lol

    OUTINFRONTValued MemberMember

    Have you tested for ammonia and other readings i read tetras are very sensitive.
  3. Donnerjay

    DonnerjayWell Known MemberMember

    Hi there and welcome to FishLore!

    It would help us help you if you could fill in your Aquarium Info. Go to the top of the page, click on "My Settings," then click on "Edit Aquarium Info."

    Do you know about the nitrogen cycle? It sounds like (and this is a guess until I see your test kit readings) your tank is not cycled and your fish/plants are suffering from ammonia poisoning.

    I would do a 50 percent water change using a dechlorinator like Seachem Prime. The water change will remove some of the ammonia and the Prime will detoxify any ammonia in your replacement water. Prime also of course removes chlorines and chloramines.

    Keep us posted!

  4. AlyeskaGirlFishlore VIPMember

    Do you know about the nitrogen cycle?

    Flourite mainly provides iron I believe. There are other necessary nutrients that are needed-macro and micros. You need to be dosing the water column with a balanced liquid fertilizer such as Flourish Comprehensive.

    It also appears you have medium/highlighting in which fertilizers and CO2 are a must. Flourish Excel would be good as this is a liquid carbon and great for small tanks.

    Baby Tears can be a challenge to grow. Dwarf Hairgrass can be fairly easy as long as you have good lighting and balanced fertilizers.

    Welcome to Fishlore!

  5. OP

    fallemnierNew MemberMember

    o i wish i saw that you could put in your tank info before i typed all that out. lol

    Yes i know about cycling my tank. the guy at my LFS gave me some water from on of their tanks to jump start my cycle process. I gave it the full battery of tests my kit has and they were all 0 except the nitrate was at 5 ppm and the ph was a dead 7.

    does that Flourish Excel contain copper? i kinda wanna add shrimp when the ammonia drops. With all that light im worried about algae
  6. Donnerjay

    DonnerjayWell Known MemberMember

    LOL that's okay. It's good that you typed in your stats.:happy0034:

    Well right now your best bet is to get your tank in good shape before adding anything else, including shrimp. Your readings show ammonia and nitrite. Since you've just put your fish in, it looks like you're opting for the "fish-in" method of cycling. True? If so, just be ready because this method of cycling is hard on fish. Tetras, especially, are sensitive to water chemistry.

    To ease the stress on your fish, be prepared to do daily partial water changes to remove the ammonia/nitrite buildup. Test often. It's good that your test results show nitrites...that means the good bacteria have started to colonize.

    Your goal is to get your readings to show: Ammonia, 0; Nitrite, 0; and Nitrate at 20 ppm or less. I'd shoot for nitrates at 10 or below because you have a small tank.

    Whew, this probably seems like a lot of information to absorb! It gets easier, trust me! I had to do a "fish-in" cycle because I didn't know squat about the nitrogen cycle and just put my fish in the tank. Then I found FishLore and learned a lot. Still learning, too, LOL. ;D
  7. jdhef

    jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    Adding water from an established tank does not help with the cycle.

    Water does not cycle. What happens is that 2 types of bacteria grow mainly in your filter media (and to a much lesser extent) an the hard surfaces in your tank (i.e.gravel, orniments etc).

    So what happens is as the water flows thru the filter, it passes thru the bacteria. The ammonia consuming bacteria starts consuming the ammonia that the fish produced and releasing nitrites into the water as it's waste product. The nitrite consuming bacteria then consumes the nitrites as the water passes thru the filter and releases nitrates as it's waste product.

    So by adding water from a cycled tank, all you are adding to your tank is nitrates. And you really don't want nitrates either, but fish can tolerate low levels of nitrate.

    But as you can see ammonia-->nitrites-->nitrates, so the more ammonia you process, the more nitrates you end up wit. And since fish constantly produce ammonia, in a cycled tank you are getting a constant increase in nitrates. So in order to keep the nitrate levels under 20-30ppm, you need to do weekly partial water changes.
  8. OP

    fallemnierNew MemberMember

    yea ive been checking the water daily. like i said the fish seem healthy. they swim around in their group, they apprently even play tag from time to time... i'm more worried about the plants. having a plant die in a small cycling tank CANT be good lol. ill pick up the flourish today

    thanks for the help guys!
  9. AlyeskaGirlFishlore VIPMember

    No, it dose not. It's just a liquid carbon. You also need the Flourish Comprehensive; fertilizer.

    It's all about balance between light, fertilizer and CO2. This is how algae is controlled. When wanting to keep plants it all starts with the light. More densely planted with some fast growing stem plants the better. Like Wisteria.

    Stronger the light, the faster plants grow, faster nutrient uptake, and the demand for nutrients and Co2.

    Less light = slow growth = slow nutrient uptake
  10. OP

    fallemnierNew MemberMember

    another quick question. how much should i be feeding these guys. im just using flake food for now because they wont go to the surface for the freeze dried blood worms or pellets..

    I think its because they are still younglings. maybe when they grow up they will be brave enough to venture towards the surface
  11. Donnerjay

    DonnerjayWell Known MemberMember

    Hello again.

    Serpaes are pretty active, and you said they were "constantly hanging around the bottom." This probably means that a) they are sick, b) something's wrong with the water, or c) they are still adjusting to the move from the pet store (or wherever you got them).

    So, I wouldn't expect them to be hungry. Loss of appetite is another signal that something is wrong, either with the fish or the water, or both.

    Have you got your tank water to zero ammonia yet? If there is ANY ammonia (or nitrites, for that matter), the water is poisoning your fish.

    If you have perfect water conditions (zero ammonia, zero nitrite, some nitrates), another possibility is that you're overfeeding them.

    My opinion, of course :) Hope it helps.
  12. kimoore

    kimooreValued MemberMember

    my tetras are 90% of the time in the middle of the tank. They dont rush to the top for food like my mollies and platies do. If they are eating while in the middle, that may be where they feel the most comfortable. Try something like frozen or live brine shrimp, (love them!) and you may start to see them coming to the top. Also, the brine shrimp kind of fall to the bottom, so you should have all bases covered. High quality flake food, brine shrimp and try an assortment of veggies, for example, blanched zucchini, spinach, garlic every now and then is great for the immune system. I have also heard of people feeding watermelon, lemons and oranges as treats.
  13. OP

    fallemnierNew MemberMember

    well i think i may have figured it out. I dont have a background and my lighting is kind of up and behind the tank. and i just realized serpae like low to mid light and its pretty bright in there! (little over 3w t5 per gallon). so i put one of those flexible plastic cutting boards behind it for now and they seem to be more adventurous. they even came up to the surface to eat! i"ll pick up a background, some ferts, an air pump (in case i OD the tank with the excel) some prime, and some type of shady decor. maybe a nice floating plant or something.
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2012

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