View Full Version : Freshwater Aquarium Owners??

02-17-2003, 11:05 PM
My hubby got me an aquarium for Valentines Day! Yay!! (Don't tell him that I really wanted it for the cats pleasure! ;) )

Anyway...I'll post some pictures tomorrow. Its really neat. Its a 15 gallon Eclipse tank.

We got two frogs (Christian & Luke), two Mollys (Molly & Claire) and three Bali sharks (Jimmy, Spike & Maurice)

Does anyone else have an aquarium? Any pointers?

Thank you!! :)

02-17-2003, 11:18 PM
Right here Kelly!! Hit me with your questions! ;)

02-17-2003, 11:29 PM
Great!! :)

1. When you clean the tank (25% water change each week), can you add the chemicals to the tank? Or do you have to add it to the new water separately? I was thinking in a bucket...

2. If, one gets pregnant....how do we get them to stop doing that? I don't want them to eat the babies if I'm not around to stop them. Yuck...

3. Live vs. plastic plants?

4. Are those Ph, etc. testing strips good to have? The guy at PetSmart said no, but how do I know if the water is OK otherwise?

5. What types of fish are more colorful? THe fish we got are all silver, black or white. I like guppys...will those be OK with the Bali Sharks?

6. What type of fish do you have?

02-17-2003, 11:58 PM
1. I just add it to the tank.

2. They're not going to stop doing that, trust me! You can't spay or neuter a fish. :D If you have a male and female molly, chances are they will breed. Mollies are prolific breeders. You can pull the mom out and put her in a breeding net before she has the babies. Or you can put a lot of plants in the tank, and some of the babies will hide and make it. That's why I have only male guppies and only male mollies.

3. Plastic are better if you are a beginner. Live plants create a more natural, healthy environment ... but only if you know what you are doing with them. Otherwise they'll die and create a big mess in your tank.

4. I personally test and regulate my PH, but our water is VERY alkaline here. You also need to get a nitrite/nitrate test kit, and an amonia test kit. Frankly, if you set up a brand new 15 gallon tank from scratch on Valentine's day, and already have seven fish in it, you are very likely going to have some serious new tank syndrome problems in two weeks to a month. I would advise you to talk to someone knowledgeable at a GOOD pet store, and invest in some nitrate/nitrate and amonia neutralizers. You're probably going to need them.

5. Bala sharks are peaceful, schooling fish. They should be fine with guppies. Platties and swords are bright orange, and gouramis are many different bright colors. Lemon tetras, neon tetras and rosy barbs are colorful as well. However, I would not advise you to add any more fish to your tank for a couple months.

6. I have a 55 gallon aquarium with mollies, guppies, betas, black fin sharks, upside down cats, gouramis and several types of tetras.

02-17-2003, 11:58 PM
hey, i had a fresh water aquarium it was cool .. I had 2 balla sharks two rainbow ssharks and two albino rainbow sharks and 1 sucker fish 2 angel figh 1 siameeze fighing fish.. They died when I cleaned the tank though :(

02-18-2003, 12:35 AM
What types of things will happen? We had our water tested and it came out really good. We've added freshwater salt to it, and it should be even better. The information that came with our aquarium said we only needed to wait 24 hours, and we waited almost three days. I hope our fish don't die...poor things. :(

I know our white molly (Silver Lyretail) is female. The black one (Black Lyretail), we aren't sure. Gosh, I hope they are both female... ;)

I love the Bala sharks...I'm so glad they school like they do. Its really neat to watch them.

Would you suggest going to a strictly fish store for future purchases and advice? I think that seems like a good idea...I did wonder why the "fish guy" didn't think we needed the test strips when we first got the tank. The guy that helped us today seemed more knowledagable..but, maybe a more specialized store is in order.

We actually went to two "fish stores" and thought PetSmart was the cleanest and had the best selection for freshwater fish, maybe because that was all they had. :)

Anyway, let me know what you think about our tank...I'm worried.


02-18-2003, 01:11 AM
Yes, your water will test fine at first. The problem is not the initial water quality, usually.

This is (briefly!) what happens in a new tank:

For any closed environment, like a fish tank, to operate properly waste must be broken down before it becomes toxic to the animals. Waste is created from food, fish waste, dead fish and plants decaying in the tank. In a healthy, mature tank, there is a large colony of healthful bacteria residing in the gravel and the filters. These bacteria consume the waste products before they can decay and become toxic. This is repeated constantly. It is call a biological filter, and when it works, it works very well for a very long time.

The problem with a new tank, however, is that it is too clean and sterile. There are no bacteria living in there, therefore there is nothing to consume the waste products. They decay and release amonia. Amonia (I don't think I'm spelling that right?) is toxic, and will weaken, stress or kill your fish. The next stop of the process is that amonia is converted to nitrates, and then nitrates are converted to nitrates. Eventually, the cycle catches up with itself, and enough bacteria are present to take over. The problem, though, is that often times the fish die during the process.

Their is a process called fishless cycling by which one forces the tank through this amonia/nitrite/nitrate cycle quickly, with chemicals. After it is complete, the tank is biologically ready for fish. If your fish do die, you might want to clean your tank and start again with fishless cycling. There are many good sites on the internet that will give you the details on how to do it properly.

However, let's assume that won't happen. First of all, get your PH to 7.0. Nitrate is broken down into two sub-compounds, NH3 and NH4, one is harmful, one is not so bad. You will have more harmful nitrates at any PH other than neutral 7.0. This is very simple to do, just buy a kit and follow the directions.

You can buy bacterially loaded products to add to the water, which will speed the growth of the bacteria base. I have used Bio Denitrator and Bio Zyme in the past. They don't always work, but it's worth a shot.

You are most likely to have chemical spikes at approximately 15, 30 and 45 days. Test for amonia and nitrite/nitrates with test kits. You can buy products that will neutralize these elements. Also, do not be negligent in your partial water changes.

And don't freak out or feel bad about this! I would venture to say everyone that has fish started out with a big "oops!" with their first tank or two. It's manageable and fixable!!

02-18-2003, 01:18 AM
Sheesh! It's late, I suppose! Could I have made a few more typos in that post? I think not.

Ammonia is converted to nitrItes, and nitrites are converted to nitrAtes.



I'm going to bed now.

02-18-2003, 01:57 AM
Thank you for all this wonderful information! I'm going to print it and find a good fish store tomorrow.

Here are some pictures of the fish and aquarium:



This is the back end of one of the frogs...lets say its Luke. :) Can you see his legs?

A bad picture of Claire. She's fast....Molly, the black Molly likes to hide behind the black filter, so she's hard to see.

02-18-2003, 10:59 AM
you have the same rocks as me :D

02-18-2003, 12:23 PM
Originally posted by tikeyas_mom
you have the same rocks as me :D
Cool! We used a whole bag of black and then about a cup of the blue.

Mr. Coral
02-18-2003, 01:14 PM
1) What kind of chemicals are you talking about? Is it chemicals to kill the chlorine from tap water? If so, yes, add it to the bucket, and wait a few minutes before adding it to the tank.
2) There is nothing you can do about them getting pregnant unless you seperate the males and females in seperate tanks. If you want to save the babies, remove the female when it looks pregnant, and put it in a seperate breeder compartment.
3) With the fish you have, I don't think they would eat the live plants, although the Bali Sharks might nip at live plants. You could try a few inexpensive live plants, and bury the roots in your gravel, and see what happens. Live plants require more lighting, app. 10 hours a day.
4) You should have some kind of a Ph kit. With the fish you have, you should keep the Ph around neutral (7.0 to slightly alkaline 7.2). You should test Ph at least once a month, as uneaten food and waste from the fish will slowly drop the Ph to acid levels (6.8-6.6).
5) If the Guppies are not too small for the Bali Sharks to eat, then they would go okay with the Mollies, and they also like the Ph level slightly alkaline. Guppies are also live barers that breed constantly, so you will have pregnant females constantly. If you are going to try Guppies, try one male to every two females.
6) I have six fish tanks, three salt water, three fresh water. Two of the saltwater are reef tanks, mostly live corals and invertibrates.

I know I am a little late, but just keep all of this in mind. The tank looks great.:)


02-18-2003, 01:46 PM
Thanks Tom!! :)

I think we'll get a ph kit today. I knew we needed one, I don't know why I went against my better judgement. Oh well, that's why I came here. :)

We are looking at guppies as our next additions. We want to get a "sucker fish" in about a month. Will that really help with any uneaten food at the bottom? If not, can you suggest another fish that will get along with the others?

When testing the water, do you put the strip in the tank directly? Or collect some water and do it outside the tank?

Thanks for all your help and advice. :)

02-18-2003, 02:26 PM
kewl pics;) congrats on ur tank... hope ur kittys are happy!:D lol;)

02-18-2003, 04:48 PM
Yes a sucker fish like a plecostomous(sp?) or an upside down catfish would be good. We have about 20 fish tanks in lab and each person is assigned to one although the seniors do the 4 saltwater tanks we have cause us juniors just learned how to do tanks. Um about your mollies, they are livebearers which means they give birth adn are the easiest to sex. The main livebearers whihc are guppies, mollies, swordtails, platys, and variatys have what is called a gounopodium(sp?) males have one but females don't (swords have a diferent way) here is a good picture of male molly its a little thing sticking out between its anal fin and it's dorsal fin. Hopefully that will help you sex your fish. I want an albino oscar.


02-18-2003, 06:52 PM
Sorry NoahsMommy, I was going to get my dad to come in and answer your other questions, but he had already gone to sleep (he has a night job). He would LOVE to answer them tomorrow though, fish is like almost his life lol. So whatever 411 you get tonight, I'm sure my dad can add on a few tid-bits tomorrow. ;) As for me, I think I know what to do about the sucker fish, but I don't want to give out false information (IF it's false, I'm not really sure...). Good luck with the tank!:D

P.S. My dad said he thought those 'Bali' Sharks are actually 'Bala' (I didn't ask him how to spell it but it sounds like bell-a). He didn't post it though, he wasn't sure if that was true or not. Can you confirm? :)

Mr. Coral
02-18-2003, 07:34 PM
When you say Sucker Fish, I suppose you mean an Algae Eater or Pleco. Both of these fish will eat algae, and are mainly vegeterians, if you want a fish to eat uneaten food on the bottom of the tank, get a couple of small catfish.
As far as the strip ph kit, I've never owned the strip kit, only ph kits that take some water from the tank and add chemicals to, so I really could not give you a definate answer, just follow the directions on the package.

I managed to have time to answer these questions. ;) Good luck with your new tank.


02-19-2003, 12:33 AM
The tank is looking good :) I have constantly had several tanks of fish going since I was in 1st grade. My biggest is a 75 gallon tank and the smallest is a 2 gallon beta tank.

Its weird, but bala sharks are the only fish I've had extreme trouble with. My fish usually last years and years but the bala sharks have always died on me. I really love them but I don't want to try to get anymore ever again cause I don't wanna kill them :( I never have other fish die on me like that so I don't know what the deal is. Let me know how yours do.

Britt - yup, they are bala sharks

02-23-2003, 10:31 PM
Thanks everyone for the information! :) Looks like we have two female Mollies! Thank goodness! :)

So far, so good. The fish have been doing great! The tank is really clean and the fish are having a ton of fun playing in the water being emptied back into the tank from the filter. The white Molly loves playing with the Bala sharks, while the black Molly is somewhat of a loner. I'm even surprised with the frogs...they are active too! :)

The cats (well, Noah and Noel) LOVE the fish. The fish were scared at first, but now keep playing while the cats sit mesmerized. :D

We'll most likely get a cat fish for the bottom if it gets dirty, thanks for clearing that up for me. :)

I do have a question regarding feeding. I know the Mollies are top feeders, the frogs bottom feeders and the sharks are mid to bottom feeders. We feed flake food for the fish and some pellet type food for the frogs. Is there anything else we can feed them that is better?

Thank you!!! :D

02-23-2003, 10:33 PM
Originally posted by aly
Its weird, but bala sharks are the only fish I've had extreme trouble with.
I was worried about getting these too. Growing up, my best friend had a tank and her Bala shark ATE the other fish. These ones aren't aggressive, so this is new to me. :) We have three of them, and when we first added them to the water, one looked a little out of it. They are doing good so far, but I'll keep a close eye on them. Thanks for the heads up. :)