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3 Gallon Tetra half moon tank

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Post by shawna506scott Wed May 12, 2021 12:46 pm

Hello All I just recently in the last couple of weeks, setup a Walmart starter Kit since I am new to all of this. I have owned Betta fish in the past, but was hoping to setup something a little more elaborate because I love fish and find aquariums extremely relaxing and enjoyable to watch. After setting it up and already purchasing 2 guppies, a Mollie, a African dwarf frog and a khuli loach (all at the advice of an employee at the local fish store) I have come to realize that a bigger tank is definitely going to be necessary, I did purchase a 20 gallon tank, which I have yet to setup because I decided I needed another opinion of someone whos maybe not trying to just sell me what they could and also to continue my research.
     I was going to leave it at what I have but I did notice some aggressive behavior or at least what I considered to be aggressive from one of my Guppies who seems to be chasing the Mollie and the second guppy so I'm starting to think it is due to how little the tank is. (This is an all Male tank)

I'm willing to take any advice, the more I read the more I realize how naïve I have been that it would be but as I intensify my search efforts I am certainly up to the challenge of doing more then just putting fish in a tank because I do want to be a good fish parent Wink

Thanks in advance for the help, because I want to setup the 20 gallon right to give my fishy friends the best possible chance and life I can Smile

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Post by CAAIndie Wed May 12, 2021 9:20 pm

Hi Shawna!

Welcome to Canadaquaria! You'll definitely find lots of useful resources in the threads here. I'd recommend starting a tank journal - that way you can track the growth and changes to your tank (and all your information can be in one place for members to provide feedback/suggestions).

I would suggest reviewing/reading up on the would be the "cycling" an aquarium. Which refers to how the nitrogen cycle (Fish waste->Ammonia->Nitrite->Nitrate) works in the aquarium. This takes about 4 to 8 weeks to complete from scratch. Frequent water changes are your friend Smile. Some people enjoy monitoring water chemistry as this progresses.

It's also important to do research to consider what are optimal tankmates for your fish, and what sorts of requirements they have.

Some questions to begin considering:
- Is my aquarium completely cycled?
- How big of a tank do I need for the occupants?
- What sorts of fish are suitable for a "community" tank?
- What areas of the tank will the fish occupy (e.g. bottom dwelling, top dwelling, etc)
- If your fish school/shoal, what it is the minimum number you should keep together?
- Will my fish get along? Do they occupy the same part of the same tank? Do they have the same water requirements (e.g. hardness, temperature, etc)
- Can I optimize my filter? (e.g. perhaps focusing increasing biological filtration media over chemical filtration media [e.g. charcoal etc]).

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Post by shawna506scott Thu May 13, 2021 5:25 am

Thank you I love the Journal idea I will definitely be doing that, I wish I had done more research at the beginning. There was 2 people at the fish store that seemed extremely knowledgeable but ultimately I wish I had done more research prior to myself but such is life and now I have these animals so now I just want to make sure I can give them the best possible chance going forward.


Is my aquarium completely cycled?
No I doubt it because I have only had the tank setup for about 2 weeks now almost 3 and I was one of those people that even though I put the water conditioner in the water I did not set it up to cycle prior to putting my animals into the tank. Hopefully this will not harm them or cause issues but I will know better going forward that is why I decided not to setup the 20 gallon just yet.

I wish I had someone who was some sort of aquarium guru cause I am so much better at learning when seeing things done instead of just reading. Im more for hands on experience then I am for theory lol.

I guess that is where youtube comes in handy.....can you maybe recommend some youtube channels that might be useful in this regard?

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Post by CAAIndie Thu May 13, 2021 3:15 pm

One can certainly cycle with a small quantity of fish in the tank - but one need to be very diligent with frequent and large water changes.

The beneficial bacterial that convert fish waste from very toxic forms (ammonia) to nitrite, and then less toxic (nitrate) take weeks to grow. They live most prominently in the biological filter of your aquarium (e.g. this is often porous ceramic media in filters), but also in the gravel and other hard objects (but not the water itself). Large and frequent water changes are important for keeping these levels of ammonia, and in turn nitrite, low during this process (often daily or every other day while setting up the tank - depending on the number of fish in the tank, the type of fish, and the size of the tank). Sometimes new hobbyists people do not know about these factors, and essentially fish can poison themselves from their waste (this is why overstocking a tank is such an issue).

Once the cycle is complete (if you are using an aquarium test kit along the way - you know this is when you are only seeing nitrate, no ammonia, no nitrite). Nitrate is much much less toxic to fish, - and is essentially what you are removing from the aquarium when you are fully cycled. You can also speed up the cycling of a new tank (e.g. your 20 gallon) by using a small amount of cycled media (the ceramic bits often in filter media) to "seed" a new filter. This can cut the cycling time in half. At first glance, I would recommend setting it up (if you have the time/means to do that) - as 3 gallons is really not very big (and could contribute to the aggression you are seeing).

I would recommend a good water conditioner for each water change. I like seachem's "prime" or it's concentrated powder form "safe". This is great for dealing with chlorine chloramine that is sometimes present in tap water. It also binds with ammonia, turning it into ammonium - which is still biologically available for your "cycling" bacteria - and is less toxic for fish.

I can try to find some threads or videos that might be helpful for you (this could take a day or two - I'm currently slammed at work). In the meantime - I would recommend doing a search on the forum  to begin with - and ask questions here if you aren't sure. We can try to help. I would also keep on top of water changes Smile.

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Post by shawna506scott Fri May 14, 2021 5:42 am

Thank you so much @CAAIndie I feel like such a terrible fish mom lol really though I wish I had done a lot more research then I had, now I am educating myself and hoping I can salvage the situation I have been given some help for doing a fish in cycling but I had a feeling it was overloaded so now I have to do damage control, how often should I do the water changes right now so I can give a better quality of life to my little friends? I'm grabbing some prime today and a test kit until I can get my 20 gallon up and running Im going to push to see if I can get it done asap.

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Post by CAAIndie Sat May 15, 2021 3:35 am

@shawna506scott wrote:Thank you so much  @CAAIndie I feel like such a terrible fish mom lol really though I wish I had done a lot more research then I had, now I am educating myself and hoping I can salvage the situation I have been given some help for doing a fish in cycling but I had a feeling it was overloaded so now I have to do damage control, how often should I do the water changes right now so I can give a better quality of life to my little friends? I'm grabbing some prime today and a test kit until I can get my 20 gallon up and running Im going to push to see if I can get it done asap.

Don't worry. Everyone makes mistakes sometimes - and this is a common thing to see. What is important is you are seeking information and doing your best. The fact that you have a 20 gallon waiting in the wings will resolve a lot of the problems.

There are a number of variables at play - so it is a bit tricky to say exactly how big of water changes you should be doing. A good rule of thumb is probably somewhere between 20-50% everyday or or every other day. Some questions/things to consider:

- How frequently are they being fed? How much? Because it is the fish waste that results in the ammonia/nitrite/nitrate - you can be ensure you are not overfeeding (e.g. probably not more than they can eat in about 2 minutes) - which can make sure things don't get too out of hand. Extra uneaten food can also decompose and exasperate the issue as well.

- Are you fish showing any signs of distress? Ammonia poisoning often manifests with symptoms like red gills, sluggishness, discolouration, or if the fish looks like it is gasping for air. If you see these signs, the bigger the water change.

- This may seem obvious, but just a good thing to mention - be sure you are doing your best to match temperatures of the water you are replacing (even fairly small shifts can be quite stressful for fish). Also be sure to condition your water (depending on your source).

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Post by shawna506scott Mon May 17, 2021 12:48 pm

So this is what I have done so far I did a 50% water change using the gravel vacuum and mixed in a cap full of the prime solution into my new water just from doing that I seen a huge improvement. My Dwarf Frog was much more active and also the cranky guppy seemed to ease off the other fish. Of course my loach is MIA and when I get them into the 20 gallon tank I will consider getting him a little buddy...Ive been told the prefer to live in multiples or have a bit of a school mentality even though they are bottom dwellers. I am keeping an eye on the animals activity and Im going to continue doing the 50% water changes each week treating with the prime until I can get them into the larger tank. There are no physical markings or traits showing that they may be ill so I am grateful for that. I have been feeding them all about 3 times a day but maybe a small pinch and a half and then the recommended amount the fish store employee recommended for my frog( 1 pellet for each feeding I do with the fish) I am wondering if I should throw a few more in for him though because at times I cant tell if he has even eaten :/ But everything is much better then it was thats for sure.

Also I am very mindful of the temperature of the water and got a thermometer the other day everything is good on that end.

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Post by CAAIndie Wed Jun 02, 2021 8:39 pm

Hoping this tank and its inhabitants are doing alright. Just popping in to see if there are any updates. Hope to see an update soon. Smile

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Post by shawna506scott Thu Jun 03, 2021 4:59 am

Everything is going very well I did end up losing 2 animals but I have since moved to my 20 gal tank and have done SOOOOOO Much research and Im on the right track now! Im so happy with how things have turned out and I cant wait to introduce my next fish Smile Leo, Monstro and Gary are doing excellent!!! Only thing I noticed recently is I find the pellets I was recommended by the store for my frog seem to be to hard or something he seems to be having a hard time eating them...He is eating the left over fish flakes but I seen him spitting a pellet yesterday and I dont know if its just too big or to hard but I want to make sure he gets the appropriate nutrition is this common?

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