The unfortunate, yet common start to my venture into fish keeping.

mattmf1

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I got the tank used on craigslist(stand and tank for $150). I went to petco to inquire about setup(before i found this site unfortunately) and came home(same day) with eel,angel,algea eater and kissing gourami. I told associate at petsmart that tank was 1 day old and i was as new as can be to owning a tank. She sent me home with a bottle of nutrafin cycle and the fish and said i was all set. Needless to say algea eater and angel dies in 2-3 hours. Gourami was listless by next morning(but i got him back to store before he passed). The eel stuck it out and i s still with me. The second associate i met with at the store(this is day 2 of the tank) said "oops our bad, here try these they are stronger fish" thus the 7 barbs. I will say though, he was right about them, they are one tough fish if i can 7 in a 2 day old tank and they are all still here. 2 weeks later i went back to the store, since they told me to wait 4-5 days to add more fish. I asked if it was ok to get algea eaters again(my son kept asking for the "sucky fish") and they said "sure, just feed them these wafers". Great i thought, things are looking up. BAM... next morning both dead and pale. Hmmmm....this can't be normal, let me look online for some ideas. Low and behold FISHLORE.COM shows me how i was the terminator of the fish world. Now i am the type that cathes and release bugs from house to the outside, and slams on the brakes for squirrels and chipmunks. It was KILLING me inside knowing i had just offed 4 fish in a few weeks. So i read all about the "cycle" and wanted to strangle the petstore jerks, but i retrained. I wouldn't be of any use to my barbs and eel in jail. So when everything was all set, i returned to petco instead and hoped to get better info, came home with a betta(beautiful blue guy). I figured he would love to get out of the teacup the store had him in and into a real tank. Let me start by saying i didn't kill him, probably because i didn't get the chance to. There was such a current in my tank from the filter, he just spent the whole day swooping around the tank. If he wanted to stay still he had to do the fish equivalent of the running man. So i brought him back petco. By now my son wants to know why all his fish are going back to "the doctors". And i don't have the heart to tell him his father is a cold blooded murder. So we came back home with 3 orange mollies and aquarium salt. Then a week later 3 dalmation mollies and a week later 3 black mollies. Lost 2 mollies over a few days over night, but i think it was fish on fish violence. Finally got the cory cats my son really loved, and a block of wood with established algea on it. Started reading up on salt and found out that it isn't a good idea for anything except mollies, and that there are better ways to do it. So i am working the salt out of my tank 10% a day. Well, that is my story so far, if you stuck around to the end i tank you(HA...get it, instead of thank you i said "tank you" as in fish tank).

PS: as i write this i am cursing out the chipmunks that are destroying my sons sunflowers out on the porch. i hate chipmunks.
 
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Butterfly

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Welcome to FishLore! Sorry your having so many problems. good move working the salt out of the tank.
Carol
 

Lucy

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Welcome to FishLore!!
Sorry about your fish, that stinks. Many of us started out the same way.
 

Tigerfishy

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Welcome, you're off to a fresh start, be careful with the Nutrafin cycle, it won't help your tank cycle much at all. When you stop using it, there may be a cycle crash...
Work on getting and keeping the cycle, and from then on, it is so much easier, and then there will be less fish off to the doctors too lol!!
 

JRDroid

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You aren't a cold blooded fish killer. Accidental fish slaughter (instead o man slaughter). And really, it OS the pet stores fault. They constantly give bad advice. I was at the pet store yesterday a d the lady was telling a family that a pair of clown loaches would go great with the 3 bala sharks they had in their 10 gallon aquarium. A single clown loach or a single balance shark is to large for a 10! Always do your own research, don't rely on the pet store. /rant

I am sorry that you, like so many of us, started your fish keeping experience with bad information from stores we trusted.
 

SFwriter

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1) Everyone loses fish. The first week (or even month) of any fish moving into the tank is always a nail-biter, even for those of us who have been doing this for a long time. I just lost one of my brand new "sucky fish" aka Chinese Algae eaters a week after I got it. I was unable to quarantine him because my q-tank is currently being used as a hospital tank for a molly fry that was viciously attacked and partially eaten. Once you get your tank established, read up on quarantine tanks. No point now since all your fish are essentially quarantine fish.

2) I would seriously hold off on getting any more fish for the time being, but you may want to get some plants to help keep the nitrogen levels down. That should also stave off algae for a little while.

3) Your mollies will probably start breeding once the water is stable. They are like rabbits.

4) Salem might be big enough to have a good local fish store (LFS). Look for a specialist in town, then inspect the tanks to see if they are clean, and to see whether there are any dead fish floating in the tanks. (Even the best store can have a single dead fish, use some common sense.) If not in Salem, surely Boston has one.

5) Petco is a crapshoot. Sometimes you get one where the fish person know what they are doing, other times no. I've seen some pretty bad tanks in Petco and Petsmart, but I've also seen very clean tanks in those stores. When I buy fish at one of those places, I do it with the knowledge that I will almost certainly lose part of the purchase, so I buy a few extra. I never buy any fish over $2.50 at one of these places--usually under $1.50. I would buy expensive fishes very selectively.

6) Make sure you are properly acclimating the fish to the tank.

7) The Simple Guide to Freshwater Aquariums by Daved E Boruchowitz ISBN 0-7938-2101-0 is an excellent book for a beginner. (I also own the marine and pond books just so I know I will have a copy when the time comes.) If you know half of what is in that book, you will be ahead of most aquarists. Get it, read it, do as it says.

8) Learn from your mistakes. A short life in your tank is better than a long life at Petco.

9) Don't move to more difficult fish until you are ready. I've been keeping fish on and off for thirty years, since I was an early teenager. You have the benefit of this site and many books. When I started, it was all trial and error.

10) Be patient. Don't try to rush things.
 

Elodea

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Avoid listening to petstore advice in the first place. I started the same way as you, don't even get into how bad I was going pre-Fishlore.
 

blkdeath75

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lol Welcome to Fishlore! My wife and I were laughing pretty hard reading this. Not that it was funny mind you, but you really know how to tell a story lol. I wish you well with your tank and keep tryin! I see in your profile you are now familiar with the nitrogen cycle and have test strips? I could only suggest picking up an API master liquid test kit as I have heard the strips are hit and miss when it comes to accuracy.
 

SFwriter

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The Master test kit doesn't have a nitrate test unless it's changed since I bought mine a number of years ago. I had to buy a separate nitrate test.

I don't trust strips in my tank or in my swimming pool.
 

blkdeath75

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Heh....yes the Master test kit now comes with a low(6.0-7.6) and high(7.4-8.8) Ph testing liquid as well as one for ammonia(0-8.0ppm), nitrites(0-5.0ppm), and nitrates(0-160ppm) according to the included color chart, as well as 4 test tubes. It works well for me and other forum members swear by it.
 
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mattmf1

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thanks for all the reassurance. i have gotten the hint that the strips are pretty worthless and i will get a better test kit the weekend. there is a store called seaworld pet center that confuses me. half the time i expect them to be an awesome store. they have a great selection and don't seem to be a corporate entity. then some times i will go there and the tanks are gross, dead fish every where and they will have some irrisposible set ups(2 22" irredesdcant sharks swimming in 30 gallons of water with beaten up noses from hitting the glass so much).

as for the "nutrafin cycle" product, should i ween it out of my tank, or just go cold turkey and do daily water changes until my tank has a real cycle?

i forgot to mention that i had to jump through hoops to return my betta to petco. i wanted to do right by him and keep him healthy, so i get to the store and the answer i am getting from petco is "sorry, we can only take back dead fish". i was a little stunned. i told the guy i wanted to keep him safe, and he would probably get injured in my tank. i had to go through 3...seriosly 3 managers to get them to take him back. i told them i didn't even want the 3 dollars back, i just didn't want him to suffer in my tank. i find the whole concept of this to be mind boggeling.
 
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SFwriter

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Strips are better than nothing. Based on your description, I wouldn't trust seaworld pet center.
 

TedsTank

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Welcome to FishLore!!

So sorry you are going through all this...It happens more than we are aware of. I think what happens is while you are going through this mess, your tank is actually, unkown to you, cycling!!
Never be afraid to ask questions here, and if the petstore sounds a bit fishy....it probably is....just double check here!!!
 
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