Too Much Fish, Too Little Tank!!

Electricat
  • #1
Too Much Fish, Too Little Tank!! (UPDATED)

Hello all, I am a noob here, looking for some guidance....thanks for reading my overly long post about the situation.

I have a WAY overcrowded tank here, I would appreciate some advice on a plan to get things to a more reasonable level....I had small freshwater fish years ago, so I'm not clueless about fishies, but this is a whole new situation here!

Here is the story: Last week, some college kid at my wife's work said, "Hey, want some fish? I'm headed for CalI and have to get rid of them today!" Wife said sure, my husband likes fish, I'll take them. So I come home to find a somewhat neglected 10 ga. tank setup. Then I look in the bucket with the fish in it.......I'm expecting some tetras or mollies or something, but here I have a 2-3" American cichlid of some kind (with 1 popeye), a 4" blood parrot, and a 6" common pleco!!!!

The kid said that these 3 fish have been living together in this tank for 3-4 years without a problem, which is surprising since they probably outgrew it in 6 months. They do get along reasonably well.....the BP is mildy aggressive towards both the pleco and the other cichlid (moreso toward the pleco), but nobody is losing fins or anything. The pleco seems to prefer to mind his own business, but fights back if the BP picks at him too much. I have used rock, etc. to break the tank up a bit, which helped calm them all down. I'm doing regular water changes, filter cleanings, and vacuuming to keep the mess down, but it is just too much fish, especially with that big messy pleco!

Anyway.....I don't have much money to spend now, and I wasn't really planning to get back into aquaria until I had more to invest. I will be watching Craigslist for a cheap used setup of some sort, as even another small tank would help.

I would love to go buy a nice 55 gal. setup for these guys, but it isn't happening. What I'm looking for is a plan to get these fish into at least minimally adequate accomodations for their present size. I'm afraid that if I move the pleco out, the BP will beat up on the other cichlid since his main rival is gone.

Any ideas on how I can best resolve this mess, at least for a little while till I can better prepare, would be MUCH appreciated!
 
Lucy
  • #2
HI Electricat Welcome to Fish Lore

Wow, you certainly have your hands full.

Well, you already know you need a bigger tank, check out free cycle too, you'd be surprised what some people give away.
Maybe you could give the fish to a fish store or Freecycle, even list them on Craig's List.
Other than that, you'll have to do very frequent water changes to keep the ammonia down.

Good luck


Good luck.
 
Alessa
  • #3
Ok... very kind of you taking care of these fishes...

I have no experience with cichlids or plecos but I do know the tank is horribly small to their size...

I have a question, (I know this case is special but...) Do you know about the Nitrogen cycle? https://www.fishlore.com/NitrogenCycle.htm

right now you're doing everything you possibly can do. Just don't clean the filter media as it contains the beneficial bacteria that your tank needs to help you deal with the mess and the toxins in your tank.

also, get your hands on some prime (water conditioner) that helps with ammonia and nitrites aside from dechlorinating your tap water.

If you can, keep looking in craigslist. These fishes need a bigger tank urgently!!!!

and...

welcome to fishlore
 
Amanda
  • #4
Just to give you some hope - I bought my 55 gal. complete with stand, heater & filter for $30 on craigslist!
 
Kayin1470
  • #5
If you do manage to get some other type of tank or anything, I'd recommend taking out the BP if it seems the only one who is aggressive at all..

or is the cichlid also mean??


one solution is to make a tank divider... bad idea for such a small tank, but it would be good to have something like that around just in case one of the fish lets the stress of moving get to him, and attacks another..

I'm pretty sure there are a few threads on how to make them for pretty efficient prices, (like 10 bucks) if you can't buy them locally or have the time to order them, just a thought...


Sorry I couldn't be of more help.
 
COBettaCouple
  • #6
Welcome to Fishlore.

Yea, that's quite a fish situation to say the least! 50% daily water changes and using Prime to treat all water will help some. Also, if you can get even a 10 gallon to move the sick fish to for treating popeye.
 
Electricat
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
AN UPDATE ON MY MESS:

Very interesting to learn about the nitrogen cycle! From the past, I knew you couldn't just buy a tank and throw some water and fish in it, but never knew the chemistry behind it.

I have been doing water changing (3-4gal/day) and treatment as instructed. Had to order Prime, couldn't find it locally. Results on the testing have been a bit ambiguous, and I had a few minor ammonia spikes, but it appears things have now settled down to normal chemistry. Starting with "dirty" gravel and filter I think helped speed cycling, I intentionally didn't clean real well when I set up.

Water is now looking clear, and the fish have really perked up! Their colours are better, more activity, and I saw tonight that the one popeye has resolved itself!

I got a good deal off craigslist on a near complete 30gal setup this week, I just got it up and running, and seeded it so it can start cycling. It will be a bit before it stabilizes and I get it 'scaped, but the end is in sight. I think I have caught the guys incarcerated in the 10gal gazing longingly at it!!

I am planning to move all 3 of them to the 30gal when it is ready. The bullying by the blood parrot has settled to just a bit of friendly chasing and fin shaking...I know cichlids can be unpredictable, but he doesn't seem bent on violence, I think they will do better just not being on top of each other constantly. The BP and the other cichlid seem chummy enough that I am more concerned about separating them than about fighting in the bigger tank. I may add a few zebra danios, but these 3 will otherwise have it to themselves.

I think the 10gal will be getting 4-5 tiger barbs. I at first wanted to put a betta in it, as y'alls healthy bettas are just amazing, but I would need to change everything in it to get a good betta setup. So....I figure I may just add a purpose setup betta tank after the 30 is running well, and maybe try real plants in it. And I am aware the pleco won't fit in the 30 forever, but that is a good while down the road. I think I can see where this whole affair is headed.........

Thanks for the help!! I think the crisis has been averted now, but these guys might not have made it without y'alls guidance.
 
Allie
  • #8
AN UPDATE ON MY MESS:

Very interesting to learn about the nitrogen cycle! From the past, I knew you couldn't just buy a tank and throw some water and fish in it, but never knew the chemistry behind it.

I have been doing water changing (3-4gal/day) and treatment as instructed. Had to order Prime, couldn't find it locally. Results on the testing have been a bit ambiguous, and I had a few minor ammonia spikes, but it appears things have now settled down to normal chemistry. Starting with "dirty" gravel and filter I think helped speed cycling, I intentionally didn't clean real well when I set up.

Water is now looking clear, and the fish have really perked up! Their colours are better, more activity, and I saw tonight that the one popeye has resolved itself!

I got a good deal off craigslist on a near complete 30gal setup this week, I just got it up and running, and seeded it so it can start cycling. It will be a bit before it stabilizes and I get it 'scaped, but the end is in sight. I think I have caught the guys incarcerated in the 10gal gazing longingly at it!!

I am planning to move all 3 of them to the 30gal when it is ready. The bullying by the blood parrot has settled to just a bit of friendly chasing and fin shaking...I know cichlids can be unpredictable, but he doesn't seem bent on violence, I think they will do better just not being on top of each other constantly. The BP and the other cichlid seem chummy enough that I am more concerned about separating them than about fighting in the bigger tank. I may add a few zebra danios, but these 3 will otherwise have it to themselves.

I think the 10gal will be getting 4-5 tiger barbs. I at first wanted to put a betta in it, as y'alls healthy bettas are just amazing, but I would need to change everything in it to get a good betta setup. So....I figure I may just add a purpose setup betta tank after the 30 is running well, and maybe try real plants in it. And I am aware the pleco won't fit in the 30 forever, but that is a good while down the road. I think I can see where this whole affair is headed.........

Thanks for the help!! I think the crisis has been averted now, but these guys might not have made it without y'alls guidance.
A10g is too small for tiger barbs. The need a bigger tank, the get up to 3".


A 30 gallon is still too small for the rest of the fish. Common plecos get 18"+ and fast. A Parrot cichlids get 8" big and should be in at least 45/50gs.
 

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