Your aquarium stocking level is 386%. Thanks to Wal Mart. Help

Discussion in 'Aquarium Stocking Questions' started by Cyrus, Apr 18, 2010.

  1. CyrusNew MemberMember

    Edit : This is long, Sorry.

    According to AqAdvisor "Your aquarium stocking level is 386%."

    I do not want to be a bad fish owner. It was never my intentions. Where I went wrong was trusting PetSmart(or Co.. cant remember) and Wal-Mart for information on how to become a "Good" fish owner.

    My wife and I went to PetSmart(Co) to find a gold fish for our 3 year old daughter. Never owning fish before we had to ask a lot of questions. The very "knowledgeable" lady was a lot of help she told us that we could easily put 3 goldfish in a 1 gallon vase! We did it, thinking that goldfish are beginner fish and that a vase would be more than enough for them.

    One week goes by and we still have all three of them! I was proud of this, I wasnt a bad fish hobbyist after all. I changed 1/4 of their water once that week as directed by the lady. On the eighth day our smallest fish died. We were sad but we almost expected it, hence why we started with goldfish and not angelfish or any number of other fish. I remove the poor fellow, change 1/4 of the water, wipe the vase, return to the petstore, and speak to another person who whole-heartedly assured me that the last remaining gold fish would live in the 1gallon vase and the other one must have been sick.

    She managed to convince me to get this really cute 2.5 gallon "Dora the Explorer" fish tank and 2 Neon tetra. I bring them home, acclimate them how the very nice woman told me to. About 4 days pass and my Neons are alive and thriving, looking like they are having a blast, my two goldfish...dead.

    This was only like my first 10 mistakes owning fish. My 11th, adding a pleco from Wal-Mart into the mix of 2 tetras in 2.5gallons of fish tank. I needed a "clean up crew". I did as the nice guy told us to do, I fed it tropical fish flakes along with my tetras. It died the next morning. I am assuming i didnt acclimate it right, I look up how to acclimate different species of fish. Sure enough, I didnt do it right on my neons or my pleco, I followed the wrong advice from 3 different people. My wife decided to go back to Wal-Mart and get her money back for the poor pleco. She came back home with a Columbian Shark Catfish, the person at the pet section of Wal-Mart told her that it was a perfect fit for a 2.5g tank with 2 neons. Up to this point we had only 2 weeks to a month of fish owning experience. We were still willing to believe what we were told.

    Maybe 3 weeks have gone by and a neon turns up missing! I searched the tank for it and cant find it. Hmm... one of our fish has SHARK in its name! I find, research it. Look up a bunch of different websites, apparently, not one person who has sold us a fish has told us one fact of truth. Other than neon tetras are EASY fish to raise. :;dk

    A few days pass and tons of researching (maybe 24 hours of solid reading) on how to properly raise my fish. I am done listening to petstores and Wal mart. My "freshwater" catfish that is friendly and can thrive in 2.5g of water is actually a "brack-ish water" fish that eats anything smaller than it and grows to 14 inches!!! I went to AqAdvisor and it told me my tank is 389% overstocked! I didnt do this on purpose, I thought I was doing everything right.

    Well, now its today, and I am freaking out that I am horrible pet owner, I havent done anything right yet, I am now asking for your guys help. Please, any information will help. I am buying a 10g tank immediately, tomorrow hopefully. I want to have it be a planted aquarium but I am to scared that I am jumping so far ahead of myself. I have had cats, dogs, and horses, my entire life and none of them have died due to neglect or abuse. Now I have had 5 fish die in 2 months!

    I dont know what I am asking, I just need help.
    Somebody tell me Im not a bad person. Haha.

    Last edited: Apr 18, 2010
  2. MeenuFishlore VIPMember

    You are not a bad person. Almost everyone has been where you are, or at least in a similar place. You'll get it.

    The bigger tank you get, the better. Would you consider going bigger? I have a 30, and even that's too small for some of the fish I want... you might be disappointed in a 10. (And the bigger it is, the easier it is to keep the water parameters steady)

  3. CyrusNew MemberMember

    I want bigger of course, I just need to get my poor catfish out of a 2.5g tank. Thats like being trapped in a box. I feel horrible. I didnt do this on purpose, i thought i was babying these fish.

    At this point, anything is better than what I have.

    I want to keep the tetra in the 2.5g tank and transfer the catfish to a 10g then hopefully make a brackish water aquarium with 30g to 75g. Thats my goal, but i need to get past this 389% overcrowding stage first.
    I am glad I chose to do research on my own. My catfish has such an awesome personality, I wouldnt want to lose him/her.

    Is it possible to have a planted brackish water aquarium? No one seems to have them.

  4. brokenwingWell Known MemberMember

    Hey cyrus alot of us have had rough starts here. LIke meenu suggested I would start with a larger tank, if you have the room. They are easier to maintain when it comes to water chemistry then a small tank. Have you read about the nitrogen cycle. Thats the first place you want to start. Now i would never by fish from walmart, but you can get the top finn aquarium kits pretty cheap, and they are a great way to start. All you need to do is buy a heater. Also check out crairgslist, you can find great deals on used tanks. Hang in there, the members here will get you going, and before you know it will be old hat to you.
  5. midthoughtWell Known MemberMember

  6. CyrusNew MemberMember

    Thank you for welcoming me and thank you for the websites.

    I would like to have more neons and I would like to put them in the 10g tank, but I am in fear of it getting eaten by the catfish. I need to separate it as soon as I can.

    Is there any way I can get away with out doing a full cycle in a planted 10g tank. I dont know when my fish assassin will strike again. I can only hide the fact that one of my daughter's tetra is at the "doctor" for so long. I would replace it, but I cannot rightfully submit yet another fish to my unlivable conditions.
  7. midthoughtWell Known MemberMember

    I'm not sure what you mean by getting away with not doing a full cycle... I suppose you could do 100% water changes but that's a lot of work, and I'm not sure how that helps with your stocking issues. If what you want to do is speed up the cycling, if you're willing to throw money at the problem (and I mean that in a good way ;D), pick up a bottle of Tetra Safe Start. It contains the bacteria that will jumpstart the cycling process for any tank you want to dose it with. You probably won't find it in a brick and mortar store (I never have), but various online retailers or eBay will have it. There are other products that claim to do the "instant cycle" with beneficial bacteria, but TSS is the gold standard on the market. The others are not nearly as reliable, so you might as well get the proven brand from the outset.
  8. CyrusNew MemberMember

    Thank you =)
    I dont even have the 10g tank yet.
    I know its not a HUGE deal if i kill another fish, but i really dont want to. Thats why I want my catfish out of the tank as fast as possible, as well as my tank capacity is horrible.

    What I mean to say is; When i get the new tank, how fast can I put the Catfish in there?

    The 10g tank will be only a temporary fix to my problem. I feel like Im not making any sense. If you had a neon tetra and a Colombian shark catfish in a 2.5g tank, how would you fix the overcrowding problem?

    Haha. Maybe that last sentence makes more sense.

    Edit : I didnt do any of this on purpose, I did it because of lack of facts and knowledge, and when I tried to gain 'said' knowledge I wasnt told the truth on how to raise fish. =/
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2010
  9. midthoughtWell Known MemberMember

    The vast vast majority of people who come to this hobby come to it the hard way, so don't beat yourself too much about it. It's good that you're doing the research now rather than waiting for all the fish to die horrible deaths. Really.

    If I had a 2.5g with two neons and a catfish who ate neons in it, I'd either return one of them to the store or go out and buy a bigger tank post haste. Or -- you could even put them in clean (never touched soap) rubbermaid containers really if you're just concerned about separating them until you have an appropriate tank size. I's not like they need to be able to look out at you. :p

    So, just checking here -- you don't have a 10g at the moment and I'm assuming you don't have the 30g either yet? A 10g is not a bad band-aid to put on the situation if that's what you want to eventually keep the neons in. I'd not bother buying random tanks unless you have a long term goal for it -- quarantine/hospital tank, permanent tank, etc. At least, if you're going to go out and buy it all retail. If I see a good deal on Craigslist or something, I get it and then consider what I can do it with it later. ;D

    Hope that all makes sense.
  10. CyrusNew MemberMember

    Thank you Midthought!

    It does make sense, I hadn't thought of craigslist. I Just found a 30g tank on there with no price and a 60g for $500.

    I only have the 2.5 tank. I will go buy a 10g tomorrow for a band-aid until i get a larger tank, then i can play gardener in it and aquascape! I think I just over stressed myself on the situation, because I have read maybe 20 articles on peoples catfish eating neons and I didnt intend to make a feeding tank. =/
    Then it didnt help that i went to aqadvisor and it said I need to change tanks IMMEDIATELY. Thank you for helping settle my nerves, it did help a lot. I will post some pictures of it when i get it set up.

    Luckily a 10g tank is only like $14, which isnt to bad when my fish are more than that.

    I really want to aquascape in it too.. That was what I originally wanted to do, the fish were suppose to be my wife and daughters job.. But i got stuck with that one. They thought you could just drop the fish into tap water. Haha. I wonder how many fish a year die due to petstores not telling people how to take care of fish.
  11. midthoughtWell Known MemberMember

    Yeesh, I don't know why a 60g would be $500. I got a 5 gallon Eclipse tank with overpowered (100w) heater for $15 the other day. That seemed like a good deal to me (it all retails for about 85). I got a 29g tank with wrought-iron stand, heater, gravel, decor, filter, hood/lighting, 5g bucket, net, etc. for $100 even. Sometimes you just have to check at the right time.

    Also note that at the fish store, glass aquariums are cheaper than acrylic if money is an issue. My LFS has a 10g special that's cheaper than a 5g non-special actually, and it's all cheaper than the smallest acrylic setup they have. Check this out for a basic comparison:  

    By the way, AqAdvisor isn't the end-all-be-all of stocking by any means. It has several glitches and you should consider it a tool that is basically always in beta mode. :p It always always pays to do the research on your individual fish separately. You can get a decent start on most common species at the Fishlore freshwater page:
  12. CyrusNew MemberMember

    Our "Dora the Explorer" 2.5g fish tank was about $30. Its made of acrylic and has a cheap light. I could buy a glass 10g and a light for $30 and then a filter and heater for not much more. And come out with a nicer fish tank. I read the First Tank Guide, What i got from that was Acrylic is over priced and not strong enough to support its own weight in water, it needs a stand or you can have a blow out. Glass seems to be the way to go.
    I looked at the AqAdvisor and I think it thought I had a 14 inch cat in 2.5 gallons of water. Its still only like 2 or 3 inches long. But its obvious that its to small for it. Thank for the advise on the site.

    You got the wrought-iron stand and 29g fish tank off craigslist with accessories for $100!! I havent found a stand for a fish tank under about $200. I think I am going to finally have fun with these fish. I thought they would be expensive like salt water tanks. I really want to pick your brain some more, but its 3 22am here and I am tired. Maybe I will make a new post tomorrow with pictures. If not a tank then some sort of fix... maybe fill my bathtub with might be like a 75g bathtub..:;pirate
    Thank you again.
  13. midthoughtWell Known MemberMember

    Aside from the scratches, acrylic is nice though -- less distortion of color and placement of the fish, MUCH lighter, has more of a 360 degree view of the fish instead of the hard corners you get with glass, etc. But for my money, it's glass for me until I add another zero to my paycheck probably; I'm cheap. :p

    My stand is wrought-iron and retails for <$70, not the $150+ wooden cabinet like you're probably thinking. :)
  14. CyrusNew MemberMember

    I like the look of wrought-iron, I am cheap as well. So I am glad its cheaper. I have always been a fan of aquariums and aquascapes, but I havent had a chance to test my abilities at it until recently. Sadly, its been pretty pathetic, 6 fish and 2 plants dead! I looked up how to aquascape correctly. Just stuffing roots into gravel doesnt work... Thanks petsmart again for that one. I need substrate (different layers), co2 infusers, light, etc. I was told it would live fine in gravel. They just wanted to make money off me. Due they get paid on commission? Haha.

    I read you can resell plants you grew to pet stores? Is that true? Cause maybe you could just do that in a tank then use the proceeds to buy an acrylic tanks. =p
  15. RhanWell Known MemberMember

    Welcome to fishlore! :)

    Many of us have been exactly where you are right now - misinformed and just realising so. It's not your fault that you were given incredibly bad advice. The good thing about this situation is that you are trying to change it and do the best thing for the fish.

    I don't know very much about the columbian shark fish, so I can't really comment on what tank size you would need or anything. But the neon tetras love to be in a school, not to mention they look so pretty swimming together in a planted tank :)

    I can understand that you're in a pretty tough situation right now. It's up to you what you decide to do, but if it were me, I would do the following in about this order (over the course of weeks):

    -Take the other neon tetra back to the store, perhaps explain to your daughter that it's sick and has to go away for a few weeks (hopefully you'll have another tank for the tetras then)
    -Set about getting a appropriate size tank for your catfish (I'm sorry I don't know how big, but there should be a link somewhere on this site for a caresheet for it), and cycling it. Plus buy a heater for it - it's a tropical fish and needs a steady temperature that doesn't flucuate over night like room temp. does. As midthought suggests, you could try TSS to cycle, this is done with the fish in the tank.
    -Get a larger tank for you daughter to have her neons in, this could be anywhere from 10 gallons up. The larger the tank, the more stable the water parameters and also the larger the range of possibilities :) get this cycling, also get a heater (50watts would be appropriate for a 10 gallon tank).
    -At some point, invest in a liquid testkit. Many of us here use the API masterkit, as it is very accurate and the best value for money in the longterm.
    -Another good investment is Saechem's Prime (a water conditioner), if your tank runs into a mini-cycle, it will help save your fish.

    Please keep us updated, and feel free to ask as many questions as you need to :)
  16. midthoughtWell Known MemberMember

    Pet stores have varying policies -- sometimes they don't take anything, sometimes they do but only as rescues or donations (i.e. no money in your pocket), sometimes for store credit. I think it can vary within franchises too, so just ask if you have plants or fish that reproduce like weeds. But first things first... :p
  17. AquaristFishlore LegendMember

    Good morning and Welcome to Fish Lore.

    Try not to feel to badly. You've been given wrong information from the start. (from WalMart and PetSmart/Co.) <---is crucial to fish keeping. Check it out (as mentioned in a previous post) and when you have questions don't hesitate to ask.

    I would suggest returning all of your fish until your tank is cycled. It will be a lot easier on you and the fish. There are ways to cycle your tank fishless as mentioned in the link below:

    Someone above mentioned using Tetra Safe Start (TSS). Quiet a few member have had success with this product. It may or may not cycle your tank in 10 days. Link below:
    If you decide to use TSS then you add fish right away. Keep in mind there is no substitute for TSS. Don't let the fish stores try to push any other product that claims to cycle to your tank quicker. TSS is the only one that may work. Follow the guide lines to the letter. TSS is not always easy to find in fish stores and may have to be ordered on line.  
    I use the above site for aquarium supplies and they are very reliable.

    Test kits:
    The test kit that is most recommended is the API (liquid, not test strips) Master Test Kit. This kit will test for everything mentioned in the Nitrogen Cycle link. Test strips can be in accurate so make sure to get the liquid test kit. It will test for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH.
      Test Kit

    Water conditioners:
    The conditioners mentioned in the link are good to have on hand all the time. I recommend either using Prime or Amquel + and Nova Aqua. I use Amquel + and Nova Aqua +. Many members just use Prime.

      Amquel +
      Nova Aqua +

    (Amquel + and Nova Aqua + can be ordered by the gallon.) I've never used AmmoLock mentioned in the link.

    I know this is a lot of information for you but don't get overwhelmed. Once your tank is cycled it will get much easier. We're here to help you when you need us.

    A few more links to get you started:

    I hope you enjoy the site.
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2010
  18. jetajockeyFishlore VIPMember

    Look at it this way, once you get moved into the bigger tank you don't have to worry about Swiper anymore :). Great posts above, not sure if it was mentioned already but you can speed up the cycle dramatically by getting some filter media from an established aquarium as well. Take care!
  19. AquaristFishlore LegendMember


    Jetajockey is correct. I see that your 2.5g tank has been set up for two months. You can use the filter media from that tank to help jump start the cycle on the new tank. I doubt you will get an instant cycle but it may surely reduce the time it takes the tank to cycle. It's called Seeding.

    If you decide to Seed the tank then add the fish that you have immediately. Or either feed the tank every day with fish food, put it in a mesh bag. The good bacteria on the filter media has to have an ammonia source, either being the fish or fish food. If you add the fish then chances are you're going to have to do a few daily water changes. If you get an ammonia reading after adding the fish then continue with the daily water changes until you have 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites and under 20 nitrates. Add some Prime or Amquel + to detox any ammonia level for 24 hours until it's time for the next water change. This will keep your fish safe. Once you add one of these two chemicals, wait 24 hours to test so that you get an accurate reading.

    Your tank is cycled when you have 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites and under 20 nitrates.

    Last edited: Apr 18, 2010
  20. sassNew MemberMember

    Welcome to this brilliant forum. I am a newbie and have been overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity of the people here.

    No way are you a bad person, you took advice from people you percieved to be experts and were let down badly by them. So many people are 'failed' by LFS and there really should be tighter regulation on them. Draw a line under this. You are here now and couldn't be in safer hands, no question is too stupid (believe me I have asked some really dumb questions)

    I used to keep a lot of fish at one time but life got in the way, I have had to give up work through ill health and am just starting all over again. I have forgotten soo much and there are so many products available that it is mind boggling. The folk here have given me so much good advice and I am now starting to gather together the equipment to set up my tank.

    Relax, and enjoy your new hobby

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