Help Trying to establish a tank with one ID Shark

Darla Doom

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I won an iridescent shark catfish from a fair on Friday. The next day, Saturday, I went to Petco and purchased a 20 gal tank kit and was told to run the filter for at least 24 hours b4 placing any fish. I let the the filter run the 24 hours only before putting my fish in, Sunday, bc he didn't look like he was doing well at all in the container he was in. (He started having a reddish nose and mouth). (I showed pics of him to Petco and they are the ones that told me to put him in the tank immediately.) Also, he hasn't eaten his food in the 4 days since I got him. Today is day 4, Tuesday, and he seems to be doing much better healthwise as the red color around his nose and mouth have gone- although he is missing 2 of his barbels. (Should I be worried about the missing barbels?) He still isn't eating though. I've given him sinking wafers and shrimp pellets- he won't take. (I'm going to try feeding him algae wafers as one website suggested.) And now with all this, his water has turned cloudy. I went ahead and removed all the uneaten food as I think it just sitting there caused the water to become murky. Should I do a 30% water change? My pH is a 7.2 per Petco. I need to buy a testing kit tomorrow to determine the ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels. Should I also purchase one more hardy fish like a molly to help get he tank started? Do you think at this pont I should purchase Bio Spira to help things along? Should I also get 1 bottom feeder to eat the scraps? My cat isn't eating and definitely not pooping. How am I supposed to establish the good bacteria cycle with him not cooperating? I know about not overpopulating the tank in the beginning so I am very wary.
Also, I do undertsand the nitrogen cycle.

I am new to freshwater aquariums. Please help. I don't want to kill the fish. Anything you all can comment on would be appreciated. Thank you all in advance!!
 

Parlay

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Sadly without a fully cycled tank the fish will suffer. They also get to be 4 feet long and need around 300 gallons of water. The tank isn't cycled and I'm sure the ammonia is very high, and ammonia poisoning is the number one cause of fish deaths to new fishkeepers IMO. Adding a fish isn't going to help the cycle, it would only add to the toxins in the water. In that size tank there aren't a lot of bottom feeder options and as I said, adding fish to an uncycled tank isn't a wise idea. Unfortunately, due to the full grown size of that fish, and the costs to maintain one (such as buying such a large tank) I would recommend rehoming him, or giving him to a fish store.
The only thing I can think is to buy a bottle of tetra safe start and trying to do a fish in cycle with large water changes, like 50%, until you can get a bigger tank. It will be hard on the fish though.
 
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Darla Doom

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Thank you Parlay.

I am happy to report that my ID shark is doing well. I have been checking ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels often with help from Petco. So far evrything has been neutral. There was one day that the pH dipped to a 6.2 and that was bc of the addition of aquarium salt. I have since added 1 goldfish (to hlep with the bio cycle) and just today a Common Pleco.
I do understand the size and requirements for the lil Plecster and the ID Shark and will purchase a larger tank when the time is appropriate.
As of today, the gold fish is the little piggy measuring in at about 3" long. The ID Shark I realize is happy with his own nocturnal schedule. The Pleco seems content sucking away at the slimy walls so far.

Overall, my tank seems content therefore I am content. Its this wating game that kills you...

Thank you for everything.
 

Parlay

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I'm glad to hear everything is going well.

One thing I'm going to mention however is that plecos cannot handle salt. They are scaleless fish and salt is harmful to them. It can damage their slime coat, stress them, and in-turn, add to them falling ill.

Hopefully someone will come along who can add to that, but you might think about no longer using salt or re-home the pleco. Do ID Sharks need salt? I don't know a lot about them. If they need salt in the long run I wouldn't recommend keeping a plec with them.
 
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Darla Doom

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Wow.. I had no idea Plecos don't do well with salt! I don't think the ID Shark needs it either. It was Petco that told me to place a little tub with a little salt so it could help with fish diseases, if any. Also they said it would help alleviate some stress. As a matter of fact, my eyes landed on the little plectser bc he was chillin' on the salt tub in the Petco aquarium.

I'm gonna do more research into aquarium salt. Thank you for the info- I would have never known it was bad for them and petstores do things half backwards anyway.

Thank you, Parlay!
 

Parlay

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Darla Doom said:
Wow.. I had no idea Plecos don't do well with salt! I don't think the ID Shark needs it either. It was Petco that told me to place a little tub with a little salt so it could help with fish diseases, if any. Also they said it would help alleviate some stress. As a matter of fact, my eyes landed on the little plectser bc he was chillin' on the salt tub in the Petco aquarium.

I'm gonna do more research into aquarium salt. Thank you for the info- I would have never known it was bad for them and petstores do things half backwards anyway.

Thank you, Parlay!
Half backwards? I'd say most do it whole backwards, lol. But at any rate, there is a huge debate in the hobby about whether or not you need "aquarium" salt at all. Many old school fishkeepers use it, but recently it has fallen out of style. When I was really little, my grandpa (who was a huge fish hobbyist) always swore by it. He even made my mom buy some for our first tank. I don't think it's really needed at all and may possibly be just another add-on sale for the fish stores so they can get a few bucks closer to hitting their bottom line.

On another mildly unrelated note, I've noticed that when Petco "recommends" a product they are always recommending their Petco brand. At least at my local store. I wish I could look at some of their costs for the products, because I bet they make a TON more profit selling their salt over say, Marineland's. Just a thought...
 

Elodea

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Ummm...ID sharks hit 4 feet long and aren't one of those fish who normally get stunted. They'll keep growing until they start bashing themselves along the tank glass and either badly injure or even kill themselves, or crack the glass and empty the tank.

Common plecos get to more than 2 feet long and produce tons of waste. I'll either be up looking for a 300 gallon tank to house both of them, or return both fish.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.
 
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Darla Doom

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Elodea said:
Ummm...ID sharks hit 4 feet long and aren't one of those fish who normally get stunted. They'll keep growing until they start bashing themselves along the tank glass and either badly injure or even kill themselves, or crack the glass and empty the tank.

Common plecos get to more than 2 feet long and produce tons of waste. I'll either be up looking for a 300 gallon tank to house both of them, or return both fish.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.


Thank you Elodea. I plan on purchasing larger tanks in the future. As of today, the pleco, the ID shark, and the goldfish roughly measure about 3" long. I think I have some time before I make that purchase . Thank you again.
 

sirdarksol

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I agree with pretty much all of the advice given here.
The only thing that's been said that I disagree with is this (and I only disagree with half of this statement)

Parlay said:
They also get to be 4 feet long and need around 300 gallons of water.
It will need more than 300g, and it will need it sooner, rather than later. I've seen a 300g tank, and a relatively shallow one at that (meaning the other dimensions were bigger). I've also seen a fully-grown iridescent shark. There is no way that fish could comfortably turn in that tank.
These fish need ponds, not aquaria. We're talking thousands of gallons. I've seen some acrylic-sided tanks that would be large enough to house these, but those were only in zoos or some really upscale fish stores.

This is a fish that should not be readily available in the aquarium industry, and the person who decided to give it away at a carnival knew about as much about aquarium fish as my cat. It's bad enough that they give away goldfish (which can grow to be well over a food long), which are going to end up in bowls, but when they give away iridescent sharks to the same circumstances... They're just not bright, nor do they care about the fish, at all.
 

Parlay

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Ouch SDS, lol.

I've never actually *seen* a full grown ID shark (that I know of). I was purely going by what the little write-up of them said in FishLore's freshwater fish section. I just wanted to put a number on a MINIMUM tank size so that Darla knew what she'd be getting in to. If someone doesn't want to re-home the fish then a 300 gallon tank is much easier to get a hold of then 500 gallons.
I'll be more careful in the future in quote larger tank sizes for ID sharks.
 

sirdarksol

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Parlay said:
Ouch SDS, lol.

I've never actually *seen* a full grown ID shark (that I know of). I was purely going by what the little write-up of them said in FishLore's freshwater fish section. I just wanted to put a number on a MINIMUM tank size so that Darla knew what she'd be getting in to. If someone doesn't want to re-home the fish then a 300 gallon tank is much easier to get a hold of then 500 gallons.
I'll be more careful in the future in quote larger tank sizes for ID sharks.
It's not the kind of thing most people get a chance to really see and understand. I mean, when we think about it, 300g is the largest tank most of us have seen (outside of zoos and public aquaria,) so we think that pretty much anything sold in the pet stores should fit in there, and if the pet stores only sold fish that belonged in aquaria, we'd be right. Unfortunately, some pet stores stock iridescent sharks, which do not belong in aquaria. I think that, when that profile was written, it was the same issue.
 

iloveengl

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Although this is not the worst of the problems with the tank, I want to point out that goldfish are cool water fish, while plecos and IDs are tropical.

It is very hard on goldfish to constantly remain in the very upper limit of their temperature range.
 

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