New to Caring for Fish and I'm Looking for Advice

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Allison Williams

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Hi Everyone!

I have had fish for about a year now but I still feel like i have a lot to learn so I am looking for any advice I can get. Let me know if I'm doing something wrong or if I should be using different product.

I started out with a 1 gallon tank that I kept my female Crowntail Betta in. As she grew I decided to get a larger tank. The new tank was a 5 gallon with a filter, light source, and heater. I then decided to test my betta and got a few tank friends for her. Surprisingly she does really well with other fish. About 3 or 4 months ago I upgraded my tank again and my fish count has gone from 1 up to 14 + 3 snails! (1 betta, 3 neon tetras, 2 blackfin tetras, 3 fancy guppies, 2 lyrtails, 2 i cant remember the name of, 1 butterfly plecostomus, and 3 snails)

Currently, I have a 27 gallon tank with LED lights that mimics the moon cycles, a heater keeping the water at 78*F, and a great filter. I use TopFin water conditioner which I use when I do 15-20% water changes every 3 weeks. Also, once a week I use Tetra brand EasyStrips, which are a 6-in-1 Aquarium Test Strips that check nitrate, nitrite, chlorine, pH, Hardness, and alkalinity levels and I get the ammonia levels checked frequently at a local Petsmart.

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I feed my fish 2 times a day with Marineland brand color-enhancing tropical flakes and I also usually give them bloodworms every couple of days. very little food gets left behind.

So far I haven't had any major issues with my tank except for about a month ago i had a slight algae growth problem that my plecostomus and snails couldn't keep up with. It was recommended to me that I use AlgaeFix to help control the growth. So after doing three treatments of AlgaeFix following the directions to the letter I saw no improvement in the algae control and in the week following the three treatments I had 4 fish die! I stopped using the AlgaeFix immediately and no more fish died. I did some research on the product and apparently people were having the same problem with it that I did. Their fish started halfswiming/half floating and barely moving and not eating. Then the fish would swim around in a fit of panic then just die. I obviously then returned the product to Petsmart and made them replace my 4 fish that it killed. DO NOT USE ALGAEFIX....IT WILL KILL YOUR FISH!!!!

Then a couple days ago I noticed that my betta has Cloudy eyes. My first thought was she went blind but she is responsive to light, she chases the other fish, she catches her food, and she still swims up to the glass when i sit next to the tank so I know she can still see. After doing some research I thought maybe its an infection so I went and I picked up API brand MELAFIX which is supposedly an all natural treatment for bacterial infections including cloudy eye. I am hoping that will help. Any thoughts as to why she has cloudy eye? water levels are good and temp is still 78*F.
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The Red Severum

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I would get rid of the pleco. It will outgrow the 27gal in no time and cause a lot of issues with their waste. I would also bump up the water changes to once a week, especially on a 27gal with a pretty high bioload.

The cloudy eye could be because the tank is a bit overcrowded. With the cloudy eye, I would even bump up the water changes to twice a week. Melafix should help the situation. Make sure to be careful with medicines with copper because of your inverts.
 

Dom90

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Bettas are aggressive and belong in their own tank. Either it will kill the tetras or the tetras will nip the fins of the betta.


 

The Red Severum

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Bettas are aggressive and belong in their own tank. Either it will kill the tetras or the tetras will nip the fins of the betta.
I have kept a betta successfully in a community many times with no issues. If the tank is big enough, there is no way that a betta catches a tetra.
 

Allison Williams

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I have kept a betta successfully in a community many times with no issues. If the tank is big enough, there is no way that a betta catches a tetra.
I haven't had any issues either!

I would get rid of the pleco. It will outgrow the 27gal in no time and cause a lot of issues with their waste. I would also bump up the water changes to once a week, especially on a 27gal with a pretty high bioload.

The cloudy eye could be because the tank is a bit overcrowded. With the cloudy eye, I would even bump up the water changes to twice a week. Melafix should help the situation. Make sure to be careful with medicines with copper because of your inverts.
The pleco i have though gets to be only 4 inches long and hasnt grown at all since i got him 5 months ago. is 4 inches really too big for a 27 gallon tank? I probably will bump up the water changes. Thanks. And what is the rule for over crowded tanks? i was told " one gallon per one inch." so if i have a 4 inch long fish it needs 4 gallons to itself. is that an appropriate rule?
 
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TexasDomer

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Nope, not really. Would you put a 10" fish in a 10 gal tank?
 

Dom90

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The inch per gallon rule is very inaccurate and old guideline that should be buried.


 

Allison Williams

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The inch per gallon rule is very inaccurate and old guideline that should be buried.
Then what is a good guide line for knowing the appropriate amount of fish you can have in a tank? None of my nitrate, nitrite, or ammonia levels are elevated, my pH and alkalinity is fine, i dont have an algae problem anymore (it corrected itself), and all my fish get along with each other really well. My betta loves having other fish to swim with.

Oh, and I forgot to mention, I use a gravel vacuum to clean up waste and excess food once a week.
 
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Dom90

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Well, just using common sense I would think. You wouldn't put a 6" fish into the tank that's only 12 inches wide for example. I generally go like this personally. 3-4" inch into tanks with 30" footprints. 4-5" into 36", 6-8" in 48", etc. of course there are variations. You could have different schools or bigger schools of 3-4" fish in a 75g for example. It's probably best to bounce your ideas off someone else on a forum if you're not sure.


 

Bijou88

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Your butterfly pleco might be a hillstream loach, if it is they need cooler water.

 

Allison Williams

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Your butterfly pleco might be a hillstream loach, if it is they need cooler water.
How can i know for sure? when i bought it at petsmart the lable said it was a butterfly pleco and talking to different workers there they said it was a pleco too. Looking at the pictures of the butterfly pleco on line they come in many different designs so they dont all look the same. The stripped tail that mine has though still makes me thing its a pleco.
 

Dom90

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Can you take a picture of it when it's on the tank floor? Plecos generally have a distinct dorsal fin, whereas I'm seeing the hillstream loach really doesn't.


 

Allison Williams

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Can you take a picture of it when it's on the tank floor? Plecos generally have a distinct dorsal fin, whereas I'm seeing the hillstream loach really doesn't.
He only is ever on the glass. i have never seen him on the tank floor since i have had him!
 

Dom90

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I'm thinking its a hillstream loach from the angle of the pic. Try to poke him and see if he moves.


 

Aquadisiac

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Just a side note but I'd switch to a liquid test kit. Strips are highly inaccurate and I bet pet smart uses strips too when they test your water. Just a thought I also agree with bumping up water changes although... If you're vacuuming the gravel once a week aren't you also performing a water change at the same time?
 

Allison Williams

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Just a side note but I'd switch to a liquid test kit. Strips are highly inaccurate and I bet pet smart uses strips too when they test your water. Just a thought I also agree with bumping up water changes although... If you're vacuuming the gravel once a week aren't you also performing a water change at the same time?
My vacuum doesnt suck up all that much water so i usually dont need to. i guess i do water changes every 2 weeks, i may add a gallon every week just to make up for the water evaporation and the vacuuming but when i do the actual water changes i take out like 6-7 gallons of the water and replace it with fresh conditioned water.

I'm thinking its a hillstream loach from the angle of the pic. Try to poke him and see if he moves.

I will see if i can get a better picture of him tomorrow!
 
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chrt396

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The Betta will be fine. They CAN get along with quite a few fish. It all depends on YOUR particular fish! I have two Bettas that have tankmates and the Bettas couldnt care less. Once in a while, he'll go to where they are and check them out, but there has NEVER been nipping or chasing in the tank. No murders or suicides.

You said that you have a great filter. . What filter do you have on the tank. That will also determine what you can carry in your tank. You also may want to cut your feeding to ONCE a day. You can also fast them one day in the week. That will cut down on waste in the tank..hence helping nitrates.

You may want to invest in an API water resting kit. They are more accurate than test strips..plus you can do it when you have time instead of having to wait until you get to the fish store.

Water changes should be done at least once a week. ESPECIALLY if you are feeding them twice a day. 25% at least. High Nitrates can lead to a lot of issues in the tank and since you overfeed and dont do weekly water changes....I'm guessing your nitrates are high, The proper test equipment will say a lot about the condition of your tank. Get one. You need it!
 

junebug

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This guy is about the size of my thumb. No bigger than 3 inches and he hasn't grown at all since i got him just about 5 months ago.
That's a butterfly loach, not a butterfly pleco. Vastly different requirements from your other fish.

Also, I may have missed where someone else mentioned it, but there are some issues with the stocking in your tank. You have several schooling fish (your tetras) that aren't in appropriate numbers.

It's good that your betta girl hasn't hurt anybody... yet. But you should be aware, that could very well change, especially with a female betta, as they are just as aggressive as males, but without the heavy, cumbersome finnage keeping them from moving quickly. They're just as quick as those tetras. But my worry would be the guppies. I'm guessing they are male guppies (more colorful and fun to watch) and generally female bettas and male guppies do NOT get along. Eventually one of those guys is gonna try to mate with your betta... and he'll lose a fin when he does. Those girls have a thing about guppy boys trying to mate with them. They may get along now, but it's probably not going to last.
 
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