Stupid noob questions... cycling, driftwood & more

Calab
  • #1
I've got a 10 gallon tank that has been set up for about two weeks now. When I got the tank I knew nothing about the nitrogen cycle that one should do before adding fish. Well, now I have some questions...

The tank is a 10 gallon freshwater tank. Filters are an under gravel as well as a Tetra 5-15 power filter. The tank is heated by a 50watt heater. There are several decorations and a few low flowing air stones in the tank. There is also a live "Red Wendtii" plant.

For fish I currently have two ballon mollies, three black neon tetras, five neon tetras, two albino cories, a red glass rosy barb, and a rubbernosed pleco. I know I'm treading the line as far as overstocking, but they are all small fish.

This tank has been set up this way since the day I got it. I did not know about cycling my tank at that time. I *DID* use some of the water and decorations from one of my betta bowl. With the exception of yesterday, the fish seem fine. I did also have one of my bettas in this tank, but he kept picking on one of the mollies. He's back in his own bowl now. The molly has is missing a fin and has a few bites out of her tail, so I've been dosing the tank with about 5ml of Melafix for the last three days. Charcoal is removed from the filter.

I purchased a piece of drifwood from a large, reputable store. I soaked it in hot water for several days. Yesterday morning I added the driftwood to the tank, thinking that the pleco would enjoy it and also give more hiding space to the tiny tetras. Within about six hours I had three dead fish - two black neon tetras and a cory. I immediately removed the wood and dead fish and did a (~50%) water change.

Current readings in my tank are:
Nitrate and Nitrite: near 0
Hardness GH: ~200ppm
Chlorine: 0
Alkalinity KH: ~250ppm
PH: 7.8
Ammonia: ? My non-nessler kit has not arrived. Why can't the manufacturers label the boxes?

Now my questions (Thanks for reading this far):

- What are the chances that the wood was responsible for the dead fish? I only started adding Melafix a couple days ago. Could the Melafix be involved?

- I've been doing water changes, 25% about every two days. Will this be OK for the fish? With the tank eventually cycle?

- Should I be adding an PH adjusters, ammonia fixers, etc. during this time, or do I just keep up with the water changes until I know the cycle is complete?

- I'm getting low on my new water conditioner. I know now that I'm best with something that removes chlorine, chloramine and ammonia. Is there anything else I should look for? Any particular brands, etc?

Thanks for sticking with this LONG post!
 
lilsoccakid
  • #2
welcome to fishlore! I'm glad u found us.

-to start, betta need to be in AT LEAST a 2.5 gallon tank to themselves with a filter and heater

- I doubt the wood was responible for the dead fish, unles it was getting soaked in water with chlorine, and that somehow a large amount got into the tank, not sure about melafix.

-the tank will eventually cycle. I would bump up the water changes to 20% a day until its cycled.

- PH adjusters are bad news. I would stay away from them. fish can adjust to almost any ph if giving a very slow accimilation. just keep up the daily water changes

- I would get a water conditioner called PRIME. it makes ammonia and nitrites non toxic to fish, and gives them a MUCH BETTER chance of surviving the cycle.


I would suggest looking around the forum and READ READ READ!

good luck, and keep up those water changes!

mikey
 
Lucy
  • #3
HI Caleb
Welcome to FishLore,
Don't worry about the long post, it's better to ask questions.

There are only a couple of things I can suggest for you, the rest I'll leave for those more knowledgeable.

Even without the ammonia test, the fact that you have 0 nitrates shows your tank isn't cycled. You need to be doing daily water changes.

As you found out, bettas do not do well in a community tank, however, they do need more than 1 gallon, they need at least 2.5g with a heater and a filter.

You are not just treading the line of overstocking, You are way overstocked.
2 balloon mollies 8"
5 neons 7.5"
1 albino cories 2.5"
2 black neon 3"
1 rubbernose pleco 5"

That's 26" of fish in a 10 gallon tank. The rule of thumb is 1" of adult fish per gallon of water (depending on the species)

3 choices for this, get another tank and separate them, get a larger tank or return some of these fish.

Normally it is suggested that you leave your ph alone, as your fish can adjust to it, however, the driftwood might have changed the ph, so again, someone else will have to address that.

Others will be along shortly to help you with the other questions.

Good luck with your tank.

Edit: lol lilsoccakid types faster than I
 
Barbrella
  • #4
Agree with the others. If you had the 5 neons and the pleco, you would be treading the line of being overstocked. As things stand, you are grossly overstocked.

All these fish cannot live in 10 gallons of water, no matter what you do.
 
Calab
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
Agree with the others. If you had the 5 neons and the pleco, you would be treading the line of being overstocked. As things stand, you are grossly overstocked.

All these fish cannot live in 10 gallons of water, no matter what you do.

When I stocked the tank I did try to stay under the 1" per gallon. The only fish over 1" are the Pleco and the Red Glass Rosy Barb. I didn't know that it was 1" of ADULT fish, even when they aren't grown.

The reason I started with a 10 gallon tank was to make sure that I'd keep up with it and not lose interest. I know that the fish will grow, but if I'm going to keep them, they'll have a MUCH larger tank by then.

Even without the ammonia test, the fact that you have 0 nitrates shows your tank isn't cycled. You need to be doing daily water changes.

As you found out, bettas do not do well in a community tank, however, they do need more than 1 gallon, they need at least 2.5g with a heater and a filter.

I'll change to 20% changes every day. Thanks!

As for the Bettas... Room temperature is 72'. 40% water change every two days. The one gallon bowls are a WHOLE lot bigger than any Betta tank that I've ever seen. They've got live plants and someplace to hide if they'd like. Come to think of it, they may be two gallon... I'll pay more attention at the next water change.

- I doubt the wood was responible for the dead fish, unles it was getting soaked in water with chlorine, and that somehow a large amount got into the tank, not sure about melafix.

- PH adjusters are bad news. I would stay away from them. fish can adjust to almost any ph if giving a very slow accimilation. just keep up the daily water changes

- I would get a water conditioner called PRIME. it makes ammonia and nitrites non toxic to fish, and gives them a MUCH BETTER chance of surviving the cycle.

I doubt the wood was responsible as well, but it was a pretty odd coincidence that three died within six hours of adding the wood. In any case, I've been boiling the wood for four hours now. Anything in the wood should be removed and/or dead by now.

I'll look for PRIME next time I'm at the shop. I'm curious if AmQuel+ would work as a conditioner. It removes chlorine and such. When it nuetralizes the ammonia, will it still be available for the bacteria to use?


I'm really enjoying my tank. One think I don't like is the constant need to go out and buy something that I didn't know I needed. I bought a 6-in-1 strip test kit figuring that it would cover everything, then I learned about ammonia. The test doesn't check for that. The tank I got was supposed to be a complete kit, but there was no heater - guess it isn't needed for goldfish, so it's not included. No thermometer included either. Then there is the Melafix for my mauled Molly.

Just curious - I haven't really looked. Is there a "Make sure you have and do this when you start" posting or webpage anywhere?
 
Lucy
  • #6
Your kit sounds like mine, the heater or thermometer were not included either.

Here are some really good links to read:

https://www.fishlore.com/






As for the Bettas... Room temperature is 72'. 40% water change every two days. The one gallon bowls are a WHOLE lot bigger than any Betta tank that I've ever seen. They've got live plants and someplace to hide if they'd like. Come to think of it, they may be two gallon... I'll pay more attention at the next water change.

I started my betta in a 1 gallon for a few days while the 5 gallon finished it's cycle.
I recently moved her to 10g, you'd be surprised at the difference. Their personality really shines when they have room to swim.
I've looked for it, but I can't find it, there is a member who has her betta in a 55g!
 
Calab
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
I started my betta in a 1 gallon for a few days while the 5 gallon finished it's cycle.
I recently moved her to 10g, you'd be surprised at the difference. Their personality really shines when they have room to swim.

Thanks for the links.

The plan was to move one of the bettas into the 10 gallon tank, but he was picking on the mollies. He got along great with the rest of the fish.

I'm sure it will all work out in the end.
 
Lucy
  • #8
You're welcome, it's a lot of reading, but well worth it.

Your betta will be much happier in the 10 gallon by himself (and so will the mollies he picked on). You could even divide it and put one of the others in there.

Good luck with your tank and post pics soon, we love them.
 
lilsoccakid
  • #9
I'll look for PRIME next time I'm at the shop. I'm curious if AmQuel+ would work as a conditioner. It removes chlorine and such. When it nuetralizes the ammonia, will it still be available for the bacteria to use?

even though the ammonia is nuetralized, it is still availble for the bacteria
 
susitna-flower
  • #10
You have misunderstood the "rule of thumb stocking rule". You can't buy more fish because they are small. The rule means you have to count them AS IF THEY WERE ADULT size. You research the size they will grow to, and count all those inches, then NEVER buy more than will equal 1" of adult size per gallon of tank you own.

There are two reasons for this.


#1. Most people buy a small tank, put large numbers of fish in it and "plan" to buy a bigger one. But don't until their fish start dieing!

#2. A tank, even if it is cycled only have a fraction of the bacteria needed to deal with the waste that a fully stocked tank produces. In a properly stocked aquarium, you buy small fish, producing small waste, then as they grow the bacteria reproduce in proportion. If you follow the stocking recommendations, the waste will never outgrow the ability of the bacteria to keep up. If you overcrowd the tank with lots of inches of small fish, this waste is produced faster than the bacteria can handle it. This is what is happening to you right now.

You can either get a bigger tank now, move some of these fish over, adding bio-spira to speed the cycle, or you will end up losing most of these fish.

There are many articles here on fishlore under the heading at the top of the page, "ARTICLES" that will help you understand more about starting up a healthy aquarium. Good LUCK!
 
angelfish220
  • #11
Besides if you get a big 55 gal, then you have the fun of getting a betta for your 10! MTS is a killer!
 
Calab
  • Thread Starter
  • #12
Good luck with your tank and post pics soon, we love them.

I couldn't get any decent photos, but here's a link to a video of my tank!
 
Lucy
  • #13
I like the way it's decorated. It looks really good.
 
Annabelle
  • #14
I started my betta in a 1 gallon for a few days while the 5 gallon finished it's cycle.
I recently moved her to 10g, you'd be surprised at the difference. Their personality really shines when they have room to swim.
I've looked for it, but I can't find it, there is a member who has her betta in a 55g!

I totally agree here. I put Chubbs (mum named him) in my 2ft (20 something gal I think) yesterday so that I could have something in the tank while I'm waiting for money to start stocking and he is having a blast. He spent the entire day exploring and my bf thought he was broken cause he had neva seen a betta so active. I had to explain to him that when you put an intelligent creature in a small space they give up hope and mope on the floor. I knew he had personality but I just didnt know the full extent to it till yesterday. He even plays in the filter outlet and sits against the powerhead. His colours really really shine with the heating and the extra space to show off (yes, he does show off when I come and watch him). Whoever said they don't move much and don't need space has prolly only seen them in tiny bowls and those ridiculous vases that some people seem to think are a great idea.
 
COBettaCouple
  • #15
Yea, the more space, the better for a Betta. They are SO curious and playful! If space is an issue, there are 6.6g bookshelf tanks that give a Betta a nice long run (longer than a 10g) and plenty of room for 'toys'.

What type of wood did you get? Was it grapewood?
 

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