New with Live Fish, please help :)

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by Bellusion, Jul 22, 2015.

  1. Bellusion

    BellusionValued MemberMember

    We received a 10 gallon aquarium as a gift. I set it up and took my daughter to buy fish. I did ask the pet store employee many questions such as "Can this fish go with this one" and such but I was told how easy it was and not to worry about it as long as I don't get certain fish (goldfish, betas, some others).

    My brother is an enthusiast (and might even be a member of this site, I don't know). I can't remember what brought it up, but about 2-3 days after, I mentioned the new fish to him.. he said, "You just put them in after setting it up? Do you know anything about the nitrogen cycle?" Me - "Um... wha?"

    Needless to say, I was an idiot, did no research, did this all wrong and now I have live fish that I need to save.

    After research and testing the water with my new API Master Kit, I figured it would be best to move them a new tank because the ammonia was just sky high (we were also overfeeding them). They are now in a pretty 20 gallon tank with a big log decoration, several fake plants, a mix of gravel and sand substrate, a Tetra Whisper 20l filter, and a 100w heater. Everything was rinsed (the gravel was boiled and rinsed) before putting in. Then I added the water with water conditioner and a bottle of Tetra SafeStart. I waited awhile and then added the fish.

    Here are the fish I have - 1x Diamond Tetra, 2x Swordtails (male and female), 1x glo danio, 1x ghost shrimp. I know, the tetras need schools, and etc.. the store employee did not mention this to me and I did not research. I will fix that problem later, if I can keep them alive.

    I am now going to test the water every day and do water changes if the ammonia is too high. I'm also going to feed very sparingly through this.

    What else do I need to be doing and what changes do I need to make to my tank?

    I hate the thought of killing animals because I was thoughtless. :(

    Thanks in advance!
  2. LiterallyHydro

    LiterallyHydroWell Known MemberMember

    Welcome to Fishlore!

    What are the dimensions of your 20 gallon tank? Is it a 20 long or a 20 high? A 20 long is 30" long whereas a 20 high is 24" long.

    If it's a 20 long you could likely keep all of your stock except the swordtails. The swordtails will still need a much larger aquarium than a 20 gallon.

    The diamond tetra will need to have five other diamond tetras introduced since as you stated, they are schooling fish. The glofish you have will also need to have five others of its own kind introduced.

    I will assume that you now understand the nitrogen cycle and are now ready to take on the responsibility of doing a fish-in cycle or re-homing your fish so you could do a fishless cycle.

    If you do a fish-in cycle, if the ammonia goes up to .50, you will need to do a 50% water change, which could be once a day or in some cases twice a day.

    When doing fish-in cycling, I also feed only once every other day. Besides what I stated above, I'm pretty sure you're on the right path.

    Make sure to ask as many questions as you can, that's what will really get you off to the right path.

    Edit: By the way, good for you for taking the moral high road and educating yourself on the pets you have decided to keep. That alone puts you above a huge amount of people who have kept fish.
  3. amydeb

    amydebValued MemberMember

    Welcome to Fishlore!
    Good for you for doing the right thing. Everyone makes mistakes but smart people learn from them. :)

    One thing to keep in mind - after you use TSS you shouldn't do a water change for 2 weeks.
  4. ClearEyes

    ClearEyesWell Known MemberMember

    Welcome to Fishlore!

    Agreed, you'll be okay if you up your tetras and danios, but the swordtails have to go.

    I also had a male and female swordtail in my 20G, and based on the advice of excellent people on this site, I gave them back to the LFS. When I did, the guy there was like, "Why? They won't get that big!" but I've heard enough here to be confident that it was the right thing to do, even though it kinda broke my heart, since I'd named them and had grown attached to them.

    Be wary of what your LFS people tell you. This site is my go-to, I always listen to what people here say.
  5. el337

    el337Fishlore LegendMember

    Hi and welcome!

    Did you put in the TSS right after putting in the water conditioner? I believe you have to wait 24-48 hrs and then put in the TSS.
  6. LiterallyHydro

    LiterallyHydroWell Known MemberMember

  7. OP

    BellusionValued MemberMember

    Thanks for all of the replies.

    I have a 20 gallon long.

    I did use Tetra Safe Start and water conditioner at the same time. So what does that mean? This is frustrating because the pet store employee recommended the water conditioner and I told her that I already had the TSS (saw it at Wal-Mart and bought it on impulse) and specifically asked if they could be used together and she said yes. What does this mean, that I used both at the same time?

    About the fish, I had already planned to get more Diamond Tetras to make a school, my brother clued me in to them needing a school. They are so pretty and I don't want to get rid of the one we have. I assumed that I needed to wait for a stable tank to do this though, is this true or false?

    I don't know what to do about the Danio, I didn't know they needed a school as well (we were told one was fine! ugh). I guess I will see if the pet store will take back the swordtails as well? Aqadvisor says they should be fine but I was just reading here that it's not entirely accurate.

    I just tested my water, it's ammonia is at 0.25 ppm. Since LiterallyHydro mentioned 0.50 and I'm confused about the TSS/Water Conditioner/Water Changing.. I will wait to do a water change and see what you guys, the experts, have to say. Thanks so much!
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2015
  8. Geoff

    GeoffWell Known MemberMember

  9. amydeb

    amydebValued MemberMember

    If you added the conditioner and the Safestart at the same time, the TSS may not work. You can add another bottle (sized for your aquarium) with the fish in there and it will not hurt them.
  10. Jsigmo

    JsigmoWell Known MemberMember

    First: Welcome to the forum! I think your tank and fish are off to a good start.

    I think it's best to wait a day or two after using most water conditioners, but not all, before adding the TSS.

    As was said, adding another bottle in a day or two won't hurt a thing, so it might be good insurance.

    Don't be too alarmed by any readings you get during the first two weeks after using the TSS. People often spoil the effectiveness of the TSS by doing big water changes before the bacteria have had a chance to become attached to the filter media and other surfaces. Thus, they end up throwing a lot of the bacteria away.
  11. Geoff

    GeoffWell Known MemberMember

    You might want to not test at all during the 2 weeks. That way you won't get freaked out by any readings while the TSS is working. Only if you see your fish acting strangely or in distress would you want to test.
  12. OP

    BellusionValued MemberMember

  13. OP

    BellusionValued MemberMember

    I called the pet store and they are going to take back the swordtails and the glofish (my daughter doesn't want a school of him, he doesn't even glow in our tank, I guess because of our lighting). The employee was very condescending and kept telling me they would be fine. I think I will find a different pet store.

    So that leaves two questions.

    1) How to transport them safely? Employee told me to just put them in any container.. is that true?

    2) That will leave just the 1 diamond tetra and 1 ghost shrimp (whom I hardly ever see). When do you suggest adding more diamond tetras?

    I am adding another bottle of TSS today.
  14. ClearEyes

    ClearEyesWell Known MemberMember

    For transport, a standard freezer bag is fine, as long as you use water from your tank and leave plenty of air in the bag.
  15. OP

    BellusionValued MemberMember

    The Danio died.. :( within the last few hours.
  16. ClearEyes

    ClearEyesWell Known MemberMember

    Sorry for your loss :(
  17. tyguy7760

    tyguy7760Fishlore VIPMember

    I would check before putting the TSS+ in again to make sure your ammonia hasn't risen very high. I believe that if the ammonia has increased above 2ppm that it isn't as effective. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.
  18. OP

    BellusionValued MemberMember

    Ok, I am on my way to take back the swordtails.. I will have them test the water while there.
  19. OP

    BellusionValued MemberMember

    Ok the ammonia is at 1.0 right now.

    And I am never going back to this store, the fish employee is such a jerk, lol.
  20. OP

    BellusionValued MemberMember

    Added TSS yesterday.

    Today's water -

    PH 8.2
    Ammonia 0
    Nitrite 0
    Nitrate 40

    I still don't understand the science behind this so I don't know what it means. Is the PH too high and how do I lower it? What about the Nitrates? Thanks