Should I Upgrade My Tank?

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by pickledfish1001, Aug 1, 2017.

  1. pickledfish1001New MemberMember

    I'm really worried about my fish all the time, and that makes me think I've done something wrong. I'm new to all of this, but my family isn't, so I've been getting some advice from my dad, but we all know how dads can be sometimes.
    I have a 10 gallon tank, upgraded from a 2.5 gallon to stabilize it. In the tank, I have 3 mollies, a platy, 2 balloon mollies, 2 corys, and 2 ADFs. I also have an African Sword and what I think is a water sprite.
    The 10g is a new tank, but the cycle was jump-started (or so I thought) with a combo of old gravel (from the 2.5), old filter media (from a filter we had lying around) and API quickstart.
    At first, my ammonia was pretty high, in the stress range. I did a water change (~50% last week), and that put the ammonia at 0, where it's stayed. I thought the tank was okay- none of my fish fight, none were sick. Then, one of my balloon mollies started acting weird and I discovered some white spots on his back fin, and some rips- I was afraid it was ich, but I figured out it was fin rot. I immediately went to my LPS and picked up some melafix, and was informed that ammonia isn't always the biggest problem. Also got some test strips for nitrates and nitrites- which I knew were a part of the tank but didn't think they were dangerous to the fish (I don't know why this didn't occur to me.)
    My numbers for nitrates and nitrites were super high, so I did an immediate water change (at least 25% yesterday). I took the carbon out of my filter (as per Melafix instructions) and started treating the tank. My fish started to look better, but today I noticed that his eye was all messed up and he had developed ich. Now I'm treating both the 2.5 and the 10 with Melafix.
    Will moving them to a 20g help at all or would it hurt them more than just trying to treat them right now? Once they (hopefully) get better, I plan to move them anyway just to calm my own nerves about the whole thing. I really don't want to overstock my fish, but I'm afraid that I already have and now they're all going to die.
    My frogs are fine, and I think they eat enough. None of the fish really bother them, and they've come out more frequently, recently. In fact, none of the fish really bothered each other at all until recently, which is why I didn't think I had an overstocking problem.
    My numbers as of an hour ago:
    ammonia: 0
    nitrates: 80
    nitrites: 3.0
    I know both the nitrates and the nitrites are high, but I don't want to change the water too much and get rid of the medicine. I know cories are sensitive to salt, but I do have some and I've heard that helps with nitrites and nitrates. Would it help if I added half (or less) of the recommended dosage?
    I'm sorry for the long post, I just really want to take care of my fish. This is my first tank and I really love all of them. Pics to follow of the sick fish. Also, the 10g looks spare mostly because I moved some of the plants over to the 2.5 to help with hiding space for Creamsicle (sick fish). The other fish I took a picture of was Garfield, who I think also caught ich. Not sure if it's clear in the picture, but he does look like he has grains of salt on him. None of my other fish have any white spots, or any sign of sickness. Please help. Thanks in advance.

    Attached Files:

  2. Aquaphobia

    AquaphobiaFishlore LegendMember

    Yes, move your fish to the 20, it will allow their wastes to be more diluted. Do at least a 75% water change to get those nitrites down and dose Prime for the whole tank volume. If you're not familiar with the nitrogen cycle in a nutshell it's the practice of cultivating bacteria in your filter that eat ammonia from fish waste and turn it into nitrites, and bacteria that eat nitrites and turn it into nitrAtes which are the end product of the nitrogen cycle. The nitrates get removed through regular water changes. Mollies are known for their high waste production so I would be doing at least 50% water changes every week once your tank is cycled and if possible upgrade to an even bigger tank. What filter do you have on this tank, do you know the gph rating?

    Welcome to the forum!
  3. MongooseALaMode

    MongooseALaModeWell Known MemberMember

    The best thing you could do is change the water. Nitrites are VERY harmful to fish and your tank is not cycled. You need to get some Prime an API liquid test kit, and a bottle of stability. Also read up on the Nitrogen Cycle.
    Old filter media only has beneficial bacteria if it is in a cycled running tank. if it dried out there isnt anything in there. Also BB doesnt really like on substrate so that doesn't work either.

  4. OP

    pickledfish1001New MemberMember

    I know the filter can go up to a 20 gallon no problem, I'm not sure about the gph rating. What size tank would you suggest? I thought a 20 long just because I've read that a tank with more surface area can handle more fish, and also that would fit in the little setup I have for them right now. Also the frogs don't like to swim up too high, although I could figure something out for them.
    Thanks so much

    I will definitely be changing the water ASAP. API test strips aren't any good? Just wondering because I just bought a 25 pack! And of course, thank you so much for your help.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 2, 2017
  5. MongooseALaMode

    MongooseALaModeWell Known MemberMember

    The test strips are known to be inaccurate... Sorry! Liquid tests are really the only way to get the real numbers

    Can you return the strips?

  6. OP

    pickledfish1001New MemberMember

    Darn. Got them off amazon, I'll have to see. Thank you, again. Do you have any suggestions on moving them to a bigger tank? What size, when would be the best time, etc?
  7. MongooseALaMode

    MongooseALaModeWell Known MemberMember

    I would say 30+ gallons for all of those. Larger would be better since molly get pretty big. You would also need to get at least 3 more cory of the same kind. If you are able to get that size tank or larger I would do it asap along with stability or safe start to get the cycle going.
  8. OP

    pickledfish1001New MemberMember

    If I get the 30+ gallon, should I still get the prime? Or could I use stability to get the cycle going and then go from there? Thanks again for all the help!
  9. sfsamm

    sfsammWell Known MemberMember

    I'd say a minimum of 30 gallons, the mollys need 30 gallons just to be able to have enough space when full grown as they are fairly active. The balloons would be alright in a 20 as would the platy. The Cories should be kept in schools of at least 6 and need at least 20 gallons, preferably a 20 long and the adf should be in a species only tank.

    If your going to upgrade may as well just go with a 40 breeder and finish your Cory school and not add any more fish. Your fish will thank you by being healthy and happy rather than what they are today.
  10. MongooseALaMode

    MongooseALaModeWell Known MemberMember

    Prime is a water conditioner. Every time you do a water change you should dose it with prime. It basically makes all the toxins not hurt the fish for 24 hours. I have a 29g, and two 10g that I dose with prime ever day or every other day just to make sure there wont be any harm if something were to happen with the water and I didn't know(there are 1-5 kids under the age of 7 here daily)

    Stability is just to get the cycle going quicker.
  11. OP

    pickledfish1001New MemberMember

    gotcha, thanks again!
  12. Racing1113Well Known MemberMember

    I would keep the ADF's in the 10 gallon and immediately upgrade your tank for the rest of the fish. Unfortunately you're very overstocked. Mollies require 20 gallons minimum, some would even say 30. Don't worry about too many water changes removing medication. At this point the medication needs to be put on the back burner while you focus on lowering nitrite/nitrate to safe levels. You can throw every medicine available in the tank and it would be no good while you have toxic ammonia/nitrite/nitrate levels. Do as many water changes as needed until you get nitrites close to 0 and nitrates around 20. With clean water and safe levels you may not even need Melafix.

    As stated above, once a filter dries out there is no more beneficial bacteria so that didn't help cycle your tank faster. Gravel and decor hold minimal BB, the majority lives in your filter. Essentially you're doing a fish in cycle right now - when a tank is cycled that way you need to be checking your water parameters daily to avoid the situation you're in right now. I would also recommend getting the API master test kit. The good news is that since your ammonia levels are staying at 0 and your nitrites are spiking, that indicates you're about halfway through cycling. I would also recommend Prime as your water conditioner - it detoxifies ammonia/nitrites/nitrates for 24 hours but ONLY up to 1ppm at a normal dose. You can add more if you're in an emergency situation but you don't want to increase the dose routinely as that can stall your cycle.
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2017
  13. Aquaphobia

    AquaphobiaFishlore LegendMember

    Also be sure to check your parameters out of the tap. Sometimes a tank can appear to be cycled but in actuality the readings are from the tap and nothing to do with your cycle at all!
  14. Racing1113Well Known MemberMember

    Whoops. Forgot to mention two more things. Salt doesn't help with nitrates or nitrites, so don't add any as it will unnecessarily stress the fish out even more.

    Also, regarding the ADF's - as mentioned earlier they should really be in the 10 gallon alone. They're extremely slow eaters and a lot of them starve to death because their owner thinks they're getting enough to eat from leftovers at the bottom of the tank. However, they don't scavenge like cories do. And even if they did, any bottom feeders would have eaten any leftover food before they realized it was there. They also have extremely poor eyesight and you have to make the food very obvious to them. The best way to feed them is to have a little dish (I use a small terra cotta dish) that you place food in with a turkey baster. That way they are familiar with where to go for food. They need to be fed pellets (HBH frog and tadpole pellets are the best as most other ones cause constipation) supplemented with frozen bloodworms and frozen brine/mysis shrimp. The issue with having them in a community tank is that even with putting the food in a familiar spot, bottom feeders will eat it before the frogs have a chance. Heck, even non bottom feeders will when it comes to the frozen food lol.
  15. Kellye8498

    Kellye8498Well Known MemberMember

    Good thought but not true. You can still put the same fish in, not more. The long just allows for them to have more floor space which is much better since they can swim side to side much better instead of just up and down which isn't natural. You still can't add more fish than you would a normal 20 gallon, just different ones.
  16. BeanFish

    BeanFishWell Known MemberMember

    Medicine wont work if you have dirty water. Water quality is the most important thing for a sucessful tank. And yeah, a bigger tank will help you a lot. I keep Mollys and I cant really see them fitting in a 10 gal.
  17. OP

    pickledfish1001New MemberMember

    Thanks everyone for all your help! I will definitely be doing water changes and upgrading their tank asap.
  18. Aquaphobia

    AquaphobiaFishlore LegendMember

    FWIW salt actually does protect fish from high nitrites. It's a handy thing to know in case of emergency ;)
  19. BeanFish

    BeanFishWell Known MemberMember

    Salt was used a lot in the old aquarium era because it helped fish resist poor water quality. How much it helps them, I dont know. I would personally never rely on it tho.
  20. Racing1113Well Known MemberMember

    Good to know!

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