starting small tank without cycling first?

  • #1
I have a 15 gal tank that has been running for a couple of months. I made the typical newbie mistakes but it seems stable (a little overcrowded but stable for now). I plan on getting another larger tank but not right away. I made an impulse purchase of a 1 gal tank because it was on clearance cheap (with light and power filter). It's this one

I want to start it right away as I have problems with my guppies and need to separate some fish. The 15 gal has about 2" of gravel, a somewhat large live plant (actually 3-4 stems bundled together and it seems to be growing well), fake plants, rocks, glass gems, shells, decorations etc that could be stolen to setup the small tank (I'm thinking stuff with bacteria on it). There is plenty to take some. I was also thinking of taking the sponge from the power filter and wiping it on the dirty one from the 15 gal to get bacteria into it. I also planned on using water from the 15 gal to fill the 1 gal. I have apI quick start (that has bacteria starter if that would help) as well as prime, tetra aqua safe, and dechlor.

What are my chances of success? If you wish to read about the problems with the fish, keep reading.

There is an ongoing problem with the guppies. Early on I got only male guppies as I didn't know better. There were deaths which I later found out was one male killing the others (one almost didn't even make it home from the pet store and died soon after). I saw that one male attack the catfish too. So I got females and things seemed to calm down. at one point there were 3 females and 2 males but another died (one of the females). I'm not sure if the one male killed it. They seemed to get along well enough. One had fry and no apparent problems. Then the other had fry and seemed to remain pregnant. Within a week or two both males were relentlessly harassing the pregnant female. I have tried separating various fish to temporarily resolve the problem or at least give the female a break. Both males ignore the other female. The only thing I had to separate any into was a breeder (with the slot bottom removed to give more room). Female acted distressed in the breeder. I tried putting the males in the breeder, but the second they were released they went after the female. It became apparent that one of the males was the more significant aggressor. She was being aggressively harassed non stop through out the day without a seconds pause. She would spin around and dart at them fast ramming them, she would swim fast into the plants to get away, behind the heater or filter inlet tube (seemed to navigate it better than the males). So I realizing the one male that was the bigger aggressor seemed to be the same one that was killing before (I'm pretty sure of it but not positive). I had planned on separating the males into the new tank. As of yesterday, the one male that is the bigger problem is separated by himself in the breeder. The other male did harass the female but not near as aggressively. With the bad one separated for a day , the other male now only goes after the pregnant female on and off and pays at least a little attention to the other female. The male is often seen in other parts of the tank not bothering the pregnant female all the time.

Now I really don't know what to do? Separate the bad male, or separate both? It is just tonight I am seeing things have calmed down without that one male (first time he has been separated by himself). I had planned on separating someone till the pregnant one gave birth but it seems to be dragging on forever. I was able to see the frys eyes and she was squared off with a dark spot at the back almost 2 weeks ago. Twice I have seen what seemed like a blood color inside her (dark spot kind of went away). I kind of assumed that she had aborted but it keeps going on. The blood color is not there, the dark spot has returned, and she is huge (has been for weeks). You can see the fry in there. I'm thinking it has been at least 3 weeks since she last gave birth. I though I had read every 30-40 days but I thought I also read second batch in 2 weeks sometimes. I could care less if the new fry survive or get eaten as far as separation. We already have 7 fry that are big enough to survive (they have been in with the big fish for a while and are not getting eaten). There is not room for more.

Should I just flush the angry fish (he is going nuts in the breeder). He has been kept from the female a couple of times and when returned, the relentless attacks started right away. I am fairly certain he is the same one that killed others and attacked the catfish. I have other fish that could be separated in the long run to make more room but I'm not sure what good that would do with such a small tank (I was told to take the dwarf frogs out among other things). I plan on getting another larger tank kind of soon anyway.
  • #2
A 1 gallon tank really isn't big enough to house any fish. If you have one problem fish, and you want to get rid of him, why not just re-home him. You could even simply donate him to your LFS. I would never flush a fish, dead or alive.

As far as seeding your 1 gallon; which IMO could really only house shrimp; any fake plants, rocks, or decorations (especially the porous ones) will house beneficial bacteria. If the sponge is in the aquarium it should be housing beneficial bacteria, no rubbing required. You could also use the API Quick start, which I am assuming is like Tetra SafeStart, add the Quick Start then no more than 2 hours latter add the fish.

There have been fish in the 15 gallon for 2 months?

How many fish are in the 15 gallon?

What kind of filter do you use for the 15 gallon?

what kind of filter did you plan on using for the 1 gallon?

Do you have a liquid test kit?

What are your ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate readings?
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  • #3
There have been fish in the 15 gallon for 2 months (probably getting closer to 3 months. It was set up with fish without having been cycled first (didn't know better). There are too many fish in the 15 gallon (again, didn't know better). I'm looking at getting a second tank. There are 4 guppies (2 male, 2 female, with the 1 male currently isolated), 3 albino cory cat fish, 4 neon tetra, 2 dwarf frogs, 3 small albino algae eaters, 7 guppy fry, and a plecostumus. The plecostamas is larger (2.5"), one cory is a bit bigger (1.5"), and one female guppy is reasonably larger than the rest). Everything else is pretty small (the tetras are really small, a couple of the 2-3 week old fry are almost as long but not as big around). Yea I know, too many which is why I am looking at another tank (probably at least 20 gal but quite possibly larger). I would be running both the 15 gal and the larger one, not replacing the 15 gal.

The filter for the 15 gallon came with it and is a tetra powered overflow type. I have not been able to determine the model. It uses a small filter cartridge but the unit looks much larger than others I look at that use the small filter cartridge. This kind of cartrige

This is the filter that came with the 1 gal

I was looking into it and users on another forum claimed it worked fine with 3 gal tanks but was a little weak for a 5 gal requiring more frequent water changes.

I do not have any test kits yet.

I suppose getting a 2-3 gallon might be an option since the filter and light seem to be big enough (I gather the light and filter are most of the value of this kit).
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  • #4
I have another question. If I rehome the guppy, isn't there going to be problems with any other fish he is put with? He seems to have killed at least a couple of fish and I have witnessed him attacking guppies as well as the catfish. The guppy he is harrasing is twice his size (the pregnant female is the large one, not just her belly, she is much bigger than the rest including the other female). Perhaps he could live alone in the one gal but that's a bit cruel too (no friend to play with). Is a pet store going to want a fish that I want to get rid of for aggression?
  • #5
most pet stores will take fish back even if its aggressive. ive returned fish before because of aggression and my lfs just gave me store credit. I would suggest you get a really large tank since your pleco is going to get really big! also if you got golden algae eaters they get really large too
  • #6
The LFS would take him, but if you want to keep him, he would be fine alone IMO. There are exceptions to all species. Most humans wouldn't attack other people, but there are some, just like most guppies are peaceful, but some can attack. If you want to keep him by himself, the minimum tank size for 1 guppy is 10 gallons, so a 2-3 gallon tank is too small. What ever you do with him, never flush a fish to kill it, this is a very painful death, as they don't die immediately, they survive for hours swimming through sludge, and excrement. Don't even flush a dead fish, as their decaying body can spread disease through the water supply.

I to started not knowing about the nitrogen cycle, as well as WAY overstocking my 20 gallon. So, you're certainly not alone there. The cory cats are schooling fish as well as the tetras, and should be kept in schools of 6 or more. Perhaps you could move the tetras, and the cory cats to the 20 gallon when you get it and add a few more to each school, maybe 8-10 each.

Do you have a common pleco?

Plecos grow up to 18", and require massive tanks (In the hundreds of gallons), you should rehome him immediately. If you want a pleco, there are smaller versions. I have a bristle nose pleco, that grows up to 6".

You could keep the Guppies, and algae eater in the 15. Unfortunately I know nothing about frogs, so I can't help you there.

Is the filter a Tetra whisper? FYI when you have a HOB (Hang Over Back) filter, the general rule of thumb is to filter 10x your tank size per hour (so if you have a 15 gallon tank, your filter should filter 150 gallons per hour, if you have a 20 gallon tank, it should filter 200 GPH).

It's important that you get a test kit, and update us on your readings.
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  • #7
Thanks for the info. The pleco was from petsmart so whatever they sell. On their website it says maximum size 24", recommended tank size 55 gal. They told me it would take years for them to grow big but that it would eventually grow too big for the tank.

I have a strong feeling that the filter is not a tetra whisper. It doesn't look like any of the pictures I have seen of the whisper models. I think it is an older model. I got the tank with the filter used.

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