Results 1 to 10 of 10
  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Usergroup
    AC Members
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Last Activity
    03-20-2004 1:34 AM
    Posts
    7

    My first tank - Newbie questions and concerns

    I'm new here!
    I found the link on google while looking for freshwater fish resources, this place has a massive amount of impressive information.

    Recently my girlfriend bought me a 10 gallon tank as a christmas present. She also bought a pretty male blue betta that had no home other than a small container. So we setup the tank and started aging the tap water that I put in it. The tank was not seeded with anyone elses rocks/gravel because we don't know anyone with a tank or that was interested in sharing some of their gravel.

    She bought the tank, filter, heater, thermometer, gravel, decorations (few fake plants and a piece of drift wood) at Wal-mart. Now I know Wal-mart has a bad rep for selling fish but she said that girl seemed very knowledgeable and she said she owned 4 55 gallon community tanks and had been rearing fish for years. I'm wondering if she wasn't just telling her a pile of lies because I'm aware that tanks should 'cycle' first before putting your fish in. The wal-mart girl told her to let the tank run for 48 hours and then take the water in for her to test it. Then we could put the betta in and in a short while we could put some other fish in that make good tank mates with the betta (she didn't say how long).

    So in 48 hours we took the water into wal-mart to have it tested out and they said the water was no good (it was a different person that my girlfriend had talked too). The ph levels and ammonia levels were too high. We need to make sure we have good water before we can put the fish in the tank. So I bought some things to test the water and treat the water myself. The chemical based ph tester and chemical based ammonia tester. So when I got home I took some samples of the water and tested it (I did it 5 different times). I filled the test tube with the water and tested it, according to the color the water turned when I added the indicator, it looks to be about 6.6-6.8. When the girl tested it she said it over 8 and the color of the water at wal-mart was dark blue. Whats going on here? It didn't appear to us that she cleaned the test tubes that she used at wal-mart or even make sure they were totally empty of contaminated water.

    So when I tested the ammonia levels, I am getting a 0 ppm reading for ammonia, I was told that if I could get the ph around 6.8 and the ammonia at 0 I could put fish in the tank because it was now safe. I am wondering why my water was so different at wal-mart, the employee made me feel pretty stupid and that I shouldn't own fish. We followed every single instruction we could get our hands on.

    So the temperature of my tank is around 75F and I tested the water one more time before I put the Betta in the tank. He seems fairly healthy even though he was almost cat food for my girlfriend's cat (thank god he was in a sealed container with a hole in it).

    So we put the betta in to help bring up the bio-life in the tank, the betta seems to like the tank alot but he seems to be hanging around the heater an awful lot. The tank is in a basement and this is a cold climate here...canada and my basement does get a little cold. The therometer is on the opposite side of the tank from the heater and it reads 74F at the moment. Again, we were told by Wal-mart to have the tank run in the "green" which is 70-75 on the termometer. Is my betta cold?

    So we let the betta establish himself in the tank and he seems to enjoy the heater and the drift wood log which he goes inside constantly. I like the betta alot, hes so beautiful!

    So, I did some reading about some good tankmates for the betta. I fould out that tetras, cories and such make good tank mates with the betta. So armed with little information we went back to Wal-mart and picked out some tankmates for the betta. I don't know if we got the right tankmates or not or if any of them were a good idea. I've become attached to my betta and I don't want something to happen to him because of who is in the tank with him now.

    Right now we have the following in the tank:
    -3 fruit tetras 2 females and 1 male (are these guys dyed?)
    -1 betta male
    -1 bala shark
    -2 algae eaters
    -2 dwarf frogs
    -2 snails

    Should I take the bala shark back? Will walmart even take him back? I read that he can grow really big really fast? If I don't take him back should I get another and make them a pair? The bala shark seems lonely, even scared of the active tetras.

    Are these tetras dyed? They are pink and pretty. I can't believe I bought a dyed fish, why the hell are people allowed to sell something like that? Seems cruel to me, walmart said they were not dyed, they are called 'Fruit Tetras'. I think I will keep them even if they are dyed because its not their fault that they were dyed by a human. Its the human's fault =\

    Were the dwarf frogs a bad idea? They seem to like the tank and like to play in the little ship wreck that is in the tank. Should I have something on the surface for them to sit on? I know amphibians like to go above the surface sometimes.

    The algae eaters and snails seem pretty common additions to a community tank. Any problems?


    So are these all bad tankmates for my betta? I was going to get corries and tetras but walmart never had any and our only other pet store has no fish. Is the betta and bala going to start fighting? I've noticed that male tetra seems to be harrasing the betta sometimes, he swims over by him but the betta only needs to turn around and hes on the move. The tetras are schooling together and look great, should I get another so they don't have the third wheel male?

    I'm all ready considering buying a new tank in a few months since I'm reading that the bigger the better. I need to save some money though because I'm only a poor university student.... hehe





  2. #2
    Senior Member SnakeIce's Avatar
    Usergroup
    AC Members
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    USA
    Last Activity
    Yesterday 11:18 AM
    Posts
    1,237
    bala sharks with enough room ie several hundred gallons can get over a foot long so yes that is something to be concerned about.

    the 'fruit tetras' are dyed and they will fade over time to mostly white with just a tinge of the original color

    the algae eaters, chinese algea eaters is the name? those get to about four inches and some get agressive as adults

    bettas do like warmth some say 80 or so.. the green area on your thermometer is a good range for most comunity fish so that is why it is recomended.... actually I would recomend temps 74-78 range, but then I am biased by my interest in plants

    I would trust your tested water parameters over what Walmart got, especially after letting you get a bala for a ten gallon

    we have words for Walmarts and some chain Petstores on here and most of them are not agreeable

    anyway I probably missed somethings you asked...

    oh one other thing with all the fish you added you should be doing lots of water changes to keep the amonia from building up to harmful levels untill the tank gets cycled
    Quote Originally Posted by Albert Einstein
    "Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius -- and a lot of courage -- to move in the opposite direction."



  3. #3
    Senior Member ~*LuvMyKribs*~'s Avatar
    Usergroup
    AC Members
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Vancouver, Canada
    Last Activity
    02-22-2011 3:13 PM
    Posts
    1,909
    Welcome! Whoa lotsa information... but thats good!

    I've heard many stories about walmart and chain stores not being very reputable. It's better to test your own water- as long as you know you are doing it right. When she said yours was over 8 and the color of the water at wal-mart was dark blue doesn't make any sense... but on most test kits the bluer the water color the higher the ph. I believe.

    I think bettas can handle a wide range of temperatures. I've always kept my bettas in fairly cold water... around 70F or so.

    You've done lots of research, and thats good. It sounds like you are on the right track!

    Yeah, the tetras you bought are most likely the dyed ones, but that doesn't mean they are any less of a fish!

    I don't think the frogs need anything to sit at the surface on, but then again i've never had one so i don't know.

    If you begin to notice any fin-nipping directed at the betta, then you might want to get rid of the culprit. I think wal-mart should take them back as long as they are healthy. Just explain to them that they did not inform you that they were bad tank mates for each other and they should take them back.

    Tetras should be ok. Don't get any more until your tank is established. If you want more later then you can consider, but remember 10 gals is limited space so be careful not to overstock.

    good luck!



  4. #4
    lots of small fish carpguy's Avatar
    Usergroup
    AC Members
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    nyc
    Last Activity
    08-18-2006 3:21 PM
    Posts
    1,115
    The tetras are probably food-dyed white skirt tetras. They'll fade over time and just be normal fish.



    Food-dying isn't bad for the fish in the same way that injection dying is. They'll just be white skirt tetras.

    The Bala has to go. They get really big and like some room to roam in. Much too big for most aquariums.

    Don't know anything about the frogs.

    I'd assume that the kids at Walmart are wrong. There can be two different types of pH test kits, one for higher pHs and one for lower. They usually break in the mid-7s, around 7.4. If you use one and test at the extreme you need to use the other to find out if your past the extreme. For instance, if they used a high-end kit and got a 7.4, the low reading, they'd need to do a low end and see if it agreed or was lower. If both test say 7.4 its 7.4. If one says 7.4 and the other says 6.8, its most likely 6.8. I'd take it to a more reliable fish store and get it tested there if you're still in doubt.

    You're going to cycle and you haven't yet. This can be hard on the fish. Check out this FAQ for the basics.

    Someone's always around if you have questions…



  5. #5
    Senior Member Dapple2's Avatar
    Usergroup
    AC Members
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Oregon
    Last Activity
    06-24-2007 4:25 PM
    Posts
    248
    Highly agree with everyone else about the bala...but unfortunately feee l the same way about most of the tankmates too...

    Bala shark: Too big, schooler, fast...basically what everyone ese already said...

    algae eaters: 1. A new tank wouldn't have anything to eat...and knowing Walmart they probably didn't tell you get food for them. 2. They are most likely CAE (Chinese Algae Eaters) and get more and more aggressive and less and less interested in algae as they get older.

    white skirt tetras: You'll want to watch these closely, I wouldn't trust them with a betta personally, they can be pretty in nippy, especially in such a small group, but the tank is too small to add many more of them.

    dwarf frogs: These guys should be just fine as long as the betta leaves them alone and you make sure they get enough to eat (they hunt by smell, so they are slow to find the food sometimes).

    Darn walmart...at least you are off to a good start with the water testing now!
    The knack of flying is learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.



  6. #6
    Cowbell! I need more cowbell!
    Usergroup
    AC Members
    Join Date
    Jun 1999
    Location
    IL, USA
    Last Activity
    02-17-2012 4:47 PM
    Posts
    2,275
    How many of us got our first fish and a lot of bad advice at Walmart...

    I'd second (third?) what the others have said. The chinese algae eaters and their aggressiveness, the nippiness of the barbs, and the concerns about the bala. I'd also be worried about the two snails become many more and the waste output of the frogs. Aren't frogs fairly messy in terms of their output?

    Bettas are beautiful fish, but pretty hard, in my experience anyway, to find companions for. Many of the tetras will nip or bother them, danios are to spastic and make the bettas nervous, and any fish with long flowing fins are potentially at risk for attack by the betta (or vice versa).

    For an easy beginner's experience, I'd go for 3-4 inhabitants of the tank. The betta and two frogs would probably be OK. Maybe with one snail. The temptation is usually to get more than the tank can handle and you learn some hard fishkeeping lessons that way.

    Good for you for doing some research. Hang out here and you'll get lots of advice on how to care for your fish.

    Welcome,
    Jim



  7. #7
    Junior Member
    Usergroup
    AC Members
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Last Activity
    03-20-2004 1:34 AM
    Posts
    7
    Thanks for the suggestions.
    I've decided to start looking for a home for my bala shark other than walmart, I know of a few people with fairly large tanks that might be interested in taking him. If I can not find anyone that I will take him back to walmart but I don't really want too.

    After reading all about the nitrogen cycle I decided to do a 25% water change. I have a 5 gallon water jug which I use for camping in the summer. These jugs have a flow control nosel and are fairly easy to hold while adding the water. I used this jug when I first added the water to the tank and it worked like a charm but this time I ran into a problem. After I removed 25% of the water from my tank I started adding the new water and I realized after adding about 1 gallon that this water should be the same temperature as my tank water. So I noticed the temperature in my tank fell to 72F from about 76F, I wasn't really sure how to warm the water so I put it by a large cast iron radiator in my basement for a little while and then I added the water when it felt to be about the same temperature as my tank water. How do people warm their water for tropical freshwater tanks?

    The ammonia level was up 0.01ppm before I changed the water, now its back down to 0ppm. I guess my tank has started cycling, I need to stay on top of this to help ease the stress off my fish. I'll be doing daily tests of the water for the next couple of weeks to ensure the ammonia levels stay down.

    So back to my fish. The three white skirt tetras seem to have adopted the bala shark into their school and he is schooling with them. The bala shark seems to be showing some degree of toleration for the whiteskirts. The male white skirt is in complete control of the school, if the females venture off, he is quick to literally push them back to where he wants them. Now it looks like the bala shark is getting the same treatment from the male white skirt, fairly amusing to watch.

    The betta seems to have gotten a fair bit more courageous. He is now swimming the paremeter of the tank. I only seen the betta become aggressive once when the male white skirt swam towards him. The betta immediatly began chasing the white skirt around the tank. The betta was doing something strange with his face, very aggressive looking for a few moments. Then the betta went back to being very mild mannored and hanging out in his log. I watched the male white skirt for a short time and he seemed to get the shark to go over with him to the log and they just stayed there in the one spot looking into the log at the betta for probably close to 3 minutes. The betta then poked his head out and the bala shark and white skirt left quickly and started schooling again with the two females.

    I need to get some frog food and algae eater food today. I wasn't told by walmart to buy special food for the algae eaters for a new tank.

    Right now I have this bottle of tetramin stuff that I've been feeding the fish with very sparingly. I've read not to feed the fish too much while the tank is cycling, so I've only been feeding them once a day with a very small pinch of this tetramin food. All the fish today had a little bit including one of the frogs. The betta doesn't seem to eat as much of it as the whiteskirts and bala. What kind of food is good for the betta? I read dry blood worms are his fav?

    Is once a day feeding during cycling bad or good? Should I feed them twice a day or no? Anyone have any other recommended food for these fish?
    Last edited by Vam; 12-22-2003 at 6:49 PM.



  8. #8
    Junior Member
    Usergroup
    AC Members
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    oklahoma
    Last Activity
    10-09-2006 10:51 PM
    Posts
    8
    in addition to testing for ammonia, you should also monitor your nitrites, which are also toxic to the fish. expect to keep an eye on these levels for several weeks. you'll want to combat rising nitrite levels with water changes. 25% seems reasonable in a cycling 10g.

    as far as the feeding schedule goes, i feed my two community tanks every other day, so if you find that your ammonia levels are becoming unmanageable even with daily water changes, you might consider cutting your feeding in half.

    some bettas will eat flakes, others will not. i'd pick up some frozen bloodworms or betta bites to supplement his diet. i know my boys appreciate it.



  9. #9
    Junior Member
    Usergroup
    AC Members
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Last Activity
    03-20-2004 1:34 AM
    Posts
    7
    Ammonia level spiked this afternoon to 1ppm. I did a water change as soon as I noticed the higher level, thats two water changes in a day. The levels dropped back down to .01ppm which I thought was pretty good for a 25% change.

    I haven't gotten anything to test for nitrites/nitrates yet. I've been looking for something to test the levels but no luck yet. It seems that walmart and the LFS has sold out of this supplies till after x-mas.

    When the ammonia level rose I noticed the water looked 'mirky' it was cloudy and I knew it was probably the ammonia from all the reading that I had done before hand. My fish seemed to respond to the water change, I'm pretty happy I caught the higher levels so quick =)


    I'm wondering about products and water changes. I've been treating the water each time I've changed 25%. What products would you recommend?

    I have a bottle of ACE and a package of AquaSafe. While ACE makes the ammonia non-toxic the aquasafe neutralizes the heavy metals in the water.

    I suppose using ACE is good for now because it clears up the ammonia and the chlorine but should I switch back to AquaSafe when the tank's bio filter is established?



  10. #10
    Cowbell! I need more cowbell!
    Usergroup
    AC Members
    Join Date
    Jun 1999
    Location
    IL, USA
    Last Activity
    02-17-2012 4:47 PM
    Posts
    2,275
    Ammonia will not make your water cloudy, especially at 1 ppm. The cloudiness is most likely caused by a bloom of microorganisms that have nothing to do with the cycle. I'd ignore the cloudiness and focus on keeping ammonia at or below 1 ppm.

    Some ammonia-neutralizers will make the detoxified ammonia available to nitrifying bacteria (e.g., Amquel); others may not. I don't know if ACE does or doesn't. If you're controlling ammonia with water changes, all you really need is a dechlorinator/dechloriminator.

    I'd use the simplest dechlorinator I can find, test regularly for ammonia (and nitrites) and change enough water to keep them at tolerable levels for your fish. I'd forget about the cloudiness because it will go away on its own. With this hobby, the simpler you can keep things, the better...

    Jim



Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. CT Betta tail concerns, and questions
    By nynikki in forum General Freshwater
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 11-13-2007, 9:26 AM
  2. DIY tank stand for 2 30" tanks....some questions
    By GirlieGirl8521 in forum Freshwater Equipment, Products, & DIY
    Replies: 12
    Last Post: 09-13-2007, 11:19 AM
  3. deconstruct/help sully?
    By Sully in forum Planted Aquariums
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 03-05-2006, 8:39 PM
  4. Hagen's 66 gal tank questions
    By Hydro in forum Freshwater Equipment, Products, & DIY
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 03-24-2004, 8:49 PM
  5. newbie self introduction and a few questions.
    By wigglejaggles in forum Freshwater Newbie Forum
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 10-28-2003, 11:47 AM

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •