View Full Version : Help with fish tank, please

26-May-03, 12:48
A few months ago we decided to get a fish tank. What we really wanted was a small tank with a couple of goldfish, I had seen those ones with the bumpy heads and thought I would like them. Once in the pet shop however the owner talked us into getting warm water fish, she said they are a lot less trouble.

So in the last couple of months we have had to completely clean out the tank three times as the water has gone so cloudy and dirty looking. Also it seemed to have an oil slick on the top. This has happened within a couple of hours (been fine at lunchtime, can't see fish at tea time). Also our fish die at the rate of two or three a month.

Obviously we are doing something wrong but we have no idea what. Not havin luck with the plants either, it is a fairly small tank, I am very careful not to overfeed. Any advice?

P.S. How much trouble could goldfish possibly have been?!

26-May-03, 13:52
have you checked the makeup of your water?
Are you using live plants?
Have you ran the tank with no fish for the fist week or so?
What filter system are you using?
Where is the tank located?
What fish do you have?

26-May-03, 15:26
Yes ,they are live plants.

We had the tank set up for 4 days before adding fish.

We test the water ph balance a couple of times a month.

Not sure what kind of filter it is but it does seem to clear a lot of stuff out of the water.

At the pet shop the owner recommended the types of fish to get, we have 4 wee stripey ones, 5 neons, 2 cat fish like things, 2 that can cling to the glass and eat from there, we had 3 guppies but now are down to 1 and a little black one with spots. Sorry, I don't know the real names but I don't think we have any that are unusual.

Tank is in the dining room out of draughts and away from the window. We put the light on for 6-8 hours a day.

26-May-03, 18:46
Well you should really leave the tank for about 2 weeks to settle.
An undergravel filter is nomaly best to get it set up.
Try a half water change first of all.
And also get some air stones in the water to see if that will clear it.
I have never used fresh plants in a new tank as it just s up the water

28-May-03, 14:25
Thanks for the help. I'll get rid of some plants and try to find the air stones.

Mr P Cannop
28-May-03, 14:40
you might find some stones in the air ??

ha ha

01-Jun-03, 22:34

What size is your tank? It sounds like your tank is over stocked.

Depending on what type of filter you have you can get a carbon insert which can help clear the water, there is also a solution known as Aqua Clear a few drops of this in the water will help to clear it.

What you really need to get are water testing kits as opposed to PH Test. The problem with the tank and the fish you have and that the fact that it is a relatively new filter means that the nitrate and nitrite levels will be high which is probably causing some of the fish to die as well as keeping fresh plants. These tests will show you exactly what the chemical levels are in your water and if anything is amiss it will explain to you how to resolve the problem.

We have found that in the first few weeks of the tank cycle that the chemical levels vary dramatically as the filter hasn't reached its mature cycle yet which can take up to 8 weeks to settle down and get rid of all the dirt in the water.

When we tested our water after the first 5 weeks our nitrite levels were at a lethal level and it took 50% water changes for about a week to solve the problem (once a day).

After a couple of months your filter should mature and you will not need water changes as often and you can let the tank settle down.

As for the type of fish you have been sold you can go to a website like www.fishprofiles.com to help you identify the fish that you have. The two that stick to the side of the glass are Plecs they are algae eaters but they also need to be fed algae pelets. Depending on the ones you have been sold their size can vary greatly and i hope for your own sake you have dwarf plecs as some can grow up to 21 inches!!!

As for the neons if these are blue and red they will be neon tetras, some people say that they are not very hardy fish especially in new tanks however we have found them to be fine. The guppies are normally quite hardy fish which would suggest that your chemicals in the water are the problem.

The air stone is a good idea as helps create more oxygen in the tank especially if you have lots of fish in a small tank. All you need to get is an air pump with plastic piping and put the air stone on the end and stick it in the tank - you can get all this for about 15.

There is a really good online store in Cupar, Fife (the best Fish Shop in Scotland) and it is really cheap for online orders. You can email the shop with any queries on products etc and they will be happy to help - always found them to be very helpful. www.uda.co.uk

You should be wary of what your local pet store/fish shop tell you as they have obviously sold you far to many fish too early on.

It might easier at the moment to take your fresh plants out as they are difficult to keep and produce chemicals in the water as well which are toxic to the fish! They are a lot of effort.

Try getting a bottle of solution called Cycle and follow the weekly instructions for it as it will help the water and also make sure that the water you are putting in does not have chlorine in it as this will also kill the fish. You can get solutions for this as well to put into your water so it is chlorine free before you put it into the tank.

It may be hard work at first and does seem like a lot of hassle but after a couple of months it will settle down a lot and you won't need to worry about it at all apart from the odd clean and feeding the fish!!

If you need anymore help just get in touch - we have been there too with very similar problems to yourself!!

Hope it goes well.

Anna :lol: